Monday November 16, 2020
Roy Charles Brooks
Rodney Ellis
Dr. Helen Holton
Executive Director
Congratulations to everyone who was elected or re-elected earlier this month. In addition to campaigning, we know you were also on the frontline of the get-out-to-vote efforts. Your hard work produced record turnout nationwide.

However, we are not done in some parts of the country where there will be key runoff races on the local, state and national levels. Most notable are two Senate runoff races in Georgia that will determine which party controls that chamber. It’s equally important that we continue to encourage voters to return to the polls for all the runoff races.
Now that voters have elected Joe Biden as our next president, it’s time for this country to move forward to heal the racial divide, and seek the necessary criminal justice and police reforms – all of which were highlighted by the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Indeed, this vote was a national referendum on where this county is at today and where it is headed in the future. As local elected officials, a large part of our future includes taking care of those who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, it has created record unemployment – especially for poor and people of color – and tossed the economy into a downward spiral.

Collectively, we must help create economic opportunity for those who have lost their jobs, and provide as much local support as possible for working families while employment options are scare as we give our economy time to recover. Additionally, working with the federal government to get the virus under control, especially at the time when the number of cases is skyrocketing, must be our priority.

COVID-19 has also shed a light on education disparities within our country. With students learning virtually, it’s also time to permanently close the digital divide. School districts around the nation – with help from local, state and federal governments – are providing low-income students with computers and hotspots so they can continue learning and stay safe during these difficult times. However, those provisions are still not sufficient to meet the needs of every student and we must find a long-term solution for children from lower-income families.
It is our mission to overcome these challenges as we recover from the pandemic. As a team, together we can do it.
Congratulations President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris on your historic victory as America's next leadership team!  

We're looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and working together to "Build Back Better."
Election day was November 3rd, but it’s still not over. In Georgia, they are currently urging people to register to vote if they already haven’t for the Senate runoff election in January for both Senate seats. By Georgia law, Senate candidates need to have fifty percent plus one to avoid a run-off. Both David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the current incumbents, have not reached that half-way point, which means that challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have a chance to win one or both Senate seats in January. If both of these challengers were to succeed it would shift the leadership of the US Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would become the tie-breaking vote.
Georgia broke records for the number of people who voted in the election. Clearly, much of this uptick can be attributed to the efforts of Stacey Abrams and her campaign that resulted in 800,000 new voters. The presidential election isn’t the only historical election to happen in this election cycle. The upcoming senatorial runoff elections happening on January 5th are historical by themselves. This is the first time in the documented history of the United States that there has been a double senate runoff. It is rare for there to be two senate seats open in the same election cycle as they are usually staggered.

If you live in Georgia, please get out there and vote in this runoff election. To our Georgia elected officials please encourage people in your counties to vote for the candidate of their choice. In many respects Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts must be regular and ongoing efforts in our community beyond just at election time. We must seize the opportunities before us to make a difference for all the people, especially in our own community. Please encourage Georgia residents that missed their chance to vote on November 3rd, that they have another chance to register and vote in the January senatorial runoff elections. Here are some important dates to remember:
November 18th: This is the earliest day to register to receive a mail-in ballot.
December 7th: This is the voter registration deadline for the runoff election.
December 14th: Advance in-person and early voting begins. 
January 5th: This is runoff election day. 
The Election, Our Youth and the Future

This election means more than we can imagine today, especially to the future of our
nation. This is the first time many young people were able to vote, which is reflected in the
record-breaking turnout. After the 2016 election, the results reflected confusion, a sense of
powerlessness, and began a wave of further disengagement. For the second time in this century the U.S. elected someone who lost the popular vote, Al Gore in 2000 and Hilary Clinton in 2016.

The reality that this nation elected someone as the leader of the free world who was clearly not
represented all of America well appears to have been a motivator to get younger generations to step up, get involved, and vote. It’s pretty clear that the black youth vote got off the sidelines and jumped into the main event!

Unfortunately, due to a lack of education, active engagement, or an over reliance on
media rhetoric and pollsters, many didn’t vote in 2016. Some chose not to vote because they
didn’t feel that it was worth their time an effort or they didn’t understand the difference between
the popular vote and the electoral college. To complicate matters even more is the confusion that outside of the election for President and Vice-President, is that every other candidate on the ballot wins pretty much by majority vote without consideration of the electoral college. This
means the House, Senate, and local officials are all chosen by the people or the popular vote.
Often our youth are considered the most “distracted” generation of all time because of
technology. In the age of social media and Google, our young people have the power to search
and share whenever they feel like it. Because of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter,
they can see people like themselves making a change. They have been able to watch what
happens at protests long after the news cameras are turned off.

This election means so much to the next generation and they’ve been instrumental in
electing more young and progressive representatives than ever before. These are the voices they believe will earnestly listen to and act upon their concerns and issues. This election means so much to young black voters, because of the helplessness felt watching people who were supposed to help them hurt them.

They’re tired of being hurt. They’re tired of being ignored.
They’re tired of being told that they are the future without a clear path to impact.
This election was so important because they felt empowered to help change the future.
The Digital Divide, Virtual Learning: A COVID Holiday Season

While many students may find virtual learning to be difficult there are some people who have it even harder due to the digital divide. The digital divide is a term used to describe the space between people who have access to the internet and devices that can access the internet and those who do not. Many low-income households do not have access to the internet making it impossible for students to attend class and complete their assignments.

This is the case for many African American families, the latest Census showed that many African
American households rarely or never had a device that could be used to access the internet.  
Typically, students without access to the internet would go to libraries or coffee shops to
access the internet and complete their assignments, but the lockdowns and social distancing
mandates have made that impossible for most of this during this pandemic. And there doesn’t
appear to be a real end in sight anytime soon. The increase in COVID-19 cases resulted in
schools closing and moving to virtual learning. This means holding classes via Zoom and other
video conferencing platforms and having homework and other assignments submitted through
websites such as Google Classroom, Blackboard, and email. 

As a result, many companies such as Charter Communications/Spectrum and Comcast
relaunched programs offering free internet services to students and internet essential customers. 
Both Charter and Comcast launched these programs back in March in repose to the COVID-19
virus and despite our hopes of it being over it is not, and internet services are still needed.
Specifically, Charter is offering Wi-Fi services as well as access to hotspots for 60 days free to
households with new K-12 and college students. On top of these, they are also working with
school districts to help them provide their students with the tools they need to effectively learn

This shift to a virtual world is not only taking place in schools but in everyday life.
COVID-19 has disrupted life pretty dramatically from how we knew it from graduations, proms,
weddings, vacations, and other life events we never thought of being as dramatically different as
they currently are. With the holiday season rolling in many peoples are wondering how and if we
are going to be able to celebrate with family, especially as the number of cases surges once
again. According to the CDC, small household gatherings increase the spread of the COVID-19
virus. As an alternative, the CDC suggests hosting virtual gatherings with family and friends this
holiday season.
Our own Executive Director, Dr. Helen Holton will be conducting a workshop during the 11th Annual Howard University International Conference on Stigma this year on Tuesday morning, Nov 17th from 9:00 - 10:20 AM ET on 
"How To Be Your Own Self-Advocate: From Your House to the White House" Registration is FREE for this virtual conference.

Part 1 of an event series on “A New Contract with the Middle Class”
Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST
The story of the middle class has long been a political tagline in American politics. To better understand how they are really faring and to inform the policy solutions in “A New Contract with the Middle Class,” the Future of the Middle Class Initiative at Brookings has spoken with Americans around the country both before and during the COVID-19 crisis.
On November 17, the Future of the Middle Class Initiative will release and discuss a qualitative study of the hopes and anxieties of the American middle class.
Also, happening this week: NOBCO will be represented at the workshop
"The Truth about Race, Equity and Access in Our Elections" on Wednesday, November 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EST. Pre- and post-election outcomes are used to frame this important dialogue on voter suppression and its impact on marginalized, underserved and vulnerable communities.

NLC University is a collaborative education and professional development initiative developed by the National League of Cities that helps municipal leaders – both elected and appointed – build the skills they need to better govern, serve, and advocate for their communities.
Creating Systemic Collaboratives to Improve Our Communities’ Future

Nov 30 — Dec 5, 2020