Voice for the oppressed

The Postal Service celebrated the stamp release honoring author Ernest J. Gaines at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Jan. 23.

“Dr. Gaines brought worldwide attention to generations of men and women who asserted their human dignity in the face of racial oppression and violence,” said Donald Lee Moak, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, who served as the dedicating official.

“His novels would shine a light on individuals who were too often overlooked and remind us of the dignity present in every human being, especially those being oppressed,” he said.

Gaines (1933-2019) is the 46th honoree in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage stamp series.

He is best known for the novels “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Lesson Before Dying.” His fiction reflected a deep and unbreakable connection to his rural Louisiana roots and the plight of African Americans.

His critically acclaimed work earned a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts.

Joining Moak for the ceremony were E. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Keith Clark, professor of English and African and African American studies at George Mason University; Lillie Anne Brown, assistant professor of English at Florida A&M University; Mona Lisa Saloy, poet laureate of Louisiana; and author Wiley Cash.

Cheylon Woods, head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, served as master of ceremonies.

The stamp features an oil painting of Gaines based on a 2001 photograph. Mike Ryan designed the stamp with art by Robert Peterson. Greg Breeding served as art director.

The stamp is available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Something’s phishy

The Postal Service wants employees and contractors to learn the basic skills necessary to identify phishing lures in a sea of office emails.

Phishing emails are often sent by an unknown external entity, composed with poor grammar, contain attachments or include an urgent request that you to click on an embedded link.

However, as phishing attacks grow in sophistication and frequency — up 61 percent in the six months ending October 2022, compared with the previous year, according to a CNBC reporteven tech-savvy individuals can’t always tell a fake email from a real one.

For instance, Twitter had to reassure thousands of leery laid-off employees that the emails they received containing severance information “was an official company communication … not a phishing attempt,” according to a Business Insider report.

To ensure postal employees and contractors are similarly on guard, the organization’s USPS Awareness and Training program routinely sends simulated phishing emails to test network users.

While most employees and contractors easily identify the fake emails and report them to CyberSafe@usps.gov, others — known as “repeat clickers” — unfortunately take the bait and have to undergo additional phishing simulation coaching.

Managers are notified of repeat clickers, who, in some cases, may have their external email privileges curtailed.

Here’s how to identify a phishing email:

Verify the sender: Proceed with caution if the email is from an “[EXTERNAL]” email address.

Slow down: Be wary of “urgent” requests; pause and evaluate messages before acting.

Beware of attachments: Don’t open or click attachments to a suspicious email or received from an unknown sender.

Hover, but don’t click: Ensure all hyperlinked descriptions match their destination, by hovering your cursor over the link and verifying the address.

Use the “Report to CyberSafe” button on the top right side of the Outlook toolbar to report suspicious emails or forward them to CyberSafe@usps.gov. If you don’t see the button on your Outlook toolbar, learn how to install it at ServiceNow.