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Julianne Malveaux

Stories by Julianne

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.

Wishes for the New Year

Happy New Year! January first and second are the days when most think of the “new” year, yet with the first Monday in January falling on Jan. 6, that’s probably when most people will return to their desks with focused energy and ready to go. Post-its and scrawled notebook paper will trumpet “new” resolutions.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the biased lens of history

Counting the Cost

Theoretically, Thanksgiving celebrates the breaking of bread between Native Americans and Pilgrims, who might have starved were it not for the generosity of those who first occupied this country.

Wages, not welfare

Counting the Cost

For the past year, an organization called OUR Walmart, has protested, raised questions and asked their employer, one of the nation’s largest, to treat them fairly.

Who will defend Black women?

Counting the Cost

All Renisha McBride wanted to do was to go home. She had been in a car accident, her cell phone was dead and she needed help.

Counting the Cost

The NAACP needs a woman leader

The NAACP needs a woman leader. I'm not the one. I love the NAACP. I’ve been a member since I was 10 years old. I sizzle at the history and at the historic leaders (W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, James Weldon Johnson, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, and so many others). With its 30-year campaign to stop lynching to its more contemporary work in voting registration, the NAACP has always been involved in the struggle for justice and equality. Once upon a time, the NAACP was considered so “subversive” that southern teachers who belonged to the organization were fired. Today, many consider the NAACP “respectable,” forgetting that different times call for different tactics. Thus, when I first heard that the presidency of the NAACP was available, I was excited. After all, which civil rights leader, policy activist, speaker and writer would not want to lead our nations’ oldest and premier civil rights organization. As if I was playing with a Rubik’s cube, I was twisting the squares to make them fit. They don’t. The NAACP leadership would have been a perfect job for me 10 years ago, or even five. Right now, I am playing to my “sweet spot,” lecturing, writing and empowering young people. People I don’t even know have asked me if I’ll be the next president of the NAACP. They don’t understand process. There’s a search firm, hundreds of applications on file, criteria that have not been shared. Could I compete? Absolutely. Do I want to compete? No. Why would I not consider taking the helm of a beloved and historic organization? In addition to talking and writing, NAACP leadership includes fundraising. Ben Jealous set a high bar by raising tens of millions of dollars to move the organization forward. That’s a record it will be difficult to top. The person to improve on the Jealous record will be a sister with indefatigable energy, fundraising acumen, board management skills and more. Daily, I ask my higher power that my steps are ordered in ways that serve the least and the left out and that nourish me. I will write until I cannot hold a pen, talk until I cannot embrace a microphone. And, as I have been given the gift of mentorship, I will always do whatever I can do to help young people, and especially young women reach and exceed their goals. If it is meant for me to find other ways to serve, I will embrace that opportunity. My wish for the NAACP is that they will find a mature, well-prepared and solidly grounded woman who is a great fundraiser, an eloquent speaker, and an efficient manager. She should be willing and able to commit at least 10 years to the organization. She should be a sister with a steep learning curve. And she must love people and abhor injustice with a passion. Economic justice is still a subversive concept. While the economy is in the doldrums and unemployment rates stuck above seven percent, our Congress prefers to subsidize agriculture and cut food stamps, not examining the injustice that will affect between 3 and 4 million people. While banks are bailed out, those they cheated with subprime lending have lost their homes with no bailout. While the blue-chip status of U.S. bonds faced a downgrade thanks to the government shutdown, those with low credit scores face employment discrimination because of those low scores. There are administrative assistants who pay a higher rate of taxes than their bosses because of tax loopholes. Economic justice? Not with these rules. Poverty stifles economic growth. Forty-five years after Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, some of the same challenges face the contemporary poor. One in eight Americans, and more than one in four African Americans and Latinos live in poverty. Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty of the sixties has become a war on poor people in the 21st century. Elected officials regularly excoriate poor people as being “lazy,” and efforts to raise the minimum wage are often dismissed. From my perspective, however, the poor are some of the hardest working people I know. Most inequity issues, ranging from inequality in education, to inequality in incarceration, are economic issues. These are the issues the contemporary civil rights movement must tackle. One of those leaders will be the woman who will lead the NAACP. She deserves our enthusiastic support! Julianne Malveaux is a D.C.-based economist and writer and president emerita of Bennett College for Women. DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of OurWeekly.

The masks we wear: trick, treat, and tragedy

Counting the Cost

In 1896, “Lyrics of Lowly Life,” a collection of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry was published. Although his poem was specifically focused on African American people, in this 21st century, it is apropos to many.

‘Lazy’ and crazy

Voter suppression is alive and well, especially in the state of North Carolina, where a Republican official, Don Yelton, proved himself to be at best intellectually limited, and at worse, downright crazy.

Stop the slavery comparisons

Counting the Cost

The brilliant surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, is out of order and out of control when he compares the Affordable Care Act to slavery. As a physician, he must know how many people lack healthcare, and how much work this administration has done to right that wrong.

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Detroit bankruptcy: undemocratic, fiscally imprudent

Counting the Cost

You don’t have to be from Detroit to be angry at what is happening there. And you don’t have to be from Detroit to lend your voice to an injustice that not only affects Detroit, but also the rest of the nation. If you agree with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on this matter, please go to change.org, search for Detroit bankruptcy, and sign the Rainbow/PUSH-sponsored petition.

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Nice house, kid in college

While some members of Congress are foregoing pay as long as other government workers are shut out of their offices, Republican Congressman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) says he won’t be giving his up.

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Budgetary brinkmanship

As I write this column, I have no idea whether Congress finally evaded the government shutdown that would happen on Oct. 1. (It did not).

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Cuts in SNAP: no food for the hungry

Steven and Laurie, a White married couple who live near Richmond, Va., work at a big box store. She as a cashier; he in the storeroom.

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What does limited action mean?

President Barack Obama stepped on a big limb when he threatened “limited action” against Syria because the country allegedly used chemical weapons against their own people.

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After the March on Washington

Counting the Cost

The 1963 March on Washington was a pivotal moment for African Americans, a day when people joined to fight for jobs, peace and justice. More than 250,000 people traveled to Washington, coming by busses, trains, and occasionally planes.

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Russell Simmons, Harriet Tubman and the history of myopia

Every time I hear the voice of Russell Simmons, I hear a cool, clean, clear meditative voice, especially on Twitter where he drops his yoga knowledge in a reflective way. I guess he wasn’t folding his legs and saying a centered “Om” when he decided to ridicule an African woman.

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Dropping the baton

Research shows that this generation of young people, no matter their race, are likely to do less well than their parents did. Shackled by a trillion dollars worth of student loans and a flat labor market, the New York-based Demos organization says the student loan burden prevents young people from buying homes and amassing wealth.

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What is a living wage?

Counting the Cost

Workers at fast food restaurants recently demonstrated outside their places of employment, highlighting the low wages they receive and demanding more. They say twice as much, or $15 an hour, will provide them with a living wage.

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Student loan resolution—better than nothing?

The United States Senate finally stepped up to ensure that student loan rates would not double, as might have happened.

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What African Americans can learn from South Africa

Nelson Mandela turned 95 years old on Thursday, July 18. He has been hospitalized for more than a month, and the world holds its breath as we witness the decline of the lion who roared for freedom in South Africa.

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The scourge of gun violence

Trayvon Martin might not be dead except for the fact that George Zimmerman carried a gun around and acted as a wannabe policeman. Rev. Al Sharpton and others deserve props for rallying people and insisting that Zimmerman be brought to trial.

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Limiting women’s rights

Effort underway to return to the days of back alley abortions

I was 20 when Roe v. Wade was decided. A year before the decision, a young woman who lived in my dormitory attempted to abort her fetus and hemorrhaged so badly that she was hospitalized.

Counting the Cost

The minimum wage for the least and left out

It seems that the term “poverty” has been sidelined from our national discourse, even though 15 percent of all Americans and 26 percent of African Americans experience poverty. The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed on June 25, 1938, 75 years ago, so perhaps this is a good time to explore the roots of the minimum wage and why its establishment remains important.

If you don’t like disparities, try equality

Last week I attended a “think tank” conversation with leaders of the Rodham Institute, a newly established center at George Washington University that is dedicated to reducing health disparities in Washington, D.C. This is an important effort, because D.C. is such a divided city.

How Big Brother uses data collection

When George Orwell wrote the novel “1984,” he envisioned a character, a real or imagined “Big Brother” who was a know-all, see-all, omnipotent and elusive presence that intruded into lives because he could. Those who knew about “him” were told that they did not exist, but in many ways, Big Brother may not have existed either. The omnipotence had taken on a life of its own.

The uneven recovery

Wealth gaps were significant before the recession

Although the overall unemployment rate still exceeds 7 percent, and the official Black unemployment rate is greater than 13 percent, there are some who insist that there is a robust economic recovery in progress.

The uneven recovery

Although the overall unemployment rate still exceeds 7 percent, and the official Black unemployment rate...

Federal contracting promotes inequality

On May 21, I had the opportunity to testify before a Congressional Progressive Caucus meeting on the fact that federal dollars drive inequality by paying contractors who pay too many of their workers very little.

Federal contracting promotes inequality

On May 21, I had the opportunity to testify before a Congressional Progressive Caucus meeting...

What is more importantsports or education?

Why does sports play such a prominent role in college education? Does it crowd out...

At Last

When Beyoncé Knowles sang the Etta James song "At Last" at President Barack Obama's 2009...

Examining the flawed immigration reform bill

The Senate's Gang of Eight have put together an 844-page monstrosity known as the Border...

Achievement gap or opportunity gap?

African American students achieve at a different level than White students. Test scores are lower,...

When in doubt, blame a dark-skinned man

I don't know where CNN's John King got the information that a suspect in the...

Obamacare, Obamaphone, whats next Obamafood?

The right wing seems determined to associate President Barack Obama with any government program that...

Who bears the burden of unemployment?

Unemployment rates were "little changed" in March 2013; they were either holding steady or dropping...

Medical attitudes maintain health disparities

Anna Brown, a St. Louis-based homeless woman needed treatment for a sprained ankle. She went...

Diversity for Catholics, not for others

The selection of Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the next leader of the Catholic...

Whose employment situation has improved?

When unemployment rate data were released on Friday morning, commentators replied joyfully. Alan Krueger, who...

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