Across Black America for October 21, 2010

10/20/2010, 5 p.m.

Here's a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.

The nearly 6,000 students at Alabama A&M University now have some assurance that their campus bus system will remain a reliable mode of transportation thanks to a recent $620,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration. Now the university's bus system will be able to install and/or replace bus shelters and build a secure bus maintenance facility. The funds, awarded from the 'State of Good Repair' program, will also allow the school to construct better parking facilities for the school's fleet of buses.

District of Columbia
A group of roughly 40 current and former Washington, D.C. Black firefighters filed a class action lawsuit in the U. S. District Court against the D.C. Fire Department alleging racial discrimination in promotions and disciplinary actions. According to the firefighter's attorney, Donna Rucker, the workers-who insist their action aims to achieve fairness rather than focusing on monetary damages-have discovered a pattern of discrimination that has existed for years, and targets African-American firefighters and emergency medical technicians for punitive treatment and limited promotion. "There appears to be disparity in treatment in terms of how the fire department deals with individuals," Rucker said. "There seems to be a divided line. You can have one offense and have treatment for an African American handled one way, and treatment for someone who's not African American handled another way." The suit alleges that in addition to facing harsher disciplinary penalties, Blacks encounter what they term a hostile environment on the job, while their White counterparts receive lighter penalties and easier advancement.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will embark upon a national multi-year campaign to educate and enlighten the community about how to manage asthma through its Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative. The program was launched in Tampa on October 20 as part of National Head Start Awareness Month. The sorority utilized thousands of members who spread out to the nearly 1,000 communities worldwide where Alpha Kappa Alpha has chapters. The initiative's goal is to reach millions of people afflicted with the disease, with a particular emphasis on reaching minority children.

Atlanta's Bishop Eddie Long continues to find himself in hot water, as a bank has filed suit against him for defaulting on a property loan. The suit claims that Long and two business partners, Frederick Folson and Marrion Heflin, owe $1.9 million on a loan issued by the State Bank and Trust and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The money was invested in a Hoops N' Fitness, a gym in Jonesboro, Ga. This marks the fifth lawsuit filed against the leader of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in less than a month. The loan has so far accrued $32,000 in interest which increases at a rate of about $300 per day.

Purdue University is renovating a library that will become the first building on campus to be named in honor of an African American alumnus. Roland Parrish, who attended Purdue on a athletic scholarship but ended up leaving the school with a master's in management, gave $2 million toward the renovation of the Management and Economics Library in the Krannert School of Management. Parrish owns Parrish McDonald's Restaurants Ltd.,--a chain of 25 restaurants in north Texas.