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December 1-6, 2016

We won’t forget: The Kathryn Johnston incident


December 1-6, 2016

COVER STORY

Reflections on the tenth anniversary of Kathryn Johnston

By Charles Curry In the middle of the night, on November 21, 2006, men in uniform who had sworn to protect the public gunned down a 92-year-old woman in her home. These men were Atlanta police officers. Thirty-nine shots were fired, at least five ripped through her body. This woman, Ms. Kathryn Johnston, a mother, a grandmother, a neighbor, a friend lay shot in her home, bleeding, handcuffed, and dying. It has been ten years since the killing of Ms. Kathryn Johnston. On this 10th anniversary of Ms. Johnston’s death, the ACRB pauses to reflect on her death, her legacy, and the challenges going forward. Ten years later, excessive force and police misconduct continue virtually unabated. Social media, daily news and troubled neighborhoods constantly report repeated killings, indictments and acquittals; seemingly innocent people being shot down; good cops being ambushed and assassinated. The emergence of body-worn cameras has also brought in some areas laws enacted that make them virtually inaccessible to residents whose taxes paid for the cameras, rendering them useless for community transparency and understanding. Protests and talks about the need for change rarely seem to result in tangible improvement.. So, the question is what has changed for the better in the ten years since Ms. Johnston’s death. It is difficult to claim significant success over officer misconduct and officer accountability. Yes, we have seen some improvement in training, the creation of a civilian oversight board, a few indictments of police officers, and the rare conviction. However, we have yet to have the community and law enforcement agree on a common set of expectations that can be applied to officer misconduct actions in a reliable and

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credible manner that inspires trust and confidence in law enforcement. When only 25% of the ACRB sustained complaints received discipline from the APD in 2015, it is difficult to state definitively that civilian oversight is a big success. Despite greater community education and awareness efforts, the creation of a mediation program, the addition of anonymous complaints filings, the expanded areas of investigations, policy recommendations, increased transparency and citizen advisory opinions, the effectiveness of the agency hinges upon the actions of the APD on sustained ACRB complaints. At the end of the day, citizens want to know that officers are being held accountable for their actions. As one community member said regarding the low level of discipline on sustained complaint, “it appears as if, the rejections of the ACRB sustained complaints are efforts to dissuade the public’s support for

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oversight.” Despite the challenges, the most enduring legacy of Ms. Johnston’s death is the ACRB. Born out of her tragic loss and nurtured by the commitment of dedicated board members and staff and the continued financial investment of the city administrators, the agency continues to press for officer accountability, fairness, and transparency. The agency serves as the town crier on matters related to officer accountability and mutual responsibility in interactions between citizens and officers. While some criticize the ACRB because it cannot force the APD to discipline officers, I believe that the ACRB’s truest strength is its ability to communicate to public, without filters or obfuscation, the truth about incidents, policies, and officer accountability or lack thereof. ACRB’s thorough investigations and direct communication to citizens give some measure of power over policing back to the people who pay for it. It is the communication that allows citizens to demand and expect their elected officials to hold law enforcement administrators accountable for the conduct of their officers. It is this same communication that informs the public of issues that should be considered when candidates are seeking support for elected office. It is the communication that ultimately holds elected officials, the agency, and the police departments accountable. Ten years later, we as a city have yet to realize the full potential of the ACRB. Civilian oversight alone cannot solve the problem of police officer misconduct and holding one of the most powerful and wealthiest forms of government accountable. It was never designed to be the silver bullet. Civilian oversight is a tool that citizens, elected officials and law enforcement departments can use to solve the problem. Ten years from now, we will still be faced with some of same the challenges as we do today. But if citizens become more engaged in and aware of the process; if they rise up in big numbers and use the resources of civilian oversight to speak truth to power; if they call for and create more than just one civilian review board in the entire State of Georgia, then this small island of accountability known as the Atlanta Citizen Review Board will have done its job and the death of Ms. Johnson will not have been in vain.

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NEWS Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms introduces legislation for Displacement Free Zones

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December 1-6, 2016

ADW reports In an effort to prevent the eviction of lowincome property owners and small businesses due to the impact of gentrification in urban neighborhoods, Atlanta City C ou n c i l m e mb e r Keisha Lance Bottoms has introduced legislation requesting a report on establishing Displacement Free Zones in the city of Atlanta. If the legislation is approved, the Department of Planning and Community Development would have 120 days to provide its findings to the Atlanta City Council. Across the U.S., an increasing number of cities are using Displacement Free Zones

also known as Eviction Free Zones to prevent the displacement of low-income property and business owners due to the impact of gentrification, particularly in urban neighborhoods. Gentrification is the process whereby lowincome neighborhoods, usually in urban areas, are made attractive to high-income residents. What was once low amenity-high density rental complex is turned into a high amenity-low density condominium complex or luxury rental units. The negative result is that the original, low-income tenants in newly gentrified neighborhoods too often can’t afford to remain, primarily due to higher rents; and for a homeowner, higher property taxes and overall cost of living. To ease the burden, cities are implementing the Displacement Free Zones strategy directly in the neighborhood by providing cap on the rental rates, properties taxes and other initiatives to support long-time residents and business owners. DFZs are currently being used or considered

in cities such as Washington, DC’s Columbia Heights, New York’s Harlem, Los Angeles’ Figueroa Corridor, San Francisco’s Mission district, Miami’s Overton, Portland’s Kern Community Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. According to the Gentrification in America Report, the City of Atlanta ranks fifth on the list of gentrifying cities due to the rapid revitalization of various local neighborhoods. “While redevelopment is important for many of our underserved communities, it is equally important that we as a city establish inclusive means by which we are able to preserve the historic fabric of these neighborhoods, beginning with our residents and small business owners,” said Councilmember Bottoms. “Exploring the creation of Displacement Free Zones are yet another step in furthering the discussion on ways to combat the displacement of long-time property owners from the city.” Bottoms said from a small business perspective, she realizes the impact gentrification can have on the bottom line.

Prevention program safeguards children’s brains from effects of poverty A University of Georgia research team has shown for the first time that participation in a prevention program known as the Strong African American Families Program, which enhances supportive parenting and strengthens family relationships, removes the effects of poverty on brain development. In a paper published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, Gene H. Brody, the study’s lead author and co-director of the UGA Center for Family Research, and his colleagues used MRI scans to examine the brain development of 59 adults who participated in SAAF at age 11 with 57 adults from nearly identical backgrounds who did not. They found that those who participated in SAAF — all of whom are 25 years old now — had greater volumes in regions of the brain that promote learning, memory and stress tolerance. “You can think of a brain like a muscle that we have to strengthen throughout childhood and adolescence,” said Brody, Regents Professor of Human Development

and Family Science in UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “When that muscle gets the proper levels of stimulation and protections against stress that a nurturing caregiver provides, people tend to do much better.” Brody noted that scientists have begun to investigate the possibility that growing up in poverty may have effects on areas of the brain that support children’s learning, memory, mood and the ability to cope with stress. SAAF was designed to enhance parenting and strengthen family relationships among African American families living in the rural South. “Not all children and adolescents who grow up in poverty experience adverse outcomes. A subset of young people who receive supportive parenting develop resilience to the consequences of poverty,” said Brody, who also works as part of UGA’s Owens Institute for Behavioral Research. “We’re expanding these findings using a controlled trial of a prevention program to test those ideas and show that supportive parenting has important

benefits for brain development. “We’ve been following these participants since they were 11 years old and everything we’ve learned over the past 14 years has reinforced our conviction that caregiving is incredibly important to many facets of human development including brain development,” he said. In addition to effects on the brain, Brody’s research with the SAAF participants has found they have lower levels of stress hormones circulating in their bodies, they have lower levels of inflammation, and they are less likely to show biological markers of premature aging. “It’s very gratifying to see scientific evidence that SAAF can benefit the health and well-being of young AfricanAmericans,” Brody said. If substantiated, these findings may also highlight a strategy for policymakers and practitioners from pediatricians to parent-teacher organizations to use in ameliorating social disparities.

“My mother was a long time small business owner and was forced to close her business as a result of anticipated gentrification. This legislation will charge our Planning Department to determine, those portions of the city that would be eligible to be identified as Displacement Free Zones, the strategies to be used to create Displacement Free Zones and the cost estimate to create Displacement Free Zones in eligible areas.” Lisa Pope, a longtime homeowner in the Summerhill neighborhood near Turner Field said, “I am excited about the redevelopment that I see around Atlanta. But in the 20 years since I purchased my home, many people in the area have moved because they could not afford the rising rent. I am glad to see the city will be exploring ways to make sure this neighborhood will continue to be affordable for everyone.” For more information, contact the Office of Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms at 404-330-6054.

NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley donates $1 Million to Clark Atlanta University ADW Reports NBA legend Charles Barkley on Giving Tuesday pledged a $1 million donation to Clark Atlanta University. The announcement came Tuesday, Nov. 29 during an appearance from Barkley on sports talk station WJOX-FM 94.5 in Birmingham, Ala. The big news was met with a mix of surprise and excitement by CAU students, faculty and staff. The generous gift from the Hall of Fame basketball star also gave a huge boost to CAU’s Giving Tuesday campaign, which had been going strong on social media. “We are delighted to receive this generous gift from Mr. Barkley,” said Clark Atlanta President Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D. “This gift reflects Charles Barkley’s tremendous heart and his desire to make a significant, positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. It is a testament to the importance of the transformative impact of CAU on its students, surrounding community, the nation and beyond,” Johnson finished. The entire Clark Atlanta University family extends its deepest gratitude to Mr. Barkley, and encourage all alumni and friends of CAU to follow his example and give the gift of education by donating to CAU.

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December 1-6, 2016

COMMUNITY

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Metro Atlanta Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha celebrate 110th Founders’ Day On Thursday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 4, the MetroAtlanta Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are hosting a series of events in the celebration of their 110th Founders’ Day. Under the direction of the Rho Sigma Lambda Chapter based in Stockbridge, all of the area’s undergraduate and graduate chapters are working together to provide community service, social outreach, and networking events for the general public. The celebration commences with a Candlelight Vigil at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1 on the campus of Morehouse College. Following the vigil at 7:00 p.m. at the Morehouse School of Medicine is the Public Forum, Advancing the Success of Boys and Men of Color. The forum features fraternity members James “Jay” Bailey of the Phoenix Foundation, Inc., Derrick Boazman of Let Us Make Man, Marcus LaFleur of Clayton State University, and Andrew Snorton of The LEAD Foundation, Inc. as the panelists for the event. Programs for Friday, Dec. 2, begin at 7:30 p.m. with Metro Chapters’ service project of feeding and clothing the homeless, which supports the efforts of The Worship Center

ATL under the direction of Rev. Wendal T. Dandridge. The event will take place at 164 Broad St. SW. Alpha Phi Alpha members and volunteers will distribute multivitamins, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, hand and feet warm packs, emergency blankets, hats, and coats. After the service project, members and volunteers are invited to meet, greet, and network at Halo Lounge at 817 West Peachtree St. NW from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 event highlights include the Founders’ Day Brunch at the City Club of Buckhead/Atlanta Financial Center. The brunch takes place at 11:00 a.m. and features keynote speaker David Scott (GA-D 13th District). Tickets are $40 per person and $25 for students. Later Saturday evening, the public is invited to join members of the fraternity for an evening outing at Suite Food Lounge for the Saturday Mixx Series. Sunday, Dec. 4 marks the conclusion of the celebration as the public is invited to join members of the fraternity at Ben Hill United Methodist Church for the 10:45am service. Worship will be led by Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas.

Wells Fargo Atlanta announces 2017 charitable giving cycle

CAU Partners with Lowery Institute to end hunger on campus

By Crystal Drake Wells Fargo’s Atlanta region has changed its 2017 giving cycle in order to review applications one focus area at a time. This tweak will increase effective and strategic decision-making as Wells Fargo’s local philanthropic arm continues efforts to help strengthen the communities in metropolitan Atlanta in two primary areas: Community Development and K-12 Education. In addition, grants are also accepted in the focus area of Human Services and Civic Engagement. Wells Fargo makes contributions to organizations with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, as well as qualified tribal and governmental agencies, including public school systems. In 2015, total giving to these causes, and also including sponsorships and execution of national grants on the local level, reached $5 million. Community Development applications will be accepted Dec. 1, 2016 through Feb. 1, 2017. Education, Arts & Culture and the Environment will be accepted Feb. 1, 2017 to April 1, 2017, and Human Services/Civic Engagement will be accepted June 1-August 1, 2017. “We are deeply proud of our giving history in Atlanta,” said Mike Donnelly, Atlanta Region President, “and this new process will further strengthen our ability to give in ways that improve and invest in Atlanta.” For more information, and for the application, go to www.wellsfargo.com/donations

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Tucked away in a second floor office of Clark Atlanta University’s Thomas W. Cole Research Center is the headquarters for a small organization making a huge impact on college students in Atlanta. The Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights is waging a quiet battle to stamp out hunger on college campuses throughout the Atlanta University Center. It’s a problem most people are not even aware of, students working toward their education who lack enough money to buy food. Blake Osborne has the huge task of trying to meet the needs of these students as the Institute’s operations manager. Osborne and his fellow “change agents,” students from CAU, Morehouse College and Spelman College, distribute food bags to 25 students every week. But they have to turn away another 200 hungry students every month because there’s not enough food in Mimi’s Pantry at the Institute to meet the growing need. “There is no easy way to describe the hole this places in your heart,” said Osborne. “To know that each week as the requests come in you will be forced to turn away a large portion of them.” Donors may drop off non-perishable food items in two locations on campus: suite 2035 in the Thomas Cole building and outside room 103 in the Carl and Mary Ware building. You may also contact the Institute directly to contribute at 404.524.8406.

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BUSINESS

December 1-6, 2016

Electronic payments key to moving Atlanta residents beyond cash and into modern economy

Prepaid cards, for example, operate much like debit cards, extending the benefits traditionally reserved for those with bank accounts to financially underserved families. An individual can use these cards to receive direct deposits, bargain shop and pay bills online, track expenses, establish a payment history and do a whole host of other things available to those with bank accounts. Payroll cards, which function much like prepaid cards, also extend financial access to unbanked and underbanked families. Employees can receive their wages on a payroll card from their employer, which in turn saves employees the time and money they would otherwise spend cashing their paychecks. These cards also save employers the cost of cutting checks. Across all of Georgia, a growing number of households are using prepaid cards. But the rate of adoption in Atlanta remained flat over the last two years. In order for financially underserved families to benefit from the latest advancements in financial technologies, they need to be aware that these tools are available and understand how to use them. For instance, while the average person knows how to use their debit card to make a purchase, many first-time card users assume they have to go to an ATM and withdraw cash each time they have a transaction to make. To this end, Master Your Card, a community empowerment program, works with groups across the country to provide the tools, information and resources that these families need to better access their money. Master Your Card worked with the A. Philip Randolph Institute to develop custom toolkits that are available to their members across the country, including members in Atlanta and across Georgia. These toolkits provide important financial information and resources for African-American communities on topics that include choosing a payment card and how to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.

Today’s electronic marketplace is available to everyone, the banked and unbanked alike. The key is for the financially underserved to realize that electronic payment technology provides a cost-effective solution that will

enable them to leverage the cost savings, convenience and speed of our increasingly digital economy, and help them join the financial mainstream.

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Electronic Payments Key to Moving Atlanta Residents Beyond Cash and into Modern Economy I-285, the nearly 64-mile span of highway that loops around Atlanta, is one of the heaviest traveled roadways in the United States. Now imagine if a single lane of cars along one of I-285’s five-lane segments couldn’t maintain the 65 mph maximum speed limit. Instead, they cruised at half speed. Think of the amount of time drivers would waste, the inconvenience posed on them and the inconvenience this would present to those around them. For more than 385,000 African-American households in the Atlanta area, that slow cruise is the reality they live daily as it relates to spending their money. According to the recently released 2015 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 47.2 percent African-American residents in the Atlanta area are classified as unbanked or underbanked, meaning they have no or only a limited relationship with a traditional financial institution. Rather than leveraging the benefits of today’s super highway of electronic payments, those who are financially underserved lose time and money to the process of cashing checks and making payments. They are often forced to rely on alternative financial services, such as payday loans, check-cashing services and pawn shops, and can spend nearly 10 percent of their household income on related interest and fees. That’s more than half the amount that the average American family spends on groceries in a year. According to the FDIC study, the unbanked cite the most common reasons for not having a bank account are because they believe that they do not have enough money to keep in an account, they distrust banks, and they believe that bank account fees are too high and unpredictable. The study also notes that unbanked and underbanked rates are higher among lower-income, less-educated, younger, African-American, Hispanic and workingage disabled adults across the United States. But the good news is that the percentage of financially underserved households in Atlanta and across all of Georgia, including African-American households, decreased over the last two years. While this is notable progress, there are still too many families without basic financial resources. It’s important that these families realize that tools are available that can enable them to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pocket and participate in today’s evergrowing digital economy. The days of costly cash, check cashers and money orders can be put behind them.

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ENTERTAINMENT

December 1-6, 2016

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Acclaimed director Kenny Leon earns Atlanta Hawks, H.J Russell set to prestigious ‘Mr. Abbott’ Award transform Philips Arena Turner, AECOM Hunt, SG and Bryson also partner in reconstruction

Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon just added two new honors to his growing list of achievements. The Clark Atlanta University alumnus recently earned the prestigious 2016-2017 “Mr. Abbott” Award for outstanding artistry and creativity during his more than 40-year career. The award is presented by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in memory of the late renowned director George Abbott. “This award singularly places Kenny Leon in an exclusive club,” said Dr. Cleo House, chair of CAU’s Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. “He is now a member of the directing pantheon. His name is now synonymous with greats such as Bob Fosse, LLyod Richards and George C. Wolfe! To receive this honor when his career appears to just be heating up means even more. What makes the award even more meaningful is that Kenny was chosen for it by his peers, fellow professional directors or choreographers, who have achieved significant success in show business. Naturally, we are extremely proud to have him associated with our University. It really does reflect the power of following and staying true to your passions.”

Leon will officially receive the “Mr. Abbott” Award during a ceremony in New York in March 2017. “I am very happy that the SDC Foundation is honoring Kenny Leon with this year’s ‘Mr. Abbott’ Award,” said Pam MacKinnon, president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers. “His long and varied career, as an important artist and producer as well as educator, mentor and celebrated director, is an inspiration.” The honor comes just weeks before Leon is set to direct “Hairspray Live!” on NBC Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. This marks the second-time Leon has directed a live musical on NBC. In his live musical TV debut in 2015, Leon directed the wildly successful “The Wiz Live!”, which drew a record-breaking audience of 11.1 million viewers, NBC’s second most watched live musical event, according to CNN. Leon is world-renowned for his directing abilities. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun (for which he won two Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, and August Wilson’s Fences (which netted 10 Tony nominations and earned three Tony Awards).

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The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club announced earlier today that Atlanta Joint Venture was awarded the contract to serve as construction manager for the upcoming $192.5 million renovation of Philips Arena. Atlanta Joint Venture is comprised of four of the premier construction companies in the nation with two based locally in Atlanta: Turner Construction Company, AECOM Hunt, SG Contracting and Bryson Constructors. Atlanta-based construction and management firm HJ Russell & Company, in association with Legends Project Development, are serving as the project management team for the project. “Our goal is to transform Philips Arena into a venue that embodies the spirit and connectivity of our great city. We are fortunate to work with these respected, industry leaders who understand Atlanta, share our passion for innovation and also place a high value on diversity in their work,” said Hawks CEO Steve Koonin. “HJ Russell & Company is proud of being chosen as one of two project management firms to oversee the construction of Emory Healthcare Courts in the new state-of-the-art Emory Sports Medicine Complex along with helping to manage Philips Arena’s impressive renovations,” said Michael Russell, CEO, HJ Russell & Company. “As an Atlanta native and lifelong Atlanta Hawks fan, it’s very exciting to play a significant role in renovating Philips Arena and building a space and place where our hometown team will prepare and train to compete against any team in the NBA.” Turner Construction Company is the controlling partner of AJV and will provide project management as well as support staff. Turner, who is the nation’s leading sports builder, has worked on major national renovations including Madison Square Garden, Littlejohn Arena, First Energy Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium. Locally, Turner’s Atlanta office completed the renovation of Bobby Dodd Football Stadium (Georgia Tech), the Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium (Georgia Tech) and Foley Field Baseball Stadium (University of Georgia). “With more than 200 employees that call Atlanta home, Turner is honored to be part of the team that will renovate Philips Arena, a

facility rooted in the culture and community of downtown Atlanta,” said Shannon Hines, SVP of Turner Construction Company. “Our people are committed to actively serving and improving our community, and making the Hawks and City of Atlanta’s vision of a worldclass facility a reality.” AECOM Hunt will lead preconstruction efforts and provide on-site field supervision during construction. Also a national leader in the industry, AECOM Hunt has led construction on 15 NBA arenas and over 70 arena projects, including T-Mobile Arena, Little Caesars Arena, Amway Center and Barclays Center. AECOM Hunt is also playing a leadership role with Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. “AECOM Hunt is proud to be part of the Philips Arena renovation and delivering the Atlanta Hawks a downtown home that they and the City of Atlanta can be proud of,” said Michael S. Burke, AECOM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our experience delivering world-class sports venues is second to none, and we look forward to partnering with these other leading firms on the project.’’ SG Contracting will provide on-site management services and support staff. Based in Atlanta, SG spearheaded the construction of McCamish Pavilion and focuses on construction projects in the greater Atlanta region. “We are excited that Atlanta Joint Venture will be spearheading our construction process as we look to transform the Arena into an attraction for all Atlantans,” said Thad Sheely, Hawks Chief Operating Officer. “The joint venture represents the best of Atlanta local construction and sports renovation work nationally and we look forward to working together.” Located in East Point, Bryson Constructors will provide management support and field support staff. With over 25 years of experience, Bryson’s portfolio includes work at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and in the educational, industrial and commercial spaces. In 2009, Bryson was honored by the National Association of Minority Contractors as Georgia Contractor of the Year.


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ENTERTAINMENT

December 1-6, 2016

African American film critics call 2016 best year for blacks in cinema In anticipation of its annual Best of List, the African American Film Critics Association has already proclaimed 2016 the best ever for blacks in cinema. AAFCA not only applauds the increased volume of films representing the Black experience released in 2016, but also the range of diverse storylines. “The studios and major film distributors really gave it to us this year,” says Gil Robertson, AAFCA co-founder and president. “By any measurement, it’s been an exceptional year for blacks in film. From comedies to high-quality dramas and documentaries, 2016 will forever represent a bonanza year for black cinema and all cinema really.” Anchored by the successful box office comedies, Ride Along 2, Barbershop 3, and Central Intelligence; 2016 will also end on a high note with the December release of the dramas Fences and Hidden Figures, two films AAFCA feels are sure bets to garner Oscar nominations. And then there is Moonlight, a critically acclaimed indie that has already been widely acknowledged as one of the best films of the year and is highly favored for a Best Picture nomination and possible win. The quiet film Loving also has Oscar buzz and so does

the documentary The 13th. “The amount of quality feature films, documentaries and TV shows released in 2016 about the black experience easily make it the best year ever. It has truly been an unapologetically black year in the industry as filmmakers brought to life some of the cultures most fascinating stories and subjects with bold storytelling perspective,” says AAFCA co-founder, Shawn Edwards. To underscore everything, the surprising and amazing success of Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween,

further points to why 2016 has been so extraordinary. In 2016, black films of all spectrums have performed particularly well, financially with some and both financially and critically with others. On the awards front, the AAFCA co-founders are particularly bold. “I am going to go out on a limb and predict that we will see a black actor nominated in every acting category and that a t least four black-themed films will be nominated for Best Picture,” says Edwards. “Regardless of the final tally,” Robertson says more

cautiously, “we are both confident that we’ll see a record number of black nominees when awards season kicks into high gear. “The coming award nominations are going to definitely put a pause on #OscarsSoWhite this year,” says Robertson. “But what we wonder is for how long? It’s undeniable that the studios have responded admirably to the tremendous outcry from the African American community through its delivery of the films that we’ve seen this year. But, what about next year, and the year after that? Unfortunately the question that we must ask with every watershed year is ‘how long will it last?’ Were the past 12 months an anomaly or does it signal the beginning of Hollywood being more committed to supporting a diverse lineup of black films? And what about films about the Asian, Hispanic, Native American and LGBT communities? Moonlight has been a bright spot in representing both the Black and LGBT communities, but we need more. So we at AAFCA are extremely hopeful that these 2016 black films will have a domino effect in providing platform opportunities for films that represent other communities as well,” concludes Robertson.

Magic Johnson hosts ASPiRE Special with Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles (Black PR Wire) ASPiRE, the network that presents authentic portrayals of black and urban culture, announced that Earvin “Magic” Johnson will sit down with Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles on the next installment of “Magic in the Making.” On “Magic in the Making,” the NBA legend and accomplished entrepreneur chats with prominent trailblazers and influencers in engaging, revealing and relaxed conversations. In this special episode, Johnson will talk to Biles and her parents about the star’s upbringing, career and what inspires and motivates her. “Magic in the Making” will air Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. EST. “It is with great pleasure to sit down with Simone and her parents on the next episode of Magic in the Making. The show allows me to have candid and heartfelt conversations with extraordinary individuals,” said Johnson. “Simone captivated the hearts and television screens of many Americans during this year’s Summer Olympics. I am excited to share her story of incredible heart and grand success that will be sure to entertain and inspire the ASPiRE audience to dream big.” “We are thrilled to present this intimate and authentic conversation between two extraordinary athletes who continue to pave the

way for others,” said Melissa Ingram, ASPiRE vice president and channel manager. “Simone’s talent and competitive spirit is remarkable, and the love and support demonstrated by her parents should be commended and witnessed by all.” Simone Biles is an Olympic Gold medalist in vault, floor, Individual and Team All-Around and a Bronze medalist on beam. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won the most medals in a single game. Among her other accomplishments, she’s the first woman gymnast to win three consecutive World All-Around titles and has the most World Championship gold medals (10) won by a female gymnast in history. Biles is the most decorated W o r l d Championship American gymnast with 14 total medals (10 gold, two silver, two bronze).

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President and CEO, UNCF

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EDUCATION

December 1-6, 2016

AAMBC Literary Awards launches national literacy campaign The African Americans on the Move Book Club Literary Awards launches its national literacy campaign #TheySayWeDontRead with a core mission to highlight the importance of literacy and writing in the African American community. The campaign will shed positive light on issues such as literacy in the black community, while unifying authors, celebrities, social influencers and artists through compelling stories about their own personal relationships with literature. “One of the biggest misconceptions of black millennial’s is that we do not read. The truth is that; not only do we read, but we create. There are more published black writers than ever before. Our stories are a relevant reflection of us and are worth talking about,” says Tamika Newhouse, the creator of AAMBC Literary Awards. #TheySayWeDontRead aims to inspire the masses through powerful visuals and messaging that encourage unity, glorify melanin and share their beautiful stories. The campaign will explore questions dealing with the importance of African American authors and those books that helped transform readers from adolescence to adulthood. It will also feature those authors and speak about those books that catapulted readers into their teenage years. AAMBC was created in February of 2008 by Tamika Newhouse. What started as an online

book club grew into a national phenomenon. The sole purpose was to expose the unknown writer and to give them the opportunity to win accolades. A tradition still highly expressed to this very date, AAMBC still caters to the unknown writer. They have single handedly worked with well over six hundred writers’ new, seasoned, and considered celebrity status. From first time writers to nationally known they have consistently set the tone to support and promote black writers. AAMBC is currently seeking talent submissions for the national campaign. If interested, please send submission to a c c ou nte xe c ut ive @ thegarnercircle.com.

Letters to Santa: When handwriting really matters Atlanta teachers will gather on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 to learn a novel approach to teaching handwriting that would make dear ol’ Santa happy. And, the fun ways that they will be learning to teach handwriting not only offers great visuals — as they use songs and movement to teach the skill — but also prevents letter reversals that plague many students. While handwriting is a mandated part of the curricula in Georgia schools, that’s not the case everywhere. This may put Georgia students at an advantage because newer research shows brain function can get a boost from handwriting and cursive, and studies have shown that learning handwriting has been shown to improve brain development in areas of the brain involved in thinking, language and working memory. In fact, according to a UCLA study, college students remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes

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rather than typed ones. Parents and the public are invited to come and experience local teachers in action at and interacting with students in these insightful workshops: Dec. 2 Pre-K Readiness & Writing Workshop, 8 a.m. to noon Come see teachers mimicking a puppet to “magically” learn letters, and clanging wood pieces to music to learn handwriting. Use the Flip the Pencil Trick to make sure they have the right grip and become Tow Trucks to learn to “crank-up” letters for connecting. Dec.3 K-5 Handwriting Workshop, 8:00 a.m.to 4:30pm This is when the teachers learn fun ways to teach cursive using a puppet and fun visual elements, such as putting on imaginary wet suits. All workshops will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Midtown 97 10th St. NW

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LIFESTYLE

December 1-6, 2016

5 Tips for selecting your Medicare ATL to become global Winter coverage before Dec. 7 deadline Wonderland for holiday season

By Bill White If you have Medicare but haven’t selected a 2017 Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan, the Dec. 7 annual enrollment deadline is quickly approaching. Here are five simple steps to help you make the best decision. Review your current Medicare health plan. Analyze how much you’ve spent on health care during the past year, including hospital expenses, prescriptions and doctor bills. This helps you benchmark your 2017 health care expenses and determine if your current Medicare plan still meets your needs. Select the type of Medicare plan that best fits your needs. Options include: •Original Medicare, which provides basic coverage for medical expenses without coverage for most prescriptions, and includes cost-sharing in the form of deductibles and coinsurance. This is Medicare Parts A and B. •Medicare Advantage, which includes all of the coverage offered under Original Medicare through a private insurer, and may include extra benefits, such as dental, hearing and vision coverage, a nurse advice line and fitness program, as well as prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are steadily gaining popularity, with the number of enrollees more than tripling since 2004 to 17.7 million or nearly a third of Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is Medicare Part C. •Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, which offer coverage for prescription medications, and can be added to Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan or some Medicare Advantage Plans that do not include prescription drug coverage. This is Medicare Part D. •Medicare Supplement Plans, which pay some costs not paid by Original Medicare, like deductibles and coinsurance. Enrollment in a Medicare Supplement plan is not limited to the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and these plans do not have a set provider network.

Comparison Shop. Once you choose the type of Medicare plan that best fits your needs, research the costs, benefits and network of doctors and hospitals associated with each plan. Check to see if your hospital and doctors are included. Consider the “extras” included. Some Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits, such as a fitness program and exercise classes specifically designed for people with Medicare. Others include dental, vision and hearing benefits. Determine how important these extra benefits are to your lifestyle and wellness needs. Seek help. Shopping for a Medicare plan can be daunting, but there are resources available to assist you. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or TTY: 1-877-486-2048 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 2017 Medicare plan information. And websites like www.Medicare.gov and www.humanaMedicare.com can help you research plans available in your area before the Dec. 7 Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual enrollment deadline. It’s also important to note that the plan you select by Dec. 7 will be your Medicare plan for all of 2017, with few exceptions, so it’s smart to carefully research your options. Remember, the time to act is now. Making sure you have the right health plan in place is one of the best ways to invest in your health. Bill White is vice president of Humana Medicare Georgia

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) officials began a month-long celebration of the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony in the airport’s Domestic Terminal atrium on Tuesday, Nov. 29. ATL officials were joined by diplomatic guests, holiday carolers, employees, volunteers and mascots of Atlanta-based teams and businesses to kick off one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Immediately following the tree lighting ceremony, ATL’s month-long holiday celebration commenced. The airport and its partners have joined to offer live holiday music throughout the airport. Post-security gift-wrapping will be provided at all center points in the concourses, and small travel comfort packets will be distributed by various stakeholders. Holiday decorations are up throughout the airport with a unique display in the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal. Twelve trees have been decorated by representatives of Consular Corps offices in Atlanta. The trees display ornaments specific to each participating nation (Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Haiti, India,

Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) and create a global holiday theme in the International Terminal. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, more than 500 Airport-area first graders will participate in ATL Presents: Toyland. The annual program, now in its 20th year, is designed to spread holiday cheer among metro Atlanta’s youth while educating them about the role the airport plays in the transportation industry. Airport partners and concessionaires will provide food and gifts to the students during the event which, having grown in popularity, will take place this year at the Delta Flight Museum adjacent to ATL. Santa is also expected to make an appearance.

Atlanta native participates in New Zealand recovery efforts By Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson A 2013 National University graduate and Atlanta, Georgia native is a crewmember on the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), which assisted in earthquake recovery efforts in Kaikoura, a town on New Zealand’s South Island. The crew, originally scheduled to participate in New Zealand’s International Naval Review, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy, rendered assistance to those affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the South Island Nov. 14. Sailors flew ashore in MH-60R helicopters to distribute water, aid in infrastructural repair, assess damage, and pass out informational packets that informed residents what services were available. Petty Officer 2nd Class Ogbonna Egwu is a logistics specialist serving aboard USS Sampson. As a logistics specialist, Egwu is responsible for supplying the Sampson crew with the materials and supplies needed for their daily operations. “I wouldn’t trade my job for any other,” said Egwu. “I’m happy knowing that I’m part of something greater than myself. Supply is the life blood of every other warfare area.” USS Sampson is capable of helicopter operations and warfare areas such as anti-submarine, surface, air, and strike in support of ensuring stability and prosperity throughout the Pacific. “While viewing sobering images of widespread infrastructural damage in

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ogbonna Egwu is a logistics specialist serving aboard USS Sampson. Kaikoura, I was also reminded and encouraged by the sight of my Sailors going ashore with an unwavering can-do spirit that assures me we are doing our part in supporting the New Zealand forces,” said Cmdr. Tim LaBenz, commanding officer of Sampson. As one of approximately 350 crewmembers, Egwu explained they are building a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. As with the American Navy, New Zealand is an important leader in the Pacific, a key contributor to global security, and a valuable military partner on issues like humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping. “The crew of Sampson is my motivation every day,” said Egwu. “It’s like one big family looking out for each other.”

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December 1-6, 2016

GUEST COMMENTARY

GUEST COMMENTARY

by Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

by Ceasar Mitchell

Facebook’s digital racism must come to an end Racism is a malignant, powerful, and harmful reality for millions of persons of color throughout the world. Here, inside the United States, racism is institutionalized and we have the evidence that this dreadful, racially discriminatory system of oppression now has been digitized thanks to Facebook. We must oppose all forms, nuances, and modes of racism. I am defining “digital racism” as the deliberate and systematic exclusion and discrimination of people from any Internet access, benefit or policy-making procedure based on race, color, ethnicity, or any other social or cultural factor. I know when this is read, some of you will be shocked while others will be in some form of denial. Such was the case when I first coined the term “environmental racism” over 30 years ago. But the truth is the truth. And the truth is therapeutic. Racial and ethnic cleaning at Facebook is the manifestation of digital racism on one of the most powerful social media platforms in the world. The National Newspaper Publishers Association is opposed to racial and ethnic discrimination. We are alarmed and we resolutely join with the Congressional Black Caucus in demanding that Facebook stop engaging in racially discriminatory practices. Earlier this month, the CBC sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, concerning this issue. “We are writing to express our deep concerns with reports that Facebook’s “Ethnic Affinities” advertising customization feature allows for advertisers to exclude specific racial and ethnic groups when placing housing advertising,” stated the CBC. The CBC letter was signed by Robin L. Kelly (D-Ill.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C., the Chairman of the CBC. Their

joint statement concluded, “This is in direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and it is our strong desire to see Facebook address this issue immediately.” The Fair Housing Act of 1968 says it is illegal “to make, print, publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin” (42 U.S.C. § 3604). The enactment of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was a milestone accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement. “By allowing online advertisers to promote or market a community or home for the purpose of sale to select an ‘ethnic affinity’ as part of their advertising campaign, Facebook is complicit in promoting restrictive housing practices,” the CBC letter stated. This is clearly a violation of the law. The NNPA agrees with the CBC. This practice must be stopped immediately. Today, we all should remain vigilant and committed to stand up and speak out against all instances of racial and ethnic discrimination. Facebook needs to right this wrong. The online and digital worlds should not be permissive of racism. With all the technological advances to hopefully ensure that the quality of life of all people will ultimately be enhanced in the U.S. and throughout the world, we must strive to identify, call out and stop racism wherever it may arise. Therefore, we call upon Facebook to stop its digital racism and its “Ethnic Affinities” discriminatory program. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at dr.bchavis@nnpa.org.

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Where do we go from here? What is next? After months of one of the most unique elections we have ever seen, the ending result was one no one seemed to predict, and was one that left many heartbroken and distraught. We poured our souls into a campaign that could have changed the world, but we lost. During this turbulent and trying time, I am reminded of running suicides on the football field, I am reminded of the countless mountain climbers I did in NROTC at Morehouse, I am reminded of all the late nights and early mornings in City Hall. I am reminded that excellence never comes easy. Excellence is not given freely but is earned through hard work, perseverance, and dedication. This is the lesson I learned through my years on the gridiron, my years in NROTC at Morehouse, and my years at City Hall. When you make sure that the work gets done, without spend time doing press conferences and grandstanding, the work actually does get done. I am dedicated to changing the world through my hardwork and determination, not through grandiose expressiveness. In order to change the world, we have to first make sure the work gets done. What does this mean? Well posting a flippant tweet, a witty snapchat filter, or a thoughtful facebook post is not true activism or hard work. True work and true activism happens when you put in the time and effort. True work is talking politics but also registering to vote. But registering to vote is not the same thing as voting, and voting is not the same thing as casting an informed ballot. In this last election, 93 million eligible voters did not cast a ballot. 93 million people did not put in the base work needed to change the world. We cannot ask our leaders to change the world when we are not doing our part. Self determination is just that: determining your own path through life. We as a community, as a city, as a country cannot let others make decisions in our own life. We must chart our own course and work hard every day; every early morning and late night, we must work for the change we wish to see in the world.

So what now? Now is the time to dig in and become informed. Volunteer with local nonprofits, hold the door for the person behind you, say hello to your neighbors, start building up our communities. Reach across that great divide and change someone’s life. As we enter the holiday season there will be many opportunities to lend a helping hand. We must make sure we do so. We have to plan and then act. There are local elections taking place again at the end of 2017 that need your informed vote. There is the Mayor’s race, in which I am running, and several city council seats are up for reelection with the City Council President’s seat I will be leaving behind. To strengthen our school system through partnership, to bring affordable housing to families, to help support economic growth across the whole city, and to not just let one area of town reap all the benefits, you need to vote to elect those that will accomplish your goals. To physically and personally see the changes you desire, local elections are key. Thankfully we just saw some big wins in the past election such as financial support for Safe Harbor and victims of sex crimes, taxes on fireworks being directed towards trauma care for some of our first responders, the expansion of MARTA through the funding of a TSPLOST bill, and more diversity within more local government. With these approved amendments our city will continue to march forward into the future and establish our place as an international entity. But these advancements will only continue if you as an individual stay informed. Educate yourself on the issues before going to the ballot box; if you have the time please reach out to local nonprofits or ballot initiatives as well; volunteer your time and energy into organizations and campaigns. By giving back to Atlanta, all of us can move forward into the bright future that awaits this city. Ceasar Michell is president of the Atlanta City Council and a candidate for mayor in the 2017 general election.

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December 1-6, 2016

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