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Idaho’s Black communities celebrate Juneteenth with joy, food, dance and community



Idaho’s Black communities celebrate Juneteenth with joy, food, dance and community

Celebrations were planned throughout the Gem State, including Boise, Twin Falls, Lapwai and Rexburg

Juneteenth in Boise Idaho

 Live performers engage with audience members to follow their dance steps at the fourth annual “Family Function” Juneteenth celebration on June 18, 2022, in Boise (Mia Maldonado/Idaho Capital Sun)

With live performances, local vendors, food and dance, community members gathered in celebration for the fourth annual “Family Function” Juneteenth event on Saturday at Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise.

For a weekend of celebration, Juneteenth Idaho and the Black Liberation Collective partnered with local organizations and Black-owned businesses such as The Honey Pot CBD,  2C Yoga, Honey’s Holistics, Cut-N-Up, Amina’s African Sambusas, among many others.

Last year, the state and federal government signed a law designating June 19 — known as Juneteenth — as an official holiday. Though it was declared a public holiday only as of last year, Juneteenth has historically been celebrated by Black communities across the country to honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans during the end of the Civil War.

“On June 19, 1865 — over two years after President (Abraham) Lincoln declared all enslaved people free — Maj. General Gordon Granger and Union Army troops marched to Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free the last enslaved Black Americans in Texas,” the federal proclamation declaring the date a federal holiday said.

The Boise community was not the only city in Idaho celebrating Juneteenth this weekend. Holiday celebrations took place across the state with events happening in Twin Falls and Lapwai. Students at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg will also celebrate the date on Monday.

“Juneteenth is a space of so much Black joy for people across the diaspora. It’s just empowering to know that people who look like you and who share a common heritage are all here in Idaho, even if we don’t see each other often,” said Prisca Hermene, a Boise resident originally from the Congo who volunteered and performed at the Boise event.

Throughout the celebration, organizers were actively reminding attendees to stay hydrated, well-nourished and conscious of COVID-19 considerations.

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Concerns after Patriot Front arrests in North Idaho


Community organizers expressed safety concerns for the Juneteenth event after a group of men from the white nationalist group Patriot Front appeared in Coeur d’Alene the day of a Pride event. The Patriot Front members were arrested on June 11 for conspiracy to riot after a 911 caller alerted the police to a group of men crowding inside in a U-Haul truck.

Nonprofit leaders participating in the Boise Juneteenth event expressed their personal thoughts on the incident.

Juneteenth in Boise Idaho
 The Idaho Black Community Alliance’s booth at the Juneteenth celebration on June 18, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. (Mia Maldonado/Idaho Capital Sun) 

“It’s terrifying and triggering. You never think, ‘Oh that U-Haul truck holds people who dislike me because I’m Black,’” said Whitley Hawk, the co-founder of Inclusive Idaho. “There are groups of people that say racism doesn’t exist, but then you have people who feel comfortable enough to come to a state that they don’t live in to endorse it.”

There was a shared sense of sadness, fear and tragedy among the leaders who ran booths on Juneteenth. However, some expressed a sense of gratitude toward those who stopped the potential riot.

Shari Baber, the president of the Boise Soul Food Festival, vice president of the Idaho Black Community Alliance and board member of the mentorship organization Brown Like Me, said she is proud of the person who decided to call the police to prevent something that could have been devastating.

“Am I sad that groups like this still exist? Yes. But to me, I would have been more devastated if they were all from Idaho. Most of them came here from somewhere else, and what that says to me is they had to go outside of our community to get their numbers,” Baber said.

Baber recommended people step out of their comfort zone as one way Idahoans can make people of color feel safer in their communities.

“If you pull out your camera, and in every one of your group photos everybody looks only like you, then you’ve probably got some work to do. Step out of your comfort zone and come to these events, support a Black business or go to the Idaho Black Community Alliance website to find over 85 Black businesses located right here in Idaho.”

Despite the recent events in North Idaho, this year’s community-wide Juneteenth celebration represents Black residents’ ability to grow and uplift their close-knit community in the state.

Juneteenth organizer, Claire-Marie Owens, returned to Idaho after spending 12 years away. She lived in Paris, New York and Dallas, but she decided to come back. Has she considered leaving Idaho permanently because of feeling unwelcome? No. Her identity as a Black woman and an Idaho resident is who she is.

“My mom’s family has been here for five generations. Idaho is where I am from. It is where I love and where I want to be,” Owens said.

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John Visentin, Xerox C.E.O., Dies at 59




John Visentin, Xerox C.E.O., Dies at 59

The photocopying and printing company said that Mr. Visentin died of “complications from an ongoing illness.”

John Visentin, Xerox C.E.O., Dies at 59 

                      Credit…XEROX      John Visentin, the chief executive of Xerox who led the photocopying and technology company through a tumultuous pandemic at a time when demand for printed documents and ink waned, died on Tuesday. He was 59.

Mr. Visentin, who became C.E.O. in May 2018 and was also the vice chairman, died of “complications from an ongoing illness,” the company said in a statement. A spokesman for Xerox did not share details about that illness or say whether Mr. Visentin told the company about it.

Steve Bandrowczak, the president and chief operating officer at Xerox, will serve as its interim C.E.O., the company said.

“John’s vision was clear, and the Xerox team will continue fulfilling it — not only to deliver on our commitments to our shareholders, customers and partners, but also to pursue John’s legacy,” Mr. Bandrowczak said in a statement.

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Before occupying the top position at Xerox, Mr. Visentin was steeped in the world of technology and business: He worked as an adviser to the chairman at Exela Technologies, an automation company, and was an operating partner for Advent International, a private equity firm.

After joining Xerox, Mr. Visentin sought to broaden the company’s offerings. For years, Xerox had been known as a hub for office technology, especially its xerographic copier, or Xerox machine — a ubiquitous, bulky product that commercialized the process of making photographic copies onto paper.

Mr. Visentin turned more attention “to digital and I.T. services, financial services and disruptive technologies,” James Nelson, the chairman of Xerox’s board of directors, said in a statement.

Under Mr. Visentin’s helm, the company also tried to make inroads in 3-D printing.

His selection as C.E.O. in 2018 was preceded by Xerox’s calling off its merger deal with Fujifilm of Japan after reaching a settlement with a shareholder activist and another major investor who sharply opposed the deal.

In November 2019, Xerox made a takeover offer to HP, a business synonymous with printers, in an effort to combine the two companies and cut costs.

The merger was supported by Mr. Visentin, who appeared to believe that the industry needed some sort of consolidation in order to appease shareholders concerned about the accelerating erosion of the traditional printing business.

The deal deteriorated after HP found that the cash-and-stock offer from Xerox undervalued the company. Later that month, it formally turned down the takeover offer, dealing a blow to Mr. Visentin’s business plans.

A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Mr. Visentin began his career at IBM, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked there for more than 20 years and then moved to HP. From 2013 to 2017, he was the chief executive of Novitex Enterprise Solutions, his company biography states.

Xerox described Mr. Visentin in its statement as a leader “who navigated the company through unprecedented times and challenges.”

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What an Exorcist Told Me About the Power of God in a Post-Roe World




What an Exorcist Told Me About the Power of God in a Post-Roe World

Msgr. John Esseff offers a heartfelt message: Respond by truly becoming the body of Christ.

It seemed impossible after so many years,but last week, it happened; Roe v Wade was overturned. The Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision is a stunning day in U.S. history, ending nearly 50 years of nationwide legalized abortion.

One side is ecstatic, thrilled that more babies will live. The other side is enraged that babies will live. Both sides are assembling their battle plans now since the fight for life is not over. Decisions on abortion go back to the states, with some doubling down and others outlawing it. Pro-lifers are digging deeper on how to fight abortion, supporting clinics and organizations that help pregnant women and continuing to pray for the unborn. I also pray that Catholic leaders will get out in front more often, defending the unborn and leaving no question that the Church defends life at all stages.

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For insight and inspiration for these times, I turned to Msgr. John Esseff. At 94 years old, he’s possibility the oldest living exorcist and still gives retreats to seminarians and priests, officiates at Mass and hold healing services. He has been a priest in the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for 69 years and an exorcist for 45, was a spiritual director of Mother Teresa’s and met Padre Pio, who became a spiritual father to him.

I particularly wanted his insights because abortion is pure evil. I also wanted him to call out Church leaders to speak boldly for the unborn. On this day, he expressed his thoughts and only later shared with me that he was recovering from a broken leg. So let us pray for his recovery. He still wanted to speak about our call to be the body of Christ in response to any backlash from pro-abortion activists or failures from our leaders to speak out.

If you will continue to preach and teach what the Church preaches and teaches, it will be so powerful. First, we have to teach the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — the Trinity. Once you recognize that we in the Church are the body of Christ, that truth is a truth, we are not just ourselves, we are his body. If you want to stand up in front of the crowd and say who you are, ‘I am Christ in the world,’ it will be so powerful.

In the beginning, the apostles didn’t care about being powerful; they cared about praying and spreading the Gospel. They were not afraid to speak the truth and they were not afraid to be poor. Some of our leaders corrupted our Church because they cared more about the world than serving God.

God is showing us in the first pages of Genesis that he so loved the world. … I can’t being to understand his love for us as humans. Psalm 8 says how that he loves this world that we are born into.

God so loved us that he placed us in this magnificent creation and sent his only begotten Son to be born of a woman, Mary. He revealed it to the world, which is now 7 billion, but revealed it to Mary first. She learned there is a three-person God; I am your Father; you are going to be the mother of my Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. Wow! It’s the unimaginable love. Then this same God suffers and dies and rises and overcomes those three horrible enemies of ours: sin, Satan and death itself. Then he goes back to heaven. On Pentecost, he transforms those apostles into himself. They become his body and go out and baptize by the power and spirit. We then become the body of Christ.

If that body would become healthy, there would not be so much division. We have so much mud and soot in the Church in those who are supposed to be the body of Christ, but others don’t see the reflection of Jesus in them. Once we become who we are through baptism — the body of Christ — the world will be converted. We will convert the world. Then we will begin teaching again, the truth about the body and it will become the instrument.

I was expecting more fire and brimstone against evil and apathy, but Msgr. Esseff gave the message that was on his heart: Respond by truly becoming the body of Christ. Of course. After all, the decision was announced on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when Jesus revealed his wounded heart burning with love for us

There are many articles coming out now listing ways we can defend life as we continue this battle. Msgr. Esseff’s message was a reminder that in all we do, we must proceed as part of the body of Christ.

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Dunleavy signs budget that will send Alaskans $3,200




Dunleavy signs budget that will send Alaskans $3,200

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a $14.4 billion price range on Tuesday, vetoing $400 million from the spending plan superior by the Legislature final month and promising that the plan would depart sufficient financial savings to account for a possible drop in oil costs after they spiked this yr.

The price range, which works into impact July 1, will ship round $3,200 in funds to Alaskans that embrace a one-time $650 power aid fee and a $2,550 Everlasting Fund dividend. The governor mentioned he had not but decided a plan for disseminating the cash to Alaskans, leaving open the chance that the cash or a few of it might exit earlier than the standard October dividend supply date.

Alaska Senate Democrats instantly referred to as on the governor to disseminate the funds “instantly” to assist handle excessive power prices.

Dunleavy, a Republican working for reelection this yr, referred to as the plan “a terrific price range for Alaska.” The price range depends on an oil income windfall into the state treasury to offer public schooling investments and funding to municipalities not seen in earlier years of Dunleavy’s tenure.

“We’re capable of spend money on the areas of the federal government that I believe most individuals consider we ought to be and that’s public security, that’s schooling, that’s analysis, that’s infrastructure. And so our view is that this can be a accountable price range give our present state of affairs with our income from oil,” Dunleavy mentioned throughout an Anchorage information convention.

If oil costs stay at present projections, the price range would depart sufficient cash to cowl forward-funding for schooling for the next fiscal yr, based on Neil Steininger, director of the Workplace of Administration and Funds. In a income outlook replace launched June 20, the Alaska Division of Income predicted the worth per barrel of oil within the coming fiscal yr to be $111, up from $101 within the spring forecast launched in March.

The governor mentioned he anticipated sufficient cash to enter financial savings, because of excessive oil costs, to cowl price range wants within the following fiscal yr even when oil costs plummet within the coming months. If income projections maintain, the price range would put round $1.6 billion within the Constitutional Funds Reserve.

“We’re saving sufficient cash and we’re endowing sufficient and ahead funding schooling, that if the worth of oil dropped dramatically, even into the 20s, it’s our estimate that we will truly — by the financial savings of those endowments and ahead funding — fund our price range for one more yr,” Dunleavy mentioned.

If the oil worth per barrel drops beneath $103, the Constitutional Funds Reserve deposit can be eradicated. If the worth drops beneath $89, ahead funding of schooling would not be potential, based on Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner.

The price range will even repay oil tax credit inherited by the Dunleavy administration, a invoice left over from a now-defunct subsidy packages for oil and fuel drilling an exploration.

Dunleavy vetoed round $400 million from the price range forwarded to him by the Legislature final month, together with $62.5 million for deferred faculty upkeep tasks, $22.5 million for deferred statewide upkeep tasks, and $89.3 million in retirement funds for state staff.

“Though we now have a windfall… we additionally need to ensure that we’re holding again sufficient cash that in case oil does drop, which it does often — it doesn’t all the time go up — that we now have cash in financial savings,” Dunleavy mentioned, explaining his determination to veto tens of millions in deferred upkeep funding.

The $400 million in vetoes have been met with acceptance from among the governor’s frequent detractors — a far cry from the outrage that has resulted from vetoes in earlier years when much less cash was out there for state companies and capital tasks.

Alaska Home Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, who leads a majority coalition comprised principally of Democrats, mentioned she was “happy” that the governor agreed with the work of the coalition, however that she was “disillusioned that there have been vetoes to tasks and grants that actually matter to Alaskans.”

Alaska Senate Democrats bemoaned slashed funding for the Alaska Lengthy Path to the tune of $10.5 million, $1.5 million for public broadcasting, and $27 million in deferred upkeep for the College of Alaska.

”Nobody will get all the pieces they need in a budgeting course of, however the negotiation course of was truthful,” mentioned Senate Minority Chief Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, in an announcement.

Nonetheless, some have been dismayed. Impartial candidates for governor and lieutenant governor Invoice Walker and Heidi Drygas blasted Dunleavy for what they referred to as “a collection of pointless and dangerous cuts.”

“On the similar time he was slashing funds for colleges, grants to help elders and folks with disabilities, and our college system, he was giving buddies pay raises, signing contracts with supporters, and ballooning his personal workplace price range by 28 %,” mentioned Walker in an announcement.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Les Gara additionally attacked the price range vetoes.

“With out Russian blood cash subsequent yr, he’ll be again to job-killing development price range that retains individuals out of labor,” Gara wrote on Twitter, alluding to the affect of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine on rising gas prices. “His PFD promise has been false all alongside. He’s by no means proposed a method to fund it (with out) conflict cash.”

Dunleavy campaigned on sending Alaskans a full statutory Everlasting Fund dividend. He later referred to as for the Legislature to advance a constitutional modification altering the way in which the dividend quantity is calculated. Such an modification would then go to a vote by Alaska voters.

The Legislature briefly thought-about late within the legislative session sending Alaskans $5,500 in funds, however finally settled on the $3,200 funds. Nor did the Legislature advance a change to the statute or the structure to make clear how future dividend quantities can be calculated.

“We must always have adopted the statute. If not, we have to change the statute. However once we change the statute, the individuals of Alaska should be a part of that by a constitutional modification,” mentioned Dunleavy on Tuesday. “Now we have to get again to the place we comply with the regulation.”

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