Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Larry Chapman, contract counselor for the Department of Human Resources has been arrested for taking sexual favors from a female victim in exchange for a positive report that would help her regain custody of her children. The Hoover police arrested him with a $50,000 sodomy bond and a $15,000 sexual abuse warrant.
California Department of Health’s director Mark Horton is recalling baby spinach products. The baby spinach was recalled because it is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 which can cause a number of serious illnesses. The contaminated spinach was distributed between June 21 and 27 and distributed in California, Oregon, and Arizona and was under the Ready Pac label sold in six-ounce packages.
Governor Charlie Crist took to heart concerns raised by lawmakers about a lack of diversity on the Public Service Commission (PSC) and named two African-Americans for the job. Rep. Ronald Brisé and Jacksonville Commissioner Arthur Graham were the two announced for the job. The pair will have to be confirmed by lawmakers, but they will immediately assume the seats vacated by David Klement and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens, who failed to gain Senate confirmation earlier this year.
Mayor Kasim Reed recently announced that he has chosen Atlanta’s interim Chief of Police George N. Turner as the finalist for the chief of police position. “We don’t have time to lose. We do not have the luxury of waiting for a new chief to come in and learn about the issues that most concern our residents. Turner knows the city’s neighborhoods and the people who live in them,” said Reed referring to the 29 years of law enforcement experience that Turner has with the Atlanta Police Department.
In less than two years, Congressman André Carson has become known nationally as a strong voice for working families and Americans who need opportunity and justice. He will be honored for his dedication to public service with the Founder’s Award during Indiana Black Expo’s Corporate Luncheon this month. In his first term, Carson has already sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to help homeowners prevent foreclosure, protect the rights of consumers, improve school facilities and teacher training, support the development of new technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil, increase funding for national security and HIV/AIDS prevention, and supporting the successful transition of ex-offenders back into society to reduce recidivism.
A New Orleans couple, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is filing a lawsuit against the Recovery School District for and dragging their six-year-old son down a hallway, and handcuffing him to a chair after he got in to an altercation with a classmate. Another parent also complained saying that security handcuffed her eight-year-old special needs child to a railing at the school acting on order from the principal. The families are arguing that the treatment of their children is inhumane and excessive.
The Greater Homewood Community Corporation is dedicated to improving the lives of many people in the city by focusing on adult literacy. More than 700,000 people in Maryland have little to no literacy skills and 31 percent of adults in Baltimore City are without a high school diploma. To promote literacy, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fully funded Enoch Pratt Library in the city’s budget to keep all community libraries open.
Rainbow PUSH leader Jesse Jackson and prominent union, church, and community representatives kicked off a campaign to rebuild the nation’s cities, provide jobs and education, enact a moratorium on foreclosures, and end the wars in the Middle East. United Auto Workers (UAW) President Bob King and Jackson are the key leaders of the Jobs, Justice and Peace campaign, which was unveiled at a press conference in UAW Solidarity House. They announced that a march in Detroit on Aug. 28, the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 march on Washington, D.C., will kick it off. King hosted a freedom walk of 125,000 in Detroit that June, where he first gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Anthony Lanell Titus became Minneapolis’ 26th homicide victim on July 4 after being gunned down just 14 days after his 16th birthday. According to his family, friends, coaches, and mentors, Anthony Titus was a good kid who liked to hang out with friends, baby-sit for his mother, excelled at hockey and was preparing to start as a linebacker for the Roosevelt High School football team.
Many of the city’s top officials including Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Councilman Don Samuels, State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and Shiloh Temple’s Bishop Richard D. Howell Jr. offered eulogies at the funeral.
A contingency of Jackson area residents participated in the national rally in Washington to free sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott who are now serving double-life sentences in the Mississippi Correctional Center for a robbery that netted $11. The Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice, a national Black woman’s organization, also attended the rally. The rally was successful in getting the message about the injustice of the Mississippi prison system through to the White House and they were assured that the Justice Department would investigate the many complaints presented during the rally.
First Lady Michelle Obama reminded thousands at the NAACP Annual Convention in Kansas City that those who struggled and many who died in battles for freedom, justice, and racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement, left a legacy that has yet to be fulfilled especially in caring for the health of Black children. First Lady Obama also spoke about the sins of inequality that still plague African-Americans including child obesity, under-achieving schools, youth violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Six recent graduates of Morris Knolls High School who broke into their school to let loose rabbits, chickens, roosters and mice as a prank will enter the pretrial intervention program (PTI) and will perform community service, including work at an animal shelter.
Under the arrangement developed by Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Vincent Leo and accepted by Judge Philip Maenza in Morristown, the students will be in the PTI program for two years and must pay restitution for veterinarian bills. The young men faced a host of charges, but all will be dismissed if they complete the PTI requirements and maintain clean records during that period.
On the heels of a major win after the NAACP’s call for an end to the racist wing of the political Tea Party movement, the organization pushed forward this week with plans for a national march and rally in D.C. on October 2. “We have to celebrate this victory,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said. “People are now depressed and they need signs of light and signs of strength. And the fact that we just got the Tea Party to push out an entire faction of the Tea Party because of racism is something that needs to be noted.”
Jealous was referring to the fact that the controversial National Tea Party Federation announced that it has expelled Mark Williams, the former chairman and spokesman of Tea Party Express, for his satirical letter from a “colored” person to President Abraham Lincoln in which slavery was called a “great gig.”
Residents in Delaware County are making a difference in Haiti by donating their $9 a day jury duty stipend to charities that are working to improve the conditions in the country after the devastation of the earthquake. The Delaware County Juror Donation Program which was established in 2003 helps numerous charities and organizations but the recent shift of focus has allowed them to donate more than $6,000 to UNICEF which is helping children injured and/or orphaned by the earthquake.
Columbia Council District 2 voters will once again go to the polls next week to cast ballots to choose a new representative in runoff between Tuesday’s top two vote getters – Brian Newman and Harold “Puff” Howard. Newman and Howard prevailed in the eight candidate field that competed for the chance to be the new representative from their community for the first time in 27 years. The low turnout election saw only 1,476 votes cast out of 15,053 registered voters.
The National NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological Scientific Olympics) Competition was held in Kansas City, Mo. Recently and two of the students representing the Memphis branch NAACP returned with medals. Stephan Burton received the silver medal in contemporary music and Randall Davis received the bronze medal for filmmaking. First Lady Michelle Obama also attended the competition and gave an inspirational speech to the children touching on the importance of education and the dangers of childhood obesity.
U.S. actress Mia Farrow met with young victims of war and sexual abuse during a three day trip through Uganda. During her visit she helped apply polio immunizations, and provide mentorship in the town of Kitodo, which can be found in the far northwest of Africa. Farrow will also attend the African Youth Forum, which will focus on maternal and child health and development.
The overall teen smoking rate has shown a steady decline over the last couple of decades, but hasn’t been dropping so rapidly over the last few years, with the exception of African American females. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lead the pack in smoking cessation. “The African-American female is the leading success story, and has been for some years now,” said Dr. Terry Pechacek, associate director for science at CDC’s office on smoking and health. “They have more positives in general. We’re seeing higher graduation rates and lower rates of smoking and drug use.”
The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) recently announced that Dr. Bruce Siegel will serve as the new chief executive officer. Siegel, is the first African American to head a major hospital association, will lead NAPH as they continue to address many of the current issues in health care.