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Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary - On Tour

PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID MINNEAPOLIS MN PERMIT NO. 32468

Sunday March 29, 2009 2PM at Orchestra Hall

March 23 - March 29, 2009 • MN Metro Vol. 34 No. 12 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts • www.insightnews.com

McKnight means real

change By Al McFarlane Editor-In-Chief al@insightnews.com Kenya McKnight represents the change Minneapolis and 5th Ward need to move forward inclusively. Insight supports and recommends McKnight in her efforts to gain the endorsement of the 5th Ward DFL delegates as their nominee for Fifth Ward City Council in elections this fall. This is a season of change. The spirit of change is evident at the national level, where we now have “change we can depend on”,

Whispering Out Loud: True change is never easy

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and at the neighborhood level, where principled young people, some community organizers, some business owners, are stepping up to say they reject what many see as abysmal failure to properly and aggressively pursue the development interests of North Minneapolis by the current representative, Don Samuels. Insight News screened several residents who say they are interested in seeking the 5th Ward City Council seat. We are excited by the level of interest and their willingness to serve. Their

StudioTobechi

Kenya McKnight

MCKNIGHT TURN TO 8

4

What It Means to Be AfricanAmerican today

Soultouch:

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gumbo-esque blend of homegrown values

6

By Alaina L. Lewis Even in the wake of meaningless and unsavory media productions that focus their energy on profit, rather than bridging a divide towards creating consequential works, there’s still a seed of hope that is growing in the Black community thanks to the pursuant quests of Robin Hickman founder of SoulTouch

Suluki Fardan

Robin Hickman

Productions. SoulTouch Productions, a gumbo-esque blend of homegrown values that work in unison to “encourage you to cherish creativity, artistic

Sweet Honey:

3

SOUL TURN TO

Transcending soundaffirming humanity

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7

MN House of Representatives DFL Caucus

(L-R) Rep. Jeff Hayden, DFL-61B, Van Jones and Rep. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-58B.

Green jobs advocates Rep. Jeff Hayden, DFL-61B and Rep. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL58B with Van Jones, a nationally renowned green jobs advocate recently appointed to serve as a special advisor to President Obama’s as the United States Green Jobs Czar. Jones spoke with Minnesota legislators in March about local strategies to grow

Stu James and Felicia P. Fields

StudioTobechi

Color Purple Interview - Part 1 of 2

Hearts embrace musical messages

By Alaina L. Lewis Part 1 of 2 “I think it pisses God off, when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it,” ...but even with your eyes closed, your heart creates an exception. When you can feel the strength in its royalty, it’s vision of emotion

paints that reality deep within. You don’t need eyes to observe the richness that lies within The Color Purple, it’ll move you to see it when you’re heart absorbs the field. Brushing our senses with the strength that transcends from the pages of the Alice Walker classic, comes the phenomenal musical

PURPLE TURN TO

9

green jobs in Minnesota. Jones was recently named special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation in the Obama administration. He will work to help direct the administration’s efforts to create jobs and help the environment. According to Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental

Quality, Jones will work on “vulnerable communities.” Jones founded Green for All, a national organization that promises environmentally friendly jobs to help lift people out of poverty. He wrote the New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy.

Tom Joyner Presents: How to Prepare for College

PAGE 11

Green solutions to persistent problems By Lendora Washington NNPA Special Correspondent WASHINGTON (NNPA) - All of a sudden, no color seems to be more popular than green. The term “green” has become America’s new buzzword for environmentally friendly products, services, and initiatives. Green organizations, green products, and green materials are sprouting up everywhere. But, the most promising and talked about development in the greening trend appears to be the creation of what

is being called “green jobs”. “Green jobs in a political sense are jobs that are good for the environment,” said Kari Fulton, National Campus Campaign Coordinator of Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. “The discussion on Capitol Hill is about blue collars jobs going green and making sure our American people are getting the jobs they need.” Green jobs are made to boost a renewable energy economy and sustainable living practices. They can be any job advocating for the environment or labor-based jobs that are good for the environment; this includes recycling jobs,

environmental research, green building and maintenance, and green waste composting. Recycling, environmental research and advocacy, organic food production, and manufacturing environmentally friendly materials are also green collar jobs. The creation of green jobs will help the economy by reversing the steadily increasing unemployment rate. Green collar jobs are believed to be the answer to the rising unemployment rate, mainly because they are jobs that cannot be outsourced and will be given to

GREEN TURN TO 3

You play to the level of your competition

PAGE 13


Page 2 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 3

AIG excesses demonstrate failure of regulatory system Washington, D.C. – Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) joined his colleagues on the Financial Services Committee in expressing outrage at the payment of close to $165 million in bonuses to employees of AIG’s Financial Products Group. “It is unacceptable that taxpayer funds are being used to provide bonuses to some of the very employees who were responsible for bringing down the company,” Ellison stated. “AIG and these employees must be held

accountable,” the 5th District Congressman said. AIG’s CEO, Edward Liddy, indicated in testimony before the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee that he has asked the bonus recipients to return half of the money. “That is simply not enough. Bonuses of any amount are unacceptable for failed stewardship,” Ellison said. The American public also learned recently the names of the counterparties who received $120

billion in taxpayer funds largely steered to them by AIG. These payments represented approximately two-thirds of the overall taxpayer assistance received by AIG. AIG underwrote about $80 billion of risky contracts (called credit default swaps) between 2003 and 2005 that ultimately led to the company’s collapse last year. “They functioned as insurance, but were not regulated as insurance. On the contrary, they were not regulated at all,” Ellison

Soul

the inner workings of a book into a life altering movement geared towards African American young girls. “Lovin’ the Skin I’m In,” a hope and healing movement driven and inspired by the message within Flakes novel, The Skin I’m In, was created to address and conquer self esteem issues and redefine beauty under the eyes of personal acceptance. The “Lovin’ Movement” began with an original focus on producing a film adaptation of the book, but after being engulfed in the authors valuable lesson, Hickman who was already involved in a youth mentoring program, quickly blurred the lines within the original venture and transcended onward in pursuit of extending the books vital message. Supported by Flake and many of the other “Lovin’ Mothers,” such as A Girl Like Me filmmaker Kiri Davis and actress Kimberly Elise, who all have joined forces with Hickman to spread the gift within its awareness, Hickman is making formidable progress and reshaping and celebrating the importance of self love in a

Black girls life. Through Lovin’, she hosts a 15 week curriculum, workshops and events, under invite, within the St. Paul Public School System, the YWCA, and community centers in the area. It stands to teach young women of color the importance of personal value, self esteem, and of course to love the skin they’re in. She utilizes the novel, her unique African American doll collections, speakers, workshops, media, and mentorship to effectively produce change in our African American youth. Another program adapted from the SoulTouch Partnership initiative for youth is the TellA-Vision Crew. Tell-A-Vision crew is designed to teach young men and women to see and tell the promise within the vision for their life as they transition into adulthood. The programs is rooted in the inspiration of, “Uncle Gordon,” (Parks) and the youth are given the opportunity to engage in a multi-media making workshop, where they are exposed to all aspects of the arts, the process of creating media, the

being lost from virtually every field. “In the construction industry, we have lost 995,000 construction jobs and construction unemployment is at 1.2 percent,” said Jacob Hay, Spokesperson for Laborers International Union of North America. “We participate to make sure that these jobs are middle class jobs that can help someone support a family with good benefits and pay.”

The Green Jobs Act of 2007 allots $125 million per year to create an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program. Newer still, President Obama’s current stimulus plan proposal allots $15 billion towards energy efficiency, which he believes will create 5 million additional green jobs with above average pay. “Most of the green jobs for construction work include

From 1 expression, and social activism,” via a meaningful media outlet and through youth initiative programs that guarantee each experience will warm the heart and renew the soul. The founder, Hickman, a former executive at Twin Cities Public Television and great niece of the late Gordon Parks, took a simple formula bestowed upon her as a youth and utilized its effect to cultivate positive change and stir the souls of the younger generation. “My parents instilled in me at a young age, to be a visionary; to see the visions of possibilities,” she cites. The recipe was simple, and over time Hickman had created a product that was rich in possibilities. Located in the main artery of the Black community on Selby Avenue in St. Paul, MN, but slowly spreading its message across North America, Hickman joined forces with the author Sharon G. Flake to adapt

Green From 1 the people that need them. With an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent this month, compared to the national average of 7.6 percent, the African American community could arguably benefit the most from new job creation. But, jobs are

stated. “The failure of AIG represents a failure of our financial regulatory system and a serious indictment of the laissez faire approach of the past eight years that said financial markets and companies can regulate themselves. They cannot,” Ellison concluded. As a Member of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Ellison will continue to advocate for accountability, transparency,

limits on compensation, and regulatory reform. The Financial Services Committee will hold a Full Committee hearing next week that will include the views of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve. Equally important, the Committee will begin reforming the entire financial regulatory system to ensure that history does not repeat itself with another AIG.

US Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Robin Hickman founder of SoulTouch Productions

Suluki Fardan

importance of self acceptance, and understanding the gift the derives from recognizing their full potential. Hickman’s plan to bring the life back to media and youth intervention is continually being met by the promise within her ongoing mission. Aside from the youth outreach programs, and the possible

adaptation of The Skin I’m In, SoulTouch Productions is continually picking up projects that cater towards social impact and touching our souls worldwide. You can find out more about the “Lovin’ Movement” and Robin Hickman at www.mnchannel.org/partners/cl osethegap. In the search bar

type, “The Skin I’m In.” To benefit from Hickman’s message and to have your youth impacted through the “Lovin’ Sisterhood,” or the “Tell-AVision Crew” contact your school or community centers administration and by request she will be there to generate positive change.

building wind turbines and laying foundation for them, retrofitting, fixing electricity grids, and building mass transit,” said Hay. “We participate to make sure that these jobs are middle class jobs that can help someone support a family with good benefits and pay.” Although these jobs sound promising, many are just that, a promise. “There is more momentum to

get the jobs started then the actual jobs,” said Fulton. “The reality is that these jobs aren’t here yet.” However, Green jobs training programs, corps and centers are becoming an increasingly popular idea, like the stimulus plan proposal for a Clean Energy Corp that would strengthen green collar job skills and offer job preparation programs. “Universities are developing programs, so people can get into

green jobs,” said Fulton. “Unfortunately, it’s not a lot of HBCUs. It’s important for people of color to pay attention and to get in these programs or the unemployment cycle might be even worse. Said Fulton, “In policy talk, there’s not a lot of talk about people of color. We might still be going in that vicious cycle of unemployment. It might just be a green cycle.”


Page 4 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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COMMENTARY The Congressional Black Caucus – A powerful majority of one To be Equal

By Marc H. Morial NNPA Columnist Last month, a small but influential group of African Americans was invited to the White House to discuss its priorities with President Barack Obama. The meeting was significant for several reasons. First, it was

the first time in history that members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) met with a President who was a former member of their caucus, and second, it signaled the renewed strength of an organization that has served as the ‘’Conscience of the Congress’’ for nearly 40 years. Since its founding in 1969, when it was comprised of the 13 African American members of Congress, the CBC has fought a largely uphill battle to ensure that the promise of liberty and justice for all is extended to African Americans and others who have historically been left out and left behind. Today, under the chairmanship

of Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, its 42 members include four Committee Chairmen, 15 Sub-Committee Chairmen and the third most powerful person in the House of Representatives, Majority Whip James Clyburn. While its numbers have steadily increased over time, the CBC still represents just 9.5 percent of the 435 members of the House; and only one African American, Roland Burris of Illinois, serves in the 100-member Senate. However, the CBC’s strength has always been measured more in the rightness of its cause than in the size of its membership. In the

words of Henry David Thoreau, ‘’Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.’’ When others have turned their backs on issues like hate crimes, police brutality, judicial injustice, homelessness, hunger and poverty, the CBC has always stood up and spoken out as a majority of one. And it continues to do so today. From the effort to secure voting rights for the citizens of Washington, DC, to the fight to right the wrongs of Hurricane Katrina, to the great debate over the stimulus bill, no group in Congress has fought or worked harder to expand opportunity and

equality for all Americans than the Congressional Black Caucus. There are some who argue that with Barack Obama as President and Eric Holder as Attorney General, the need for groups like the CBC and the National Urban League is diminished. Nothing could be further from the truth. We must remember that Barack Obama is President of the United States of America – not Black America. As CBC member Corrine Brown of Florida has said, ‘’It doesn’t matter who is President…if you’re not in the room, your interests will be left on the table.’’ That’s why the CBC’s meeting

at the White House was so important and it is why the National Urban League will continue to stand with the CBC as a voice of the people and a sounding board for the President. This year marks the 40th anniversary of CBC founding member Shirley Chisholm’s election as the nation’s first Black congresswoman. She once said, ‘’I am, was and always will be a catalyst for change.’’ Let that be the rallying cry for the CBC and all of us as we re-double our efforts to build a stronger, more prosperous and more equitable America.

Whispering Out Loud: True change is never easy By Dr. Dorothy Height NNPA Special Commentary Over the course of his first few weeks in office, President Obama has made brilliant strides to correcting the trajectory of this nation. He has made a whole stroke toward women’s equality in the workplace through signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He has begun the march toward expanding health care coverage to all in need by extending the State Children’s Health Improvement Program (SCHIP) to millions of children who would have otherwise gone without.

He has inspired America to face the challenging days ahead through a truly visionary address to a joint session of Congress, and introduced a budget that puts a strong priority on basic American needs that have gone neglected for far too long. Yet, in the midst of these victories, he faces sobering political challenges. In spite of multiple attempts to bring lawmakers together to enact the change mandate he was elected to implement, he has at times, been met with significant resistance. Time and time again, he has been attacked for doing what most economists agree needed to be done — implementing targeted investments into the economy in order to get the nation out of the financial devastation that was

brought on by years of unbridled greed and regulatory neglect. And now, even at a time when jobless claims have hit a quarter century high, governors of some of the poorest states in the nation have threatened to turn down stimulus funding for extending unemployment benefits to residents in their states—states that have especially large African-American populations. All throughout the campaign season and culminating on November 4th, the AfricanAmerican community organized, campaigned, and voted along with the majority of the rest of America to radically change the direction of this nation. We voted for an end to a war that should have never been waged in the first place. We voted for a sound plan to put our economy back on track, keep millions of vulnerable families in

their homes, and to improve educational opportunities throughout this nation from preschool, to grade school, to putting a college education within the grasp of everyone who has the desire and ability to attend. We worked for change. We voted for change. But our work is not yet done. If there is one thing I have learned from the long struggles that I have faced for racial and gender equality in America, it is the simple truth that change never comes easy. As brilliant and hard-working as our President is, he is but one man. The change that he seeks, and that we seek, cannot be achieved by one person and it will not take place in the blink of an eye. Just as in the campaign, our President needs our long-term assistance now. He needs millions of supporters to actively push for the legislative agenda we voted for just a few short months ago.

He needs active engagement on the state level to force Governors to not sabotage a plan that our citizens need, not only for their own personal survival today, but for this nation’s economy to finally turn the corner towards a better tomorrow. He needs phone calls, e-mails, and letters to Congress to remind legislators that voters are watching and will remember who helps and who stands in the way of the new direction that this nation so urgently requires. America needs the same spirit of persistent engagement and activism that led to the historic victory that many of us thought we would never see. We also need patience to understand that even with our best efforts, the road ahead will be long, but any goal worth fighting for is also worth seeing through to the end. Yes, the need for change remains. It is now up to all of us to ensure that it

Getting our economy back on track By U. S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) NNPA Guest Commentary

I have access to hundreds of foreclosed properties in Minneapolis-St.Paul and surrounding suburbs. Let me help you take advantage of this real estate market.

Many African-American families are bearing the brunt of our nation’s current economic challenges as seen by high rates of foreclosure and unemployment within the African- American community. Last month, Congress boldly and swiftly acted on President Obama’s promise to deliver new jobs, new hope, and a new direction for the American people by approving the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This transformational economic policy will bring stability to the economy and inspire confidence in the American people. That is why on February 17, President Obama signed the legislation into law and it took immediate effect. The Recovery Act will alleviate the problems at the core of our current economic difficulties by giving 95 percent of working families an immediate tax cut and saving and creating 3 to 4 million American jobs, including some in clean, efficient, and renewable

energy. This critical law makes the largest investment in rebuilding America’s transportation and water infrastructure in more than 50 years, invests more in science and innovation, and extends high speed Internet access to small businesses and schools in every community in America. Education is the foundation to building a bright future for the next generation. In order to keep all of our country’s students globally competitive, the Economic Recovery Act by establishing a $53.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, the Recovery Act provides local school districts with money to restore funding from previous state education cuts; prevent teacher layoffs; and modernize, renovate, and repair public schools and higher education facilities. In this recession, AfricanAmerican families are struggling to provide an opportunity for their children to attend college. In 2007, only 19 percent of African Americans age 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Through this economic recovery package, more African Americans can pursue a higher

education by making college more affordable for approximately 7 million students through increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $500, for a maximum of $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010. In the wake of our nation’s foreclosure crisis, particularly the devastation its caused throughout the African American community, the Recovery Act provides housing assistance through increased support for several critical housing programs, including providing $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties. The Recovery Act also includes $1.5 billion for the Emergency Shelter Grant program to provide short-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services for families during this economic crisis. A $1 billion increase in Community Development Block Grants for local community and economic development projects will support employment, food, housing, and health care efforts for those hardest hit by the recession. Over the past year, the unemployment rate for African American workers has risen 5.4 percent, from 8.4 to 13.8 percent . In response to this epidemic, the Recovery Act includes employment services by adding $3.95 billion for job training programs and resources. There is increased funding for adult, dislocated workers, and youth job training, as well as more funding for the YouthBuild program, and competitive grants for training in health care and green jobs. The Recovery Act includes strong accountability and transparency measures that help guarantee that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and ensure that Americans can track the results of their investments. Visit www.recovery.gov to follow how the money is spent, and to read announcements of contracts and grants that have been posted. As President Obama said in regard to our economy, “we don’t have a moment to spare.” Last year alone, 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs, many more fear being out of work, and too many families have already lost their homes and their savings. For them, we simply cannot wait to act. The Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a good first step, but there is still more to be done. Our work as a nation is certainly cut out for us, but the new direction Congress will continue to work closely with the Obama Administration to revive our economy and invest in our country.

Dr. Dorothy Height

NNPA

eventually comes to pass. Dr. Dorothy I. Height is chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women. The ‘’Whispering Out Loud’’ series is sponsored by the Black Women’s Roundtable.

INSIGHT NEWS www.insightnews.com Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Elliot Stewart-Franzen Web Design & Content Associate Ben Williams Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Contributing Writers Brenda Colston Julie Desmond Marcia Humphrey Mehgaan Jones Alaina L. Lewis Rashida McKenzie Ryan T. Scott Photography Suluki Fardan Tobechi Tobechukwu Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Mpls., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC) Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI) National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.


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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 5

BUSINESS NAACP lawsuit says Wells Fargo, HSBC discriminated against Blacks By Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American (NNPA) - The NAACP is accusing Wells Fargo and HSBC of forcing Blacks into subprime mortgages while whites with identical qualifications got lower rates. Class-action lawsuits were filed

against the banks on Friday March 13 in federal court in Los Angeles, said Austin Tighe, co-lead counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. According to a statement released by the Civil Rights organization, “These lawsuits allege systematic, institutionalized racism in subprime home mortgage lending.” Tighe said, “Black homebuyers

have been 3 1/2 times more likely to receive a subprime loan than white borrowers, and six times more likely to get a subprime rate when refinancing…Blacks still were disproportionately steered into subprime loans when their credit scores, income and down payment were equal to those of white homebuyers.” Both Wells Fargo & Co. and

HSBC are receiving federal bailout funds. Similar NAACP lawsuits are pending against a dozen other subprime lenders. “This is systematic, institutionalized racism,’’ Tighe said. ‘’Once you take out factors relative to income and credit risk, the only difference between the borrowers is the color of their skin.’’

Tighe estimated that “tens of thousands’’ of Blacks had been forced into bad loans, but said it was difficult to gauge the scope of the problem because banks keep much of their internal data private. The lawsuits could force banks to divulge closely guarded information, such as how banks can determine the race of a loan applicant and how federal bailout

funds are being spent. The NAACP is seeking reforms from the banks such as increased transparency in the loan process, educational outreach and internal training. Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Study shows disconnect between African American attitudes and actions COLUMBUS, OH—African Americans are more optimistic about their financial future over the next year than the general population, but the majority of those responding acknowledge they don’t have a financial game plan and many don’t know where to start. A new survey of 1,200 participants commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance shows 58 percent of African Americans expect their household situation to be better a year from now, compared to only 30 percent of the general population sharing similar optimism. While African Americans say they think their financial situation will improve in the next year, most of those surveyed indicated they are not taking deliberate actions to better their financial circumstances: • Less than half say they are proactive about their financial future • 3 of 4 say they do not have a written financial plan • 1 of 3 say they don’t know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning African Americans are more confident than their general population peers in their ability to make savings and investment decisions (52 percent vs. 43 percent), but are also more likely to indicate they are struggling with credit card debt (38 percent vs. 32 percent). On saving for college, nearly half of all survey participants with children under 21 said they are very or extremely worried about being able to afford a college education for their children, while only about one in 20 of all survey participants say they actually have a college savings plan. Only 3 percent say saving for education is the most important goal. It’s one thing to be positive, but it’s another to be practical, proactive and prepared to weather this difficult economic climate, said Tavis Smiley. This survey reveals the critical need for an honest assessment of our financial status so that we can be sure that we are taking the steps necessary to safeguard the future for ourselves, our families and the next

generation. The study also reports that nearly nine out of 10 African Americans acknowledge they do not have a professional financial advisor, because they don’t think they need one or think they can’t afford one. Hungry for Information African Americans even though most don’t have a formal advisor or plan responded they had a greater interest than the general population in obtaining financial planning information from seminars, a financial advisor, an insurance agent, family/friends or television. Nationwide shares Tavis Smiley’s passion about empowering people with information and resources that can help them plan for a brighter future and protect what matters most to each household, said Candice Barnhardt, Nationwide’s vice president for Diversity and Inclusion. This study is encouraging because it says that, despite the economic downturn, there is a strong desire in many households to seek out advice and information to overcome the immediate financial challenges and plan for long-term dreams like college and retirement. Can We Talk About Something Else? African Americans aren’t alone in their tendency to avoid the topic of finances. Like the general population, they rank sex and not having enough money as the top two topics they are least comfortable discussing with family members, far outranking religion or politics. African American respondents admitted more frequently to taking some type of action to avoid conversations about finances (45 percent vs. 39 percent of the general population). Generally, of those who are willing to make this admission, actions taken to avoid the conversation included screening calls and cutting off a relationship. Teachable Moment for a Generation Of those who aren’t actively avoiding the topic, African Americans reported that they are talking to their children about financial matters. Three

out of four parents with children under 21 say they have discussed saving money with their children, and three-fifths have done so within the past month. One out of four have discussed saving money in the past six months. However, of those participants with children in school, eight out of 10 acknowledge they have not researched if their school teaches about saving money. Exposing our children and young adults to basic

information about finances and personal financial planning will have a profound effect on how the next generation spends, saves and invests, said Barnhardt. The current economic environment will leave a permanent impression on 17- to 25-year-olds. The Great Depression created a generation of risk-averse spendthrifts. The ‘80s and ‘90s created a generation of hungry consumers with a high tolerance for risk. The deep

downturn we’re now in will likely influence not only financial habits, but also the shape of public policy and the types of financial products the market offers. We’ve got to be a part of the national dialogue about how to

get beyond this economic crisis, adds Smiley. The more we are all empowered with information, tools and resources, the more we all can contribute to making America as good as its promise.


Page 6 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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FULL CIRCLE Cover Girls In The Church International to appear at Mall of America Dr. Dorie McKnight, the Founder and President of Cover Girls In The Church International, will host a series of “Time Out” sessions leading up to the “Time Out Spa Weekend” in August 2009 at the Mall of America. The first “Time Out” session will be held Saturday, March 28 9 am until 12:00 pm in the MOA Executive Center on the fourth floor (East parking, New York entrance). McKnight and guest speaker, Pastor Roberta Morrison will address issues concerning the

family, relationships, and spiritual and emotional healing. Too long we have been functioning without a key component in our lives called balance, so it’s time to get back on track. McKnight is the Founder and President of The City of David, Inc. and Help A Sistah Out Prison Ministry. Through the Prison Ministry, she is currently teaching classes at Shakopee Correctional Facility. McKnight has been active in ministry since the age of eighteen. She has published two books: Anointed

to Touch, Chosen to Carry and Cover Girls in the Church. Her third book, Stranded in Sovereignty, will be released in 2009. McKnight also has a Theology Doctorate and a Ph. D in Pastoral Care. Morrison is The Founder and Pastor of Living In His Presence Church. She has been in ministry for over thirty years as a pioneer exposing racism, religious spirits and legalism in the church. Her desire is to see the oppressed freed from spiritual abuse and control in every environment, and to see

the true Glory of God returned back into the house of God. Morrison has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad teaching the Word of God. She is a gifted writer, speaker, and psalmist and her years of service have positioned her for such a time as this. Morrison will be receive her Doctorate on April 19, 2009. For further information, contact Cover Girls International (952) 239-7939.

Pastor Roberta Morrison

Dr. Dorie McKnight

What it means to be African American today By Kam Williams kam@insightnews.com Book review “Who am I? It’s a fundamental question for everyone, of course, but for African Americans, it has particular resonance. Since our history in America is filled with grand contradictions, marginalization, and grotesque lies, African Americans have largely been left alone in the dark to grapple with the issue of who we are. Our shared experiences as people of African American descent have been marked by an endless wave of mixed messages, leaving questions that lack finite answers. How do we declare our humanity? How do we begin to construct healthy environments for our lives, families, and communities in the face of chaos and confusion? Compiling this book was important to me because the Black community is clearly in need of healing… Family Affair is intended to facilitate conversations, spark dialogue, revive dreams, and free our individual minds. The African

American community has been mentally and spiritually fractured for much too long, and it’s in need of revival and honest reflection. The voices included in this book take some steps in that direction.” Excerpted from the Preface (pages xiii-xv) Attorney General Eric Holder took a lot of flak recently when he referred to America as a “nation of cowards” because we “simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” The backlash emanated from the feeling of many that the election of Obama proves that we have finally achieved that post-racial society envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where people would be judged solely by the content of their character. The dilemma reminds me of the old joke where, finding themselves surrounded by hostile Indians, the Lone Ranger asks his trusted, native scout “What do you think we should do?” and Tonto responds, “What do you mean ‘we’ white man?” Gil Robertson, author of Family Affair, recognized that, although Obama has generated considerable “hope for change,” the fact remains that most African American communities still exist “in a state of almost perpetual crisis... in terms of a health disparities, political injustices, crime statistics, and a plethora of social ills.” So, he naturally started wondering how could the country have its first African American President while the masses of Blacks continue to struggle with so many of the same issues the Civil Rights Movement had attempted to address a halfcentury ago? Rather than attempt to answer that question himself, the veteran journalist opted to pose it to a host of prominent African American leaders from all walks of life. And their revealing responses, in the form of 76 enlightening, introspective

Gil Robertson, author of Family Affair essays, provide the sum and substance of Family Affair: What It Means to Be African-American Today. Among the individuals contributing to the diversity of perspectives shared in this literary equivalent of a Black group therapy session are TV-One’s Cathy Hughes, Actress Tasha Smith, NAACP Hollywood Bureau Chief Vicangelo Bullock; Oscar-nominee actress Ruby Dee; Hollywood publicist/film director Ava DuVernay; actor Laz Alonso; the first Black supermodel Beverly Johnson; Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick; Hip-Hop Doc Rani Whitfield, MD; lesbian activist Jasmyne Cannick; Prof. Anthony Asadullah Samad and the late Isaac Hayes. The touching reflections

range from Bullock’s heartfelt recounting of the angst involved in growing up biracial to Leslie Bardo’s equally-evocative memoir of a four-year stint in Japan where her family found itself subjected to discrimination because of fear generated by stereotypical images of Blacks disseminated by movies and rap videos. Congrats to Gil Robertson for not only figuring a way to take the collective pulse of African Americana but for distilling the essence of his research into an informative and eloquent cultural tapestry destined to stand the test of time. To order a copy of Family Affair, visit: www.familyaffairbook.com


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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 7

AESTHETICS

Sweet Honey In The Rock performed at St Paul’s O’Shaughnessy Theater on March 7th.

Suluki Fardan

Transcending sound-affirming humanity Artspeak

Irma McClaurin, PhD Those of us who go to concerts, and are not part of the deaf and hard of hearing communities, take sound for granted. We listen with our ears, occasionally move our bodies to rhythms and beats that we hear, and clap loudly when we are pleased with what we hear. But what if your world is soundless? How do you appreciate a concert? Sweet Honey in the Rock (www.sweethoney.com) has the key to this conundrum. For 36 years, Sweet Honey, founded by Civil Rights activist and artist, Bernice Johnson Reagon, has reined as a cappella divas. There are six women on stage who represent the entire spectrum of African American beauty in size, shape, phenotype, color, hair style/ texture, and vocal range. Five of these women sing, write songs, and harmonize with each other in such a way that it sounds as if an entire orchestra is accompanying them. Bobby McFerran—move over. With Sweet Honey in the Rock—bodies become instruments, vessels for sound to travel through, hands become words and signs, hips sway to the rhythms and beats. But what makes Sweet Honey different from every other musical a cappella group, and other types of vocal ensembles, is that their sixth member is a CODA (child of deaf adults). Shirley Childress Saxton, through Sign Language, and dance, has opened up their world of sound to the deaf and hard of hearing communities. The Sweet Honey in the Rock Project is the brainchild of Arlana Vaughan, a grassroots producer, who has partnered with Illuminadas Performing Arts School for almost 35 years to coordinate this event. The proceeds benefit battered women and domestic violence/sexual assault organizations. Two years ago, Vaughan invited Liz Brown, a Sign Language interpreter and consultant for the Department of Human Services, to join the Sweet Honey in the Rock Project educational planning committee, which has reached 25,000 youth since its beginnings. The inclusion of hard of hearing and deaf youth and educators in the Sweet Honey in the Rock Project in the Twin Cities is one example of Vaughan’s commitment to “empower our youth” and encourage them to be involved in social justice issues. According to Brown, who can

hear and learned to sign as a way to reach deaf and hard of hearing members of her church, the deaf and hard of hearing communities comprise one tenth of virtually every population—“8.4 percent are hard of hearing and 1.6 percent are profoundly deaf.” Brown views Sweet Honey as inspirational activist singers, but also “music and history in motion.” According to her, the group “teaches us, reminds us [of] where we come from and then encourages us to keep moving forward.” Brown, anxious not to speak for the communities with whom communities she works, invited/challenged me to directly interview a member of the hard of hearing and deaf, with her signing. When Kim Wassenlaar “listens” to Sweet Honey…, she “hears” them through signing, body movement, and sound vibrations. I asked her how she reacted to the music of Sweet Honey in the Rock, as a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Her answer: “… My past experience with the group …[was when] I first met [them] back in the 1980s; I just thought, what a fascinating experience. I can feel the music, the vibrations, as long as it is loud enough. It’s like when something is hollow and empty, you know that feeling you can get, you can feel the vibrations? That’s what it’s like to me—I can feel the music. I It is also extremely important to Wassenlaar, who is middle-age, as well as the enthusiastic deaf and hard of hearing youth in attendance at the concert, that Sweet Honey has a Sign Language interpreter as a core member of the ensemble. “…[It is]very important. We can really communicate with Shirley [Childress Saxton, CODA] and we can connect with her, and with the group because of her. I am so thankful she’s there.” Dr. Ysaye Marie Barnwell understands Kim’s appreciation of having a Sign Language interpreter as part of Sweet Honey. Ysaye, according to her published bio, joined Sweet Honey in the Rock in 1979, after the ensemble’s founder, Johnson Reagon, “witnessed her as a singer and Sign Language interpreter and invited her to audition.” Ysaye says being inclusive of the deaf and hard of hearing communities is consistent with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s core mission: to preserve and extend the African American vocal tradition; to support issues that affirm humanity; to raise peoples’ consciousness and thought in the world about issues we need to work on. Ysaye reflects, “we are human beings, walking this planet together and we need to hang together.” For Sweet Honey, extending their music to the deaf and hard of hearing communities grows out of their understanding that “we share so many of the same struggles and it’s

another culture, and someone needs to reach out…[because] music is something …[we can all] appreciate.” And the sounds (applause) and signs of appreciation (wiggling fingers to signal clapping) were evident throughout the audience, and at the end of every number. Sweet Honey, whether they are harmonizing on a unique arrangement of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” or singing/scatting their own creations—“Trying Times”, “Forever”, or “The Song of Mother Nature,” rocks. Their music not only preserves the richness of the African American vocal traditions, but continues it with innovation. They are an authentic American treasure for those of us who hear with our ears and for those in the deaf and hard of hearing communities who

both feel and see Sweet Honey’s music. For more on Sweet Honey in the Rock: www.sweethoney.com Irma McClaurin is an anthropologist/writer, and also Associate Vice President for System Academic Administration, as well as Executive Director of the Urban Research and Outreach Center at the University of Minneapolis. Her latest essay, “Walking in Zora’s Shoes or ‘Seek[ing] Out de Inside Meanin’ of Words’: The Intersections of Anthropology, Ethnography, Identity, and Writing,” was just published in Anthropology Off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing (Wiley 2009). The views expressed are entirely her own. ©2009 McClaurin Solutions


Page 8 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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HEALTH $75,000 gift to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Announces $75,000 Gift to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota The Gift from the Painters and Allied Trades for Children’s Hope Foundation Will Fund a Private Room in the New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Comes with a Unique Twist – Its Members Will Be a Part of Building the Rooms The Painters and Allied Trades for Children’s Hope Foundation, or PATCH, presented Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota with a gift of $75,000 to sponsor a “private room” for recovering children and their families in the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit currently under construction.

“The men and women of the Painters and Allied Trades believe that our commitment to our communities matters more now than ever before because of these hard economic times,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President James A. Williams. “Projects such as this one must move forward for the sake of our children and we’re pleased to make a difference. We hope that others will follow our lead.” “We are practicing state-ofthe-art medicine in less than stateof-the-art surroundings,” said Ellen Bendel-Stenzel, MD, staff neonatologist at Children’s. “Having private rooms is extremely important because in the NICU we treat the entire

family and not just the patient. Infants can spend several months at Children’s, and it is ideal if we can make the surroundings comfortable and as close to home as possible.” “Children’s has always appreciated the important support and services members of IUPAT and District Council 82 provide us every day,” said Annie Waters, senior annual giving officer at the Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “We are excited to expand this partnership with this generous gift from PATCH that will have a direct impact on our patients, their families and the men and women who provide for their care each day.” The Painters and Allied Trades for Children’s Hope Foundation,

or PATCH, was founded in 2001 by the IUPAT to better the lives of children in need. Supported by the members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and other generous donors, the PATCH Foundation has given nearly $1 million to local youth organizations throughout the United States. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Minneapolis currently has 38 beds for critically ill infants, with an additional 26 transition beds. Families have little space near the beds and only rocking chairs to sit in. The new rooms will offer a private bath; space for the parents to care for their children; a couch that pulls out as a bed; a work station so they can connect with the Internet and get work done and some

entertainment-oriented features for the children. Moving sick children out of the intense environment of an open, shared space into private rooms helps reduce stress for the entire family and that promotes healing. And, it will be the crafts men and women of the IUPAT who put the finishing touches – drywall finishing, painting and installing windows – on those very rooms. IUPAT members work for the contractor building the new facilities for the hospital. “Knowing that we not only made one of these rooms possible with our PATCH gift, but that we will also be putting our own personal touch on the rooms makes this partnership with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics even more rewarding,” said local IUPAT

leader Terry Nelson, business manager/secretary-treasurer of District Council 82 in Little Canada. “I doubt there are too many other donors out there who have the same opportunity.” Adopting the children’s hospital as its cause represents “coming full circle” for the council, Nelson noted. “Many of our members have had children who have been in the hospital, and the hospital uses all-union labor. It’s a great partnership.” The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) represents more than 160,000 active and retired construction workers in the crafts of painting, drywall finishing, glass work and floor covering, among others.

HIV/AIDS is devastating the Black community in D.C. Black Press of America

By George E. Curry NNPA Columnist The disclosure that more than 4 percent of Blacks in the District of Columbia have HIV, matching San Francisco’s city-wide rate at the height of the epidemic in 1992, is but one example of how the disease is devastating the Black community. D.C. health officials made public a report Monday that showed the overall HIV/AIDS city rate of 3 percent is three times the level considered a “generalized and severe” epidemic. One percent of the population is the standard yardstick used to measure a “generalized and

severe” epidemic. In addition to African Americans, that level was exceeded in Washington by Latinos – 2 percent – and Whites at 1.4 percent. “Our rates are higher than West Africa,” Shannon L. Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration, told the Washington Post. “They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.” The city’s 2008 epidemiology report found the number of HIV and AIDS cases had risen 22 percent from the 12,500 cases reported in 2006. As bad as things appear to be in the nation’s capital, the report observed, “We know that the true number of residents currently infected and living with HIV is certainly higher.” The study says 7 percent of Black men in D.C. are infected. Almost 1 in 10 residents between the ages of 40 and 49 has the virus. Approximately 3 percent of African American women in the

District of Columbia carry the virus, 58 percent of whom were infected through heterosexual sexual activity. About a quarter of Black women were infected through drug use. Overall, 76 percent of the infected are Black. Heterosexual sexual activity was the primary mode of transmission for African Americans at 33 percent. On the other hand, men having sex with men was the principal mode of transmission for whites – 78 percent – and 49 percent for Latinos. “I’m extremely angry and sad but not surprised,” said Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, the only think tank devoted exclusively to the elimination of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. “If you wanted to create the perfect storm for an explosive HIV/AIDS epidemic, it would look like Washington D.C. You have a public health system that is totally overwhelmed, high poverty, low

HIV literacy, a history of neglect, insufficient HIV prevention infrastructure and a general populace that is not mobilized.” The HIV/AIDS epidemic is what Wilson calls “a Black disease.” Although African Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for half of all diagnosed AIDS cases. Black women represent 61 percent of all new HIV infections among women, a rate nearly 15 times that of white women. And, as was the case in Washington, most Black women are more likely to be infected through heterosexual transmission. Black teens represent just 16 percent of those aged 13 to 19, but 69 percent of new AIDs cases reported among teens in 2006. A recent study in five major U.S. cities found that 46 percent of Black men having sex with men were infected with HIV, compared to 21 percent of white men having sex with other men. This isn’t the first depressing report about AIDS, so what’s the

answer to curbing the epidemic? “For years, the Black AIDS Institute has been calling for a national Black AIDS mobilization,” said Wilson of the Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute. “We’ve been calling for developing a five-year plan with specific measurable goals and objectives to cut HIV rates in half, increase HIV testing by 50 percent, and increase utilization of HIV treatment and care by 50 percent. Every Black leader in America needs to stand up today and declare a war on AIDS.” C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Commission on AIDS, also believes testing is a key to halting the spread of the disease in the U.S. She said health patients should be routinely tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In about half of the states, a separate consent form is required to grant permission to test for HIV. “It is time to remove that special requirement and make testing for HIV as routine as it already is for other diseases,”

Fields said. “It is estimated that 50 to 70 percent of new sexually transmitted cases are spread by people who don’t realize they’re infected.” Blacks tend to discover they are HIV positive later than whites, meaning that many of them are late entering into treatment and, consequently don’t live as long as others who were treated earlier. If C. Virginia Fields and other activists get their wish and have AIDS testing incorporated into routine health testing, that will place a heavier burden on crowded counseling and treatment facilities. But it’s not an insurmountable burden. The question is: Do we have the national will to take on this epidemic? George E. Curry, former editorin-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com.

McKnight From 1 willingness to seek elective office belies any notion that our people are not interested, or disinterested, or unprepared to take up leadership of our community. McKnight boldly declares that she will champion legacy leadership initiatives, fighting for full and expanded funding for deserving and accountable work and services; promote entrepreneurship and business development; advocate increase service and opportunity for children and families, the youth of the community and those seeking to enter the workforce and higher education; pay attention to the needs of the elderly; and create collaborative responses to the housing and financial debacle in ways that ensure all elements of the community benefit from and participate in turnaround strategies as they flow from the federal to the local and neighborhood level. McKnight’s leadership sends a signal to Minneapolis City Council and to city government that policies and practices that

Kenya McKnight marginalize or ignore our voices and our interests can no longer prevail. That is the change this community seeks and expects. McKnight’s voice and passion for our culture and our community

StudioTobechi

bring a new clarity and a new urgency to our community. Her intense earnestness seems guided by a spirit of truth that is announcing a new day is at hand in Minneapolis’s Fifth Ward.


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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 9

LIFESTYLE I really don’t need another expense of buying pills Style on a dime

By Marcia Humphrey My doctor told me that if my Cholesterol remains high, she is going to have to put me on medication. Do you have any easy tips for helping me to bring this problem under control? With my money stretched tight already, I really don’t need another expense of buying pills, or the hassle of taking them! Sincerely, Wannabe Pill-Free Dear Wannabe, First, let me congratulate you on taking steps toward managing your cholesterol health in a pillfree manner. Since lowering your

cholesterol also lowers your risk of heart disease or stroke, you are wise to address it now. You see, cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. In fact, my own Total Cholesterol (TC) is somewhat on the high side, at about 227 (Levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dL] are usually considered normal.), and it seems to run in my family. What I have only recently come to understand about cholesterol numbers, is that in order to better determine your level of risk, you must know the big picture. Isn’t it interesting that knowing the “big picture” is key to successfully managing anything?! You may be wondering, “What are the warning signs of high cholesterol?” There are no real noticeable signs of high cholesterol for most people, although it can be detected through a routine blood test. That is one reason why regular annual exams are vitally important. The sooner a potential problem is detected, the quicker it can be addressed (And more options will

be available to you.). Everyone Should Check Cholesterol Levels Annually The ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to good cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL), is called the cardiac risk ratio (CRR). Try to keep the CRR below 5 and ideally under 3.5. Learn more details by visiting an informative site www.heartriskonline.com Good Cholesterol (HDL) vs. Bad Cholesterol (LDL) The whole cholesterol equation can get pretty confusing, but here is one important fact to remember: If your total cholesterol (TC) level is above 240 mg/dL or if your low density lipoprotein level (LDL) is above 100 mg/dL, you should be in a cholesterol-reducing regimen supervised by a health care provider. Free and Low-Cost (and Pillfree) Cholesterol Reducing Options Eat More of This: Cheerios and Oatmeal (Daily)-Studies show

Eat Less of This: Significantly limit fatty meats and animal products, shrimp, egg yolks, butter, and ice cream. If you are like me and love eggs, choose egg whites (use the whites of two eggs to replace one whole egg in recipes).

requires that we make this a regular part of our lives. Set a goal of walking daily for thirty minutes. Haven’t worked out in years? That’s okay, just start small. Go for fifteen minutes around the block or nearby school yard, and then build up to thirty minutes, three times per week, then five times weekly. Actually any exercise that you enjoy will be beneficial to heart health. While you still have the option, choose to modify your lifestyle in healthy, cholesterollowering ways that reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than spending money on medication copayments, save that money, set yourself free and Enjoy the rewards of good health! Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at a low cost. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

Do More of This: Exercise! Yes, healthy living

Editor’s Note: The information presented in this column is general in nature and is intended

that three grams of soluble fiber daily from whole grain oat foods can help lower cholesterol. Garlic tablets also helped me. When I first discovered that I had high cholesterol over 15 years ago, per my doctor’s suggestions, I started taking garlic tablets and consuming a daily bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. After a few months my TC had dropped by about 15 points. Please note: Garlic can act as a natural blood thinner, so it could interact with other medications you may be taking. Always check with your physician before introducing new medications or supplements.

their popularity year after year for decades? FF: I don’t know. I thought we would have stayed longer on Broadway. I find it crazy that we didn’t. It’s a support system that people don’t understand. Jersey Boys has been on Broadway forever. People are coming to hear about Frankie Valli every year. Not that it’s not a good show, because it’s a great show, but that’s the kind of support we need.

Stu James and Felicia P. Fields

Purple From 1 adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning book and Academy Award nominated film The Color Purple. Presented, by Oprah Winfrey and painted into the memories of the Ordway Theaters 2009 Season, The Twin Cities was finally given their chance to experience the magic of this production and it’s undeniable royal treatment. The Color Purple tells the emotional story of a 14 year girl named Celie, who journeys to find herself in the way that God sees her, after she’s been lost to a world of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by the hands of her father and a man she’s forced to marry named Mister. Stepping into the acclaimed role of Celie, is gospel recording artist Jeannette Bayardelle. Echoing that shadow of fear projected by Celie’s abusive husband Mister, is Lion King alumni Rufus Bonds Jr. Bringing a vision of womanly strength to Celie’s corner of hope, comes her “take no mess” daughter in law Sophia who is married to Harpo, one of Mister’s sons. The role of Sophia, originated by Oprah Winfrey’s portrayal in the 1985 film, is

newly immortalized by a phenomenal performance by Award Winning actress Felicia P. Fields. Playing the sought after role of Harpo, the “New Man,” is the ever-talented 2007 NAACP Theatre Award nominated actor/musician and Morehouse graduate, Stu James. Insight News, caught up with Felicia P. Fields (Sophia) and Stu James (Harpo) to take an in depth look at the magic that surrounds this Award Winning production. Insight News: After last nights performance, I know you’re tired. How are you doing today? Felicia P. Fields (Sophia): Great. We’ve got a long way to go. We have two weeks here. Yesterday was just the beginning. We really want people to come and experience it. Whatever we can do help motivate people to come we’re going to do. We really want African American people to come and experience the play The Color Purple. A lot of times they identify with the movies and don’t come. We have to get our people out here. We don’t really attend theatre, live theatre, like caucasians do on a religious basis. But even if this is your first time coming to experience live theatre, this is the show you should come to. We do whatever we can to make sure that we’ve done

StudioTobechi

everything from our perspective to get the people to come out. IN: Do you ever feel like the play is losing its steam? FF: Oh no, we’re not. Surprisingly too, because I thought we would, but there’s a whole other outlet of people on the road that just couldn’t get to Broadway. So it’s been amazing. We just came from Canada, and on the last night you couldn’t even buy a ticket because it was sold out. There are still people out here that really want to see it. There are even some people who have seen it 4 or 5 times. We had a white couple that have come out, since we’ve been on the road that I think have seen the show at least 8 times. They pay for their own tickets. They pay to fly to wherever we are. People are really supporting the show. IN: Do you think you’ll have the same longevity as other productions such as Cats or Phantom that continue to maintain

Stu James (Harpo): People are very familiar with this production from the film, and the book. I would think more from the film is where the familiarity comes. It could possibly have a long run. For example, we were in Toronto, house is packed, 77,000 have come out. We didn’t expect that. By the end of the show, they’re clapping, crying, tears, all this stuff, and from my understandings Canadians don’t do that at the end of a show. They’re a very hard, reserved type of audience, a little silent throughout the show verses Atlanta where they get the show. 98,000 people in Atlanta that went to the show, they were responding through out the show because it’s a show that is based on their culture from the south, so they are getting the story. I didn’t think they would really get it in Toronto, but they did. They loved it. I think the producers, as they see, that as we go to some of these places that they maybe don’t think people can get it, they will get it. I think that’ll be the thing to determine a fan base, people coming out, showing them that there is a possibility that this production could maybe have a nice long run. Maybe even run in the West End in London or a theater in South Africa, or even having a limited return run back to Broadway in a smaller house. I think they’re kind of amazed at how it’s turning out right now. Maybe another tour show could come up, a limited return to Broadway or something like that, but you never really know you can just speculate. I think we’re pretty much kind of sold out here in St.

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Paul which feels good. It’s a blessing. IN: It’s very hard to get African American people to come out and support theatre. SJ: Yes, it is. Right. There’s an interesting way we go out to try and market this. We go out to some of the African American

/heartriskonline.com/CholesterolBookCover.jpg

for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace, or be used in addition to, the advice of health care professionals. If you have specific health care needs, or for complete information about your health care, please contact a doctor or other health care provider.

Churches. We are doing it here, we did it in Chicago. People are singing this Sunday at some of your churches. IN: So it’s more than a play, it’s a movement. SJ: Most definitely, it is a movement.


Page 10 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR Send community events to us by: email, ben@insightnews.com, by fax: 612-588-2031, by phone: 612-588-1313 or by mail: 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411, Attn: Ben Williams. Free or low cost events preferred. Visit www.insightnews.com for more events.

EVENTS Ms. Walker’s Market March Food Drive – Now through Apr. 30 Now through Apr. 30 at Sabathani Community Center, Mrs. Walker’s Market Foodshelf, 310 East 38th St., Lower Level, Mpls, MN. Hours of operation: Mon – Fri. 9 am – 4 pm. For more info, contact Kevin Sanders at 612-821-2303, 651-276-9496 or tfuller@sabathani.org to schedule a drop off or for assistance. Emergence: Intimate Evenings of Poetry and Prose – Mar. 23 & 30 Writer-to-Writer Mentorship Series Readings - March 23 & 30, 7:00 PM at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S., Mpls. $5 suggested donation Please call or email 651-871-444 or info@intermediaarts.org with any questions. Hennepin offers information session in Spanish on child support – Mar. 24 Tues., Mar. 24, 6:30 to 7:30 pm., at Hennepin County Oxboro Library at 8801 Portland Ave. S., in Bloomington. Space is limited, so call to reserve a seat. For additional information and reservations, call 612-348-2478. www.hennepin.us. What is a waiver and can it really help me? – Mar. 24 Tuesday, Mar. 24, 3 to 5 p.m., at the Hennepin County Library — Nokomis, 5100 34th Ave. S., Mpls. You must register for this session. 612-596-6631, www.hennepin.us Listen to a group of panelists as they discuss the benefits of using one of Minnesota’s “waiver” programs, which assists people who are disabled or elderly to manage their care plan and hire, train and supervise their own staff. Let’s Talk About It! – Mar. 25

Weds., March 25, 7:15-8:15 pm., at 2600 East 38th Street, Mpls. The Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in partnership with the American Cancer Society hosts an Information / Education session on Colon and Prostate Cancer. Info: Contact Deaconess Ora Hokes at 612-827-7928. Beyond the Color of Fear – Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. Today workshops – Mar. 26 Thurs., Mar. 26, 9 am., to noon (registration starts at 8:30) at Normandale Community College. Info. www.mcdc.org Public visioning sessions art on Light Rail Transit stations – Now through Mar. 26 Held between March 11 and March 26 for the public to advise the artists who will design art to be incorporated into the 15 Central Corridor LRT stations. Meetings will be held at various times at the stations themselves. Contact the Central Corridor LRT’s community outreach staff at Centralcorridor@metc.state.mn.u s or call 651-602-1645 for more information. Foreclosure information workshops – Mar. 26 through May 7 Mar. 26 - May 7 at Hennepin County libraries and Brooklyn Park City Hall. For more info, call the individual locations or Jeff Strand, Hennepin County Taxpayer Services: 612-3487870. Video of the workshops are available at http://hennepinmn.granicus.com/ MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=12. Industry Analysis workshop – Mar. 26 Thurs., Mar. 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm., at N Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Ave N., Mpls. FREE. “Discover research tools for analyzing your industry’s trends, obstacles, net worth and future outlook.” For workshop info/registration please call Bonita at Neighborhood Development Center, 651-379-8429. Hawthorne Neighborhood Council’s Business Committee

Meeting – Mar. 27 Fri., March 27, 8:30 – 9:45 am., at US Bank on West Broadway. C o n t a c t ajasicki@hawthornecommunity.o rg for more information L’âge du Fer – Now through Mar. 27 Burkinabé artist Rabi Sanfo immigrated to Minneapolis in 2004. Since then, he has put his welding background into use by creating metal sculptures. The core theme of his work remains: to share the history and culture of his native Burkina Faso. Held March 20 – 27, at Frank Stone Gallery, 1224 2nd St NE., Mpls. Gallery Hours. Thursdays – Sundays, 12-5 pm. Opening reception March 20, 5-9 pm. Closing reception, March 27, 5-9 pm. Visit www.yarbidesign.blogspot.com or call 612-227-8960 for more information. Barack & Beyond: We Won… Now What? – Mar. 28 Sat., Mar. 28, 2009, 11:00–1:00 pm at the Minneapolis Urban League 2100 Plymouth Ave N., Mpls. For more information or to RSVP, contact Rena at 651-3790758 / rena@urbanembassy.org. Art at Highland Spring Art Fair - Mar. 28 Sat., Mar. 28, 10 – 5 pm at the field house at Highland Park Senior High School, 1015 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul. www.artistscircle.org Dollar Works 2 trainings – May 14 May 14, 9 - 4 p.m. at Richfield Bloomington Credit Union, 345 E. 77th Street, Richfield. Dollar Works 2 is a personal finance education program designed to help teach financial literacy concepts. Registration / More info at http://www.extension.umn.edu/Re sourceManagement. National Park Trip Planner - April Stop by the Mississippi River Visitor Center (120 West Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, near the Science Museum) 7 pm., Thursdays in April where National Park Rangers will help you plan your summer vacation to National

Parks throughout the United States—from historic sites to natural wonders including our own National Park, the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area. FREE. Visit www.missriverfund.org for more information. Understanding the PalestinianIsraeli Conflict Pt. 1 – Apr. 1 Weds., April 1, 7 pm. – 9 pm., at Library, Room 128 in the Coeur de Catherine building at the College of St. Catherine, 2004

Randolph Ave., St. Paul..: Introduction to the Conflict, Life In Occupied Palestine, DVD by Anna Baltzer, 2007. Anna Baltzer is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. This is a powerful account of the occupation as she experienced it by living in the Occupied Territories 2003-2007. Brief history to provide context, and Israeli and Palestinian narratives. To register: Download form and mail in:http://minerva.stkate.edu/alum

na.nsf/pages/lifelong April 2009 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Meetings – Apr. 1 & 15 The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s (MPRB) regular meetings in April will be held at 5 pm., Weds.., April 1, and Weds., April 15, in the board room at MPRB headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. w w w. m i n n e a p o l i s p a r k s . o rg Webcast at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/webc asts.


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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 11

EDUCATION Tom Joyner Presents: How to Prepare for College By Kam Williams kam@insightnews.com “What I like about this book is that it shows you the steps you need to take to get into college and it applies to almost everyone. Whether you’re in elementary school or in the work force considering enrolling in a college or university, this book has something you can use. Everything from raising a college-bound student to life after college is covered.” — Tom Joyner in the Foreword (page xi) When should parents begin thinking about their children’s higher education? Probably practically from birth, given the financial and academic building blocks involved in successfully achieving that goal. This is the thinking which inspired Thomas and William LaVeist to

Tom Joyner write How to Prepare for College, a primer published with nationallysyndicated DJ Tom Joyner’s stamp of approval. The authors believe that “preparing for college should begin while the child is in the womb.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that

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their handy how-to book opens with a step-by-step guide delineating which skills a kid is expected to master at each grade level from Head Start through senior year of high school. Key grade school level advice includes “Read! Read! Read!” and a

suggestion that “Parents should dedicate a part of the day or evening when they can read together with their children.“ As for junior high, they point out that “Taking the right courses for college begins in middle school and must be taken very seriously.” And as for high school, they indicate that “Advance Placement (AP) courses improve students’ chances of getting into college because they give students an early start on college level work.” Among critical questions raised are whether to take the SAT or the ACT standardized tests, whether to attend an HBCU (Historically-Black Colleges and Universities) or a mainstream university, and whether or not to apply early decision. Then, there are a couple of chapters devoted to paying for college and applying for financial aid. Once admitted, a freshman might do well

MPS ranked third nationally in improving student achievement Minneapolis Public Schools is among the top three urban districts, nationally, in improving student achievement, according to a new study comparing urban school districts and their rural or suburban counterparts. The study, conducted by the Brown Center on Education

Policy at the Brookings Institution, examined test scores for 37 urban districts by standardizing scores among states using different tests. Minneapolis Public Schools ranked third, following New Orleans Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District.

The study acknowledges a range of possible explanations for the improvements in urban schools, including the rise of accountability systems that reward or sanction schools based on gains among low achievers, most notably No Child Left Behind; the spread among urban

school reformers of strategies that include school choice, standards, and lower class size; and the growth of mayoral control over city schools. Complete information on the study, including urban school rankings, can be found at http://tinyurl.com/c6j7rr

Wheelock Early Education receives AT&T grant Students and families in two programs at Wheelock Early Education will soon be expanding their multicultural experiences in literature and music compliments of a grant awarded from AT&T. The AT&T grant awards $5,000 to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and the Pre-Kindergarten (PreK) Program at Wheelock Early Education. “Early literacy experiences in a child’s home language and reflective of their culture builds a foundation for future learning. We are so pleased that this grant opportunity will help our school

provide these experiences now and in the years ahead through the materials provided,” said Early Childhood Special Education Supervisor, Ruth Paisley. Through the AT&T grant, ECSE and PreK programs can provide students with materials that can be sent home and used in the classroom, participate in Spanish story time once per week, and multicultural music time once per week. The grant also provides families the opportunity to read books at home that are written in a variety of languages, offering parents/guardians an

opportunity to be more involved with their child’s education. The money will also support the music program in teaching children concepts and following directions through the use of multicultural songs, dance, and music. ECSE provides special education services in a variety of settings including home, community and school-based early childhood programs, and ECSE center-based locations. Special education services are provided to eligible children based on an individualized special education plan that considers the strengths and

needs of the child. PreK is a program for four-year-olds to help them prepare for success in kindergarten. Children who are four-years-old by September 1, 2009 are eligible to attend the program in the fall of 2009. For more information on ECSE call Ruth Paisley at (651) 767-8332. For information on the PreK program, call the Saint Paul Public Schools Student Placement Center at (651) 6323760. Wheelock Early Education is located at 1521 Edgerton St. in St. Paul.

to heed the tips in the section about studying, time management and extracurricular activities. In sum, How to Prepare for College is packed with practical advice likely to be of most value to folks unfamiliar with the process. Still, it is even recommended for those with college degrees already, since they might rely on it as a periodic reminder of what tasks need to be addressed on behalf of their children. To order a copy of Tom Joyner

Presents: How to Prepare for College, visit: http://www.amberbooks.com/modul es/shop/index.php?main_page=prod uct_info&cPath=25&products_id=1 45 Tom Joyner Presents: How to Prepare for College by Thomas and William LaVeist Foreword by Tom Joyner Tom Joyner Foundation and Amber Books Publishing Paperback, $15.00 144 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-0-615-27097-5


Page 12 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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When career planning feels like gambling keep her career on track but isn't sure how best to do that. Because she has held her position less than six months, she is on probation, which gives her a few options: continue in her current position until her probation is up, which then locks her into a job that could be eliminated; bump back to a more secure position, taking a significant pay cut, and hope that job isn't eliminated; ask for a layoff letter, which would give her the right to look at other jobs internally; or, look outside for something new. Looking for something new

Plan your career By Julie Desmond julie@insightnews.com Sheila wrote in recently with an interesting situation. She works for an organization that has gone through a series of layoffs (who doesn't?). She wants to

is Sheila's best short term bet, and regardless of how she handles her current situation, she should keep networking just in case. This advice illustrates the dramatic shift the working world has gone through, and it applies to Sheila and to all employed people right now. Remember the gold watch? No, most people don't. Eons ago (one generation ago, really) an employee worked his entire career with one company. In exchange for this loyalty, he or she was rewarded with a gold watch and a retirement benefit when he or she retired. Now,

there is no loyalty. Most workers in Minnesota are "at will" employees. This means they can be laid off without cause at any time. Conversely, it also means you as an employee have the right to leave at any time. Professional courtesy says you should give two weeks' notice, and this rule applies even in the worst of times. But you don't have to stay where you are. If something better comes along, take it. Until that offer of something better comes through, however, Sheila has to decide how to

gamble on her current situation. Without knowing all the details, it seems the current position is more likely to be eliminated than the lower paid role. However, every position in every company is inherently at risk right now, so bumping backwards isn't going to guarantee her secure employment, and will raise red flags when potential employers want to know why she didn't stay in the higher level position. If she can live on less income, she should start socking some away in case she does get laid off later on.

She has the option of asking for a layoff letter. This may be her best tactic. It allows her to stay in her current position, look for something more secure within the organization, and be open about it with her current manager. It also gives her a window of time within which to look for something outside.

Julie Desmond is Senior Talent Consultant with The Walstrom Group in Minneapolis. If you have career-related comments or questions, please write to Julie@Insightnews.com.

Avoid costly IRS penalties for late tax filing By Jason Alderman Be forewarned: Income tax season is upon us. Procrastination is probably never a good thing, but when it comes to the IRS, it can be downright expensive. To help keep you on track, I've compiled a few suggestions that can save you last-minute grief - and money: Meet IRS deadlines. Make sure you postmark or electronically file your 2008 tax return by no later than April 15; otherwise, you may incur a latefiling penalty that's generally 5 percent of taxes owed, per partial or full month, plus interest. As long as you meet the

filing deadline - even if only to request an extension - the monthly penalty drops to 0.5 percent, plus interest. Contact the IRS ahead of time if you won't be able to pay your taxes on time; they may even waive the penalties, depending on your circumstances. Call 800-8291040 or visit www.irs.gov for more information. Quarterly tax filers. If you file quarterly estimated taxes (as many retirees and self-employed people do), April 15 is also the deadline to make your first quarter 2009 estimated tax payment, even if you don't file a 2008 return until later in the year. Know tax code changes. As usual, there are numerous changes to the tax code for 2008. Visit the "1040 Central" section

on the IRS Website (www.irs.gov/individuals) to learn more. A few highlights of the changes for 2008: • People who don't itemize deductions can now add up to $500 ($1,000 for couples filing jointly) in property taxes paid to their standard deduction amount. • For 2008 and 2009, people over 70 ½ can donate up to $100,000 from their IRAs to charity without first having to declare the distribution as taxable income. This is particularly advantageous for those who don't itemize deductions. • Several other taxpayer benefits that had expired have been reinstated for 2008 and 2009, including: the option to

deduct state sales tax instead of deducting state and local income taxes; the educator's above-theline deduction for up to $250 in expenses; and the above-the-line deduction for up to $4,000 in qualified college tuition and fees. Ask for help. If calculating your own taxes is too confusing or time-consuming, consider hiring a professional. A sharp preparer could save you a bundle by finding hidden credits or deductions. If cost is an issue, several free options available to seniors, military and low- and middle-income taxpayers: • The IRS sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). Search "Free Tax

TEACHER K-12 Teachers-All Subjects/Grade Levels for West Metro Education Program. Visit www.wmep.k12.mn.us for job postings/application forms. Persons of color and/or from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. EOE.

FREE Spring Turkey Dinner Gift Basket! Bring this ad in when you apply to be eligible for this fabulous drawing. Winner will be announced Saturday April 4. $200 off the 1st month's rent! Call for other move in specials 1 & 2 Bedroom apartment homes available NOW. Park Plaza Apartments, 525 Humboldt Ave N, Minneapolis MN 55405 612-377-3650 Equal Housing Opportunity

•WEB •PRINT •RADIO •E-NEWSLETTER McFarlane Media, publisher of Insight News offers a variety of multimedia advertising options for your business or institution

Call 612-588-1313 Assumed Name 1. State the exact assumed name under which the business is or will be conducted: All & All Transportation 2. State the address of the principal place of business: 2311 Thomas Ave No, Minneapolis MN 55411 3. List the name and complete street address of all persons conducting business under the above Assumed Name: Carlos Carter, 2311 Thomas Ave No, Minneapolis MN 55411 4. I certify that I am authorized to sign this certificate and I further certify that I understand that by signing this certificate, I am subject to the penalties of perjury as set forth in Minnesota Statues section 609.48 as if I had signed this certificate under oath. Signed by: Carlos Carter Date Filed: 2/13/2009 Contact Person: Carlos Carter Daytime Phone Number: (763) 377-5040 Insight News 3/16/2009, 3/23/2009

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Preparation" on the IRS website for information. • AARP volunteers provide free tax preparation to low- and middle-income taxpayers, particularly those over age 60 (www.aarp.org/money/taxaide.) • Military personnel and their families worldwide can get free assistance through a program overseen by the Armed Forces Tax Council and offered through VITA. Check with your base for details. Avoid common mistakes. People in a rush often fill in incorrect, illegible or incomplete identification information, forget to sign and date the return, don't attach needed documentation and supplemental forms or make math errors. Double-check everything.

And finally, do yourself a favor and start organizing your 2009 paperwork now so you won't have to scramble next spring. Visa's free personal financial management site, Practical Money Skills for Life, features an interactive, downloadable tool called My Budget Planner to help you categorize and track income and expenses (www.practicalmoneyskills.com /mybudget). Jason Alderman directs Visa's financial education programs. Sign up for his free monthly eNewsletter at www.practicalmoneyskills.com/ newsletter.


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Insight News • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Page 13

SPORTS

You play to the level of your competition Mr T’s Sports Report

By Ryan T. Scott ryan@insightnews.com As a track athlete I was talented, but lazy. I ran my best when faced with the biggest challenges. I ran to the level of my competition. Sometimes I would try to turn in top- notch performances when facing minimal opposition, but it was hard to duplicate that nervous fire that existed when I knew there was someone in the race that could make me look real silly if I didn’t perform somewhere close to my best. Obviously there is a lesson to be learned there. Funny how the players on the PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour are playing better now that Tiger Woods is back. Tiger’s main competition, Phil Mickelson, has been fairly quiet in terms of success during the 8 months that Tiger was away from the sport. Tiger comes back, and all of a sudden Mickelson decides to play some of his best golf in years. Mickelson typically loafs around in a jolly, easygoing, type fashion when Tiger is not playing. This past tournament, Tigers second since coming back from knee surgery, Mickelson had no smile on his face, just a steely focus. What was the result? Let’s just say that Mickelson walked away with $1.4 million dollars. Now let me express something important as a sports fan, and fan of life: You must watch Tiger Woods! Just like Jessie Owens, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Wilt

Chamberlain, and whomever you would personally add to this list, Tiger Woods is a must see attraction. For those who don’t play golf, I would suggest to pay attention to the reactions of those who do. The general consensus of the two most difficult things to do in sports are A. Hitting a baseball thrown by a Major League pitcher, and B. Hitting a golf ball with the accuracy and consistency of professional golfers. Not only is Tiger Woods the best golfer alive right now, but halfway through his career most already consider him the best golfer ever. I always enjoy watching someone whom has perfected a craft and Tiger Woods is such as person. Tiger Woods was bred by his father to press the limits of human ability in the areas of discipline, hard work, and spiritual balance. Tigers father was an elite member of the military, and he introduced his son to this same approach when it came to the sport of golf. This was likely revolutionary thinking in the early 80’s, as far as golf is concerned. For that matter, I don’t necessarily subscribe to that approach being good for

most kids at such a young age, but Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters in tennis, are examples of how that approach to training your kids can possible pay off…for everyone. Certainly Tiger Woods competition didn’t grow up with this same kind of training, and though they may try and pick up some of his characteristics when he is around, they weren’t run through a golf bootcamp everyday from the time that they were able to walk. The other golfers are simply trying to emulate him, and just like Kobe Bryant is not quite the same icon that Michael Jordan was, the other golfers of today are not the same icon that Tiger Woods is. Tiger Woods is a leader. Michael Jordan is a leader. Jackie Robinson is a leader. One major thing that sets leaders apart is that they compete with themselves. There are a few other golfers that seem to work nearly as hard as Tiger Woods, but they can’t overcome the headstart that life bestowed upon Tiger. I think Tigers most daunting competition will come from someone in the younger generation, though I don’t think we will see his kind

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Tiger Woods

for many moons. People like Tiger are good for the world. They transform the world. They compete with something that resides deep within their being. Everyone is not born to be a Tiger Woods, but everyone can follow the lead of such world examples in order to get the best out of themselves and their lives. The players on the PGA Tour should thank Tiger for making them better golfers who

Phil Mickelson can dream bigger than they did before him, not to mention making more money. I bet Black Harvard Law School students have a different view on the

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world these days too. Dang I love making reference to President Obama. I really want to see who tops his act!


Page 14 • March 23 - March 29, 2009 • Insight News

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Insight News ::: 3.23.09