Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Officials in Hobson City, the first Black town incorporated in Alabama more than a hundred years ago, are asking for their own ZIP code. Hobson City currently shares its ZIP code with the nearby city of Anniston, but Hobson City Mayor Alberta McCrory says the small town wants its own postal service identity. “We need to make sure Hobson City is not lost,” she said. “We were never a part of Anniston, but we are lumped in with them and that is not a good thing for us.” Spokesmen for the post office said that the problem occurs because people are looking at ZIP codes as something other than a tool for delivering mail. Its not a city boundary because cities are continuously growing. Additionally, the postal service said that although most only pay attention to the first five digits, ZIP codes are nine digits, separated by the last four. Narrowing it down to the last four digit would show Hobson’s distinction from Anniston.
Brenda Hampton, an African American contract employee for ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) allegedly experienced repeated racist remarks and jokes made by fellow Caucasian employee, Officer Bradley Lawless. Hampton claims that she addressed him many times about the jokes, claiming that they were inappropriate and unappreciated. He allegedly would only reply “so what, it’s just jokes,” said Hampton. According to Hampton, Lawless has made off-hand jokes about Black people, said the ‘N-word” in front of her and others, and taken a stuffed monkey, and put her name on it, claiming it was her and her “brothers.” Hampton has taken her complaints to her supervisor but to no avail.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home Monday in an apparent suicide. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said authorities were called to McKinley’s home in Centennial and found his body in the second-floor master bedroom. Robinson said detectives believe McKinley, 23, was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities were called by a female friend of McKinley’s who discovered the body after returning from an errand with his child. The sheriff declined to say if authorities found a suicide note.” It’s still part of our investigation and probably nothing we’ll talk about right now,” he said.
District of Columbia
The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), and the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of Washington, D.C., partnered recently to host a town hall meeting that brought together scores of national leaders and community members to discuss the greater number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths and lower survival rates in the African-American community. “We as a nation recognized long ago that HIV and AIDS are at crisis levels in the Black community,” said Rev. Calvin Butts III, chairman of the NBLCA board, in a statement. “This year we must finally put into place policies that address the alarming numbers we have been seeing for decades.” Butts is also a member of President Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Liberty City community leaders want to create a “Zero Tolerance Zone” where concerned residents will help fight crime and they plan to go door-to-door to make it happen. The campaign comes in response to recent robberies and shootings in the African American community. Participants will also conduct surveys of households to determine individual needs and crime-related concerns . Volunteers plan to fan out in the area going door-to-door to encourage residents to take a proactive approach to community safety. They’ll be armed with flyers and other materials explaining how to contact Miami police, the Neighborhood Enhancement Team, Miami-Dade County’s 311 information service and Crimestoppers, as well as “Hotspot” postcards that make it possible to report crime anonymously.
A female group of Jackson area NAACP members has gone the extra mile to increase support of NAACP initiatives by organizing a WIN (Women In the NAACP) unit. The Jackson-Hinds County WIN unit organized in May 2010 and has since been focused on galvanizing and enhancing the role of women around social, economic, political and health issues. The group has also been instrumental in increasing NAACP membership and raising money, as well as awareness.” We are excited about having an additional mechanism to empower women, children and families. Within our unit we can assist the NAACP in addressing concerns in our community, such as male and female relationships, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse and other health care concerns, single households, senior citizens, crime and violence, and building self-esteem,” said Deloris Lee, president of the Jackson-Hinds County WIN.
The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shooting of George Lash, an African American man who was gunned down by two Chicago police officers. The shooting occurred when the Chicago Police Department received a call that a man on the Red Line train had a weapon. When the police approached Lash he allegedly struggled and pulled a gun out at them causing them to shoot. Lash was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Sgt Thomas Alexander, 57, was shot and killed while responding to a burglary-in-progress recently. Robert J. Walker, 52, Anthony D. Oatis, 30, and Richard L. Long Jr., 33 have been arrested in connection with the incident and are being held in the Richland Parish Detention Center. Richland Sheriff Charles McDonald said Alexander, who was a 13-year veteran with the Rayville City Police Department, responded to a 911 call from an elderly woman, who was home alone, and reported that she had heard glass break. He noted that the sheriff’s office usually handles incidents such as this one that happen outside the city limits. However, Alexander was closest to the scene and quickly responded. Once there, Alexander made sure the victim was safe and then entered the home to wrangle the suspects. As he approached a closet, Alexander was shot “about four times.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The University of North Carolina recently honored John Brandon and brothers Ralph and LeRoy Frasier, 55 years after they were enrolled as the first African American undergraduates at Chapel Hill. Then, the school was still segregated by race but now they are able to sit with people of all different races and watch the Tar Heels play football at an institution where the most famous alumnus is Micheal Jordan and the school has more Black students enrolled than any other research institution.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy conceded the primary election to challenger Gregg Bernstein on recently ending her 15-year tenure as the city’s top prosecutor. After a count of absentee ballots, Jessamy trailed Bernstein by 1,363 votes. Before speaking with the press, Jessamy met with her staff. “I thanked them for the professionalism, dedication, and commitment they have shown and have contributed to the progress that we have made in the public safety arena in the past several years,” she said. She said she also thanked the voters and volunteers that supported her.
The Becker College Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Robert E. Johnson as the 10th president of Becker College. He is the college’s first African-American president. The appointment comes after a seven-month national search that identified a number of talented candidates who were considered by the search committee, the Board of Trustees, and the internal and external Becker College communities. Johnson, a Detroit native, is a Cass Tech graduate and an alumnus of Morehouse College. He has served as senior vice president of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio since 2006. He is the nephew of the late Robert E. Johnson, who was the associate publisher and executive editor of Jet magazine and a past contributor to the Michigan Chronicle.
A 22-year old man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing a bedridden minister and his caregiver to death over $8. John Wayne McChriston said he stabbed 69-year old minister Jimmy Stauddy, and his caregiver, Martha Stoker, 47, after he and Stoker argued over money that McChriston wanted to use to buy drugs. McChriston, who had worked for Stauddy around the home in the past, pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Stauddy, who was suffering from the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, was found stabbed to death in his bed and Stoker was found nearby on the floor. Authorities said both victims had been gutted and their throats were cut. An anonymous tip led police to McChriston, who was seen burning clothes in his backyard.
The Saint Louis School of Nursing has recently received a $900,000 grant to diversify their student body by increasing the number of students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds that graduate from the baccalaureate nursing (BSN) program. The grant is for three years and was approved by the Health Resources and Services Administration. “Nurses spend more time assessing and managing patients than any other health care professional,” said Teri Murray, dean of the Saint Louis School of Nursing. “Nurses from racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to provide care that reflects the customs of the diverse cultural groups they represent, which makes patients more comfortable asking health questions.”
Columbus City School recently received $7.9 million in federal assistance to go towards the Federal Education jobs Program. The purpose of the money is to hire and retain teachers which comes at an important time since more than 100 teachers in the district were recently laid off due to budget cuts. The idea was that this money would be used to bring these teachers back, but Superintendent Gene Harris has other plans. She would rather hold onto the money because of the shaky condition of the upcoming budget. She is pitching the ideas to other board member but many of them believe that it would be best to use the money to bring back these teachers of who the schools are in dire need.
For more than 15 years, Carnegie Mellon University has hosted the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) Speaker Series. This year at the opening reception local historians received recognition for their dedication to uncovering the history of Black Pittsburgh. “The real reason we’re here tonight is to present awards of appreciation to historians of the African American experience,” said Joe Trotter, director and Giant Eagle professor of history and social justice. (The Giant Eagle Foundation established the professorship to support and outstanding faculty member in Carnegie Mellon’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences). “Today is a good time to come together in fellowship.” The CAUSE Speaker Series introduces the public to African American culture throughout history and as it relates to current events. Led by Carnegie Mellon professors and scholars as well as those from other universities across the country, the series tackles subjects related not only to the African American experience in America, but globally as well.
Stanley Lamar Griffin, a 45-year-old College Station man, is accused of killing a 29-year-old Jennifer Marie Hailey and seriously injuring her 9-year-old son at the family’s home . College Station police say Griffin was jailed on charges of murder, and for violating parole. Bond was $500,000 for Griffin, who was arrested only 12 hours after the victims were discovered. Police are still trying to determine if Griffin knew the victims. The boy underwent surgery following the attack but information on his condition have not been released.
The Goodwill Development Association will hold their third annual silent auction and banquet this weekend to support the Aridell Mitchell and Teen Parent Home which provides stable and safe living environment for teen parents in the Greater Seattle Area. The program also helps teen mothers to get their GED, transition to permanent housing and help to support their families. The first host of BET’s 106 & Park and founder of the Free4Life Foundation, Marie “Free” Wright will be the keynote speaker.
The NAACP and Starbucks have partnered to launch the One Nation Spoken Word Showcase Tour, a youth empowerment tour that will travel to Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington DC. In each city, the tour will bring a number of activities for young people to get involved, including empowerment seminars at local high schools and colleges, with a focus on positive self development and human rights using a fusion of poetry, the spoken word, theater, hip hop music and culture; youth-led community service projects; and a spoken word showcase featuring local youth talent. In most cities, the spoken word showcase will be held in a local Starbucks store, underscoring the NAACP and Starbucks’ commitment to the community.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently awarded $7.4 million to 10 historically black colleges and universities to help revitalize neighborhoods, promote affordable housing and stimulate economic development in their communities. The funding is provided through HUD’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program. Donovan made the announcement to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference in Washington.
A new effort led by the National College Access Network (NCAN) and the USC Rossier School of Education’s Center for Urban Education (CUE) will try to align college access programs with student achievement goals at two Boston high schools. The objective for the Kresge Foundation-funded initiative is to expand the pool of college eligible high school students of color by improving the quality of college access programs and integrating these efforts with the schools’ academic goals. Program administrators are often unaware of the students they serve and whether the services are helping students improve their grades and fulfill the course requirements for college admission. Only 35 percent of Boston Public Schools’ college-bound graduates from the class of 2000 had actually earned degrees by 2007. Tia Brown McNair, assistant director for NCAN, the grant recipient, says the funding will provide her advocacy organization with the resources to increase the effectiveness of college access programs.