This weekend, the E Pluribus Unum family lost a very important person, Norma Jane Sabiston.

She has been E Pluribus Unum’s board chair since our inception and was involved in the creation of our organization from day one.

Personally, she was a dear friend, a trusted confidant, and an indispensable counselor. She has been a part of every good thing I’ve done over these last 30 years.

Advancing racial equity in the South was very important to NJ. It was not about politics; it was about helping people and making our beloved South a better place for all. She loved this community, and we loved her back.

Please keep her family and friends in your prayers as they mourn her loss.

Mitch Landrieu
Founder and President

Truth. Action. Reconciliation. Series Resumes This Afternoon

As we continue our work building more equitable communities across the South, join us for a set of forward-looking conversations on reconciliation. The first is about getting beyond the psychology of racism that prevents us from finding common ground.

RECONCILIATION: Exploring the Psychology of Racism
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
2:00 pm ET/ 1:00 pm CT

Register Now

Behavioral scientists and psychologists who have studied race and bias will shed light on various strategies used to address the preconscious thoughts and ideas that prevent us from finding common ground on issues of race and bias.

Earlier in 2020, E Pluribus Unum launched Truth. Action. Reconciliation., a series of conversations that bring together some of our country’s great thinkers, activists, advocates, and leaders on race and equity. The arc of the series is putting forward a vision for long-term change, with justice, inclusion, and racial and economic equity at its core.

We are posing the question: knowing what we know, how do we move forward to build stronger, more equitable communities for all of us?

Click Here to Learn More

News Around the South on COVID-19

The Alabama prison system, which suspended visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic, is starting a video visitation service to try to reconnect prisoners with their families and friends. [Alabama News]

Arkansas has reported a number of sizable COVID-19 clusters in poultry plants run by small and midsize processors, partially because the state has reported more comprehensive data than many of its neighbors. At George’s flagship facility in Springdale, AR, 290 employees have contracted the virus. One-quarter of the workforce at a Wayne Farms plant in Danville tested positive. [Facing South]

On Wednesday, Disney wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that about 32,000 employees who primarily work in the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division that includes the Florida and California theme parks will be terminated in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year, which began last month. This is 4,000 more workers than was announced in September. [Bradenton Herald]

A new report from the National Governors Association suggests states shouldn’t just rely on the FCC to identify underserved areas, as well as use existing infrastructure and federal funding to increase connectivity in rural and low-income areas. They can begin to address inequitable access to broadband by improving coverage maps that detail where connections aren’t available or are too slow, similar to a pilot program implemented in Georgia. [Route Fifty]

Over the weekend a federal appeals court sided with Kentucky Governor Beshear, ruling that the governor did not violate the Constitution when he ordered public and private schools, including religious schools, to stop in-person classes because of the coronavirus. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is responsible for the lawsuit, filed an emergency application with the high court Monday in response. [WDRB]

The Louisiana Department of Health yesterday adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated guidance that allows people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, or as few as 7 days with a negative test. The LDOE and our school leaders will continue to work alongside health officials to mitigate the spread of the virus. [KNOE]

A preliminary analysis of enrollment released Monday by the Mississippi Department of Education officials showed a drop of more than 23,000 students in the 2020–21 school year compared to September of the previous year. The department attributes a decline in school enrollment statewide to a drop in kindergartners and an increase in homeschoolers. [WAPT]

North Carolina
Seeing an increase of coronavirus cases over the weekend and with the state’s existing restrictions expiring this week, top public health officials have yet to commit to any changes with their approach to containing the virus. Gov. Roy Cooper said “All of our options are on the table to tighten things down,” during a CNN interview last week. One of those options might be a stay-at-home order similar to the one issued earlier this year. A decision that caused controversy with some, but did yield success in keeping case levels from rising dramatically. [WBT]

South Carolina
The Medical University of South Carolina will soon be able to bring COVID-19 testing to the community through portable pods. The sites use a shell that is usually used for portable restrooms to create a self-contained and cost-effective walk-up testing site. Thirty of these pods will be placed outside of MUSC Health clinics to safeguard the clinic and separate potentially sick patients. They will also be placed in areas around the community. [Live 5 News]

Texas launched a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for front line workers at small businesses. The program will help small businesses throughout the state conduct rapid tests on employees to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Through this pilot program, TDEM will provide local Chambers of Commerce with COVID-19 testing supplies that will then allocate the supplies to local small businesses that choose to participate in the program. [CBS DFW]

A Northeast Tennessee lawmaker has proposed a bill to prohibit any agency, executive, or government from forcing anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine. As it reads, the proposed bill would prohibit, “a law enforcement agency or governmental entity of this state or a local government, or the governor or chief executive of a local government” from forcing the vaccine on any individual. [WKRN]

In a letter to parents, Virginia Beach Public School officials said that the region is currently at 477.7 cases per day and 10.1 percent for percent positivity, placing them in the red/red zone. Effective immediately, VBCPS says all activities related to varsity winter sports are postponed until further notice. Starting tomorrow, Safe Learning Centers will close, but students and families have access to school buildings and administrative offices by appointment only. Foodservice will continue at no charge to all children, age 18 and under, at all VBCPS schools, regardless of individual eligibility. [WTKR]

West Virginia
COVID-19 has impacted America and West Virginia for nearly a year, causing business leaders both large and small to reflect on changes that may be here to stay and what may return to normal as the pandemic ends. Now, employers have figured out that for some jobs, remote work is successful. [Metro News]