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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, July 25, 2002, Image 1

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? ? ? I fl holds celebration x^ I Hl gaining popularity s?eB? see A9 seeci dance night away 75 cents W1N STON - S A LEM GREENSBORO HlGH POINT f *' * "*9CVIII No. 47 Tuc rUPONTT# ? tfw^TH f~ i"~ ^ The Choice for African-American News from tN? library o 'Catching on Spiritual Fire' Photo by Felecia McMillan From left, Zilla Brown (St. John CMC), Rachel Davis and Corrine Laws (Russell Memorial CMC, Durhani) and Annie I. Williams (St. John CMC) chat between plenary sessions Tuesday. Christian Methodist episco pal churches from North Carolina and South Caroli na are gathered at Benton Convention Center and Adam's Mark Hotel this week for Carolina Annual Conference. The theme of the conference is "Catching on Spiritual Fire." For story and more pictures, see page A11. Congressman making national push for bill to aid ex-offenders BY T. KEVIN WALKER THE CHRONICLE ,' About 630,000 ex offenders are expected to be released front U.S. prisons and jails this year. If past statistics hold true, a great majority of them, about 62 percent, will be re-arrested in the next three years, and 40 percent of them will eventually end up back in the slammer. A U.S. congressman is trying to change the fate that awaits most ex-offenders by giving them something to live for and skills to help them sustain themselves in the real world. Rep. Danny Davis (D III,) introduced the Public Safety Ex-offender Self-Suf ficiency Act of 2002 back in February. Since then, he has been busy garnering support for the legislation, which would create low-income housing credits to encourage the development of housing uhits, job training and other essential services for ex offenders. The number of tax cred its awarded to each state would depend on the number of ex-offenders in a particu lar stale. By using tax credits as incentives, Davis said tax payer dollars would not be used to fund the legislation, which has also been dubbed the "second chance" bill. "It would not cost the taxpayer anything." Davis said Tuesday by phone from his Washington office. "It would be an investment on the part of private develop ers." Davis said the legislation was conceived after the topic of ex-offender re-entry became a constant issue at every meeting he attended in his Chicago-area district. Many ex-offenders, Davis said, are released and find they have no homes to go to and family members who are often not waiting with open arms. Some end up on the streets or in homeless shel ters, Davis said. "This bill gives them sta bility." he added. Congress doesn't have much time left before it wraps up this year. Davis does not expect his bill to get any consideration this year, but he is hoping to gain more and more momentum See Bill on A10 File Photo Most people released from jails and prisons will have more run-ins with the law, according to data. Store charged with religious bias KRT Photo Rastafarians, such as this Texas couple, are distin guishable by their dreadlock hairstyles and the men often sport thick beards. Rastafarians also often wear clothing that incorporates the colors of the flag of Jamaica, where the religion originated. BY COURTNEY GAILLARD Till CHRONICLE The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Winn-Dixie Raleigh Inc. on behalf of a Rastafarian man who claims a store refused to hire him because of his religious beliefs. Melchizedik Elechi declined to shave his beard, which is a symbol of religious devotion in the Rastafarian religion, in order to take an entry level job position with a Winn-Dixie store on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Citing violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. which prohibits employment discrimina tion based on race, color, religion or sex. the complaint Alleges that the Raleigh store "refused to accommo date the sincerely-held religious belief and practice of Elechi. a prac ticing Rastafarian. who is forbidden from shaving any bodily hair, includ ing his beard." The complaint requests that Winn-Dixie Raleigh Inc. provide Elechi with appropriate back pay and benefits, and provide compensation for past and future pecuniary losses as well as punitive damages for its malicious and reckless conduct. Mindy Weinstein. regional attor ney for the EEOC's Charlotte Dis trict Office, said that Elechi had "expressed a need for an accommo dation (from Winn-Dixie) in an attempt to resolve the case before fil ing the suit." Weinstein said the com mission usually files several reli gious discrimination lawsuits each year. Rastafarianism is a religion that adheres to Jamaican-folk Christiani ty inspired by ideals from Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improve ment Association. The religion origi nated in Africa when the founding ? figures proclaimed the divinity of Ethiopian emperor Ras Tafari (Ras meaning prince), who then became known as Haile Selassie. Selassie was believed to be the living god. or "messiah." for the black race. The Rastafarian hairstyle. char See Lawsuit tm A9 | Roarin' Back CAT-TV users are attempting to show aldermen, residents that they are trying to help themselves BY T. KEVIN WALKER THE CHRONICLE Friends and users of CAT-TV, the city's cable public access chart nel, have always maintained that the station's diversity is its greatest strength. CAT-TV is a place where people of various races, professions and religious beliefs come to be heard and seen by thousands. CAT-TV officials will take that diversity concept outside of the walls of the station s small Marshall Street headquarters next month and to the Benton Convention Center for the first-ever, large-scale fund raiser to benefit the station. KAT Jam 2002 will be an all day music bonanza featuring more than a dozen acts from musical gen res ranging from country to gospel. All the acts are volunteering their talents for the fund-raiser. "One of the reasons for this concert is to promote harmony in the Winston-Salem community the Sc. CAT-TV <>rt A10 i iii ii 11 i ell. i Photo by Kevin Wa(ker Fleming El-Amin (from left), Vance Cabiness and Paul Tomlinson. Local lawmakers and churches vary on need for lottery BY PAUL COLLINS THE CHRONICLE Two local legislators. Reps. War ren "Pete" Oldham and Larry Womble. said they support a proposed state lottery, A third local lep islator - Sen. Linda Garrou - could not be reached for comment. Rev. Dr. Carl ton Eversley, pastor of Dellabrook Presbyterian Church, said that, like his denomination and the N.C. Council of Churches, he opposes a lottery. How ever. Eversley said he thinks it's going to pass, but there needs to be guarantees that proceeds from a lot tery would be used for education (over and above the current levels of funding. Several other pastors could not be reached for comment. House Bill 1676 - the 2002 Educa tion Lottery Referendum Bill - says, in part: "The question of , whether the I General Assembly shall enact an Education Lottery shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at an election on the question to be held at a statewide primary, gen eral. or special election on a date to be determined by the General Assembly. "The net proceeds from the Edu cation Lottery shall be used to enable all North Carolina children to have the education they deserve. The funds shall be used to establish a voluntary statewide prekindergarten program to prepare at-risk four-year-olds for Sec Lottery on A9 Oldham Eversley Black board members don't agree about site of proposed school BY SAM DAVIS THE CHRONICLE With less than a week before the final vote is scheduled to take place on the location for East Winston's new high school, African Americans appear to be lining up on two different sides on the issue of where it should be located. The Winston-Salem/Forsyth | County School Board is scheduled to I vote on the issue Tuesday, Geneva L Brown and Victor Johnson Jr., the I lone African Americans on the board. I both agree in principle on several things about the new school. Howev er. location is not one of them. | Brown said the School Board has . an obligation to follow through on its I promise to the East Winston commu- I nity. So School on A5 Victor Johnson ?3^ WBStWM 9 FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS CALL (336) 722-8624 ? 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