Barnes Siblings Confront City Council Over Corruption Allegations and Replacement Appointment

By Janell Williams

Simi and Clairmont Barnes, children of the late City Council member Jerry “Pops” Barnes, addressed the council, alleging corruption in the appointment of Byron Hickey as their father's replacement. They argued Hickey's selection contradicted their father's wishes and accused council members of collusion and dishonesty, presenting evidence to refute Hickey's claims of mentorship by Pops Barnes.

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: The allegations of corruption within the Columbus City Council and the controversial appointment of Byron Hickey, which Simi and Clairmont Barnes are contesting, hold significant importance for the Black and Hispanic communities. These communities often face systemic inequities and are disproportionately affected by corrupt practices in local governance. The case highlights the ongoing struggle for fair representation and integrity in leadership, underscoring the need for transparent and accountable government that genuinely reflects the interests and values of all residents, including marginalized groups. The Barnes siblings' fight for justice and adherence to ethical governance is a powerful stand against practices that could undermine trust and equity within the community.

Columbus City Council to Vote on 10-Year Renewal for Business Improvement District

By Kirsten J. Barnes

The Columbus City Council is set to vote on renewing the Business Improvement District (BID) for another 10 years, extending its existence until December 31, 2034. The BID, which covers 17 blocks and funds additional services like cleaning and security through a 2.5% property tax, has received support from over 51% of property owners, generating nearly $1 million annually for upkeep and business support in downtown Columbus.

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: The renewal of the Business Improvement District (BID) in Columbus is significant for the Black and Hispanic communities because it promotes economic development and improves the business environment in an area that includes many minority-owned businesses. The BID's funding for enhanced safety, cleanliness, and marketing helps create a welcoming and secure atmosphere, which can attract more customers and support the growth of local minority businesses, contributing to economic empowerment and community revitalization. Additionally, the inclusive approach in maintaining and enhancing the district can help ensure equitable access to economic opportunities and resources.

City of Columbus Launches HARP to Aid Low-Income Homeowners with Accessibility Improvements

By Kirsten J. Barnes

The Columbus Consolidated Government has launched the Homeowner Accessibility Rehabilitation Program (HARP) with $3 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to assist low-income households with essential home repairs and accessibility upgrades. Eligible homeowners can receive up to $30,000 for modifications like ramps and accessible bathroom fixtures, targeting households earning less than 80% of the area’s median income. The initiative aims to enhance housing safety and accessibility, preserving affordable housing for Columbus's most vulnerable residents.

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: Black and Hispanic communities have often been disproportionately affected by inadequate housing conditions and a lack of access to financial resources for home repairs. This can be attributed to systemic issues such as redlining, discriminatory lending practices, and economic inequalities that have limited opportunities for homeownership and home maintenance. HARP directly addresses these disparities by providing critical financial support for home modifications and repairs, ensuring that more households can maintain safe and accessible living environments.

Third Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Brings History and Heritage to Columbus

By Leslie Hudgins

The Third Annual Juneteenth Jubilee in Columbus, organized by Councilor Toyia Tucker, features a month-long celebration of African American history and culture, with events throughout the city, culminating on June 19. Supported by local government and businesses, the festivities include fashion storytelling, historic bike rides, and commemorative services, highlighting the significance of Juneteenth and the community's commitment to education and unity.

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: The Juneteenth Jubilee in Columbus is crucial for the Black and Hispanic communities as it promotes awareness and celebration of African American history and culture. This event, endorsed by local government and businesses, provides educational opportunities and community unity, underscoring the significance of Juneteenth, a pivotal moment in American history. The festivities, which include cultural events, educational sessions, and community gatherings, foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the contributions and resilience of Black Americans, aligning with the values and heritage important to both communities.

Can We Stand in Line for More than a Chicken Sandwich from Popeyes?

By Wane A. Hailes

Despite efforts by community leaders to emphasize the importance of consolidating support behind Travis Chambers, the candidates' refusal to collaborate has resulted in a runoff, jeopardizing the chance for a candidate of color to secure the position. Wane and The Courier call for a strong voter turnout in the upcoming election to overcome this setback and ensure meaningful representation for the Black and Brown community.

Why this is important to the Black and Hispanic community: This election serves as a call to action for the Black and Hispanic communities to unite, mobilize, and ensure our voices are heard. It is crucial to recognize the power of our vote and the impact it can have on the future of our representation and advocacy in local government. As we prepare for the runoff, it's imperative that we show up in force to support a candidate who truly represents our interests and works towards the betterment of our communities.

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