Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Richard Bates has been elected to be the first Black sheriff in Marengo County. Bates told The Tuscaloosa News he wants to provide good law enforcement to the west Alabama county and is not concerned about being the first Black sheriff. Marengo County is about half Black and half White and he said he won by knocking on as many doors as possible and it didn’t matter if the voters he contacted were White or Black. Bates is a former deputy sheriff and military police officer who says he will focus on fighting illegal drugs while he is sheriff.
Air security officials recently struggled with arriving passengers who were outraged by new anti-terrorism screening procedures they consider invasive and harmful. Many passengers expressed their disapproval of being forced to choose scans by full-body image detectors or pat-downs. Top federal security officials said that the procedures were safe and necessary sacrifices to ward off terror attacks. The most popular instance of non-compliance this week came from the San Diego airport where software engineer John Tyner, complained about being removed from an airport after refusing both forms of security, specifically the groin check.
District of Columbia
More than 30,000 residents in D.C. are in search of employment and Mayor-elect Vincent Gray plans to make putting people to work a priority when he takes office in January. “The more people are out of work, the tougher it becomes for our local small business owners, a vital segment of our economy, to stay in business,” Gray said. “For the past three and a half years, the current administration has virtually ignored unemployment, doing little, if anything, to deal with this growing crisis” The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute reported in October that while joblessness increased for African-American residents, employment remained steady for White residents and college-educated residents and a large part of that is because of the recession. Some of the poorest areas in the District have unemployment rates as high as 30 percent.
Indiana University police have arrested two suspects who are suspected of being involved in an attack on Asian students by a group of African Americans. Police say eight Asian students were walking to a dorm on the Bloomington campus on Halloween when eight Blacks approached them making racist comments. The Black men then robbed and fought with four of the Asian men, one of whom ended up with a broken jaw. Aldwin Shade turned himself in on Monday and was booked on robbery and assault charges.
Erlene B. Wilson, founder and president of E. Wilson Communications Inc. public relations and marketing firm was recently recognized as one of the east-coast’s outstanding women/minority business owners and was awarded a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award. Wilson’s Baltimore-based public relations and marketing firm, was selected for this prestigious honor from 5,000 nominations.
As a result of the Nov. 2 election, Minneapolis’ current redistricting committee will be disbanded in 2012 and their duties will be taken over by the Minneapolis Charter Commission in order to ensure that political boundaries fairly represent the city’s diversity, and that they are not biased by political party preference. The vote to approve the measure passed with more than 55 percent of the votes. Currently, all 15 members of the commission are White. Charter Commission Chairman Barry Clegg said part of the reason for that, is a lack of applicants to fill the open spots, eventhough all vacancies are
The St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation and Charter Communications plan to feed 600 homeless people from the St. Louis metropolitan area as part of their 14th annual “Feed the Hungry” Thanksgiving Dinner today at the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Complex. “This Foundation will continue to serve its mission of giving back to the community,” said Richard Gray, President and CEO of the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation. “There is no better way to reinforce the philosophy of giving back than to offer a warm Thanksgiving meal for those less fortunate during the holiday season.”
Many people stood outside of the Lyceum Theater in protest of the new Broadway show “The Scottsboro Boys” which is a play about the lynchings of nine young Black boys after they were falsely accused of the rapes of two White women. The play even features Blackface. Many who have seen the play have called it a disgrace and an insult, and are standing behind getting the play shut down. “This ‘musical comedy’ makes a mockery of an historic travesty of justice with total disregard for the humanity and suffering of the judicial lynchings that have marred the history of the United States then and now,” said Amadi Ajamu, a Freedom Party spokesperson. “Cite the ongoing struggle for justice and reparations for the ‘Central Park Five.’ Five teenage boys who served up to 15 years in prison for a rape of a White female Wall Street broker they did not commit…We cannot stand by and allow this show to continue without standing up in resistance. It is an atrocity and should be shut down immediately.”
Many Greensboro citizens spoke out at a city council meeting recently in efforts to get an approval of $5 million in stimulus funding for the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program. The council approved the funding in a 6-3 vote, with former mayor Yvonne stating that making homes in poor communities more energy efficient would also lead to better health in those communities. Councilmember Trudy Wade, one of the member that voted against the measure, said that she did so because she believes that it is a misconception that this money is going to help the people who need it the most. “It’s basically being used for landlords and business owners to make their properties more efficient,” she said. “I just cant see how this is going to help the people who really need it.”
Seventy young women ages 13 to 18 from Philadelphia and Los Angeles, were presented to an audience of more than five hundred guests during Teenshop’s Cotillion-style Gala. Teenshop is one of the nation’s longest running volunteer-based programs dedicated exclusively to the positive development of adolescent females. The guest speaker was Dr. Arlene C. Ackerman, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, who delivered an inspiring message that challenged the girls to always strive for excellence. More than three thousand girls have been enrolled and while participating in the program, no girls dropped out of school or became a teen parent, and all graduates enrolled into college or professional schools. The curriculum is an innovative series of life skills workshops that include social graces, character development, financial literacy, health and fitness, arts and culture, community service, and college tours.
The New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recently held in major event and welcomed the entire community to join in the installation of their new Senior Pastor, Judy Cummings, who is the first woman to pastor this historic church in its 151 years of existence. Ordained by the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., at the Temple Church, she served at the historic Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church for the past eight years as the Executive Pastor. In addition to he pastoral duties, Cummings is a frequently sought preacher, teacher, revivalist, retreat, and conference speaker.
Eugene H. Tinner, a veteran who completed his duties in the army in 1948 after eight years serving in Tokyo and the Phillipines said he felt extremely blessed recently after he received an official autographed picture and a congratulations card from President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama for his years of service in the army and wishing him a happy birthday.
Federal health experts recently voted in favor of Benlysta, a new drug created to treat lupus. The drug is designed to treat flare-ups and pain caused by lupus, a potentially fatal ailment in which the body attacks its own tissue and organs causing skin rashes, joint pain, and inflammation of the kidneys and the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart. The FDA is scheduled to make a decision on Benlysta by Dec. 9, and company executives suggested the drug could be available in the first quarter 2011. In trials, the drug did not help African-Americans, who are three times more likely to have lupus than Caucasians.
The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education have designated Nov. 15-19 as International Education Week in the hopes of encouraging responsible participation in an increasingly globalized world. Inspire Film Productions is encouraging people to gain a deeper understanding of different cultural realities of African-Americans by presenting short films about their experiences in America and abroad. In their film, “An African-American Quest for Authenticity”, viewers are able to follow the lives of 16 people who have reconnected with their African heritage and are living fulfilling lives in Ghana, West Africa.
The Women Employed Institute released a report recently entitled, “Lower-Income Women Face the Job Market,” which found that many women, specifically those with a lack of career planning information and skills, experience barriers to a meaningful series of steps to move from low-paying jobs to something better.” Using these findings as a backdrop, the institute developed recommendations on creating practices that could help lower income women build career assets, skills, experience, contacts, and knowledge that will help them advance to better jobs.
Michael Hill, an administrator at Lincoln, a historically Black university is trying to start an online program at the institution as it is one of many Black colleges that have yet to enter the online-education market. According to the American Council on Education, Black students made up about 12 percent of total enrollment in higher education in 2007 but were 21 percent of students at for-profit institutions- many of which are online. Black colleges only enroll about 11 percent of all Black students but those numbers could increase with the implementation more online opportunities.