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AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012

VOLUME 20 NO. 31

MAKING HIS CASE TO BLACK AMERICA At last week’s National Urban League convention, President Obama spoke about two issues of importance to African-Americans – curbing violence and improving education.


President Barack Obama addressed the National Urban League Conference on July 25.

Scott’s top education, elections managers resign from their jobs


Thousands gunned down


He went deeper comparing the occasional violence in some communities to the daily violence in Black communities. “Every day – in fact, every day and a half, the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater. For every Columbine or Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, and here in New Orleans.” According to a compilation of FBI annual homicide statistics, more than 300,000 African-Americans have been killed by violence since the mid-1970s, when the federal government began compiling the stats. That’s greater than the population of some cities, including Cincinnati, Ohio.

pplauded by an enthusiastic crowd at the National Urban League convention in New Orleans, President Obama – in a rare moment – spoke of the war-level violence in Black communities. And, defying critics, he also seized the opportunity to say specifically what he has done for Black people. “Our hearts break for the victims of the massacre in Aurora,” he said. “We pray for those who were lost and we pray for those who loved them. We pray for those who are recovering with courage and with hope,” he said of the tragic shooting in which 12 people were killed in a Colorado movie theater on July 20. Then the president turned the page: “And we also pray for those who succumb to the less-publicized acts of violence that plague our communities in so many cities across the country every single day,” he said to more applause. “We can’t forget about that.”

‘Defeated by politics’ The president stopped short of promising gun control action. He noted that See OBAMA, Page A2


A golden performance

Both want to ‘spend time with family’ COMPILED FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Two of the state’s top managers of Florida’s agencies that are mired in controversy – the Department of Education and the Division of Elections – quit their jobs to go back to their respective families, according to their resignation letters. Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned late Tuesday amid a months-long controversy over the state’s testing regimen and errors on school grades that forced the department to change the marks for dozens of schools. Robinson’s resignation is effective Aug. 31, when he would have Gerard been on the job a little more than a year. Robinson Dr. Gisela Salas, director of the Division of Elections, resigned effective Aug. 1 – just before Florida’s primary elections got under way.

Elections fight The Division of Elections includes three bureaus: Voting Systems Certification, Election Records and Voter Registration Services. The division is responsible for certifying all voting systems that are used to conduct elections in Florida’s 67 counties. The division also maintains the statewide Florida Voter Registration System, which is the official state voter registration list. See RESIGN, Page A2

Magic hires Jacque Vaughn as head coach BY JOSH ROBBINS THE ORLANDO SENTINEL (MCT)

Officials with the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic hired 37-yearold former NBA point guard Jacque Vaughn as their new head coach last weekend. Vaughn learned from some of the best coaches in basketball. He played for Roy Williams, Jerry Sloan, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. He also apprenticed under Popovich as an assistant coach. The Orlando Magic hope Vaughn produces the same results as his mentors.

Facing a challenge Vaughn likely will face a difficult challenge. The Magic are expected to trade superstar Dwight Howard eventually, and that move could launch a long, arduous rebuilding process with Vaughn at its center. “We really wanted to find a coach who embodies the type


of culture and identity that we’re trying to build here in Orlando,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel. “We feel that Jacque’s toughness, humility and attention to detail personifies the types of values that will help define our program. We were just really impressed throughout the interview process with his presence and his intellect and his passion for preparation.” Most league insiders regard Vaughn as bright, hard-working and organized. Those same insiders note that Vaughn brings just two seasons of coaching experience. He ended his 12-year NBA playing career in 2009. A year later, the Spurs hired him as an assistant coach.

Shaq: ‘u kidding’ Hennigan conducted firstround interviews with five othSee COACH, Page A2


The USA’s Gabrielle Douglas competed on the beam in the women’s gymnastics team final on Tuesday during the Summer Olympic Games. See Page B4 for a pictorial recap of the first week of the 2012 Olympics.


Lake County honors state civil rights leader T.H. Poole

Early congressional races to watch



Study: Income, education determines cost of car insurance

Titans mourn death of player from Tampa




AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012

Farrakhan, NOI lead peacemaking effort in Black neighborhoods CHICAGO – Imagine sitting on your porch or apartment stoop and a caravan of several Black Chevy Suburbans and Hummers roll up. A security detail and a group of 40 to 50 Black men in suits walk down your block. As the group gets closer and closer, some men are carrying copies of The Final Call newspaper. “How are you doing?” asks a man with a smiling face and outstretched hand. The man speaking is the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam (NOI).

the area visited by the FOI and worked with the logistic team giving Farrakhan information about danger zones. Farrakhan went directly to trouble spots, she explained. “It’s great to have Black men as an example to show these other young Black men that there is another way, and to have Minister Farrakhan leading to show other Black men and woman that it’s another way. I’m ecstatic,” said Thomas. “I think they need to hear from someone they trust and that they will listen to, and the Nation of Islam are the people they will listen to.”

National effort

‘All else has failed’

Dozens of residents of Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood and South Shore neighborhood had that experience last month as the minister led the all-male Fruit of Islam (FOI) into South Side streets and hundreds of other Muslim men fanned out across the country in over 100 cities – including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and other Florida cities – in efforts to bring peace and hope to violence-plagued neighborhoods. Despite the fact that many have written off these people and their neighborhoods as problems society cannot solve, Farrakhan greeted young men and women with words of strength and encouragement. As the minister did his work, the brothers, dressed in suits and trademark bowties, did theirs in other parts of the community.

“This might be considered a life-saving movement, not only resulting in the reduction of crime, but saving the lives of men that otherwise would be cut down in their ignorance by members of the law enforcement community,” said Leonard F. Muhammad, longtime aide to Farrakhan. Leonard Muhammad worked with law enforcement, political and community leaders to coordinate the effort. “It is said that ‘Islam comes after all else fails.’ And the reason there is so much joy being expressed, not just in the community, but all across the country is because all else has failed,” said Leonard Muhammad. “Our challenge now, as Minister Farrakhan has said, is to sustain the effort,” he added. “I saw tears of hope and I saw joy for the first time after going into the communities and seeing the grim faces of hopelessness and pain.”


Stopped traffic Traffic ground to a halt on the busy 79th Street, as people showed genuine love for Farrakhan and the NOI. Waves came from people hanging from apart-


On Monday, members of the Nation of Islam’s Tampa Study Group and Mosque No. 95 (all in suits) met residents of a Tampa complex who were angered by a police shooting last week. ment windows. Car horns honked approval. Drivers gave thumbsup. Teen girls stopped tweeting and Facebooking for a minute to snap a photo with the minister on iPhones. The minister had a long talk on a basketball court with the men there. They were given free DVD copies of Farrakhan’s lecture, “Justifiable Homicide: Black Youth in Peril.” Additional teams of FOI visited other hot spots, greeting people, handing out copies of The Final Call newspaper, and speaking words of peace. They also handed out copies of the 1995 Million Man March pledge, which was an oath to be peaceful builders and to respect self, families, women and communities. An open invitation to visit Mosque Maryam, the NOI’s flagship worship center, was extended.

‘A beautiful thing’

‘A war zone’

Women in neighborhoods broke down and cried, happy to see Farrakhan and the FOI. Mothers presented youngsters saying, “There’s Farrakhan and the brothers!” Robbie Jones, 49, was in tears after meeting the minister. Through her tears, she told The Final Call that her uncle was a member of the NOI and encouraged her to listen to the minister. She had never seen Farrakhan in person. “It was something great because we don’t really get people in our neighborhood that really care about people around here. It’s just a blessing,” she added. Erica Goree, an Auburn-Gresham resident, called the sight of the men of the FOI “a beautiful thing.”

Both women said violent crime is getting worse, but believe young Black men want honest work and recreation. But, the women said, with no jobs and no place to go, they hang out, get harassed by police and get in trouble. Keon has lived in Chicago for the entire 26 years of his life. He called his neighborhood “a war zone” where rival factions of street organizations compete for dominance. “I think it is a beautiful thing for the Minister to come on these rough blocks to show the support that he did – it might make a change,” said Keon.

Looking for hotspots Latasha Thomas, alderman of Chicago’s 17th Ward, represents

RESIGN from A1


Jacque Vaughn, the new head coach of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, jokes with reporters during a news conference in Orlando on Monday.

COACH from A1 er candidates, including Golden State Warriors lead assistant coach Michael Malone and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw. Malone and Shaw have more experience than Vaughn. But Malone didn’t advance into the next round of interviews, and Shaw either was told he no longer was being considered or took himself out of the running. That surprised many observers, including former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, who was a teammate of Shaw’s and played one season for the Cleveland Cavaliers when Malone was a Cavaliers assis-

tant coach. On Twitter, O’Neal wrote: “Orlando magic is about to hire jock Vaughn over mike Malone or Brian shaw are u kidding me, wow, good luck winning wit Dat team Dwite howard.”

Good career Vaughn starred in high school and in college. In the pros, he mostly was a backup. Vaughn earned McDonald’s All-American honors as a senior at John Muir High School in Pasadena, Calif. At the University of Kansas, he was named the Big Eight Player of the Year after his junior season. During college, he twice was named a first-team GTE Academic All-American. He played for the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Mag-

OBAMA from A1 since the Tucson shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, “the background checks conducted on those looking to purchase firearms are now more thorough and more complete.” He added that, “the federal government is now in the trenches with communities and schools and law enforcement and faithbased institutions, with outstanding mayors like Mayor Nutter [of Philadelphia] and Mayor Landrieu [of New Orleans] – recognizing that we are stronger when we work together.” He also listed partnerships with cities for summer jobs,

ic and New Jersey Nets before he joined the Spurs. Vaughn appeared in all 20 of San Antonio’s playoff games in 2007 as the Spurs won the NBA title.

Career similarities Vaughn’s career path mirrors that of Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson. Johnson also played point guard and spent part of his career with the Spurs, playing for Popovich and winning a title with San Antonio in 1999. After Johnson retired in 2004, he became an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks. When Don Nelson resigned during the 2004-2005 season, Johnson became the head coach and was named the 200506 NBA Coach of the Year.

youth prevention and intervention programs “that steer young people away from a life of gang violence, and towards the safety and promise of a classroom.” He then concluded that none of these actions have been enough because of political stalemate.

‘Belong on battlefield’ He said he believes strongly in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” Obama vowed to continue working with all stakeholders “to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction – not just of gun violence – but violence at every

Salas and state elections officials have been in the middle of a fight, led by Gov. Rick Scott, to purge what Scott called “noncitizens” from the voting rolls. County elections officials and voting rights advocates resisted Scott’s efforts, with some calling it “voter suppression.” The Division of Elections eventually released a list of 180,000 names at the center of a controversy. The fight over the rolls is just one in a series of skirmishes that have broken out around voting in Florida a few months before the November presidential election. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is expected to be the largest swing state and could decide whether President Obama or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins the presidency. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a federal lawsuit against the state, alleging that the voter purge violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. DOJ claims that Florida’s systematic purging of voters within the required 90day “quiet period’’ before an election for federal office established by the law is illegal. DOJ is asking a federal court judge to stop the voter purge.

level, on every step, looking at everything we can do to reduce violence and keep our children safe, from improving mental health services for troubled youth to instituting more effective community policing strategies. We should leave no stone unturned, and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe.”

What’s been done The president also listed several of his economic and educational accomplishments in the Black community. “…We’ve helped African-American businesses and minorityowned businesses and womenowned businesses gain access to more than $7 billion in contracts and financing that allowed them to grow and create job.” He seized

Ashahed M. Muhammad of The Final Call (NNPA) contributed to this report.

‘Service cut short’ In letters to Scott and State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan, Robinson said he was proud of his work with the department. Robinson was secretary of education in Virginia before taking over the Florida job in August 2011. “Living far away from my family has proven to be the one challenge all this progress could not overcome,” Robinson wrote after listing his accomplishments. “So it is with sincere appreciation and deep regret my time of service to Florida’s students, parents, teachers, superintendents, college and university presidents, business and community organizations is cut short.” Scott, who backed Robinson after reportedly pushing out former Education Commissioner Eric Smith, issued a brief statement praising Robinson.

Took a hit Robinson’s tenure had been dogged in recent months by the public relations pounding the department took after Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores collapsed, followed a few months later by the school grades mix-up. The Florida Board of Education was forced to lower passing grades for the statewide writing tests in May after the passing rate plunged from 81 percent

the July 25 opportunity to list his accomplishments in the Black community. He continued, “…Millions of Americans – including more than 2 million African-American families – are better off, thanks to our extension of the child care tax credit and the earned income tax credit, because nobody who works hard in America should be poor in America.” He added, “…We’ve fought to make college more affordable for an additional 200,000 AfricanAmerican students by increasing Pell grants. That’s why we’ve strengthened this nation’s commitment to our community colleges, and to our HBCUs.”

Educational initiative Finally, he announced, “...I’m establishing the first-ever White

to 27 percent for fourth graders and showed similar drops in eighth and 10th grades. Then, in July, the department had to reissue grades for 213 elementary and middle schools and nine school districts as part of a “continuous review process.” That came after the number of schools receiving an “A” had plummeted from 1,481 in 2011 to 1,124 this year. The new grades showed 1,240 schools getting the highest mark – a jump of 5 percentage points from the first cut of the numbers.

‘Robinson failed’ One of the groups that is among the most vocal in criticizing the state’s high-stakes testing system said problems with FCAT scores made Robinson’s tenure a failure. “Commissioner Robinson claimed many victories in his letter of resignation, none of which can be said to improve the educational experience of Florida’s 2.5 million students,” the group Fund Education Now said. “His so-called accomplishments were tied to Florida’s accountability system which is interesting because under Commissioner Robinson, this system has been completely discredited.”

Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans – so that every child has greater access to a complete and competitive education from the time they’re born all through the time they get a career.” He acknowledged the reality that the initiative means nothing without safety. “Good jobs, quality schools, affordable health care, affordable housing – these are all the pillars upon which communities are built. And yet, we’ve been reminded recently that all this matters little if these young people can’t walk the streets of their neighborhood safely; if we can’t send our kids to school without worrying they might get shot; if they can’t go to the movies without fear of violence lurking in the shadows.”

AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012



Two-term state Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, has garnered support from his Tallahassee contacts and local officials he worked with during his tenure as Alachua County Sheriff. Oelrich also benefits from the fact that his state Senate district includes 60 percent of the Congressional district, and his hometown is in the middle of it. He has raised $192,422, but has spent all but $28,392 as of June 30. A third actively campaigning Republican, James Jett, has some name recognition in one corner of the district as the Clay County Clerk of Courts since 1998 and a former Clay County commissioner, and has made the race more controversial than it might otherwise have been by alleging that Stearns tried to bribe him to drop out of the race, an allegation Stearns flatly denies. Jett has claimed the FBI is investigating the allegation.

DISTRICT 6 Byron Donalds of Southwest Florida is touted as an up-and-coming GOP leader. He’s the only minority candidate in the primary for the District 19 congressional seat.

Races to watch: Some congressional challenges could be decided early BY MICHAEL PELTIER THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE – While most candidates have the luxury of time, a handful of candidates in key congressional races will face their toughest challenge in two weeks in the primary. Primary races in a few congressional contests will either determine the winner, or will clear the way for a heavy favorite. National attention has been focused on the race between Republican incumbents Sandy Adams and John Mica to see who will represent U.S. Congressional District 7. The race is being touted as a bellwether contest to determine whether the Tea Party has the political staying power to influence the course of the Republican Party. Adams, a former state House member, was elected to Congress in 2010 amid a flurry of Tea Party backed candidates. She has raised nearly $850,000 so far in the campaign and counts among her sup-

More jail time for Crotzer Floridian wrongly accused of rape now charged with attempted murder FROM WIRE REPORTS

Alan Crotzer of Florida, who spent more than two decades in prison before he was exonerated of rape and paid more than $1 million, has been charged with attempted murder. Crotzer, 51, is accused of shooting into a car that he was driving alongside Sunday in Tallahassee, woundAlan Crotzer ing Antoine Davis in his arm and leg. Davis told police that Crotzer threatened him a couple of months ago after they had an argument over a

porters former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and U.S. Rep. Allen West. Mica, a 10-term incumbent, is sitting on more than $1.3 million in cash after out-raising Adams in the second quarter by a more than 3-1 margin. This week, former U.S. presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee added his name to Mica’s list of supporters. Democrat Jason Kendall awaits the winner, but whoever wins the GOP primary will be the heavy favorite as an incumbent. Kendall is far less well known than either Adams or Mica. The turf is the I-4 corridor, north of Orlando and including the cities of Altamonte Springs and Deltona.

DISTRICT 3 Longtime incumbent Cliff Stearns faces a rigorous primary battle with three Republican hopefuls. The newly drawn 3rd Congressional District pushes its way from Levy and Dixie Counties on the Gulf Coast northeast

CD he sold Davis’ girlfriend, and he saw Crotzer’s car when he was leaving a Best Buy store.

Arrested Monday Police say Crotzer pulled up to Davis and fired through an open passenger window while both cars were going about 40 miles per hour. Police found Crotzer based on a description of his car and he was arrested Monday after Davis picked him out of a police lineup. Crotzer spent more than 24 years in prison after he was convicted of rape in 1982. He was convicted of robbing a Tampa family and kidnapping and raping a 38-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint. Crotzer said he was nowhere near the scene and witnesses corroborated that, but he had a previous robbery conviction when he was 17 and a witness picked him out of a lineup. He was sentenced to 130 years in prison. Years later, another man convicted in the robbery told police that Crotzer wasn’t with them that night and revealed the real rapist. DNA testing along with the other evidence then convinced prosecutors that Crotzer wasn’t involved. He was released in 2006.

Another hearing set in prison health case A Leon County circuit judge has agreed to hold a hearing next week in the long-running dispute about whether the Florida Department of Corrections will privatize prison health services. Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll has scheduled an Aug. 8 hearing, according to an online court docket. The Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and

Rudy Moise

Frederica Wilson

to Clay County and to the Georgia border. First elected to Congress in 1988, Stearns is among a handful of incumbents to find themselves in new districts. Earlier this year, Stearns made the decision to go after the seat instead of facing one-term incumbent Richard Nugent for the District 5 seat that includes part of Stearns old district, though the new 3rd also has part of Stearns’ former district. Veterinarian and political newcomer Ted Yoho is touting himself as an outsider, but after Stearns, he’s the biggest fundraiser in the race. Still, Stearns has raised more than double what Yoho has.

One of the liveliest primary races takes place in Congressional District 6, where a seven-way Republican primary is playing itself out. While this one isn’t a donedeal after the primary, the district is extremely Republican with Gov. Rick Scott having easily won in the area in 2010. Ron DeSantis, Richard Clark, Craig Miller, Billy Kogut, Alec Pueschel, Beverly Slough and Fred Costello are running in the GOP primary for the coastal district running from Volusia County north through Flagler to St. Johns. DeSantis, a Jacksonville area attorney, leads the pack moneywise with more than $404,000 as of June 30. Among the Republicans in DeSantis’ camp is Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Clark, a Jacksonville city councilman, has amassed nearly $252,000 in his campaign coffers. Clark’s gotten the backing of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness. Restaurant industry executive Craig Miller of Ormond Beach, a former chairman of the National Restaurant Association, has raised nearly $110,000 in his bid. Endorsements have come from former presidential candidate Herman Cain, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and former. U.S. Congressman Ric Keller. Miller earlier was running for the U.S. Senate, but switched to the congressional race. Costello, a former Ormond Beach mayor and now a state House member, jumped into the fray late and has so far raised

$46,881 during an abbreviated quarter of fundraising.

DISTRICT 19 Another Republican free-for all plays itself out in Southwest Florida where a number of recognizable names are in the race. For the first time in eight years, an incumbent won’t be in the mix to represent much of the area. U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV is making a bid for the U.S. Senate. With so many candidates, a relatively small plurality will put the victor over the top. State House members Paige Kreegel and Gary Aubuchon face Chauncey Goss III, Byron Donalds, Joe Davidow and former television anchor and conservative talk show host Trey Radel for the coastal district in Lee and Collier counties an area that’s long been a Republican bastion. While Aubuchon was considered an early favorite, Goss, has been endorsed by former Gov. Jeb Bush and has some name recognition from the fact that his father, Porter Goss, was a longtime congressman in the area. Radel, in turn, has garnered Mack’s endorsement. Each of the top four candidates has raised at least $389,000, with Kreegel and Radel leading the pack with about $450,000 a piece. Aubuchon and Goss aren’t far behind. Donalds, while trailing the pack in fundraising with $102,700 is still a factor in the race. He’s been endorsed by the Naples Daily News and touted as an up-and-coming GOP leader. He is also the primary’s only minority candidate.

DISTRICT 24 Republican candidates aren’t the only ones who will lock up a seat in August. This Democratic stronghold pits one-term U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson against a well-financed challenger, Rudy Moise. He is a Haitian-born osteopathic physician who also has an MBA and a law degree, was an Air Force flight surgeon and currently is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve. Wilson has raised $409,526 for the cycle and has $156,123 on hand as of June 30. Moise has raised $289,187 and had $161,950 on hand at the end of the quarter, but also in the past has shown the ability to put his own money into a race. Moise was one of several candidates who sought the seat in 2010 when Wilson won it. There are no Republicans running for the now redrawn seat in the still heavily Democratic district, so the primary will determine the winner.

On board of Innocence Project In 2008, Gov. Charlie Crist pardoned Crotzer for stealing beer in 1979 when he was 18 and bringing marijuana into prison in 1991. Crotzer said then he had turned his life around. “I’m not that monster they try to make me be. I am a new person,” he told The Associated Press in 2008. Crotzer is on the board of directors of the Innocence Project of Florida and has made public appearances speaking out on those who are wrongfully convicted by the state. The executive director of the organization would not answer any questions about Crotzer and directed all questions to his attorney. A call to Crotzer’s attorney was not immediately returned. Crotzer was still in jail earlier this week. The Florida Legislature in 2008 approved a bill that paid Crotzer $1.25 million for his time spent in prison. The legislation also guaranteed Crotzer free tuition so he could attend any Florida college or university.

An article from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Municipal Employees filed a lawsuit in January challenging a legislative move last year to privatize inmate health services. Carroll early this month declined to rule on the constitutionality of the Legislature’s decision because it was included in budget fine print, known as “proviso” language, which expired at the June 30 end of the fiscal year. The nurses association and AFSCME, a state employees union, asked Carroll for a rehearing. Subsequently, the DOC said it would go ahead with the privatization, regardless of the expiration of the proviso language. The DOC said it had the authority to contract with two private companies under existing state law.

Florida civil rights leader T.H. Poole is shown with Gwen Manning with the Lake County NAACP executive board and Tri-City President Sannye Jones.

Lake County NAACP, candidates pay tribute to T.H. Poole BY LOUIS C. WARD SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER

Lake County candidates had four minutes each to introduce themselves and reveal their platform for running for political office in the northwest Central Florida county. Most candidates, however, used their four minutes to share an anecdote about T.H. Poole, former state NAACP president and longtime Lake County activist during the NAACP Tri City Branch’s “Community Circle of Influ-

Lottery sales projections up NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Lawmakers will have an additional $48 million to spend on education construction and other enhancements under a revised Lottery scenario reached Tuesday by state economists. Tough economic times

ence Candidates’ Dinner” held July 26 in Tavares. Poole, who is in his 80s and the guest of honor of the dinner, is well-known in Lake County for his work improving living conditions for residents, specifically African-Americans. Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders, who is running for re-election, amused the audience with his story about when he became the jailer for Lake County. Borders said, “Mr. Poole visited me and said, ‘I know you are from Seminole County and you are new, but this is how we do things in Lake County.’’’ Through the years, Poole’s legacy has been his efforts to help make Lake County a better place to live for all people through his work with the local and national offices of the NAACP, his work as a schoolteacher and a football coach in Lake County’s school system.

may be translating into higher revenues for the Department of Lottery, which would see total sales climb by $262 million more for the current fiscal year that began July 1 than economists estimated earlier this year. The boost in Lottery revenues translates into more money available to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund, which was created to augment tradition general reve-

nue education funding. Going forward, however, Lottery proceeds will continue to exceed previous projects through 2015/16 but at a more moderate clip. Sales of scratch-off games were up 5.3 percent from previous projections while Lotto sales will be flat. PowerBall sales growth, though strong at 12 percent, will grow at nearly half the rate as previously expected.



AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012

We must give input to political party platforms As I’ve traveled around the country, it’s clear that there are so many procedures for voting. There are 51 state plans, 1,300-plus county plans and more than 13,000 municipality plans. Federal offices are controlled by state officials often hostile to their opposing party’s candidates. We were put on notice after the Supreme Court challenge in Bush v. Gore that pursuant to the 10th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, there’s no affirmative right to vote in federal elections. The case revealed the constitutional authority of states to control federal elections of president, vice president, and Congress. Considering all that’s going on now to decrease the number of voters and no


matter which party holds our allegiance, we should be alarmed. To fill the glaring gap in federal elections, we should make an effort to influence our party’s platform.

All should vote All parties should support state and federal constitutional amendments for an affirmative right to vote for all citizens. This amendment would require a unitary electoral system for federal elections to include one ballot, one voting machine for all jurisdictions casting

votes for constitutional officers, and allow federal oversight at every level over these elections. It would decrease irrational forms of voter suppression. We can’t continue the risk of having governors cause hardships for the most vulnerable when it comes to casting a vote. We should tell leaders to spare nothing in protecting not just our voting rights, but also the rights of women, seniors, people with disabilities, poor people and everyone without a level playing field. Those who enlarge our electorate are the true patriots – not those who decrease it.

see the party of our choice support and address them strongly enough to include them in party platforms so that platforms support our interests. Another concern is Wall Street regulation. The 2008 financial collapse in large part was caused by weak regulation of financial institutions and unenforced existing regulations. Three platform planks should be adopted: r 3FHVMBUJPOT UP TFQBSBUF commercial banks from investment banks similar to the 1933 Glass-Stegall legislation; r 3FTUSJDUJPO PG USBEJOH PG derivatives, the culprit of the home mortgage challenges Many concerns from which many of us are Our community has many still reeling; r 3FRVJSJOHKVTUJGJDBUJPOPG concerns and would like to



Random thoughts of a free Black mind, v. 147 Bro. Prez at the Urban League – A drive-by speech explaining why he won’t push to help fix Black America’s issues. No action plan. And still not a word about disproportionate incarceration and the prison-industrial complex that destroys Black families... Min. Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam – The GOP and gun nuts are hanging the horrendous murder rate in Bro. Prez’s predominately Black South Side Chicago hometown around his neck, especially since his former chief of staff 3BIN &NBOVFM JT NBZPS *O   #SP Prez had to ceremonially renounce Farrakhan and the NOI – even though he attended the 1995 Million Man March beGPSFIFCFDBNF5)&#"3"$,0#"."*U was all part of the act of building a comfort level with White voters. How ironic would it be if Min. Farrakhan and the Nation went back to their own future – going to jails and prisons and turning the roughest, most thuggish brothers on the planet into bowtie-wearing members of the Nation of Islam – and reducing, over time, Chicago’s murder rate? If that happened, would Bro. Prez go to bat to get the Nation some federal dollars that are currently going into inefficient crime-



prevention ratholes? Laughing out loud... Speaking of the Nation – Min. Farrakhan has men of the Fruit of Islam hitting the streets nationwide every Monday evening “where the bullets fly,� even here in Florida, to talk to brothers on the corners and in parks in our own communities where many of us would hesitate to go. They’ll be real-life examples of Black men committed to Islam that, in many cases, turned their lives around. The Nation is doing what today’s Black Christian churches are too old, fat, lazy, comfortable – or scared – to do. Starting next week, we’ll follow the Fruit of Islam in Florida every step of the way.

Contact me at; holler at me at ccherry2; follow me on Twitter @ccherry2.

Opinions expressed on this editorial page are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of the newspaper or the publisher.

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year-end financial bonuses commensurate with financial standing of institutions. Middle class and poor people don’t get bonuses unless they’ve performed extraordinarily well—and not always then. Why should Wall Street have bonuses when the job they’re doing is dragging down the nation’s financial health?

All about jobs Both parties should have a platform plank that speaks to employment and what the party plans to do to inDSFBTF KPCT 6Q UP OPX  3Fpublicans have blocked every proposal put forth to resolve the jobs crisis without coming up with a plan of their own. Parties should support the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st

Century Full Employment "DUPGGFSFECZ3FQ+PIO$Pnyers. The bill places a small tax on speculative transactions, and raises about $1.5 billion that could be used for jobs. Full employment would greatly benefit our nation’s financial health and eliminate some of the fear that’s causing otherwise good people to act irrationally. Get involved in your party’s platform development because it’ll determine what the party supports for the next four years.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Click on this story at www.flcourier. com to write your own response.

The ‘Fox Terriers’ and the Aurora bloodbath Following the killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 others by a White male in Aurora, Col., I decided to see how the bloodbath would be covered by the eminent Fox Terriers, Sean )BOOJUZ BOE #JMM 0 3FJMMZ It was a fascinating, revealing and would have been an amusing experience had the circumstances not been so serious. The first thing I noticed was the attempt of the usually boastful, know-it-all bloviators to be serious journalists. Both of them went into the pure journalistic posture of presenting the facts and nothing but the facts. 0O i5IF 03FJMMZ 'BDUPS u 03FJMMZ m UIF TMJDLFTU of the two – seemed almost aloof when commenting on the case and interviewing quests. It was obvious that he was determined to keep the focus on the suspected shooter and killer as being a lone loon, not a representative of a larger destructive White male problem in this country. This was confirmed at the end of his program when he ordered NFNCFST PG UIF 0 3FJMMZ cult to make sure to tell their children that the bloodbath in Aurora is an aberration. One can bet that his regular viewers did just what their divine leader ordered. As for Sean Hannity, it


was almost amusing to see someone who has made millions of dollars by being shallow, smart-alecky and bitchy struggling to look and act like a knowledgeable, professional journalist. His efforts were to no avail. Hannity still came across as an ambitious boy from a modest background who now operates with the misguided notion that he is a major White male power broker.

Relatively quiet Both Hannity and O’ 3FJMMZBSFBNPOHUIPTFQPMiticians and pundits in this country who, if the shooter in Aurora had been a Black male, would be pontificating – not about that particular person as they do when the subject is a White male, but about “the pathology of Black males.� Their attitude is best explained in an observation made by Michelle Alexander in her must-read CPPL i5IF/FX+JN$SPXu “In the state of Washington,� wrote Ms. Alexander,� a review of juvenile sentencing reports that prosecutors routinely described

Black and White offenders differently. Blacks committed crimes because of internal personality flaws such as disrespect. Whites did so because of external conditions such as family conflict.�

Another incident What the Fox Terriers and most of the other commentators failed to note in their DPWFSBHF XBT UIBU PO +VMZ 16, 2012, just four days prior to Aurora, another White male shot up a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in which 17 people were shot or otherwise wounded. It would seem that at least a mention of the closeness of the Tuscaloosa shooting to Aurora would be required. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal because no one was killed. These two incidents, which occurred within one week, should at least raise a question about what is happening when members of the most pampered and powerful special interest group in this country – White males – indulge in such pathological, savage, destructive behavior?

Contact A. Peter Bailey at, or 202-716-4560. Click on this story at to write your own response.

Democrats specialize in ‘Buckwheat’ politics The reelection of President Barack Obama is being seriously hampered by the Democratic Party’s use of Buckwheat politics! If you don’t know, Buckwheat was one of the central characters in the old “Little 3BTDBMTu UFMFWJTJPO TFSJFT The stars of the show, White kids Spanky and Alfalfa, loved the little Black Buckwheat. And the White leadership of the Democratic Party loves the modern-day version of Buckwheat. You see, Buckwheat did everything Spanky and Alfalfa wanted him to do. He spoke when Spanky wanted him to speak. He said what Alfalfa wanted him to TBZ5IF-JUUMF3BTDBMTDPVME control Buckwheat!

Dems love Buckwheat If you want to have a meaningful, high-paying, decision-making role in today’s Democratic Party leadership, you’ve got to be like Buckwheat. Don’t worry about needing any political experience. You don’t need an education in media or political science, or a track record of political success and winning campaigns. The television Buckwheat had very few Black friends and the modern-day political Buckwheat also has very few Black friends. The modern-day Buckwheat


couldn’t draw a crowd to a political rally if his life depended on it. He couldn’t get a crowd if he gave away free chicken and beer! But only Buckwheat types can ever dream about getting a high-paying job with Democrats. If you’re a community activist, you’re undesirable. If you stand up and speak out on Black issues, you’re not wanted. If you are known by, loved and appreciated by Black voters, you can’t dream about working for the Democratic Party. To progress in Democratic Party politics, you’ve got to be Buckwheat. You’ve got to rubberstamp everything the Democratic Party says and does. You’ve got to want to be controlled!

What’s next? Now where does all of this leave President 0CBNB  8JUI 3FQVCMJDBO controlled state legislatures across America purging every Black, Hispanic and minority voter from voter rolls that it can, it will be more than extremely important for the president to get every vote possible.

Obama must get an extraordinary turnout of supportive voters. That 25 or 30 percent of registered Black Democratic voters will not nearly be enough to win. Obama must get Black inEFQFOEFOUT #MBDL3FQVCMJcans and everybody else to cast votes for him to ensure his reelection. Buckwheat cannot tell African-American media owners what to say or what to print about 2012 elections. Buckwheat cannot influence the Nation of Islam; Buckwheat cannot rally around the New Black Panther Party. Buckwheat can’t even get the junkies to put down their crack pipes and take that slow walk into the voting booth! All Buckwheat can do is smile, buck dance a little and do everything that his Democratic bosses tell him to do! President Obama is going to need all of the help he can get in America’s Black communities from a variety of people in the Black community. This idea that any political Buckwheat will do, in fact, will not do!

Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing� on and from bookstores everywhere. Click on this story at www.flcourier. com to write your own response.

AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012


Will Britain pay reparations for colonialism? To listen to some critics of British colonialism, you’d think it was utterly devoid of any redeeming value. As one who was subjected to it throughout much of his youth, I can attest that this is not so. All one has to do is juxtapose the way education and civil service have floundered in post-colonial countries in Africa with the way they thrived in those countries during colonialism to counter unqualified criticism in this respect. Having said that, nothing, not even a good education and a competent civil service, can possibly justify the dominion British colonialists exercised over native people from India to the Caribbean – especially since British mercantilism meant raping and pillaging local resources for the benefit of Mother England, as well as racial segregation, which reinforced the dehumanizing nature of colonialism.

‘The right to bomb’ As British journalist and historian Richard Gott notes in “Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt” (2011), British Prime Minister David Lloyd George telegraphed how colonial officers intended to deal with rebellious natives when, at the 1932 World Disarmament Conference, he “demanded the right to bomb for police purposes in outlying places [and] insisted on the right to bomb niggers.” Colonial officers meted out cruel and unusual punishment to natives whose natural pride and hu-


man dignity compelled them to resist. Nowhere was this demonstrated in more poignant and persistent fashion than in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion throughout the 1950s and 1960s. According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed; 160,000 were detained in conditions that rivaled those their forefathers were subjected to as captured slaves during the “Middle Passage.” But where seeking reparations for slavery that ended 150 years ago has always been fraught with obvious (legal) problems, seeking reparations for colonialism that ended just 50 years ago is much less so. This is why the British government is defending itself against claims by Kenyans who say they suffered human rights abuses while being held in detention camps by the British colonial administration during the Mau Mau rebellion. Lawyers for several victims filed what they clearly hope will be a class-action suit on behalf of all victims demanding an official apology and compensation for pain and suffering from beatings, whippings, canings, castrations and appalling sexual abuse. The British government admitted last month – for the first time

Regarding consumers, it’s ‘Vive la différence(s)!’ I’ve always loved the French expression “Vive la différence,” which originally referred to the difference between the sexes, then evolved to celebrate the differences between any two or more groups of people. Nielsen holds our annual Consumer 360 Conference each year, where we provide clients with more granular insights about today’s consumer. This year, one of our sessions, “Marketing that Matters,” focused on the differences in consumer behavior. Three major consumer groups were focused on: Baby Boomers, Media Moms, and Lower Income Consumers. r Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), have been a major influence in American culture for decades – music, family structure, dress, social mores – you name it. This group consists of almost 100 million consumers, including me. For years, boomers have been


the darlings of the advertising and marketing world. But, even the youngest baby boomers are “aging out” of the system, so to speak. The 18-49 age demographic has long been the coveted “sweet spot” for marketers and media executives. The youngest boomers, however, are now 48. Baby boomers are responsible for almost $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged goods (CPG). That’s more than 50 percent of all CPG sales. It is estimated that this group will dominate consumer spending even more in about five years, with control of a whopping



and in a court of law – that Kenyans were tortured and ill-treated as alleged. It was obliged to do so because the British High Court ordered the release of 300 boxes of secret documents recently that not only chronicle the systematic torture and ill-treatment colonial officers meted out, but also expose a conspiracy among British officials to cover up these human rights abuses. Despite all this, the government is attempting to avoid compensating the direct victims of the Mau Mau rebellion by using the same argument governments have used to avoid compensating the descendants of the victims of slavery: that “too much time has passed for a fair trial to be conducted.” Lawyers can raise all kinds of issues as to why, ironically enough, the British government cannot get a fair trial, not least among them the age and fading memories of both perpetrators and victims. Lawyers may even question whether detention during the Mau Mau rebellion was in fact the proximate cause of their injuries. Still, if the British government has any regard for what little redeeming value its legacy of colonialism retains, it would consider it a moral imperative to move posthaste to negotiate a victims’ fund with the Kenyan government from which all victims can seek relatively fair Kenya. This would (and should) not absolve the government of the categorical imperative to pursue and prosecute every British official implicated in these human rights

abuses – from the secretary of state in London to the camp guard in Kenya – and not just those who executed them, but those who participated in the conspiracy to cover up these abuses. Those British officials should be pursued and prosecuted with the same dogged zeal with which officials who collaborated with the Nazis are still being pursed and prosecuted to this day. If the High Court were to establish the precedent that victims of colonial-era abuses could seek damages in British courts, I have no doubt that thousands of claimants would show up in London to seek redress from every place on earth that was subjected to British dominion. That’s why the British government would be welladvised to initiate governmentto-government settlements of all such cases, instead of allowing any of them to proceed to trial – especially with all of the opening of old

wounds (on both sides) that would entail. Even if the High Court were to rule that victims of colonial abuse have no recourse in British courts, the reputational damage to Britain of such a ruling would far outweigh any amount the Kenyan and other post-colonial governments could reasonably demand be placed in compensation funds for colonial abuses. Accordingly, I fully expect Britain, at long last, to do the right thing: apologize and pay, pursue and prosecute!

70 percent of all disposable income in the U.S. But only about 5 percent of ad dollars are geared towards consumers age 35-64. Can you say, “Missed opportunity?” r Media Moms represent another very specific opportunity for marketers. You don’t need me or research to confirm what we moms already know – we are constantly running hither and yon, handling our business at home and out of the house 24/7. Because we are busy, moms tend to be early tech adopters because technology ultimately makes our lives a little more efficient. Some points of comparison: r .PSFUIBOQFSDFOUPGNPNT own a smartphone. Seems like we use them for everything: Shopping, price-checking, mobile banking and social networking, not to mention talking and keeping our girlfriends posted on everything we have to do. r 5ISFF ZFBST BHP  NPNT XFSF 30 percent more likely to text. As of the end of last year, 83 percent of all moms text. As of April 2012, 1 in 3 bloggers were moms. r 0O BWFSBHF  NPNT XBUDI MFTT

TV than the average viewer (you can’t be watching TV while you’re chauffeuring, cooking, out shopping, etc., or can you)? Moms’ viewing skews toward programs with a strong female lead and moms spend more than average time watching TV that was previously recorded by DVRs (known in the research industry as “timeshifted” TV viewing). r 5FO QFSDFOU PG BMM NPNT PXO a tablet; 71 percent of tablet-owing moms let their children use it. (Guess we’ve come a long way from crayons and coloring books.) r 5IF Lower Income Consumer is relevant because income disparity in our country is a growing reality that is gaining attention. This segment comprises 30 percent of the American population, defined as individuals making less than $30,000 per year. All ethnic groups are represented, though they are mostly White. These consumers are spread throughout the country, are largely comprised of the very young and the very old; 60 percent are not in the work force. Not surprisingly, these consumers spend less over-

all than average, but they nonetheless represent an important chunk of the country’s total spending and are expected to grow in numbers. So there is an opportunity for companies to grow in market share with this growing population. On average, lower income consumers watch more TV and stream more online video than other consumers, and spend more time online, averaging approximately nine hours a month on Facebook, providing various points of opportunity to be reached with advertising messages. What does all of this mean? Regardless of our differences – age, income or parental status – when it comes to consumerism, you matter. Use your power wisely.


Are some lives more valuable? The national support for the victims of the Aurora, Col. shootings is DR. great. However, if we believe in the JULIANNE equivalency of life, what about the lives of young men in Chicago, where MALVEAUX there have been more deaths than in TRICEEDNEYWIRE.COM Afghanistan so far this year? While the hospitals in Aurora say they will cover hospital bills for those Heaven Sutter, who had just had her without insurance (one in three in hair styled for a trip to Disney World, Colorado), who will cover bills for was shot – again, by a stray bullet. those who are hospitalized after a ‘Urban’ deaths ignored drive-by? Details of the lives of those who Media makes a difference are killed humanize them and tug at We mourn some deaths and ignore our heartstrings. In Aurora, we have others, which suggests that some life learned about a man whose wife just is valued and some life is cheap. Does gave birth, about another who died it have anything to do with media at- saving his girlfriend, of a young woman who missed a Toronto mass murtention? In Tuscaloosa, Ala., a crazed man der by a few seconds, aspired to be walked into a bar looking for “a Black a sports journalist, and was killed in man.” He shot a man who did not Aurora. Rarely do we hear about the know him, and with whom he had no lives of those who are killed in the inbeef. He also wounded 17 other peo- ner city, about the lives of Chelsea ple. Why has this story not made na- Cromartie and Heaven Sutter. The disproportionality of death tional news? If we spend a minute watching any commentary hits home when one renews, we have heard about Veronica members the stories in the New York Moser, the 6 year old who was mas- Times after September 11, 2001. For sacred in Aurora. We’ve seen pic- months, postage stamp-sized photures of her smiling face and of her tos accompanied short but revealplaying. Certainly we can all mourn ing blurbs about those who lost their the tragedy of her young life being lives. On one hand, the blurbs were snuffed out by a madman. Still, some humanizing. For me, though, they young lives are valued, while others were a reminder of the equivalency of life and the lives we choose to igare not. One of the young deaths that rocked nore. There were 12,000 gun-related my soul was the 2004 murder of Chelsea Cromartie, who sat in her grand- deaths in the United States in 2008. mother’s window playing with her Eighty percent of the gun deaths in dolls when she was killed by a stray the world’s 23 richest countries hapbullet. She wrote, in a classroom ex- pened in the United States, as did 87 ercise, that she was an “amazing girl.” percent of the deaths of children. We We don’t have to go back to 2004 to have more than 270 million privately find a child’s death. Just last week, owned guns in this country; when we

add the number of military (police, sheriffs) guns, there is at least one gun for every man, woman, and child in this country.

What about ammo? Some hark their Second Amendment rights in their gun ownership, but the Second Amendment was passed before assault weapons and Glocks. If people have the right to bear arms, perhaps they have to right to have 6,000 rounds of ammunition, obtained on the Internet. If we can’t limit guns, can we at least regulate the distribution of ammunition? In the same year that there were 12,000 gun deaths in the United States, there were a scant 11 gun-related deaths in Japan. Indeed, while the United States has 90 privately held guns per 100 people, the next largest per capita rate of privately held guns is in Yemen. In contrast, China has three guns per 100 people. The National Rifle Association loves to say, “Guns don’t kill, people do.” As usual, they display limited thinking. People with guns are the ones who kill! Why won’t we address that by dealing with issues of gun and ammunition control? The 12 people who lost their lives represent a fraction of one percent of those who die from gun violence annually. As we mourn these lives, let us mourn the lives of the thousands who were also killed because it is easier to buy a weapon than it is to buy marijuana in most parts of our nation.

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. Click on this story at www. to write your own response.

Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian native with an international law practice in Washington, D.C. Read his columns and daily weblog at Click on this story at to write your own response.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is the senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for The Nielsen Company, a global information and measurement company. For more information and studies, go to Click on this story at to write your own response.

US no humanitarian savior in Africa A United Nations panel charged that Rwanda has been supporting a Tutsi tribal rebel group in Congo. Rwanda and another U.S. puppet regime, Uganda, have profited enormously from stealing the mineral resources of eastern Congo, in collaboration with U.S. and European mining companies. In 2011, 1.7 million Congolese remained homeless, largely because of Rwanda’s continued interference in Congolese affairs. Bowing to criticism, Washington announced that it would cut military assistance to Rwanda – $200,000 out of $528 million. The gesture is an insult to the millions of Congolese who have been killed or displaced by the U.S. and its Rwandan and Ugandan mercenaries. The United Nations Refugee Agency reports that the number of Somalis forced to leave their country is now one million. The U.S. dragged Somalia into hell in December 2006, when it funded and armed an Ethiopian invasion, killing thousands and robbing Somalia of a chance to build peace under a moderately Islamist government. Nearly two million people were forced from their homes. In the ensuing five years, the United States methodically attempted to starve out Somali resistance forces.


When the worst drought in 60 years struck the region, mass deaths were inevitable. By now, the U.S. had ensnared most of Somalia’s neighbors in its war – Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti – in order to expand U.S. military influence in the region. American policy in Africa is to create chaos, and then to present itself as the cure. Economically, the U.S. offers nothing to Africa, except rigged deals and endless debt. China has eclipsed America as a trading partner, and now offers Africa more and better quality foreign aid than the Americans. Unable to compete on a level playing field, Washington exports death to Africa, in the form of weapons systems and Green Berets. There is nothing good that the United States can do for Africa, but leave.

Glen Ford is executive editor of Click on this story at to write your own response.



AUGUST 3 – AUGUST 9, 2012

Cost of auto insurance based on income, education Consumer Federation of America study examined quotes of 4 top insurers

as race, religion and gender and they use only factors that reveal how likely you are to get in an accident, said Bob Hartwig, president of the Insurance Informa-

tion Institute, an industry group. That ensures they’re charging each person as close to the right price as possible, so consumers

who are less likely to get in accidents won’t have to pay as much as people who are more likely, Hartwig said. “The CFA seems to completely ignore the fact that

people can shop for insurance and (right now auto) insurers are hungry for your business,” he said. A new tool some insurers offer that gives discounts

based on how policyholders actually drive – called pay-as-you-drive or usagebased programs – may reduce the impact of socioeconomic factors on rates.


FORT LAUDERDALE – If you have a blue-collar job or no college degree, you could be paying more for auto insurance than someone with the same car and driving record who is a professional or has a degree. That’s the finding of a recent Consumer Federation of America study that examined quotes in 15 cities from the four largest auto insurers in the country – State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, and GEICO. The Consumer Federation found, among other things, insurers quote wildly different rates for similar, hypothetical drivers because of factors that can unfairly target those with less money. For instance, in Miami, an insurer quoted one person $1,759 a year and another who is similar $3,457. Two other insurers quoted a woman in Miami $2,822 and $2,203 and a man, $1,978 and $2,430, respectively.

Trend online too The Sun Sentinel found a similar trend when obtaining 16 online quotes for two hypothetical customers in Fort Lauderdale with exactly the same profile, including the same age and car, with the only difference being either the driver’s occupation, education level or whether they are a homeowner. The quotes, which covered six-month policies, were all higher for the person whose income would likely be lower based on the factor tested. The difference ranged from being $20, or 2 percent, higher for a secretary versus an executive to a whopping $489, or 114 percent, higher for someone without a high school degree versus someone with a doctorate. State Farm and Allstate, two of the four biggest auto insurers, were not included in the survey because their online quoting form requires providing a real person’s information. Obtaining quotes using a real person’s information generated a similar result.

Practice called discriminatory Regulators discourage insurers from using income to set rates, but other factors can be used as surrogates or proxies, according to a Florida Office of Insurance Regulation report in 2007. “While the use of race as a rating factor was outlawed in Florida … occupation and education has emerged in the rating and underwriting of auto insurance and appear to be highly correlated to race and income-level,” according to the report. Hilary Shelton, the NA A C P ’s senior vice president for advocacy, said home ow n e r s h i p is also correlated. About 40 percent of racial and Hilary ethnic miShelton norities own homes,while the rate is about 70 percent for Whites, Shelton said. “It puts many struggling Americans in a very disadvantaged position. It (hurts) those people who can least afford it,” he said. “Clearly, it’s discriminatory. … Things like your income, marital status and job title should have absolutely nothing to do with how much money one is charged.”

Insurance group responds Insurers don’t discriminate based on criteria such

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Alabama, State, B-CU face off in Orlando next month See page B5


Titans mourn death of player from Tampa See page B2





A city stuck in the ’70s?

“Other kids got shot, and nothing happened. Blacks just said, ‘Enough is enough. It’s time.’ ”

Old Sanford argues that what happened to Trayvon Martin could have happened anywhere.

–Roosevelt Cummings, 68, a member of the Concerned Citizens of Sanford

New Sanford agrees but argues that there is something unique to the city that set the world on fire.



ld Sanford eats at the Colonial Room. The menu hasn’t changed in 30 years and, despite new owners, is unlikely to change much in the future. Old Sanford likes predictability, familiarity, tradition and meatloaf on Mondays, fried chicken on Thursdays. Old Sanford remembers when the high school class ring had celery stalks on the sides and Pete Knowles was city manager for 32 years. Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe is New Sanford. The German-themed restaurant relies more on outof-towners than locals for its business. New Sanford moved in from somewhere else, drawn to the preserved downtown, the historic district of old homes, the renovated riverfront, the strong sense of place and community. The two restaurants are a block apart, each catering to a different – yet sometimes overlapping – clientele that represents a city in transition. In the middle of this transformation, while factions competed for control, the world set siege to the city of Sanford.

Hospitable city? The shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman brought national and international attention to the oldest city in Central Florida, along with busloads of protesters, high-profile civil rights activists, cable television satellite trucks and newspaper reporters from across the country. The city – which has worked hard to overcome its reputation as a poor, rural town – was now being compared to Birmingham and Selma. A bad image was being replaced by something worse. Old and New Sanford, Black and White, newcomers and old-timers, agree that the labels slapped upon Sanford by “outsiders” are untrue and inaccurate. Sanford is a friendly, close-knit, hospitable city of 54,000 people who get along reasonably well, they say.


Handprint cutouts hang along First Street in Sanford on June 22. After the Trayvon Martin shooting brought national criticism to the city, residents and community activists came together to create the handprints to show solidarity and repair their community. Unless you were born here, you can live in Sanford all your life and still be an outsider. Bill Painter, who bought the Colonial Room in 1977, said he enjoyed the camaraderie with charter members of Old Sanford while he owned the restaurant. He tailored his menu to their tastes, opened the back room of his restaurant for their Rotary, Kiwanis and Optimists meetings. He played golf and went to Florida Gators football games with them. “I was never one of them. They were great to me, but you could tell the ones who were born and raised here and went to school together,” said Painter, 71. “It was just a different relationship.” When he sold the restaurant a year ago to a Venezuelan family, the new owners were given a friendly piece of advice from their Old Sanford customers: Don’t change anything. “The first week, one of the customers told me, ‘Did you know when you bought this restaurant, this isn’t your restaurant? It’s our restaurant,’ ” said Maria Lengua, 37, daughter-in-law of the owners. “He wanted me to be aware of what Sanford was – the heritage, the roots, the history.”

Mixed views on race Where they are as different as the Willow Tree’s Wiener schnitzel and the Colonial Room’s country-fried steak is on whether Sanford has a racial problem. Old Sanford says no, that individuals may have experienced prejudice or racism, but the city as a whole has never been racist. “Sanford has never, and still to my knowledge, does not experience racial prejudice as a community. Sanford never has had racial problems,” said Sara Jacobson, 74, a third-generation Sanford resident and downtown business owner. New Sanford says the racial tensions unleashed by Trayvon’s shooting death are real and deep-seated. They need to be acknowledged and addressed. “Yes, we had a problem with how Black people were treated and how things haven’t been equal. I’m not going to say it’s a good thing Trayvon Martin died, but it’s a good thing it’s out there and we can make it better,” said Theo Hollerbach, 54, an Orlando native who opened his Sanford restaurant in 2001.

Distrust of police The Black community’s grievances include a long distrust of the Sanford Police Department. Black residents complain they are viewed as suspicious by police for doing things that Whites take for granted: driving a new car, sitting on bus benches after dark, talking together inside a parked car. Cindy Philemon said she and a friend were questioned by a police officer while sitting on a bus bench at night, talking. “He said, ‘Get up from here. The bus isn’t running at these hours.’ So we got up, but we felt defeated. It was like the days way old,” said Philemon, 48, who was born in Sanford. “They can do you wrong, but you can’t speak out. They can hit you, and you can’t fight back because they will take you to jail.”

Outsiders blamed Old Sanford, in words that echo from the civil rights era of the 1960s, blames outside agitators for making race an issue in Sanford. Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are accused of provoking a national outrage directed at Sanford for personal aggrandizement and profit. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is a troublemaker. Those who marched down Park Avenue from Centennial Park to the Civic Center were outsiders bused into Sanford, not local Black residents. “We wouldn’t have had this reaction without Corrine Brown calling in Jesse and Sharpton,” said Barbara Chapman, 82. “I don’t think they (Sanford Blacks) were involved in it.”

Tied to past injustices

‘When you can’t talk to your city leaders, you have to do what you have to do.’ –Francis Oliver, curator of the Goldsboro Historical Museum in Sanford, as she shared thoughts related to Trayvon Martin shooting.

City called unresponsive Sanford’s Black residents dispute that version. Members of the Seminole County Branch of the NAACP and local Black activists say they raised concerns about Trayvon’s death and the decision not to arrest Zimmerman soon after the Feb. 26 shooting. They say the city was unresponsive. “Before Jesse Jackson, before Al Sharpton, before any of them came in here, we tried to talk to chief of police (Bill) Lee, we tried to talk to (City Manager Norton) Bonaparte, we tried to talk to (Mayor) Jeff Triplett, we tried to talk to the commissioners,” said Francis Oliver, 68, founder of the Goldsboro Westside Historical Museum. “When you can’t talk to your city leaders,” Oliver said, “you have to do what you have to do.”

‘Never one of them’ In its attitudes toward outsiders, Old Sanford retains the heritage of small Southern towns where guests, visitors and newcomers are extended gracious Southern hospitality but are never accepted as insiders.

Old Sanford points out that Trayvon Martin was an outsider from Miami and George Zimmerman was from Virginia. The shooting took place in one of the newer, outlying gated subdivisions that, although technically inside the city limits, aren’t really Sanford. The attitude toward outsiders exists within the Black community as well. There are families that go back generations. There are Old Sanford Black leaders as entrenched as their White counterparts. Clayton Turner Jr., a Sanford native, has been president of the Seminole Branch of the NAACP for 24 years. In that same time period, the NAACP’s Orange Branch has had eight presidents. Paul Benjamin, who moved to Sanford in 1994 and founded the Central Florida Dream Center in Goldsboro, said the Old Sanford in the Black community is still tied to past injustices. “The newer generation wants to move forward, but they are held captive in the bubble of the old stories of the old,” said Benjamin, 47. Sanford’s instinct to blame the outside world is ingrained in how the city perceives itself and how it is viewed by others.

Lots of negatives Founded in 1877, Sanford is the oldest, poorest, Blackest community in the most suburban and wealthiest county in Central Florida. It has the highest percentage of Black residents of any Seminole city, comprising 29 percent of the city’s population. It has the lowest median-household income and the highest poverty rate of any city in Seminole County. It has the highest overall crime rate in Seminole County See SANFORD, Page B2




FLORIDA COMMUNITY CALENDAR Fort Lauderdale: The Sunshine State Smackdown roller derby tournament featuring scrimmages, long jump contests, fastest endurance and backwards skater contests will be held through Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 800 NE Eighth St. $10 each day, $18 two-day pass or $25 three-day pass. More information: 786-457-6788 or www. goldcoastderbygrrls. com. Miami: The King’s Men Tour with Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin and Israel Houghton is scheduled at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Sept. 30. Fort Lauderdale: The City of Fort Lauderdale presents the David Deal Playday “A-Game” AllStar Saturday consisting of a two-ball competition, three-point shootout and an All-Star game featuring participants from the “A-Game” will be held Aug. 4 from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Blvd. More information: 954-828-7275 or www. events/deal/david_deal. htm. Miami: The Art of Bellydance Studio presents “A World of Dance” showcasing Middle Eastern dance and other world dance forms is Aug. 12 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Venue: 1431 Alton Road. More information:

AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012


NFL player from Tampa dies of selfinflicted wound, police say


Xernona Clayton, right, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards, will be the luncheon speaker at the Women of Color Empowerment Conference on Aug. 11 at the Urban League of Broward County’s Community Empowerment Center, 560 NW 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. More information about the free conference, call 954-345-7745.


The Back to Love tour featuring Anthony Hamilton and Estelle stops at the Times Union Center Performing Arts Moran Theater in Jacksonville on Sept. 9 for a 7:30 p.m. show.


Rapper Yo Gotti will be in concert at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale on Aug. 17 for a 10 p.m. show. Vero Beach: The Christian Student Fellowship at Indian River State College is hosting a 10th anniversary celebration and fundraising banquet. It is Sept. 21 at the college’s Richardson Center on the Mueller Campus. Seating is limited. Tickets are $20. More information: Elsie Mokoban at 772-5598325 or emokoban@ Miami: The Children’s Trust 2012 After-School Programs Guide is available online at www. and in all Miami-Dade Winn-Dixie stores. The

SANFORD from B1 but has seen that change in recent years. Robbery, assault, theft and arson have all declined in the past decade. Sanford has none of the million-dollar residential subdivisions, corporate offices and business complexes of other Seminole County cities. Sanford’s most valuable real estate – the waterfront – is lined with taxexempt property, including Sanford City Hall, Sanford Civic Center, the old Seminole County Courthouse, Fort Mellon Park, a municipal parking lot, the old post office and the nonprofit New Tribes Mission headquarters. “It could have been better planned so there would be a real tax base for that property,” said former Mayor Linda Kuhn.

Slow integration Residents complain that Sanford is the county seat of Seminole that gets dumped on by the county. Sanford had the only public housing project in Seminole before it was condemned as uninhabitable. It’s the only city in Seminole with a homeless shelter. “We’re treated like the redheaded child of Seminole County,” Kuhn said. When school desegregation came in the 1970s, Sanford bore the brunt with the court-ordered integration of Seminole High School, said Bill Kirchhoff, 72, a second-generation Sanford resident and local historian. “What they did in Seminole County is, in effect, they had two districts: one for the southern end of the county and one for Sanford,” Kirchhoff said. At Seminole High, the integrated school elected two homecoming queens – one White, one Black – until the students themselves abolished the tradition in 1982.

Anywhere, U.S.A. Old Sanford argues that what happened to Trayvon Martin could have happened anywhere. Sanford is the stand-in for all of America, and in that way serves as a lens for introspection on the issues of race, profiling, selective law enforcement, crime and self-defense, independent of where the killing took place. New Sanford agrees: Sanford is Anywhere, U.S.A. But New Sanford also argues that there is something unique to the city that set the world on fire. At the core is the issue of race. “Sanford never moved out of the ’70s,” Francis Oliver said. “There is still an invisible line between the Blacks and the Whites. That’s what happened with Trayvon Martin. People started crossing the line.” In a place that stamps its history on the sides of buildings with shiny brass plaques and on street corners with the raised lettering of historical markers, the Black community remembers its history as well.

information also can be accessed by calling 211, the Children’s Trust helpline. Miami: Mary J. Blige will be in concert with D’Angelo and Melanie Fiona at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Aug. 30 for an 8 p.m. show. Fort Lauderdale: Live jazz, blues, pop and everything in between along Hollywood’s signature 2.5 mile Broadwalk is every Friday of every month. More information: 954-924-2980. Hollywood: The “Guess Who’s Back” tour featuring comedian Chris Tucker will stop at Hard Rock Live Hollywood on

Aug. 10 for an 8 p.m. show. Fort Lauderdale: A three-hour cooking class with professionally trained chefs is scheduled at City College Fort Lauderdale, 2000 W. Commercial Blvd. The class is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Cost: $39.99 per person per class. More information: 954-703-6745 or www. Boca Raton: An open mic night for 18 and up featuring comedy, poetry and music is held every Monday at the Funky Biscuit in the back of Royal Palm Plaza, 303 SE Mizner Blvd. Signup is at 8 p.m. The show

begins at 8:30 p.m. More information: Richy Lala 561-512-8472. Miami: Miami-Dade County hosts a Downtown Harvest Market every Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Residents and visitors have the opportunity to purchase seasonal produce directly from Miami-Dade growers at the Stephen P. Clark Center’s Courtyard, 111 NW 1st St. More information: www. Miami: Tickets are on sale for a show featuring Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez at the American Airlines Arena on Aug. 31.

O.J. Murdock, who signed with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans last year, died of a selfinflicted wound Monday morning in front of the Tampa high school where he was a track and football star, reports the Associated Press. Murdock, 25, never played a game in the O.J. NFL because he had Murdock been sidelined with an injury since signing as an undrafted player a year ago. “In his brief time here, a number of our players, coaches and staff had grown close to O.J., and this is a difficult time for them,” the Titans said in a statement. “He spent the last year battling back from an Achilles injury as he prepared for this year’s training camp.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they try to cope with this tragedy,” the team statement said.

Top high school player in nation A Tampa police officer found Murdock “in his car in front of Middleton High School with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” at 8:30 a.m. Monday, a police statement said. He died two hours later at Tampa General Hospital, according to police. Murdock was ranked among the top football players in Florida and the nation in 2005 when he was a senior at Middleton High School, according to his biography on the Titans website. He was also a star sprinter on his school’s track team. His college career started at the University of South Carolina, but he transferred to Fort Hays State after playing in just four games as a freshman and being redshirted. He then moved to Pearl River Community College, where he was a criminal justice major.

Remembering the past It remembers that the city of Sanford dissolved Goldsboro, the second-oldest Black community in Florida in 1910, and made it part of Sanford. It remembers other times, before Trayvon Martin, when Blacks in Sanford marched in protest over the plans to close the Black high school; the banning of Blacks from setting foot inside the new civic center; and the new municipal swimming pool that was off-limits to African-American residents. The response from the White community, old-timers and newcomers, is often that it’s too late to change the past. “I’m not negating how the Black community feels, but we can’t change history,” Kuhn said. “Let’s all of us move forward, but the African-American community has to also.”

Sanford and NAACP The denial of the past, in a city that reveres its history, leads to myths of racial harmony that persist into the present. Pat Smith said that, when she moved to Sanford from Alabama in 1960 at age 11, she asked her grandmother why the city wasn’t experiencing any racial problems as other Southern cities were. “She told me when the NAACP tried to come in to Sanford, the Black people said, ‘We don’t have a problem. We don’t need you,’ ” said Smith, 63, who now lives in Casselberry. Blacks tell a different version. The NAACP has been active in Sanford since the 1940s, when it organized Goldsboro residents to face down the Ku Klux Klan, Oliver said.

‘Enough is enough’ When Trayvon Martin was killed, Sanford’s Black community already was frustrated with the lack of arrests in the deaths of seven other Black men. Martin’s death made one too many. His face joined the others in a flier distributed by community activists who created a Facebook page called Justice for Our Community. “Other kids got shot, and nothing happened,” said Roosevelt Cummings, 68, a member of the Concerned Citizens of Sanford, which picketed for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the firing of police Chief Bill Lee. “Blacks just said, ‘Enough is enough. It’s time.’ ” Trayvon Martin’s death could have happened anywhere. But it happened in Sanford, a city in transition, divided against itself. Whatever the outcome, like it or not, Trayvon Martin is now part of Sanford’s history. Inside one of the glass display cases of Goldsboro’s Black history museum is a bright-yellow pass to the March 26 City Commission meeting on the Trayvon Martin shooting. It was the day the world came to town, uninvited, and set siege to Sanford.







AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012


The Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 were honored by IMPACT, an organization founded by young professionals of color in 2006, along with the National Bar Association (NBA). The NBA’s 87th convention was held in July in Las Vegas.

Country’s Black attorneys recognize Florida’s high-profile legal experts Lawyers for parents of Trayvon Martin, Robert Champion on panel at July convention in Vegas SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER


he National Bar Association (NBA), the largest group of African-American lawyers and judges, showed up in record numbers for their 87th Annual Convention and Exhibits July 14-19 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. More than 1,300 guests filled meeting rooms to listen to the best and brightest on various issues, including voter empowerment, gaming law, corporate leadership and education.

Panel features Florida lawyers High-profile case attorneys Benjamin Crump and Darryl Parks (attorneys for Trayvon Martin’s family) along with Chris Chestnut (attorney for Robert Champion’s family in the Florida A&M University hazing case) were featured speakers for the “Update from the Experts” panel and offered details on their respective cases. The parents of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were in attendance and shared a few words of thanks to the NBA. The Lawyers’ Committee also honored the parents for their strength and courageous spirit. Attorney John Page was sworn in as the new NBA president, taking over the leadership position from Parks. “I am pleased at the display of dedication and commitment from our NBA

members,” said Demetris Cheatham, executive director. Their willingness to share information and work collectively as a body is encouraging and admirable. With the leadership of our executive team, we will continue to grow and make an impact throughout the nation.”

Honors for attorneys and companies The NBA recognized several leaders for their outstanding work in the legal field and within their communities. Sixteen awards were presented to members at the annual awards gala by Parks. The recipients included Crump, Linnes Finney Jr., D. Peter Herbert, John W. Boyd Jr., Greg Francis and Toyota. Other award recipients included the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), VAULT, Juliette Pryor and Laurie N. Robinson, who all were presented with the 2012 Pinnacle Award. In addition, the National Bar teamed with IMPACT to recognize the top 40 lawyers under 40. The event welcomed several special guests, including panelists Barbara Arnwine (Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law), Donna Brazile (Democratic National Committee) and Gary Flowers (Black Leadership Forum). The three political advocates led the Presidential Showcase Forum on voter empowerment and election protection. The 88th Annual Convention is scheduled July 27-Aug. 1, 2013 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Miami. For more information, contact Keisha Pickett at or 813903-9247.

Tallahassee-based attorney Benjamin Crump of Parks & Crump shares details about the Trayvon Martin case. At right is Gainesville-based attorney Chris Chestnut, who is representing the family of Robert Champion in the Florida A&M University hazing case.

Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile talks about the importance of unity in this upcoming election.

A number of judges were part of the seminars and festivities at the 87th convention last month.

Journalist Jeff Johnson was the guest emcee at the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 gala.

Mint Condition poses backstage with Keisha Pickett, the event publicist for NBA and the owner of Pickett Public Relations Group based in Tampa.

John Page is sworn in as the 70th NBA president by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Greenaway.

Mint Condition treats NBA members to some of their classic tunes and new music from their new album.

After sessions on election protection and other serious issues facing the country, it was time for the legal minds to party and have some fun.




AUGUST 3 – AUGUST 9, 2012



The first week of the 2012 Olympics in London, England, generated a lot of tears, cheers, disappointment and joy. Here are some images of USA athletes at the Games of the XXX Olympiad. NHAT V. MEYER/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/MCT

A taste of victory: McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Alexandra Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber pose with their gold medals after winning the women's gymnastics team final during the Summer Olympic Games in London on July 31.


USA's Michael Phelps, from left, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens celebrate their gold medal victory in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay on Tuesday. With 19 medals spanning three Olympics, Phelps moved one ahead of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina on Tuesday. Latynina won her medals in 1956, 1960 and 1964. First lady Michelle Obama reaches out to hug Kobe Bryant after Team USA defeated France 98-71 during the Summer Olympic Games in London on Sunday. ROBERT GAUTHIER/LOS ANGELES TIMES/MCT


John Orozco competes on the rings during the team men’s gymnastic artistic team final on Monday. After a triumphant beginning, however, the USA men’s team finished fifth. It was a step back from the team’s third-place finishes at the 2008 Olympics and 2011 world championships. Jessica Hardy and Lia Neal, both on the USA’s 4x100 meter Freestyle relay that won bronze, cheer on American athletes Sunday morning, July 29, during the Summer Olympics in London. BRIAN PETERSON/ MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE/MCT


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AUGUST 3 - AUGUST 9, 2012




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Think you’re one of Florida’s Finest? E-mail your high-resolution digital photo in casual wear or bathing suit taken in front of a plain background with few distractions, to with a short biography of yourself and your contact information. (No nude/glamour/ fashion photography, please!) In order to be considered, you must be at least 18 years of age. Acceptance of the photographs submitted is in the sole and absolute discretion of Florida Courier editors. We reserve the right to retain your photograph even if it is not published. If you are selected, you will be contacted by e-mail and further instructions will be given.



In a picture sent to her Twitter followers, Jada Pinkett Smith shows off her 40-year old bod. Photo courtesty of Twitter One of David’s favorite things to do is travel, which he says affords him a number of opportunities to get to know different cultures, places and people. He models, acts and is an interpreter and teacher of English and Spanish. When not working on a project, he enjoys eating out, spending time with good friends or working out at the gym. Contact him at or on twitter @claxman. Photo credit: Pmodel Talent

MEAC/SWAC Challenge: More than a game September weekend in Orlando to focus on B-CU Wildcats, Alabama State Hornets BY ANDREAS BUTLER FLORIDA COURIER

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge will take place on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The game pits two schools from the two of the largest HBCU conferences – the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the South Western Athletic Conference (SWAC).

This year, the BethuneCookman University Wildcats (MEAC) will take on the Alabama State University Hornets (SWAC). “We are excited that the event is only a few weeks away. In partnership with the two most prominent HBCU conferences, ESPN brings its event management, brand and TV exposure to both conferences,” said Stephanie Grant, Executive director, MEAC/ SWAC Challenge.

Bowl-like experience HBCUs (Historically Black colleges and universities) don’t play in bowl games. The MEAC and SWAC compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS),

which has a playoff instead. Only the larger Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) have bowl games and no playoff system although they will in 2014. The MEAC gets an automatic qualifying bid for its champion in the FCS playoffs but the SWAC doesn’t participate. ESPN tries to provide a bowl experience with the game. “This is why the event was created to give these

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student athletes from these conferences a bowl-like experience. ESPN’s commitment is to give these student athletes a first-class experience along with national television exposure,” Grant explained. “It’s always been a theme that this is more than a game. It’s an experience since HBCUs don’t play in bowl games. This is an opportunity to provide these schools a bowl game experience,” added Mark Wright, director of content and editorial material for ESPN.

Lots of activities The game brings plenty of fans and excitement but there is a lot more going on as fitting with this year’s theme “More Than a Game.’’ “We have so many more activities. We are working on a block party. There is a pep rally. We also recognize distinguished alumni during the game. We also use this time to educate high school students about careers in sports outside of being a player,” elaborated Adrienne Noel, Marketing and Community outreach director, for the MEAC/ SWAC Challenge. Other events and festivities in correlation with the event will include a high school career panel at Evans High in Orlando, a Fan Day at Disney comprised of a parade of bands and Legends reception, a pregame praise service, halftime battle of the bands, a post-game battle of the bands and a car show. The Walter Payton Achievement award will be awarded to a player from each team for high achievement in both the classroom and on the field. The award is named after the NFL legend who retired as the all-time leading rusher and also starred at Jackson State University. In addition, the Rev. Nelson Pinder will be recognized at this year’s event for his contributions fighting for civil rights in Orlando.

Event sponsors The event’s major sponsors include Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Coors Light and the United States Army. “Along with Disney, the U.S. Army and Coors returning as sponsors, the support from these partners only enhances the even and brings more attention to the HBCU Classic,” stated Grant. Other sponsors include Escot Bus Lines, Marketing Minds at Work, Can Do Event Planning, Heritage Sports Radio Network, From Press Box To Press Row, Browning Communications, Classic Sports Radio Network and Darling Media Group. Currently, there are no figures on the amount of money the MEAC/SWAC Challenge brings to the Orlando community. A study is being conducted this year to determine the economic impact. ESPN pays for travel for both schools. The payout has been reported to be between $100,000 to $175,000 in recent years.

Challenge history The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television. The first Challenge was in 2005 when the MEAC’s South Carolina State University defeated the SWAC’s Alabama State University 27-14. In 2008, the game moved from Legions Field in Birmingham, Ala., to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Last season, B-CU ripped Prairie View A&M University 63-14 in front of 17,337 fans. The MEAC leads the series 5-2. Bethune-Cookman is the first school to participate in the event for consecutive seasons while Alabama State will play for the second time. B-CU is coached by Brian Jenkins while Reggie Barlow is the football coach at Alabama State.

The largest attendance was 30,106 in 2007 when Southern beat Florida A&M 33-27 in Alabama. The largest Orlando attendance was 21,367 in 2009 when South Carolina State edged Grambling 34-31. “This is the eighth year and the event has grown to hosting several events in the community. It really is more than just a game,” said Grant. The SWAC and MEAC have forged strong reputations for academic and football excellence (13 combined alumni are in the NFL Hall of Fame) along with intense rivalries and an atmosphere featuring the livest marching bands and spirited fans, student and alumni participation.

Good for both institutions Playing in such a game benefits to both institutions. “Our school is featured on ESPN’s main on a day where it’s the only football game on TV. The implications are huge nationwide and very influential for our school. We get to showcase our school with public service announcements and infomercials as student athletes, coaches, band members, cheerleaders and our president is interviewed. It’s a great opportunity,” said Lynn Thompson, BCU’s athletic director. Both athletic programs also get a big boost in exposure for participating. Thompson stated, “This provides us an attractive recruiting platform. This not only benefits our football program but all of our sports programs. This also provides people with an opportunity to decide if they want to support our school, apply to attend our school as well as showcase our athletics.” For more information, visit


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Florida Courier, August 3, 2012, #31  

Florida Courier, August 3, 2012, #31

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