Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
State Rep. Arthur Davis may succeed at becoming Alabama’s first Black governor even without the endorsement of the state’s major Black civil rights organizations. Davis said the groups no longer determine who wins Black voters’ support, but they still want candidates to put up large sums of money to have their names marked on ballots listing the groups’ endorsements that are handed out on election day outside polling places in black areas. He proved his theory in 2002 when he won his congressional seat without their support.
The Anchorage Urban League, Municipal Light and Power and Credit Consumer Counseling of Alaska have joined together to assist low income residents striving for economic self-sufficiency to take steps towards better living by providing grants for utility deposits, and credit/budget counseling.
Take Action, a leadership campaign that aims to help fight the dropout rate and educate students about social causes, held their culmination event at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood recently. Students from high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District competed as they showed off their talents in art, spoken word, singing, and dancing.
District of Columbia
The month of June will be the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s 30-day campaign to get all of the residents in the African American community to participate in the 2010 census. They are partnering with prestigious members of the clergy to make sure they’ve filled it out and encourage their congregations to do it as well.
Franklin Middle Magnet School in Florida has incorporated a C.O.P.S (Criminal Justice Operations Students) program and they just recently held their first law expo to teach students more about the criminal justice system and get them interested in possibly considering it as a career choice in the future.
The African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawaii (AADCCH) will honor all military men and women who defended the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan with a special arranged musical selection by Tennyson Stephens, who is music director of the event.
Illinois’ junior U.S. Sen. Roland Burris delivered the keynote address recently at the Roseland Cease Fire Annual Open House event at St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Burris is currently working to pass youth jobs legislation in the nation’s capital that he believes would help address some of the youth violence problems that the state has been experiencing.
ESSENCE Magazine is planning to incorporate a new addition to ESSENCE Musical Festival by creating an African American Education Summit to go along with the activities. July 3 will be the day for education guided by the theme of Empowering Parents, Motivating Students, Closing the Gap, and Fulfilling the Dream.
Raymond Haysbert, owner of America’s first public Black-owned business, Parks Sausage Co. and a member of the Tuskeegee Airmen, who fought in WWII, died of congestive heart failure recently. He was 90.
Muslim leaders in Massachusetts held a rally recently to express their disappointment with the statements made by gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill. His mention of “radical Islamic terrorism” sent members of the Muslim faith into a frenzy calling his comments bigoted, undignified and anti-democratic.
Detroit author Karen Dabney has written a new book for young adults called, “The Magic Pencil,” which is an entertaining book that delves into the use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), more commonly known as “Ebonics,” and how most African Americans can turn it on or off known as “code-switching.” The purpose of the book is to clear up many negative preconceptions of Blacks who speak AAVE.
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, residents in Jackson were able to celebrate the groundbreaking of a multi-phase investment to provide healthy housing opportunities and neighborhood revitalization. The project will help the Housing Authority to make the affordable housing more futuristic by incorporating solar energy dependant homes, which will decrease electric bills by 25 percent.
Minister Louis Farrakhan christened the new Muhammad Mosque #28 in St. Louis recently. The mosque was filled to capacity with people from local and surrounding areas. Farrakhan spoke to the St. Louis community about community issues, including how the church can be more successful in helping those in need.
Today Magic Johnson’s National HIV testing tour will be in Newark at the Boylan Street Recreation Area. The caravan is on a cross-country 48-state tour and is offering free and easy testing and referrals.
The Black Press plans to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the existence of Black newspaper publishers this month. The celebration will be held in New York City and expects to attract many civil right advocates. A Legacy of Excellence dinner is also planned.
Members of “Spirit of the Sit-In Initiative” an organization that raises awareness of social issues affecting the community, is bringing their fight to the Greensboro Police Department. The group alleges that the department has many corrupt officers and practices and they are striving to make changes.
The Pittsburgh Public School District recently launched its Empowering Effective Teachers plan to ensure a strong teaching and learning environment in every school but nothing has been accomplished yet because of debates of an effective action plan. Duquesne University recently hosted and educational leadership symposium to get ideas out and hopefully aid in the decision making process.
Girls Incorporated of Memphis has started the Infant Mortality Public Awareness Campaign for Tennessee (IMPACT) program, where teens educate their peers about steps to take to reduce the risk of an infant dying before reaching their first birthday. Memphis has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country.
Even after all of the debates, marches, and rallies the Texas State Board of Education still has voted to rewrite the textbooks to reflect a more “conservative perspective.” The curriculum for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills will change the history of the Civil Rights Movement and will mention almost no Latino history. NAACP president Benjamin Jealous is angered, believing that because students are not learning the truth, it will make it even harder for them to compete on SAT exams.
Arlington cemetery recently held the burial ceremony for Jacob Robert Henderson Jr. Henderson served in the Marine Corps’ Judge Advocate Office, where he was among only three African Americans who defended the rights of soldiers during the Vietnam War era. He later managed the family-owned Henderson Travel Service in Atlanta for 15 years.
Chef Wayne Johnson is the African American executive chef of Andaluca restaurant in downtown Seattle and he is making headlines because of his anticipated appearance at the eight annual Kidney Health Festival for African American Families for creating new recipes that he believes will counter kidney disease.
Charles Hall Jr. music director of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, will direct a gospel choir composed of nearly every African American congregational church in Cheyenne with the help of Debbie Watson of A.M.E. and Rochelle Lyons of the Second Baptist Church.