Wednesday , May 26, 2020
Roy Charles Brooks
Rodney Ellis
Dr. Helen Holton
Executive Director
We hope you are safe and healthy during this lengthy pandemic. These are indeed stressful times. So it’s extremely important not only to us – but also to the people we serve – that we remain strong mentally and physically.

Now, more so than ever, we at the county level are needed to govern and to help lead us out of this COVID-19 public health crisis. However, in addition to the virus, we also have other pressing matters that must not get lost – the upcoming elections and the ongoing Census. Physical distancing caused by COVID-19 justifiably has created fear in people who do not want to stand in long lines at crowded polling places. Voters and election workers should not have to choose between risking their health and exercising their right to vote. We are urging everyone to continue to push for expansion of eligibility for mail-in ballot voting.

Without a doubt, vote by mail is the best way to protect people’s constitutional rights to cast their ballots and help stop the spread of COVID-19. We should work to make sure that every registered voter can take advantage of this option should they choose to do so.

Therefore, it’s imperative that all of us continue to battle those factions who oppose vote by mail for people who are under 65 years of age, do not have a disability or are not ill. The health and safety of all citizens is paramount. Finally, it’s equally essential that we continue to remind constituents to respond to the 2020 Census. Everyone needs to be counted so that each area can receive the
correct amount of funds for health clinics and highways; fire departments and disaster response; education programs such as Pre-K and college tuition assistance; and so much more.

Again, we can’t thank you enough for your support and participation in this great organization. Please stay safe and healthy.
We hope this email finds you well. We’ve heard from many of you about the increased digital needs. We know you are working tirelessly to respond to our communities with information on broadband awareness and usage. We want to be part of that timely support as well. Therefore, we’ve moved up the date for launching the Spectrum Digital Education RFP process this year. Join us as we share more information during an upcoming webinar. Please RSVP through the link below:

On Wednesday, June 3 rd  at 10:00 am in the Members Room of the Library of Congress. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen will be hosting a women’s event followed by a discussion between Dr. Carla Hayden and Elaine Weiss, a Baltimorean and author of  The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote . After the program, you will see two excellent exhibits; one about Rosa Parks and the other about Women Suffrage.

Showcases rarely seen materials that offer an intimate view of Rosa Parks and documents her life and activism—creating a rich opportunity for viewers to discover new dimensions to their understanding of this seminal figure.

The materials are drawn extensively from the Rosa Parks Collection, a gift to the Library of Congress from the Howard G. Buffett Founda
Tells the story of the seventy-two-year campaign for women’s suffrage. Considered the largest reform movement in American history, its participants believed that securing the vote was essential to achieving women’s economic, social, and political equality. For years, determined women organized, lobbied, paraded, petitioned, lectured, picketed, and faced imprisonment. Their collective story is one of courage, perseverance, savvy, creativity, and hope that continues to inspire activists today.
The CTIA Connecting Kids Initiative This new wireless industry program connects school districts with wireless operators in their communities, simplifying the process to help children learn remotely during COVID-19 using mobile hot spot solutions. “Millions of kids are learning from home for the first time and the wireless industry is committed to helping make sure they have the opportunity to learn remotely. We are proud to launch this initiative, and of the many other ways the wireless industry is helping, but we can’t do this alone. It’s important that Congress provide the funding the education community has sought to support hotspot-capable devices and services essential for remote learning.” - Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO
The wireless industry’s Connecting Kids Initiative is a new resource for schools and school districts to help keep kids learning in these unprecedented times. Schools districts are encouraged to submit their connectivity needs and we will help connect them to wireless operators in their communities. Millions of kids are learning from home for the first time because of COVID-19. One of the challenges is that not all children have access. TO LEARN MORE
e “Keeping Us Connected: Wireless Carrier Responses to COVID-19”
Thank you for joining CTIA's virtual briefing where carrier members AT&T, T-Mobile,
U.S. Cellular, and Verizon shared their activities to keep people connected during this challenging time. Please see below for handouts from this event.

We would like to congratulate our national sponsor Verizon, they were recently ranked #1 on the new Forbes Corporate Responders ranking list, which in partnership with JUST Capital, assessed how well the 100 largest employers among U.S. public companies responded to the public health crisis (Covid-19) . Based on a scale of 1 to 5, Verizon came out on top with an average score of 3.87. 
We've shared on our Verizon Policy Twitter handle. Feel free to help amplify and follow the link to learn more.
The article reads: The largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers has instituted one of the most expansive sick leave policies of big employers. It also scored top marks for backup dependent care and efforts to help surrounding communities. As of early May, the company had not laid off any of its roughly 135,000 employees. By the end of April, the New York City-based company had committed over $54 million in contributions and donations to nonprofits. "When it comes to our work in the society, helping communities, that's also extremely important right now,"
said Verizon CEO Hans Erik Vestberg in April. "Large corporations need to take the responsibility."
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—On Valentine’s Day, some seven years after leaving the state Capitol as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Kris Steele watched an old man in a purple shirt pee into a cup.
“Do you have any special plans for today?” Steele asked the man as he stood vigil a few feet away in the worn yellow bathroom of The Education and Employment Ministry. Steele, a boyish looking 46, runs TEEM, a street-level nonprofit in downtown Oklahoma City that helps felons reenter society with job training, life skills and drug testing. Here, even the director snaps on blue latex gloves for urinalysis duty.

There is no shortage of work. Oklahoma has  led  the nation in the number of citizens it incarcerates, often in a neck-and-neck race with Louisiana. A June 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative declared Oklahoma “the world’s prison capital”—putting the tally at 1,079 people incarcerated per 100,000 when counting prisons, jails, ICE detention and juvenile lockup. The governor’s recent spate of commutations—including the record-setting 527 in a single day in November—and parole board reforms have helped nudge down that number, but the prison system remains so overloaded that the state’s Department of Corrections has requested $884 million to increase capacity by 5,200 beds.

“I refuse to believe Oklahomans are the worst people in the world,” Steele says. Rather, it’s a state suffering from addiction, trauma and poverty, and a political culture that prizes tough-minded approaches to social problems. He argues the penal system merely makes that situation worse. When I visited him in Oklahoma before the Covid outbreak, Steele told me that he loves his home state, “but we’re awfully quick to look at incarceration as a solution. It tears families apart, it creates instability. It makes the situation much worse.”

Steele’s opinion might not count for much except that he’s a well-connected and high-profile Republican in one of the reddest of red states, a political prodigy who was elected to state government at age 27 and within 10 years had ascended to speaker of the state House. A Baptist minister and fiscal conservative, Steele ultimately found his calling in an issue that was not a legislative priority of his party: reforming the prison system.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified calls to improve voter access during the 2020 election cycle. The Sentencing Project’s commitment to the enfranchisement of people who are incarcerated or have criminal records motivates us to echo those calls. One large group of voters that has long been left out of the electoral process are the 700,000 people held in local jails around the country. The vast majority of these individuals are eligible to vote because they are either awaiting trial or are serving a sentence for a misdemeanor conviction, but not a felony. Yet few jurisdictions have established a process where people in jails can vote.

As localities consider voting best practices, a  new report from The Sentencing Project  highlights jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for residents detained in local jails through absentee voting or jail-based polling sites. These initiatives should serve as models to be adopted by all jail systems in order to ensure that individuals housed there do not forfeit their rights of citizenship. 
Reforms highlighted in the report include: 
  • Community Initiatives – Civic groups in Denver and Los Angeles partnered with local officials to establish civic education programs in jails.
  • Polling Locations – Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC authorized local jails as official polling locations. 
  • Voter Registration – Groups in Houston and Philadelphia launched community-based initiatives to support voter registration efforts for incarcerated residents. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION Please be in touch with Nicole D. Porter, The Sentencing Project’s Director of Advocacy at  
Learn more @SentencingProj #VotinginJails report:
The Sentencing Project
1705 DeSales Street NW 8th Floor | Washington, District of Columbia 20036
The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for
alternatives to incarceration.
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Unity’20 Partners

Thank you for your continued work and partnership as we work in unity to #Do2in2020 – Vote and Be Counted. Together, we are working towards a complete and accurate census count that is inclusive of the entire Black community.  At the same time, we have to continue to get our folks registered, voting and protect our vote.

Do 2 in 2020: Vote and Be Counted Partner Update
Join us as we support the efforts of our partners. Be a part of the activities and share with your networks.  The flyers are attached.   When we support each other, our community wins!

On Voting:
We are excited to lift up the efforts of GenZ and Millennial leaders in Georgia, as they host a Virtual Townhall with U.S. Senate Candidates.   This event is hosted by  GA Black Youth Vote, The People’s Agenda, HBCU Green Fund and You Power Purpose Watch tonight at 6pm EST via Black Youth Vote GA Facebook Page or at .  The flyer is attached, so you can promote with your networks and social media.
On Census :

A.Philip Randolph Institute (APRI)  is bringing back the   2020 Census DJ Take OVA- REBOOT. All next week, May 11- 19, 2020,  APRI will bring back its virtual DJ tour, which uplifts Black labor, families and community through Black Music.  These DJs will be spinning R&B, HipHop, Reggae, Jazz and even Gospel from cities across the country to engage our ENTIRE committee is responding to the 2020 Census.  The music starts every Monday – Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 1 pm and Sunday. The flyer is attached, so you can promote with your networks and social media.

Census Response Rate Update:
  • According the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center,
  • CUNY, as of April 30, 2020 - The nationwide response rate was 54.6%
  • At this rate, will reach final 2010 rate (66.5%) by June 9

Unfortunately, during this same time period, the data shows that the response rate in Black communities range from 5%-13% lower than the national average, based on the size on city population size.    For cities with population of greater that 1 million, the average response rate for Black communities is 41.2%, 13.4% below the national average. The Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center, CUNY releases a report on 2020 Census Analysis every Friday. All reports can be found at .

We are “safe at home” but still working hard for our people .   ompelling headline