Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.

By ow staff writer
The state’s oldest Black political organization, the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), has endorsed Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks for governor rather than U.S. Rep. Arthur Davis which means Sparks, who is White, has swept all four major Black political groups. Many believe it was because Davis didn’t actively seek the endorsement of these key organizations but Sparks insists the decision was based on having a long history of working with the ADC.

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) held their 2010 leadership training conference, “Building Leaders Through Community Policing,” recently at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel in Tempe. The conference included workshops on border violence, law enforcement victims, homicide investigation, Recidivism, and women emerging in leadership.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) recently announced Manjama Balama-Samba of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and United Nations Radio, Henrietta Kpaka also of SLBS, and Isha Jalloh and Jenneh Brima, both of Eastern Radio, will receive the organization’s 2010 Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist Award, which is given to a foreign journalist who has done extraordinary work while overcoming incredible obstacles. The women were abducted while trying to do a report on female genital mutilation. They will be honored at the annual NABJ convention in San Diego.

The Colorado Convention Center will be holding its 5th annual Economic Summit and Expo on June 5. The theme is “Survivor: Thrive in Any Economy.” The Mountain Regional Black Economic Summit hosts the event every year and provides useful information to minority professionals, but the event welcomes all Colorado residents.

District of Columbia
The National Council of Negro Women and Nationwide Insurance announced a partnership that will offer members of the NCNW potential savings on their auto insurance needs. “The National Council of Negro Women is one of the largest and oldest African-American female institutions in our country,” said Dr. Thelma Daley, senior advisor to the National Council of Negro Women. “We see this alliance with Nationwide Insurance as a way to offer additional benefits to our members,” she added.

Shaquille O’Neal has teamed up with the “Be the Match” national marrow registry to spread the word about the critical need for more bone marrow donors. In the “Do Something Big” campaign, O’Neal and members of “Kids Beating Cancer” encouraged the African American community to help change the odds of cancer deaths among Blacks.

Not surprising to many, Atlanta population continues to grow and has now pushed Chicago out of the seat for the second highest African American populated city. The greatest increase in the country has happened in Atlanta in the last decade as more than 446,000 African Americans moved in as a result of displacement by natural disaster and migration because of economic circumstances. New York City still holds the number one spot.

The Indianapolis Police Department has incorporated a new plan to decrease illegal activity in the most crime-ridden neighborhoods by redistributing the officers to the most high-crime areas, specifically in the African American neighborhoods. Members of the community, however, have mixed feelings about the new plan. While many are happy about the potential cutback in crime, others are worried that the increase in officers will lead to an increase in police harassment and brutality.

Because the Kansas City School District (KCSD) is facing bankruptcy, it announced recently that it will be closing almost half of the schools in the district by the end of the year. While most districts are closing only one or two schools, the KCSD is desperately trying to hold on to the $2 billion it has left as part of a settlement in a desegregation case. They feel the only way to make that money last is in the closing of 29 of the district’s 61 schools.

A study recently done by the AARP reported that the economic downturn that the country is experiencing has affected middle age to elderly African Americans in Kentucky more than any other group. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights announced its elderly are having trouble paying their mortgages or rent, having to cut back on medications, and having to borrow money to pay living expenses in comparison to the general population.

Dexter Blanch is revolutionizing birth control by bringing it to your pets. The Pet Anti-Breeding System (PABS) is a chastity belt that provides natural pet birth control. The invention protects them from unwanted and accidental breeding and protects furniture from pets in heat.

The grand opening of The Dream House, which is a youth-run, afterschool organization that serves to decrease violence in local Baltimore neighborhoods, was held recently after almost 10 years of planning, construction and renovation. “We want a youth center where the youth are decision-makers,” said Kristina Berdan, the teacher director of the Youth Dreamers. “What’s really important for us is to have adult allies so those goals can come to fruition.”

Danforth Museum of Art’s newest exhibition concentrates on images of, and by, African-Americans from the Colonial era to the early 20th century. “African Americans: Seeing and Seen, 1766-1916” is a show that dissects the country’s prejudices and changing attitudes towards African Americans.

The “Lunch Bunch” program, which is an educational program for African American elementary school students in Michigan, has ended after a field trip by the children at Dicken Elementary School to meet a Black rocket scientist. Children of other races and their parents complained about the exclusion and the group has now disbanded. An investigation is going on to see if the activity violated state law.

The official opening of the Urban Research Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) took place this week and the community has high hopes that the partnership between the University of Minnesota and the community will help to improve upon health, business development, arts, and technology through numerous programs that they will establish throughout the year.

Residents in five Mississippi counties Attala, Choctaw, Holmes, Warren and Yazoo, may be able to qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance for not being able to work due to the storms, tornadoes, and flooding that occurred last month. Due to these occurrences, they will be able to apply for unemployment benefits.

St. Louis has experienced a significant moment in Missouri Black history because, for the first time, the Board of Police Commissioners became majority African American with the recent appointment of Commissioner Richard Gray. Commissioner Todd Epsten, who is White, was voted out for Black nominee Commissioner Betty Battle-Turner, resigned and left the building immediately after the decision was made.

Premier Label Water Company (PLWC) today announced the launch of the company’s new division, Fine Wine Resource, which produces a sparkling wine product called MORENO-BHLV. The bottled sparking wine is the latest addition to the collection of high-end products created by PLWC’s African-American women owners, who are known for their imaginative use of Swarovski crystals in their packaging and bottling, as well as their marketing towards the affluent African American community.

New York
The Network Journal monthly magazine for Black professionals recently announced the winners of its 2010 40 Under Forty Achievers Awards, which recognizes achievers who are continuously reaching for higher goals in their professions, businesses, and community involvement in the industries of media, technology, arts, culture, finance, and healthcare. The winners will be honored with a dinner on June 17, 2010.

North Carolina
North Carolina author/illustrator Jeffery A. Faulkerson is trying to help children to be content with being themselves and stand up to the pressure to “fit it” by starting early with his newest children’s picture book “Parental Expectations.” It is a helpful tool for children as well as parents, giving them another line of defense against negative peer pressure.

Michael Hudson, 23, was arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old girl who frequents the park where he works as a lawn mower. The girl, who had been missing for two weeks, was found near his apartment and was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment.

As a result of the high unemployment rate, Oregon has seen a dramatic increase in the number of residents requiring food stamps. Nearly one in every five people in the state is now in need of government assistance to help buy food as their unemployment benefits run out.

Sgt. Robert Ralston, 46, confessed to making up a story about being shot by a Black man while on patrol last month, and he will have to pay the costs of the huge investigation that followed. Ralston has been suspended with intent to dismiss but will not face criminal charges because granting immunity was the only way to obtain his confession. Ralston said he made the claim about the man being Black so his story would be more believable. In his confession, Ralston said he actually shot himself.

Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island (URI) recently announced the 17 recipients of its 2010 Black Scholar Awards. The URI Black Faculty Association, established the awards to recognize the accomplishments of graduating Black seniors. The program is now organized by the Black Scholar Awards Program Committee.

South Carolina
Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter was fired last week after a battle with City Council over the handling of the investigation of Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin’s April 21 car accident with Deborah Rubens, a Columbia waitress who was critically injured. Carter was informed of his firing in a hand-delivered, two-sentence letter written by Columbia city manager Steve Gantt.

Richard Browning a professor at Tennessee State University almost drowned trying to save animals that are used for research at the HBCU’s Agricultural Science department. Many of the 200 goats and dogs were killed in the flood that occurred recently. Two students were able to get a boat and save the professor who was fine after a few days in the hospital.

Recently, the 15-member State Board of Education held a meeting to discuss the state’s social studies curriculum but instead found themselves debating over what is most important for Texas’ youth to learn about their country’s history. Minority leaders, including the NAACP and LULAC, believe that the minority contribution to the nation’s growth and progress is being omitted and/or reported inaccurately.

Senator Rosa Franklin will be making the keynote address at the scholarship dinner ceremony for the Urban Financial Services Coalition. Chosen students who are pursuing degrees in banking or other financial disciplines will be eligible to attend and receive awards.

West Virginia
Republican Pamela Minimah is a health care administrator running against Democratic lawyer Meshea Poore. Both Black women are running to be the first minority elected to the 31st District of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Four of every 10 people treated in a hospital for pain or other problems caused by sickle cell disease have to be readmitted for treatment again within 30 days, according to a new study published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). “Armed with this knowledge, we can focus attention on the need for improved care for those with sickle cell disease,” said lead author David C. Brousseau, M.D., M.S.