Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Broderick Dixon, a 27-year-old computer engineer, was murdered by an off-duty Brighton Police Officer, Chevis Finley, who shot the young man in the foot, thigh, and the heart. According to previous reports, Finley and Dixon were quarreling over a woman. Finley was released from jail on a $75,000 bond.
ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp held their second summer math and science camp on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University (ASU). Forty-eight middle-school children from around the state participated in the free two-week program hosted by ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and during the program learned science, technology, math and how these can lead to possible future careers.
Booker T. Washington’s great-granddaughter has spearheaded a program that will take eight Bay Area youth on a journey in the footsteps of Washington’s life. The group will begin on the plantation in Virginia where he was born and will end in Alabama where he founded Tuskegee University, with stops in D.C. as well.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in trouble, after he made unfavorable statements about the U.S.’s role in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which he called, “a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in,” Steele said during a July 1 speech in Connecticut. “It was the president who was trying to be cute flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be Afghanistan.” Steele’s comments have already angered many conservatives nationwide, including his national committee and many of them are calling for his resignation.
District of Columbia
President Obama recently promoted fatherhood at Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus (THEARC) school. As a father of two daughters, Obama says that being a dad is one of the most important jobs a man can have. He and his administration pledged to help fathers actively partake in the lives of their offspring. Obama has appointed chief of staff, Michael Strautmanis, to lead this fatherhood program. Statistics show that 64 percent of African American children live apart from their biological fathers and that 63 percent of youth who commit suicide come from fatherless homes. If this program works, the African American communities will have fewer of their children on the streets.
Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves announced recently that Atlanta will host the league’s annual Civil Rights Game for the next two years. The selection of Atlanta as host of the 2011 and 2012 games was heavily influenced by the fact that the city is the birthplace of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “We are pleased to have the Atlanta Braves and the City of Atlanta as hosts for this important event, remembering a significant era in America’s history,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. Selig.
More than 17,000 homes in Illinois have been weatherized over the past year thanks to $43 million from President Obama’s stimulus plan. The process helped to save energy and money, approximately $437 a year for homeowners, and created more than 500 jobs.
Minority-owned businesses are teaming up and going after government contracts. On Tuesday, July 6, the Minority Information Technology Consortium (MITC) gave a boost to these small businesses that would have ordinarily had little to no chance of landing multi-million dollar contracts on their own. MITC created a program called Network Centeric Solutions, NETCENTS, which has more that $7 billion in contracts to be distributed among business that show promise in the areas of net operations, applications, and IT services. MITC has also opened the opportunity to historically Black colleges.
A report released recently stated that Baltimore has a higher arrest rate than any other major city in the country, and much controversy has arisen because many believe that a significant number of these arrests, are not justifiable. The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the city for 14 victims of unconstitutional arrest who were taken into custody, not charged with anything, and given an arrest record. The city has agreed to pay $870,000 to the victims.
Law enforcement personnel and race relations experts held a review in Boston recently to discuss the case between Harvard scholar Henry Gates and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley. Controversy between the two arose when Crowley arrested Gates, for “breaking in” to his own home, after the professor locked himself out. Even after showing identification, Crowley arrested Gates, who was understandably outraged. The investigation has concluded that there is no evidence of racial profiling on the Cambridge Police Department.
Many members of the Detroit community are pleased with the city council’s decision to keep open the 77 parks that were originally slated to close. An amendment to the mayor’s budget has been made, which restores the $17.8 million back to fire, health, police, human resources, and recreation departments.
State representative Bobby Champion and community activists are upset that the new Blue Cross “Nice Ride” initiative, which is a bicycle sharing program that allows people to rent, ride, and drop them off at bike stands, downtown, uptown, and at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to improve health and decrease obesity. The problem is that none of the bikes are available in the communities of color, where the health disparities, obesity and need for transportation is the most severe. It is being called bicycle apartheid.
Publishers recently unveiled the first issue of “Who’s Who in Black Mississippi” at a ceremony at the Jackson Marriott Hotel. The book contains 275 African Americans featured in the 208-page colorful edition which celebrates African-American achievements. “It’s going to be a phenomenal tool for African American young people to see role models and what they can be by visualizing it and reading about phenomenally talented African Americans who lead the state of Mississippi,” said Who’s Who Vice President of Market Development Carter D. Womack.
Employees and patients at Missouri Baptist Medical Center were greeted by celebrity chef and author Cary Neff, who has helped to create a nutritious way for staff and patients to eat on a daily basis. Neff and his food service provider Morrison Healthcare Food Services collaborated with dietitians at the hospital in creating Flavors 450, which offers healthy gourmet options to individuals in portions that only contain 450 calories or less.
Thousands celebrated the 39th annual International African Arts Festival this fourth of July weekend. The festival was held at the Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn. African divas Somi and Lorraine Klaasen, along with Steve Kroon and Eric Roberson, who has recorded with Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack, performed at the event. Music, food, fashion, a hair show and an African marketplace were also featured.
Phoenix Suns player and former Charlotte Bobcat Jason Richardson has started the Jason Richardson Foundation, which focuses on making an impact on social issues that affect today’s youth including absentee fathers, disparities in education and negative self-images. The organization recently held “The Man Up Forum” at the Charlotte Convention Center. Admission was free and open to men and boys 12 and older.
The Stanton Heights Community Organization (SHCO) attended a hearing for the zoning of the Neighborhood Academy, a new private school for low-income youth, but the zoning board did not let them speak because, the organization’s hearing did not have to do with zoning. SHCO is opposed to construction of the school in their neighborhood in part because of traffic and environmental concerns.
In an effort to spur economic revitalization in Haiti, Bob Johnson, founder and chairman of the RLJ Companies, announced a partnership with Global Building Solutions, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Haiti-based WIN Group, to build two structured insulated panel manufacturing facilities that will provide construction materials for building houses and infrastructure in and around Port-au-Prince, Cap Hatien, and other key business centers in Haiti.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are conducting a two-year, $24 million study–the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Grand Opportunity (ADNI- GO)–that will focus on people experiencing the very earliest complaints of memory problems impacting daily activities. The study will specifically target African Americans due to the fact that they experience Alzheimer’s and other dementia at the highest rate.