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Greensboro News Summary

Courtesy of the Greensboro Gazette


Women's Shelter Seeks Assistance in Aftermath of Fire

The Clara House women's shelter was damaged by an accidental fire on July 16. Summer is a time of increased domestic violence against women, so other area shelters may not have the capacity to handle women eligible for housing at Clara House.

A Clara House relief fund has been established at Carolina Savings Bank (PO Box 10209, Greensboro, NC 27407). Donations are tax deductible.

Volunteers are also needed to help, especially for the crisis line. Females of at least 20 years are eligible; also required are a car and skills in listening, communication, and sympathy.

-Adapted from an article by Ronda Cranford

Standing Against Racism Can Win Better Schools for All

Guilford County resident Ervin Brisbon confronted the smoldering issue of racism in the Guilford County school redistricting hearings. At a July 15th hearing on the Zone 3 plan for southeastern Guilford, Brisbon, the first African American resident to address the 90% white audience, drew applause when he called the setting aside of an 85% white, upper middle class haven in northwest Greensboro (Zone 1) an "apartheid school system." Earlier in that same meeting many had jeered him when he suggested that Alamance Elementary, located in a nearly all-white section of southeastern Guilford, was "not a neutral place" to hold a forum. (All five forums had been scheduled by the School Board in predominantly white areas.)

Southeastern Guilford hosts the greatest concentration of poor and working class whites. Many would suggest that the greatest interest would be served by poor and working class whites and blacks supporting each others' communities over apparent racial divisions, focusing instead on the interest each community has in not letting wealthier whites in northwestern Greensboro walk away with educational resources lower income communities so desperately need.

- Adapted from an article by Scott Trent

Glenwood Residents Have 'New Weapon' in Fight Against Substandard Housing

Residents of Glenwood will have a new weapon in the fight against substandard housing and crime in their south Greensboro neighborhood, thanks to a pilot program being offered by the city building inspector.

"As part of the Community Watch Association, volunteers will be trained to recognize code violations-broken windows, dilapidated siding, tall grass, and abandoned vehicles," and then notify property owners to take care of problems or the building inspector will be contacted, says Danny Nall of the inspector's office.

Glenwood has a long history, according to Suzanne Williams, vice-president of the Greater Glenwood Neighborhood Association. In the '50s and '60s, Glenwood was a thriving community, with its own business and professional district on Grove Street. Then, as aging residents moved to suburbs or passed away, their homes were purchased by absentee landlords who cared little for maintaining residents' quality of life, renting out to people engaged in criminal activity or turning larger houses into substandard boarding houses.

"As of the early '90s," Williams said, though, "we're seeing a rise in young families moving in."

The Glenwood Neighborhood Association meets at 7 pm on the 4th Tuesday of every month, Glenwood Recreation Center on Chapman street.

-Adapted from an article by Dan Bayer and Susan Bohannon

Local Postal Workers Travel to Support Detroit's Striking

On June 21, seven Greensboro workers in the Postal Workers Union travelled to Michigan to show support for what is shaping up as one of the most important labor battles of the 1990s.

"There were over 100,000 people at the rally. We couldn't see the end of the march," said Isabel Alper, O.W. Sweeney and Pete Arata of Greensboro's APWU Local 711. "We went to show our support and to bring back information to workers here, 99% of whom know very little about what is happening in Detroit."

Over two thousand workers at Detroit's two major newspapers (The Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News) have struggled against Gannett and Knight-Ridder, the papers' owners, who planned as early as 1989 to break previous employment agreements. They combined staffs and immediately fired 1,000 of the 3,500 workers employed by the two papers, then went on to implement a wage freeze, doubled-up jobs, and laid off even more people.

Yet in 1995 the company brought in a $56 million profit.

At the rally, one striker told Alper how his life had changed in the two years of the strike. "One day he was a little league coach, the next he was being beaten by the cops." Other workers were also beaten. It was revealed that Gannett and Knight-Ridder had donated to the police retirement fund and paid for the police overtime during the strike.

Many rank and file union members opposed the union leaderships' apparent opposition to more activist tactics, but when the AFL-CIO finally agreed to act, the rally in June pressed the National Labor Relations Board to order the company to hire back all of the 2,000 strikers after the February, 1997 call-off of the strike.

Detroit workers forged a great deal of living solidarity during the difficult strike. Greensboro APWU member O.W. Sweeney said of his trip to the rally, "It really showed me the meaning of 'Workers United Cannot Be Defeated.'"

To support the strikers, (1) Boycott Gannett-owned USA Today; (2) Contribute to the DNA Striker Relief Fund (2550 W. Grand Blvd, Detroit MI 48208) for its food bank and financial assistance to workers; and (3) Subscribe to the unions' own paper, the Detroit Sunday Journal, a weekly. $15 for 3 months. Call (313) 567-9818 or write 3100 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48214.

-Adapted from an article by Tim Hopkins

Distant Allies: African-American and Brazilian Farmers Fighting to Keep Land Meet in Greensboro

A group of African-American activists from North Carolina, who are resisting the rapid loss of Black-owned farms, have found common purpose with a movement of landless workers, squatters, and farmers in Brazil. Leaders of both movements met on June 20th at the Glenwood Public Library to discuss their fight, and their future.

"When I look at the faces of those Brazilian farmers, I see the same faces as the ones in Tillery, North Carolina," said Marcus Tillery of the National Conference on African-American Land Loss, referring to photographs of the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement (Movimento Sem Terra, or MST in Portuguese).

Jose Brito Ribeiro of the MST said that in Brazil, "There are 350 million hectares of arable land in Brazil, of which 42% are in the hands of 1% of the landowners. Today we live in crisis." He pointed out that since the drastic opening of national resources to foreign investment, other industries such as textile and cotton mills have collapsed. "Unemployed and poor workers [have] no other option than to join MST and to fight for the land."

The MST advocates Brazil's landless poor to takeover unused lands. This past April 100,000 marched for national land reform, including the poor, homeless peoples, indigenous peoples, public workers, unions, and students.

Tillery and Brito agreed on the need for cooperation across borders. Said Tillery, "It touches my heart to see people standing up for what's right."

For more information contact the Concerned Citizens of Tillery at (919) 826-3244 or write to them at PO Box 68, Tillery, NC 27877.

-Adapted from an article by Scott Trent


  The Greensboro Gazette is a free, all-volunteer monthly newspaper. For more information or to subscribe contact them at (910) 379-8494 or write to PO Box 14098, Greensboro, NC 27405.  

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