CBC Prepares for Big Meeting With President Next Month
From left: Rep. Yvette Clarke, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, the President, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, Andre Carson and G.K. Butterfield
(TriceEdneyWire.com) The Congressional Black Caucus, anticipating a full meeting with President Obama next month, is pleased with what the chairman describes as Obamas new level of clarity on issues, but is somewhat mum on whether Obama is outspoken enough on those issues specific to African-Americans.
I think most of us were sufficiently excited about the Presidents speech a week ago when he drew a line in the sand here and no further and thats what we were waiting for. Thats what we were hoping and he did what we think should have been done, Cleaver said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire this week.
Cleaver was referring to Obamas April 13 speech during which he made clear his stance on the fiscal house of the U. S. Basically, the President said it must be set in order, but with a balanced approach without asking too much of those who cannot afford it and too little of those who can. He has been widely applauded for his hard-lined and clear approach - especially after his unpopular tax compromise with Republicans last year that appeared to blur some lines.
After Republicans won back the House of Representatives Nov. 2, Cleaver said President Obama is going to have to become a better communicator, communicator of what is going on and what needs to be done and of what weve done.
Asked for an update this week, Cleaver said, the Presidents communication of Democratic issues and successes had been a concern and complaint from the entire Democratic Caucus. He added, We feel better about it.
Early in his administration, President Obama had successfully pushed through bills on health care, womens pay equity, green jobs and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But his accomplishments, touted by him and other Democratic activists, were drowned out by passionate conservative voices, resulting in a Republican majority in the previously Democratic-led House.
Among topics of a recent White House meeting between Obama and the CBC executive committee was the 2011 and 2012 budgets and redistricting.
Cleaver hedged when asked whether the President is outspoken enough on issues specifically important to Blacks, such as severe inequities in economics and unemployment.
Hes under pressure to be careful about trying to come across as a President who is mainly interested in issues that are Black, Cleaver said. Its a tough deal
We have been criticized for not criticizing him by Black groups and frankly some people in the media. We are in an awkward position. All of us want the president to not only succeed but be re-elected.
Cleaver said the March 30 meeting was held to engage in preliminary discussions with the president for a larger meeting next month with all CBC members.
Among the requests, the CBC asked the President to speak to Attorney General Eric Holder about forming a task force from the Justice Department to look at and eventually oversee redistricting of congressional districts; particularly those that fall under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Redistricting is something that gives heartburn to CBC members. Many of them are in Congress because of enforcement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. We realize that in many of these congressional districts, Republicans are overwhelmingly in charge of the state houses. And they usually draw the new lines based on the recently released census data, Cleaver said. We have seen some signs that are alarming and consequently feel that it would be helpful to have a Justice Department Task Force constantly overlooking the redrawing of these district lines.
Cleaver said the President responded very positively to the request. He said that he was going to have a conversation with General Holder and look at our request and respond.
In 2007, Congress extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 more years, including the pre-clearance clause of Section 5, which requires certain states with a history of discrimination to submit any changes in voting procedures to the Department of Justice for approval before they can take effect.
The state, county or local governments must prove to federal authorities that voting changes do not have racially discriminatory purposes and that they will not make racial minority voters worse off than they were prior to the change. The attorney general can then prevent a change by issuing an objection, which can be challenged in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
As the President heats up his re-election campaign, he will no doubt come under closer scrutiny by supporters and detractors alike on how he should run the second time around. However it is not likely the CBC will be giving its report card in public.
Ive had people to say Barrack Obama is the first President in history since the founding of the Black Caucus not to be criticized by the Black Caucus, Cleaver says. Does this mean hes been a perfect President for Black people? The answer is no. Its an awkward thing.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle visit areas of Tuscaloosa, Ala. destroyed by tornadoes
President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press while touring the storm-ravaged Alberta neighborhood in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 29, 2011. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. To make donations, go to http://www.redcross.org/
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with residents of the Alberta neighborhood in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 29, 2011, where deadly tornados touched down earlier this week. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Ambassador Andrew Young Reflects on Induction of Portrait in Smithsonian
Portrait Gallery by Noelle Jones
|Rossin Portrait of Civil Rights icon Andrew Young now on display inside the National Portrait Gallery.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - After a lifetime devoted to civil rights, politics, humanitarianism, freedom, and justicemaking a huge impact in Washington, DC and the world, Ambassador Andrew Youngs face made a permanent home in the Smithsonian National Portrait gallery April 30.
The national portrait gallery, as it was set up by congress, was intended to recognize Americans who have made a difference in the life of our nation and in the lives of other Americans . . .Pieces are presented through paintings, sculptures, photographs, and new media that really say something about each of the individuals inducted, said National Portrait Gallery Director Martin Sullivan.
When Young saw his portrait for the first time, he never anticipated that the rest of the world would see it as well. This opportunity was birthed from relationships past and present. The portrait was purchased and donated to the gallery by Youngs longtime friend, Jack Watson Jr.
When I saw the painting done by Ross Rossin it was amazing. Ross knew Jack Watson who was the Chief of Staff for the Carter Administration and now a chairman for the portrait gallery, said Ambassador Young. Ive known Jack since 1970, he was planning to run for congress, and I was running as well that was 40 years ago, weve been good friends ever since.
A graduate of Howard University, Young was a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and was with King when he was assassinated in Memphis. He served as the first black congressman from the South elected since Reconstruction, the first black U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and served two terms as the first black mayor of Atlanta.
Young is currently a giant in humanitarian work, serving as co-chairman of GoodWorks Intl, where he has brought to life his long-held mission of facilitating economic development in the Caribbean and Africa.
Martin said, Its a perfect fit. The theme of the exhibit is Struggle for Justice highlighting those people in American history who have lead the efforts for broader participationinclusion in the rights that are supposedly guaranteed to Americans. The civil rights movement is one of the main stories thats conveyed there.
He added, We are pleased to have in that exhibit portraits of Dr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement in the 20thcentury. Also there are portraits of abolitionists and activists like Sojourner Truth and Fredrick Douglass. Andrew Youngs life
story fits perfectly.
Over the weekend, the Museum held two public events in concurrence with the portraits installation: a public talk and book signing with Young, and a book signing and author talk with Paula Young Shelton for her book Child of the Civil Rights Movement. The induction of this painting represents some of the darkest times in American history as well as some of the most triumphant. It represents the work of many--African American trailblazers past and present.
I was one of those who came into the movement as an adult, I already had three children when I started with SCLC and it was people like Amelia Boynton who had been doing voter registration is Selma since 1932 - the year I was born. She is now 99 years old and she is still organizing the get out and vote parade, said Ambassador Young. I think about the masses of people I know that really suffered, whose pictures will never get up, people in Mississippi, and in Alabama that were very influential to me
. men like James Orange. So my picture is representative of more than me as an individual, it represents a whole movement.
Exclusive: Donna Brazile Urges Black Voters to Support Obama, Protect Gains
||By Cash Michaels
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - The interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee says the nation, and specifically the African-American community, has to stick with President Barack Obama and the Democrats during these tough times to ''keep the country safe and secure.''
But in an exclusive recent interview with the weekly radio program ''Make it Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM/Power 750.com, top Washington insider and CNN/ABC commentator Donna Brazile also admitted that there have been times over the past two years when she didn't necessarily agree with some of the president's policies.
''Look, I haven't always been pleased with the president of the United States,'' the renowned Democratic Party strategist and interim DNC chair said in the late April interview. ''I've had times when I've had to differ with the president. Whether it's been the housing policies or the firing of [former USDA official] Shirley Sherrod, or just recently, giving the Republicans the opportunity [during the recent 2011 budget negotiations] to write their own narrowly-based social agenda on the [Washington] D.C. budget where I live, I'm not always in the cheerleading section.''
|''Sometimes I'm on the sidelines, sometimes I like to be right there on the field getting a little dirty with the rest of them. But the bottomline is I'm proud to be a Democrat, I'm proud to be an American, [but] more importantly I'm proud to say that Barack Obama is my choice for president in 2012,'' Brazile said.
It's the kind of frank, pull-no-punches talk that Brazile, 51, is known for.
The first African-American ever to run a major political party's bid for president when she took the reins of then Vice President Al Gore's 2000 campaign, the Louisiana native has earned the title of Washington powerbroker, serving as DNC vice chair; managing her own DC consulting firm, hitting the talk and keynoter's circuit at colleges and universities across the nation; and now chairing the Democratic National Committee until Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, is officially voted in, which is expected to happen shortly.
But right now, Brazile's passion is supporting the president, and making sure that both he and the Democrats are successful when Obama runs for re-election in 2012.
''The country is still in the throes of a very critical economic downturn,'' Brazile told WAUG-AM. ''While we've seen 13 months of promising job growth, Pres. Obama is committed to see that every American who is looking for a job will be able to find work in his/her hometown.''
Balancing spending cuts with ''revenue attractions'' in the midst of a slow economic recovery has to be a ''balanced approach to getting our fiscal house in order,'' Brazile maintains, countering the popular Republican mantra that America as ''a spending problem, not a revenue problem.''
The poor and middle-class have definitely been hurt during the recovery, so government must do all it can to make them whole, as much as possible, Brazile says, particularly through job growth.
Brazile says the president ''is committed to make sure that the federal government lives within its means,'' and will make well thought-out cuts to the budget where needed.
But Republicans, per their plan to drastically cut the federal budget through Medicare/Medicaid, education, affordable housing and other vital programs, while simultaneously giving millionaires and billionaires generous tax cuts, threaten the government's social safety net where it's needed the most. The trend is already being seen in local and state governments across the nation, and Brazile says Americans must take note, and then take action.
Brazile also urges communities to support Pres. Obama's insistence on ''winning the future'' through investing more in education, and for individuals to improve their own educational opportunities to better prepare themselves for upcoming challenges and opportunities.
''If you're living on the margins; if you're living without the means to dip into your savings account, then the recession we've just experienced will have a devastating impact on communities of color,'' Brazile says, maintaining that communities should not be ''pitted against each other'' in times of great struggle.
Politically, recent polls show President Obama's support in the African-American community softening to 85 percent from the high nineties, and white voter support dropping to the mid-30s. Brazile believes if the economy and employment continue to improve going into 2012, Pres. Obama will win white voters back.
Don't expect Republicans to help the cause, however. Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, star of NBC's ''Celebrity Apprentice,'' has mounted a surprising strong pre-presidential campaign rooted in the highly-discredited, yet explosively divisive birther movement that President Obama isn't an American citizen.
Almost half of Republicans polled believe the ''Where's Obama's birth certificate?'' question has merit, and Trump has virtually to the top of the crowded 2012 GOP presidential potential candidate heap by pushing the cause everywhere and anywhere he can find a camera or microphone.
''Donald Trump is running for the Republican nomination by sing a divisive issue that most Republicans
believe is absolutely ludicrous,'' Brazile said, adding that, for now, he should be taken seriously, given his resources and ability to garner the press. Still, if Democrats are on their game, and not distracted by Trump or anyone else, they'll do well, she says.
Brazile urged black leaders throughout the community to either active, or get active to both educate and mobilize these during these difficult times. She also said that she's looking forward to the 2012 Democratic National Convention coming to Charlotte in September 2012, and says that North Carolina is key toward Pres. Barack Obama reclaiming the White House.But only if Democrats mobilize to vote in greater numbers than before.
''The United States of America is marching forward in the 21st Century,'' Brazile declared. ''We're not going back'' ''We're not going back.''
Only 12 Percent of Black Boys are On Grade Level, Author Says
||TriceEdneyWire.com) - Joshua, a Black boy from a low-income community, rushes to his first day of kindergarten. He's eager to show off his new backpack and lighted gym shoes, listen to stories, and play with new friends. Years later, Joshua has no memory of that early excitement. Now in the ninth grade, he is reading and doing math at a fifth-grade level. He's constantly in the principal's office for inappropriate classroom behavior. He desperately wants to drop out of school.
Joshua's story is all too common in public schools across America. More than any other racial group, Black boys are struggling academically. African-American children are only 17 percent of the total school population in America, yet they represent more than 41 percent of students in special education, of which 80 percent are Black males. Eighty percent of all students referred to special education are below grade level in reading and writing. In contrast, Black students are only six percent of gifted classes.
|Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, national education consultant and bestselling author of the newly released Understanding Black Male Learning Styles, believes that today's classroom is no place for a growing African-American boy. Schools have virtually ignored the fact that boys and girls learn differently and that they mature at different rates. African-American male students suffer the most from this neglect.
Kunjufu asks, "Have we designed a female classroom for male students? Are we expecting boys to learn in the same manner as girls?" Since 1985, Kunjufu has advocated for single-gender classrooms and schools to meet the learning, social, cultural, and emotional needs of Black boys.
Eighty-three percent of elementary school teachers in America are White females; fewer than one percent are African-American males. Kunjufu wonders if this racial disparity accounts for the disproportionate placements of Black boys into special-education programs and the failure of schools to provide more right-brain learning activities for boys.
"Schools fail boys in many ways," says Kunjufu. "Not only are they resistant to change, many programs that are perfect for high-energy, right-brain learners, such as physical education and the arts, have been virtually eliminated in schools. Even though girls mature academically at a faster pace than boys, boys are expected to read and master fine motor movements before they are ready. Boys are excellent at doing complicated NBA math, NFL math, rap math, and drug math, yet they are failing basic math and algebra in school."
If Black America and the rest of the nation fail to address these issues and their root causes, the future will be bleak for yet another generation of Black boys.
The Kunjufu Learning Styles Model
The prevailing wisdom in education today states that unless a student comes from a middle- to upper-income two-parent home, he will fail in school. Kunjufu has spent his 30-year career seeking to disprove this belief, and he has found classrooms and schools in low-income urban and rural school districts performing at or above state and national averages.
This includes high-performing, engaged Black boys. The secret, says Kunjufu, is understanding how they learn. "If teachers teach to students' learning styles, if they create stimulating, culturally relevant learning environments, our boys will excel in school," he says.
According to the late researcher Dr. Rita Dunn, learning styles are more than 80 percent biologically imposed. The Kunjufu Learning Styles Model is based on this biological propensity for learning. His model, which is explained in depth in his book, is designed to help educators better understand how their students learn.
There are three basic categories of learners:
1. Visual Learners
2. Oral/Auditory Learners
3. Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners
Kunjufu estimates that as many as two-thirds of students and an even larger percentage of African-American males are visual-picture, oral/auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learners (right-brain). However, most of the learning activities are oriented toward visual-print learners (left-brain). According to Kunjufu, this conflict between pedagogy and Black male learning styles has created a disastrous learning environment for right-brain students, and it must be resolved if Black boys are to improve their classroom performance.
African-American male students are in a state of academic emergency because generally, teachers have not adjusted their pedagogy to meet their learning needs. "You don't teach the way you want to teach," says Kunjufu. "You teach the way your children learn. You must adjust your pedagogy."
Understanding Black Male Learning Styles is a research-based master work written by a leading advocate of African American boys. The research, strategies, and best practices explained in the book will challenge educators, school leaders, policy makers, and parents to significantly rethink their approaches to teaching and raising Black boys.
PHOTO: Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire
Protesters Take to the Streets in Reginald Bailey Case
Protesters from the National Black Church Initiative, led by the Rev. Anthony Evans, prays before picketing the Cerberus Capital Management headquarters in New York late last month. Cerberus owns DynCorp, the company found guilty of race discrimination that financially destroyed a Black-owned telecommunications firm Worldwide Network Solutions (WWNS). WWNS owner, Reginald Bailey, an HBCU grad pictured in the black trench coat and necktie, says he has requested meetings with the companys principals to discuss amicable solutions. Cerberus lawyer Mark Neporent has, in a letter, declined a meeting, arguing that the business relationship between DynCorp and WWNS ended years before Cerberus acquired DynCorp. Evans says the protests will continue.
Unemployment Down, Black Unemployment Up
By Julianne Malveaux
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - More than 200,000 jobs were created last month, 216,000 to be exact. Coming after the February lift of more than 200,000 jobs, there are those who are saying that economic recovery is around the corner. I dont know what corner they are standing on, but the African-American corner took a hit in March, and the Black unemployment rate rose from 15.3 to 15.5 percent. No other racial/ethnic group saw unemployment rates rise. Some will say the slight increase is statistically insignificant. Try telling that to the African Americans who dont have jobs, or to those who are not in the labor force. Indeed, while the number of whites who had dropped out of the labor force went down, the number of African Americans out of the labor force went up.
The government is on the brink of closing down, with obstructionist Tea Party members determined to shrink the size of government no matter what. They have focused on government workers, but too many of these workers are African American, Latino, and female. Yes, an attack on government workers is an attack on equality, because those who work for governments are more likely to find a fair deal, have a good job, and be paid equitably.
| The government is on the brink of closing down, but on their way to down time, they have not found time to introduce one piece of legislation that speaks to job creation. Given the numbers that we see this month, this really means they have been unwilling and unable to deal with the jobs crisis in the African American community, as the situation in other communities is getting better.
Better does not mean acceptable. There are 13.5 million officially unemployed people in our nation, and the number that have not worked for half a year has risen from 43.9 percent to 45.5 percent in the past month. Labor force participation is at an all time low of 64.2 percent which means that too many people have left the labor force because they think they cant find work, or they cant afford to look. This is the story for all Americans, with the most severe measure of unemployment, the measure that accounts for those who work part time when they want full time work or are only marginally attached to the labor market, a whopping 15.7 percent. This means, in real terms, that nearly one in six of us is unemployed.
It gets worse, of course, for African-Americans. The employment population ratio for adult black men, at 57.2 percent, is nearly eleven points lower than the employment population ratio for adult white men, at 68.0 percent. In some communities, scarcely half of African-American men are working. The same data that takes the overall population from 8.8 percent to 15.7 percent, takes the African-American population from 15.5 percent to 27.6 percent, a Depression-era level unemployment rate. Why is this okay? Why has it sparked no national discussion? What does it mean that it is acceptable for the employment situation in an entire community can be imperiled? Why is it that nobody really cares?
There is joy in some quarters about the fact that significant employment has been created two months in a row. But there is a cliché that says it takes more than a swallow to bring spring. In other words, we first of all know that at the rate we are going, it is will take until 2018, seven years from now, for us to get back to the number of jobs we had in 2007. With populating growth, even then we wont reach the unemployment rate of 5 percent that we experienced in December of 2007.
Secondly, pessimistic economists, like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, are suggesting that there is the possibility of a double dip recession, and that numbers could turn back down in a few months if more money is not pumped into the economy. Bankers are keeping their bailout money, having failed to address eh foreclosure situation, or to lend small businesses money they need for inventory and revitalization. They are cautiously waiting for better times, but what if Congress had exercised their caution on them?
The bottom line is that while some data suggest economic recovery, the African-American community is still riding on the back of the bus. It will take targeted job creation programs to improve on the new unemployment numbers. Is there anyone in Congress who will step up to say that these unacceptably high unemployment rates cannot continue?
Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College for Women and author of Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History (www.lastwordprod.com)
T.D. Jakes asks
'Is the Church Behind the Eight Ball?'
TriceEdneyWire.com) What would your church do if there was a natural disaster or long-term weather-related shutdown? Would the ministers and deacons know how to get the word out or even teach Bible Study over the Internet?
Is your church tech-savvy enough to make a mass announcement over Facebook, Twitter or Scream?
In a public relations crisis, who would your church put in front of the TV cameras?
Does your aging pastor have health and life insurance?
Which is most essential the anointing or the structure for the anointing and what does that even mean?
These are just a few of the issues that will be addressed this week at Bishop T. D. Jakes latest Pastors and Leaders Conference , What You Dont Know Can Hurt You.
Bishop T. D. Jakes
|I just see so many people who are going out to do 21st century ministry in a 20th century kind of way, Jakes said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. Because the world is moving so fast and the church often is not, I think its important that we keep up with the changing laws, with the changing trends from the IRS to public relations to dealing with the myriad of things that are changing in every aspect of Christian leadership.
The March 31-April 2 conference at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center features a prominent list of the whos who in mega church ministries, including Bishop I.V. Hilliard; Pastor Paula White; Donald Lawrence; Pastor Bill Hybels; Charles Blake; Dr. John Hagee, Dave Ramsey, First Lady Serita Jakes, and Bishop Jakes who has more than 30,000 members in his Potters House in Dallas.
The ministry size and success of the speakers are not for the purpose of teaching attendants how to be like them, Jakes said.
This conference will focus more on the nuts and bolts of ministry. Rich doesnt solve problems. You can be reach and be suicidal; you can be rich and dysfunctional.
He continues, Rather than seeking to be successful, we need to be working to be effective. And if in the process of being effective, we become successful, then so be it
The problem with this generation I see coming today is that their focus is on the success and not on being effective; so if you become successful at the expense of being effective, the congregations and your generation and the community suffers for the fact that you have more sizzle than steak.
Jakes last Pastors and Leaders Conference about five years ago in Washington, D. C. had more of a spiritual theme. There will still be a balance, this time, he said, but there will be an extreme amount of workshops on issues that help personal and church ministries to grow and stabilize.
Jakes quizzes, Is the church behind the eight ball? on Facebook and Twittering?
Acknowledging that some may be intimidated by the tech talk, but they are simply new methods by which to spread the Gospel.
These are extensions of what he does. It will add to him; not take away from him, Jakes said. You can have all the anointing you want symbolized by olive oil in the scriptures. But, if you dont put the oil in a container, in a structure, itll spill. A lot of us are really anointed, but we lack the structure to have the greatest impact in the 21st century.
Women Celebrate Their Historic Impact on Black Agenda
Dr. E. Faye Williams, Chair National Congress Black Women
|By Hazel Trice Edney
WASHINGTON (TriceEdneyWire.com) Nearly every major civil rights organization in the nation is headed by a man.
Yet, a luncheon in commemoration of Womens History Month and the 184th anniversary of the founding of the Black Press drew nearly 200 people to a luncheon at the National Press Club March 16 to hear a panel of leading women discuss their work for the progress of African-Americans.
Remember those who have come before us and allow that to motivate us to do even more and to build on what they did, Dr. E. Faye Williams, chair of the National Congress of Black Women, implored the audience. Our dear sister Dr. Dorothy Height said, We Black women dont always do what we want to do, but we do what we have to do. At the top of that agenda is service to our community and service to our people, she said to applause.
Joblessness, civil rights, better self-care, voices from the youth, the 2012 election and maternal death rates were among the topics included in the presentations that focused on issues dealt with weekly in the Black Press.
The event, themed Breaking Barriers to Empower, was organized by Trice Edney Communications and News Wire, and financially sponsored by Wells Fargo and Sams Club. The atmosphere, charged with passion, resulted in a string of ideas from the panelists who listed what their organizations are doing to close a variety of disparities in the African-American community.
Obama wants to lead the world in educational attainment. You cant do it without HBCUs, said Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women. If you didnt have us youd have to invent us.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women
An economist, Malveaux worked the numbers, pointing to the fact that In 30 years we have not increased our ability to deliver educational services and that, educationally, countries like Ireland, South Korea and Spain are doing better than the U. S. We must do better about investment in education, she said.
The fiery Malveaux also expressed the need to press past the unemployment crisis in which she said the 15.3 percent unemployment rate for African-Americans is really more than 30 percent when counting those who have been unemployed so long that they are no longer counted by government systems.
We have to have a grassroots movement around employment, said Malveaux. She also pointed to the need for youth voices to be heard on crucial issues. We dont hear them, they dont feel honored they dont feel lifted up. They have something to say.
In the audience were two tables of middle and high school students from D.C.s Maya Angelou Public Charter schools. The students remained engaged and applauded often during the presentations as some speakers directly encouraged them.
African-Americans arent the only Blacks being hits with racial disparities. Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said many of the issues being suffered by African-Americans are being suffered by Blacks around the world. She reminded the audience that 2011 has been proclaimed as the International Year of People of African Decent by the United Nations.
We have the same struggles economically, the same struggles with stereotyping and criminalization and so many other economic battles. Its so important to recognize that were all linked and we must be very aware of that, Arnwine said.
Exacerbating the unemployment rate among Blacks, she said, is the misuse of barriers to block people from employment such as using their bad credit histories against them and misusing arrest records and criminal histories. She said the Lawyers Committee has been focused on those barriers and is even prepared to litigate where necessary to end the employment discrimination.
Five women were invited as panelists because of their leadership of organizations that deal heavily with Black issues.
Rita Henley Jensen, founder and editor-in-chief of Womens eNews, has become a leading advocate for Black women and maternal health. On the day of the luncheon, her news service released the first of a series of stories on mysteriously disparate pregnancy-related deaths of Black women.
African-American women die in the United States two to four times more often than Whites during labor and delivery, she told the audience. In New York, where her news service is based, Jensen said Black women die eight times more often than White women.
Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Rita Henley Jensen, founder and editor-in-chief of Womens eNews
Jensen said she has yet to find a medical expert who knows the specific reason for the disparate deaths.
I was told by a very prominent organization based here in Washington and I was told we just dont know and it turns out that nobody knows at this current time In New York City, Jensen said. Womens eNews will continue to deal with the issue through the series that is sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation and also being run on the Trice Edney News Wire. Were pushing the envelope, she said.
The health of Black women was a recurring theme during the panel discussion as Williams said African-Americans continually struggling amidst an oppressive society - must learn how to rest.
We need to get Michelle to teach us how to take vacations, she said, drawing chuckles from the audience as she referred to vacations taken by First Lady Michelle Obama.
She said the National Congress of Black Women continues to lead in maintaining the image of Black women the legacy of its last chairwoman, Dr. C. Delores Tucker.
She also said youth development is a priority for the Congress. She specifically mentioned the organizations College for Kids, which shows 9-12 year-olds college campuses and the Young Ambassadors program which teaches human relations skills to teens 13 and older.
Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
It Allows us to be in touch with young people all across the country to help them learn to be ambassadors, learn to be diplomatic, learn to solve their problems and their conflicts in ways that are progressive and ways that are good for all of them.
Among all of the women, the 2012 election was a priority. Each head non-partisan groups; therefore do not endorse candidates but are strong advocates for voter education.
Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, specializes in voter education and get-out-to-vote efforts, including Black Youth Vote, a staple NCBCP program, and a new effort, Womens Power Summits, being held around the country.
At the end of the day, were just working. Our folks need us to keep working, agitating, she said. Were standing on each others shoulders.
She reminded the audience that although organizations are obligated to train up the youth, everyone of all ages have a part to play.
Your organizers are not tomorrow. Your organizers are right here today, Campbell said. We need young people to hit the streets now. We have to hit the streets now. Its about organizing, working and living with purpose.
Black Press Rebukes NAACP in Image Awards Advertising Debacle
WASHINGTON (TriceEdneyWire.com) On the 184th birthday of the Black Press this week, March 16, an odd debacle is underway. The NAACP, the nations oldest and largest civil rights organization, is under fire from Black newspapers around the country over an issue of economic injustice.
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous admits that a grave mistake was made right under his nose when advertising inserts were placed only in White newspapers on the eve of the organizations annual image awards, which aired March 4. Danny Bakewell, chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers, is demanding justice.
If the NAACP desires to advertise with the white press, they need to understand and experience the repercussions of going outside of their house (The Black Press). The NAACP needs to know that by ignoring the Black Press they are cutting off their nose to spite their face, Bakewell said in a March 7 letter to NNPA publishers, obtained by the Trice Edney News Wire. We have marched side by side with them and been their voice in the African American community. It is truly disheartening to be on the battlefield with someone and not be able to share in the spoils.
In his first public response to the issue, Jealous released a statement on Sunday after he was contacted by the Trice Edney News Wire.
Danny Bakewell, Sr.
|This year's NAACP annual Image Awards television show was a great success, he wrote in the statement. However, on the eve of the show, a grave mistake was made: circulars that were supposed to appear in both the mainstream press and Black community newspapers only appeared in the mainstream press.
The advertising debacle has sparked a firestorm of criticism from the Black Press family of which Jealous has long been a member. Jealous is a former NNPA executive director and a former editor of the Jackson Advocate, an NNPA Newspaper. NAACP insiders said he is set to meet with NNPA leaders and members this week during the organizations annual trek to Washington for Black Press Week activities.
I am very sensitive to the need to support Black community newspapers. They are the only way to assure Black readers in a given community that you actually want your ads to reach them directly. In the past, I personally have both sold and purchased ads in Black community newspapers across the country. Moreover, I dedicated years of my life to working for them directly, Jealous said in the statement.
Notwithstanding, Black newspapers across the nation have long fought advertising discrimination from mainly White corporate communities which ignore the economic worth of their readers - Black consumers, who spend billions on goods and services. Therefore, Black publishers have expressed shock at finding this kind of omission associated with the 100-year-old NAACP, which has a rich history of fighting alongside the Black Press for racial and economic equality.
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|As a unified response to the omission, Bakewell asked NNPA members to refrain from writing anything about the Image Awards in the weeks following its airing on FOX.
Scathing articles and editorials joined Bakewells letter.
Robert W. Bogle, publisher of the Philadelphia Tribune, said in a March 3 Tribune story reprinted by Target Market News: "In (Thursday's) Philadelphia Daily News, the 42nd NAACP Awards Magazine was inserted and not one copy was inserted in the Philadelphia Tribune, America's oldest and America's largest daily newspaper serving the African-American community."
He continued, "This action is an insult to the men and women who work at the Philadelphia Tribune and should be an insult to Black Americans in this country. The very right of full inclusion and participation of African Americans has been denied by the organization that purports that African Americans should be fairly included in all aspects of American life."
New York Beacon Publisher Walter Smith, president of the 17-member Northeast Publishers Association, wrote in an editorial, We credit our leaders of the NAACP with good sound judgment and common sense at least. What were they thinking when this decision was made? Who were they trying to attract, and or who were they trying to impress?
Due to legalities, according to the NAACP, Jealous withheld the name of the advertising agency, which has distributed the guide for five years. But, his statement sought to explain how the omission occurred:
The advertising company originally conceived the guide and presented it as a fundraiser to the NAACP. It is solely responsible for selling the ads and handling the distribution. It pays the NAACP a licensing royalty which is used to support our ongoing diversity efforts in Hollywood, Jealous states. Accordingly, I requested and received assurance from the advertising company that their distribution plan included Black community newspapers. However, the advertising company has failed to follow through. This year, when the guides came out, they did not show up in any Black community newspapers.
He concludes, The NAACP does not condone the agency's decision to exclude Black community newspapers. It is contrary to our explicit instruction, and we were not aware of the agency's decision until after the guides hit the papers, he said. Nonetheless, it was made for a publication that bears our name, and as CEO I take ultimate responsibility for it. For that reason, I have apologized to the NNPA and promised their leadership this will not happen again.
Jealous added that the distribution will be put out for bids next year with assurance that Black newspapers will be included.
We have also let the agency know that we will not tolerate their abuse of the trust the NAACP has placed in them, nor that which Black community newspapers place in the NAACP, Jealous wrote. If this company wants to do business with the NAACP again, they will need to make things right with Black community newspapers in the markets where the guide was distributed, and convince us they are capable of keeping their word.
Whether his explanation will end the controversy remains to be seen. Smith, who is also NNPAs budget director, concludes his editorial, Stay tuned, theres much more to come.
|The writer of this article is former editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and former interim executive director of the NNPA Foundation. She was hired at NNPA by Ben Jealous.
Biden Tells Black Lawmakers: 'No Struggle No Progress'
|By Sophia A. Nelson
White House Pool Report: JET Magazine/MSNBC
WASHINGTON (TriceEdneyWire.com) - Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed over 120 elected African American officials and their guests to their official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory on February 15 in honor of Black History Month. Guests dined on heavy Hors D' Oeuvres of sirloin, salmon brochettes, winter crudites, pommes gaufrettes, and assorted cookies as they listened to a U.S. Navy Jazz trio play softly in the background.
The Vice President who had just returned from a trip to Ft. Campbell Kentucky was in a very reflective mood as his wife Dr. Jill Biden welcomed several distinguished members of the Congressional Black Caucus, mayors, state legislators, county officials, and former elected leaders such as Wellington Webb who served three terms as mayor of Denver Colorado.
Dr. Biden welcomed the guests, introduced her husband and excused herself as she had to attend a special event for community colleges. This segway was the lead in Vice President Biden used to talk about the importance of Black History Month as he reflected on everything from his recent meeting with young pre-teen African-American football players at Ft. Campbell (who are the offspring of deployed Afghanistan and Iraq military warriors), to his becoming an attorney in 1968 just after the death of Dr. King and the subsequent riots, and finally to his train ride with President-elect Barack H. Obama in January 2009 as the newly elected Vice President-elect to the nation's first ever black President.
In prepared remarks that lasted approximately eight minutes Vice President Biden stayed mostly clear of the politics of the day, except for noting at the outset that many of his friends in the Congressional Black Caucus could not attend because they were preparing for votes on the continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down, and that "they were fighting for some key things important to the Black community."
He alluded to the fact that if the Republican controlled House of Representatives has its way, the next 18 months will be a "rough ride" and that they seek to cut many programs that are critical to Mayors, state and county officials nationwide who represent struggling communities, which are mostly of color.
He joked, "My recovery act doesn't look so bad now, does it?"
Everyone laughed and nodded in agreement. The Vice President opened his substantive remarks for the evening by talking about the importance of community colleges, particularly to the sustainability of upwardly mobile, educated Blacks in America. He pointed out that his longtime friend from Wilmington, Delaware, Mayor James Baker, who was in attendance at the reception, stood side by side with him on the train platform at Wilmington station in 1968 as they watched the city of Wilmington lay in ruins from the riots in the aftermath of Dr. King's death. He reflected movingly on how some 40 years later, he stood on that same platform in Wilmington, Delaware waiting to board a train that carried in its cars the newly elected Black President of the United States, Barack H. Obama. Biden said that he had a moment standing at that station where he remembered the riots and said to himself, "We may have a lot more to do, but damn, we've come a long way."
The Vice President closed his remarks by saying that "the best way to celebrate history, is to make it". He offered pointed tribute to the strength of the Black men and women who were standing in the room, and who work tirelessly for their communities. And he also remembered those who had come before. He talked about Frederick Douglass and the freed Black slaves who in 1862 became union soldiers, and how out of 35,000 who died during the Civil War, 16 of that number were honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor. He talked about how his first case as public defender was in representing two Black panthers who were accused of causing the riots in 1968.
The most poignant and moving line of the night was offered by the Vice President as he was talking about the sacrifices of all of those who had come before this present generation of accomplished African Americans. Biden spoke of the sacrifice, the struggle, quoting Fredrick Douglass: "No struggle, no progress".
He spoke about the "halting" but continuous struggle for equality in America, and he called on us all to remember that "Sometimes the people most burdened in life, have to add more burdens upon themselves so that others can have their burdens lifted from them."
New 'Buying Power' Report Shows Black Consumers Spend As Economy Improves
New 16th edition shows expenditures rise to $507 billion
||(TEWire) - African-American consumers are cautiously increasing their spending in some key product categories, even as they continue to make adjustments in a slowly growing economy. The finding comes from the soon to be issued 16th annual edition of "The Buying Power of Black America" report.
In 2009, black households spent an estimated $507 billion in 27 product and services categories. That's an increase of 16.6% over the $435 billion spent in 2008. African-Americans' total earned income for 2009 is estimated at $836 billion.
The report, which is published annually by Target Market News, also contains data that reflect the economic hardships all consumers are facing. There were significant declines in categories -- like food and apparel -- that have routinely shown growth in black consumers' spending from year-to-year.
"These latest shifts in spending habits are vital for marketers to understand," said Ken Smikle, president of Target Market News and editor of the report, "because they represent both opportunities and challenges in the competition for the billions of dollars spent by African-American households. Expenditures between 2007 and 2008 were statistically flat, so black consumers are now making purchases they have long delayed. At the same time, they re-prioritizing their budgets, and spending more on things that add value to their homes and add to the quality of life."
The median household income for African-Americans dropped by 1.4 percent in 2009, but because of students going out on their own, and couples that started their lives together, the number of black households grew 4.2 percent. This increase meant that many household items showed big gains. For example, purchases of appliances rose by 33 percent, consumer electronics increased 33 percent, household furnishings climbed 28%, and housewares went up by 37 percent.
Estimated Expenditures by Black Households - 2009
|Apparel Products and Services
Cars and Trucks - New & Used
Entertainment and Leisure
Households Furnishings & Equipment
Housing and Related Charges
Personal and Professional Services
Personal Care Products and Services
Sports and Recreational Equipment
Toys, Games and Pets
Travel, Transportation and Lodging
Source: Target Market News, "The Buying Power of Black American - 2010"
"The Buying Power of Black America" is one of the nation's most quoted sources of information on African-American consumer spending. It is used by hundreds of Fortune 1000 corporations, leading advertising agencies, major media companies and research firms.
The report is an analysis of consumer expenditure (CE) data compiled annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The CE data is compiled from more than 3,000 black households nationally through dairies and interviews. This information is also used for, among things, computing the Consumer Price Index.
The report provides updated information in five sections:
- Black Income Data
- Purchases in the Top 30 Black Cities
- Expenditure Trends in 26 Product & Services Categories
- The 100-Plus Index of Black vs. White Expenditures
- Demographic Data on the Black Population
The 16th annual report on "The Buying Power of Black America" also includes a preview of findings from the forthcoming 2010 Census report.
Copies of "The Buying Power of Black America" can be purchased from Target Market News for $99 each. For more information call 312-408-1881
Dr. Barbara Skinner Urges Black churches to Organize for Political Power
By Saraya Wintersmith
WASHINGTON (TEWire) - Evangelicals have been doing it for years. Jews and the "moral majority" have, too. Now, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, former director of the Congressional Black Caucus, wants Black churches to also get involved in a big way in shaping politics and public policy.
Two weeks ago at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC, Williams-Skinner stirred up members of the National Conference of Black Churches, entreating them to stop under-utilizing their political power.
I've seen members of Congress go in and vote based on a meeting with four bishops on the outside, said Skinner. Where are our bishops?
In early December, church leaders from across the nation converged on Washington for a conference, For the Healing of our People, to address issues affecting African-Americans and other underserved groups. It also provided training that engages clergy and lay leaders in public policy.
There are a couple things that have to do with dealing with systemic issues around public policy priorities that we are missing, she said to the Paladian Ballroom packed with bishops of the nine largest historically Black denominations.
Yesterday marked the first day of the For the Healing of Our People, the CNBCs First Annual National Consultation. Leaders from around the country gathered for a morning consultation sessions regarding the role of churches in public policy.
During an open discussion period, the founder of the annual Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast said that when religious leaders fail to show up in government offices to support public policy priorities they articulate, members of Congress just see the Black church as votes, a mere constituency group necessary for election into office.
Skinner says that the newly formed CNBC whose mission is to serve as a unified voice of over 30 million Black church goers should make Capitol Hill advocacy and Black voter mobilization two important priorities. Her imploring was met with resounding affirmation from CNBC members, listening intently as she preached.
According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the national Black voter turn-out for 2010 mid-term elections increased only slightly from 2006 about 2 percent. The increase, however, was not enough to stop the Democrats from losing 60 seats in the U.S. House, at least a dozen of which were in districts with a significant Black vote.
Skinner says that Black leaders, helping to mobilize Black voters, will ensure that their issues are being addressed.
We could take 2012, said Skinner. We have the power. Let's use it.
Theodore Myles Publishing, Inc.----
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