The Housing Authority Of Winston-Salem’s Modest Coronavirus Prevention Measures Don’t Inspire Confidence

The Winston-Salem Journal just posted an update on the measures the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is taking to safeguard Crystal Towers and its other public housing facilities from the spread of Coronavirus. Earlier this week, WFDD reported that HAWS had taken a few steps to address the threat of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 at Crystal Towers. Winstonwatchman.com reported earlier this month that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) wasn’t taking preventive measures to protect elderly and disabled residents at Crystal Towers. At HAWS’ last monthly meeting (shortly before such meetings were canceled), Executive Director, Kevin Cheshire appeared more concerned with the health and safety of his staff, than HAWS’ tenants. The deadly spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 throughout the country has shed light on just how weak our public institutions are.

East Lake Meadows: PBS Does Public Housing

“Public housing has always been both a financial proposition and a moral one. About finding not just need, somehow but measuring worth. How do we begin to sort out which of the many people who could be assisted, both need it, and somehow deserve it? It becomes a window into race relations, it’s a window into understanding the role of homeownership in society,  and it’s a way of understanding the level of compassion there is for those who do need some assistance.” 

-Lawrence Vale

“We are not mature enough as a society to look in the mirror and see how we manufactured American poverty, how we manufactured housing that was meant to seclude these poor people. And how we turned a blind eye to creating a middle-class while simultaneously excluding people from it.”

On Halting Evictions, “We Have Legal Obligations, At The Same Time We Have Moral Compasses”

Good things happen to those who demand them. Monday, Dan Rose and Phillip Carter of Housing Justice Now held a press conference calling for “an immediate halt to all eviction and foreclosure proceedings, and to ask city officials to contribute $500,000 for emergency relief during the pandemic.” They then took to social media to get the word out. HJN Winston-Salem also spoke directly to Sheriff Kimbrough and other stakeholders about halting local evictions already in the pipeline. Hopefully, the tireless efforts of Housing Justice Now will keep residents in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County from being evicted this week and lead to a statewide eviction moratorium.

Winston-Salem Braces For COVID19

The City of Winston-Salem recently announced that it was closing public facilities and suspending meetings in an effort to address the looming Coronavirus/COVID19 crisis. All recreation centers will be closed until further notice. All public assembly facilities including the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, the Benton Convention Center, BB&T Ballpark and Bowman Gray Stadium are closed. City Hall and the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building will operate under normal business hours for critical city business only that cannot be done online or over the phone. Previously planned City of Winston-Salem meetings and events have been canceled.

Free The Forsyth County Five!

Enter racist and Forsyth County into a search engine, and Forsyth County Georgia is what you will find. Back in 1912, white supremacists in Forsyth County, Georgia violently expelled all Black residents from the county. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County doesn’t have anything quite that horrendous in its history. But it has plenty of racist history to come to terms with, such as its own race riot in 1918. Back in 1912, “racist Winston f-ing Salem” was one of the first cities to mandate residential segregation “in which blacks and whites were prohibited from living on the same streets.”

HAWS Has Failed To Take Steps To Address The Coronavirus Disease

While the governor has declared a state of emergency, it’s business as usual for the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is not taking proactive measures to protect its residents from a potential Coronavirus/COVID19 outbreak. Yesterday, after inspecting Crystal Tower’s lobby and first-floor common areas, I saw no signs that any measures had been implemented to address the potential spread of the Coronavirus Disease. Additionally, I spoke to a custodian at Crystal Towers that confirmed that no new cleaning or disinfecting measures were in place at Crystal. (I also stopped by Sunrise Towers and observed the same conditions) When I asked the receptionist at the front desk if hand sanitizer was available, she moved her small bottle of sanitizer from the back of the desk to the front of the desk, inviting me to help myself to it.

In East Winston, Art Imitates Life

Last month, the corner store at 14th and Cameron was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it. When I recently looked at the damage myself, it struck me that the 14th Street corner store is representative of the plight of East Winston. A mural painted by Marianne DiNiapoli-Mylet and Donell Williams in 2015, presents the story of Black achievement in East Winston as stops along a Safe Bus route. It’s an impressive mural and there is no denying the achievements that local African Americans have accomplished, in spite of entrenched racism. From master brickmaker George Black to politicians like Larry Womble and Earline Parmon, the history captured my the mural at 14th and Cameron is worth celebrating.

Crossing Martin Luther King Drive

On Thursday, Bernie Sanders led his supporters on a voting rights march from the Gaines Center to the Anderson Center. It’s easy for Winston-Salem State students to cross Martin Luther King Drive when they have a police escort. But under normal circumstances crossing MLK Drive on foot can be difficult and even unsafe. Winston-Salem State has a beautiful campus, but with one major problem, there is a busy four-lane road running through it. Have you ever wondered why Winston-Salem has arches over some of its highways (Highway 52, Salem Parkway) but doesn’t have pedestrian bridges linking WSSU’s main campus with classrooms and student housing on the other side of MLK Drive?

Fired Up And Ready To Go Further This Time!

A capacity crowd filled the Gaines Center Thursday afternoon. The diverse audience gathered to support Sanders’ progressive agenda. It was an honor to be so close to the next president of the United States (fingers crossed). The last time I was in the Gaines Center was April 2008 to hear Michelle Obama campaign for her husband. I remember being impressed by Ms. Obama.

Moving WSSU/WFU Sit-In Commemoration Failed To Mention Carl Matthews

Sunday, over two hundred people gathered downtown to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Winston-Salem Sit-In. Winston-Salem State chancellor, Elwood Robinson, and Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch led the commemoration honoring the WSSU and WFU students who participated in the Winston-Salem Sit-In. An hour-long service was held at the Millenium Center, the site of many protests during the 1960s. With students and faculty from WSSU and Wake in attendance, Dr. Hatch emphasized the fact that white students from Wake Forest made common cause with Winston-Salem State’s students in February 1960. Working together, WSSU/Wake Forest students played an integral role in the first sit-in victory in North Carolina.

Montgomery Is Determined To Keep Moving Up: From City Hall, To The General Assembly, To Congress

-Updated 2/25/2020, 1:30 pm

Derwin Montgomery is a man of many titles. He’s Reverend Montgomery to his congregation at First Calvary. He’s CEO to the board of the Bethesda Center, and he’s Representative Mongomery to his constituents in NC House District 72. Montgomery is also a co-owner of The Chronicle. If Montogomery finds a way to defeat four other contenders in the NC 6th District Democratic Primary, then he’ll be well on his way to becoming Congressman Montogomery.

2020 Hasn’t Turned Out Like Mayor Joines Promised

Downtown Winston-Salem’s main traffic artery, Salem Parkway, opened on Sunday, February 2. It had been closed since November 17, 2018. I will remember the roughly 14 months that Business 40/Salem Parkway was closed, as the long 2019. The absence of four lanes of highway running from Peters Creek to Highway 52 wasn’t catastrophic. But it was a constant annoyance.

“The City Is A Business, A Big Business.”

“With this vote, the four hard-working members of the Finance Committee just saved the City $11 million. That’s about three million each. That’s pretty good for a day’s work.” Those were Finance Committee chairman Robert Clark’s comments on refinancing water and sewer revenue bonds. Total debt load, water and sewer revenue bonds outstanding are about $400 million.

City Funds New Walkertown Road Project

Last night a two-vehicle accident occurred at the intersection of Cameron Ave and E. 14th St. One vehicle hit the side of Titanic Food Mart but didn’t appear to do much damage. On the other side of that building, there is an impressive mural honoring East Winston’s history. I don’t know what possessed anyone to change the 14th Street Discount Store to Titanic Food Mart. A building that reads Titanic on one side and displays a mural of East Winston’s history on the other side, sends the message that East Winston is a sinking ship.

Black History Expo Reaffirms Happy Hills Historic Importance

“Happy Hill!” “Black history!” The voice of Ben Piggott rang through the Sims Recreation Center Saturday. Ben Piggott, a longtime rec center manager and organizer in Happy Hill, served as MC for the first-annual Happy Hill Black History Expo. The Happy Hill Neighborhood Association hosted the event.