Notice of Press Conference

NOTICE OF PRESS CONFERENCE

DATE: Tuesday October 23, 2018, 2:00 PM

LOCATION: Beloved Community Center, 417 Arlington Street, Greensboro, NC 27406

PURPOSE: An Announcement from 13 local groups regarding three important issues with respect to the conduct and accountability of members of the Greensboro Police Department

1. These 13 groups, whose complete statements you will be given, will be filing on November 1st an amicus brief in the NC Court of Appeals in support of the City of Greensboro’s appeal of the gag order banning them from publicly discussing the contents of police body camera recordings of the Zared Jones incident. We commend Council for making this appeal. When public officials, elected by the people, are prevented from speaking out on serious matters of public interest, our rights as citizens are unjustly curtailed.

2. While supporting the City’s appeal, these groups call on city council to watch the entire set of police recordings and take appropriate action NOW. While the appeal may take one to two years to be resolved, the Greensboro City Council currently has both the authority, based upon court order, and the duty, based upon their responsibility to the citizens, to watch the police recordings right NOW. Police misconduct, if found, must be investigated and all those responsible held accountable NOW. These 13 groups will release to the public their letter previously sent to each city council member making the request for them to view the recordings and act NOW. We are asking for a specific response from City Council to that letter.

3. Graham Holt, attorney for Zared Jones, has been authorized by court order to view the entire set of police recordings and has done so. He has sent a confidential letter, confidential only because of the gag order, to City Council detailing specific issues of police misconduct reflected in those police recordings. Attorney Holt will be present to comment, within the limits of the law, on that letter and the concern that Council is exhibiting a deliberate indifference to the rights of his clients and others by failing to watch the entire set of police recordings and act NOW.

DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE:
1. STATEMENTS OF INTEREST
2. LETTER FROM AMICUS GROUP TO COUNCIL ASKING FOR VIEWING AND ACTION

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October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

from www.un.org

Theme: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is important to recall the fundamental connection between extreme poverty and human rights, and that people living in poverty are disproportionately affected by many human rights violations.

Joseph Wresinski was one of the first persons to highlight this direct link between human rights and extreme poverty. In February 1987, he appealed to the Human Rights Commission to examine the question of extreme poverty and human rights and eloquently captured the nexus between human rights and extreme poverty with his profound observation: “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”

Government policies alone cannot create the social inclusion that is fundamental to reaching those left furthest behind and overcoming poverty in all its dimensions. The commemoration of October 17 each year, when people living in poverty take the floor and share their experiences, demonstrates how we can achieve greater social inclusion by enabling people from all walks of life to come together to respect the human rights and dignity of people living in poverty. It underscores the importance of reaching out to people living in poverty and building an alliance around their priorities with citizens from all backgrounds to end extreme poverty. It recognizes the important mutual roles and relationships we have with each other based on our common and equal dignity.

The persistence of poverty, including extreme poverty, is a major concern for the United Nations and, at its 72nd session, the General Assembly launched the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027), under the theme “Accelerating global actions for a world without poverty”. It is important that the Third Decade’s inter-agency, system-wide plan of action to coordinate the poverty eradication efforts of the United Nations system includes an effective partnership with people living with poverty.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can strongly complement such initiatives because it aims to ensure that the active participation of people living in extreme poverty and those furthest behind is a driving force in all efforts made to overcome poverty, including in the design and implementation of programmes and policies which affect them. Only by creating and nurturing a genuine partnership with people living with poverty will it be possible to build an inclusive world where all people can enjoy their full human rights and lead lives with dignity.

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General Meeting Change

Democracy Greensboro will begin to hold one general meeting each month instead of two. General meetings will be scheduled for the fourth week of the month. The October meeting is scheduled for October 24th. The location will be announced on our website and our Facebook page in the coming week.

General meetings will still include updates from our action committees, but will be focused on guest speakers and discussions of issues in Greensboro’s Community Platform.

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Partnership With Aim Higher Now NC

Democracy Greensboro will be collaborating with Aim Higher Now NC until the November election to Get Out The Vote in opposition to all six proposed amendments to the N.C. Constitution. We will also be working with them to elect Anita Earls to the State Supreme Court.

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Public Transit Conversation

At the September 4th City Council meeting, public transportation was the main topic of discussion. One little known term introduced that evening was “last mile,” a transit term that refers to the difficulties people without transportation have getting from a bus stop to their home. Or in the case of “first mile,” getting to a bus stop or hub.

Car owners rarely think twice about how we get from here to there, whether it’s raining or blistering hot, or even if we might not get to work on time. But bus riders often have multiple obstacles getting from here to there, and some of those obstacles are downright dangerous. In 2016, over 7% of Greensboro households did not have access to any vehicles [Governing.com, a publication of eRepublic.com].

As Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy noted at that City Council meeting, public transportation is a critical component of economic justice. And as the problems associated with climate change will soon be too big to ignore, it is also a critical component of environmental sustainability which, unfortunately, is not discussed enough at City Council meetings. Still it was good to get more conversation going about mass transit.

If you’d like to watch the video footage related to the public transit discussion between Adam Fisher, Transportation Director, and City Council members: go to http://greensboro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3723, click on “Play” and set the time stamp at 1:09:55.

Below is a transcription of some of that exchange.

MK [Michelle Kennedy]: “… and what are the last mile provisions that have been considered or are being considered to implement as part of that [larger plan].”
AF [Adam Fischer]: “That’s an excellent point and question. It’s something that we continue to explore. The last mile provisions, one is, yeah, on your own two feet in walking and that ties to our ultimate plan to hopefully build sidewalks everywhere that folks need to walk. And actually our number one priority on our sidewalk prioritization list, we actually have transit routes now that do not have sidewalks along them, so we’re trying to add one, and that’s the highest priority on our list, are major corridors, major transit routes, to add those sidewalks and then to spread those on out where people have to walk additional distances.”
MK: “But there’s something that’s got to come outside of GTA [Greensboro Transit Authority] that helps finish off that last mile provision, that doesn’t fall to y’all to do, that’s something falls into a different category.”
AF: “But we try to help with that by providing, transportation department does implement the sidewalk program and plans for that. There’s some of the private sector things coming around with the Lime bikes that folks can possibly ride out to the bus…the bus cannot go down every street in front of everybody’s doorways.”
YJ [Yvonne Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem]: “They have scooters. I saw scooters recently. Well that doesn’t help a mother with a little child walking a mile.”
MK:”…a lot of us [City Council members] have been having conversations about this. I see transit as a critical component of economic justice. And that we have some big responsibilities on our plates to figure out how supporting GTA and that connectivity marries into the economic justice goals and economic development goals that we set as a City Council…”

-Hester Petty

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City Council Work Session September 4th

Work Session: Cure Violence Presentation
The session started with a video of Gary Slutkin’s TED talk about his creation of the Cure Violence model. His model does not rely on the usual responses to violence: punishment; and the need to fix all societal ills (poverty, education, racism, etc). His model is based on the responses normally used to stop health epidemics: interrupt transmission; prevent further spread; and shift the norms within the community with education and activities.
http://cureviolence.org/

Folks involved in Durham’s Cure Violence initiative (Bull City United) offered up practical information. Durham’s Cure Violence program was initiated by County public health officials, approved by Durham County commissioners in 2016, and the program got started with $420,000 in County funds and a $30,000 grant. Neighborhood sites are chosen based on the number of shootings in a given square mile.

An office is then set up within that site staffed by 3-6 people, preferably one site manager, three interrupters and two contract workers. The interrupters come from the community. Most are in their mid to late 30s with 10 years or more jail time and so they understand how to intervene and prevent personal or community problems from erupting into gun play. The police are not involved in the program except to supply data re shootings to Bull City United. In the Durham Cure Violence sites there has been a 43% decrease in the number of people shot and a 12% reduction in shootings at a time when Durham has seen an overall 3.7% increase in shootings.
https://www.facebook.com/BullCityUnited32/

Skip Alston was present at the Work Session representing Guilford County commissioners who want to work in partnership with the Greensboro City Council towards the implementation of the Cure Violence model in Greensboro.

Work Session: Cure Violence Discussion
Discussions centered on costs and structure. Councilwoman Hightower thinks the City should be involved as partners with the County. Councilwoman Kennedy feels that the connection to the County Public Health Department is the key to the stability of financing for the program. Councilman Outling twice expressed his need for more research into other models by groups besides Cure Violence.

David Parrish, Greensboro City Manager will get discussions started with County staff, County Commissioners and City Council members.

Note: During the work session I became concerned that the backnforth between County and City regarding funding would stall the Cure Violence initiative. And Mr. Outling’s stubborn insistence that the Cure Violence model should not be the only model considered was mystifying to me given the good track record of Cure Violence in other cities.

CJ Brinson was present at the work session and he commented about Cure Violence later that day at the City Council meeting. His comments begin at 1:38 in the meeting video which can be watched here:
http://greensboro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3723

-Hester Petty

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City Council Meeting Agenda

September 4, 2018
Melvin Municipal Building
300 W. Washington Street

Work Session 4pm
Plaza Level Conference Room

Public Session 5:30pm
Council Chamber

The work session agenda will include an update on the Cure Violence proposal and an update on Boards and Commissions.

The City Council meeting has no ceremonial or presentation items and no items that require a public hearing. During the Public Comment period, speakers from the floor will have five minutes to talk about any issue, concern, or idea related to the City of Greensboro. Speakers must sign up to speak before 6:15pm.

-Hester Petty

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