Joe Biden is expecting to pick up delegates in Alabama and he is spending money to run radio and T.V. ads to seal the deal. With Amy Klobachar and Pete Buttigieg dropping out his chances may have just increased. But there is one problem no one is really expecting…
Black Voters Dilemma in Alabama Primary
In Houston County — There is a major local issue on the ballot, the primary ballot, that is. This poses a problem, because in recent years, citizens have been forced to declare a party and vote from one of two separate ballots for the primary election. The presidential nominees are on the ballot, but if you want to vote for a Democrat nominee, you will have to sacrifice voting for your superintendent and vice versa.
WHY? Because almost 100 percent of the time, the whole field of candidates in the county elections in Houston County runs strictly on the Republican ballot. This means only citizens who declare themselves as Republicans and vote on the Republican ballot alone decide the local election, including this one, which can prove to have dire consequences in that you can’t shake up the Houston County Board of Education or hold this superintendent accountable.
David Sewell, the current incumbent and embattled superintendent, has been in national headlines via local and national news outlets such as WTVY, WDHN, Report of the South , BET , The Grio, and www.KeepBlackHistoryAlive.org for failing to adequately discipline the teachers of Ashford High School who formed a racist gang and labeled themselves the Bad A B’s.
Kim Worsham, Tambria McArdle, Hannah Kirkland, Julee Summerford Lasseter, and two other unknown teachers formed and operated this group targeting and discriminating against black and LGBTQ students everyday during school hours and on school campus with the intent to speak disgustingly about them, their parents, their gender, their sex lives, their relationships.
Now The Bad ABs Racist Six Sex Hotline Teachers are back at Ashford High School where they previously operated every day on the school campus and during school hours, communicating and conspiring via Facebook group chat. They made disgusting comments attacking students, students’ parents, students’ gender, students’ sex lives and relationships, and God knows what else. The posts seem to target and discriminate against black and LGBTQ students. Using social media, a student revealed a video recording of several messages between these self proclaimed unfit “BAD ABs” teachers of Ashford High School of the Houston County School System in Ashford, AL. This student had been asked by one of the co-conspirator teachers in the Bad ABs gang to assist her with a technical complication on her phone. It has been reported that the bold and heroic student was suspended and threatened with arrest by the local news outlets WTVY and WDHN. However, The local law enforcement did not arrest the student.
Citizens across Alabama in Houston County and Neighboring Counties remain outraged because nothing has been done to secure a safe environment for the students free from these hostile teachers who continue to operate on campus today. The messages which were released via the Black Family Black Love Black History facebook page comprised of just a small tip of the iceberg. Hundreds more messages were not released.
Unrest continues in Houston County concerning this issue. Rev. J.V. Whitehurst, former councilman and organizer of the Ashford Action committee, says the issue will only get better when redress happens. The right thing to do is to hold all co-conspirator teachers accountable by terminating their contracts. The superintendent and board members should take this seriously and make adjustments and investments to facilitate the healing process for all students, and black students in particular, who are already behind without this extra undue psychological and emotional distress. Whitehurst says “There is an opportunity for the Houston County School Board, in this area, to invest in these students and work with the community in so doing. Black and Brown students are behind in this nation as a result of gaps in education, S.T.E.A.M, wealth, income, skills, etc. All students are already burdened with stress and worry across the nation about outside violent attacks on them every single day they go to school. Under these psychological circumstances, they then have to navigate the student body and classmate interactions.”
Whitehurst @revjvwhitehurst continues– “Bullying and suicides are up. Students shouldn’t have to be worried about teachers who are there to train and protect them too. Then, to add insult to injury, these teachers in the Bad Abs gang didn’t just attack the students’ parents, discuss their sex lives, and call them “stupid” and “mute,” etc. , but these teachers’ communications were loaded with Jim Crow-era in language. They used the darkest and most direct forms of racism and hatred toward children in their own classroom, as well as making gender attacks on LGBTQ students. In 2020, We shouldn’t be having this conversation about this level of disgusting racism and discrimination still in the classrooms and schools.” .
As previously reported by BET News : “That NIG**R is so dumb he can’t walk and chew bubble gum.” is a quote of the Bad AB’s attributed to “Julie Summerford Lasseter” a teacher at AHS and one of the 6 co-conspirators. Her husband “Chris Lasseter” is a member of the Houston County School Board of Education and she comes from an affluent family in the area reportedly owning Trucking Lines Summerford Trucking and AMX along with a pallet company and even an Air Jump business, “Axtion Air” located in Dothan, AL.
The local chapter of the NAACP is on the scene and meeting regularly with the citizens of Houston County, in Ashford, AL and have formed a coalition titled “The New Justice Coalition” to address the issue along with Smart Church Pastor/Planter Rev. John Victor Whitehurst, Pastor Rev. Curtis Harvey of Rhema Rock Church in Dothan, AL , Kenny Glasgow, the brother of Rev. Al Sharpton, spokes-person for the family of one of the students singled out by the ‘BAD ABs’. & a host of pastors, community activists, and concerned citizens. Dr. Franklin Jones president of the local NAACP and lead organizer of the New Justice Coalition is working to be voiceful at school board meetings and in other arenas.
John Whitehurst the author of Smart Church: The 21st Century Church Technological Code and Founder of Whitehurst & Co. , a PR Consulting firm, is working closely with the NAACP and the New Justice Coalition. Mr. Whitehurst and his global team of consultants are focused on empowering the citizens to organize and have long-term action capabilities to quickly address issues as they arise. The first step was forming the Ashford Action Committee which has garnered support from citizens within and even outside of Alabama as well.
The Ashford Action Committee will serve as a platform to give voice to parents of students and students (which includes those in the Gordon, Cowarts, Ashford, and some parts of Dothan, AL areas) who attend school at Ashford Elementary or Ashford High School. As a philanthropic effort of Whitehurst & Company Media Agency and Marketing Firm; Mr. Whitehurst is working to recruit and organize the leaders of the Ashford Action Committee, gain sponsorships and partnerships, and build digital infrastructure needed to attract and keep millennials engaged on the issues through participation opportunities through the Ashford Action Committee.
Whitehurst & CO. is credited already for an AAC Partnership/Sponsorship with keepblackhistoryalive.org, an online black history media project which is lending content marketing staff writers to the Ashford Action Committee to give the citizens the power to tell their own stories and highlight societal ills as they engage the legal complexities, activism, and protest challeneges surrounding this Houston County Board of Education Hostile School Environment issue.
Most of the NAACP meeting participants are more mature seasoned citizens, primarily of the black community, from Houston County and the neighboring counties. But the younger adult and even students — citizens want to participate. They are speaking out via social media.
By influencing and equipping the younger generation with the tools to learn to merge their digital activism with in person organizing and activism and by building digital infrastructure which will make it easy for more traditional organizers and activist to benefit from and engage efficiently through the use of technology, as an accessory to the civil rights, human rights, and grass roots movements across the nation. Whitehurst hopes his approach will help to merge the generations together to unify the fight. In his book he talks about this similar approach for churches to use tech.
“Its 2020 and we are having conversations about citizens making trips to space, yet we still have yet to figure out how to get along and agree to something as common as treating students with dignity and repsect no matter the color of their skin or even the their gender preference.”
“Innovations and tech disrupt is happening in new industries everyday, 2020 seems like a better time than ever to put wings on the civil rights, human rights, and grass roots movements if we are going to keep up with the pace of the world and positioned to speak to and disrupt social ills.”
“The list of issues we are responsible to address are changing, such as, Facebook censoring The honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. The fights are changing and we need our Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s of the world more than ever to challenge and ultimately regulate new tech developments such as AI for facial recognition prone to be racist and possibly cause more deadly tragedies for black and brown people because we are left out of the development process just like scandals happening with corporations that are producing culturally insensitive clothing and other products.”
“So going forward we are still looking to government to put voting rights in the constitution to protect us from oppressive political maneuvering such as in Alabama. Going forward now, we may be calling on the government to invest heavily in and create assistant programs for black and brown citizens to level the playing fields to build S.T.E.M based startups and products to spur entrepreneurship. Not just to address the gaps in income, summer-time employment, tech, wealth, and coding, but also to make sure we are a part of the conversations and development of new technology so we don’t end up with racist tech and no alternatives.”
“Its a real issue of concern that has to be on the civil and human rights agenda. But for now, just organizing and holding these unfit teachers accountable, unlike the superintendent, who first suspended them with pay and then gave them the same amount of time suspended without pay during Christmas break of 2019. Once the suspension was over for these unfit teachers, who committed these heinous acts, they were allowed to return to the same classrooms. Fights have broken out between black and white students since and there is an atmosphere of unrest indicative of a hostile environment at Ashford High School. In my humble opinion, I believe students can’t always pinpoint the psychological and emotional stress points so they start breaking down. They want to believe their teachers mean them well; However, the contradiction is that all of the signs, images, stories, and comments in the community say it’s not so. It’s on the Superintendent, whoever that may be, elected on Super Tuesday, to rectify this and fast. Just begin the process. These students deserve to heal from this. The teachers took the As and Bs let’s work on the C’s: Let us connect. Let us collaborate. Let us create. Let us communicate. Let us champion the cause and communicate so that we can create change in our communities. ”
Some are encouraging everyone to vote on the republican ballot and get rid of David Sewell as Superintendent; Although, they aren’t so sure about his opponent either. The only chance to rid the HCBOE of Sewell is during the primary election due to the fact that the candidates on the republican ballot are unopposed for the general election.
It’s going to come down to this local issue being important enough for the citizens to make this primary a referendum on David Sewell’s inaction in the face of this tragedy and attack on our most vulnerable citizens and hold him accountable. But the dilemma for Joe Biden and his would be voters is its also got to be important enough to sacrifice influencing delegates toward your presidential primary candidate nominee.