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Your Morning Matters: Voting rights achieved, right?

The latest mask requirements for Ohio students has further complicated the decision of how to send young children back to school in the fall.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, and on this day in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, seeking to guarantee Black Americans and others the right to vote.

Eight days after Selma's "Bloody Sunday" when then-25-year-old activist John Lewis led 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, in a speech to Congress on March 15, 1965, Johnson counseled his country, "There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans."

He went on to outline the barriers to voting faced by Black Americans who "may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application. ... For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin."

The impact of the act is still debated today, though Patrick Mason, director of African-American Studies at Florida State University, noted in 2015: "Without that act, there is no Barack Obama as president or any of the numerous [Black] governors, senators and congress members elected since then. It was immensely important."

To me, who still thinks of himself as young, I’m troubled that events like Selma, the need for civil rights and voting rights were fought for in my lifetime, and yet we still seem to have so far to go.

Let’s be careful out there.

Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

For parents like Amy Grieco of Boardman, the latest mask requirements for Ohio students has further complicated the decision of how to send young children back to school in the fall: Back to school or back to school at home?

Meanwhile, one expert has advice for parents who do choose to send their younger children for in-school sessions during an era in which even kindergartners will be masked all day: Practice, practice, practice!


  • In the U.S.: 4,759,729 confirmed cases; 159,486 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Aug. 5.
  • In Ohio: 91,171 confirmed cases; 3,326 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 115,714 confirmed cases; 7,244 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 2,470 confirmed cases in Mahoning County; 1,465 in Trumbull; and 1,607 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 27,201.52, up 373.05 points, or 1.39 percent.

Other matters

Governors of six states have agreed to work with the Rockefeller Foundation to purchase 3 million rapid, point-of-care tests for COVID-19. By banding together, officials in the states, including Ohio, say they are demonstrating to private manufacturers that there is significant demand to scale up the production of the antigen tests. Mahoning Matters

Opera Western Reserve’s new series, “OWR Presents,” allows fans and those curious about opera to enjoy performances virtually. The first concert in the series is “OWR Presents: Summer Songs with Marian Vogel” and will be available for streaming for free at 7 p.m. Aug. 12. Mahoning Matters

While tapping into county sanitary sewer lines costs a homeowner $1,800, General Motors and the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer’s Office have discussed different ways to connect the $2 billion joint venture with LG Chem to the county sewer system. Among the options, $2 million in tap-in fees could be waived altogether. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Richard Rankin, an official with the United Auto Workers union who got his start at the GM Lordstown plant and graduated from Austintown Fitch High School, has resigned. WKBN

Organizers of the Youngstown Marathon and Half Marathon have canceled the Oct. 25 event. According to their Facebook page, organizers were unable to get permission from the City of Youngstown to run the race within city limits. WFMJ

Ventra Salem, a division of Flex-N-Gate, donated 1,000 plastic face shields to Kent State University Columbiana County to be distributed to students and faculty. The Business Journal [May encounter registration wall.]

In case you missed it

Peaberry’s Cafe was busy Tuesday with customers supporting the business after it closed early Monday because of a mask conflict. Owner Chris Pendleton was grateful for the outpouring: “They understand this is a tough time. ... They have come out and shown us a lot of love and support, and we appreciate it.” Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Good. And I mean that with all of my bleeding heart. Next up, people like congressman Mike Kelly that got a million dollars for his companies even though he has a net worth over 10 million and all of the money that the Catholic Church got.”

— Rodney Garrett, on a Republican congressman from Ohio introducing legislation that would require political organizations that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan to refund the money to the federal government.

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

Event of the day

The Jewish Community Center of Youngstown will launch its new state-of-the-art Esports Arena from 3 to 7 p.m. at the JCC, 505 Gypsy Lane. The event is free. Participants will learn about JCC’s esports offerings and play games on PCs as well as various consoles.

To see what else is going on around the Mahoning Valley, check out Mahoning Matters’ event calendar here, or click the Events tab on the top menu at

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