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September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American A3 PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY EDITION

Volume 127 No. 6

SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 - SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Inside

Kwame Alexander Credits Baltimore with Launching Writing Career

Washington

My Sister’s Keeper

Councilman Silverman Successfully Gets Allen Kicked Off Ballot

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AP Photo

Serena Williams, left, and Naomi Osaka, of Japan, pose for photos during the trophy ceremony after Osaka defeated Williams in the controversial women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament where Williams was penalized for defending herself to an umpire.

Suspect Faces Charges in Teen’s Murder

By Mark F. Gray Special to the AFRO

By Micha Green AFRO Washington D.C. Editor mgreen@afro.com

Authorities said they arrested and charged one suspect in the August murder of 16-year-old Kevin Wilson Jr. of Silver Spring, who was shot in the Takoma Park area of Prince George’s County, before later dying at a hospital. Tyrell McArthur, 22, of Temple Hills, Maryland, has been arrested and has five charges against him in the murder of Wilson. The charges include first-degree and second-degree murder, assault in the first degree, use of a firearm and having a handgun on his person according to the District Courts of Maryland. Police are also looking for 22-year-old Rayshawn Williams in relation to Wilson’s death, according to The Washington Post. Williams’ last known address is in Southeast, D.C. Detectives are still searching for a third suspect in the case and are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.

Courtesy Photo

Kevin Wilson (pictured), a talented athlete, was killed in Takoma Park. A suspect is facing a first degree murder charge.

Mother-Daughter Duo on the Benefits of Cannabis in the Black Community By Brianna Rhodes Special to the AFRO Mary and Main founders, Hope Wiseman, of E!’s ‘WAGS Atlanta,’ and her mother Dr. Octavia SimkinsWiseman, are on a mission to educate and provide quality medical cannabis products to the Black community in Prince George’s County. Wiseman, who became the youngest Black dispensary owner in the U.S. last year, founded Mary and Main not only as a business, but out of the desire to provide people in the community affordable access to medical cannabis. As Wiseman continued to learn more about the history of the plant and the history of drugs, she became very

Money Games Mean Big Losses as Bowie St. Salvages Weekend

passionate about the social justice aspect of the industry and saw it as a great opportunity to help African Americans who were negatively affected by cannabis itself as well. Wiseman and Simkins-Wiseman are hoping to change the stigma behind cannabis within the Black community by educating patients about its health benefits. “It is hard to forget something that we’ve been put in jail for, had to pay fines and be locked up for and for people being told that it causes them to have mindful thoughts that are not positive. So it’s hard to change someone’s mind overnight,” Wiseman told the AFRO. “I believe though that with the cannabis, the plant is going to change their mind once they learn that this particular plant was used before the 1930sDr. Octavia Simkins-Wiseman before this ban came about- in and Hope Wiseman Continued on A2 Courtesy Photo

Copyright © 2018 by the Afro-American Company

Howard and Morgan got big checks and paid with blowout road losses to Division I opponents while Bowie State got back on track with a big win in West Virginia. The Bison and Bears lost by a combined 9521 against their Mid-America Conference opponents while the Bulldogs held off a late charge against a fellow Division II program.

Kent State Too Much for Howard

Sophomore quarterback Cailyn Newton may be Howard’s Superman, but Kent State made him look mortal in a 54-14 loss in Muncie, Indiana. Newton, one of America’s top offensive weapons, was contained by a defense that found a way to thwart him. After leading the Bison with 532 yards of total in their season opener at Ohio University, Newton was held in check by the Golden Flashes defense, which made him look pedestrian.

Continued on A2

Last week the AFRO reported that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan did not have a presence in Prince George’s County. Upon further discussion with the Hogan team, the governor has been actively campaigning in Prince George’s County including knocking on doors and attending events.


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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

Study: White College Admissions Counselors Prefer Deracialized Blacks As Potential Students In each inquiry, a “student” from two of the four groups asked whether they’d be a good fit for the school. Thornhill’s findings showed that overall, White admissions officers were 26 percent less likely to respond to emails from Black high school students who exhibited concerns about ongoing racism,

By Lenore T. Adkins Special to the AFRO Which prospective Black college students are more likely to get a response from White admissions counselors at predominantly White institutions (PWIs)? According to a study Florida Gulf Coast University sociologist Ted Thornhill published September 5, White gatekeepers are more responsive to Black students who present themselves as deracialized and racially apolitical. Meanwhile, Black college candidates exhibiting interest in racial justice, community activism and antiracism are less likely to receive a response from White admissions officers, according to Thornhill’s research. His paper is called “We Want Black Students, Just Not You: How White Admissions Officers Screen Black Prospective Students.” It was published in “Sociology of Race and Ethnicity,” a journal that’s published quarterly in concert with the American Sociological Association. The research asks whether potential Black applicants interested in racial justice should whitewash their interests at the risk of not getting a response, or reveal their interests and let the chips fall where they may. Thornhill, who presented the findings of his study Sept. 5 during a panel at Howard University, said the results were disturbing, but not surprising. “Research shows that most Whites are colorblind and they believe that race no longer matters — that racism is a thing of the past,” Thornhill told the AFRO. “They often get uncomfortable and angry when Blacks and non-Black

check out this link or this part of our website,’” Thornhill said. “These individuals that claim to be colorblind, they’re not supposed to care. They don’t see the irony.” David Hawkins, executive director for policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said screening potential candidates who appear

“Research shows that most Whites are colorblind and they believe that race no longer matters — that racism is a thing of the past.”

– Thornhill

Courtesy Photo

Ted Thornhill, a sociologist from Florida Gulf University, studied how many White admissions counselors replied to students whose names and interests imply or suggest that they are students of color.

people of color challenge their colorblind thinking. And so, the anti-racist narrative in my study likely produced that sentiment in many of these White counselors.” Thornhill started his project in 2015, by devising four narratives of fictitious Black students representing varying degrees of Blackness that he put into the body of the emails. Next, Thornhill devised and tested names that he used for email addresses that he

felt would identify the student as Black (for example, Jamal Jackson and Lakeisha Lewis). Finally, he developed a sample of White admission counselors he would send the emails to. Posing as those bogus students, Thornhill emailed two inquiries a month apart to 517 White admissions counselors at the same number of small to medium sized liberal arts colleges and regional colleges and universities.

with White male counselors being the least likely to respond to these students. When those students were young Black women, White male counselors were nearly 50 percent less likely to respond, according to the study. Meanwhile, White admissions counselors responded to Black students’ with less racially specific names mails 65 percent of the time, while racially salient Black students achieved a response rate of 55 percent, according to the study. Overall, roughly 40 percent of the 1,034 emails Thornhill sent to White admissions counselors were not answered and for certain subgroups of Black students, the percentage shot up to nearly two thirds. “I think it’s likely a conservative estimate if anything because … it really takes little effort when someone sends an email to say, ‘Thank you for your email. Please

to care about racial justice is a poor indicator of who will fight the power on campus versus who won’t, because someone who may not care about racial matters could change his or her mind after experiencing racism on campus. “Admission offices would be probably participating in an exercise of futility if they tried to sort of identify who was going to be more politically active than not,” said Hawkins, who is helping Thornhill publicize his findings. Thornhill, meanwhile, is hopeful that White enrollment leaders take the results to heart and start drafting and implementing policies that would stop admissions counselors from screening students based on their Blackness. “I don’t think anything will go away completely, but if they ameliorate the problem, that will be better than the status quo,” Thornhill said.

HBCU Report

Cannabis

Continued from A1

Continued from A1 almost every medicine that we had in the United States. So for it to have been taken out of those products was the first thing that kind of went wrong.” Simkins-Wiseman believes once people know that cannabis and its products are all natural and can help them with certain illnesses and symptoms such as anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer, or autoimmune disease, they will be more open to using the products. “I do believe once people know that they can get the medicine in Maryland, how to get the medicine and come to a place like Mary and Main where we will give that extra energy to make sure that they understand, I believe that they’re going to be satisfied and continue to use it,” Simkins-Wiseman told the AFRO. Patients and the public will have the opportunity be educated on the basics around the history and science behind cannabis. They can come in and learn about the product and its effect and how to use it so that they can understand what’s happening in their bodies. “So we’re really going to stick heavily on education and work with our community, different community activities and community groups--that kind of thing so we can begin to teach its positive effects,” Simkins-Wiseman said. Wiseman is also hoping that patients can spread the word by telling their experiences as well. “I think just telling your experiences will help the African-American community,” Wiseman said. “Nothing inspires AfricanAmericans more than hearing somebody else say you know this is what happened to me. Especially if it’s someone that they can relate to because a lot of times when they’re seeing this stuff on TV, they’re not seeing Black and Brown people.” Wiseman said the dispensary offers a

comfortable yet professional atmosphere. “When you walk in we definitely have a specific look,” Wiseman said. “All the wood-the wood contrasted with the gray and it’s just very bright and inviting which is especially interesting seeing as we have no windows in our dispensary but still you feel like your in a kind of oasis. So that was definitely our goal, to make people just comfortable and be a place where they wanted to be.” Also since there are few dispensaries that are owned by African-Americans, patients of color will be able to receive services from knowledgeable employees who look like them and live in their community. She wants people to feel comfortable to come in and ask questions and buy their medicine, especially those members of the African American community who’ve been scarred by the war on drugs. “Everyone in African American communities has been affected by the war on drugs either or indirectly by a – Hope Wiseman directly family member or a close friend,” Wiseman said. “So I think it’s extremely important that representation happens...That’s why I was so excited when we were awarded the license in Prince George’s County.” “Its where I’m from and these are my people,” she added. “This is my community and I’m so happy I get to give back to the place where I came from.” What also makes the dispensary unique is that its a true family owned business as well. Dispensary manager, Dexter Parker and Dr. Larry Bryant, business partner of Mary and Main, are longtime friends of the family. “We love each other and we’re so excited about being here and in this community,” Wiseman said. “I don’t know if you’re going to be around too many authentically happy and proud people like you would experiencing Mary and Main. I mean a lot of people have fought hard for this industry but we have literally dedicated our lives to this.”

“This is my community and I’m so happy I get to give back to the place where I came from.”

He completed just 11 of 25 passes for only 141 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Newton led them rushing with just 41 yards on 22 carries, but, Howard didn’t find any offensive rhythm all afternoon. As Newton struggled so did the Bison offense that was outgained 511-270. Over two weeks Howard hasn’t been to establish a solid rushing game to take the pressure off Newton. Sophomore tailback Dedrick Parson rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries but led the team with four receptions and 107 yards and a touchdown. Next Opponent: vs. Savannah State

Hall Leads Bowie State to First Win

Quarterback Amir Hall completed 27 of 41 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns with one interception as Bowie State held off a late charge from Alderson Broaddus University 38-31. The Bulldogs nearly blew a 21 point lead but withstood the challenge for their first win of the season in Phillippi, West Virginia.

Nine different receivers caught passes from the reigning national HBCU Player of the Year as Bowie State used Hall as their embarrassment of riches on offense to build a 31-10 second half lead. Redshirt sophomore Montez Clay led the Bulldogs receivers with six receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns while redshirt senior Daryl Jasper recorded a career-high 85 yards on five receptions. The Bulldogs may have found the consistent weapon at running back as Virginia Union transfer Brandon Abrams emerged to give them balance. Abrams, who played at Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore County, rushed for 117 of their 129 yards and scored a touchdown. Bowie St. seemed to clinch the game early in the final quarter when Gilbert Lunsford scored on a 30 yard touchdown run. However, the Battlers rallied to score 21 points in the fourth quarter and closed the to the final margin when Jalen Jackson rumbled 72-yards around the left side of the Bulldogs defense to score and trim the lead to 38-31 with 3:47 remaining. Next Opponent: McKendree University

Morgan State Offense Sputters Again at Akron

Courtesy Photo

Amir Hall led the Bowie Bulldogs in a win against Alderson Broaddus University

While Morgan State continues to look for its offense, Akron’s was in high gear as the Zips rolled the Bears 41-7 in their season opener in Athens, Ohio. Coach Ernest Jones promised that Morgan would run the football effectively but that hasn’t been the case for the first two weeks. The Bears were outgained 200-114 in rush yards as Van Edwards shredded them for 109 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. Quarterback Kato Nelson also passed for 232 yards and three scores as Akron rolled to a 237-78 passing advantage and 437-192 in total yards. Morgan State has a total of 359 yards on offense through its first two games in what was supposed to be revamped under Jones. Next Opponent: University of Albany (NY)


September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

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Church of God in Christ

James Jordan Honored after Elevation to Auxiliary Bishop By Hamil Harris Special to the AFRO James Jordan, pastor of the Refreshing Spring Church of God In Christ for decades, was recently elevated to the position of Auxiliary Bishop in the Church of God In Christ. Jordan was elevated last year but this week was honored at the Gaylord International Hotel during a program that featured Lisa Page-Brooks, from the female gospel group Witness, and Bishop J. Louis Felton, senior pastor of the Mount Airy Church of God In Christ in Philadelphia. “We are humbled to be chosen by our denomination to occupy this position,” Jordan told the AFRO. “This opens up an opportunity for a new work but our focus is still in the Riverdale and Hyattsville community.” Refreshing Spring is one of the largest African-American Pentecostal churches in the region. Over the years, Refreshing Spring has had a significant impact in the community; establishing a bus ministry, clothing closet, homeless outreach and a special ministry to the local Vietnamese community. Jordan, 75, has been a member of Refreshing Springs since the age of 3 and pastor of the Riverdale congregation since 1995. In 1995, Founding Pastor Archie D. Headen died and Jordan, who was then church’s Assistant Pastor, was appointed Pastor. According to the church’s website, Jordan, Jr. had a special attachment to Elder Headen. As a child he begged his parents to go home with Pastor Headen every Sunday. Later as an adult Minister and Elder he served Headen faithfully. He was even given an opportunity to become the Pastor of a Church in West Virginia, which he took with permission from Headen. Jordan said while his ministry will not change he will have additional tasks that includes serving as the chairman of the jurisdiction’s board of supervisors. “The greatest challenge that we have facing us is possibly in the political arena,” Jordan said. “They only want our input at election time and we are on the ground level.”

Courtesy photo

Bishop James Jordan with his wife, Mother Irene Jordan. Bishop Jordan is now an Auxiliary Bishop in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). The ceremony took place at the Gaylord International Hotel at the National Harbor.


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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

Dr. Dee Carroll hosted a book signing for her new book, ‘Emotional Emancipation’ on August 23 at the Country Club at Woodmore in Bowie, Maryland. The book takes readers on an emotional journey through the personal trials and tribulations of Dr. Dee and countless others and looks at how

each faced and overcame obstacles. The book signing included live music and speeches from sponsors and supporters including Prince Georg’es County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

Fay Johnson and Maureen Briambridge Dr. Dee Carroll poses next to the welcome poster for her book signing

Mikaela Pollard, Donna Wilson, Elaine Pollard and Willie Pollard

Karen Davis, Dr. Clarence Davis, Arley Johnson and Tenina Reeves

Fay Mallitt and Marian Pegram Sandra Marley and Pierre Walters (Director/ Producer)

Musical selection from Taylor Nevels

Jesse Bowden, Paul Jackson and Robert A. Smith Bericka W. Broomfield and Janice M. Gowie

Courtesy Photos

Metro Stage in Alexandria, Virginia brought a hint of South African culture to District audiences with its new play ‘The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek,’ written by Athol Fugard and directed by Thomas W. Jones II. The play takes place Doug Brown during the 1980’s during apartheid in South Africa, and chronicles the life of an old “outsider artist” Nukain Mabuza (Doug Brown) and his young assistant Bokkie (Jeremiah Hasty). The show runs from now until Marni Penning September 30.

Jeremiah Hasty

Jeremiah Hasty poses with his parents at the opening night reception

Jeremy Keith Hunter Edgar Brookins and William “Bill” Euille, former mayor of Alexandria, VA.

Family and friends of cast members Photos by Chris Banks and Pamela Jenkins


September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

Send your news tips to tips@afro.com.

Inside

NATIONAL NEWS

Washington

DC Public Schools Remember 9/11

Keith David on on ‘Greenleaf’

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Fighting for an America that Works for Working Families

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Miss America AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

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Miss New York Nia Franklin is the latest Miss America.

CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference Has Something for Everyone

By J. K. Schmid Special to the AFRO

By James Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference is taking place from September 12-16 in the District of Columbia and there is something for everyone who attends. The CBC Conference is co-chaired for the first time by U.S. senators, Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The conference has scores of issue forums and braintrusts on a variety of topics ranging from foreign policy, civil rights, juvenile justice, entertainment, health and wellness, political and voter engagement, religion and education. There are academicians, political, social and cultural activists, artists and politicians from every level of government as well as leaders from foreign countries participating in the issue forums and braintrusts.  Many of the activities will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Bishop Michael Curry, who received worldwide attention for his address at the wedding of the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year, are participating in the National Town Hall meeting on September 13. The theme of the event is “Rise Up: Equality Delayed is Equality Denied.”

Continued on B3

Courtesy Photo

Angela Rye of CNN is one of the speakers at the CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference.

The Congressional Black Caucus is holding their annual conference in Washington, D.C. this week. The AFRO is reprinting this 1971 article about the founding members of the Black Caucus meeting with President Richard Nixon, one of the first actions the group took.

Baltimore Funeral Director Recalls Laying to Rest ‘A Queen’ Carlton C. Douglass knew he was going to be a part of Aretha Franklin’s August 31 funeral immediately. “Almost the day that she passed away,” the Baltimore radio personality and owner of Carlton C. Douglass Funeral Service, PA, told the AFRO. “My role was to lead everyone into the church, to assist in the seating and on the way out, I would lead all the procession, behind the casket, out.” he said. During the service, Douglass found himself among the Black elite, all guests of the Franklin family. “Right in front of me was Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson, Valerie Simpson, about two rows from me was Clive Davis, and the cast of “The Haves and the Have Nots”that was one of [Aretha’s] favorite shows,” Douglass said. Douglass, has had a

Continued on B3

CBC Archived History

‘13’ Expect Nixon to React May 17 April 3, 1971

By Ruth Jenkins Washington-A historic meeting and a historic date were combined in the 95-minute session which the Congressional Black Caucus spent with President Nixon last Thursday discussing “the harsh conditions under which too many poor, black and other oppressed Americans are forced to live.” They submitted to the President 60 recommendation for “persistent and far-reaching action” toward changing these conditions and set the historic date of May 17 as the deadline for Continued on B3

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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON AFRO.COM Cartoonist Doubles Down on Racist Drawing By Perry Green AFRO Sports Editor pgreen@afro.com

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(Mark Knight/Herald Sun-News Corp. via AP)

This Mark Knight cartoon, published by the Herald Sun, depicts Serena Williams as an irate, hulking, bigmouthed Black woman jumping up and down on a broken racket. The umpire was shown telling a blond, slender woman — meant to be Naomi Osaka, who is actually Japanese and Haitian — “Can you just let her win?”

that women are treated unfairly for competing with the same emotion and intensity as men. The Sun backed Knight’s claim that his cartoon was not racist. “A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” Sun editor Damon Johnston said, according to the Independent. “It had nothing to do with gender or race. This was about a bad sport being mocked.” Now, reports are surfacing that tennis umpires are considering boycotting Williams, where they’ll refuse to officiate any of her games. According to former umpire Richard Ings, many of them believe that the umpire that Ramos didn’t receive proper support from the USTA. “The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” Ings told ESPN. “They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”

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An Australian cartoonist has faced heavy criticism after depicting tennis superstar Serena Williams in what some have described as a racially offensive illustration. Mark Knight, a cartoonist for the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Australia, published a caricature in the Sun’s paper Monday, portraying Williams as a large woman with fat red lips, jumping up and down on her tennis racquet in what appeared to be a parody of Williams throwing a temper tantrum because she was losing. Social activist Jesse Jackson called the art racist and despicable. “This despicable cartoon tried and failed to diminish the greatness & grace of @serenawilliams,” Jackson tweeted. “Racism in any form is unacceptable.” “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling said the cartoon was not only racist but sexist, too. “Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop,” Rowling tweeted. But Knight said his drawing wasn’t meant to be racist and that it was inspired only by what he viewed as “poor behavior” displayed by Williams in the finals of the US Open this weekend. Serena had argued with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after being penalized for misconduct, and was seen on TV expressing how she felt

(Courtesy photo)

A bill dispute involving members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at the Cleveland Bahama Breeze Restaurant led to the police being called.

Members of a Black sorority who say a restaurant discriminated against them by calling police have sued the business. The lawsuit by a group of Cleveland-based alumni of Delta Sigma Theta sorority includes claims of public accommodation, discrimination and making false alarms. It was filed Monday in Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County court. Cleveland.com reports the lawsuit alleges restaurant managers at Bahama Breeze lied to police that the party of mostly sorority members threatened to leave without paying their checks. The lawsuit says several members of the group had to show receipts to leave even though most hadn’t been served or received their checks. Florida-based Darden Restaurants owns Bahama Breeze. It says “everyone is welcome in our restaurants, and we strive to provide an exceptional experience for all our guests.”


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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 -September 21, 2018

September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

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CBC Archived History Continued from B1

Mr. Nixon to report progress along these lines to them and the nation. May 17 was the date in 1954 when the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. This date in the words of Rep. Charles C. Diggs, of Michigan, chairman of the Black Caucus, “ushered in a new era of racial revolution.” The Black Caucus is made up of the 12 black members of the House of Representatives. They happen to be Democrats, but point out that their interests and concerns in this case are non-partisan. In addition to Cong. Diggs, they are: Augustus F. Hawkins of California, who serves as vice chairman; Charles B. Rangel of New York, secretary; Shirley Chisholm of New York; Louis Stokes of Ohio; George W. Collins of Illinois; John Conyers Jr. of Michigan; Ronald V. Dellums of California; Parren Mitchell of Maryland and Robert N. C. Nix of Pennsylvania. By special invitation of President Nixon, the Rev. Walter Fauntroy participated in the discussions. He was elected Tuesday as a non-voting delegate to the Congress from the District of Columbia. They called it “historic” and said Mr. Nixon used the word “worthwhile” referring to this meeting which came from fruition after a 14-month delay, establishing a dialogue with the Administration which they hope will be continuous. They said, “He listened but we don’t know if he heard. If he didn’t hear, both his administration and the country will suffer.” They told Mr. Nixon that their recommendations represent not only their own deep concerns, but the expressed concerns of organizations and individuals from all over the country. They said, “Our people are no longer asking for equality as a rhetorical promise. They are demanding from the national Administration and from elected officials without regard to party affiliation, the only kind of equality that ultimately has any real meaning—equality of results.” In their recommendations, the congressmen focused attention on executive action that can be taken immediately. “Some could be taken today,” they pointed out, and “certainly by May 17.” Rep. Mitchell said that two utterances by President Nixon had struck the group profoundly. First when he told them, “If I were you, I would be doing the same thing. Coming here, fighting for the rights of black people,” and secondly when he candidly admitted that black America long has been and still is being treated unfairly.

CBCF

Continued from B1

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been invited to speak on September 14 on a panel sponsored by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) FAMU Made: “From Mayor to Mainstreet” that talks about the contributions that Florida A&M University graduates have made in the public sector. The highly-anticipated and well-attended Prayer Breakfast will feature vocalist Kurt Carr and guest speaker AME Bishop Vashti McKenzie on Sept. 15 at the convention center. “The Prayer Breakfast presents a unique opportunity for attendees to unite in the spirit of hope, faith and love during the Annual Legislative Conference,” A. Shuanise Washington, CBCF president and CEO, said. “As the inspirational high note of the week, we can raise our voices in song and praise while recharging ourselves for the vital work that is still to be done within our community.” The Rev. William Barber II, former president of the North Carolina NAACP and an activist for the poor, is the speaker for the Phoenix Awards Dinner -A. Shuanise Washington on Sept. 15 also at the convention center. The Community Breakfast and Health Fair takes place on Sept. 13 at the Central Union Mission on Massachusetts Ave., N.W. with CBC members, staff and friends serving the homeless.

“The Prayer Breakfast presents a unique opportunity for attendees to unite in the spirit of hope, faith and love during the Annual Legislative Conference.”

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Funeral Director Continued from B1

decades-long career in service to the Baltimore community. “I’m celebrating, this year, 46 years,” Douglass said. “I started in 1972, my first case was my brother-in-law.” Out of town requests for his services began almost immediately. The first was Duke Ellington in 1974. “That was a situation where my classmate, the late John Joyce of Harlem, New York, buried a lot of prominent musicians,” Douglass said. “He invited me to assist in that funeral, however, I was unable to because, at that time, I had just started the business here in Baltimore, and couldn’t get away.” As the interview continued, Douglass demonstrated a flawless recall of the names of every family and business he worked with, celebrity or not. “Around ‘85 or ‘86. [Joyce] and I, together, did Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, and the last one we did together was Lionel Hampton, in New York,” Douglass said. Swanson Funeral Home, the provider of Franklin’s funeral services, is another business with which Douglass has deep ties. “About 28 years ago, the funeral home that handled Aretha Franklin, owned by Dr. O’Neil Swanson, of Swanson Funeral Home out of Detroit-O’Neil and I are like brothers from another mother-in fact, when my mother died in ‘91, he came here and assisted in directing my mother’s funeral,” Douglass said. “He stayed with me about three days after the services to make sure I was alright, he then got the call for David Ruffin, the lead singer of The Temptations, and invited me to be a part of assisting in that funeral in Detroit.” Swanson provided his services for the funeral arrangements of Rosa Parks in 2005, a tour that crossed the country from Detroit, Michigan, to Montgomery, Alabama, to Washington, D.C. Douglass could not assist in Detroit, but was able to serve in D.C. “I had the honor of seating Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Gayle King, at that time,” Douglass said. Douglass, with Swanson, have also laid to rest some of the most eminent funeral directors across the country, including the most prominent Black funeral director in Kansas City, Missouri, Lawrence Jones, Sr. “That gave me some experience on how to deal with funerals of [Aretha’s] caliber,” Douglass said. Douglass’s rise coincided with his ascent to leadership of one of the United States’s oldest Black professional networks. “I was the youngest mortician to be president of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, which is the largest organization of minority funeral directors in the world, in 1988, Douglass said. “So, I know just about every African-American funeral director in the country, at least those that come to the conventions.” The association now has footing in three continents: North America, Europe and Africa; American interests extend all the way to the Caribbean. While controversy swirls about the absence of Franklin’s will, the Swanson and Franklin families were quick in determining that they wanted The Queen of Soul sent off just so, “like a queen,” Douglass said.

Photo by J. K. Schmid

Carlton C. Douglass, in his Pikesville home. Douglass commended the work of the one particular woman with the Swanson family. “I have to say, that the daughter of the owner of the funeral home, Linda Swanson, who was an expert restorative artist, … she was able restore her look back to what Aretha looked like when she was smaller and did the makeup,” Douglass said. “And she also made, not went to the store and bought, but she made all of the outfits that Aretha wore during the four days of her layout. She physically sowed and fitted the outfit to her. “ Photographers present at the funeral were prohibited from photographing Aretha’s face at the request of the family, but in state, in gold casket, wearing red dress and shoes, may prove as an iconic image imaginable. “A lot of people were talking about how when she was laying in the casket, her legs were crossed,” Douglass said. “That was an idea [Linda] came up with.” While perhaps a perfect moment in the craft, funeral services, Black and White alike, are losing business to the increasingly popular arrangement of cremation. White-owned funeral services are also eager to make up the lost revenue by hiring all-Black staff to entice Black clients, Douglass says. “Let me just say this, I would hope that the existence of the oldest Black business in America, which is the funeral business, would continue to thrive and exist, even after I’m gone,” Douglass said.


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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

COMMENTARY

Fighting for an America that Works for Working Families Elijah Cummings

For families `like my own, Labor Day each year is a civil rights holiday. From our own life experience, we understand that attacks on our nation’s labor unions are attacks upon both our civil

rights and our pocketbooks. When my children were young, I would tell them about A. Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the union’s role in integrating the U.S. military and the broader movement for our civil rights. I remind them about organized labor’s critical role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the seminal moment in our history when Dr. King declared his dream for America. My children learned that, before their grandparents had a union to stand by them, they were forced to work from sun up to sun down for 15 cents an hour – and how, after my father gained a unionized job at Davison Chemical Company in Baltimore, he was able to earn 7 times that paltry wage plus overtime. My father’s union was the driving force that allowed us to transform our lives for the better. His union membership provided our family with a health care plan and helped my parents buy our family home. As a result, Robert and Ruth Cummings’ children and grandchildren were able to study at better schools and gain the excellent foundation for all that we would become in life. Like so many other American families (of every racial background, I should add), we are the sons and daughters of labor – and we will never forget that our civil rights, our economic opportunity, and the strength of organized labor in America are inextricably intertwined. Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology confirms that at least one-half of America’s non-union workers would vote for a union today if given the chance.  At least 262,000 American workers made that choice in 2017.   They could see with their own eyes that unionized working families are more likely to earn higher wages (a third higher for African Americans) and that union members are far more likely to have affordable health coverage from their jobs, retirement benefits, and paid sick days. Our unions have set the standard, and all working families, union and non-union alike, have gained. For many of these new union members, and especially those who are Americans of Color, they also are becoming acutely aware of the connection, both historically and today, between our economic empowerment and our civil rights. Working Americans gained a vote in our workplaces through legally-protected collective bargaining that complemented and reinforced our political voices at the ballot box.  Even as our nation’s unions stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us in our fight for voting rights, non-discrimination and other civil rights, it was largely through our labor unions that we gained a fuller measure of the economic American Dream. President Franklin Roosevelt and other New Deal reformers called this balance of labor power and political influence “industrial democracy.” Tens of millions of American families, including my own, were empowered as a result. More recently, however, this “industrial democracy” has been under sustained attack by corporate interests and their political allies – attacks that emanate today from the White House, the Republicans in Congress and even from some of our courts.  In 2016, President Trump campaigned on a pledge to stand up for American workers, but his actions since taking office have painted that promise in appalling hypocrisy.  In a sustained effort to undo President Obama’s pro-labor legacy, and with the active support of his Republican congressional allies, President Trump has appointed judges and members of the Federal Labor Relations Board who have a record of antipathy toward workers’ rights. This President has issued Executive Orders that weaken federal unions, and earlier this month, as the rest of our nation celebrated Labor Day, he perversely “honored” America’s working families by announcing that he would deny federal workers their modest and previously scheduled 2.1 percent

annual pay raise. His (questionable) reasoning: “We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” Federal workers, including more than 260,000 Marylanders, must be shaking their heads at the bitter irony jumping out from underneath the President’s words. At least 83 percent of the Republicans’ recent $1.5 Trillion tax give-away will go to the most affluent 1 percent among us – and not to working families. We Democrats in the Congress intend to fight this attack by the Trump Administration against the men and women in government who serve and protect us all.  Still, we must also redouble our efforts to move forward with the broader civil rights struggle of our time. The civil rights movement of this century must continue to stand for voting rights and against invidious discrimination – but we also must continue the fight on behalf of our nation’s working families and the labor unions that defend them. We are fighting to build an America that, once again, will work for working families.  There is no challenge of more lasting consequence to our decisions as voters on Election Day this year. In the days and years ahead, as in our past, every day in America should be Labor Day.  This is a fundamental political and economic reality of our time. Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

Franklin and McCain’s Lives Had More in Common than You Think During this divisive period in American history, our nation needs to decide if it wants to foster the cultural clashes seen so often today or, if it wants to foster cultural blending, along the lines of the fantasy American melting pot. Over the past two weeks, we saw the choices shown clearly during the funeral services of Senator John McCain and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. The two most dominant cultures in America were on display—the African American culture featuring its richness of music and spirit presented with passionate emotions, creativity and energy, and the White American culture tempered with solemn dignity, formality and structure. It was fascinating to see people all over the world participating in both cultural experiences as America demonstrated it is possible to have different, vibrant tributes side by side, without conflict or confrontation. Senator McCain’s solemn and formal funeral services in Arizona and Washington, D.C. had audiences composed mostly of White Americans. His speakers were predominately high-ranking government and military officials, with the notable exception of daughter Meghan McCain, who delivered a powerful political message. At the same time in Detroit, Aretha Franklin’s services

Stephanie E. Myers

featured predominately African American choirs, musicians, actors, Ministers, academics, businessmen, along with her grandchildren, who spoke beautifully. The personalities of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, and U.S. Senator John McCain, distinguished military hero and veteran, were similar in striking ways. They were both honest, hard-working people who demonstrated integrity and occasional willingness to be rebellious. During their lifetimes, they made personal contributions to America’s value system, civility, compassion and strength. And, in response to their deaths, a global community of mourners watched, cried and appreciated their legacies. Sure, there were obvious differences--one person was Black and the other was White; John McCain was a strong man and Aretha Franklin was a strong woman; both had strong, achieving fathers; and both were proud parents and grandparents. Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin moved hearts and bodies of all ages and races, to rhythm and dance, while Senator McCain a stern conservative, might not have danced at all. Statements of their prominence were evident at the funerals by the presence of former Presidents of the United States, and how thousands of people, from many backgrounds, lined up at their caskets, to express gratitude. Aretha Franklin’s 50-year global

Rap, Money and Therapy Rap, this musical genre created in the 1970s in New York ghettos, often receives negative press due to some of its messages which glorify drugs, violence and misogyny. However, despite its dark side, psychiatrists at Cambridge University have chosen to use it to treat patients who suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression or schizophrenia. The beneficial effects of music on the brain are acknowledged, but how do you explain that this musical genre is commonly used for therapeutic purposes? In a recent report the Lancet Psychiatry medical journal, the team in charge of this Hip-Hop Therapy claims that lyrics which deal with overcoming hardships and struggles offer a refuge to the desperate while rapping problems acts as an emotional outlet. According to these psychiatrists, not only do rappers use their skills and talent to describe their environment but also as a way to break free. There is often a message of hope amongst the lyrics, describing the lifestyle they want. “The message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is then recommended as a therapeutic tool. This song, released in 1982 depicts life in the ghetto under the Reagan Administration.

Pascal Archimede

“Juicy” by Notorious BIG is also part of the program. In this rags-to-riches chronicle he describes his childhood in poverty, his time dealing drugs and being involved in crime, his initial dreams of becoming a rapper and his eventual success in the music industry. During this therapy, the patients are also asked to write down their own texts and to rap them. Since its creation, rap has influenced various fields such as literature, cinema or education and is now proving its worth in medicine. Rap culture is undeniably an additional global contribution from Black Americans but are they the first ones to benefit from it financially? Despite the continuous decrease in sales of CDs and records, in 1999 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) estimated the music market in the United States at around $14 billion, with 10 percent of that generated by rap. In 2001, the percentage grew to 13 percent placing Rap as the second musical style, economically speaking, before Country music. On average, the rapper and their professional team (manager, lawyer...) would earn less than 10 percent on the sales of an album while 30 percent would flow back to the label. For example, on a record that costs between $8 and $20 dollars,

soundtrack of music provided revenue and entertainment for thousands of people from diverse backgrounds, and she personally touched millions with love, religious beliefs, and memories. Behind the scenes, she supported Dr. Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Civil Rights and Church causes. Senator McCain courageously defended America with his life and was a bi-partisan leader whose best friends were Republicans and Democrats. As a statement of his racial acceptance, John McCain had a adopted Bengalese daughter, an African American daughter-in-law and Black male friends. As citizens, we must now face the question--does America want Cultural Clashes or Cultural Blending? To quote Aretha Franklin, we need “RESPECT!” That is the quality that can guide America on paths towards being a truly diverse nation, that simultaneously displays cultural differences, and respects those differences. We owe thanks to Senator John McCain and Aretha Franklin for showing us how to experience a culturally blended America, and how to make it work—even for a few days. Stephanie Myers, Ph.D. is Vice President, R.J. Myers Publishing Company; National Co-Chair of Black Women for Positive Change, and author of “Invisible Queen: Mixed Ancestry Revealed.”

many artists end up making less than a dollar for each copy sold. So, when will Black people own big rap labels such as Warner, Sony or Universal? Some African-American rappers manage to do well anyway, setting up their own labels and investing in multiple projects. The latter are role models within the community, especially for the artists who wish to control the production, promotion and distribution of their music. According to Forbes, in 2018, the richest rapper is Jay Z with a fortune of $900 million, closely followed by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs with $825 million. On Twitter, Diddy has recently reminded his followers how important it is for Black people to know their history. To cope with the racist acts they are still victims of today, he has invited them to have a closer look at the teachings of Marcus Garvey who advocated the economic independence of the Black community. This reflection is in line with Jay Z’s one, whose last album “4:44” emphasizes the importance for the community to be financially independent. Pascal Archimede is the author of “Black American History, From Plantations to Rap Culture.”

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.

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The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018


September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

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ARTS & CULTURE

Keith David on His Preacher Character’s Evolution on ‘Greenleaf’ By Nadine Matthews Special to the AFRO Arguably one of the most interesting themes in good drama is the relationship between father and son. Films and plays like “The Godfather,” “Boyz n The Hood” and “Fences” are classics in large part because of the centrality of this dynamic. Besides “Empire” perhaps, television isn’t noted for delivering dramas that highlight complex father/son relationships. This is one of the many things that make the Oprah Winfrey produced family drama “Greenleaf” a standout. Keith David plays patriarch and head of the conflict-prone Greenleaf family’s megachurch. Of his character’s relationship with his son Jacob he tells the AFRO, “One of the things I love about “Greenleaf” is we get to explore that story about fathers’ and sons’ expectations and the difference between the expectations of the mother and the father. It’s quite wonderful and especially in these circumstances where there’s a family business and the expectation is that the son is going to take the lead unless he doesn’t measure up and then the expectation is broken on both sides.” Now at the beginning of “Greenleaf’s” third season, it seems Jacob who has always had a complicated relationship with the Bishop, is finally starting to come into his own when the Bishop’s

world is starting to unravel. David feels that the share so much time with someone. Lynn is a great two characters have turned a corner, “I think that influence because her concern is to protect her Bishop is quite proud that Jacob has taken over character as well as to protect the story. Whatever Triumph Church and is doing a good job. Whether she says, you can guarantee it has merit.” or not he shares “Greenleaf” that with his son is is also notable something else.” for its great Unfortunately, dialogue, the two things something most important David as a to the Bishop, his serious actor, wife and Calvary expresses a great Church, might just deal of gratitude be slipping through for. “If it ain’t his fingers. With the in the page then villainous tag team you gotta make of Tasha Skanks stuff up,” he and Rochelle Cross says. “When working overtime, Courtesy Photo it’s on the page, he is in trouble you only have Keith David is one of the stars of OWN’s ‘Greenleaf.’ with both the IRS to worry about and his wife Lady breathing life Mae, played by legendary Lynn Whitfield. The into it. It’s a great thing to be so well supported by combination of David and Whitfield make for our writing and producing staff. One thing about some of the most riveting scenes on nighttime having Oprah at the helm is she oversees every television. story and I think that one of her prime directives He says of his co-star. “[Whitfield] is smarter is to keep it real and that’s what we all try to do in than your average bear. She is also encouraging our particular way is to keep it real and make the and that’s a really great thing when you have to characters human.”

For the New York City native and Juilliard graduate, the character of Bishop Greenleaf is a dream come true in a surprising way. He reveals, “I have wanted to be a preacher since I was seven years old. I’m living my dream. This just allows me to live out a fantasy. This is like fulfilling a bucket list item as far as having the opportunity to play Bishop. It has helped to renew, buttress, and strengthen my own faith and I love the opportunity to demonstrate that the Bishop is still a man with the weaknesses and frailties of all men.” Being a part of a show where the church is almost a character unto itself, has allowed David to consider its role in current society. “Greenleaf” hasn’t avoided incorporating some of these issues into its storylines. David observes, “The movement Black Lives Matter didn’t start yesterday. It didn’t start with these recent killings of Black men. They’ve been killing Black men for centuries in this country has been in existence. They have been doing that and people were concerned about that. The Black church remains one of those places where we can have an open discussion.” In addition to working on “Greenleaf,” David will appear in the comedy “Night School” along with Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart which is in theaters September 2. The multi-talented David will also be singing with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra on November 30.

Baltimore’s Jess Hilarious Talks New Fox Comedy ‘Rel’ Show By Jannah G. Johnson

Special to the AFRO

Courtesy Photo

Jessica Moore, aka Jess Hilarious, is one of the stars of the new Fox show ‘Rel.’ Fox’s new sitcom “Rel” is a multi-camera comedy show based on comic Rel Howery’s

life. In it he portrays a recently separated husband whose wife had an affair with his barber. The show chronicles Rel’s transition from a married to single man and a live in to longdistance father. Although Rel is the star of the show a lot of buzz for the show has been garnered by its supporting actress Baltimore’s own, Jessica Moore. Known as “Jess Hilarious,” Moore is a standup comedian best known for her appearances on Nick Cannon’s “Wild ‘N Out” and her Instagram segment “Jess with the Mess.” Moore has amassed an enormous following on Instagram with more than 3.5 million followers. She has also used her social media platform to launch her career as a comedienne opening for Martin Lawrence and Mike Epps and recently receiving the Clapback Award at BET’s recent Social Media Awards. “I knew I made it when Martin Lawrence called me and asked me to open for him. I had

only done five stand-up shows and I had to perform in front of 1,300 people that night in my city. I was prepared. I had a whole script and everything but when I got out there I just threw it all away and ran with it. After the show he said ‘You’re the best opening act I’ve had, like you’re good.’ That’s when I knew I could do something with this, I could do something with being funny,” Moore says at a preview event for the Fox show at Landmark Harbor East on September 6. How has Jess risen to fame so quickly? She credits God and her work ethic to her success. “God is in everything I do. Rel and I facilitate prayers on set before we even start shooting…God is the only way I can make it out in LA on my own,” says Jess, who has recently moved to Los Angeles from Baltimore. Coming from Baltimore has proved to be a barrier she must hurdle in the industry, but Jess is prepared to deal with this obstacle and encourages other young artists to as well.

“I feel like Baltimore is overlooked in the industry. There’s so much talent out here and they don’t trust us. Fox originally didn’t want me because they said I was too green. You know? It’s so much talent out here but all we’re known for is “The Wire.” I encourage everyone from my city to get out there. If I can do it you can too.” Moore hopes to eventually branch out into a show of her own and says she has some huge things planned in order to bring her Jess with the Mess segment to the big screen. “I’ve always wanted to be famous, I wanted to model but you know it didn’t work out like that,” Moore chuckled. “What’s next for me? Television, “Jess with the Mess” is coming to TV. I’m also working on a standup special. That’s why I haven’t been posting to Instagram as much. I don’t want to water down my content because soon you’ll be getting it for 30 minutes at a time.” ‘Rel’ premiered September 9 and will air regularly on Sundays Fox.

Baltimore’s CityLit Project

Kwame Alexander Credits Baltimore with Launching Writing Career By Tilesha Brown Special to the AFRO 22 years ago, New York Times Bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, started a publishing company in the basement of his mother’s home on St. Paul Street in North Central Baltimore. It was the early 90s, he was fresh out of college, and he was already cracking the code for how to get children to read more and to change the world with their words. Of course, this was before the world became transfixed by 60-second Instagram posts and 280-character Twitter rants, so perhaps the real feat is that over two decades later… he’s still doing it. That’s why on September 13 Baltimore’s CityLit Project is honoring Alexander with the Chic Dambach Award for Service to the Literary Arts. When asked how it felt to get the call, he starts at the beginning, describing it as an extraordinary full-circle moment. It was a moment in the beginning of his career, after graduating from Virginia Tech, when Kwame moved to Washington, D.C., but quickly relocated to Baltimore after his mother suggested a job that might be a great fit for him. It was a job that would eventually lead to him being nicknamed the “Willy Wonka of children’s publishing.” “My mom was a literary specialist, so she got me a job going into Head Stsart centers around Baltimore modeling read-alouds and instructing teachers on how to teach reading to their kids,” he tells the AFRO. “Seeing the response from them and getting that feedback from students and teachers… that was my foray into working with students directly- interacting and trying to change their world through the power of words.” He would go in reciting poetry to the kids and reading stories with animated voices— making the characters jump off the page. After hours, though, he was free to dive head-first into a burgeoning Baltimore arts scene. According to Alexander, the town was full of starving artists with big dreams and the energy was ripe for them to create their own outlets. While living in the city, he wrote his own book of poems, put on poetry open mics and hosted literary events. “We really thought our artwork and our poetry could change the world,” he said, “We loved our art, we practiced it, and we wanted to be really good at what we did.” Over the next two decades, he continued to write, authoring 28 books, including children’s novels Booked, Solo and Rebound. And this year, the New York Times dubbed him the “Willy Wonka

of children’s publishing.” His books, writing workshops and international charitable efforts give him the opportunity to travel around the world year-round enticing children, not with golden tickets or candy-coated dreams, but with hard-hitting, purposedriven poetry and prose. Alexander admits that, while when he first heard the nickname he was worried that it meant people weren’t taking him seriously, he now gets that this whimsical approach to getting children involved in storytelling is part of his appeal. “Part of my life’s work is to be creative, to be fun, and to be functional all at the same time,” he says passionately, “And so I think maybe that does describe me. I’ve got this mixture of fun and functionality… of cool and culture… of whimsy and hopefully genius.” And it’s true. At his “literary pep rallies” and his workshops, aptly called “The Write Thing,” Alexander connects with kids in a way that is both inspiring and other-worldly. He says that it’s something he learned from his work inside the Head Starts in Baltimore and also from Nikki Giovanni while attending Virginia Tech. “It’s this idea that I’m going to do whatever’s necessary,” he says, “Ultimately, I want kids to imagine a better world. I think I’ve figured out a way to do it and that starts with me being willing to take that leap, take that risk, put myself out there… and hopefully, in that process, the kids will pick up on that and begin to take those leaps, take those risks, and feel in a similar way.” All of his books, including the Newbery Award-winning novel, Crossover, tackle real life through the lens of teenagers. He captures the rough emotions of those highly developmental years through sports, music and culture. And if the first chapters of his next book, Swing, are any indication, it is no exception, though he admits that it was his most challenging book to write thus far. “I wanted to write about the lives of Black boys and how they’re being removed from the Earth like sand in a windstorm,” he says. “I wanted to write about that and I wanted to do it in a way that was transformative and not cliché. I wanted to write about love. I wanted to write about social justice. I wanted to write about jazz. I wanted to write about baseball. And I wanted to write about all of these things in one book.” It is for bold literary choices like this one that CityLit has decided that Alexander exemplifies the traits deserving of this award for “significantly elevating the profile of literary arts and nourishing

the culture of literature…” Alexander has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Baltimore. He has received The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, three NAACP Image Awards, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He is the founder of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the cofounder of an international literacy program, “LEAP for Ghana.” He is an international literary activist and he has fought against rejection for the opportunities to do it his way. To young creatives who feel like they are not being allowed the space to make their unique mark on the world, he tells them to become their own green light. “We can’t let other people’s ‘no’ define who we are. Even when we’re feeling rejected— when we’re feeling less than and we’re doubtful, I think we have to say ‘yes’ to ourselves,” he says. “Claim it, say it, surround yourself with people who believe you are worthy— who are going to encourage you and help lift you up so you can soar.” Alexander says that receiving this award feels like a special homecoming. “It’s special, I’m honored. And to have started in a basement on St. Paul Street in Charles Village with little or no money… but a vision to write, to publish, to really write books to bring people closer together,” he says, “To have a vision and then 22 years later be living in the middle of it, it speaks to this Courtesy Photo notion that if you do Baltimore’s Kwame Alexander will something, if you receive the CityLit Project’s Chic claim something, Dambach Award for Service to the perhaps you can Literary Arts. actually have it.”


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September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

D1

WASHINGTON-AREA

Following Silverman Challenge, Allen Kicked Off Ballot

DC Program Matches Residents with Jobs By Brelaun Douglas Special to AFRO

ByJames Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com The District of Columbia Board of Elections determined on Sept. 10 that independent D.C. Council at-large candidate S. Kathryn Allen didn’t have the sufficient number of valid signatures to be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Allen had 2,426 valid signatures, according to the findings of the election board, which is short of the 3,000 that is required. Allen’s signatures on the petitions were challenged by D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), who is running for re-election. “The challenger [Silverman] has raised the spector of fraud in the petition process with respect to four of the campaign circulators associated with Kathryn Allen,” D. Michael Bennett, chairman of the elections board, said in an administrative order on Sept. 10. “The board has cause for concern that the integrity of the signature collection process was flawed.” Bennett said his agency will refer the findings to the D.C. Attorney General for

Courtesy Photo

The 1,000 Opportunities program is exceeding expectations

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DCPS posted this picture on their Facebook remembering the local teachers and students who died on 9/11 as they were onboard the plane that flew into the Pentagon.

Mail-In Voting Gains Traction Muriel Bowser (D) and no Ward 8 election for the D.C. Council member seat either. Wilson said many Ward 8 residents have problems with transportation to the polls and some are disenchanted The June 19 District of Columbia primary election with the District’s political system. With all the talk about produced one of the lowest voter turnouts in many years. Initiative 77, which would change the way tipped workers That has prompted the city to add an additional mode of are compensated, one would have expected more of a voting- mail-in response but that didn’t ballots. happen, Wilson said. Leaders of the Fifty-eight percent of Ward 8 Democrats Ward 8 voters supported announced they the initiative changing the will lead an effort tipping laws. to include mail-in Wilson, along voting to increase with Ward 8A04 – Troy Donte Prestwood advisory neighborhood participation in District elections. commissioner Troy Donte “In the June Prestwood, encouraged primary, there were 4,436 votes cast in Ward 8 out of the use of mail-in voting as a solution to the low voter 55,000 that were cast throughout the city,” Charles Wilson, turnout. “People won’t have to go to a polling place, they the president of the Ward 8 Democrats, said at the meeting. can simply put their ballot in the mail,” Prestwood said. “That is a 7.9 percent turnout in the ward and that’s not “This will give people more options in voting.” good at all.” Presently, Oregon, Colorado and Washington are the Wilson said he understood some of the reasons his only states in the country where all elections are conducted fellow ward neighbors didn’t go to the polls. He pointed solely by mail. Utah and Continued on D3 out that there was no serious challenger to D.C. Mayor By James Wright AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor jwright@afro.com

“People won’t have to go to a polling place. They can simply put their ballot in the mail.”

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S. Kathryn Allen doesn’t have enough valid signatures to be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Continued on D3

Earlier this summer, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a plan to connect D.C. residents in communities disproportionately impacted by unemployment and violence with work experience and training through the 1,000 Opportunities initiative. The goal was to connect 1,000 residents in 90 days. Bowser announced September 5 that the District has exceeded its goal and matched over 1,180 Washingtonians with job opportunities in just 11 weeks. “With the help of our community partners, the 1,000 Opportunities initiative has already surpassed the original goal, and we’re not slowing down,” Bowser said. 1,000 Opportunities was launched as part of the Safer, Stronger DC initiative, a broader series led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity and the Office of the City Administrator. It is aimed at creating new pathways to employment and violence prevention across the District and since its launch has hosted community events, enrolled over 350 at-risk youth in a free summer enrichment program and expanded residential clean teams. Training opportunities were provided by the Department of Employment Services through Project Empowerment, DC Quick Path to Transportation and Back to Work 50+. On September 15, a 1,000 Opportunities conference will be held at the DC Infrastructure Academy, located at 2330 Pomeroy Road, SE, providing residents with resume advice, helping to hone their interview skills and to talk about more opportunities. For more information go to 1kopportunitiesdc.com.

#BringTheFunk

DC Charter Schools Educators Honored By Mark F. Gray Special to the AFRO With the impact of public charter schools continuing to revolutionize the American education system, seven leaders in the field are being honored during Congressional Black Caucus festivities in Washington, D.C. The inaugural #BringTheFunk charter school awards ceremony will pay homage to these academic innovators because of their impact on the new generation of urban education in the America. The seven honorees were selected based on federal support and commitment to the administrative expertise in maintaining the high performance of schools in their communities. They have also demonstrated a commitment to the students from densely populated urban areas who face challenges their suburban counterparts don’t. We are proud to honor these African-American leaders because they represent both the present and future success of the charter school movement in the 21st century,” said Ron Rice, senior director of government relations at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in a statement. “These men and women illustrate daily how leaders thinking and working ‘outside of the box’ transform the lives of students.”

Charter public schools are defined as independent, public and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student

achievement. NAPCS, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, concluded that charter schools are better at teaching low income and minority students who are still learning English than traditional schools. They also cite data collected by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and

Mathematica Policy Research that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, finish college and have higher earnings in early adulthood. Journalist Roland Martin is spearheading this platform to bring attention to the community leadership that is helping most charter schools flourish around the country. It will mark the first time that charter schools are recognized during the CBC’s Legislative Caucus weekend. Organizers hope this will change misconceptions that charter schools are voucher based profit driven education systems where owners in the private sector get rich. “The truth is most successful charter school administrators are people from their communities that are committed to making sure their students receive a quality education,” Amy Wilkins, senior vice president for advocacy at the NAPCS, told the AFRO. “They aren’t being run by rich millionaires and this gives us the chance to recognize the people from those neighborhoods who are impacting them.” Two D.C. school administrators are among this historic group of leaders who are being honored by NAPCS for their work in helping charter school programs flourish in the Nation’s Capital. They are noted as “standard bearers” who are prolific leaders that have established their schools as viable alternatives to Continued on D3


D2

The Afro-American, September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

HBCU Standout Johnson Goes from the Bayou to the Big Time NFL in DC By Mark F. Gray Special to the AFRO

Former Southern University DB Danny Johnson went from HBCU undrafted free agent to kick return starter with the Washington football team. Danny Johnson is living the NFL’s dream. When he takes the field in Washington’s home opener against the Indianapolis Colts it will be as an undrafted free agent who defied the odds. That Johnson

made the 53 man roster reflects what Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams calls “finding a diamond in the rough.” For Johnson it’s a dream come true working for an HBCU legend who is also from Louisiana and understands the different paths to play in the NFL. “He [Williams] knows what I need to do to be successful after going through the same experience,” Johnson told the AFRO “It’s been a big helping hand for me.” Johnson and Williams have a kindred bond that could only be formed in the HBCU football sanctuary of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Despite Williams being a legend from Grambling and Johnson a rookie from Southern University, there’s a silent understanding. Williams knows the path that has been traveled by 29 players who went from bus trips on the dusty roads of Black Colleges to the Hall of Fame and the others, like himself, who’ve impacted the game in such ways their names are revered. He also knows where to find the gems who appreciate the chance to compete for a place on an NFL roster despite not hearing their names called during the draft. Williams is SWAC to his core which makes the opportunity for Johnson to play in Washington more surreal. However, both understand it’s a business and despite Williams having a special place in his heart for HBCU players he cut former Grambling running back Martez Carter, whose injury kept him sidelined for most of training camp. Johnson’s undrafted status makes him a

bargain by NFL contract standards. Johnson is a utility player in a world of specialists, which enhanced his value for Washington. While his coverage skills are what made the scouts and coaches take notice, his special team skills are what solidified his place on the roster. “It gives you confidence to know you can go out there and make plays,” Johnson said. “Whichever way I can get on the field to make a play I’m going to work hard so I can get out there and do it.” He’s never been reluctant to change other than when his high school football coach recruited him. Basketball was his first passion but at 5’9” his options were limited. In his senior year Johnson moved from receiver to quarterback. At Southern he switched positions and became an all-SWAC defensive back and the type of player that coaches had to account for. In 2016 Johnson tied for the FCS with seven interceptions and nine pass break ups. He developed a reputation as a physical defensive back despite his size with 57 tackles and a willingness to be a factor in run support also. Johnson started gaining national attention earning third team Associated Press All-American and NFL scouts started noticing him too. Johnson is grounded and focused, having been a father since he was 16 and graduating with a degree in criminal justice. He played for a program that was underfunded and lived through the turbulence in Baton Rouge following the death of Alton Sterling. Pro football may be his job these days, but it isn’t all he is.

Howard U. Moves Up in Top College Rankings to succeed and ultimately graduate. The new rankings further reflect the academic rigor, quality programs and outstanding faculty at Howard.” The top HBCU was Spelman College, the all-female institution in Atlanta. A prestigious news magazine recently released its 2019 The U.S. News and World Report rankings are based on the rankings of the nation’s universities and there was plenty of assessments of more than 1,600 good news for Howard “Reaching No. 89 on the U.S. News and World of the country’s colleges and University. U.S. News and World Report rankings is a phenomenal achievement and universities. Last year, Howard was ranked No. 110 by the news Report issued its annual it’s also a very strong endorsement that our strat- magazine. ranking of colleges and Howard also improved its universities on Sept. 10 egy is working, that the university is progressing in rankings in categories such as and Howard University the right direction.” placed 89th, as evaluated – Dr. Wayne I. Frederick Best Value Schools (73), Best Undergraduate Business Programs on 16 measures (127), A-plus School for B Students (24) and in the listing for of academic quality, including first-year student retention, Best Undergraduate Business Program (132). graduation rates, strength of faculty and alumni giving. Howard was founded in 1867 and is a private, research Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said, university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges where “Reaching No. 89 on the U.S. News and World Report rankings students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to is a phenomenal achievement and it’s also a very strong undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Prominent endorsement that our strategy is working, that the university is alumni include the late Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice progressing in the right direction. Our commitment remains on Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), U.S. student outcomes and ensuring that students have the opportunity

By James Wright Special to the AFRO jwright@afro.com

Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, entertainers Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen and Taraji P. Henson, Newark N.J. Mayor Ras Baraka and former D.C. Mayors Adrian Fenty and Sharon Pratt. The university produces more on-campus Ph.Ds than any other university.

Former Southern University DB Danny Johnson went from HBCU undrafted free agent to kick return starter with the Washington football team.

Providence Health System Leading Changes to Address Health Disparities in the Community Providence Health System is embarking on a bold journey to address health disparities in the District of Columbia, particularly in its northeast communities. The new Providence will look to transform the way care is delivered in the District with a new community-focused perspective that provides other types of needed services, such as care coordination, telehealth/virtual care, primary and urgent care, home care, community-based behavioral healthcare, senior care and more. The effort will sustain Providence for generations to come while improving the health of the community it is privileged to serve. Providence Health System recently announced its decision to transition out of acute care services by December 2018 so that it can shift its focus to leading the collaborative work to create a model that will keep health at the center, remove the obstacles and barriers to a healthy life for all, and better meet the needs of a changing and growing community.

“That is where the greatest opportunity to make meaningful change exists,” said Keith Vander Kolk, Health System President and CEO. “We must put our focus and energy on advancing a model of transformation that will serve the District in new and lasting ways.” Innovative health systems across the country are finding ways to address these broader issues to improve the overall health of their communities. While healthcare providers are prepared to restore health when a patient visits their healthcare facilities, population health is created through social, economic and environmental factors as well as human behaviors. These social determinants of health ultimately impact the community’s health outcomes. Exploring expansion of services that address these issues is a key contributor to establishing a sustainable Providence presence in the District.

Recognizing the many factors that have led to gaps in services that impact our community’s well-being – including significant income and health disparities, and social determinants of health beyond healthcare – Providence is evolving to meet the changing needs of the District.

Last month, Providence began holding internal and external listening sessions with associates and members of the community to provide their thoughts on the future of Providence following implementation of the announced decision. Multiple transition teams representing associates and physicians are working to define transition plans for the future state of Providence. Providence is also working with the DC Department of Health and other healthcare institutions.

Some studies show that healthcare accounts for only 20 percent of a person’s overall health. The remaining 80 percent is dependent on their socioeconomic, physical environment and health behaviors such as diet, tobacco and alcohol use.

“Over the years, Providence has adapted to the changing needs of the community,” said Vander Kolk. “Our future transformation is a continuation of that legacy and our commitment to serve the community where and how we are most needed.”


September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018, The Afro-American

Voting in DC

DC Charter Schools

Continued from D1

Continued from B1

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Charles Wilson, president of the Ward 8 Democrats, is one of the leaders urging mail-in voting as a way of increasing participation.

California allow counties to opt for the mail-in voting system and the city of Rockville, Maryland will conduct a pilot program in 2019. Philip Pannell, a longtime Democratic activist in Ward 8, has advocated for mail-in voting, saying it will increase the voting of Ward 8 residents, as well as other residents east of the Anacostia River. Wilson, who penned an opinion article in The Washington Post about the issue, wrote that in the District, mail-in voting can be combined with voting in person. He said, “Residents are already bombarded with voter guides and education materials in the weeks before Election Day. Why not pair this effort with a ballot? It’s a simple, costeffective and progressive measure that

has proved to boost turnout in Oregon, Colorado and Washington state.� Wilson’s effort is producing results. He said D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) will introduce emergency legislation later this month for the possible use of mail-in voting for a Dec. 4 special election for the Ward 4 D.C. State Board of Education race. In addition, notwithstanding Allen’s legislation, the District’s Board of Elections is considering launching a mail-in vote option as a pilot for the Dec. 4 election. “Mail-in voting is a good way for Ward 8 residents and District residents to get involved in the political process,� Wilson said.

public schools. Donald Hense and Shantelle Wright have built programs from scratch at Friendship Public Charter Schools and Achievement Preparatory Academy respectively for more than a decade. Hense is the founder and chairman of the board at Friendship, one of the District’s largest and highestperforming charter school networks. Wright has led Achievement Prep in excelling despite a location that remains in one of the most underresourced neighborhoods in

Southeast D.C. “They are pioneers who’ve put the kids ahead of themselves for a long time,� said Wilkins. “These are committed, passionate educators who are solutions driven.� The other honorees include: Rep. Harlem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (DMO), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Fortune School CEO Margaret Fortune, Tim King CEO of Urban Prep Academies and Dr. Charlene Reid of Excellence Community Schools.

Silverman Continued from D1

possible violations of the District’s election cast a shadow on an otherwise optimistic and laws. unifying campaign. We are most disappointed Allen said on a Sept. 11 Twitter post that that we will not be able to focus on issues she won’t appeal the elections board ruling that D.C. residents care about, and our vision to the D.C. Court of Appeals and expressed for a city that benefits residents in every disappointment that her campaign won’t neighborhood.� continue. Silverman said that the election process “We regret worked. to announce that “The board’s we were unable “We are most disappointed that we will decision clearly to prevail in our not be able to focus on issues that D.C. communicated effort to get S. residents care about and our vision for that fraud is not Kathryn Allen a city that benefits residents in every permissible,� the on the ballot for council member said in neighborhood.� council member a statement published – Statement from Allen campaign by the Washington at-large,� a statement Post and WAMU radio. from the Allen “D.C. residents need to campaign said. “We entered this campaign be able to trust our elections process. The idea with good intentions and good faith. It is behind nominating petitions is for a candidate extremely unfortunate that our decision to to demonstrate some grassroots support among contract with a petition circulator service voters, and that should not be faked.�

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