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Julianne Malveaux

Stories by Julianne

Democrats still searching for winning formula

Counting the Cost

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel just got spanked. Despite a campaign war chest of more than $15 million and the support of President Barack Obama, the former Congressman and White House chief of staff could not avoid a run-off in the non-partisan mayoral election.

At 100, Olivia Hooker is a living history lesson

Counting the Cost

Olivia Juliet Hooker celebrated her 100th birthday on February 12. In 1944, she was among the first five African American women allowed to serve in the Coast Guard as a SPAR (the acronym derived from the translations of the Coast Guard’s motto, “Semper Paratus, Always Ready”). SPARS was the nickname of the United States Coast Guard’s Women Reserve.

Poverty doesn’t have to be a state of mind

Counting the Cost

The racial differential in the poverty rate is staggering. Last time I checked, about 12 percent of people in the United States, one in eight people are poor. Depending on race and ethnicity, however, poverty is differently experienced. Fewer than one in 10 Whites are poor; more than one in four African Americans and Latinos are poor.

Counting the Cost

Making no progress on race with ‘Progressives’

I like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Her progressive ideas are just what we need while Hilary Clinton is straddling the fence, and still cozying up with bankers. Warren says she isn’t running for president, but there are quite a few political action committees urging her to run.

Counting the Cost

The real Barack Obama re-emerges

President Barack Obama knocked it out of the park during the State of the Union address. He was strong, progressive, firm, and relaxed. He was almost cocky as he offered a few jokes, smugly announced that he would have no more elections, and just generally exuded confidence. Instead of the kumbaya thing, he laid out his priorities to a Republican Congress that will likely block much of what he proposed, especially when it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy to support his free community college program.

World is indifferent to missing Nigerian girls

Counting the Cost

One could not help but be impressed by the millions that turned out in Paris to stand against the Islamist terrorists who killed workers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and four others at a kosher grocery store. Two law enforcement officers were also killed, bringing the total to 17.

The education of Dr. King

Counting the Cost

As he labored for social, civil and economic justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was extremely concerned both about the educational inequities that were a function of segregation, and about the purpose and quality of education. As early as 1947, as a Morehouse College student, he wrote an article, “The Purpose of Education,” for the Maroon Tiger, the college newspaper. His article is as relevant today as it was then.

Counting the Cost

Breathing life into a movement

“I can’t breathe,” gasped Eric Garner, again and again and again. “I can’t breathe,” he said, as several police officers were on top of him, choking him, pushing his head onto the concrete sidewalk. The man was not resisting arrest; he simply had the temerity to ask a police officer not to touch him. And because he was allegedly selling loose cigarettes, the life was choked out of him.

Counting the Cost

Marion Barry: The people’s mayor

Washington, D.C., just lost an icon. In the early morning hours of Nov. 23, D.C.’s “Mayor for Life” succumbed to some of the health challenges that have plagued him for several years. Even in ill health he was, as he had been all his life, an icon to the people, especially those in the poorest part of the city. He distributed turkeys to the poor every year. More importantly, he pushed legislation that would not punish felons when they applied for jobs.

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Twitter sparks debate on White privilege #CrimingWhileWhite

Following the news that New York City officer Daniel Pantaleo, who held unarmed Eric Garner in an against-policy chokehold resulting in his death, would not be indicted, protests broke out around the country in what many called “another total miss” by a grand jury. But what resulted after the outcome of the trial was even more surprising. Scores of White Americans took to Twitter in what may be the largest admission of “White privilege” on record.

The politics of leadership

Counting the Cost

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander will likely become chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Though he has yet to be elected by his Republican peers, he has given several interviews that indicate how he would change the way educational services are delivered in our country. For all his bluster, though, his approach is essentially to privatize and push states rights.

Loretta Lynch deserves swift confirmation

Counting the Cost

African American women were excited about President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. Since she has sailed through two Senate confirmations, her current confirmation ought to move quickly and without controversy.

Democrats have no consistent message

Counting the Cost

Pundits are likely to spend the next several weeks attempting to explain the many reasons that Republicans simply kicked the Democrats square in the hind parts to dominate both houses of Congress in ways that had not been expected. With turnout at an abysmal low—33 percent—two thirds of the electorate didn’t think this election important enough to vote. President Obama had it right when he said he heard them.

Counting the Cost

Online colleges flunk common sense

The most common model of college attendance is that a young person who graduates from high school and heads directly to college, perhaps taking a year off in between to work, take a “13th class.” While many students start off right after high school, some of them have breaks in their higher education, dropping out to save money to continue, or to deal with family matters.

Counting the Cost

The ‘Christmas Creep’

Did you notice that some stores are already touting Christmas sales? They are encouraging people to start buying for Christmas now. We’ve been experiencing this “Christmas creep” for years. Some of us are reluctant to call it “Christmas” creep because there is no Christ or Christianity in the profligate spending that accompanies a season that should be defined by gratitude and reflection. The birth of Christ should symbolize rebirth, the symbolism of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, a signal to reflect on African American community building and spirituality.

Ebola knows no borders

Counting the Cost

When it comes to matters of trade and economics, experts are eager to speak of “globalization.” People are keen to talk about the dissolution of borders and the many ways that countries work together across the globe. At least part of every Apple computer purchased in the U.S. was manufactured or assembled in Ireland. Many call centers are located in the Carribean and India. American companies subcontract these jobs to other countries because hourly wages are lower in those countries than at home.

Countering voter suppression moves

Counting the Cost

The Supreme Court recently blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of voting in Ohio. In just three sentences, the court reduced voting access for tens of thousands of Ohioans, in yet another effort to suppress the vote.

African Americans less ready to retire

Counting the Cost

When the Federal Reserve Board issued its Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF), its findings were not surprising. The report, which is issued every three years, reflected the improved economic conditions since 2010, when the Great Recession was at its peak. The unemployment rate, though unevenly distributed, has dropped, and income and wealth have increased for some groups, but dropped for those at the bottom. Median wealth of African Americans and Latinos (grouped together by SCF reporting) fell from $21,000 to $18,100 while White wealth grew from $139,900 to $142,000. Just under half of all African Americans own homes, compared to nearly 70 percent of Whites, and housing value represents the largest portion of net worth for middle income families. When some of these SCF findings are combined with what we know about pensions and retirement preparedness, the unfortunate conclusion is that African Americans are less ready to retire than Whites, but better prepared than Latinos.

The Boomerang Generation

Counting the Cost

One of the most interesting findings of the data recently released by the Census Bureau is that so many recent college graduates live with their parents. Described as “boomerang” graduates, a third of them occupy a basement, a spare room, their old room, a floor or couch. Blessedly, they have parents with whom to live. And if they are 26 or younger, they have health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

America needs a raise

Counting the Cost

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been floating at or above the 17,000 mark in the past two months–an all time high.

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Back to school, back to basics

Counting the Cost

Between early August and late September, students are going back to school. Before they go to school, though, they and their parents will hit the malls and stationary stores to prepare for their return. Retailers say that students and their parents will spend $75 billion on back-to-school items, and clothing represents about a third of this spending.

Policing the police

Counting the Cost

Except for the Good Lord, everybody has someone or something to “check” him or her. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has an unresponsive Congress to check him, and Supreme Court to do the same. Elected officials are checked by voters (when they vote), and the Securities and Exchange Commission usually checks corporate crooks

Dogs get more respect than Michael Brown

Counting the Cost

It doesn’t matter if you are a state legislator or an alderman, a journalist or a local leader. If you are in Ferguson, Mo., you won’t get any respect. You can be the uncle of a victim whose body was left to lie on the street for several hours and you will not be allowed to cover your young nephew. Not many would let a dog lay uncovered for several hours. Young Black Michael Brown apparently got less consideration than a dog.

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Working at taking a vacation

Counting the Cost

I don’t do vacations well. I have to be pushed and prodded, just about guilt-tripped, into taking time off. Sure, I’ll take an hour here, an evening there, to read a book or play word games. But it just about takes an act of God to get me to go play.

Economic growth is up; will it trickle down?

counting the Cost

Last quarter’s rate of economic growth is good news, especially after the economy stalled, losing momentum in the first quarter of 2014. Many said it was an aberration caused by bad weather, especially since economic growth in the last half of 2013 was more than three percent.

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Dogs eat better than 1 million children

Counting the Cost

The South African charity Feed A Child (http://www.feedachild.co.za/) chose to highlight child poverty in South Africa by portraying a little Black boy being fed like a dog by a seemingly affluent White woman. In the ad, the boy has his head on the woman’s lap, he’s kneeling at her feet, on his knees, and licking off her fingers. The point, they say? According to the ad’s tagline “The average dog eats better than millions of children.”

Independence? Advertising, support, and African American organizations

Counting the Cost

In the “afterglow” of the Fourth of You Lie, I am flipping through an African American magazine, enjoying the content, but looking for the “bite.” For how can you not bite, when you look at the space in which African American people occupy? Our middle class is growing, but fragile. The level of poverty among African Americans has hardly changed in the past decade. Unemployment rates for African Americans remain high, despite talk of economic “recovery.” But too many of our organizations have little bark, and even less bite.

Ikea does its part to fill the wage gap

Counting the Cost

President Barack Obama would like the national minimum wage to rise to $10.10 an hour. By executive order, he has already raised the minimum wage for federal contractors. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has threatened to sue President Obama for his use of executive order, which he says circumvents Congressional authority.

The face of economic recovery

Counting the Cost

At its June 18-19 meeting, the Federal Reserve is hedging its bets. It says the United States economy is on the mend, but more slowly than expected.

Did the UNCF make a deal with the devil?

Counting the Cost

When the Koch Foundation gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, it set off a maelstrom of comments in cyberspace and real time. “How dare the UNCF take money from the Koch brothers?,” some asked. “They ought to send it back,” said others. One woman told me she would never give to UNCF again because of the Koch donation. Another said the Koch donation changes her perception of UNCF.

A pledge to keep to our youth

Counting The Cost

As young people graduate from high school, or finish the school year as sophomores and juniors, they begin to search for summer jobs. For the past several summers, the jobs have not been there, and this summer will be no different. It is true that economists are projecting a better employment situation for the college graduates who are entering the labor market now. At the same time, those high school graduates who must save money for college incidentals and other needs will have a hard time finding work.

Remembering Maya Angelou

Counting the Cost

Many people will remember Maya Angelou for her phenomenal career. She was a true renaissance woman–an author, teacher, dancer, performer, radio personality and a producer. I will remember her as a sister friend, and a wise “auntie” who didn’t mind pulling your coat. She was a generous spirit who made time for virtually any who asked, a gentle and kind spirit.

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Dishonoring our vets

Counting the Cost

The last Monday in May, Memorial Day, was designed to honor those who died in service to our country. It is tragically ironic that around the same time we are honoring and remembering the dead, we are learning about deficiencies in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that negatively affect the quality of life for those who were injured during their term of service.

The 60-year journey from segregation

Counting The Cost

Because I was a horribly ill-behaved child, I found myself shipped from San Francisco to Moss Point, Miss. in August 1969. My mother’s plan was that I’d spend my junior year in high school there and live with my schoolteacher aunt, Annie Mae Randall, who was somewhat affectionately known as the “kid breaker.” It was legend that if you did not understand rules she would beat them into you, but her method was unlimited interrogation, not physical correction (much).

‘Nodding’ on Nigeria

Counting The Cost

Years after he stepped down from his presidency, William Jefferson Clinton acknowledged that he should have intervened in the conflict in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands perished from the genocide that shaped the country. In his zeal for international peace, President Clinton intervened in Ireland, the Middle East and Bosnia. He acknowledged that had the United States intervened in Rwanda at least 300,000 deaths may have been prevented.

Cold Winter or Stalled Recovery?

Counting the Cost

During 2013, the U.S. economy experienced a reasonable level of growth. The 3.4 percent growth rate in the second half of the year represented a solid growth rate, not enough to trickle down to those who live on the periphery of the economy. Those with low or stagnant wages might find that their lives have not improved by 3.4 percent. Indeed, the gains from gross domestic product growth may mostly be captured by the wealthy.

Slamming the door, again

Counting The Cost

The Roberts Supreme Court recently decided that the state of Michigan had the right to vote against affirmative action policies in college admissions. Michigan State is one of many where mediocre White students challenge the fact that African American students, far more qualified than they are, have been admitted to college. This has happened in Texas and California, among other states. These challenges to affirmative action have roots in the 1976 Bakke case, where 38-year-old Alan Bakke sued because his application to medical school was rejected and he felt that he was displaced in favor of a minority student. The Supreme Court ordered Bakke admitted to the University of California at Davis, and also ruled that affirmative action was permissible but not mandatory.

Mental illness: A disease of denial

Counting the Cost

“I’m tired,” my sisterfriend says. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.” As I hear her, I have a couple of choices. One is to tell her to get with her pastor and pray; the other is to tell her to get real with her illness. Running her to her pastor takes her to a familiar place. Pushing her to get help takes her out of her comfort zone. When my beloved brothers and sisters share that they are stymied in the way they live their lives, I don’t mind praying and encouraging spiritual counsel, but I do mind ignoring the medicinal help that could assist my sisterfriend.

Is story of Black women struggling financially too ‘unremarkable’ for media?

Counting the Cost

When John and Ann started working on January 1, 2013, John had something of an advantage. Because women earn 77 cents for every dollar John earns, it will take Ann until April 11, 2014 to earn the same amount of money that John earned in the calendar year of 2013. The issue of unequal pay is so pressing that President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act 50 years ago. While we have “come a long way, baby”, the pay gap has remained stubborn. This is why President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act as soon as he assumed office.

Voter Suppression Continues

Counting the Cost

I love voting. Every time I go into the booth, I see little girl me, pigtails and all, plaid skirt, white blouse and green sweater... part of my Catholic school uniform. Most of my family were democrats, though my grandmother voted Republican a time or two because “Lincoln freed the slaves.” In 1960 I had the privilege of pulling the lever to elect John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the candidate that the nuns at Immaculate Conception Elementary School rhapsodized over.

May I have your attention, please?

Counting the Cost

If you missed the news about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 over the Indian Ocean, you must have been buried in sand. For two weeks we have been bombarded with theories–was it terrorism? Pilot error? Something else?

Firm in My Feminism

Counting The Cost

In a world that is dominated by men, especially White men, feminism is, for me, an empowering concept. It is a movement, which in the United States—according to Wiki, is aimed at “defining, establishing and defending equal social, economic and political rights for women.” It is certainly possible to argue that women have come a long way, but while we out-enroll men in college attendance, we don’t out earn them, no matter our level of education. We don’t out-represent them in elected office, or even in the higher echelons of employment, such as the Fortune 500 corporations. Women are doing better than we ever did and we still have a long way to go.

Black Women’s History is Women’s History Too

Counting The Cost

Since March is Women’s History month, who are the women you are celebrating? Do you know about Elizabeth Keckley? Maggie Lena Walker, Sarann Knight Preddy, Gertrude Pocte Geddes-Willis, Trish Millines Dziko, Addie L. Wyatt or Marie-Therese Metoyer? What about Ernesta Procope, Dr. Sadie Alexander, Or Dr. Phyllis Wallace? What about Bettiann Gardner, Lillian Lambert, or Emma Chappell? What about Ellen Holly, Mary Alice, or Edmonia Lewis? If we knew anything about these women, it might cause all of us, African American men and women, to walk a bit more lightly, hold our heads a bit higher, and revel in the accomplishments of our foremothers and fathers.

The Obama Legacy

Counting the Cost

President Barack Obama has announced My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative to help young Black and Brown men succeed in the east wing of the White House. Many present described the announcement of this initiative as “an emotional moment” for President Obama and for many of the others gathered there.

Who should be afraid?

Counting the Cost

In the years after enslavement ended, Southern Whites did all they could to return to a manner of slavery. No White person “owned” a Black person, but many behaved as if they did.

Clarence Thomas lacks institutional memory

Counting the Cost

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is at it again. Whenever he opens his mouth about race, he displays a surprising myopia for a 65-year-old African American man who was raised in the Deep South during a segregated era.

Monetizing a Massacre

Counting the Cost

Had he not massacred Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman would be an average White man holding down a mediocre job, living under the radar, and aspiring for a law enforcement job. He and his wife would probably be divorcing (as they are now) on account of his brutality (she cites his beatings in her divorce proceedings). Nobody, but nobody, would know his name or give a hoot about him.

Counting the Cost

Children—Collateral Damage in the War on Women

In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union (SOU) address, he appealed to our nation’s employers to raise wages from the current minimum of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

Hypocrisy, Hip-Hopcrisy, and the Real Meaning of the Dream

Counting the Cost

Mid-January is the time when Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is commemorated. Cities, towns, and colleges across the country lift their voices and rise up the language of Dr. King’s dream that people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

The War on Poverty - Part Two

Counting the Cost

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a war on poverty. Appalled by the way too many Americans lived, he empowered federal workers to develop and implement programs that created jobs, health care, housing and legal assistance. Some of the funds were given to states, and some were given to cities. In any case, President Johnson was committed to closing income gaps, and up to a point he was successful.

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