Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Terri A. Sewell recently received another huge endorsement in the race for U.S. Congress in Alabama’s 7th district. The Alabama New South Coalition announced Sewell is their choice candidate, possibly giving her the momentum she will need for her campaign, as the July 13 run-off for the Democratic nomination approaches.
The Salvation Army Compton Corps Community Center recently opened its own recording studio to serve musically inclined members of the community. Local artists treated audience members to a musical showcase at the grand opening held at the center.
District of Columbia
Many civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, are outraged that they will not be able to celebrate the 47th anniversary (August 28, 2010) of the “March on Washington” and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, because Fox News personality Glenn Beck has reserved the space in front of the Lincoln Memorial for his own rally. Civil rights advocates will keep fighting to protest Beck’s rally and will have an additional rally on October 2.
Surprisingly, all of the candidates who are running for the Dayton Beach Zone five commission seat are African American. The incumbent Derrick Henry, is facing strong competition from new college graduate Mario Henderson, and community activist Walter Fordham. Many residents are happy that the candidates accurately reflect the area they are trying to represent.
A female empowerment conference will be held by the “Sisters of Today & Tomorrow.” The conference is designed to boost a woman’s self-esteem, as well as build character in a personable and intuitive way. Previously, the event was targeted at just the women of Georgia, but now it is open to women all across the world. The conference will be held July 14-16, at the Big Bethel Village.
Alderman Ed Smith announced publicly that he will fight against any legislation that raises pay for aldermen, because he feels that with the condition of the economy, everyone should be sacrificing. Smith has been an alderman for 27 years and is up for re-election but claims that’s not part of his decision to reject the raise.
Three current and two former members of the New Orleans Police Department were recently indicted for the post-Katrina murder of Henry Glover, a victim who was found shot and burned to death in his car on an Algiers levee near the police station. The officers were charged with 11 counts including the unlawful killing of Glover, and numerous counts regarding their cover-up attempts.
Baltimore City Public Schools will provide students in the city with free meals–breakfast and dinner–for the summer to ensure that youngsters still have access to nutritious food during the summer. The offering is part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, and the food will be provided free of charge. Students don’t have to be enrolled in summer school. As long as they are 17 and under, they can come in and enjoy a meal.
More than 140 parks and recreational centers are scheduled to close. Many organizations, community members, and park center employees have been fighting to keep that from happening. The residents have successfully gotten the support of Councilmember JoAnn Watson, who proposed an emergency ordinance to keep all of the centers open, but no definitive solution has been reached.
Chandrina Perry, a woman employed by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, is being held in custody by her own co-workers. She turned herself in for smuggling contraband into a local prison. She is now being sentenced to two months at Sunflower County Jail. This isn’t the first time she was caught doing so. She was previously arrested on five counts of taking contraband in a prison.
New Jersey’s new Republican governor chose to make his first political move by removing its only African American judge, Justice Wallace, from the Supreme Court. Governor Chris Christie doesn’t feel that Wallace’s removal from the court would change the direction that they were headed. Instead, he replaced Wallace with a Caucasian female, Anne M. Patterson.
Students in New York City are relieved to know that their free Metro Transit Authority (MTA) student passes will not be taken away, in spite of the cuts that are scheduled to occur. The decision to keep them in place is partially due to the numerous protests and the efforts of Gov. David Paterson.
Rev. Mike Aiken of the Greensboro Urban Ministry and Homeless Prevention Coalition of Guilford County (HPCGC) is fighting with the city council, trying to convince them not to impose 10 percent cuts on all homeless prevention programs for the year. HPCGC provides services to 60 other agencies that prevent homelessness in the county.
The 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, Inc., are hosting a summer mentor fundraiser in Cleveland Heights. Participants will get a chance to interact with members and its supporting organizations. The admission includes a buffet, local jazz band, as well as social networking. Proceeds will go towards the group’s mentoring and training initiatives.
Pennsylvania Representative Paul Kanjorski was caught on tape saying upsetting things about minorities. He was heard saying that minorities aren’t “average, good American people.” It was said that he has reportedly chosen not to apologize for his comment, which he described as political posturing.
Many expected the new mayor of Columbia, Steve Benjamin, to increase enforcement around the community and keep an extra eye out for “poor (mostly Black) people.” Instead his main focus is to have bars and clubs close at a decent time. Some people have referred to this as “curfew for adults” which would be at around 2 a.m.
In Lebanon, Tenn. where an African American couple had planned on building a vacation home on raw property, vandals put up racist graffiti. Kenneth and Deborah Boyd saw it on Sunday, just days before the closing escrow date. They saw a stick figure hanging from a noose as well as racial slander. Deborah says her biggest regret wasn’t that she bought the property, but the fact that her 13-year-old daughter also saw the hurtful symbols.
Although news coverage gives Americans the impression that crime is constantly rising, recent studies by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the nation’s jail population is declining, reflecting what some experts say is the fact that lock-ups are housing too many people, who do not belong there. The number of inmates in county and city jails was about 767,600 at the end of last June, down by nearly 18,000 inmates from a year earlier.
Coca-Cola will send 21 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Africa as part of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour” which was a video contest that asked students to express how the Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative (which provides safe drinking water for children in Africa) inspires them. The program engages African American students and also gives them an opportunity to connect with their roots.
The number of new houses being built began to decrease significantly last month. The Department of Commerce released a report recently that showed housing starts dropped 10 percent. The federal government said some decrease was expected, because last month was the deadline for people to apply for the homebuyer tax credit. Officials have already extended the deadline twice and members of the Senate are pushing for a third date that will extend the deadline to Sept. 30.