Across Black America
Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
The Supreme Court recently endorsed reducing California’s cramped prison population by more than 30,000 inmates, in response to growing reports and accusations of second-rate medical care in state prisons. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the reduction is “required by the Constitution,” because it will aid in eliminating long-standing violations of inmates’ rights to adequate care for their mental and physical health. In 2009, the state’s prisons averaged nearly one death per week that might have been prevented or delayed with better medical care. The order mandates a prison population of no more than 110,000 inmates, still a far cry from the 80,000 the system was designed to hold. “There’s a growing consensus that there are better ways to run criminal justice systems,” said Michael Mushlin, an expert on prisoners’ rights at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y.
District of Columbia
In response to President Barack Obama’s “Responsible Fathers and Strong Communities” initiative, author Lori Jones Gibbs, through her highly acclaimed book, “Yes, I Would Marry Him Again: Wives Salute Their African American Husbands,” has created a national conversation about the many Black men in America today who are doing right by their wives. “I wrote this book because I had never come across a book that served as a tribute to husbands, especially African American husbands. I believe now is the time to recognize our strong Black men. They are our fathers, brothers, sons, uncles and nephews. They are the foundation of the family, for it is from strong marriages that solid families are built,” Gibbs says. For these reasons Gibbs implemented the Author Gives Back Program where she donates up to 25 percent of the proceeds from book signings to nonprofit organizations that work to encourage personal responsibility and strengthen the nation’s families by providing mentoring and support for men and families in vulnerable communities.
Actress, producer, director, and author T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh has received Florida A&M University’s highest and most prestigious honor: an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. The star of television’s In Living Color, The Cosby Show, and That’s So Raven personally accepted the honor at FAMU’s spring commencement ceremony, held recently in Tallahassee. “I can’t begin to describe how pleased I am to have been chosen for this esteemed honor,” said Keymáh. “It is truly overwhelming for FAMU’s Board of Trustees, and President James H. Ammons to believe I am worthy of the school’s highest honor I am grateful and deeply humbled.” President Ammons said, “This presentation is a fitting tribute in recognition of T’Keyah’s outstanding career in theater and entertainment, and her dedication as a loyal alumna of FAMU.” Keymáh was also enshrined in FAMU’s College of Arts and Science’s Gallery of Distinction, the university’s third highest honor.
After being bombarded with four civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual coercion, Bishop Eddie Long settled the cases out of court, his church recently divulged in a public statement. The lawsuits were filed last September against Bishop Long, leader of the 25,000 plus members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. Four male plaintiffs alleged that Long gave them and others special treatment, including money and gifts, in exchange for oral sex and other sexual favors. Long’s accusers also claimed that his propositions were offered, before they reached the legal age of consent. Now that an agreement has been reached, questions have surfaced regarding the monetary terms of the settlement, and whether Long or the church is paying the tab. “After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. The decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry,” Art Franklin, spokesman for Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, said in a statement.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently deployed 500 officers from Chicago’s Mobile Strike Force and Targeted Response Unit to the streets. The officers began their new assignments last Thursday, the mayor said. Emanuel contends that refocusing law enforcement efforts to include more beat police presence on blocks in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was “essential to fighting crime.” Violent crime was down by 9.8 percent at the end of 2010, compared with the same time the year before, according to police data. And the 436 homicides in the city last year were 24 fewer than the 460 in 2009. Emanuel looks to continue this safety trend, and plans to start with immediate action and force as a basis to his campaign promise of cleaner streets and a reduced crime rate. “Without the security and safety of our streets, we cannot have successful, thriving communities where people want to live and stay,” the mayor said.
As heart disease, obesity, and depression increase in the African American community, the Black Women’s Health Alliance is sounding the alarm by kicking off a new campaign “Creating A Legacy of Wellness: Mind Body and Spirit” with a press event today at Philadelphia City Hall from noon to 2 p.m. The new campaign is designed to engage city and community leaders so they become concerned about the health of their constituents and begin instituting wellness activities and programs in their arenas. “We have to do something to reverse this negative trend toward unhealthy lifestyles in the African American community,” says Brenda Shelton-Dunston, executive director of the Black Women’s Health Alliance. “We hope this event inspires invited guests from area churches and community organizations to make health a No 1 priority.” Philadelphia City Council will designate June 2, as “Creating a the Legacy of Wellness: Mind Body and Spirit Day” in the city.
In what organizers promise will be a “power-packed” celebration, the True Worshipers Worship Center will host the Glory Explosion Conference in Dallas, Texas. The annual worship conference is scheduled for June 10-12 at the Adolphus Hotel. Leading biblical scholars, authors and producers will be featured speakers and seminar leaders during the three-day event. The list includes Cindy Trimm, author of “Rules of Engagement,” Tommy Tenney, producer of the movie “One Night with the King,” and author of “God Chasers.” World-renowned ministers of music, including Terry MacAlmon, David and Nicole Binion, will lead worship and teach workshops at the conference.
According to a report by the Urban Institute, up to 40 percent of all low-income families in the United States experience hardships related to housing. This means that millions of people across the country are in bad economic situations, and thus qualify to live in low-income housing and apartments. To help them best decide where to live, a website managed by the National Low Income Housing Authority at www.LowIncome.org has just added more than 50,000 new properties to their online database. The properties are located in all 50 states, and all of them are vacant and available now for rent. The website is an easy-to-use free online tool that offers valuable information, resources, and tips on how to find and apply for low-income housing programs, affordable housing programs, and other similar government assistance programs. Those who are going through a financial crisis can use the site to find an affordable place to live, to be informed about what their options are, and to be encouraged that there is help available. In addition, the site can be used as a resource on how to best deal with evictions, foreclosures, bad credit and more.
The parents of Trayvon Martin have settled a wrongful death claim against the homeowners association of the Florida neighborhood where the teenager was fatally shot, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.
The report of the settlement comes more than 13 months after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot Martin in Zimmerman’s neighborhood in Sanford, Florida.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising—or necessary—a showdown will be.
In a flier proclaiming “Reaching Higher Together at LAX,” the New Frontier Democratic Club has announced that it will hold a meeting concerning issues involving the Los Angeles International Airport.
At the end of life, Black kidney disease patients are more likely than White patients to continue intensive dialysis instead of choosing hospice care, according to a new study.
Researchers also found that racial differences in kidney disease treatments became more extreme in the highest Medicare spending regions of the U.S.
By September 2012, I had been living on the street consistently for a number of days. I called it my “vampire syndrome”—up all night, sleeping during the day and only staying in someone’s home if they invited me in.