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5 Things To Know: Madison Cawthorn’s Series of Unfortunate Events

...and four more stories from April 24-30, 2022

Madison Cawthorn
Madison Cawthorn had a bad week. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Madison Cawthorn’s Series of Unfortunate Events

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn was cited by CMPD after being caught with a gun at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the second time he’s brought a gun into a North Carolina airport in just 14 months. Cawthorn was caught with an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in his carry-on at Asheville Regional Airport in February 2021. 

Though not cited for the Asheville incident, he was issued a misdemeanor citation in Charlotte on Tuesday after the gun was discovered at a TSA checkpoint. CMPD said the charges would have been more serious if Madison Cawthorn were a convicted felon or there were some “extenuating circumstances” that posed a risk to public safety.

Regardless of what risk police believe he poses to his fellow plane passengers, Cawthorn is becoming more of a liability to his colleagues in the Republican Party every day, it seems. Also on Tuesday, the Washington Examiner published an article implicating Madison Cawthorn in a pump-and-dump insider-trading scheme regarding his involvement with LGBCoin, a cryptocurrency named after the anti-Joe Biden phrase “Let’s Go Brandon.” 

Experts say Cawthorn’s public actions leading up to NASCAR driver Brandon Brown announcing LGBCoin as his primary sponsor for the upcoming season in December show that he may have had advanced knowledge of the news, which led to a rapid 75% spike in LGBCoin value. Immediately following Brown’s Dec. 30 announcement, the value of all LGBCoin in circulation surpassed $570 million.

By the end of January, the market cap of the cryptocurrency had dropped to $0, thanks in large part to a dump by inside investors. It’s unclear whether Madison Cawthorn was one of those insiders, but experts say his public actions and endorsements of LGBCoin in the lead-up to Brown’s announcement could land him in serious hot water. 

Activists Make Demands Outside Bank of America Meeting

Three Wall Street banks faced a historic vote to potentially end fossil fuel financing at their respective annual shareholder meetings on Tuesday morning. Activists rallied outside of Bank of America (BofA) headquarters in Uptown Charlotte, as well as at Wells Fargo in San Francisco and in New York City at CitiBank. Each bank carried a shareholder resolution proposal to end financing for fossil fuel expansion. None of the resolutions passed

Between 2016 and 2021, Bank of America provided $232 billion in lending and underwriting to the fossil fuel industry, fourth among global banks.

activists protest against climate change
Activists hold a prayer vigil in front of Bank of America’s HQ on Tuesday. (Photo by Tracy Watts)

Large puppets joined dozens of faith and climate activists rallying at BofA HQ Tuesday. Activists stood in solidarity with Louisiana’s Rise St. James organization in demanding that BofA shareholders vote to end fossil fuel expansion financing and deny financing to the Formosa Plastics project, known as the “Sunshine Project,” which is slated to be built in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

Dozens of people from a variety of climate organizations and faith communities held crosswalk vigils around a square outside the building with signs reading “Bank of America stop digging our graves,” and “We are stewards of God’s Earth,” before gathering for prayer, songs and speakers. 

“Regardless of the outcome today, we are committed to continuing to press banks and asset managers to stop funding fossil fuel infrastructure and transition spending to green jobs and healthy communities,” said Rev. Amy Brooks Paradise, an organizer with New York-based GreenFaith, on Tuesday before the vote took place. “Spending on fossil fuels in the face of planet-wide suffering and death is not only economically irresponsible, it is morally untenable and wrong.”

City Announces Four New SAFE Charlotte grant Recipients

The city of Charlotte on Thursday announced four community-based organizations that will receive up to $400,000 each through the city’s SAFE Charlotte program. The grants will help the organizations create stable, supportive environments that mitigate the underlying causes of violence and promote economic mobility.

In October 2020, Charlotte City Council adopted the SAFE Charlotte plan, which includes recommendations to re-imagine policing and make the city safer. The first recommendation in the SAFE Charlotte report is to provide funding to community organizations to address violent crime in Charlotte.

The city and United Way partnered to fund up to four collaboratives comprised of a lead agency and one or two grassroots organizations, which are as follow:

  • CARE Ring, which will partner with Center for Employment Opportunities on mental health and workforce development
  • Communities in Schools, which will partner with Lakeview Neighborhood Alliance on youth services and housing stability
  • MeckEd, which will partner with Heal Charlotte and Digi-Bridge on youth services and workforce development
  • Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte, which will partner with Digi-Bridge and She Built This City on housing stability, youth services and workforce development

Grants are reimbursement-based, meaning funds are not provided in advance. The grant term runs from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2024. At the conclusion of a capacity-building period, each collaborative will be eligible for up to $400,000 in programmatic support.

ACLU of NC Files Suit in Case of Incarcerated Trans Woman

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, and Patterson Harkavy LLP on Thursday filed a complaint against the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) on behalf of Kanautica Zayre-Brown, a transgender woman incarcerated at Anson Correctional Institution who is being denied essential gender-affirming health care.

Zayre-Brown has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and for several years has requested necessary treatment consistent with established medical standards. According to an ACLU release on Thursday, DPS officials’ pattern of inhumane treatment has caused Zayre-Brown physical health complications and extreme emotional and psychological distress, leading to thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

“Mrs. Zayre-Brown has a serious medical condition that DPS’s own health-care providers have recognized requires treatment including gender-affirming surgery. But DPS continues to ignore its constitutional obligation to provide this medically necessary care simply because she is a transgender woman,” stated Jaclyn Maffetore, staff attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina, in the release. “DPS’s denial of treatment is not only discriminatory — it is inhumane. By refusing to treat her gender dysphoria, DPS subjects Mrs. Zayre-Brown to needless suffering and places her life at risk.”

Despite DPS knowledge of Zayre-Brown’s diagnosed gender dysphoria, she was housed in male facilities for nearly two years before being transferred to Anson, a women’s facility where she has continued to be a target of discrimination due to suffering from gender dysphoria.

The release states that DPS’s refusal to provide necessary care for Zayre-Brown violates the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The complaint seeks damages and an injunction requiring DPS to provide Zayre-Brown with necessary medical care and accommodations for her gender dysphoria, including the use of gender-consistent terminology, consistent hormone therapy maintenance, and gender-affirming surgery.

Judge Amends Leandro Order

Judge Michael Robinson issued an order this week stating that the North Carolina state budget as it was passed last year underfunds a comprehensive remedial plan in the long-running Leandro case, which aims to address inequities in the state’s schools, by about $785 million — or about half of what was necessary to comply with a judicial order.

A press release from the North Carolina Justice Center (NCJC) on Wednesday praised Robinson for his order. 

“The North Carolina Justice Center commends Republican Judge Michael L. Robinson for his recent order confirming that the state of North Carolina still owes our children substantial additional resources in order to provide them with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education,” the release read. 

Robinson also amended a previous judge’s order mandating that NC Controller Linda Combs transfer the full $1.7-billion Leandro total from the state’s general fund following the refusal of state legislators to do it, as that previous order had already been knocked down by a court of appeals. According to the NCJC, this week’s order will allow for the case to go in front of the NC Supreme Court. 

“North Carolina children, particularly those living in poverty, multilingual learners, students of color, and students with disabilities, have waited far too long for their constitutional rights to be enforced. We cannot afford to wait any longer,” the release read. “We look forward to the case moving to the Supreme Court and hope for a speedy resolution that will finally enforce children’s and families’ rights to the meaningful educational opportunities guaranteed under the North Carolina Constitution.” 

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