Across Black America week of June 29, 2017.

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 6/29/2017, midnight


A teenager battling cancer, who inspired the Golden State Warriors, achieved yet another victory. WPVI-TV reports that Darryl Aikens graduated from McClymonds High School in Oakland on June 9. The road to graduation was fraught with aggressive treatments and medical procedures, because Aikens is living with leukemia. One such victory was meeting Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and other members of the Golden State Warriors, who felt inspired by Aikens’ tenacity. Last December, the Make a Wish foundation arranged for Aikens to attend a Warriors practice. “This is my first time,” Aikens told KGI-TV. “For me to live in Oakland 19 years and this is my first time being up here. Knowing that it’s up here, but never being invited to come up here.” Aikens was fearful that he wouldn’t reach another milestone in most teenagers’ life: high school graduation. During a visit to the oncologist, his family received the grim prognosis that the cancer had returned, and he had only months to live. Aikens pushed forward with life, however, and he completed the requirements for graduation and walked across the stage.

District of Columbia

Three African-American teens found themselves in handcuffs on June 22 after they were caught selling water bottles at Washington, D.C.’s National Mall without a permit, reports Newsweek. In a statement, Sgt. Anna Rose of the U.S. Park Police said that the teens—two 17 year olds and a 16-year-old—were placed in handcuffs and detained for the “safety of the officers and of the individuals.” A photo snapped of three plainclothes officers detaining the teenagers near the Mall’s Smithsonian Castle went viral June 23 after passerby Tim Krepp, a tour guide, tweeted the image of the boys in handcuffs sitting next to a bin of plastic water bottles. “My kids sell water and everyone smiles at them. These kids do it and get arrested. It IS racist,” Krepp wrote, later adding, “God forbid the actual free market be allowed on our National Mall.” The photo sparked public outrage over the authorities’ aggressive handling of the boys, with several commenters, including Krepp, who called the officers’ decision to handcuff and detain the teens a racial injustice. “There’s obviously a racial disparity in how they are treating these young men and other vendors that we see on the mall,” Krepp wrote. However, Rose said that the incident was “blown out of proportion,” adding, “Vending on the National Mall is illegal without a permit,” Rose said, adding that the teens were released without charges after their parents arrived at the park’s police station.


The Small Business Administration (SBA) said June 21 it is teaming up with New Orleans-based Liberty Bank to guarantee loans for Black business owners, the first such partnership between the agency and a Black-owned bank. The government agency and the U.S. Black Chamber plan to back as much as 50 percent of some business loans provided by Liberty Bank in an attempt to remedy one of the most widely voiced complaints from Black business owners—that they can’t get adequate capital for their enterprises, when they need it. Just 47 percent of Black business owners got the full amount of funding requested from banks, credit unions or other financial institutions, compared with 76 percent of Whites, according to a survey of entrepreneurs conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014, the latest data available. Exacerbating the credit gap, many Black business owners forgo seeking capital in the first place. The fear of being rejected was the top reason cited by Black business owners who chose not to seek capital, with 59 percent saying they didn’t think they would be approved. In general, lending backed by the Small Business Administration helps shield banks from loans that are considered riskier, typically labeled as such if the bank lacks adequate capital or if the business owner has a lower credit score or business revenue. It gives banks the ability to lend to small-business owners who typically wouldn’t qualify for traditional business loans. The formula for deciding whether a loan is risky includes three factors that continue to plague Black-owned banks and businesses. Black-owned banks have significantly less capital on hand than other banks, and Black business owners statistically have lower credit scores and revenue than their White counterparts. “Most lenders have a box, and the access to it is so high that many businesses are unable to reach it and are left out, specifically African-American businesses,” said Ann Duplessis, vice president of Liberty Bank. “This allows us to be flexible. We [can] mitigate that disadvantage.”