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On Wednesday, April 14, 2015, I sat in the DC City Council chambers during a vote concerning Corizon Health Care and Unity Health Care. Six years ago Unity was awarded a sole source, no bid, non-competitive contract for $66m to provide medical care to inmates at DC Jail.  DC Mandate states that 35% should be set aside for Certified Business Enterprise (CBE), which most often are African American and disadvantaged. Unity never honored this DC mandate which Mayor Marion Barry, Calvin Rolark and John Wilson, among others, fought so hard to ensure minority participation.

 Corizon has been awarded this $66m contract six times and six times it has been blocked by DC Council members. DC Procurement officials and staff recommended that Corizon be awarded this contract, as well as support from former Mayor Gray and Mayor Bowser. So why is DC City Council disregarding their recommendations and the law?

Corizon selected MBI, a Certified Business Enterprise, to be the recipient of the 35% set aside award. MBI currently work with returning citizens through support services, training and jobs. 35% set aside award would definitely allow MBI to increase its services to returning citizens, a community in dire need of immediate support.

Unity is currently providing services on a month-to-month basis. Unity would like to retain this $66m contract and has not honored nor have stated that they will in the future follow DC Mandate to award 35% to a CBE.

Strong opposition states the number of lawsuits that Corizon has received nationwide. Since Corizon has hundreds of thousands more clients in prisons than Unity, it stands to reason they would have more lawsuits. It is unfortunate that lives have been lost. Oh, and did I mention, Unity also has been granted immunity from being sued.

All contracts over $1m must be approved by the DC Council. How was this contract approved without the competitive bidding process? 

Saying NO to this contract is disregarding the 35% DC Mandate. This sends a chilling effect not only to CBEs but to the minority community. Certified Business Enterprises and returning citizens know all too well this type of treatment. Squeezed out and left out. Business as usual. Is this good government?

The four (4) African American DC Council members and Jack Evans voted YES to Corizon. Six votes were needed.

It reminds me when we, as African Americans won the right to vote. We'd arrive at the polling booths and be drilled on impossible questions to answer to justify not obeying the law.

 America, America, God shed His Grace on Thee. 

Mertine Moore Brown
MELM People Relations

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Washington Post Article:  Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

Washington Post Article: Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

The Washington Post

March 18, 2016

Memorial service to be held for celebrated, controversial Frances Cress Welsing.
Psychiatrist and author Frances Cress Welsing was known for her controversial views on race. (Elvert Barnes/elvertbarnes.com)
By Hamil R. Harris March 17 at 10:32 PM  
When family members, friends, and colleagues of Frances Cress Welsing began planning a memorial service for the psychiatrist and author who devoted her life to studying racism and its root causes, they knew they would have a tall order trying to capture her impact.

She was both celebrated and controversial, but never wavering in her belief that the persistent struggles of people of color were the results of the racism they had endured. Welsing died Jan. 2, a few hours after suffering a stroke. She was 80.
Welsing provided psychiatric services to D.C. government agencies and institutions for 27 years. She also maintained a private practice in the District beginning in 1967, counseling patients until days before her death.
Several of those she helped, such as motivational speaker and radio host Roach Brown, say they owe her their lives.
In 1965, Brown was a 21-year-old inmate at the D.C. Department of Correction’s prison in Lorton, Va. A year earlier, he and two other men had been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a “local fence in a dispute over the price of hot jewelry,” Brown said.

[The price of redemption]

No weapon was ever recovered, and Brown, now 72, has always maintained that he was not the triggerman.
Welsing testified during his trial that his actions were consistent with someone whose environment had led to mental-health problems.
“They ended up giving me life in prison because Dr. Welsing spoke up on my behalf,” said Brown, who went on to start the prison theatrical group Inner Voices. “She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”
Brown, who had his sentenced commuted in 1975, will be among those in attendance at the memorial service for Welsing on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Metropolitan AME Church in the District. “Dr. Welsing turned me and other guys around,” Brown said. “She was our Harriet Tubman to get out of mental slavery.”

Welsing first gained notoriety in 1969 after she wrote an essay, “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy).” In it she theorized that racism was rooted in the varying degrees of melanin and the “color inferiority” of white people. She argued that the lack of melanin led white people to develop “hostility and aggression” toward people darker than themselves.
 “She had a theory about race and why white people do what they do and I dealt with the what,” said Neely Fuller, author of “The United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept: a textbook/workbook for thought speech and/or action for victims of racism (white supremacy).”

In her 1991 book, “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” Welsing again looked at the origins of white supremacy and its impact. She wrote that “black males must help one another to understand that they are being led by the dynamic of white supremacy to inflict extreme damage upon themselves and each other.”

[Welsing’s work provokes different reactions]

“Dr. Welsing’s major contribution as it relates to black mental health was that she had the capacity to challenge the dominant prevailing thought of our society and she gave it the name global white supremacy,” said Kevin Washington, president of the Association of Black Psychologists.

Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and former director of the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, said Welsing drew heavy criticism for her views, which she expected. She frequently engaged her detractors.

In 1974, she and Stanford University physicist William Shockley, who had argued that blacks were genetically inferior to whites, engaged in debate on the syndicated television show “Tony Brown’s Journal.”
Welsing was born in Chicago in 1935.Her father, Henry N. Cress was a physician, and her mother, Ida Mae Griffen, was a school teacher, and there were high expectations.
“We were taught that we were special,” said Welsing’s older sister, Lorne Cress-Love. “We were encouraged to read and discuss all types of issues.”

Cress-Love said their father and their grandfather, who also was a physician, were passionate about fighting for equality. “My father told us that our grandfather spent more time fighting for the race than practicing medicine.”
In 1957, Welsing earned a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and in 1962 she earned a medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine. After graduation, Welsing completed a residency at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. From 1968 to 1975, she taught in the pediatric department of Howard University’s Medical School.
Roach Brown
Motivational Speaker/Criminal Justice Consultant
© The Inner Voices
Roach@ The Inner Voices.com