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William Covington

Stories by William

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Fidel Castro’s unrecognized impact on the African Diaspora

With the recent death of Fidel Castro, it is well worth reviewing the impact this dictator had on people of African descent in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. Born in August 1926, in Birán, Oriente, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, was the son of a nouveau riche sugarcane farm owner originally from Galicia, Spain. Growing into adulthood, Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana.

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Fidel Castro’s unrecognized impact on the African Diaspora

With the recent death of Fidel Castro, it is well worth reviewing the impact this dictator had on people of African descent in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States.

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An open-letter to my sons about President (Elect) Trump

I decided to write this letter to tell you guys, first and foremost, that I love you. As I sat down to write this, I realized that I have not told you how much I love you since you were pre-teens. Fathers will often neglect telling their sons “I love you.” We will, however, express how proud we are of your grades in school or your performance in sports, etc., but many of us are conditioned or refrain from using the word “love,” when it comes to our sons. I cannot explain why, other than to say that we wish to meet all of your needs and most of your wants, and we shower you with whatever gifts we can afford to give you. Maybe we feel in doing so, our actions symbolize the love we have for you.

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An open-letter to my sons about President (Elect) Trump

I decided to write this letter to tell you guys, first and foremost, that I love you. As I sat down to write this, I realized that I have not told you how much I love you since you were pre-teens. Fathers will often neglect telling their sons “I love you.” We will, however, express how proud we are of your grades in school or your performance in sports, etc., but many of us are conditioned or refrain from using the word “love,” when it comes to our sons. I cannot explain why, other than to say that we wish to meet all of your needs and most of your wants, and we shower you with whatever gifts we can afford to give you.

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West Adams shooting may lead to gang war

Jamaican gang leader among deceased

Two suspects were in custody Oct. 16 following a mass shooting that killed three people and wounded 12 others in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.

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Jefferson’s unsung heroes

Veterans remembered as historic high school celebrates centennial

True Story: Twenty years ago I was invited to a Christmas party given by a King Drew pharmacist who graduated from Crenshaw High School in the 1980s. The house was filled with medical professionals, as well as former alumni of Crenshaw and Dorsey. As one of the Crenshaw alumni who invited me introduced me to one of her former classmates, she jokingly pointed to me and said, “He went to Jeff.”

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A Trump White House

The possibility of a Trump presidency generates fear

According to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are deadlocked less than a month before the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions.

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Palliative care unplugged

The death of a parent is an inevitable, normal biological process. However, due to modern science we are able to delay death by days, weeks and sometimes even years.

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The search for Fred Kawano

Our brother from the land of the rising son

Fred Kawano, now 93 years old, is a Nisei, a person of Japanese descent, born and educated in the United

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Walmart: An economic super power retrenches

The economic impact of the closure of Walmart that is expected to hit the Baldwin Hills Mall is bad and inevitable, according to Stuart Rosenthal, an urban economics professor at the University of Syracuse.

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Reality or myth? Following the lives of the ‘Three Wise Men’

Twenty three years ago during the Christmas season, I stood in amazement in Inglewood and watched thousands of people pass through the area over the course of the holiday season, which began the week of Thanksgiving and ran through the end of the first week of January.

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Youth lead new levels of protest

This is not your mama’s civil rights movement

Recently, in a repeat of actions reminiscent of college campuses 50 years ago, African American students have gathered in solidarity in an effort to change the learning institutions they attend, and these protests have gone viral. This week Our Weekly was able to interview an organizer at the center of the storm.

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Gangs, reality and mental illness

It's Monday morning at a Los Angeles facility referred to as Youth Guidance Center (YGC), a state-funded residential facility for at-risk youth.

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Discipline or excessive force?

Student, officer battle in South Carolina classroom

Steve Fuji closely studies the video on his laptop as he smokes his third cigarette and drinks green tea. The 77-year-old Japanese American is a sixth-degree black belt and teaches compliance techniques for the Orange and Los Angeles County probation departments, as well as a number of school district police agencies. Compliance techniques specialize in training officers to use pressure points to cause non-damaging pain that force compliance.

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Indian motels and the ‘Untouchables’ of Los Angeles

Exactly 53 days ago, a 26-year-old African American male was shot dead in Venice. According to authorities, the shooting was supposedly a result of the owner of the Cadillac Hotel, Sris Sinnathamby, 54, hiring an Hispanic gang member to kill Jascent-Jamal Lee Warren (aka Shakespeare), a homeless musician. Sinnathamby was arrested shortly afterwards for the shooting.

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Katrina: A history of mistakes and missteps

Early in the morning on Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States. As a result, the vibrant and cheerful city of New Orleans was quickly transformed into an underwater wasteland. In a matter of days, the world was reminded of mother nature’s devastating power and inevitability. As the storm progressed, historic landmarks were reduced to rubble; entire neighborhoods drowned under the overwhelming deluge of surging river water; lifeless bodies dotted the battered landscape; and throngs of displaced residents from the Lower 9th Ward and surrounding areas had to withstand inhumane living conditions before they were finally rescued and transported to safe zones. These heart-wrenching images won’t soon be forgotten by the American public. They illustrate the grim reality of human vulnerability and mortality.

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Upscale Black enclaves face changing neighborhoods

Baldwin Hills resident Jack Horn places a leash on his daughter’s American Eskimo dog, while his wife looks at him and laughs. “You are going to walk the dog this morning?” she asks.

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Suge Knight’s “Straight Outta Compton”

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, Calif., were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up there into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. The movie—“N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton”—tells the astonishing story of how these young men revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the ’hood; they ignited a cultural war.

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... and the winner isn’t:

Legitimate Complaint or Sour Grapes? The pros and cons of Oscar omission

“The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets.” —Al Sharpton in a statement released on the afternoon after this year’s Oscar nominations.

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s European Odyssey

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” —Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s European Odyssey

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” —Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

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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.

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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 funkiest UFO in the galaxy

The untold story of the ‘Mothership Connection’

I was first introduced to the term “Mothership” in the summer of 1968. During that time, it was very common to find African American male youth hanging out in the inner city, enjoying the simple pleasures of summer vacation. There were no trips to Disneyland or summer camp. Just treks to our neighborhood public swimming pool at South Park, bikes, skates, balls, and the large magnolia tree (which we would congregate under, if there was no money to pay for swimming), and Brother Eddie Grayson, a member of Mosque No. 27 of the Nation of Islam Los Angeles, who all the neighborhood boys knew as the recruiter.

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‘In the war on drugs, which side is the CIA on?’

The Hollywood film industry has churned out two movies this month covering the crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged Black communities in the 1980s. One, a docu-drama produced for the big screen called “Kill the Messenger,” and the other is a documentary titled “Freeway: Crack in the System.”

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African American serial killers

Little known, but always there

Author’s note: As a fourth grader, wanting to be accepted by older guys as “cool” is an important milestone in any culture. In my old neighborhood, a small part of socially fitting-in with the older teenagers was the ability to endure scary stories.

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The Ebola epidemic: no end in sight

Promising trial drugs denied for those most in need

Authors Note: I was first introduced to the Ebola virus in 1978 while attending California State University Long Beach. At that time, Ebola was just two years old and known in the scientific community as a Marburg-like virus (a virus first discovered in Marburg, Germany, in 1967. Since then the virus has hit Africa seven times.)

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The Ebola epidemic: no end in sight

Promising trial drugs denied for those most in need

Authors Note: I was first introduced to the Ebola virus in 1978 while attending California State University Long Beach. At that time, Ebola was just two years old and known in the scientific community as a Marburg-like virus (a virus first discovered in Marburg, Germany, in 1967. Since then the virus has hit Africa seven times.)

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Shot in fear

The role phobia plays in the deaths of Black men

At a National Black Peace Officer conference held last week in Los Angeles, officers spoke on the recent series of shootings involving African American men. Officers were polled and felt, in most cases, incidents like these are based on fear—the fear of the African American male.

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Nigerian unrest due to unequal distribution of resources

Abducted school girls pawns in a dangerous game

Three months after 276 young girls were stolen from the “safety” of the private Chibok School in Northern Nigeria by armed insurgents of Boko Haram, one native of the region with a deep understanding of the history and geopolitical dynamics, said the real story has not been told by the mainstream media. According to Ebuna Naka, a successful businessman who made millions importing hair relaxer into his homeland during the jheri curl fad, and whose family served in politics, medicine and owned two hospitals, there is a back story that underlies the kidnapping.

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Nigerian unrest due to unequal distribution of resources

Abducted school girls pawns in a dangerous game

Three months after 276 young girls were stolen from the “safety” of the private Chibok School in Northern Nigeria by armed insurgents of Boko Haram, one native of the region with a deep understanding of the history and geopolitical dynamics, said the real story has not been told by the mainstream media. According to Ebuna Naka, a successful businessman who made millions importing hair relaxer into his homeland during the jheri curl fad, and whose family served in politics, medicine and owned two hospitals, there is a back story that underlies the kidnapping.

Murders of prominent Gospel musicians remain unsolved

Killed as L.A. became music hub

Author’s note: Sept. 30 1975. I was traveling southbound down McKinley Avenue, and I noticed something very odd—a church building draped in black fabric. It appeared to be hundreds of yards of cloth hanging from the roof along the front of the building and blowing periodically in the wind. As a 16-year-old youth, I thought it was a special religious celebration or some Christian holiday I wasn’t aware of.

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The power and influence of African American Gospel

More than simple words, this music inspires action around the world

As the end of June comes upon us and we prepare for our nation’s celebration of its independence from the English, we bid farewell to the time that has become known as Black Music Month.

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Nigeria’s abducted girls

Nearly 300 failed by a system built to protect them

Authors Note: On October 25, 2006 OurWeekly Publisher and CEO Natalie Cole interviewed former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young. They discussed several topics both local and international. Among the topics was the failure of the United States to intervene in the genocide that was taking place in the Sudan at that time. Ambassador Young responded, “There are several issues when planning covert action in Africa. The primary issue is logistics. The secondary, war is expensive and we had our nose bloodied during the Clinton administration’s involvement in Mogadishu. Lastly, the political culture of Africa can be difficult; you are not only dealing with different political parties, you are dealing with Christians versus Muslims, old tribal issues, and numerous social factors.

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Haze Daze

California’s emerging medical marijuana economy

The American crime drama Breaking Bad created and produced by Vince Gilligan depicts the main character, actor Bryan Cranston, as high school chemistry teacher Walter White, who uses his knowledge of physical science to produce crystal methamphetamine, or crystal meth as it’s more commonly called. White can be best described as an “American citizen gone bad” according to a recent article in TV Guide

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Breaking Buds

South Los Angeles’ and medical marijuana economy

Author’s note: On December 9, 2010 OurWeekly ran a cover story on the medical marijuana industry in South Los Angeles with a focus on African American dispensaries. There has been a marked increase of new medical marijuana clinics and clubs in the community since that article published. This may appear at odds with an ordinance approved by the Los Angeles City Council to shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries and impose strict rules on the operation and locations of these cannabis clubs, shops and collectives. The ordinance capped the number of dispensaries at 70 (with the exception of those registered with the city prior to 2007). At press time, hundreds of new establishments have opened in the city since the passing of that ordinance. In anticipation of April 20, or “420” widely recognized as the Smoker’s Holiday, OW decided to take another look into the budding industry.

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Chicken and Watermelon a fabricated history

African Americans and their sordid history with food stereotypes

I never realized that my parents (both deceased) had a problem with chicken and watermelon until the summer of 1968. My mother had just completed nursing school and in celebration of her graduation, my parents decided to take us out to eat at Ontra Cafeteria, a restaurant that was located on Crenshaw Blvd., where the Baldwin Hills Wal-Mart stands today. My brothers and I were instructed to grab a tray and follow our parents down the food serving counters and if we wanted a serving of something just let the server know. A simple task. We were familiar with food lines; between the three of us we had years of experience dining in the cafeteria at 49th Street Elementary School.

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The KGB’s plan to eliminate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Race War

Author Note: During the Cold War era (1947-1989) both the United States and the Soviet Union fought an on going battle without bullets or bombs being used directly against the other—a type of undeclared limited war.

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The handshake

nHistorical context gives insight into actions at Mandela memorial

“This has been an unknown continent to us because it was dominated by Europe. Now it’s opening up, and we want to be part of it. And our interest is wholly disinterested. We have no great commercial history. We have no record of exploitation. We have supported the United Nations effort in Africa. We want them to be independent.” —President John F. Kennedy, 1962

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The transformation of a third grader

Some say it’s “OK” because it’s sports

By now, whether you are a National Football League fan or not, you have probably heard of tackle Jonathan Martin and offensive lineman Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins. Although not verified, it has been rumored that besides protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Sundays, Incognito’s other job was to toughen up Martin, a 24-year-old African American second-year offensive lineman.

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African Slavery: The New Hollywood Renaissance

With the recent release of “12 Years A Slave” and “Django Unchained” and numerous slave genre movies awaiting release, it appears the slavery motif is possibly generating a new African American Renaissance in Hollywood.

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The N word

Time and a generation is heralding a changed meaning

Nearly two weeks ago a federal jury in New York ruled that Rob Carmona, who identifies as Black and Hispanic and STRIVE, the nonprofit employment agency he co-founded, must pay punitive damages to African American employee, Brandi Johnson.

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Who lives and who dies: African Americans and organ transplants

When the 15-year-old Georgia resident was denied an opportunity to get on the heart transplant list by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, allegedly because of his lifestyle, the dark underbelly of the transplant system was exposed.

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Rocker Ted Nugent and experts on fear chime in on Trayvon Martin case

Killing Blacks: fear of the unknown

Rock ‘n’ Roll icon Ted Nugent in a interview with the Rolling Stone in February described how he celebrates Black History Month every day because his “fire-breathing musical career was literally launched by Black musical thundergods,” including Bo Diddley, Little Richard, James Brown, Wilson Pickett and more.

The autobiography of Malcolm Shabazz

People often describe me as troubled. I'm not going to say that I'm not. But...

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Gun culture in South L.A.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Gun culture in South L.A.

View Park resident and retired Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) police officer David Anthony...

What drove Dorners rage?

In the movie "Django Unchained," a slave gets his revenge on White slave owners by...

PAFF brings the Diaspora to the screen

The 12-year-old wears neat pigtails. Her dry, black skin seems to match the barren surroundings...

Following the star

One of the more memorable images in the Bible is that of the journey made...

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