Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
More than 200 residents gathered outside of the Tuskegee courthouse recently waving signs showing their disapproval of the governor’s anti-gambling task force’s raid at Victoryland Casino, the largest electronic bingo operation and last non-Indian casino in the state. Many of the casino shut downs that have occurred recently have been in poor, African American populated areas and residents are angry because these closures are contributing to the already staggering unemployment rates in the state.
Kisha’s Kids opened its virtual doors to reveal a fresh, one-of-a-kind, online retail boutique filled with contemporary and vintage-inspired décor and accessories, depicting beautifully illustrated images of African American children. The idea was born out of a mother’s desire to find furnishings and accessories that were reflective of her kids, but brown skin and curly hair were almost impossible to find. So after four children and a growing frustration about not being able to find quality and culturally diverse room accessories, Kisha Holt began to put thought to paper. Creative thoughts have now blossomed into brown-skinned ballerinas, fairies, athletes, firefighters, and more on wall art, area rugs, picture frames, books, dolls and other kinds of décor. As an educator and a mother of African American kids, Kisha understands the importance of children identifying with, and being inspired by, positive images that are reflective of them.
Chicago recently celebrated the 81st year of its Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, the oldest and largest African American parade in the county. Bud Billiken day was created by Robert S. Abbott as a way to bring together all of the African American paperboys in the city, and the club expanded into an entire day of fun for the African American community.
On a national scale of one to 50, Louisiana’s children rank a distant 49th in child well-being for the ninth consecutive year, according to statistics recently released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center. The findings take into account ten indicators that the foundation has tracked for years: The number of low-birth weight babies; infant mortality; child deaths; teen deaths; births to teens; teen dropout rates; teen dropouts who lack employment; children living in families where no parent has full-time employment; children in poverty, and children in single-parent families. Poverty and race are two underlying causes that advance such statistics in Louisiana. While 25 percent of Louisiana youth overall lived in poverty in 2008, only 12 percent of White Louisiana children lived in poverty compared to 43 percent of African American kids.
The contracts of 250 Local 214 Detroit Public Schools (DPS) security guards, who were directly employed by DPS, will not be renewed for the upcoming school year. The district has contracted with the Sweden-based security guard company Securitas. Steve Wasko, chief communications officer of DPS, says the district expects to save $3 million by outsourcing to the private company. The current security guards have said the district is putting students at risk by outsourcing to “untrained guards.” The current DPS security officers say they have close relationships with the students and are more like family. “They were the lowest bidder, but you can’t put a price tag on these kids’ safety,” said DPS officer Lawrence Edmonson.
Recently, Mississippi held a minority business convention which brought together hundreds of small business owners and the purpose of the convention was to provide information on how to do business with agencies and contractors who obtain federal funds. In attendance were United States Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi’s Second Congressional District, and the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims. The convention impacted small businesses in a major way, not only helping them understand ways to gain funds but also getting an opportunity to network with other small business owners.
Missouri residents recently voted to pass a measure that blocks the government from forcing people to buy health insurance and penalizing those who don’t. Proposition C, one of several challenges to the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was supported by 71.1 percent of voters in the state’s Aug. 3 primary election. Analysts say, however, that the state vote will not supersede federal law. The mandate that people buy health insurance is a key component to the federal law, which goes into effect in 2014. “This decisive vote against a key provision of ObamaCare, arguably the cornerstone of the Obama presidency, shows how completely detached the Democrat agenda is from the American electorate, and is another reason why Republicans will win back the majority in November,” predicted Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Harlem residents are outraged by the recent rise in violence in the community, since 21-year-old Luis Soto was shot and killed by police this month by an officer who did not use proper police protocol. Reverend Al Sharpton held a meeting to discuss how to deal with the violence. One of the many things discussed was how the officers are supposed to execute certain procedures, and how to make sure they actually abide by those procedures.
The city of Charlotte is considering a change in the rules that govern where subsidized housing can be built. The proposed changes are likely the first step towards dispersing low-income housing throughout the city. The existing policy, which has been in place since 2001, puts the city into three classifications: Prohibited for new assisted housing, permissible and a priority for new subsidized housing. Much of east and west Charlotte is prohibited because there is already government-subsidized housing in the area, as well as high poverty. Most of southeast Charlotte is considered a priority because little or no low-income housing exists. The new policy determines a neighborhood’s suitability for public housing by using the city’s Quality of Life study to determine if an area is “stable,” “transitioning” or “challenged.” The study examines 20 factors in four categories: Social, crime, physical and economic. “The thought process is that if there is a dilapidated apartment complex, it’s a detriment. If it gets renovated, it’s physically better for the community,” said Pat Mumford, Director of Charlotte’s Neighborhood and Business Services.
Violence in the Black community continues to take a toll on the innocent souls. Blease Eric Burno was 24-years-old, shot multiple times in the chest at the night club where he worked as a bouncer. His death is still impacting his family and the members of the community. Black-on-Black crime, in the state, has now exceeded the number of Ku Klux Klan lynchings, suggesting that the Black man’s biggest enemy at the moment may be himself.
For eight consecutive years, David Wesley has held a basketball camp to contribute to the development of children in the community. The camp was free and open to 100 kids in Longview and was the only free camp in the town. Proceeds from donations to the camp went to the David Wesley Foundation Basketball Camp, which strives to enhance the lives of children. The camp taught children the fundamentals of basketball and provided them with a free T-shirt, free lunch and an autographed picture of the basketball star.
Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) expects to disqualify some of the 34 people who have filed formal applications to become the next president for various reasons. In the past, the thinning of candidates was a routine exercise meant to usher in the campaign season. But this year, while the elections are scheduled for November 28, many believe that the CEP’s decision will most likely determine the eventual winner. The leading candidate by far is Wyclef Jean, hip-hop musician, philanthropist, and ambassador for Haiti, but he hasn’t lived in Haiti for five consecutive years and has been ambassador for only three years so there is question about if he fulfills the residency requirements. Jean has retained a team of lawyers, who are trying to find a way to ensure his candidacy.
Conservative American radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger Ph.D, issued an apology recently after she said the N-word numerous times on her show. A woman called in for advice about her interracial marriage, and how her husband’s friends make racial remarks in her home. “Dr. Laura” accused the woman of being hypersensitive about racism and said Black men say it all the time, and then iterated examples using the word. She admitted that she was wrong for using the word and realized she had made a horrible mistake, and was so upset, she could not finish the show.
African American small business owners may have something to look forward to with the introduction of the Black Shopping Channel (BSC) on Time Warner Cable, which is modeled after the already popular Quality Value Convenience (QVC) and the Home Shopping Network (HSN) platforms. Business will be given the opportunity to showcase their products in a way much more accessible than traditional advertising and on their own website www.blackshoppingnetwork.com.
Plair Sports and Apparel Inc. is announcing the launch of their new apparel line to Historically Black Colleges and University students, graduates, fans, and supporters by pledging to donate 10 percent of the purchase price of all items with a HBCU logo purchased from their website www.PSAMAXX.com to those institutions. The new line of officially-licensed collegiate apparel includes products from 55 American colleges and universities.