Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Recently the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) and partner Affordable Housing CDC, Inc. (AHCDC) celebrated the grand opening of Dolores McCoy Villa, a newly constructed 64-unit affordable apartment complex jointly developed by both organizations. McCoy Villa provides supportive services to help homeless families in Watts make a new start. All residents (formerly homeless, or formerly incarcerated and low-income) receive a range of personalized social services, including case management, budget counseling, employment training and placement, academic counseling, access to healthcare and substance-abuse services, and assistance focused on families and independent living skills. The grand opening celebration included a tour of apartment units, recognition of the development partners, and special comments by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Laura Richardson, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Councilwoman Janice Hahn.
Carlina White, who was only 2-weeks-old when she kidnapped, was recently reunited with her biological family in the Bronx. She credits the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with assisting her. White had been stolen and taken to Connecticut shortly after her abduction report was released. As an adult after several failed attempts to find her birth certificate and Social Security card, White began searching for answers to questions about her life on the Internet. She eventually fell upon what seemed to be her profile—which included a picture, family history and abduction date—and later opted for confirmation through DNA testing. According to published reports, the results prompted White to take her investigation to authorities. Days later, Ann Pettway surrendered to state police, and is currently being held without bail. On the afternoon following her arrest, Pettway admitted her role in the abduction in federal court. She also said that her actions, which included an attempt at creating a fake birth certificate for White, were in response to suffering several miscarriages in the months that preceded the kidnapping, citing desperation as her driving force. Pettway is now charged with one count of federal kidnapping and could face 20 years to life in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000.
Newly seated Republican Congressman Allen West is facing a controversy following comments he made about the Islamic religion. The Tea Party-backed conservative, in an interview on “The Shalom Show,” told producer Richard Peritz that Islam was the “antithesis” of America’s founding principles and a “very vile and very vicious enemy.” West’s comments are particularly volatile as much of the nation is already uneasy over the mosque being constructed near New York’s Ground Zero monument. West’s latest comments are contradictory to those he made when he was sworn in to the Congressional Black Caucus when he said he would be more accepting of others differences because he believed that all members of Congress wanted what was best for America. “Congressman West’s statements against Islam are profoundly troubling,” said Corey Saylor, government affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “I don’t think it reflects well on the office of a member of Congress.”
Bishop Eddie Long made an appearance recently during a prayer breakfast for the 2011 Trumpet Awards ceremony. After months of seclusion from the media, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor offered encouraging words to the media about the Trumpet Award honorees. Long, who is currently fighting allegations of sexual misconduct by several young men in his congregation, did not comment about the pending litigation, but “beamed with confidence,” according to the website Straight from the A.com. “It’s just a wonderful celebration of greatness. It’s a wonderful celebration of a time when our nation needs hope,” he jovially told WSB-Atlanta, an affiliate of CNN. “People need to see people who rise up and are doing great things and are actually making a difference in someone’s life.”