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Volume 89 â€˘ Issue 41
May is Mental Health Awareness Month May 18-24, 2017
an Urban Oasis
May 18-24, 2017
Urban farms making Atlanta stronger
By Katrice L. Mines If you have a patch of land in Atlanta, you could be an urban agriculturalist or — in layman’s terms — an urban farmer. And the City would be one of your biggest cheerleaders. In 2015, the City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability created a task force to research and investigate safety considerations and policies for future Controlled Environment Agriculture, a technology-based farming practice which takes place within enclosed structures. Also that year, Mario Cambardella became the first Urban Agriculture director within the Office of Sustainability. The overall goal – to boost the production of more local fruits and vegetables, and to improve the quality of life of Atlanta’s citizens by enhancing the environment. During his first year in office, Mayor Kasim Reed set the goal of Atlanta becoming one of the top 10 sustainable cities in the nation through the development and implementation of policies and activities that support environmental sustainability. To this end, the Office of Sustainability began working with all city departments to implement the “Power to Change” plan in 2010 which included initiatives such as improving regional air quality, developing land use policies and programs designed to protect greenspace, reduce energy use through conservation and more. Atlanta hasn’t made the top tier for greenest cities yet, but it’s not for lack of a thriving coalition of city officials and community builders doing the work. Cashawn Myers, founder and executive director of HABESHA Inc., is one who’s been immersed in environmental sustainability for 15 years. As a Clark Atlanta University graduate student, Myers was inspired by a professor’s remarks concerning the lack of positive opportunities for youth living in public housing units neighboring the university’s campus. HABESHA Inc. is a Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth and families through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health and technology. Programs like Black Roots and Golden Seeds allow Myers the platform to impart his ideology of a world that is focused on cooperation, balance and unity. Through Golden Seeds, for instance, classroom lectures introduce seniors to the fundamental principles and practices of sustainable agriculture, while hands-on lab sessions provide them with experiences that reinforce classroom discussions. Seniors then
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teach that information to youth. “I grew up in Woodbine, Ga., in a rural farming area and did not appreciate how I grew up until I left for college at FAMU and began to get more into my health as well as studying of my African roots,” he said. “This led me to want to eat better so as not to minimize the health challenges that I saw many of my older relatives have based on their diet. As I learned more about my African history, I saw growing food not only as a mechanism for better health, but also as a form of resistance and liberation for people of African descent. And to change the narrative that many people of African descent living in America associate with farming as something that is akin to slavery, but instead that it is an act of liberation.”
This is the kind of investment Reed hoped for in putting city resources behind this trend that is growing around the country. “The City of Atlanta is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the urban agriculture movement,” said the mayor in 2015. “The director of Urban Agriculture will work to improve the city’s health and wellness by eliminating food deserts and providing our residents with access to the healthy food options that they deserve.” Cambardella, who’s responsible for a wide range of activities related to urban agriculture in Atlanta, works with community organizations and various City departments to improve growers’ access to public and private land, facilitate the permitting process, support local initiatives and address other issues to advance urban agriculture in Atlanta. “Thanks in large part to great non-profit community-based organizations like Food Well Alliance and
ALFI, the local food economy of Atlanta is strong, coordinated, and poised for great growth,” Cambardella said. “Coming into this position a year-and-a-half ago, I had a pretty good understanding of what we could grow in terms of production. However, over the last 18 months, my perspective [has grown] on other facets of the local food economy that will allow the production to aggregate in larger quantities thus providing better opportunities to manufacture creative and innovative value-added products to service more people especially those in areas where there is lack of access.” Cambardella said the West End and the west side of Atlanta have some of the strongest, most vibrant growers in the city. “Growers like Eugene Cooke, Nicole Bluh, Haylee Green, HABESHA, and Historic Westside Gardens all are growing fresh nutritious foods in the neighborhood that they serve and are sharing that knowledge not just with the community of the West End and the west side but the rest of the city, the nation, and the world spreading the message of rooted citizenry and welcoming agents to the urban agriculture movement.” Bare bones advice for someone who wants to try their hand at urban farming? “Plant something, no matter if it is in the ground or in a 5-gallon bucket, if you are not successful the first time, try again, and learn from your mistakes,” Myers said. As for the city’s advocacy to expand Atlanta residents’ access to local, healthy food options two years ago, Myers calls it a good start, but he also has a bit of advice: “What we would suggest is that the city allow people interested in urban farming to utilize the vacant lots that are in the metro area for land to farm as many people want to farm but don’t have the land needed.” With a new grant from the Economic Development Administration, Clark Atlanta University will soon be joining the city’s food tech innovation pack. The University received $400,000 as part of a $15 million investment grant from the EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program which will fund its STEM urban farming project: CREATE. “Project CREATE will support entrepreneurs in using STEM technology and innovations to build healthy local food systems along with collateral entrepreneurial ventures in Southwest Atlanta,” said Clark Atlanta president Ronald Johnson. “My team and I understand the value of community collaboration on the West side and I decided to approach the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Truly Living Well and the United Negro College Fund.” CREATE will utilize the expertise of these three non-profit organizations to help transform local food systems in southwest Atlanta and beyond. “Urban farming is booming in Atlanta and across the country from Boston to Detroit to Portland, Ore.,” said Johnson. “However, the development of tech-related agro businesses in this sector is somewhat lagging. Both the EDA and CAU recognize the need to develop and grow a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southwest Atlanta.” Together, with the city’s urban agriculture leaders, Atlanta officials intend to continue to look for new ways to strengthen the local food system for a stronger, healthier Atlanta. “The success of urban agriculture programs throughout the city is not only measured by how many pounds of food is produced,” said Cambardella. “Yes, economic development is one of the four core values of urban agriculture. However, in many instances, the value that a farm brings is passed to the neighbors surrounding the farm. Academic studies have shown crime rates go down, property values go up, and food is more accessible in immediate proximity to an urban farm.”
May 18-24, 2017
Atlanta named one of the best cities for internships succeed economically. While city population figures approach 470,000, the Atlanta metropolitan area accounts for more than 5.7 million people and is the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country. The cities in the top 10 percent of the list were spread across the country, but many of the lowest ranked cities were in California and Texas. Top cities also tended to be a bit smaller: The top 10 percent average about 89,000 residents, while the bottom 10 percent averages over 103,000. Atlanta looks even more appealing if interns are looking to lay roots and stay a while, post-internship. According to NerdWallet, Atlanta ranked No. 6 on a list of the best cities for job seekers in 2017. NerdWallet analyzed federal data for the 100
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Landing an internship is one of the best ways to get a head start on your career. In fact, a recent study from iCIMS showed that 70 percent of employers and recruiters say an internship is more important than a high GPA on a new graduate’s resume. But some places are definitely better than others when it comes to finding an internship. Students might find cities with more access to public transportation useful. And it’s hard to justify moving for an unpaid or low-pay internship to a city where rent is astronomical. Those are just two of the metrics GoodCall analysts used to rank the 2017 Best Cities for Summer Internships. These are cities that have a high number of available internships per capita, where cost of living is reasonable and crime isn’t rampant. They’re also generally nice places to live,
with abundant restaurants, bars and other amenities. Atlanta landed at 38 on the list of 100 cities. And according to a recent report from Vault.com, three Atlanta companies rank among best in America for internship programs. Mercedes-Benz USA LLC ranked No. 22 and The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) ranked No. 25 on the Most Prestigious Internship Programs list while The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) ranked No. 45 on the Top 50 Overall Internships. According to Internships.com, Forbes counts Atlanta on its Best Cities for Millennials and Best Cities for Jobs lists, it ranks third for 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs and is repeatedly cited as one of the best cities for African Americans to
Turner Field Community Trust Fund created for job training, affordable housing The Atlanta City Council approved, in a vote of nine to three, an ordinance by Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) to create a Trust Fund to benefit the communities surrounding the former Turner Field, including Summerhill, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, Pittsburgh, and a portion of Grant Park. The approved legislation is the first legislative victory for the students and activists of the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition, which has been petitioning the City and Georgia State University to create an equitable Community Benefits Agreement been the University and the surrounding neighborhoods. The ordinance would allocate money from the sale of city-owned properties around Turner Field to surrounding neighborhoods to be used solely to fund economic and community development initiatives such as the construction and preservation of affordable housing and job training. For any sale or lease proceeds up to $500,000, one hundred percent will go into the Trust Fund; for proceeds between $500,000.01 and $1 million the amount will be “a reasonable amount no less than 50 percent”; and for proceeds above $1 million, the amount will be “a reasonable
amount no less than 33 percent.” Georgia State University and partnering developers bought Turner Field in 2016 with the intention of turning it into the Georgia State Stadium after the Braves built a new stadium in Cobb County and moved to the suburbs. Voting in favor were Councilmembers Carla Smith (District 1), Kwanza Hall (District 2), Ivory Lee Young (District 3), Cleta Winslow (District 4), Alex Wan (District 6), CT Martin (District 10), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Bond and Andre Dickens (Post 3-at-large). Voting nay were Howard Shook (District 7), Yolanda Adrean (District 8), and Felicia Moore (District 9). Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11) abstained due to her former position as executive director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. Natalyn Archibong (District 5) and Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large) were absent. The Trust Fund ordinance now proceeds to Mayor Kasim Reed for action. On the initiative, Councilman Bond said, “We want to keep it community-focused, community-driven, and community-initiated. We want to continue to help facilitate what the community’s vision is for their own destiny.”
largest U.S. cities to compile the list, assessing which cities had the most opportunities and also where paychecks go the furthest. The publication factored each place’s unemployment rate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the increase in the working-age population from 2010 to 2015 for the results. Atlanta ranked No. 6 primarily on the strength of its 4.9 percent unemployment rate in October 2016, followed by its 31.61 percent increase in the working age population between 2010 and 2015. NerdWallet also determined that the median 2015 annual earnings for full-time workers in Atlanta was $50,424 and gave it high marks for a corresponding median monthly rent of $981 in 2015.
Georgia NAACP lawsuit challenges unlawful racial gerrymander At the end of April, the Georgia NAACP and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed suit against the State of Georgia and its Secretary of State to remedy an unlawful racial gerrymander. The suit, filed in federal court in Atlanta, claims that the redrawing of lines for Georgia House of Representatives Districts 105 and 111, in 2015, was done with a racially discriminatory purpose to favor the election of White incumbents – an alleged violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “Mid-decade redistricting has become another tactic used by those who seek to suppress the rights of minority voters in the face of racial demographic change,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Lawmakers in Georgia explicitly used race to reconfigure district boundaries to guarantee the reelection of white incumbents. Such conduct is discriminatory and illustrative of the ugly racial discrimination that infects the political process in Georgia today.” “The history of the struggle to disenfranchise people in the nation demonstrates that power concedes nothing without a demand. This litigation represents our demand that the ‘we’ in ‘We the People’ include all people,” said Francys Johnson, Statesboro Civil Rights attorney, and Georgia NAACP president. “In the fight to secure the right to vote and elect the candidates of our choice, the NAACP will mortgage every asset we have. These rights are sacred. Hallowed no less by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before us.” The Georgia House of Representatives is composed of 180 members, each of whom is elected from a single-member district. Traditionally, states adopt a new redistricting plan every 10 years, after the decennial Census, so as to comply with the Constitution’s “one person, one vote” requirement, according to the 100-year-old
state organization. The Georgia legislature, however, has repeatedly sought to amend its post-2010 redistricting plan for its House of Representatives, even though there is no legitimate reason to do so. It most recently did so in 2015 when it passed House Bill 566 (“H.B. 566”) in ways that departed from normal procedures. For example, African-American legislators serving on reapportionment committees were excluded from the process of determining the changes. Most important, H.B. 566 used race as the predominant factor to allocate AfricanAmerican and other minority voters into and out of House Districts 105 and 111, so as to reduce the ability of African-American and other voters to elect candidates of their choice. These changes were made against the backdrop of a growing African-American population in those two districts and recent elections that saw White Republican candidates just narrowly defeating Black Democratic candidates. “The people of Georgia deserve an electoral system that is fair and free of decisions based on racial gerrymandering and partisan gamesmanship,” said Jennifer Dempsey, partner Bryan Cave LLP. “We hope this lawsuit will advance that cause.” The Complaint alleges that the passage of H.B. 566, in the context of the historical discrimination against African Americans in Georgia and racially polarized voting, was intended, at least in part, to reduce the number of minority voters and increase the number of White voters to reduce minority voting strength in Districts 105 and 111, and was a racial gerrymander in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. In addition, the Complaint alleges that the redistricting plan is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander as it creates political classifications without any legitimate legislative objective. Plaintiffs in the suit include Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and several individuals who live in the contested Districts.
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May 18-24, 2017
Dorinda Walker: Overcoming hardship By Donald James A Special for Real Times Media Dorinda Walker has an epic story to tell. It’s a story of growing up with heroin-addicted parents, physical abuse, suicide attempts, dropping out of high school, exploring street life, and much more. Yet, Walker refused to allow the early chapters of her life story dictate the latter chapters, because today, she is vice president of multicultural marketing for a FORTUNE 100 Corporation. Yet, for Walker, growing up in New Jersey was rooted in dysfunction. “My father’s side of the family, for the most part, was gangsters, drug dealers, and number runners,” she explained. “My mother came from a well-educated family. However, she got involved in drugs.” Walker said her mother was a functional heroin-addict. To support her habit, she worked as a legal secretary and paralegal, but was caught one day stealing at a local supermarket. Walker, a little girl at the time, was with her. Facing a judge, Walker’s mother had to choose between jail and rehab; she chose rehab. As a result, Walker went to live with her father, who she described as a street hustler who sold pills in the 1970s to subsidize his heroin habit. During an altercation over $10, Walker said her father killed a man and was sent to prison. Walker again lived with her mother, who was now released from rehab. This living arrangement included a man, who her mother met in rehab. He was physically abusive to both Walker and her mother. “I felt that I was alone and didn’t have a voice,” Walker recalled. “I was afraid because I was shuffled around and abused. I was afraid if I had a voice I would have been considered a burden and thrown away. Therefore, I developed very low selfesteem, became angry and rebelled. In the 7th grade, I began getting failing grades. I had fights every day in school, and was suspended.” The fall of 8th grade, Walker’s father, according to Walker, was released from prison. Wanting to distance herself from the physical abuse dispensed by her mother’s boyfriend, Walker reunited with her father, who was living in the projects with his girlfriend. Things went well, said Walker, until her father was diagnosed with AIDS. Walker was devastated, and reacted.
“I dropped out of school, began selling drugs, and didn’t have any moral integrity,” she said. “I was dating older men and drug dealers. I also supplied my dad’s heroin habit. He was in and out of the hospital many times due to his condition. He felt God was punishing him for introducing my mother to drugs, for not being a good parent, and for killing a man.” Walker said her father eventually died, and her mother disappeared. Finding it difficult to deal with life, Walker twice attempted suicide. Eventually, through what she called, “God’s grace,” Walker went to live with an aunt, who she said had a successful professional career. Ultimately, Walker met a man, fell in love, married, and began having children. Her mother, whom she had not seen in 18 months, resurfaced with a crack addition. After going through rehab, once again, she relapsed. Walker’s mother
asked to move in with Dorinda. “Mom, there comes a time in one’s life when you have to love someone from a distance,” Walker told her mother. “I love you, but I cannot allow you to live with me and my family. I can’t subject my children, or myself, to your drug addiction anymore.” That was a defining moment in their relationship, Dorinda recalls her mom telling her years later “No, was the best gift you ever gave me. It forced her mom to choose between her love of family and her addiction of crack, and she chose family. They subsequently enjoyed 16 years of living in a three family home along with Dorinda’s maternal grandmother. Walker’s mother was later diagnosed with cancer, for a second time, “She died while in hospice care at my house,” Walker said. “I gave her something that I was not able to give my father, which was forgiveness. My forgiveness allowed her to die in peace.” Today, Walker and her husband of 24 years have three children and one granddaughter. Walker is also a successful corporate executive of multicultural marketing for a FORTUNE 100 Company. Independent of her professional work, Walker shares her life story with regularity with at-risk youth, drug addicts, and struggling women. While there are many tenets that Walker believes are liberators to one’s difficult past, there’s one that towers over the others. “Forgiveness,” Walker said. “You have to have the ability to forgive people, if you don’t you carry a weight that prevents you from living a life of joy and abundance.” Walker is now ready to tell her riveting story in a new book, and is looking at options about a movie and / or television series about her life. “I believe my story will benefit and empower people,” she said. “Many people may not be struggling with the same issues I had. But, if they are struggling, and don’t know how to overcome it. I want them to trust in the higher power of God, because if I made it, they can too!” For more information about Dorinda Walker, or to book her as an inspirational/motivational speaker, call 310.677.4540, or log on to www.dorindawalker.com. She can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dorindajwalker.
Four simple ways wellness and mindfulness can lead to wealth By Dr. Roshawnna Novellus In my yoga practice, I’m aware of my breath and the movements of my body. I turn my intentions into actions and bend my body to my will. The same is true of my wealth: I actively pursue my goals and turn my visions into reality by being present in every aspect of my career. So, this one goes out to all the people who claim not to have the time or money to do yoga. Maybe you still have excuses in the back of your mind like, “Yoga is too expensive!” or “I’m busy! I don’t have time to sit around like a flying swan.” Well, we’re going to put thoughts like those to rest. Here are four ways yoga works and will not only save you money, but also help you on your path to a more
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authentic life: You will reduce your stress, weight and medical bills Yoga is super effective at reducing not just stress, but also anxiety and blood pressure. Making long-term healthy habits like yoga means fewer sick days and fewer trips to the hospital. Yes, fancy yoga studios can be expensive, but no, you don’t have to go to one to get benefits. Depending on where you live there can be donation-based classes, and there are always cheap or free resources available all over the Internet. Finally, if you’ve read “The Power of Habit,” you’ll know that establishing healthy habits in one area will lead to being more mindful in other aspects of your life. This could mean saving massive amounts of money and adding happy, productive years to your life. Being mindful means you’ll spend more carefully If you’re more mindful, you’ll be way more careful with money. You’ll reduce chances of making impulse buys for things you don’t need on Amazon or at the store. And to be
honest, why buy things if they won’t help you live a more fulfilling life? Yoga works and can provide the invaluable time for you to connect with your mind and body. It can give you with the space to see your true self and check impulses that don’t connect with your goals. I attribute my success to my mindful pursuit of the manifestation of my dreams. Remember, wealth and mindfulness are connected — and you deserve both. This isn’t an act of penny-pinching or greed. It’s an act of self-love. It’s about appreciating yourself, and being aware of the desires and goals that will lead you to a life of fulfillment. You will become more active in general Think about it like this: if you’ve just done yoga, checked in with yourself about your goals and dreams, are you really going to want to sit in front of the TV for hours, space out on the Internet or eat a bunch of snacks? No way. If you feel fitter and sharper mentally, are you more likely to be up for more adventures, quit bad habits and take more calculated risks? Yes, Indeed.
You’ll build a stronger social network When it comes to after-work socializing, who do you think it’s better to hang with: The ones checking out at happy hour or those checking in with themselves at yoga? Yoga classes lead to friendships, support or maybe even business opportunities. At the very least you’ll be happier and friendlier. Sure, happy hours can be a fun and easy way to socialize. But at the end of the day, which is the more productive and cheaper go to? Is yoga or a cocktail haze more likely to help you meet your financial life goals? Too much alcohol can disconnect you from yourself and make you sluggish. Set a focus, make goals and take charge of your life. Yoga can help. Don’t drift away in a happy hour haze or get lost in impulses to buy, buy, buy. Spiritual connectivity and wealth go hand in hand. Get in touch with yourself and see what you can really do.
Hammonds House Museum marks new era with visionary leadership Arts management and Museum and develop a new administration veteran Leatrice framework to move us into the next Ellzy has been tapped by the 30 years,” says Ellzy who is known Hammonds House Museum for engaging new solutions for board of trustees to serve as old problems, and new responses interim executive director. Ellzy to old questions. “Our theme for brings a unique set of experiences the anniversary celebration is to the role, having over 28 years of REVIVAL. It speaks to the spirit executive experience in non-profit of where we’ve been and where management and development, we’re going. My predecessors have broadcast, media relations, arts left a solid foundation to build presenting and technology. Her upon. My sleeves are rolled up experience includes stints at Leatrice Ellzy and I’m immersing myself in this two of Atlanta’s major arts institutions: The awesome work. We invite the community of Woodruff Arts Center, where she developed artists, scholars, patrons and friends to engage and executed its Celebrate Diversity initiative, or re-engage with Hammonds House Museum and the National Black Arts Festival, where she and help us fortify the organization for future served as the director of artistic programming generations.” and new technology. “The HHM board is so pleased that Leatrice Ellzy joins a great legacy of leadership of has agreed to join the leadership team of the HHM, coming on board as the institution’s HHM, and build off the legacy of this amazing third executive director, following Ed Spriggs, institution to take it to new heights,” says HHM the institution’s inaugural director, and Myrna board chair Imara Canady. “She is a seasoned, Anderson-Fuller, who having had a very internationally respected arts administrator successful career in both the corporate and non- and programmer, and we know that she will profit sectors, was an inaugural board member do great work during her tenure at HHM, and for HHM and retired from her 13-year stint as in collaboration with the board, to continue to its second executive director in early May. make this institution great, and present some of “I am excited to have an opportunity to the best, brightest and most innovative artists refresh the vision for Hammonds House that the world has seen.”
Living wage sought by Council President Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell calls for the City to recommit to paying its employees a living wage to lift its full time employees above poverty wages and longevity pay to retain experienced long time workers. First, President Mitchell is calling for the Atlanta City Council to “raise the floor” at City Hall, and adopt a $15 Living Wage for all city employees. The city began its efforts to pay a Living Wage in the early 2000s, but since that time has fallen short of implementation. “Today I am calling for a new pact. A new promise. A promise to fight to make $15 the new floor at City Hall! Raising the minimum wage for city employees helps lift families out of poverty, helps keep kids in school, keeps families together and strengthens our communities,” Council President Mitchell said. “Paying workers a living wage makes Atlanta a better community,” “When we pay more, we get more. We get workers who stay longer, who know more about the city and how it works. It changes a job into a career, and makes workers care about their future with the city. This makes them more accountable to you, the people they serve,” he said. As such, Council President Mitchell will also address the issue of longevity pay. This plan came out of the Employee Compensation Technical Advisory Group that the Council
President convened and led. The longevity bonuses were intended to have been an annual incentive, but were mysteriously omitted in the FY18 Budget. These are bonus payments for long term employees of the city -- those who have been employed with the City for 10 years or more. The entire fiscal impact is roughly $860,000, and like the $1,000,000 commitment recently made to the arts community, will not put public safety or other critical city operations at risk. In fact, this investment in the city workforce will enhance morale and productivity. “I led this effort and we passed a plan to reward and keep our best people working hard for our city. Whether that be the sergeant in the police force who has developed the relationships in the neighborhoods he patrols, or the fireman who knows the best routes to get to a fire; having people who know how to do the job matters to Atlantans,” Mitchell said. “Hard working city employees have made a commitment to the city. They are the reason that our city is successful. We need to deliver on our commitment to them. “We further must retain our employees who have the experience and the knowledge to get things done for the residents of this city,” said Mitchell. “Paying our employees a living wage is key to delivering the services our residents deserve.”
May 18-24, 2017
Ebenezer hosts Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative townhall Ebenezer Baptist Church hosted a town hall to brief community members on the upcoming July launch of the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative. During the pilot year of the initiative, beat officers from the City of Atlanta Police Department’s Zones 5 and 6 will identify 100-150 non-violent individuals caught in the revolving door of the criminal justice system to receive housing, social services, and other assistance to break the cycle of arrests, court trials, and jail time in which they have been trapped for years. The beats selected for the year-long pilot include portions of Downtown, Midtown, and the Old Fourth Ward. Most of the beats are in Atlanta City Council District 2. The town hall was the culmination of more than four years of work by community activists, city and county elected officials, and the staff of many departments from the City of Atlanta and Fulton County. In April 2015, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners adopted six strategic priority areas, one of which was “All People are Safe”. A strategy outlined within the “All People are Safe” priority area was to create more effective approaches to addressing the increasing populations of mentally ill, drug/alcohol-
dependent, and homeless individuals that are overwhelming the public safety system.” The Board sought, as a strategic measure, to address the number of individuals that suffer from mental and substance abuse illnesses who are arrested and incarcerated. The most effective practices across the nation illustrate that Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiatives have a significant impact on (1) quality of life improvement in communities, (2) reducing the number of inmates in jail facilities, and (3) the successful, redirection of the mentally ill and those suffering from addiction to receipt of services that result in reduced contact with the Criminal Justice System. APD Chief Erika Shields was a member of the Design Team for the initiative when she was Deputy Chief of Police. Since her appointment as Chief of Police at the start of 2017, she has sent a clear message of support. “Pre-Arrest Diversion provides the tools our officers are asking for to help communities address the challenges of drug addiction, mental illness and poverty. We know we cannot arrest our way out of the problem, and we know that our officers cannot do it alone. But with PAD we can be a vital part of helping people put their lives back together.”
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May 18-24, 2017
Changing seasons with interior designer Michel Smith Boyd
Protect yourself from CyberAttack If you regularly ignore your computer’s prompting to install updates, this past weekend’s widespread cyberattack was likely just the reality check you needed to stop. The WannaCry cyberattack – a ransomware computer worm targeting the Microsoft Windows operating system -- hit more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries last week. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that takes over a computer and locks the user out, preventing them from accessing and demanding ransom payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 28 languages. Fortunately, before the malware could do damage in the United States, a British researcher, known as “MalwareTech,” quickly identified its kill switch. While Microsoft did release a patch for the vulnerability in March, computers and networks
that didn’t update their systems were still at risk. So, how do you make sure you’re protected going forward? According to CNN Tech, the first step is to install any software updates immediately and do so on a regular basis. Turn on auto-updaters where available (Microsoft offers that option). Microsoft also recommends running its free anti-virus software for Windows. If you don’t already have a backup routine, start now and regularly save copies of all your files so if your machine becomes infected and your documents are encrypted, you won’t lose them. Finally, be vigilant. Don’t click on links that you don’t recognize, or download files from people you don’t know personally.
3 ways to boost mental toughness in fitness By Lashawn Henighan
By Tiara Cole Michel Smith Boyd’s passion for interior design can best be described as a marriage between architecture and fashion. He successfully combines the two by capturing luxury design while complementing many design styles and on-trend fashion choices at once, and has become one of the most sought out interior designers in the Atlanta area. No stranger to the urge many feel to rearrange their decorative spaces as seasons change, expect to see more colors – rich palettes, bright colors and jewel tones — in his Boyd’s work as summer approaches, building on his typical repertoire of fashion-forward layers, patterns, textures, and textiles with classic furniture silhouettes. “Clients who want lots of color in their spaces have a distinctive personality. They’re confident in making bold statements and want to be inspired,” he says. “They want their own sanctuary where they can come in and turn off their busy lives.” It is particularly important, he notes, for designers to know how to adjust the foundation of a home according to the season. His approach: Opting for neutral and cool grey toned walls, rugs, and sofas, while allowing less expensive items to incorporate the color. Timeless core furniture pieces, he explains, will allow for easy, cost effective updates when seasons change. Boyd’s motto while designing is making sure clients understand what he is communicating. “I am constantly inspired by other designers in all forms. Filmmakers, photographers, and musicians all have their own unique way of communicating their point of view to their audiences. So if you don’t get it, I didn’t do my job.”
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I used to wonder why I would have amazing practices but then my mind would sometimes lock up on competition day. I had my steps down; I had run down the runway so many times. I knew the rhythm (after all, a long jumper needs speed, technique and rhythm). I learned much later that I was doing the work to get my body right by practicing every day, but I wasn’t doing the mental work to prepare for competition. It was frustrating — knowing that most things we do in life require us to be mentally prepared, and yet I wasn’t doing the work I needed holistically to be 100 percent ready for competition. I was a great athlete, but more importantly — I was so close to being an extraordinary athlete. Mental toughness is necessary for you to succeed in your fitness journey, and maintaining that toughness highly depends on your “why” motivation. Some things you can do to heighten your mental toughness are: 1. Once you begin to feel fatigued, do three more repetitions or hold your static position for five more seconds. This is a fundamental lesson in mental toughness. Do you ever get to the last set of an exercise, when you’re the most tired, and just wing those last couple of reps so you can say that you finished the exercise? Well, this is where you need to learn to push yourself to the max. Your body will give out well before your mind. So push yourself. Feel that burn, and finish those sets with finesse. Your body will thank you. 2. Use your “why” to override your distractions. If your why isn’t enough to get you out of the bed, off the couch, or to get you to your workout area, then it’s not big enough. This
is another fundamental rule of mental toughness. You need a why in fitness, your career and in your life. Ask yourself: What makes me tick? What pushes you to be and do your absolute best so that you can reap the benefits in the future? Is it so you can be around for your children or other loved ones? Is it because you have a legacy you want to leave … A job you want to complete? Is it a life or death situation? Whatever it is, it should be more important than you flipping channels or looking for that next Netflix Original movie to binge watch. Fitness requires a mental toughness and willingness to stick to your why. 3. Focusing on the progress will push you farther than focusing on the result. Have you ever heard the phrase “Enjoy the journey”? It couldn’t be more fitting in this case. When you’re constantly obsessing over what you’re going to look like after this fitness journey is over, you make yourself miserable in the process because you’re focused on something that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, try focusing on being in the moment. When you experience each moment, you get to learn more and more about yourself — including what impedes you and what motivates you. When you’re enjoying the journey, you tend to reach your ultimate goals much faster, because you’re living in the now. Letting go of hampering ideals about perfection is really the name of this game. Perfection simply doesn’t exist and fitness isn’t a one-way destination. It’s a lifestyle change and journey that you set out on for the rest of your life. The benefits — a healthy mind and body. You have to want it badly enough for yourself that you can kick those bad habits of starting and stopping for good. Push yourself; remember your WHY, and focus on the progress, not the result if you want a more fulfilled fitness journey.
Kennesaw State’s Black Studies Program in danger of being cut Kennesaw State University faced recent pushback from student protestors when it revealed plans to deactivate its African American studies degree. The university has since said it will continue the program, at least through the 2017-18 academic year, and will decide whether to continue its African and African Diaspora Studies program after the 20172018 academic year, pending successful recruiting efforts. According to the university, the program, which started in 2004, consistently failed to meet the minimum number of enrollees and graduates recommended by the Georgia State Board of Regents. In the last five years, an average of only 10 students were enrolled in the program as majors, according to an enrollment report from the Board of Regents. This year, no one will graduate from the African and African Diaspora Studies program like in years 2014 and 2015; five students graduated with the degree in 2016; and the program produced one
graduate in 2013, according to KSU’s Office of Academic Affairs. A total of 10 students are currently enrolled in the program, the university reports. Enrollment numbers for AfricanAmerican studies programs at other state universities aren’t much higher. In the last five years, the University of Georgia enrolled an average of just four students in its African-American Studies program. Savannah State University, a smaller, historically black college, had an average of nine students. Georgia State University is an exception to that trend, enrolling an average of 46 students over those five years. Kennesaw State is now working with its African and African Diaspora Studies program leaders to develop a plan to attract more students. In the spring of 2018, the university intends to evaluate the program again to determine its viability.
May 18-24, 2017
Physicist Katherine G. Johnson receives honorary degree at Spelman College Physicist and Mathematician Katherine G. Johnson, will receive an honorary degree at Spelman College during Commencement at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 21, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. Johnson is a pioneer in American space history. The physicist and mathematician made contributions to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, Johnson received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and French from West Virginia State University before conducting technical work at NASA that spanned decades. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for NASA flights from Mercury though the Space Shuttle programs. Her calculations were critical to the success of these programs, including the NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Johnson also executed calculations for plans for a mission to Mars. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Valerie Jarrett to deliver commencement address to Spelman College Class of 2017 Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has had a consequential impact across the American political, civic and business landscape. Jarrett will share wisdom and perspectives about her leadership roles with 490 graduates of the Spelman College class of 2017 during her Commencement address at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 21, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. She will also receive the National Community Service Award at the ceremony. “As a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and as a leader committed to service, Valerie Jarrett embodies the attributes that inspire Spelman women,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “She is adept at leading change. A skilled collaborator, she is able to balance disparate interests and points of view in order to effect meaningful change. We are honored to have Ms. Jarrett as our 130th Commencement speaker.” Raised in London, Chicago, and Shiraz, Iran, Jarrett oversaw the White House offices of public engagement and international affairs; and she also chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls during the Obama administration. Her role involved mobilizing elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class, boost American businesses and the U.S. economy, and champion equality and opportunity for all Americans. Jarrett helped President Obama develop a broad coalition of partners to execute a robust agenda through her oversight of the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families; leadership of campaigns to reform the
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SOUTH DEKALB CAMPUS U.S. criminal justice system; and efforts to end sexual assault and reduce gun violence. Prior to joining the Obama administration, she was co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and held leadership positions for The Habitat Company, Chicago’s Transit Board and Department of Planning and Development, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, the Chicago Stock Exchange, the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Jarrett earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and Juris Doctor from University of Michigan Law School.
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May 18-24, 2017
The O’Jays and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly play Chastain Park Amphitheater
Sign of the times: ‘In times like these’
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and The O’Jays will play at Chastain Park Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. on June 9, 2017. Tickets start at $79.
For nearly 30 years, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly has created a unique sound and become one of the most influential groups in modern history. The ‘80s brought the release of the best-selling albums, “Golden Time of Day,” “Inspiration,” “Joy and Pain,” containing a list of chart-topping singles including “Travelin’ Man,” “Feel That You’re Feeling,” and “Joy and Pain,” to name a few. The group gained worldwide appeal with its legendary sold-out live appearances, and released the deluxe album Live in New Orleans which captured the energy, excitement and electricity of a Maze stage show and offered a fourth side of new studio material which included the hit single “Running Away”. In 1983, with the release of “We Are One,” Frankie Beverly & Maze solidified their international standing. The O’Jays are a connection to an era and a sound that formed the soundtrack for the lives of several generations and they still showcase
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the same electrifying energy they’ve had for over 50 years. In 1963, the band took the name The O’Jays in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. Several members have changed, but the core, original lead singers Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, continue to front the group. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, the group was honored with BET’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2009. In 2013, they were inducted into The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame. Today, the songs of The O’Jays are still being used in many movies, commercials and TV shows — including “For The Love of Money” which continues to be the theme song for “The Apprentice.” Throughout their career The O’Jays have achieved 10 Gold albums, 9 Platinum albums and 10 #1 hits. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
‘Letter to the President’ addresses resistance movements for Hip Hop Appreciation Week In honor of Hip-Hop Appreciation Week 2017, the Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Bob Fest, HABESHA, and the FTP Movement, hosted a screening of “Letter to the President” in which iconic Hip Hop stars take turns discussing the history of the genre, the current state of American inner cities, and the need for a return to “conscious rap.” Narrated by Snoop Dogg, “Letter to the President” includes interviews with KRSOne, 50 Cent, Damon Dash, Ghostface Killah, Dick Gregory and Amiri Baraka -showcasing the close-knit ties between the Hip Hop music community and America’s social and political policy in the last 30 years. Even before hip-hop, black musical artists of the past have been at the forefront of civil rights and black power movements of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. The documentary details how these movements were ostensibly destroyed by the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover, while outlining rap’s birth from those movements and its own progression from being music heard at weekend block parties to its lyrics being debated in the halls of Congress. “Letter to the President” delves deeply into President Ronald Reagan’s policies that negatively affected minority communities and
To make his debut album, “In Times Like These,” noted activist, author, documentary filmmaker and theologian Rev. Osagyefo Sekou went back to his Southern home searching for his family’s musical roots in the deep Arkansas blues and gospel traditions. Produced by six-time Grammy nominated Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, featuring Luther’s brother Cody Dickinson, and supported by Thirty Tigers, Sekou’s debut solo album is a new vision for what Southern blues and rock can mean today. “In Times Like These” is drenched with the sweat and tears of the Mississippi River, the great tributary that ties so much of the South together. The album’s sonic landscape captures the toil of Southern field hands, the guttural cry of chain gangs, the vibrancy of contemporary street protest, backwoods juke joints, and shotgun churches — all saturated with Pentecostal sacred steel and soul legacy. “In Times Like These’s” opening song, “Resist,” begins with a rousing speech given by Rev. Sekou at a rally in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the shooting of Michael Brown. Upon hearing about Brown’s death, Sekou immediately returned to his hometown of St. Louis, taking to the streets in a series of protests and interfaith demonstrations that led to his being arrested multiple times. “Resist” surrounds the listener with the spirit of protest. The images of Ferguson’s protests are burned into Sekou’s mind even today, and led to his moving cover of Bob Marley’s classic, “Burnin’ and Lootin’,” which captures the feeling of the riots. “In Times Like These” — the album’s title track — confronts the sense of helplessness that many feel in this current political moment. Carried by congas and explosive steel guitar, the song moves around the central line “In times like this, ain’t no one going to save us, we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
May 18-24, 2017
inspired pioneer rap artists such as Grandmaster Melle Mel and Run DMC to tell the whole world about it in song. Then in the “glamorous” ‘80s, as some people prospered and many minority communities suffered, artists such as Russell Simmons struggled to get laws overturned that targeted those minorities. Among the talking heads, the late journalist Gary Webb (author of “Dark Alliance”) consulted on and appears in the documentary discussing his groundbreaking story of the CIA selling cocaine in vulnerable communities in the United States in order to finance its secret war in Nicaragua. Recording artist and activist Kate Rhea discussed the U.S. prison system that targets blacks for imprisonment and forced labor. The facts bear out her assertions: In the year preceding the making of this film, U.S. prisons grew by 900 inmates a week with 61 percent of the prison population being non-white. The screening, hosted by Kalonji Changa, included a postviewing discussion facilitated by community activist Server Tavares on the history and contemporary relevance of Hip-Hop culture as a tool for Black empowerment, and its ongoing misappropriation and commodification.
‘Trek to the River’s Edge’ revisits Atlanta Student Movement The Auburn Avenue Research Library, will host a screening of the film a “Trek to the River’s Edge” on May 18 at 7 p.m. This compelling documentary film examines the Atlanta Student Movement of the 1960’s outlining the strategic plan of action implemented by local Atlanta young adults to challenge the city’s Jim Crow laws. Via interviews with many of the participants in the Atlanta Student Movement, this film provides firsthand accounts of the struggles and triumphs which led to full citizenship and equality for all African Americans. On February 5, 1960 Lonnie King and Julian Bond discussed the idea of following in the footsteps of the Greensboro sit-ins with the idea to organize similar actions in Atlanta. Lonnie King was summoned to the president’s office where the presidents of all six Atlanta University Center colleges challenged him and other students to write a document, rather than to proceed with immediate direct action such as organizing Sit-ins. The students, while considering the proposal by the AUC presidents of the creation of a document a delaying tactic, did begin work on such a document. They formed a committee that drafted and appeal to describe both their complaints as well as their desired goals for proposed change. This Committee on Appeal for Human
Rights focused their document An Appeal for Human Rights on putting an end to the unjust system of racial segregation that was present in every aspect of their society — something the students would simply no longer stand by and accept. These Atlanta students considered it to be the right time for change, considered the changes achievable by nonviolent means, and began to lead over mostly objections expressed by their elder community leaders, who strongly preferred a more conservative approach, such as litigation through the courts. Lonnie King, Julian Bond, Roslyn Pope, Herschelle Sullivan, Carolyn Long, Frank Smith, Joseph Pierce, among others students formed the original Committee on Appeal for Human Rights which drafting An Appeal for Human Rights which was originally published on March 9, 1960. Within six days of the publication of An Appeal for Human Rights, the students began the Atlanta Student Movement sit-ins on March 15, 1960, which were an integral part of the 1960s sit-in movement of the Civil Rights Movement. This event includes a post screening discussion with filmmaker/director, Althea Brown, and several activists involved in the 1960 Atlanta Student Movement.
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May 18-24, 2017
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LEGAL NOTICE NOTICE OF ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE RE: 2009 Hino 338 Mfr. ID No.: 5PVNV8JT992S51275 License No.: C9 79AI COLOR: White BODY STYLE: Conventional Cab Truck Delivery TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN The above automobile is presently located at 925 Greensboro Drive S.W., Atlanta GA 30336, in possession of Import Trucks of Atlanta. Attempts to locate the owner have been unsuccessful. The vehicle is deemed abandoned under O.C.G.A. 40-11-2 and will be disposed of if not redeemed. This notice is given pursuant to Georgia Law.
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May 18-24, 2017
by Brian L. Pauling
by Charlene Crowell
End the killing of black children by police The time is now for America’s legislative body at the state and local levels to bring a full stop to the endless harassment and killing of black children at the hands of the men and women in law enforcement sworn to protect and serve them. Of those that made the news, Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old from a Dallas suburb was the latest victim of law enforcement. Jordan’s death follows an unrelenting pattern of black children who are subjected to undue harassment and excessive force, or death, by police officers. Many of these reported killings have taken place in settings where children are simply doing what young people do in the course of their daily life. In school, at social events, in playgrounds and on their streets black children are harassed, tormented or killed by police officers. For victims, their families and the greater community, the trauma of these acts against children is too much to bear. These acts also shed light on our state and local legislative bodies as institutions that have not acted in the better interest of keeping our children safe. After waiting months, we have learned the U.S. Department of Justice will not file charges against the two Baton Rouge police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, for the death of Alton Sterling last summer in a convenience store parking lot. Now, it is up to the Louisiana State Attorney General to decide whether to pursue criminal charges
against these two police officers. Will the state attorney general fail citizens, too? The failure to prosecute and convict nearly every officer involved in fatal force shooting of unarmed black people, underscores the urgent matter of substantive accountability and justice. The police officer who killed Jordan Edwards was swiftly terminated, but that is not accountability in measure to the life he took. Police officers are public servants. They answer to municipal and state elected officials. When will our elected officials stand for justice and ensure that the children of our communities are protected and served rather than harassed and killed? Do we need to elect new legislators in order for them to take notice and take action regarding these egregious killings and traumatic treatment of our citizens? Police officers, by law, are granted an extraordinary range of authority to make life and death decisions. It is time for elected representatives to use their authority — entrusted by the public who vote them into office — to rein in police officers by changing the laws that shield them. The safety of our children, wherever they may be, begins and ends with elected representatives who enact laws and have the power to hold their subordinates accountable for their actions or failures. We certainly will hold them accountable on Election Day.
CFPB lawsuit seeks consumer restitution from high-cost online installment lenders Four online lenders offering high-cost, small-dollar installment loans face a federal lawsuit alleging that the lenders collected on debts that consumers did not legally owe. Filed in late April by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the lawsuit charges online lenders Golden Valley Lending, Silver Cloud Financial, Mountain Summit Financial and Majestic Lake Financial as having engaged in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts. The lawsuit also alleges the businesses did not make proper disclosures to consumers. Consumers living in 17 states are affected by the lawsuit. If successful, the lawsuit could result in restitution for affected consumers, ban future loan collections, and civil monetary penalties. According to CFPB, since at least 2012, the lenders sold installment loans valued from $300 and as large as $1,200 that carried annual percentage rates from a low of 440 percent to as high as 950 percent. These high interest rates allegedly violate state usury laws and in turn, void all of part of the loans. CFPB alleges that the four corporations unlawfully collected loans as the transactions violated state laws, as well as the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As such, the firms: • Failed to disclose the real cost of credit, including the annual percentage rates on the loads made; • Deceived consumers about loan payments that were not owed; and • Collected loan payments which consumers did not owe. “We allege that these companies made deceptive demands and illegally took money from peoples’ bank accounts. We are seeking to stop these violations and get relief for consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The standard loan repayment schedule was one payment every two weeks or 20 payments over a 10 month period of time. For each payment made, a “servicer fee” was charged, usually $30 for every $100 in outstanding principal, plus 5 percent of the original principal. For example, on an $800 loan, borrowers would actually repay $3,320 over the 10-month repayment schedule.
To provide context for just how costly these loans were, in less than six months from August to December of 2013 - two of the firms, Silver Cloud and Golden Valley, originated approximately $27 million in loans; but collected $44 million from consumers. In recent years, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has advocated against predatory payday and car title lenders who have been pushing longer-term loans that can be as high as $10,000. “For these loans, the packaging is different but the end result is the same: a triple-digit interest rate, long-term loan that is structured to give payday lenders access to borrowers’ bank accounts and keep them stuck in a cycle of unaffordable debt,” said Diane Standaert, a CRL EVP and Director of State Policy. “This growing issue will not be resolved until a combination of legislation, regulation and enforcement are together ensuring that consumers and the financial marketplace will be protected. Complete consumer protection will occur when the financial marketplace is comprised of lenders who serve, rather than exploit, consumers,” Standaert concluded. Last year, CFPB returned $39 million to consumers wronged by unlawful debt collection practices and additionally collected $20 million in civil penalties. As of March 2017, CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion to 29 million Americans harmed by illegal and predatory actions of financial companies. However, CFPB’s ability to continue to protect consumers remains in jeopardy. Recent legislation introduced in the House of Representatives would strip the agency of its authority and independence. The Financial CHOICE Act, dubbed ‘the Wrong CHOICE Act’ by consumer advocates, would reverse consumer protection advanced by CFPB over a range of lending areas. On May 4, the measured was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on a 34-26 vote. A full floor vote on the bill is expected in mid-May. “Among other things, the ‘Wrong CHOICE Act’ would prevent the consumer agency from regulating small dollar loans and initiating enforcement actions against the unfair, deceptive and abusive practices of predatory actors,” said Melissa Stegman, a senior policy counsel with CRL.
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May 18-24, 2017
It takes time and materials to build a Habitat for Humanity home, but it also takes people who care. Together, they make dreams come true for the new owners of homes sponsored by Publix Charities.
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