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Vol. 16 No. 19

Showing the Way to Truth and Justice

May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009

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FOR THE KIDS Thompson joins fight for child care

ADOVOCATING FOR CHILDREN —City Comptroller William Thompson, candidate for mayor of New York City, joined thousands of concerned parents seeking childcare facilities for children. He urged the City to put children’s needs first. (See Story On Page 2)

New York State Assembly passes same-sex bill (See Story On Page 3)


NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

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From steps of City Hall, Council Member Mathieu Eugene speaks out for children of low-income families.

DC 1707 fights for childcare availability for poor families By Donna Lamb Kim Medina to Michael Bloomberg: “Get ready to rumble.” With these words - and quite a few more that aptly fit the situation - the DC 1707 AFSCME president put the Mayor on notice that her union is not going to allow him to pay down the budget deficit on the backs of its members and the City’s most vulnerable residents: the young children of low-income families that rely on New York’s subsidized childcare system. As Medina explained at a legislative breakfast sponsored by City Council Finance Committee Chair David Weprin for his fellow council members, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) provides center-based childcare to 22,000 children ages 2 to 5 in over 300 childcare centers. These operations, which include comprehensive educational programs with certified teachers, are the only centerbased childcare programs available to families in low-income communities. But now the City plans to eliminate about 3,300 of these slots in daycare centers currently providing kindergarten educational services to 5year-olds. Not only will this reduction leave parents in the lurch as to daycare, it will result in thousands of 5-yearolds being forced into the

overcrowded public schools, with many being bussed out of their neighborhoods. As Neal Tepel, assistant to the executive director of DC 1707, further illuminated, far from saving the City money, it will actually cost about $7 million more to educate these children in public schools due to the cost of bussing and building modifications to accommodate the influx. Given the fact that the school system is already overburdened and can barely accommodate the children already in it, this move will be a lose-lose situation all the way around. Throughout the legislative breakfast, it was evident that most councilmembers are in complete agreement with DC 1707 about the harmfulness of these cuts. Speaking of what he called “the injustice of a two-tiered society where there is one set of rules for the well off and another set for everyone else,” Council Member Eric Gioia said it begins when a child is about three years old. “The upper-middle-class and wealthy folks have the wherewithal to send their kids to preschool which gives them an excellent foundation for advancement in life. Everyone else struggles and says, ‘I know my children should be having supervised childcare and getting educated early, but what am I supposed to do since I can’t afford it?’ Children listen attentively to rally speaker. “We need to start a new dis(Photos by Donna Lamb) cussion about how we’re going

to guarantee that every single three-year-old in New York City has a right to childcare,” Gioia continued. “This isn’t just about us; this is about a generation of our children.” In a noontime press conference from the steps of City Hall, even more councilmembers added their voices. This included Council Member Mathieu Eugene who pointed out, “We always say that the children are our future. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that we mean what we say. We have a moral obligation to provide all children with an environment that gives them the best opportunity to grow physically, mentally and educationally. The right thing to do is to save our daycare.” This last statement struck a chord with the children from the Audrey Johnson Day Care Learning Center, who began to chant and were soon joined by others, “Save our daycare!” Gesturing toward the children, City Comptroller Bill Thompson stated, “These are more than just numbers to be shifted from one column to another on a page. These are our children, and this plan would be detrimental to them and to our schools. So I call on the Mayor and ACS to reconsider their plan and put forth another one based on one simple rule: Put the needs of our children first!” And it didn’t stop there. On May 5, an estimated crowd of

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NYS Assembly passes same sex marriage bill parents who want their children to be treated equally under the law and individuals who want nothing more than to protect their partners and families.” The bill (A.7732) would amend the Domestic Relations Law, to give same-sex couples the opportunity to legally marry in New York State and make all provisions of state law applicable to same-sex marriages. The measure specifically provides that no member of the clergy can be compelled to perform any marriage ceremony. When the Assembly last passed marriage equality in 2007, Massachusetts was the only state that allowed same-sex marriage. Today, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine permit same-sex marriages. While laws in Connecticut and Iowa were implemented by judicial decision, Vermont and Maine passed measures through their respective state legislatures. Both houses in New Hampshire have also passed a same-sex marriage bill, which is awaiting approval or veto by their governor. California courts consented to marriage between same-sex partners for five months last year before the approval of a statewide referendum that instructs the state government to acknowledge only marriages between a man and a

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ON EDUCATION — The Rev. Al Sharpton, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with White House press corps after meeting with President Obama. (Credit: Khalid Naji-Allah)

Al Sharpton tells why he attended White House meeting with Gingrich By. Hazel Trice Edney NNPA Editor-in-Chief WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Republican Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House who once outlined a 10-point-plan called the “Contract With America” that civil rights leaders fiercely attacked as a “Con-

Anti-torture bill introduced in New York State Assembly Physicians and other health care professionals licensed by New York would be prohibited from participating in torture or improper treatment of a prisoner under a bill approved by a key Assembly Committee this week. The bill, A. 6665, is sponsored by Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senate Health Committee chair Thomas K. Duane. It was favorably reported by the Assembly Higher Education Committee, which has jurisdiction over professional licensure, and now goes to the Assembly

Codes Committee, which reviews bills that have a penalty provision. Citing recently-disclosed Justice Department documents on the role of health care practitioners in CIA “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Gottfried said: “Whether one regards waterboarding or abdominal slapping as ‘enhanced interrogation’ or torture, we should not be sending young people to medical school and giving them a license to practice healing so they can aid and enable a police officer, prison guard, or CIA agent to in-

Richard N. Gottfried

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tract on America.” He also once encouraged the Republican Party to disregard authentic Black leaders, saying, “It is in the interest of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan to invent new Black leaders, so to speak.” Gingrich’s leadership style has been described by political commentators such as Dr. Ron Walters, as “aggressively narrow, mean-spirited and even hateful”. Why then would quintessential Black activist and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton be planning a march and rally near the White House this Saturday, at which Gingrich has been invited to speak? And why did they attend a meeting together last week with President Barack Obama? Sharpton answered these questions during an interview with the NNPA News Service: “There is no agreement. He and I are not working together,” says Sharpton. “He’s coming to say, ‘Yes there is a race gap.’ But, he and I are not working together.” It all started at Sharpton’s National Action Network annual convention last month, Sharpton recalls. Gingrich attended the convention in order to debate Sharpton on issues. “Every year, I debate a right winger at my convention,”

Sharpton said. He noted that he has also debated conservative talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. “When I challenged Gingrich on racial inequality, he disagreed with me on vouchers, but he agreed with me that there was racial inequality. ‘I said you ought to be at our march commemorating Brown vs. Board of Education. He said, I will’,” Sharpton recalled. That convention also featured a speech by Vice President Joe Biden while Obama was on his tour of Europe. When NAN reached out to the White House for a meeting on educational inequities, Sharpton said it was the Obama Administration that asked Sharpton to attend the meeting with Gingrich, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and mayors of two of the nation’s largest cities, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also a Republican, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also a Republican. Villaraigosa was not able to attend. “The White House said that since he came to my convention, they would invite him to this meeting so they could hear all sides,” Sharpton recounted. “We had a very frank and blunt meeting for

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Social Security, Medicare finances face depletion Social Security and Medicare are fading even faster under the weight of the recession, heading for insolvency years sooner than previously expected, the government warned Tuesday. Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, a year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner, trustees reported. Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year, just as it did for the first time in 2008. The trustees project that the

Medicare fund will be depleted by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year’s report. The trust funds — which exist in paper form in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W.Va. — are bonds that are backed by the government’s “full faith and credit” but not by any actual assets. That money has been spent over the years to fund other parts of government. To redeem the trust fund bonds, the government would have to borrow in public debt markets or raise taxes. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the head of the trustees group, said the new reports were a reminder that “the longer

President Barack Obama

we wait to address the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the sooner those challenges will be upon us and the harder the options will be.” Geithner said that President Barack Obama was committed to working with Congress to find ways to control runaway growth in both public and private health care expenditures, noting the promise Monday by major health care providers to trim costs by $2 trillion over the next decade. However, Republicans pointed to the newly dire assessments as evidence the Obama administration has failed to come forward with actual entitlement reform to close the funding gaps.

“Instead of getting existing public programs in order right now, some are saying we should create a new government-run health insurance plan,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a reference to the administration’s health care proposals. “When we can’t afford the public health plan we have already, does it make sense to add more?” House Republican leader John Boehner said the trustees report “confirms what we already knew: Our nation cannot afford to continue this reckless borrowing and spending spree.”

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NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell on Tuesday announced the passage of a marriage equality bill that allows same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil marriages. The measure, a program bill introduced by Governor Paterson and sponsored by O’Donnell, grants same-sex couples the same legal recognition afforded to couples of the opposite sex. In 2007, the Assembly passed a similar marriage equality bill, 85 to 61, with bipartisan support. Tuesday’s vote of 89 to 52 (unofficial total) also gained approval from majority and minority members from throughout the state. “This is a matter of equity and justice. New Yorkers should have the right to marry who they chose. Partners unable to enter into a civil marriage, and their children, lack basic legal protections taken for granted by married couples,” said Silver (DManhattan). “The Assembly cast another vote today for equality, and sent a strong message that our state must no longer exclude citizens from basic rights and protections. Our constitution and our consciences demand action,” said O’Donnell (D-Manhattan). “It is impossible to ignore the pleas of

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State earmarks $29 million for summer employment for youth

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By J. Zamgba Browne Special to NY Beacon

President Barack Obama

Obama pushes to close Black farmers’ lawsuit WASHINGTON (NNPA) President Obama has announced plans to include $1.250 billion in settlement funds in the 2010 budget to bring closure to the long-standing Black farmers’ lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House has announced. “This is an issue I worked on in the Senate, and I’m pleased that we are now able to close this chapter in the agency’s history and move on,” the President said in a release. “My hope is that the farmers and their families who were denied access to USDA loans and programs will be made whole and will have the chance to rebuild their lives and their businesses.” The White House is describing the potential settlement as “just one part of a larger strategy at USDA to improve civil rights enforcement.” “I am very pleased that President Obama is taking swift action on this matter as it is something that will help us chart a new course at USDA, one on which all USDA customers and employees are treated equally and fairly,” says Agriculure Secretary Tom Vilsack said. A White House statement describes the sins of the U. S. government. “For decades in the last century, USDA had a spotted history of discriminating against black farmers in its loan pro-

grams and subsidy programs. In 1999, the USDA entered into a consent agreement with black farmers where the agency agreed to pay these farmers for past discrimination in lending and other USDA programs. While thousands of those claims have been adjudicated, thousands of other black farmers never had a chance for their claims to be considered on the merits because of problems with the notification and claims process that made it very difficult for many farmers to participate,” said a White House statement. Last year, Congress provided another avenue for those excluded Black farmers to receive restitution through the 2008 Farm Bill. According to the White House statement, the $1.250 billion will be used to allow those farmers who filed a claim in the original Pigford case, “but whose claim was never considered on the merits because the claim was found not to be timely, have the right to file a new claim in federal court.” Lase week, Vilsack detailed plans to promote civil rights and equal access at USDA. A memo issued by him announced the following: • “The temporary suspension of all foreclosures within the Farm Service Agency’s farm loan program, which will not only aid farmers facing economic hardship but will also provide the opportunity

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New York City has earmarked $29.02 million in federal stimulus money for summer youth employment programs. The funds will yield some 17,378 job slots, internships, and similar programs. The money was made possible through the intervention of Gov. David A Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Reps. Charles B. Rangel, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks and others. Bulk of the funds - $18.5 million is money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and enhance the New York City Summer Youth Employment Program, a seven-week job program for youth between the ages of 14 and 24. “Unemployment among youth has far reaching consequences across society – from substance abuse to teen pregnancy to increased crime in our communities,” said Gov. Paterson. He said this makes finding employment for youth at this moment all the more critical, especially in light of the fact that jobs traditionally filled by adults adversely affected by today’s economy. “With this infusion of federal funding, tens of thousands of youth will have their lives changed for the better. More im-

Gov. David Paterson portantly, they will be spending their paychecks in communities sorely in need of an infusion,” the Governor continued. Mayor Bloomberg said: “None of us forget our first job, and these federal funds will support employment opportunities designed to provide young people with the fundamental skills they need to succeed in the working world.” “I want to thank President Obama and our congressional delegation for making sure that New York City receives the resources we need to give the next generation an economic jumpstart,” said Bloomberg. “Stimulus funds will create summer jobs for 13, 378 youth

who will have a real impact on the lives and financial prospects of young people and their families in all five boroughs,” he added. Rep. Rangel said the fate of the nation’s economic future ultimately rests on how well children are educated both in and out of the classroom. “By helping to increase their job and volunteer opportunities in the summer, we assure ourselves that out youth begin to acquire the skills that employers need and that the global marketplace demands for their future,” said Rangel. He also stressed that increasing opportunities would help keep young people off the streets and out of trouble, especially during the summer. “While this city has seen a historic drop in crime, we elected officials go to too many funerals of innocent youngsters taken by gun and other youth-related violence,” said Rangel. “Working with city and state officials, partnering with businesses large and small, we can bring down the number of these tragedies by funding meaningful and productive activities dedicated to putting our children onto a path of personal and professional success,” he added. Reps. Yvette Clarke and Nydia Velazquez praised the allocation of funds for the program. “It is truly gratifying to know that as a strong proponent and one who

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Sullivan H. Foundation is backing Mia Farrow’s call to action in Sudan The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation announced its support of award winning actress Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby, the Omen, the Ex, Be Kind, Rewind). Farrow, who was selected in 2008 as one of Time Magazines Most Influential People, began a water only fast on April 27 to illustrate her plea to the U.S. Government to give aid workers access back into Darfur without restriction. “Mia Farrow is a true testament of courage, just visit her website and see for yourself.” said Hope Masters, president and CEO of the Sullivan Foundation. “This call to activism speaks for so many voices that

continually go unheard.” We admire her and will lend our support to her in any way we can.” Ms. Farrow is one of several honorees at this year’s Leon H. Sullivan Summit Awards celebration being held on Aug. 27, 2009 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Farrow is not new to activism; she has stood at the forefront of advocacy for the underprivileged in Africa for years. She has a special interest in the conflicted regions of Africa and works tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for children in those afflicted areas. “I encourage everyone who reads this to call the White

House and demand action,” stated Masters. “People are suffering, people need help. If the lines are busy, keep calling. Our President will listen.” The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation is a 501c3 designed to carry on the spirit and legacy of Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, the great African-American international humanitarian who dedicated his life advocating for the poor and disadvantaged in Africa and worldwide. For more information about the Sullivan Foundation, visit www.thesullivanfoundation.org or call 202.736.2239. Media inquiries contact media@thesullivan foundation.org.

Attorney General Cuomo probes credit settlement industry By J. Zamgba Browne Special to NY Beacon State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo this week launched a nationwide probe into the debt settlement industry, subpoenaing 14 debt settlement companies and a law firm. Cuomo said these companies often prey upon consumers who find themselves unable to keep up with credit payments during these difficult economic times. “Today, millions of hardworking Americans are finding them-

selves imprisoned by debt. In response, a rogue industry has stepped in, offering consumers false hope, charging tremendous fees, and leaving them in a worse financial situation,” said Cuomo. “Our mission is clear: to hold unscrupulous businesses accountable, to rein in a renegade industry and to ensure that people are not victimized when faced with financial hardship,” he added. As part of this broad investigation, Attorney General Cuomo said he issued subpoenas to the

following companies and a law firm: American Debt Foundation, American Financial Service, Consumer Debt Solutions, Great Answers, LLC; Debt Remedy Solutions, LLC; and Debt Settlement America. Subpoenas also went out to Debt Settlement USA, Debtamerica Relief, DMB Financial, LLC; Freedom Debt Relief, New Era Debt Solutions, New Horizons Debt Relief Inc., Preferred Financial Services, Inc.; U.S. Financial Management Inc, My Debt Negotiation and the Allegro Law Firm.

Cuomo said the subpoenas include requests designed to uncover the companies’ fee structures, how many people have benefited from the companies’ services, and what kind of relief the companies are actually providing. The Attorney General explained that the debt settlement plans are often inherently flawed and, based upon consumer complaints, it appears that many consumers are being misled regarding the nature of the services offered by these compa-

nies. For example, Cuomo said some companies falsely represent that they can reduce consumers’ credit card debt by as much as 75 percent through negotiations with creditors. In addition, the companies often take their fees up front and keep their fees even when they do no provide the promised services. Consumers who believe they are being defrauded by debt Settlement Company are urged to contact the Attorney General’s office at 1(800) 771-7755.


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Nation’s report card shows Blacks excelling in education By. Alan King dents by age rather than grade. Special to the NNPA from the The assessment was adminisAfro-American Newspapers tered to 9-, 13- and 17-year-olds in representative samples of WASHINGTON (NNPA) - A about 9,000 students in each report that measures the aca- age group, for a total of about demic achievement of elemen- 26,000 students per subject. tary and secondary students in Each student was assessed in the United States shows that one subject: reading or math. African-American students On reading, all three ages were made greater gains from early asked to locate specific informa1970s than Caucasian students. tion in a text, make inferences The National Assessment of based on information located in Educational Progress (NAEP) two or more locations in the text, released its report, The Nation’s and identify the main idea of the Report Card: NAEP 2008 Trends text, Kerachsky said. in Academic Progress, on Tues- At age 9, Black and White studay. Since 1969, the report has dents had higher average readbeen a continuing and nation- ing scores in 2008 than in all preally representative measure of vious assessment years – the achievement in various sub- average score for 9-year-old jects over time. “We have two Black students was 34 points basic types of assessments, higher in 2008 than in 1971, comwhat we call ‘Main NAEP’ and pared to a 14-point increase for ‘Long-Term Trend,’” Stuart White students, according to Kerachsky, acting commissioner the report. of the National Center for EduAmong 13-year-olds, Black cation Statistics (NCES), said in and White students had higher a statement. NCES manages the scores in 2008 than in 2004 and NAEP. 1971. Black students showed a Main NAEP measures grade- 25-point gain in 2008 compared based student performance in to 1971, and White students mathematics, reading, and other showed a 7-point gain. selected subjects every two The report also found that the years, while Long-Term Trend average reading score increased NAEP provides national-level for White 17-year-olds from results for both public and pri- 2004 to 2008, but showed no sigvate school students. nificant change for Black stuUnlike Main NAEP, the Long- dents. Comparing 1971 to 2008, Term Trend NAEP assesses stu- Black students showed a gain

Stuart Kerachsky of 28 points, while White students showed a gain of 4 points. The gaps between Black and White students were narrower for all three ages in 2008 than in 1971, according to the report. The gaps narrowed by 20 points, 17 points, and 24 points at ages 9, 13, and 17, respectively.

On mathematics, students were accessed on their knowledge of basic mathematical facts and formulas, ability to carry out computations using paper and pencil, and ability to apply mathematics to daily-living skills. Comparing 2004 to 2008, there was no significant change in the score for Black students at all

three age groups, while White students showed a gain of 5 points, according to the report. However, gains across all three age groups for Black and White students were higher in 2008 than in 1973. The average score for 9-year-old Black students was 34 points higher in 2008 than in 1973, compared to a 25-point increase for White students. Comparing 1973 to 2008, Black 13-year-old students showed a gain of 34 points. The report cited changes in the student population as a possibility for Black and Hispanic students achieving significantly higher than White students. For example, the report states, the percentage of 9-year-olds assessed in reading who were White decreased from 80 percent in 1975 to 56 percent in 2008. For the 17-year-olds, Kerachsky added, “The percentage of White students in the total 17-year-old student population has fallen since the early assessments.” According to the report, the proportion of Black students has remained more stable over time, making up 14 percent of 9-yearolds accessed in reading in 1971 and a 6 percent in 2008.ain of 16 points. And the average mathematics scores for Black 17-yearold students was up 17 points, compared to 4 points for White students.

New Supreme Court justice may have minimal influence on rights By. Zenitha Prince ideology spectrum. Special to the NNPA from the Though a liberal choice will not Afro-American Newspapers have much of an effect, said political analyst Ron Walters, WASHINGTON (NNPA) - The Obama should “not give in to Rereplacement of outgoing Su- publicans” by choosing a modpreme Court Justice David Souter erate. may have little to no impact on “The objective of the administhe civil rights agenda, political tration ought to be to rebuild the and legal analysts and activists liberal constituency of the court say. just as the Republicans set out to “Really, until the conservative build the conservative base of the members begin to resign from the court and succeeded,” he said. court you’re not going to see “Democrats have to correct that much of a change,” said Univer- historic imbalance.” sity of Maryland law professor While the president’s choice Sherrilyn Ifill. may not stack the odds in their “Unless,” she added, “the per- favor, civil rights activists said, it son who the president chooses most likely will not make it is a young, powerful person, who worse—and that’s important has the kind of personal story, given the issues looming on the intense communication skills and legal landscape. “It means an intellectual heft to really influ- awful lot,” said NAACP Washence Justice Kennedy, who is ington Bureau Chief usually the swing vote in the Hilary Shelton of the president’s court.” impending decision. “With the As things stand, civil rights is- stacking of the Supreme Court sues are usually decided with a with right-wingers…having some5-4 vote ratio in favor of more one replace Justice Souter that conservative sentiments in the has a balanced approach to intercourt. Justice Souter, who many preting the law is crucial.” described as a moderate ideoSome of those ongoing issues logue, is often aligned with civil include the Voting Rights Act, rights interests. criminal justice, the death penalty, “Justice Souter is—which you abortion, Fourth Amendment could see when you looked at the rights as it pertains to governhearing on the Voting Rights Act ment wiretapping and searches last week—in the moderate wing and the scope of judicial and exof the court,” Ifill said. “He un- ecutive powers. “We need to have derstands the Voting Rights Act, someone with a proven record of he understands civil rights is- protecting America’s civil rights sues and I’m sure the person [who is not] an activist judge,” President Obama picks will also Shelton said. “We want to make understand civil rights issues sure we get someone who will inand have the sort of empathy he terpret the law and the Constituhas talked about.” tion as it was intended in a way There are some, however, who that protects all Americans in the say the president’s choice context of our life today.” should be found further left of In making the announcement of Justice Souter’s position on the Justice Souter’s retirement Friday,

Justice David Souter the president said he would consult with members of both parties to find a nominee that has “a sharp and independent mind,” that is respectful of the Constitution and understands the limits of the judiciary. And, more importantly, he said, he is seeking someone who has “empathy.” “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or

footnote in a case book; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives – whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation,” said the former constitutional law professor. Diversity should be another deciding factor in the president’s choice, many have said. “It would

be nice if it was an African American who was in sync with the rest of the African-American community but I don’t think he’ll do that,” Walters said, adding that appointing a Hispanic is “extremely seductive” because of the political cache that decision offers. “Just looking towards the next election, it would be good for him, in a historic sense, to put the first Hispanic and a woman on the court,” the political analyst said. “It would help to solidify the Hispanic vote and the women’s vote.” One rumored candidate, New York federal judge Sonia Sotomayor, would satisfy both qualities. Other names in the wind include: Jennifer Granholm, Michigan governor and former attorney general; Elena Kagan, Obama’s solicitor general and former dean of Harvard Law School; Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law; Ann Claire Williams, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and formerly served as a U.S. District Court judge in Illinois and Pamela S. Karlan, a law professor at Stanford Law School, a leading legal scholar on voting rights and former attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Harold Koh, the former dean of Yale Law School, is perhaps the only male candidate whose name has been thrown in the cap. Most seem to agree that the choice must be female. “We only have one woman on the bench right now and that is not reflective of the country or of the legal profession,” Ifill said, adding 50 percent of law school students are women. “The perspective of a woman is very much needed in the court.”


By. Brittany Hutson NNPA Special Correspondent

Bill Clinton

New book recalls Clinton effort to free Saro-Wiwa (GIN) – In his new novel “Eclipse”, based on the life of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, author Richard North Patterson recalled a conversation with former President Bill Clinton. The president said he urged former Nigerian leader Gen. Sani Abacha to spare SaroWiwa from the hangman. While listening “very politely”, recalled Clinton, “he was cold,” and the fix was in. Saro-Wiwa was executed not long after, his body burned with acid and thrown in an unmarked grave, for his defense of the oncepristine Ogoni lands. Patterson gave this recollection at the PEN World Voices

Festival of International Literature held in New York recently. Saro-Wiwa and the eight other activists have had a proper burial but the circumstances of the execution are getting another hearing. The Wiwa family’s lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell over its alleged role in those events goes to trial this month in federal court in Manhattan. Speaking of his new book, Patterson said”: Since 9/11 the U.S. has become even more dependent on Nigerian oil. I thought it was time to put Saro Wiwa in the context of today’s politics of oil: how we are all implicated in the lives of people we don’t even know.”

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Despite an economy represented by high unemployment rates, a home foreclosure crisis and low consumer confidence, AfricanAmerican buying power is projected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a report conducted by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. The report “The Multicultural Economy” published in late 2008, estimates that AfricanAmerican consumers’ share of the nation’s total buying power will increase from $913 billion, resulting in a contribution of almost nine cents out of every dollar that is spent. Despite this predication, economists believe that consumption by African-Americans will not only fall, but that African-Americans will also continue to be the brunt of high unemployment, suffer an increase in poverty and suffer from a reduction in wages and income. “African-American consumers’ share of the nation’s total buying power will rise to 8.8 percent in 2013, accounting for almost nine cents out of every dollar that is spent,” the report states. It partially credits population growths as well as the growth and expansion of African-American-owned businesses as the reason for the projected rise in buying power. “We’re in the middle of a fairly severe economic crisis,” said Algernon Austin, director of the race, ethnicity and the economy program at the Washington, D.C.,-based Economic

Policy Institute. “It looks most similar to the one over the 1980s and during that time, we saw reductions in the median family income and an increase in poverty for Blacks.” In his “Reversal of Fortune: Economic Gains of 1990s Overturned for African- Americans from 2000-2007” study published in 2008, Austin writes that while the economy has grown significantly since 2000, African-Americans have not been a part of America’s prosperity due to an increase in unemployment rates, a decline in the home ownership rate, an increase in poverty rate and an increase in crime. In regards to income and wages, the African-American median family income declined by $404 or 1 percent and the median weekly wage for AfricanAmerican workers ages 25 to 54 years old declined by 0.2 percent. The weekly wages for African-Americans differ by gender—particularly, the median weekly wages of African-American men declined in 2007 by 3.4 percent from $649 to $627, while it increased for women by 2.6 percent from $552 to $566. William Spriggs, chair of the economics department at Howard University, says that not only will Black consumption fail, but that although the number sounds hefty, their buying power is not in fact high. He says because the U.S. economy is so huge, African-American buying power is currently only 6 percent of total U.S. consumption. Buying power is defined as the total personal income of residents that is available after

taxes, excluding money that is borrowed or saved from previous years. It is not a measure of wealth. Austin says people should be careful not to assume an increase in buying power means an increase in wages and income and an increase in standard of living when it’s not necessarily the case. Essentially, the buying power number is most useful for those who are interested in developing and marketing their products to a certain market segment; Entrepreneurs, established business, marketing specialists, economic development organizations, and the chamber of commerce now seek estimates of the buying power of racial and ethnicity groups, according to the report. While the report states that Black people spend more on telephone services, children’s clothing, footwear, and groceries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2007, shows Blacks spent the most on housing, transportation and food, at $13,494, $6,458 and $4,601, respectively. President and CEO of the National Urban League Mark Morial says that African-Americans are not aware of their collective buying power. “We need to recognize how much power we have and [we can use that] to build wealth in our own community,” he said. Morial noted how there is a 55 percent gap between Blacks and Whites when it comes to economic measures and that this disparity has been difficult to close. “We should be saving for our children and their education. We should also focus on saving for retirement.”

President Obama is urged to sign native rights declaration By Haider Rizvi UNITED NATIONS,- The United States is considering whether to endorse a major U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the recognition of the rights of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples over their lands and resources. “The position on [this issue] is under review,” Patrick Ventrell, spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the U.N., told IPS about the Barack Obama administration’s stance on the non-binding U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Approved by a vast majority of the U.N. member states in September 2007, the General Assembly resolution on the declaration was rejected by the George W. Bush administration over indigenous leaders’ argument that no economic or political power has the right to exploit their resources without seeking their “informed consent.” Three other “settler nations” of European descent, namely Canada, New Zealand and Australia, also voted against the declaration, which states that indigenous peoples have the right

to maintain their cultures and remain on their land. However, last month, the new left-leaning government in Canberra reversed its position, announcing support for the declaration. “We show our respect for indigenous peoples,” said Jenny Macklin, a member of the Australian parliament. “We show our faith in a new era of relations between states and indigenous peoples in good faith.” The new government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has also offered an apology to the indigenous communities who suffered at the hands of European settlers for decades. Indigenous rights activists in the United States say they want the new liberal democratic government in Washington to make a similar move to address the grievances of native communities who have long been subjected to abuse and discrimination. “The U.S. [should] become a resolute supporter of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” argued James Polk, who writes for Foreign Policy in Focus, a progressive periodical published by the Institute for Policy Studies in

Washington. “It’s a comprehensive document that affirms that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, and that, in the exercise of their rights, they should be free from their discrimination,” he added. The declaration reflects growing concerns of aboriginal communities about the continued exploitation of their resources and suppression of their cultural values and practices by commercial concerns and governments that are alien to their cultures. According to many scientists, the traditional knowledge and cooperation of indigenous communities are vital elements in the global fight against climate change and loss of biodiversity. During his election campaign, President Obama repeatedly said that he cared about the issues facing Native American communities and insisted that they could trust him – pledges that are now being watched closely. As reached out to new voter blocs last summer, Obama made a campaign stop at an Indian reservation in Montana, where he told the audience, that, as an African

President Barack Obama

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Study: Black buying power to grow despite economic woes


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Editorial We’re on the right track

New York

Beacon Walter Smith: Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Miatta Haj Smith: Co-Publisher & Executive Editor William Egyir: Managing Editor

Jack Kemp, Arlen Specter and the GOP By. George E Curry The recent death of Jack Kemp and Senator Arlene Specter’s switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party are reminders of just how far the GOP has swung to the right. And with GOP Chairman Michael Steele and titular Republican leader Rush Limbaugh applauding Specter’s switch, there are no signs that Republicans are ready to deal with the reality of their fading influence. One person who understood the party needed to broaden its base was Jack Kemp, the former pro quarterback who tried to help Republicans score points with African-Americans. The former HUD secretary and vice presidential candidate always tried to build bridges, showing up at NAACP and National Urban League conventions and other events unpopular with party leaders. “Among the many tragedies of the contemporary Republican party is that the partisans who will honor the memory of former Congressman, cabinet member and 1996 vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp have refused so consistently and belligerently to embrace the man’s wisest political insight,” John Nichols wrote in the Nation magazine. “‘The only way to oppose a bad idea is to replace it with a good idea,’ said Kemp, who worked harder than anyone else to make the GOP a positive force rather than the ‘party of no.’ “Unfortunately, the ‘no’ camp prevailed and the Republican party that Kemp imagined

as a modern tribune of humane and enlightened conservative ideals—the twenty-first-century version of the British Tory Party that evolved under the leadership of Benjamin Disraeli—died well before the death on Saturday at age 73 of the most open and optimistic leader of the GOP in the 1980s and 1990s.” Steele, who relishes attacking President Barack Obama and shirks from standing toe-to-toe with talk show host Rush Limbaugh, said he was glad to see the Pennsylvania senator leave the GOP. He likened Specter to traitor Benedict Arnold in a party fundraising appeal and at another point claimed Specter had “flip (ped) the bird” to Republican colleagues. On his radio program, Limbaugh said he hopes more moderate and liberal members of the GOP defect. The problem is that in the senate, there are only two liberal Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins both of Maine. Specter was the lone Republican moderate in the upp e r c h a m b e r a n d n o w h e ’s gone. Although his decision to become a Democrat was a calculated political move, he was correct in stating that the GOP is now captive of the far-right. The best way to learn what is happening to the Republic Party is to ignore the predictable rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle. A poll of Republicans who switched parties in Pennsylvania by the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion is didactic. “In recent years there has been a major shift in party registration among voters of the

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” the poll found. “In May of 2006, Democratic voters outnumbered their Republican counterparts by 550,000 registered voters statewide. Two and half years later the gap between Democrats and Republicans had more than doubled, with over 1,200,000 more Democrats than Republicans registered to vote in November of 2008.” The public opinion survey found: • An overwhelming number of Pennsylvania Republicans who switched their voter registration status to Democrat had been in the Republican Party for 20 years or more; • Almost two out of three voters that have abandoned the GOP for the Democratic Party identified themselves as politically moderate or liberal; • The presidency of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq were identified as the largest contributing factors to the abandonment of the Republican party in Pennsylvania; • Pennsylvania voters leaving the GOP to become Democrats were more likely to claim that their decision was the result of changes in the party rather than changes in their personal beliefs and • A solid majority of individuals who have switched from Republican to Democrat indicated that they are not likely to change party registration again in the next five years. Especially troubling for the GOP is the loss of voters who were an important part of their traditional base. Most of the

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By. Senate Majority Leader low-income homeowners. And in Nevada, we’re working Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to deliver clean energy from the NNPA Special Commentary remote areas where it is developed Even when our economy was to the urban centers around the strong, it wasn’t strong enough country where it is needed most. These ideas are not only startto lift everybody. Working people struggled. African-Ameri- ing to create jobs in both urban cans struggled. Many of our cit- and rural areas, but will also save consumers money on their energy ies struggled. Now, in a weak economy, it is bills for many years to come. The poor and working people who are most cost-effective, job-producing again left behind. Unemployment investment is energy efficiency, among African- Americans has and we must revive and revise the topped 15 percent – nearly manufacturing base in our cities to build the supply chain for redouble the national average. President Obama inherited the newable energy technology. Clean renewable energy is also worst economic crisis since the about environmental justice. Oil and Great Depression. It will take a long time and a lot coal have been polluting our air for of investment to dig out of the generations, but disproportionally ditch President Bush created. threaten our cities and minority We’re on the right track this year. communities. Sixty percent of Hispanics and We’ve cut taxes for working families; ensured men and women half of all African-Americans live get paid equally for equal work; in areas that don’t meet national are giving children the care they air quality standards. Africanneed to stay healthy; and will American and Hispanic children in make critical investments in health New York City have asthma rates care, clean energy and education. eight times the national average. This problem only got worse The steps we’re taking today will lay the groundwork for re- when the last Administration igcovery. But as we try to stop the nored it. But President Obama short-term pain, we can never has made renewable energy and lose focus of our long-term goal: environmental justice a priority. an economy that not only recov- For example, the Administrator of ers, but lifts all Americans up in the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, just reequal measure. Investing in green jobs that can cently announced a major initianever be outsourced is a great tive to identify companies that are polluting near schools. place to start. President Obama’s commitment There’s a myth that green jobs mostly help people in rural areas. to environmental justice gives me It’s true that using today’s tech- confidence that we will finally fulnologies, much of the greatest re- fill the promise of a national ennewable energy potential exists ergy policy that not only creates jobs at every rung of the ladder, largely in remote areas. But if we make the right invest- saves consumers money and rements now, we will ensure the duces our reliance on oil, but also clean energy revolution benefits leaves our children and their chilpeople in every corner of our dren with a cleaner, more livable country, including minority com- planet. The path before us isn’t easy. munities, and that cities get their We are investing a tremendous fair share of these jobs. We’re already seeing examples amount of taxpayer money, and we of this success. In Milwaukee, take seriously the obligation to buildings are being retrofitted for spend it wisely and to account for energy efficiency, creating jobs every penny. But if we set out on that path for thousands from underserved today, we can make sure that when communities. In Chicago, a new green-jobs the economy recovers, it won’t lift training program called Green up only the privileged few, but will Corps Chicago will train local be strong enough for us all to sucworkers to install solar panels for ceed.

President Obama ain’t cha mama! By. James Clingman Now that many believe we are living in nirvana, having reached the absolute pinnacle of our society’s glory; now that some think we have entered a post-racial era, replete with the all the trappings of idealism, sweetness, and light; now that we have achieved the collective dream of millions of people who thought “they would never live to see the election of a Black President;” and now that we have been inebriated for about 100 days; it’s time to sober up.

Having drunk the intoxicating elixir of “change,” “equality,” “yes we can,” and “togetherness,” it’s time for Black people, especially, to go on a serious coffee binge. As the song once said, “Back to life, back to reality.” We still have much work to do among ourselves; we still have to fight for what we want and need; we still have to agitate, as Frederick Douglass taught us; and we still have to demand our equitable piece of this rock they call the Untied States of America. As one of my Whirlwind mem-

bers wrote, “Now is the time to fight harder than ever; folks singing ‘we are one’ is no guarantee of equality and equity in U.S. society. A horse and jockey are ‘as one,’ unified in the goal to succeed and achieve, but certainly are not equals!” Brother K, in Wichita, Kansas, has it absolutely correct. Now is the time to fight even harder. Why? Because opportunities are available to us now that did not exist prior to Obama’s ascension to he throne. That is, if we read the tea leaves correctly.

My good friend, Bob Law, restaurateur in Brooklyn, New York and former national talk radio personality, expressed his exasperation at what seems to be the only reason Black folks wanted Obama to be President: “Black people just wanted to have a Black President. That’s all. We had no other agenda than that.” So I ask, “What is our collective agenda now that we have a Black man in the highest office in the land?” Why aren’t we beating down the door of the White House demanding some reciprocity for our enthusiastic

support of Obama’s candidacy and ultimate victory? Everyone else is. Seems to me we are so enthralled with the symbolism of it all that we have forgotten what politics is really all about: Self interest, in case you need to be reminded. The parties and celebrations were nice, but now it’s time for serious work. If we allow these four years to pass without achieving a higher level of collective economic advancement for Black people, we

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Celebrity or not, dads do matter By Roland S. Martin “I’ll kill all y’all.” Imagine looking at the man whose DNA you carry standing in your home, telling you those chilling words, as he wields a shotgun. The frightening image is a scary thought. But according to former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry, it was an actual scene, one that begins his book, “Straw: Finding My Way.” I vividly remember the towering home runs hit by the former star, who played for four big league teams, including the New York Mets and Yankees — and of course, the many times he was in the news for failing drug tests, beating wives, getting cancer twice, going to prison. He was a man fighting enormous demons. Yet as I read the book, there is one consistent theme that runs throughout and that sheds a spotlight on a figure that continues to plague neighborhoods all across the country: the missing-in-action father. Strawberry makes a point repeatedly in “Straw” that he does not blame his dad for the trials and tribulations in his life; he says all decisions he made willingly. But he does speak to the issue of having a father who, by Strawberry’s account, while technically in the house, was a raging drunk who spent his

paycheck doing what he wanted, showing no love and affection towards his children, viciously beating Strawberry and his brother, all while telling them that they would be nothing in life. Watch Darryl Strawberry talk to Roland Martin about his father. “I grew up in an inner city, South Central Los Angeles. When you grow up in the inner cities, most young men don’t have a father figure around. Most mothers are raising the kids,” he told me in an interview. He later said, “I loved playing baseball; I loved playing basketball; excelling and achieving my goals was my own personal goals, but inside, I just never loved myself. I can remember the times when I excelled in baseball and I [would] do extremely well and the cheers and the glitter and everything that came along with it, but you know what, Roland? When I went home at night, here was I again, me myself, [asking] ‘Who am I?’ “ The cynical in our world undoubtedly will say, “Who cares about a drugged-out, washed-up ballplayer?” But the mental damage that Strawberry says wreaked havoc on him as a child cannot be discounted, and it’s something that millions of young children, especially boys, are growing up with every day. This isn’t a tale of the stereotypical black athlete who grows up with the black father not in the home, leading to the cycle of vio-

lence and lack of family unity we see all around the country. Strawberry’s dad was there. But, according to the former ballplayer, he was a horrible father. And right now, there are also young white boys in suburban and rural America who have dads in the home, physically, yet they have mentally and emotionally checked out. And the same for Hispanics and Asians. It has gotten to the point that a mother is considered essential in a family, but a father is optional, expendable, and increasingly irrelevant. I remember watching an OnStar commercial. And as the company touted the features, it showed a father driving his child around, and when the kid starts to cry, the dad freaks out and has to quickly call the mom to calm the baby down. I’m watching that and saying, “Man, it’s your child, too! So calm it!” Then there is the commercial — I don’t even remember what they were pitching — of two or three kids in the kitchen making a mess after spilling the cereal. The hapless and hopeless dad looks at them and says, “Where is your mom?” Every time that commercial comes on I scream at the TV, “Where is your mom? Where are your parenting skills, you ingrate!” See, I take seriously the im-

portance of fathers — men — in the lives of children. My wife and I don’t have children of our own, but we are raising four of my nieces because they were struggling at home. They need to see a husband and a wife caring for them, but also instilling the right values in their lives. I am convinced that our city streets have turned into killing fields because dads have abdicated their responsibility in the raising of their children. Yes, mom is vital. But there is something different about dad speaking, lecturing, cajoling, disciplining, embracing, loving and caring. Our schools are filled with children losing their minds, and teachers unable to control them. When that happens, it’s typically mom, grandma or an aunt coming to the school to deal with the problem. Ask a teacher or principal today and they will say they rarely see dads. My mom has gotten ticked at times because I often talk more about my father than her on TV or radio. It’s not that I don’t love or appreciate her. But I do it because it is rare to hear men, especially black men, speaking affirmatively about their fathers. I know what it means to have a dad raising and caring for you, and not seeing his child in a drive-by style, or just sending a check. Dads must be present and accounted for, playing a vital role in their children’s life.

That’s why I appreciated it when President Obama spoke about the issue of fatherhood on the campaign trail. We all know the story of his father leaving when he was 2 years old. And yes, he was able to be successful. But for every Obama, there are numerous boys who aren’t able to hold it together. I’ve called on pastors nationwide to stop the stream of momma, grandmother, aunts and female cousins coming to the altar for baby dedications with no man in sight. That pastor should say, “Until I personally meet with the father, I will not dedicate this child.” Somebody has to hold that man accountable for his actions. It’s time that men hold their “boys” accountable. Actor Hill Harper had a friend who once said that he hadn’t seen his child in some time, but he found time to play basketball with Harper. Hill said, “Unless you call your child now, we can’t play ball.” See, Hill had to force him to accept his responsibilities. The failure of manhood in America — fatherhood — has reached epidemic proportions. And unless our religious and cultural institutions say enough is enough, we are going to see another generation of children growing up with dad absent and unaccounted for. It’s time for men to man up, so children can grow up with an equal amount of love and affection from both parents.

Entrepreneur path to success despite the times By. Farrah Gray As I work on many urban grassroots efforts across America, it is tough not to be alarmed by the accelerated pace of the job losses of inner cities such as New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago particularly within the AfricanAmerican and Hispanic communities that are struggling with unemployment rates of 50 percent or more. Today, nationwide AfricanAmerican unemployment has risen to 13.4 percent. Hispanic unemployment has risen to 10.9 percent. White unemployment has risen to 7.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment numbers are particularly devastating when coupled with the recent study, “Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: March 2009”, a report that found the United States’ public education systems ranking very low compared to other industrialized nations in pro-

viding our country with educated high wage workers. For example, the U.S. ranks 25th out of 30 countries in math and 24th out of 30 countries in science skills. This fact means kids graduating school and adults training for careers in comparison qualify mainly for low wage jobs considered about $12 per hour that are easily replaceable. In general, there are two ways to make a giant career leap toward becoming a wealthy millionaire. It could be accomplished by either expensive advanced education with hopes of leading to high level executive positions or starting your own business working as an entrepreneur. Both are life-long commitments that require more than a simple desire for money – both paths require hard work and finding your unique marketable talents that add value to the community. As the summer months approach, typically during a depressed economy with high unemployment rates and warm weather our neighborhoods ex-

perience increased violent crimes particularly in the urban communities. If you are unemployed remember to stay positive – be real with yourself by making honest and productive choices for the entire family. Keep your head up – make sure you can look back being proud of the choices you made. Perhaps, you decided to take control of your future despite the economic crisis you may live in everyday. Maybe you chose to return to school to advance your education or trade. You have the power to change your life no matter how tough your situation. No matter what age, race, religion or gender; you are th e “captain of your destiny” that navigates the rough waters to discover that promise land. Don’t take no for an answer, be determined to succeed. Learn from successful people - even if you are unemployed focus your everyday schedule on accomplishing tasks that build your dreams. Entrepreneurship is a full

time job 24/7 in growing a business that adds value to your community. Treat your time with great respect it’s like GOLD. Write down your schedule planning out the productive use of your time. Remember, entrepreneurs are not just one track minded rather they are well balanced sustainable people that have many elements working in concert with one another. Train your mind, body and soul to succeed – it’s a long distance race. Find personal free time to recharge your battery gaining new ideas and perspectives that will improve the quality of the business products or services. Get other positive business people involved from your community. Build widespread enthusiasm and momentum for your initiates focused on providing true value that will bring you and others rewards. Entrepreneurs find success when the marketplace perceives value in your product or services. Remain close to your roots and trusted family members.

Overcome your fears – nothing is every accomplished unless you actually do the work. Don’t be afraid to fail. Most of our learning comes thru failures that require us to make changes. Embrace the path to continually improving yourself whether its education, business plans or personal relationships - we grow thru experience. Change your perception of failures begin to accept it as a necessary part of becoming successful. The definition of a lifelong entrepreneur is precisely what it sounds like: These are people who start multiple companies. If one doesn’t work out, they move on to the next big idea. Or, conversely, they find great success and their companies grow. Finding the positive power within failure will make you a successful entrepreneur, but it goes beyond business. Devastating setbacks occur in all aspects of our lives, and the sooner we learn to face failure and regain control, the more successful our lives become – remember success is your choice.

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Opinion


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African Scene Somali leader blames hard-liners

Charles Taylor

Special Court will not free Liberia’s Charles Taylor (GIN) - War crimes judges have refused a request by the defense team of former President Charles Taylor to acquit him based on insufficient evidence. The decision by the Special Court for Sierra Leone at The Hague means that Mr. Taylor, who has pleaded not guilty, must now present his defense. The case will resume on June 29. Tens of thousands of people died in Sierra Leone’s decade-

long civil war. “The prosecution has produced evidence capable of supporting a conviction of the accused,’’ the presiding judge told the court as he dismissed the defense’s request. Charles Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the brutal civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing rebels responsible for widespread atrocities.

Somalia’s embattled President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has blamed radical Islamists for the renewed bloodshed in Mogadishu, in a BBC interview. President Sharif said the hardliners had no interest in ending the violence and wanted to take Somalia by force. Four days of fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist groups has left more than 50 people dead. President Sharif took office in January leading the Westernbacked government after UNbrokered peace talks. But even his fragile administration’s introduction of Sharia law to the strongly Muslim country has not appeased the radical guerrillas who battle pro-government forces and African Union troops in the capital almost daily. “They don’t want the violence in Somalia to end,” said President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. President Sharif told the BBC’s Focus on Africa program: “You see that the opposition is using the violence and killing and bloodshed, they don’t want the violence in Somalia to end and the objective is to take the country by force. “We are trying to complete setting up the Somali armed forces which is under way now. We need to pass this difficult stage,” he added. The fragile interim government has been fighting radical Islamist groups like al-Shabab in longrunning violence which has killed thousands of people since 2006.

Mogadishu has seen some of the fiercest fighting in years in recent days. The latest bloodshed began on Thursday and escalated over the weekend in a district close to the presidential palace, then continued on Monday. Witnesses said at least two people were killed when a mortar shell landed near a cafe in northern Mogadishu, according to reports. Journalist Mohammed Sheikh Noor in Mogadishu told the BBC’s Network Africa program residents were fleeing with their belongings in streets littered with dead civilians. Meanwhile, maritime officials later announced Somali pirates had released a Greek owned chemical tanker that was seized in March. Eighteen Filipinos and a Russian were on board the Nipayia when it was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. It is not clear if

a ransom was paid for its release on Saturday. Foreign navies have been patrolling the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden to deter pirates. But attacks increased tenfold in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year and at least 18 vessels are still being held by Somali pirates. The UN’s special representative to Somalia, Mohammed Ould Abdullah, earlier told the BBC efforts to negotiate peace were complicated by the constantly shifting array of factions. “This is the tragedy of Somalia every group is hiding another group, which is itself hiding another group,” he said. Somalia, a nation of about eight million people, has experienced almost constant conflict since the collapse of its central government in January 1991.

Kenyan Mau Mau veterans to sue UK

Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate Soyinka protests dubious election (GIN) - Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, sent a warning signal to the Nigerian leaders over a tainted local election, saying failure to ensure a free and fair poll was an invitation to anarchy in the country. Speaking at the Citizens’ Forum on Electoral Reform Program in Lagos, Soyinka said: “We have reached the stage where battle lines are drawn across the sand… And the testing ground is Ekiti State; the election result in the state must be transparently clear and honest.” Last week, Ado Editi was the scene of a pro-democracy march of over 300 women dressed in white who denounced the government’s failure to release election results from Apr. 25.

More than 20 elderly women, whose ages ranged between 60 and 80 years marched bare breasted, much to the shock of police and security guards. The women waved white handkerchiefs to onlookers who cheered them on. The protesters were led by Ronke Okusanya, the president of Ekiti Women for Peace, who explained: ‘’It is a taboo to see the naked body of an old woman in the public; these women are protesting against the injustice in the land and they are insisting that their votes must count’, she said. The delayed vote totals were believed to have been won by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of the Action Congress.

Veterans of Kenya’s independence struggle are launching a compensation claim against the UK for alleged atrocities by the British army. Lawyers for Mau Mau veterans said they had documented 40 cases of torture, including castration, sexual abuse and unlawful detention. A spokesman for the veterans in Nairobi said they were confident of success. The UK government has said the claim is invalid because of the time that had lapsed since the alleged abuses. Five elderly Kenyans - three men and two women - detained during the 1950s insurgency are the lead

claimants in the reparations case to be lodged at the High Court in London on 23 June. The case is being brought by the Mau Mau War Veterans’ Association and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, through London law firm Leigh Day & Co. It is not the first compensation claim brought by Kenya’s former independence fighters against the British government. Tom Kagwe, deputy executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, told Sunday’s news conference in the Kenyan capital: “The actual number of Kenyans who suffered this barbaric treatment at the hands of British officers in fact runs into the

thousands.” Seventy-nine year old Gitu wa Kahengeri, a spokesman for the Mau Mau War Veterans’ Association, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa program: “The colonial government had treated the people of Kenya inhumanly. “Many women were raped, many women were had bottles of hot water inserted into their private parts,” Kahengeri said. The British foreign office said in a statement: “The Mau Mau issue remains a deeply divisive issue within Kenya which historians continue to debate. “The emergency period caused a great deal of pain for many on all sides, and marred progress towards independence. It is regrettable this was not achieved without violence.” Historians say the Mau Mau movement helped Kenya achieve independence in 1963. It started in the European-owned farmlands in the Kenyan highlands in 1952. Mau Mau fighters launched attacks on white settlers, spreading terror through the white farming community. The Kenya Human Rights Commission has said 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during An estimated 160,000 people were detained during the the crackdown, and 160,000 were detained in appalling conditions. insurgency.


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Opinion: The second scramble for Africa starts By Julio Godoy BERLIN (IPS) - Sub-Saharan African countries have of late become the target of a new form of investment that is strongly reminiscent of colonialism: investors from both industrialized and emerging economies buy or lease large tracts of farm land across the continent, either to guarantee their own food provisions or simply as yet another business. In doing so, investors even deal with warlords who claim property rights, as in Sudan. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and activists in Europe are denouncing this land grab in Egypt, Sudan, Cameroon, Senegal, Mozambique and elsewhere in Africa as a new form of colonialism. Uwe Hoering, a German researcher on development policy for several European NGOs, including the news letter Weltwirtschaft und Entwicklung (World Economy and Development), called these investments “a new form of agrarian colonialism’’. In an interview with IPS, Hoering said that the land grab in Africa became evident in 2008 as a consequence of the recent run to so-called bio fuels and the price inflation and scarcity of food. Although the investments are also targeting fertile land in other areas of the world, sub-Saharan Africa appears to

be these investors’ main destination. The reasons are multiple. On the one hand, “Africa possesses enormous land reserves,’’ Hoering stated. “According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, only about 14 percent of the suited land in the continent is presently cultivated.’’ In addition, he said, many African governments are willing to allow this land grab to happen in their territories. A list of the land grab investments of 2008 have been put together by the Barcelona-based NGO GRAIN, based on corporate reports. It confirms that several industrialized countries, like Japan and Sweden, rapidly growing developing nations, like China and India, and oil-rich countries, especially from the Arab Gulf, and even Libya, are buying large estates in Africa. GRAIN is an international NGO committed to promoting sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people’s control over genetic resources and local knowledge. GRAIN also lists multinational private investors, like the Blackstone Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman & Sachs and Dexion Capital, as participating in the creation of these new agrarian enclaves in the heartlands of Africa. Even private industrial conglomerates, such as the South Korean Daewoo, are also investing in land in Africa. “In July 2008, Daewoo leased 1.3

million hectare in Madagascar to cultivate maize and palm oil,’’ Hoering said. “Daewoo paid a symbolic price for the land. Allegedly, as compensation for the land lease, it is going to invest in public infrastructure.’’ This deal has since been called off by the country’s new leader, Andry Rajoelina, who replaced Marc Ravalomanana in a coup. Unsurprisingly, the investors interested in land deals include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial investment arm of the World Bank. In Sept 2008, the IFC announced that it would greatly increase investments in “agribusiness development’’ in Africa, and South American states and in Russia because of new private sector interest in generating profits from the food crisis. Part of its spending will be to bring “under-utilized’’ lands into production. In 2008, the IFC spent 1.4 billion dollars in the agribusiness supply chain, of which 900 million dollars went directly to agribusiness firms. GRAIN also reports that the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms in which China has recently bought a stake, “has already invested several hundred million dollars in the agricultural sector, mainly in buying farmland in areas like south of the Sahara’’. For Hoering, the land grab in Africa by countries such as Ja-

pan, South Korea, China, and Libya serve to guarantee their own national food security. “After the recent speculation on the cereal and other food markets and the spectacular price hikes, these countries have lost confidence in the world market,’’ Hoering explained. “They now want to be independent from speculators and be able tot control production and secure food imports.’’ The recent spike in global commodity food prices has also encouraged foreign investors to scramble for control of arable land in Africa. Obviously, private investors see in the land grab a business with likely high returns. For instance, the Cru Investment Management, a British, Cardiffbased private investor, forecasts earnings of 30 percent for its agricultural fund investing in Malawi. Duncan Parker, a Cru spokesperson, has said that Africa offers many incentives to investments, such as a strong workforce and the potential to be a top world food producer thanks to its fertile soil and abundant water and sunshine. However, whether Africans will profit from these investments is another matter altogether. The wave of investments in foreign agricultural enclaves has led to new abuses. “The most scandalous case yet is that of the U.S. investment banker Philippe Heilberg, who closed a deal with Paulino Matip, a warlord in South

Sudan, to lease 4,000 square kilometers,’’ Hoering argued. Matip is a notorious warlord who fought on both sides in Sudan’s lengthy civil war. He is one of the profiteers of a dubious 2005 peace agreement, after which he became deputy commander of the army in the autonomous southern region. Heilberg, now CEO of the New York-based investment fund Jarch Capital, previously worked for the now battered insurance company American International Group (AIG). Heilberg has been quoted as saying that, in his view, several African states are likely to break apart in the coming years, and that the political and legal risks he is taking will be amply rewarded. “If you bet right on the shifting of sovereignty then you are on the ground floor. I am constantly looking at the map and looking if there is any value,’’ he told U.S. media. While denouncing the scramble for land, human rights groups have called attention to the vagueness and imprecision of laws on land ownership in south Sudan. They cast doubt on foreign investors such as Heilberg being able to claim legal rights over such estates. The deal, which became public last January but was closed last July, has prompted human rights groups to denounce Heilberg’s venture in South Sudan as a cynical, neocolonial enterprise. “This is a case that recalls the worse colonial land grabs in Africa,’’ Hoering added.

It is time for Africa to get its act together By. Harry C. Alford The year is 2009 and all of the African nations have yet to harness their very valuable resources and build wealth among its people. God has truly blessed this continent with gold and diamonds laying on the ground; oil burping from under the ground; the purest farm land in the world and the most scenic landscape known to man. Yet, the world knows no worst poverty, famine and struggle than this, the venue of the beginning of man. When Europeans mastered sailing and learned the power of organized armies, they quickly targeted Africa as a place for labor recruiting via human bondage, aka slavery. It is ironic that when the United States emancipated slaves in 1863 that same year, via the Treaty of Berlin, Europe formally divided up the African continent into colonies for pillage of its resources. The formal colonization be-

gan to crumble in 1957 when Kwame Nkrumah led Ghana to official independence. Yes, Africa actually began democracy before it was realized by African-Americans. Vice President Nixon journeyed to Ghana in 1957 for the inauguration ceremonies. He approached a group of African Americans sitting at the ceremony and mistook them for Ghanaians. He exclaimed, “How does it feel to be free?!” They replied, “We don’t know, we are from Alabama.” Wasn’t that profound? African-Americans officially obtained democracy under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, Africa has had its ups and downs. Ghana later reverted to military coups and oppression but eventually returned to democracy in the 1990’s. Most African nations can say they are democratic. But that is basically a sham. You can’t have true democracy without economic equity. These nations do not control their own resources as they are still being exploited by Europe and now along with Asia and the western

hemisphere. Even South Africa which has a 1st world economy is rigidly segregated. The wealth belongs to White Afrikaners and the massive poverty (factually 3rd world) is exclusive to the majority Black population. When you sit down with Africans and frankly berate them for their dismal state they will come up with a hundred reasons for their plight. The simple reason is fear and the old “crabs in the barrel syndrome”. A few tribal leaders find a way to get to the top and then suppress the rest of the people so that they can enjoy their temporary status for as long as they can. The Kikuyu in Kenya won’t step down from power just because they lost the election. The Hutu, in Rwanda, decided to kill over a million Tutsis rather then turn over the leadership to them. It goes on and on. Europe and the rest of the world are far too willing to feed this predatory system with stupid loans and deceitful aid designed to keep them confused and in terrible debt.

Meanwhile, the diamonds, oil, gold, etc. gets pulled out for pennies on the dollar and to no benefit of each nation and its people. The first thing Africa needs to do is get rid of the tribal thing. We are all God’s children and there is no section of us better than the rest. Let’s have one big tribe and call it mankind. Even China has over 32 different cultures and tribes but they found a way to blend them all together. Next, and most importantly, African nations must control their own resources and add value to them. For every crop such as tomatoes, cocoa, pineapples, mangos, etc. they must process them there and control and own that process. What good is growing cotton when you don’t own one cotton gin? Why does a gallon of gasoline in Nigeria costs more than in Amsterdam? It is pumped out of Nigeria so why isn’t it refined there and controlled 100% by Nigerians from well to refinery to gas station. It is insane.

Why do White South Africans and Europeans have a monopoly on gold and diamonds when you African nations possess the raw minerals? Seize it, manage it and profit from it. The models of Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil clearly show how rich a nation and its people can become if they only start controlling its own resources that God has blessed them with. If a sack of Coltran is bought in the Congo for $100 and is shipped to Belgium where it is cleaned up and sold to international telecom companies for over $100,000, I say let the future sacks of Coltran become void of the middle man or exploiter and the people of the Congo begin enjoying this money for themselves. If Africa gets its act together then the millions of educated Africans living in the West and Europe would return and offer their talents to their homelands. For God’s sake Africa, WAKE UP!!! Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, I n c . We b s i t e : w w w. n a t i o n a l bcc.org.


Terry McAuliffe courts Black votes in Virginia gubernatorial race.

Strong Black support lifts former DNC chair in gubernatorial primary By. Jeremy M. Lazarus “This is the fourth time PPP state’s top post. Special to the NNPA from the Public Policy Polling released its has polled this contest and the Richmond Free Press results in the Democratic race May first time one of the candidates 5 after surveying 583 likely primary has broken away from the pack,” RICHMOND, Va. (NNPA) - voters from May 1 to May 3. The (Continued on page 35) Former Democratic National poll found McAuliffe with 30 perCommittee Chairman Terry cent support to 20 percent for McAuliffe has opened a big Moran and 14 percent for Sen. lead over his two rivals in their Deeds. hotly contested race to become The finding seemed to confirm the Democratic nominee for Vir- the favorable McAuliffe trend ginia governor, two newly re- first identified in a SurveyUSA leased independent polls indi- poll. That survey of 409 likely votcate. ers, released two weeks ago, indiBoth polls suggest that cated that McAuliffe was favored McAuliffe, the former National by 38 percent, with Moran and Democratic Committee chair- Sen. Deeds each favored by 22 man, has gained the support of percent. Both polls had about a 5 30 percent or more of voters percent margin of error. likely to participate in the upAccording to PPP’s findings, coming June 9 primary election. McAuliffe has developed particuHis competition, Alexandria larly commanding leads among Delegate Brian Moran and Bath African-Americans, women and County state Sen. Creigh Deeds, voters describing themselves as trail him by 10 points or more in progressive — all significant eleboth polls ahead of the election ments of the Virginia coalition that that will determine which candi- enabled President Barack Obama date will face Republican Bob to become the first Democrat to McDonnell in November for the win the state in 44 years.

Rutgers to host NJ largest career fair The state’s largest career fair, New Jersey Collegiate Career Day, will take place on Thursday, May 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Rutgers Student Center and Brower Common in New Brunswick . The event is free and open to the public. Rutgers ’ Office of Career Services is expecting 130 employers who are seeking to fill positions for full-time jobs and internships. Experienced and entry-level candidates are welcome. Positions are available for liberal arts students, business, science and technical majors, social workers, teachers, administrators and more. A list of employers registered for the

event can be found at careerservices.rutgers.edu/pdf/ njccdmay09.pdf. Attendees can register and download their resumes online at https:/ /gtscandidate.mbafocus.com/ NewJerseyCollegiate/Candidates/ Login.aspx?pid=414 They should also bring multiple copies of their resumes to the career fair. Parking is at the Rutgers Athletic Center on the Livingston Campus at 83 Rockafeller Road in Piscataway . Free Rutgers buses will run continuously from 9: a.m. to 4:p.m. Additional information can be found at careerservices.rutgers.edu or by sending an e-mail to njccd@careers.rutgers.edu.

When Attorney General Eric Holder made his refreshingly frank comment on race relations in America - “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards.” - Kids Creative executive director Adam Jacobs took notice, mainly because his organization has been taking action on this front for the past ten years. “While the statement has i m p a c t , i t ’s n o t j u s t a b o u t ideological commitment, says Jacobs. “We need to create opportunities for people to truly embrace change.” Creating opportunities to overcome intolerance is the basis for nonprofit Kids Creative (http://www.kidscreative. org/), which offers arts-based, peace education programs for pre-K to high school age students. Its programs including its award-winning 10 year old summer camp aim to encourage tolerance and appreciation for the ideas and beliefs of others. “Many kids have no access to programs that foster their creativity and encourage an understanding of their communities and the world,” says actress, mom and KC advisory board member Ally Sheedy. “I

don’t believe that strict academics can ever substitute for this. Organizations like Kids Creative give kids a real chance to discover their true potential in a diverse, culturally rich environment.” Kids Creative focuses on starting this type of dialogue among a younger generation that is inherently more open to the message. Explains Jacobs, “Our programming, centered on the creation of original musicals, brings together a diverse group of children, of all ages and backgrounds, and presents them with a unique opportunity to make friends in a creative, fun setting. This sets a wonderful example for families, particularly the adults.” It is in this way that Kids Creative’s vision - that a more peaceful future can be brought about by those who, through the arts, have developed the creative, critical thinking and social skills necessary to create peace within them and in society - can become a reality, one creative kid at a time. Kids Creative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to foster confidence, creativity, conflict resolution skills and a strong sense of community in children through arts education in after school programs, summer camp and workshops.

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Kids Creative aims to bring better race bonds


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Hip Hop generation are urged to ‘step up’ The NBUF event, which inBy. Toure Muhammad Special to the NNPA from the cluded various rap and singing performances, was the precursor Final Call of the July 16-19 national NBUF CHICAGO (NNPA) - A Black conference, Turning Point 2009: president does shift the mental Connecting the Black Power Genparadigm, but Blacks should not eration to the Hip-Hop Generarecklessly wave the American tion. The conference, to be held flag with a blind eye to the back- here at the Jacob Carruthers Cenlash against the rise of President ter for Inner City Studies, aims to Barack Hussein Obama, ex- continue NBUF’s tradition of plained Kofi Taharka to a spir- teaching and training the next ited crowd of National Black generation of community orgaUnited Front (NBUF) members nizers and activists. The conference will include health screenand supporters. Speaking last month on the ings and cultural programs as theme “It Is Time for the Hip well as workshops and programs Hop Generation to Step Up,” on youth entrepreneurship, orTaharka, chairman of the Hous- ganizing, education and leaderton chapter of NBUF, pointed ship. This conference will also be to the rise of militant, right-wing organizations as one of the rea- special because Dr. Conrad sons Blacks must remain vigi- Worrill, the current national chairman—who has served in lant. According to various reports, that capacity for 25 years and is movie star and martial artist an NBUF founding member—will Chuck Norris claims that thou- step down. There will be an elecsands of right-wing cell groups tion during the conference and it have organized and are ready for is very possible that Taharka, a second American Revolution. who has previously served as the These groups are even urging national secretary, will be those in the military to not obey amongst the new wave of leadorders from President Obama. ers. “It’s a good thing (Dr. Worrill) During an appearance on the Glen Beck radio show Norris said is in sound health and mind to if things get any worse he may help make a smooth transition. We honor both the length and “run for president of Texas.” In addition to right-wing re- depth of his commitment to the bellion, Taharka highlighted the organization and to our people,” shooting of Oscar Grant in Oak- said Taharka, who is eager to land, Black youth targeted by a serve in whatever capacity his prosecutor in the Jena 6 case and peers choose. During the event, Dr. Worrill attitudes towards the victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and made it clear he will remain a Ike. These situations, he strong part of the organization. stressed, point to the need for a “I am stepping down, but I am revitalized movement for free- not going anywhere,” he said. “Ya’ll gonna still have to put up dom, justice, and equality. “Even though you have with me. I am going to sit in the Obama, we are dealing with a back and be an elder. I will keep system of White supremacy that coming to meetings and doing operates in all areas of human what I do, but somebody else will endeavor. We are still at the be the public face of this organibottom of all the lists: food, zation.” Headquartered in Chicago, clothing, shelter, education, health, employment, police bru- NBUF is an organization made up of concerned and committed intality, and etcetera,” he said. The consistent involvement of dividuals and groups that have young people in general and the united to assume responsibility hip hop community specifically for working and leading the in the liberation struggle, keeps struggle for better lives for themTaharka optimistic about “the selves and their children. The prospects for youth involve- National Black United Front is a ment in a more energized, revi- broad-based organization that intalized type of mass movement.” cludes social, political, religious For this to happen, community and cultural sections of the Black organizers and activists “must community. for more information, stay focused on basic core is- call 773-493-0900 or visit www.nbufront.org. sues,” he said.

SPECIAL GUEST — The National Bar Association last week held its annual mid-year conference at the New York Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. Nadine Johnson , NBA vice chair and regional director, poses with David Ushery, anchor, WNBC NEWS 4 during the dinner ceremony. (Gideon Manasseh photo)

Dyson tells students they might have to work harder in Obama era By. Gordon Jackson his viewpoint, worked to set Special to the NNPA from the some matters straight, criticizing Dallas Weekly those who downplayed the seriousness of Obama’s candidacy. DALLAS (NNPA) - One of “Folk think like he came out of Black America’s most prolific nowhere,” Dyson said, who speakers and intellectuals told added: “He wasn’t the first Paul Quinn College graduates brother that could have been that they may have to work president; he’s the first brother harder – not less - to represent who got a shot to prove that he their community, even with a can be president. “They wanted to make like [former presidential Black man as president. “You be responsible for your candidates] Jesse Jackson and life. Don’t be asking nobody else Al Sharpton and Martin Luther what they’ll do for you, you do it King, Jr. were holding the footfor yourself,” the Georgetown stools for his rising. “No, they opened up the door, professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson said during his keynote speech they made the ideal of a Black at PQC graduation exercises. man in the highest spot pos“Structural barriers will arise from sible, they fought bitter battles which you should prevail.” with bigotry, they opened the In his famous unique style, way against racism and oppresDyson cited lyrics from Black sion, so that Barack Obama was songs ranging from the blues of graced and poised to step the 1940s to rap tunes of today through that door.” to continuously make his points. Referring to Obama being the Describing late singer James 44th president, Dyson said: Brown as a “great philosopher” “Usually, when you associate he belted out to the audience: “I Black masculinity with 44, it’s a don’t need nobody to give me high caliber pistol...Obama nothing; open up the door I’ll didn’t come out of a vacuum and get it myself,” from one of you don’t come out of a vacuum either,” Dyson lectured to the 80 Brown’s hit songs. “That’s what folk before you graduates. “Don’t you forget to did,” Dyson told the graduates. contribute to a struggle, that you “They were door openers, door think is over - it ain’t over.” tear-downers.” Focusing much He said, “I’m glad you got a on Barack Obama’s historic rise Black president, but Black misto the presidency, Dyson, from ery, Black poverty and Black op-

pression is still real. We can’t afford to be half-stepping. We’ve got some more Barack Obamas up here. He’s like Jackie Robinson, the first one, but I’m looking for some Willie Mays and Hank Aarons behind him.” Going into his well-known genre, the Detroit-bred and Motown sound-ingrained Dyson quoted lyrics by everyone from Biggie Smalls to Tupac Shakur, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, Paul Robeson, Denise LaSalle, the Chi-lites and Stylistics, even getting into such a rhythm, he recited lyrics with the audience picking up the words at the end of each stanza. Referring to lyrics in today’s rap music, Dyson said: “If you’re going to listen to that, get deep with it. Understand the social suffering and the economic inequality, the racism and white supremacy to what’s legitimate. Use that music and that inspiration to get deeper and identify with those that are vulnerable.” While not necessarily connecting the modern fad of men sagging their pants with moral decay, Dyson said: “There’s some dudes and women who go to work every day who ain’t got no sagging pants, but they’re sagging the aspirations and hope of Black people. So I’d rather lift up your hopes and maybe your pants will follow.”

NJ students dominate math contest, take home $32,500 Five students from High Technology High School in Lincroft, N.J.,, were presented with a check for $20,000 and were named 2009 Moody’s Mega Math Challenge Champions after presenting their paper that evaluated the stimulus package’s effect on employment to a panel of Ph.D.-level applied mathematicians this week during the final round of judging at the Moody’s Corporation headquarters in Manhattan. Additional scholarship prizes ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 were awarded to the first runner-up through sixth place

teams, including New Jersey schools Bergen County Academies (fourth place—$7,500) and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (fifth place— $5,000). In total, 389 teams from high schools in 12 states, from Maine to Washington, D.C., participated in the 2009 Challenge. The teams overwhelmingly concluded that the stimulus package would work, given enough time. Impressively, the Champion team concluded that over the next three years, the stimulus act would create about 3.2 million jobs. Their model determined that tax breaks would produce the greatest increases

in employment, approximately one million jobs, with education and infrastructure spending producing about 600,000 and 500,000 jobs respectively. The students also predicted that unemployment would fall to 6.22% by 2012. However, if this estimate were to fall short, a second stimulus package would be needed, focusing on unemployment benefits, food stamps, and aid to state governments. “This was real data. We were doing the same sort of analysis that economists all over the country were doing using these huge, public data sets, finding out real, relevant, up-to-the-

minute conclusions,” said Matthew Warshauer, the lone junior from the High Technology High School team. His teammate, Steve Castellano, added, “Working on an applied math problem like this, where you see how everything relates to each other, was much more enjoyable and interesting than your typical science homework.” After giving their 15-minute PowerPoint presentations in which they explained their solutions and justified their conclusions to this year’s Challenge problem, “$787 Billion: Will the Stimulus Act Stimulate

the Economy?” the top six teams, comprising 30 students from schools in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, dressed neatly in professional attire, answered tough questions from the judging panel before gathering with their teammates and coaches to anxiously await the final results. Many reflected on the 14 hours they spent working on the problem back in early March, while some discussed the ups and downs of their presentations with other teams. Charlie O’Leary, a member of

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Health

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Dr. Alan D. Aviles

Mammograms urged for women over 40 In recognition of Mother’s Day, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and the American Cancer Society is promoting cancer prevention by educating women about breast cancer and the importance of mammograms for women over 40. “Mammograms are the most important tool for early detection of breast cancer, and HHC hospitals and health centers remain committed to providing this potentially life-saving screening at little or no cost.” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. A mammogram is the best method of detecting breast cancer at an early stage and improving rates of survival; yet 23% of women aged 40 and older have not had a recent mammogram. “We know that in the fight against breast cancer, early detection saves lives. But not everyone has adequate access to vital cancer screening services, especially in these challenging economic times,” said Mari Carlesimo, American Cancer Society director of Health Systems Initiatives. “The ability to offer no cost mammograms to uninsured women during the May

screening events will directly provide access to quality services that are needed and deserved in the fight against cancer.” Throughout the month of May, HHC will partner with the American Cancer Society to host public education and screening events at several HHC’s hospitals and health centers, where women with no health insurance will be able to get mammograms at little or no cost based on family size and income. For more information about May mammogram screening events, call 1-800-277-2345 or visit www.nyc.gov/hhc. Scheduled events at HHC include: In collaboration with the Staten Island Healthy Living Partnership, HHC will also make breast cancer screenings available at Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital throughout the month of May. HHC provides mammograms all year round at its 11 hospitals and some of its health centers. New Yorkers can call 311 or visit HHC’s web site at www.nyc.gov/ hhc for a complete list of HHC locations providing screenings and other helpful health information. Last year, HHC provided over 90,000 mammograms to New York women.

Confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu in the United States climbed to more than 2,500 by Monday, May 11 and the U.S. now surpasses Mexico as the country most affected by the outbreak, according to World Health Organization figures. The number of deaths in the United States linked to the illness rose to three over the weekend, with health officials in Washington state reporting late Saturday that an unidentified man in his 30s had succumbed to the infection. In a state Department of Health news release, officials said the man, who had an underlying heart condition, died last week with what appeared to be complications from the swine flu, the Associated Press reported. The man’s death came after two prior fatal U.S. cases of swine flu: a 33-year-old woman in Texas, and a Mexican toddler who had been treated at a Texas hospital. Both of those individuals also had chronic underlying medical conditions. The swine flu count in the United States now stands at 2,532 confirmed cases in 44 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. On Saturday, CDC officials said those numbers included 104 hospitalizations. The vast majority of cases are mild, however. “We had expected more cases and we are continuing to find them,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for science and public health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Saturday teleconference. The jump in confirmed cases is partly due to the reduction in the backlog of testing for infections. But the number of confirmed cases is probably an underestimation of the total number of actual cases as the virus continues to spread, Schuchat said. “Transmission here in the U.S.

Dr. Anne Schuchat is ongoing. This is a very easily transmittable virus,” she said. “Fortunately, the severity of illness that we’re seeing, at this point, doesn’t look as terrible as a category-five pandemic or the severely devastating impact some had feared. But influenza viruses are unpredictable and can change over time. Going forward, it’s really important to us that we pay attention to how this virus may or may not change.” Because the new swine flu virus is a highly unusual genetic mix of bird, flu and human viruses, health officials worry that it could continue to mutate and return in a more virulent form for next winter’s flu season. And, while most of the infections continue to cause only mild illness, similar to the seasonal flu, and virtually all patients recover quickly and fully, federal officials warned Friday that the swine flu outbreak in the United States is far from over. “I want to address an issue that’s been concerning me, that has to do with a sense of having dodged a bullet, a sense that this is over,” Dr. Richard Besser, the CDC’s acting director, said during a Friday teleconference.

“While we have seen a lot of encouraging news in terms of severity, we continue to see hundreds and hundreds of new cases each day,” he said. While the swine flu — technically known as the H1N1 virus — is similar to seasonal flu, there are some important differences, Besser said. “One thing we are seeing, unlike seasonal flu, a higher percentage seem to be having vomiting and diarrhea,” he said. Besser said last week that most new cases of swine flu in the United States are now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began more than two weeks ago. Mexico is believed to be the source of the outbreak. Testing has found that the swine flu virus remains susceptible to two common antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC. So far, U.S. deaths linked to swine flu occurred in individuals with multiple underlying health problems, according to a CDC report released Thursday by the New En-

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State universal health care bill advances in legislature “New York Health Plus,” a universal health care bill, has been introduced in Albany by the chairs of the Assembly and Senate Health Committees. Under the plan, all New Yorkers would be eligible to enroll in a comprehensive health plan offered by New York State free of premiums and deductibles. “We can get better coverage, get all of us covered, and save billions by having New York offer a publicly-sponsored health coverage option, like Medicare or Child Health Plus but for everyone. And people who want to can keep the coverage they have,” Assembly Health Com-

mittee chair Richard N. Gottfried said. “New York Health Plus builds on the state’s existing healthcare programs to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the health coverage that they need,” Mr. Gottfried said. “New York State needs to take a leadership role in the national conversation on healthcare coverage and New York Health Plus is an important step in that direction.” “During this economic downturn, it is critical that working families have the security of healthcare coverage as more and more New Yorkers lose their jobs and health benefits. New York

Health Plus would provide access to healthcare for over 2 million uninsured New Yorkers,” said George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU, representing 275,000 health care workers. David T. Hannan, MD, MPA, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York said, “MSSNY recognizes the NY Health Plus proposal as a possible first step toward addressing the problem of the uninsured and health care delivery in the State of New York.” “The New York State Nurses Association was pleased to work with Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Duane on

this important legislation,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, chief executive officer of the New York State Nurses Association. “Nurses believe that quality, affordable health care should be accessible to all. New York Health Plus is an opportunity to show the nation how to achieve this goal. We support this bill.” The new plan - called New York Health Plus - builds on the highly popular and successful Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus programs to provide a full benefit package that is more comprehensive than most commercial health insur-

ance programs. All New Yorkers would be eligible, regardless of wealth. Individuals would choose from among participating health plans, as is now done under Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus. The state would also run a fee-for-service option. Under this plan, no one would have to give up the doctors or other providers they use. Instead of individuals and employers paying premiums, the state would set and pay the premium. Deductibles would also be eliminated and co-payments would be non-existent or nominal, as they are under Family Health Plus. The bill is A. 7854 and S. 4884.

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United States now leading the world in swine flu cases


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Mother’s Day celebrated in style at Brookklyn gala By Donna Lamb Delicious food, great entertainment, gifts for all the mothers and special presents for ten Mothers of the Year. All this and more was found in abundance at Council Member Mathieu Eugene’s annual Mother’s Day celebration, held at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn. “Thank you for coming and giving me this opportunity to pay tribute to you, our mothers,” Eugene said as he looked out over the wellfilled auditorium. “All you mothers are so precious that it’s only fitting we take time to thank you for your sacrifices and for everything you’ve done not only for us but for our communities. Society couldn’t be what it is today without you because, as we all know, if you want to get something done, get the mothers in on it!” Eugene went on to note what a pleasure it was to see people from all over the world gathered there enjoying the celebration together. “That’s what makes Brooklyn so beautiful,” he declared. “New York is great because of its diversity, and you mothers with your different origins and religions, you are all wonderful. I love you all.” While everyone continued enjoying the food, the entertainment kicked off with two very engaging performances by the Latin Fever Dancers. They concluded by jumping off the stage to grab partners from the audience - including the councilmember himself, who, to everyone’s delight, showed he’s no slouch when it comes to Salsa. There were also performances by singers Claude Aurelien, Noel McDonald, Patrine Simone and Wilkerson Theodore, who each stirred the audience deeply with their inspirational renditions. These were interspersed with solos on the musical saw by 80-year-old Moses Josiah and a violin solo by 9-year-old Claudius Agrippa. Motivational speaker Dennis Rahiim Watson was also a big hit, as was comedian Grann Nana who had the audience in stitches. Upon entering the celebration, each mother had been given a raffle ticket. Later on, James Richmond, the event’s MC, announced that there would be a raffle drawing to select ten representative M o t h e r s o f t h e Ye a r w h o would each receive a lavish gift basket contributed by Princess Daley, along with a crown, corsage, balloon and a citation from Council Member Eugene. Once the raffle tickets were drawn and all the Mothers of the Year were properly bedecked, they were each asked

a question, giving them the opportunity to highlight their beliefs about motherhood. For example, in answer to a question about how a mother can help ensure her child’s success in life, a mother said, “Be very active in your child’s s c h o o l . K n o w y o u r c h i l d ’s teacher and the school principal, and volunteer at the school if possible.” Another mother responded, “I teach my children to never give up and that anything they want to be they can be with God’s help.” In answer to the inquiry, “What lessons have you learned from your own parents that you want to hand down to your children?” a mother answered, “Always respect yourself and respect others. If you want respect you have to earn respect and give respect.” Council Member Eugene concluded the gala with a heartfelt thanks to all the companies and individuals who had contributed so generously to the event, especially Mark Dicus and Jack Katz of the Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue BIDs respectively, Dr. Kesler Dalmacy, Rabbi Pikus of COJO, Guychard Saint-Hilaire of Venus Restaurant, Balloons ‘N’ Things, as well as Linderman Florist and David Shannon Florist. As the evening ended, one m o t h e r, P a t r i c i a H e r o n Lawrence, approached Eugene and told him that although she was thrilled to have been celebrated as a mother herself, during the entire party she couldn’t stop thinking about her own mother, Zeta Heron, who is battling cancer and was too sick to come. She asked the councilmember if he would give her a citation that she could award to her mother. “She is an amazing Mom,” Patricia said. “Even in her illness she still gives everything of herself to all her children. She’s so special and we all love her very much.” Eugene was so touched by the daughter’s emotion that he decided to go to their home and give Zeta Heron a citation himself. He told this Jamaican-born mother of six children, 17 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild, “When your daughter spoke to me about you, I knew you had to be a wonderful mother to be loved that much. I wanted to come and thank you personally for what you’ve done for your children because when you raise your children right, you don’t just do it for your own family; you do it for all society.” Therefore, surrounded by her husband Raymond and other members of her loving family on Mother’s Day, this courageous mother got her City Council citation declaring her “an outstanding citizen who is worthy of the esteem of both the community and the great City of New York.”

Mother’s Day celebration begins at bountiful buffet table.

Latin Fever Dancers receive citation from Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

Council Member Mathieu Eugene with ten representative Mothers of the Year.


Pols, parents and children rally against NYC school overcrowding

Antonio Perez

BMCC launches construction management training program A new Construction Cost Estimator Training Program, which will teach minorities, women and veterans working in construction the necessary skills to become cost estimators, has been launched at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). The program is funded by the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center Cost estimation, which projects the estimated costs for construction projects, represents a significant career advance for construction workers, and a foray into management level employment. Dr. Antonio Pérez, president of BMCC, said, “The Construction Cost Estimator Training Program, was developed in response to industry’s identified need for skilled employees, and encourages minority, female, and veteran participation in the rebuilding efforts of downtown New York…We are very excited about this groundbreaking new program that will provide valuable training in construction and most importantly, access to jobs.” Despite the economic downturn, construction in lower Manhattan remains very active, and according to a survey by the Building Trade Employer’s Association, there is a high need for cost estimators. Few minorities and women, however, apply for such positions. Robert Harvey, executive director of the LMCCC said, “Lower Manhattan is in the midst of one of the biggest construction booms in our city’s history, despite the economic downturn. We, along with BMCC, formulated this Cost Estimator Training program, after learning from

the construction industry that cost estimating is a position that’s always in demand. This program will help train people who are in construction field to upgrade their skills and advance their career.” BMCC collaborated with the LMCCC and Building Trades Employer’s Association (BTEA) to create the program, following the findings of a BTEA survey that found cost estimator positions were among the hardest to fill, and a report that the construction industry will face a shortage of skilled workers due to the “aging out” of the current workforce (48% of construction industry employees are 40 or older). The program’s curriculum was devised in part based on the findings of a 2008 focus group of cost estimation vice presidents, who determined which skills were most important for a cost estimator to have upon starting the job. BMCC expects to conduct the Construction Cost Estimator training program three times a year, with sessions in the winter, summer and fall semesters, allowing for a total of 60 participants annually. Participants in the program were recruited through the assistance of BMCC Alumni Office, Helmets to Hardhats, Non-traditional Employment for Women program (NEW), the Project Hire Pre-Apprenticeship Program at Bronx Community College, the Edward J. Malloy Construction Skills Program, the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc., and a wide array of Community Based Organizations.

Hundreds rallied on the steps of City Hall last week, including public school parents, children and elected officials to demand that Joel Klein and the Department of Education address the overcrowding crisis in their schools and fulfill their obligation to provide seats for the hundreds of kindergarten children who do not currently have space in their neighborhood schools. “Chancellor Joel Klein has a flawed plan for coping with the excess registration of over 300 4-and 5-year-old children in District 2, which is to hope that the problem will go away when parents send their children to gifted and talented programs elsewhere. He has refused to provide them with seats in their neighborhood schools. Parents are left to speculate on which far-flung school their kindergarteners will be enrolled at some unspecified date,” said Andy Lachman of the Parent Leaders of Upper East Side Schools (PLUS). “The DOE’s failure to plan for the future has been an unexcused absence at our neighborhood schools,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “Our schools are bursting at the seams, pre-kindergarten classes are being eliminated, and science labs and art rooms are being turned into classrooms throughout the city. PS 151 parents are still waiting to hear where their children will be going to school in the fall. We need serious solutions that address the immediate and long-term school overcrowding crisis in our community, and we need them now.” The growth in enrollment in communities throughout the city has been occurring steadily over several years, and there will be even more overcrowding in the future, and a lack of seats in neighborhood schools, until and unless the city adopts a plan to build and lease sufficient new schools. “When parents doubt that there’s a seat for their child in their neighborhood school, they pack up and leave the City - taking their tax dollars with them,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “In my ‘Crowded Out’ reports last year, I blew the whistle on the City’s broken planning process, and in

Joel Klein

Rep.Carolyn Maloney the Campaign for A Better Capital Plan, we proposed specific reforms. But despite this, DOE is still leaving parents in the lurch and leaving kindergartners and prekindergartners on the outside looking in. Even in tough financial times, building new schools is an investment we can’t afford not to make.” “In fighting for control of the school system, Mayor Bloomberg urged that we could hold him solely accountable for the schools. But instead of using this power to devise a comprehensive plan to ensure that every kid has a seat in their neighborhood, they have asked the community to find solutions, then refused to listen to their advice. Since the Mayor is solely accountable for the schools, he is

solely to blame for the fiasco created by the DOE’s short-sighted ‘solutions’,” said Assemblymember Deborah Glick. On the Upper East Side , over 150 kids are on waitlists for kindergarten for their zoned schools and 150 children who are zoned for PS 151 have no school. “Neighborhood elementary schools are critically important to maintaining the fabric of our communities,“ said Council Member Dan Garodnick, who represents part of the East Side of Manhattan. “Parents need assurances that their neighborhood schools will be available to their children, and the Department of Education must act now—not this summer, and not next year—to fix this problem and end the waiting game.” “This problem did not arise overnight. I have been warning the DOE about this for years and they didn’t act. Now we’re in a crisis,” Councilmember Jessica Lappin said, who represents another section of the Upper East Side . “Not only do we need short-term solutions for the families on waiting lists this year, but we need to plan ahead so that we’re not in the exact same position again next year.” “A key example of the DOE’s failure to address overcrowding is the fact that after nearly 10 years, the children in the PS 151 zone still don’t have a school. The DOE could fix most of the UES overcrowding by moving Richard Green High School to a new location in District 2 and reopening PS 66,” said Beth Orchulli a 151 zoned parent. On Tuesday afternoon the DOE announced that 60 of the 90 children waitlisted for PS 3 and PS 41 in Greenwich Village would be squeezed into those schools by eliminating pre-K programs, and by raising class sizes to the contractual maximum of 25-30. “The DOE has increased class sizes, eliminated science and art rooms, and maxed out every possible space,” said Henry Sidel of Kids Shut Out (KSO), the group of families who were waitlisted for PS 41 and PS 3. “The DOE has refused for years, despite numerous warnings, to plan for growth. Already this year, class sizes increased citywide in all grades but one – by the largest amount in ten years. Next year will be even worse. Instead of subsidizing sports stadiums, Mayor Bloomberg needs to

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95% Harlem Success Academy students pass ELA exam About 95% of third grade students at Harlem Success Academy 1 (HSA 1) passed the 2009 New York State English Language Arts (ELA) exam. 23.3% of the students received 4s, the highest score. “My teacher helped me a lot in my class,” said Ojani JohnsonHackle. “I couldn’t do the work that well when I got to 3rd grade,

but Ms. Zalkind showed me I could do it. I’m proud of my 4!” “I can’t tell you how happy I am my kid goes to a school where her teachers care about her education and her future,” remarked Carmen Lassiter, mom of Nina Lassiter. “They believe in her and give her the attention she needs to learn and do well. It’s the support that makes all the difference.”

“I am so proud not only of my scholars, but of all Harlem Success Academy third graders,” said Paola Zalkind, a founding faculty member and 3rd grade teacher. “Together with my colleagues and school leaders, I am always developing new ways to push my students to excel beyond what they think possible. There are no excuses. Again and again they

prove that no challenge is too great for their hard work and creativity.” The exam results show that public charter schools truly offer a high-performing alternative to failing zone schools. With 19 out of 23 elementary and intermediate zone schools in Harlem failing, children deserve better. The performance of Harlem Success

Academy students on the 2009 ELA exam is a step in the right direction for public education in New York City . “The ELA results are a testament to the dedication of our students, teachers and parents; they have far surpassed the expectations of critics,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder of Suc-

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AUDREY'S Gala Event SOCIETY Reach Out and Read of Greater New York raised $190,000 WHIRL their children, they build associa-

By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles/Society Editor Reach Out and Read of Greater New York (ROR GNY) recently hosted its 10th anniversary celebration at the elegant Tribeca Rooftop in lower Manhattan. The gala dinner and auction was attended by guests from the publishing, entertainment and sports industries and reached the organization’s fundraising goal of $190,000. All proceeds from the event will benefit children in the New York region served by ROR GNY, an organization that puts books into the hands of children

ROR executive director Traci Lester (2nd right) with honorees Justin and Lauran Tuck and Emma Walton Hamilton with board members Maria Gotsch and Keith Dawkins Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, a well-loved book writing team. In a joint statement, Traci Lester, executive director, and Maria Gotsch, board chair, ROR GNY welcomed guests to a magical evening and milestone celebration. “To everyone who shares our belief in the importance of providing children with books and a life-long love of

Honoree Justin Tuck (center) and Honoree Emma Walton Hamilton (far right) with her son and friends through pediatricians, nurses and other health care providers. Hoda Kotb of the Today Show on NBC emceed the program honoring literacy champions Justin Tuck, record-breaking Defensive End for the NY Giants, and his wife Lauran, as well as Julie

reading, we offer you our most profound thanks.” “We hope that you have a wonderful time this evening, and that we can continue to count you among our friends in our ongoing effort to reach as many children with as many books as

possible.” Keith Dawkins, general manager, Nicktoons Network, and senior vice president, programming partnerships, Nickelodeon, and 10 th anniversary benefit committee chair, presented ROR GNY’s distinguished literacy champion awards to the esteemed honorees for their outstanding work in providing great reading materials to the underserved. Justin and Lauran Tuck founded R.U.S.H (Read, Understand, Succeed, Hope) for Literacy in 2008. This new initiative donates books and other reading materials to schools in New York and Justin’s home state of Alabama. “It was an honor to be recognized for our philanthropy by Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit that shares our belief that by helping children get access to new books, and showing them the joy of reading those books, we can both make the world a better place,” the Tucks said. Emma Walton Hamilton accepted the coveted award on behalf of herself and her mother, Julie Andrews. Together, Ms. Walton Hamilton and Ms. Andrews have coauthored a number of popular

children’s books, including the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, Simeon’s Gift, Dragon: Hound of Honor, and The Great American Mousical. Ms. Walton Hamilton’s latest book, Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, published in December 2008, offers helpful advice for parents to instill a love of reading in their children.

MC Hoda Kotb with ROR guest “Reach Out and Read recognizes that while we may learn to read and write at school, we learn to love reading at home, said honoree Walton Hamilton speaking on behalf of herself and her mother, Julie Andrews. “When families read with

ROR board members Ann Sand, Judith Levine and ROR board members Eileen FitzPatrick and Susan Kaufman Kathleen Collins with family & friends

ROR board members Gary Tannenbaum and Averie Hason with Roy Trujillo

tions between reading and joy that help establish the foundation for a lifelong love of reading, and the countless benefits that reading skills provide. We are privileged and proud to support them, and are ever-grateful for the work they do.” The scintillating program ended with Roy Trujillo, chief operating officer, TransPerfect Translations International, Inc., leading the black tie audience in a 10th anniversary toast for the exceptional success of the charitable organization. Toasts were also extended to all of the generous sponsors and auction donors who helped make the event the success it was. Special kudos to ace auctioneer Patrick Tully who, during a live auction, raised lots of additional funds for this great cause. Other individuals deserving of a raised glass of thanks for an extraordinary evening included Phil Shawe, Co-CEO, TransPerfect Translations International, Inc., Thomas Killip, M.D., and Diana Killip, M.D., who served as 10 th

Guests from Queens Hospital Center

anniversary celebration cochairs; Susan Kaufman, editor, People StyleWatch who served as 10 th anniversary auction committee chair; and Barry Zuckerman, M.D., founder, Reach Out and Read, who served as honorary event chair.

Guests from Bronx Lebanon Hospital

Guests from St. Barnabas Hospital (Photos by Gerald Pearl)


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By Vinette K. Pryce Twenty-four years after the shocking bombing of American citizens living in Pennsylvania, sympathizers and family members will rally Saturday to demand parole for MOVE survivors associated with the May 13, 1985 assault. Slated for 11 th & Market St., the commemorative laments the unprecedented government-sanctioned bombing that killed six adults and five children and the subsequent arrest of individuals associated with the controversial MOVE organization. It was reportedly the first bombing by the government on U.S. soil of American citizens and made national news when Mayor Wilson Goode ordered a violent response to a standoff with local police. The anniversary rally begs parole for members of the Africa family: Janine, Debbie, Janet, Merle, Delbert, Mike, Phil, Eddie, and Chuck who were convicted of 3 rd degree murder, conspiracy, and multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault on May 4, 1980. Each was given a sentence of 30 to 100 years. Reportedly, they were found guilty of the 1978 killing of police officer James Ramp. “The government came out to Powelton Village in 1978 not to arrest, but to kill. Having

failed to do that, my family was unjustly convicted of a murder that the government knows they didn’t commit, and imprisoned them with 30-100 year sentences. Later, when we as a family dared to speak up against this, they came out to our home again and dropped a bomb on us, burned babies alive,” survivor Ramona Africa stated. One of only two to elude the deadly bombing assault, 30-yearold Ramona and 13-year-old Birdie reportedly survived the bombing when she “dodged police gunfire and escaped from the fire with permanent scars.” After surviving the bombing, Ramona was charged with conspiracy, riot, and multiple counts of simple and aggravated assault. Her sentence was 16 months to 7 years, but she served the full 7 years when she was denied parole for not renouncing MOVE. In court, all charges listed on the May 11 arrest warrant, used to justify the assault were dismissed by the judge. Ramona recently recalled her hellish experience to Canada’s Born Black Magazine detailing the series of events that occurred and being in the basement with the children when the assault began. “Water started pouring in from the hoses. Then the tear gas came after explosives blew the whole front of the house off. After hearing a lot of gunfire, things became pretty quiet. It was then that they dropped the bomb without

Massive rally to protest execution of Ga. inmate Amnesty International activists, along with members of the New York NAACP, will in a massive demonstration, protest the impending execution of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis on Amnesty International’s Global Day of Action on May 19 A rally will be held at Union Square, on 14 th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South, from 6: p.m. – 8:p.m. It is one of dozens of events occurring in 31 states and the District of Columbia that day. “This case exemplifies both the systemic flaws of the death penalty and the ugly truth that justice is still not applied equally in this country,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. “It has fallen through the gaping cracks in our legal system, where strong claims of innocence have disappeared without a trace. We stand in solidarity with the Davis family and the hundreds of thousands around the world who are resolute in their desire to halt this execution.”

Despite a strong case of innocence, to date Davis’ appeals have been denied at all levels of the government based on technicalities; most recently the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis’ request for a new trial or evidentiary hearing. Those who have spoken out against the execution include Bob Barr, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, William Sessions and Pope Benedict XVI. Davis, whose stay of execution will be lifted on May 16, has already been scheduled for execution three times — one coming within an hour and a half of his death. When Davis was convicted of murdering Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, there was no physical evidence, such as a murder weapon, linking him to the case. Following the conviction, seven out of nine original state witnesses recanted in sworn affidavits or changed their original testimonies, several citing police coercion. Nine people have alleged that one of the original witnesses is the actual killer, but authorities have never followed up on the lead.

any warning.” “At first, those of us in the basement didn’t realize that the house was on fire because there was so much tear gas that it was hard to recognize smoke. We opened the door and started to yell that we were coming out with the kids. The kids were hollering too. We know they heard us but the instant we were visible in the doorway, they opened fire. You could hear the bullets hitting all around the garage area. They deliberately took aim and shot

at us. Anybody can see that their aim, very simply, was to kill MOVE people—not to arrest anybody.” Merle died tragically behind bars in 1998. And Ramona released in 1992 has consistently stated her case to Born Black Magazine and anyone sympathetic to her cause. Although all are eligible for parole, last week Eddie was denied. The three-hour Philadelphia demonstration is aimed at mak-

ing a public plea to the parole board to consider reprieve for the Africa family. To commemorate the fated date, poetry readings, happy hour events and political gatherings are scheduled to convince Pennsylvania Parole Board chairwoman Katherine McVey and the eight members that justice is due for the Africa family. The MOVE 9 and Mumia AbuJamal cases are two of Pennsylvania’s most renowned of the state and perhaps the nation.

NC school board member caught using the N-word, urged to resign The NAACP announced a letter sent by the North Carolina State Conference demanding the resignation of Burke County School Board member Rob Hairfield. From September 2008 to as recent as February 2009, Hairfield sent expletive laden and racist emails from his personal email account. “While Mr. Hairfield has attempted to apologize for utilizing racist, stereotypical and offensive internet communication, his apology is not accepted. The use of the “N” word, particularly by a public figure used verbally or electronically is not free or protected speech. “Furthermore, we do not believe we can trust the decision making on behalf of our children by anyone who agrees with the racist sentiments of these emails,” stated NAACP North Carolina State Conference President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. The NAACP is calling for the School Board to take immediate action by condemning the racist e-mails admittedly sent by Hairfield and asking for his resignation. In addition, the board is being asked to conduct an internal investigation to determine if others in the school system were recipients of the e-mails in question and if so, their response. “Even the very presence of this kind of activity should cause the entire community to be outraged,” stated NAACP Burke County Chapter President Barbara Myers, “The mind set reflected in these egregious acts are not excused by a visit to an NAACP banquet, having a few Black friends or an attempt to present them as being humorous.” “One of the investigations we are demanding is to find out how deep does the action run,” says Barber. In an open letter to the com-

munity and to Hairfield, The NAACP North Carolina State Conference pointed to a North Carolina Supreme Court case in which a sitting District Attorney was removed from office for using the “N” word in public after hours at a bar. “This is both about Mr. Hairfield and even more the trail of racist hate speech/images and how far it runs. We call on the rest of the school board to join us in pursuing this investigation and calling for Mr.

Hairfield’s resignation,” added Barber. “These actions represent more than a personal failing but a racist public disposition by someone charged and elected to care for the welfare of all children. This is why we are calling for and pursuing his resignation,” concluded Barber. The NAACP in conjunction with the NAACP North Carolina State Conference and Burke County NAACP will call on the State of North Carolina to consider all available options.

Bill would eliminate unjust crack sentencing Special to the NNPA from the jority of users are White. Los Angeles Sentinel “Over the past 15 years, all of the myths justifying heightened WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Ad- penalties for crack have been vocates from the American Civil d e b u n k e d , ’’ s a i d C a r o l i n e Liberties Union and other civil Fredrickson, Director of the rights and religious organiza- ACLU Washington Legislative. tions walked the halls of Con“The biggest difference begress late last month to push a tween crack and powder cocaine bill that would eliminate the un- is the skin color of those arjust and discriminatory 100-to- rested. In comparison to pow1 disparity between crack and der cocaine, crack was previpowder cocaine sentences un- ously believed to be instantly der federal law. addicting, producing a generaThe goal of the “Crack the Dis- tion of dependent-for-life ‘crack parity Lobby Day’’ April 28 was babies’ and leading to violent to urge lawmakers to co-sponsor behavior, but we now know that and support H.R. 265, the Drug powder cocaine and crack coSentencing Reform and Cocaine caine have the same effect on Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2009 users,’’ she said. “The law must catch up to the introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), research. Congress must elimiwhich would equalize crack and nate the statutory 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powcocaine sentencing statutes. Under current law, posses- der cocaine.’’ Both the executive and judicial sion of only five grams of crack cocaine triggers the same man- branches of the federal governdatory minimum sentence as ment support ending the crack possession of 500 grams of cocaine disparity. The White powder cocaine. This is often House website lists the complete referred to as the federal 100- elimination of the disparity as a civil rights priority. Moreover, to-1 disparity. There is a strong racial com- the U.S. Sentencing Commission ponent to the disparity: crack has recommended repeatedly arrestees are far more likely to that Congress should address be Black, even though the ma- the crack disparity.

NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

Action anniversary rally for MOVE 9 demands amnesty


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Beacon On More than 850 graduates received degrees at Berklee College of Music’s 2009 Commencement, held at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Berklee President Roger H. Brown presented honorary doctor of music degrees to legendary Motown singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson, singer Linda Ronstadt, Dominican singer/ songwriter Juan Luis Guerra and award-winning producer and sound engineer George Massenburg. Robinson delivered the commencement address to the graduating class and more than 4,000 guests.

Kamau Hamilton (center) of The Central Harlem Montessori Elementary School has won first place in the Kids Science Challenge. He won thousands of dollars in prizes and gifts including a computerized telescope and a trip to the Bay area where he will meet actual scientist of the Seiti Institute and will co-produce an album exploring the sounds of the earth. He is also the first African American to win such an award. The New York Beacon congratulates this community youth. Veteran music industry executive and CEO of Upfront Megatainment, Devyne Stephens (left), was presented with the coveted Jam Master Jay Award at the annual Core DJ’s Retreat and 5th anniversary event that draws the music world’s most influential radio DJ’s, record executives, labels and artists. The award recognizes individuals who have made positive contributions to the music community by paving the way for others. Through his Upfront Megatainment empire in Atlanta, Stephens has been involved in grooming nearly all of the stars that have emerged from that city, as well as a significant number of others. Stephens is also active in giving back to the community through his Devyne Intervention charity. Devyne is shown with his Konlive music business partner, the multi-platinum recording artist Akon (right).

Dasani and new spokesperson Chilli (center) of female group TLC, are bringing feelgood refreshment to African American women through a Mother’s Day program that celebrates good work in the community and refreshes women with style and beauty experiences. Being in the public eye, she fully understands that the most “refreshingly fabulous” woman is one who takes care of herself while empowering others to succeed every day. The Dasani Ultimate Style & Beauty Lounge offer women the opportunity to refresh and recharge in a relaxing atmosphere designed to provide a quick escape from the daily challenges of life. Rejuvenating spa services, including manicures, pedicures, massages and facials will be offered to round out the spa experience. L’Oreal Paris and SoftSheen-Carson provided hairstyles, trims and make-up for the women. Hosted by Chilli, the Dasani Ultimate Style & Beauty Lounge took place at Townhouse Spa, one of the hottest spas in New York. To commemorate Mother’s Day, Dasani mixed in some good deeds with its glamour by recognizing the great work many women are doing on a daily basis. Dasani made donations to Girls Inc. and Dress for Success for their support of women through a variety of positive, image-building programs. Debra Lee, CEO of BET Television (left) and Bethann Hardison (right) a legend in the fashion industry and founder of Black Girls Coalition, were also honored for their work in fostering programs for young women. (Photo: David Shellman)


Guests max out at mesmeric Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night preview party By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles/Society Editor Justin Timberlake might have brought sexy back, but R&B sexy soul crooner Maxwell brought lust black! on a sweltering Tuesday evening, April 28, 2009, at an album preview party he co-hosted with Columbia Records co-chairman Steve Barnett at the plush Sony Club to introduce his long

awaited full-length album, BLACKsummers’night. The long awaited album is Part 1 of a Trilogy and his first new studio album since 2001 that will hit the stores on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. The blistering first single, “Pretty Wings,” is currently burning up the charts. Excited guests mixed and mingled as they yearned to see Maxwell who’s been gone too long from a self-imposed hia-

tus. And the velvety brother is back with acute authenticity and he’s never looked or sounded better. BLACKsummers’night is the provocative initial installment of the artist’s larger-than-life trilogy. Subsequent chapters, black SUMMERS’night and blacksumm ers’NIGHT, are slated for release in 2010 and 2011 respectively. BLACKsummers’night reunites

Maxwell with long-time collaborator Hod David, who serves as co-producer and co-writer of the album which they recorded live in the studio with ace musicians. The consummate singer — who is scheduled to headline the main stage of the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on July 4, 2009 — will be taking his new music on the road with a major North American tour in support

of BLACKsummers’night. And as if being up close and personal with the sexy soul singer wasn’t the ultimate reward for attending the packed to capacity event, the master crooner presented each guest with a new Sony S-AIRPLAY wireless music system and a DVD of his explosive first single so that they could max out. Maxwell is back, Black and as beguiling as ever.

Maxwell relaxes with the new Sony S-AIRPLAY wireless music system that he gifted to attendees at his Blacksummers'night preview party

New York Mets great (L-R) Yvette Noel-Schure, Senior Vice President-Media, Columbia Records; Rob Dwight “Doc” Gooden with Stringer, CEO, Columbia/Epic Label Music Group, Columbia Records; recording art- New York Giants player Anist Maxwell; and Columbia Records Co-Chairman Steve Barnett tonio Pierce with Maxwell Maxwell (Photos: Larry Busaca)

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The Scene

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Social Security, Medicare finances face depletion (From page 3) The findings in the trustees report, the annual checkup given the two benefit programs, did not come as a surprise. Private economists had been predicting that the dates the programs would begin to pay out more than they take in and the dates the trust funds would be insolvent would occur sooner given the economic recession. The deep recession, the worst the country has endured in decades, has resulted in a loss of 5.7 million jobs since it began in December 2007. The unemployment rate hit a 25-year high of 8.9 percent in April. Fewer people working means less being paid into the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office recently projected that So-

cial Security will collect just $3 billion more in 2010 than it will pay out in benefits. A year ago, the CBO had projected that Social Security would have a much higher $86 billion cash surplus for the 2010 budget year, which begins Oct. 1. The trustees report projected that Social Security’s annual surpluses would “fall sharply this year,” then remain at a reduced level in 2010 and be lower in the following years than last year’s projections. The report said that the Social Security annual surplus would be eliminated entirely in 2016, reflecting increased demands from the wave of 78 million baby boomers retiring. That means Social Security will have to turn to its trust fund to make up the difference between Social Security taxes and the benefits being paid out beginning in 2016. The trustees projected the

NYS Assembly passes bill (From page 3) woman. O’Donnell continued, “Many of my colleagues who voted yes are individuals of profound faith who were able to draw a distinction between civil and religious marriage. I commend every one of them for casting this courageous vote.” Silver noted the changed political landscape since the last Assembly vote, in 2007. Residents in urban, suburban and rural areas all over New YorkState con-

tacted their Assemblymembers, urging them to approve the marriage equality legislation. Governor Paterson issued a directive to state agencies last year to recognize all marriages performed outside the state, including same-sex marriages performed in Canada or the few states that can be legally solemnized. Some municipalities in New York State offer domestic partnership registries for the purposes of benefits, but civil unions are not offered under New York State law.

trust fund would be depleted in 2037, four years earlier than the 2041 date in last year’s report. At that point, the annual Social Security taxes collected would be enough to pay for three-fourths of current benefits through 2083. To tap the trust fund, the government would have to increase borrowing or raise taxes because Social Security bonds exist only as bookkeeping entries. While the smaller surpluses that will begin this year will not have any impact on Social Security benefit payments, the government will need to borrow more at a time when the federal deficit is already exploding be-

cause of the recession and the billions of dollars being spent to prop up a shaky banking system. Medicare’s condition is more precarious, reflecting the pressures from soaring health care costs as well as the drop in tax collections. The options available to deal with the Social Security shortfall include raising the payroll tax that funds Social Security, such as removing the cap on income subject to the tax, or cutting benefits in some fashion such as raising the retirement age. The administration is pushing Congress to pass legislation this year to extend health care

coverage to some 50 million uninsured Americans, preferring to tackle health care before Social Security. The trustees report is likely to set off renewed debate over Social Security and Medicare. Critics have charged that the Obama administration has failed to tackle the most serious problems in the budget — soaring entitlement spending. The administration on Monday revised its federal deficit forecasts upward to project an imbalance this year of $1.84 trillion, four times last year’s record, and said the deficits will remain above $500 billion every year over the next decade.

Al Sharpton tells why he attended White House meeting with Gingrich (From page 3) 45 minutes. I thought it was good.” He said the President has “Asked us to frame something that the administration can deal with to close the race gap in education. Gingrich and I don’t’ agree on vouchers, we don’t agree on other things. I’m not supporting Bloombergh for mayor of New York. I’m supporting Bill Thompson. “But, we have agreed to work with the president in framing an education policy that will deal with the racial inequality,”

Sharpton said. This Saturday’s march, which Sharpton describes as a “march at the White House; not a march on the White House”, will commemorate the 55th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. It will start at the White House Ellipse at Constitution Avenue and 15th Street at 10 a.m. The gathering is in commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education decision. Sharpton has called it a new “call to action” in the wake of separate and unequal education that still remains. Sharpton says Gingrich could

eventually play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between Republicans in Congress and the Obama Administration on legislation pertaining to the educational inequities and other issues. “We haven’t gotten it changed doing it the regular way. So why keep doing the same thing for 40 years? The one thing that I agree with Obama is that if we keep doing the same thing, we’re not going to get a different result,” he said. “Besides, if we are getting them to agree with things that will help us, I think we would be stupid not to do that. Gingrich came to my convention. I didn’t go to his.”

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Fashion, Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .& Stuff By Audrey Adams

Celebrating bonds

Audrey Adams Celebrations always bring relationships to mind. On Mother’s Day I took a walk and I couldn’t help but notice people and their groupings. There were, of course mothers and their children, husbands and significant others. So, I sat down on a bench to people watch and as folks walked by I could catch snippets of their conversations and “dissect” each group as they passed. One such group consisted of two couples, “banker type” husbands, their wives, children and pets. The husbands were pushing the strollers and talking shop. Part of the conversation cen-

tered on bonds—fixed income securities with fixed interest. People who typically buy bonds want protection of their principal investment, security, guarantees and consistency . . . all stable elements. It was the word “bonds” that caught my attention because it summed up Mother’s Day! The groups of people were reenforcing their bonds with their moms. Although the bonds are emotional, everyone was in a sense protecting their investment of love, time and commitment. We tend to look for security within our family unit. Guarantees are hard to come by these days; so nurturing and maintaining our bonds is important to us. By consistently providing our own form of fixed interest, we keep our principal intact, allowing us to build upon the future of the bond. The result: Security; which stabilizes us. I thought that the premise of fixed income securities representing all of our relationships was intriguing. The bankers were talking about

money in the bank, but you can’t even achieve that goal if your personal, professional and spiritual relationships don’t provide you with the security and sense of well-being you need to excel. Bonds are important alright, they represent a lifetime of interest compounded daily. You can bank on that. Think about it. See you next week. Visit my website, TheAdamsReport. com and checkout my online radio and TV show, Talk! with Audrey for a series of interviews that will inform, motivate and inspire you. Audrey Adams, former director of corporate public relations and fashion merchandising for ESSENCE continues to motivate and inspire women through her syndicated columns and motivational speaking engagements. E-mail your fashion, beauty and lifestyle questions or comments to her at Audrey@THEADAMS REPORT.com THE ADAMS REPORT©

Berkley College dean of Students awarded ‘Pastor of Distinction’ title Michael J. Baston, JD, Berkeley College dean of Student Development and Campus Life, has been awarded the title of “Pastor of Distinction” by The Pastor ’s Aid Ministry of St. Luke Cathedral in Laurelton, New York. The award recognizes outstanding members of the clergy who have made a positive contribution to underserved communities in New York City. Mr. Baston, who serves as senior pastor of St. Luke Cathedral, was one of seven ministers recognized for outstanding services to the community of southeast Queens during an April 19 luncheon. Elected officials including New York State Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall and New York City Councilman James Sanders Jr., addressed the nearly 540 guests who attended the luncheon. In addition to a video montage tracing his many years of service to the community, Mr. Baston received a Citation of Honor from Queens Borough President Marshall; a Congressional Award from Rep. Gregory Meeks of the Sixth Congressional District; a Commendation from New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.; and a City Council Citation from New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie. Mr. Baston has received numerous awards over the years, not only for outstanding service to his church community, but also in his role as executive director of the Laurelton-

(Real People, Real Advice) Ask Deanna! Is an advice column known for it’s fearless approach to reality-based subjects. Dear Deanna! My boyfriend will not tell me that he loves me. I have been with him for three years and he always tells me that his presence should answer the question. He has verbally said he loves me about five times. We’ve had our problems with cheating and break-ups but we’re still together. I want to head in the direction of commitment but I need to address his feelings first. How do I find out his true feelings for me? Adrienne Columbia , SC Dear Adrienne: The things your boyfriend isn’t saying speak the loudest. You’ve allowed this behavior in the relationship and at this point, there’s a small chance he’ll change. You have rights in this relationship and deserve to know his feelings and intentions. You need to be direct and tell him how you feel, what you want and your expectations on love and marriage. Be prepared if you don’t get the answers you seek and you have to decide to stay or keep it moving Dear Deanna! I met a guy that I thought was really interested in me. I helped him get employment at my company, helped with his bills and paid child support for him. As soon as things started looking up for him, our relationship changed. Things hit the fan when he got a promotion and moved into another department. He is now telling me that he’s focused on improving his life instead of dating me. I heard that he’s dating someone else in the company. What do I do? Crying and Miserable On-Line Reader Dear Miserable: You set yourself up by confusing help with being used and also giving up your money. You never should mix business with pleasure because it’s a guaranteed recipe for pain. He used you to get ahead and you can see early on that he’s leaving you behind. If you heard that he’s dating someone on the job, it’s probably true. You can’t do anything other than move on, be glad that you got out early and pray for the new lady who will be his next sucker. Dear Deanna! I have a platonic relationship with a male friend of four years but my fiancé doesn’t like it. He has begun making hints that I’ve slept with my friend and accusing me of lying to him. I’ve only known my fiancé for two years and if I had to choose between the two men, I would choose my friend. How can I convince my fiancé that we’re only friends and that nothing is going on? This is becoming stressful because I love both men and want them in my life. Help? Sharon San Antonio . TX Dear Sharon: Your future husband is jealous of your relationship with your male friend. It’s your responsibility to find balance as you seek to have both relationships. Invite your husband to be part of the friendship so he can understand and be more open minded. Also be mindful of your platonic friendship to make sure you’re not giving your fiancé reasons to complain. If things don’t improve after the air is clear, you fiancé has issues you certainly need to explore. Ask Deanna is written by Deanna M. Write Ask Deanna! Email: askdeanna1@yahoo.com or write: Deanna M, 264 S. La Cienega, Suite 1283 , Beverly Hills , CA 90211 Website: www.askdeanna.com

Kenyan prime minister is ‘born again’ Christian Michael J. Baston, JD, Berkeley College Dean of Student Development and Campus Life, New York City, has been awarded the title of “Pastor of Distinction” from The Pastor’s Aid Ministry of St. Luke Cathedral in Laurelton, New York. Rosedale Senior Citizens Center, and in his role at Berkeley College where he offers encouragement and support to generations of young people. Mr. Baston joined Berkeley College in 1998 as an adjunct

professor. In 1999, he was appointed assistant dean of students. He was appointed to his current position in 2002 and works diligently to assist students in becoming engaged learners and effective leaders.

(GIN) – Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga, has been baptized at a private residence by a charismatic prophet of the National Repentence and Holiness Ministry. He was immersed in a swimming pool by Dr. David Owuor, a magnetic preacher who once predicted that an earthquake would destroy half of Nairobi. President Mwai Kibaki has reportedly agreed to be baptized next. The prospect of dual baptisms has revived hope that the two leaders may find common ground and end the squabbling that threatens to unravel the unity

government formed after last December’s post-election violence left some 1,500 people dead. Before joining the ministry, Owuor studied genetics at the University of Nairobi and at Ben Gurion University in Israel, receiving a PhD at Haifa University. He pursued further studies at the University of Chicago’s Center of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lectured at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. Kenya’s problems of bad leadership, politically instigated violence, drought and famine, are due to immoral living, according to Owuor, who urges all the people, beginning with leaders, to repent.

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YOU GO, GIRL! Teena Marie releases milestone debut Stax Records CD Congo Square Edited by Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles/Society Editor When a lady has thrived at the epicenter of a musical movement that some initially claimed was not her birthright, and that lady has steadfastly held that legacy down strong for 30 phenomenal years, acknowledgment, respect and celebration are in order. Today, that artist is Teena Marie — affectionately known as “Lady Tee.” The internationally-renowned singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist will release her thirteenth album and Stax Records debut Congo Square on June 9, 2009. The collection marks a deeply personal milestone for the iconic soul music star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient. In addition, Congo Square continues her penchants for sublime musical eclecticism while still delivering the hits that have made her a consistent presence for more than a quarter century. In support of the single and albums’ release, Teena will embark on a national tour and is a featured headliner at the Essence Musical Festival on July 5. Congo Square marks the Grammy nominated singer’s 30th year as one the most admired and influential R&B artists of her generation. It’s an ode to all those who came before her like Sarah Vaughan, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye to name a few. Congo Square, like most of Teena’s classic albums, is a largely autobiographical journey that cruises smoothly from southern soul and smoky jazz to dance floor funk. She penned and produced all sixteen tracks on the new CD, the title of which is a reference to the sacred area of The French Quarter in New Orleans. Teena penned the songs during a period of extended personal darkness that somehow manifested positive and loving art. “Congo Square was the place where slaves were allowed to dance and sing on Sundays. Can you imagine all the amazing musicians – jazz and otherwise – that have been through since? I thought it would be awesome to consider Congo Square as our address – an inspirational place where artists all live in spirit.” Along for the party are special guests Faith Evans (on the first single “Can’t Last a Day”); Howard Hewett (on the steamy duet “Lovers Lane”); MC Lyte (on the sexy opener “The Pressure”); Pastor Shirley Murdock (featured on the track “Soldier”); the jazz trio of pianist George Duke (on the title track “Congo Square”); drummer/co-composer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Brian Bromberg (on the

“Congo Square was the place where slaves were allowed to dance and sing on Sundays. Can you imagine all the amazing musicians – jazz and otherwise – that have been through since? I thought it would be awesome to consider Congo Square as our address – an inspirational place where artists all live in spirit.” – Teena “Lady Tee” Marie cinematic ballad “The Rose n’ Thorn”); and Teena’s daughter Rose LeBeau (on the soul salute “Milk & Honey”). The first single ”Can’t Last A Day” features Faith Evans. Teena and Faith move back and forth throughout the song with powerful emotion.” Musically, the song has that Gamble & Huff, Teddy Pendergrass, Philadelphia International sound,” offered Teena. Teena lights up when describing how Faith became involved in the song, ”It was after I had recorded the song I got the idea to put Faith on it. I’ve always loved Faith and her vocal style. She reminds me of myself, personally and professionally. Of the younger ladies, she’s the one I love most.” As a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Teena Marie obliterated the barrier of race when it comes to soul music, opening the door for later superstars from Madonna to Justin Timberlake. That this white woman can purposefully create an album with a title inspired by an historical American locale where Black slaves gathered on Sundays to recharge their spiritual batteries after six days under the lash –

and no one would bat an eye – speaks volumes of her singular stature within the black community that has embraced her as its own. There’s a reason for this which she recently learned. “I have always had a deep affinity for New Orleans,” Teena affirms, “the culture, the people…the actual air! From the moment I stepped off the plane, I felt like, ‘I’ve been here before.’ The people embraced me and my music from the very first time I went there in the early `80s. “A few months ago, my first cousin was here visiting and I happened to tell her about my deep affinity for New Orleans. She looked at me and said, ‘Well, you know that’s where our people are from, right? Our great, great grandmother Sarah Howell Colin was married in the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.’ “I said, ‘What are you talking about? We’re from Texas.’ She said, ‘Yes, but before Texas our folks were in Louisiana.’ I could have learned this at any time in my life, but for me to find this out as I was finishing Congo Square... Now it all makes sense,” she continued. “I’ve been through quite a

few trials and tribulations over the last two years,” Teena shares regarding the time between her acclaimed 2007 release, Sapphire, and now. “I spent many of those hours in prayer and felt like God was putting his arms around me. I started thinking about the music I grew up on – how inspired it was. Each song I was coming up with began to sound like the style of some favorite artist of mine from the past... Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, Billie Holliday, the old Chicago soul of The Emotions and the new Chicago vibe of Kanye’ West… Ice Cube’s bumpin’ in the trunk vibe and of course, Rick James. It’s all in there,” she asserted. Teena Marie’s career has been nothing short of a sensation. Making her debut on Motown Records in 1979, she swiftly earned a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists with her soulful singing and poetic songwriting. The fact that this new record will be released by the other most revered soul label of all time, Stax; is poetic justice. Congo Square is a nod to all that came before and to the ones who will follow in her footsteps, firmly reiterating the obvious: there is only one Teena Marie. Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California, and raised in the nearby cultural melting pot dubbed “Venice Harlem,” Teena gravitated to music and entertainment at an early age. As a child, she charmed her way into TV commercials and a memorable singing-dancing part on an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Later while studying English literature at Santa Monica City College, she landed the TV pilot “Orphanage Children,” a Motown production. Though the pilot was shelved, Motown signed Teena to its Gordy imprint in 1975. After four years and working with several in-house producers, she was taken under the wing of superstar Rick James who produced her 1979 debut, Wild and Peaceful. Her face was not on the cover, leading everyone to assume she was black, thus the Top 10 success of her very first single “I’m A Sucker For Your Love”…but Teena had the soul to back it up by the time the world saw her clear as day on the front and back covers of the follow-up, Lady T. By her third album Irons in the Fire (1980), Teena was producing, writing and arranging all of her own material. Her next album It Must Be Magic became a platinum seller thanks to her R&B-Hip Hop mash-up “Square Biz” (#2 R&B for 8 weeks) and the Quiet Storm classic

“Portugese Love,” but it would be her last Motown album. A suit she filed against the legendary company resulted in the landmark recording artists’ rights initiative – “The Teena Marie Law” -- which put strict limitations on the length of artist/company contracts. This historical entertainment mandate states that no recording company can contractually bind an artist while refusing to release his/her product. In 1983, Teena arrived at Epic Records where she released five more albums, including her biggest seller to date, the platinum-plus Starchild (1984), buoyed by the crossover smash “Lovergirl” (#4 pop / #9 R&B), and Naked To The World (1988) featuring her #1 R&B hit “Ooh La La La” (sampled by superstar rap trio The Fugees in 1996 for “Fu-Gee-La”). In 1994, Teena released her tenth album, Passion Play, on her own Sarai Records label. Shortly after the birth of her daughter Aliya, Teena took a ten year sabbatical from recording, though she still performed to SRO audiences. Against all odds, Teena made her triumphant bold soul sister return in 2004 — at the age of 50 — with La Doña, an album which soared to #3 on the R&B chart and Top 10 on The Billboard 200 thanks to the Mannie Fresh-produced single “Still in Love.” That she was making this “comeback” through Ca$h Money Records – which built its reputation on hardcore southern rap -- made her success that much more noteworthy. Teena followed that project with Sapphire in 2006, but her time on the Ca$h Money Classics imprint is probably more prophetic in that the company is based in New Orleans, a place to which she always felt kindred and that plays an important role in her 2009 Stax debut, Congo Square. “I have always had a deep affinity for New Orleans,” she states. “From the moment I stepped off the plane, I felt like, ‘I’ve been here before.’ The people embraced me and my music the first time I went there in the early `80s.” Beyond ‘Nawlins,’ fans around the globe never get enough of the inspired collaborations and creations of “Lady Tee.” Teena Marie’s career has been nothing short of a sensation. Making her debut on Motown Records in 1979, she swiftly earned a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists with her soulful singing and poetic songwriting. The fact that this new record will be released by the other most revered soul label of all time, Stax, is poetic justice. Congo Square is a nod to all that came before and to the ones who will follow in her footsteps, firmly reiterating the obvious — there is only one Teena Marie.


Costume Institute presents ‘The Model As Muse’ at Metropolitan Museum of Art The Costume Institute’s Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion spring 2009 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the toast of the town. The show is the epitome of high fashion, style, design and technique and a glimpse into the global world of fashion models and the significant role they’ve played in recent eras. To celebrate the annual fashion extravaganza, the Museum’s Costume Institute hosted its annual gala benefit on Monday, May 4, 2009. Super designer Marc Jacobs served as honorary chair and other super beings — Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake and Anna Wintour — served as co-chairs. The

show will run to August 9, 2009 in the Museum’s second-floor Tisch Galleries. Models As A Muse explores the reciprocal relationship between high fashion and evolving ideals of beauty, focusing on iconic fashion models in the latter half of the 20th century and their roles in projecting, and sometimes inspiring, the fashion of their respective eras. The exhilarating exhibition features approximately 70 masterworks of haute couture and readyto-wear. Fashion editorial, advertising, and runway photography plus video footage of models, actresses, socialites, and rock stars that epitomize their epochs, are used throughout the galleries to explicate the fashion zeitgeist. Spine-tingling supermodels — transmitting social change via photographs that document turning points in society and design — expressed an idealized glamour

Twiggy in YSL by Bert Stern, 1967

Naomi, Linda,Tatjana, Christy, Cindy by Lindbergh,1990

Kate Moss in Helmut Lang by Craig McDean, low, 1996

Naomi Campbell by Peter Lindbergh, 1990 Christian Dior-1957 by Loomis Dean, Getty

Charles James Gowns by Cecil Beaton, 1948

Veruschka in YSL by Rubaretlli, 1968

dissolving boundaries between runway, editorial, and advertising work. Noted designers in the exhibition include Giorgio Armani, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, André Courrèges, Christian Dior, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Rudi Gernreich, Halston, Marc

Jacobs for Perry Ellis, Charles James, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Paco Rabanne, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, and Gianni Versace. Models As A Muse plays homage to iconic supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington considered

the “Trinity” of their time as they were used constantly by major advertisers to appear in major campaigns to bolster their brand identities. The trio was way ahead of their time as they were able to morph into a different persona at each photo shoot while retaining their priceless distinction. Other featured supermodels include Nadja Auermann, Janice Dickinson, Dovima, Lisa Fonssagrives, Jerry Hall, Shalom Harlow, Sunny Harnett, Lauren Hutton, Iman, Dorian Leigh, Peggy Moffitt, Kate Moss, Suzy Parker, Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Amber Valletta, and Veruschka. Models As A Muse features outstanding work from photographers whose images captured the mood of fashion via their subjects: Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Cecil Beaton, William Claxton, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Hiro, William Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Franco Rubartelli, Francesco Scavullo, Bert Stern, Juergen Teller, Deborah Turbeville, and Ellen von Unwerth. Models As A Muse, which is organized by Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, and Kohle Yohannan, guest co-curator, and a cultural historian, is made possible by Marc Jacobs with additional support provided by Condé Nast.

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CATWALKIN’ with Audrey J. Bernard


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WHAT’S GOING ON By Victoria Horsford NEW YORK, NEW YORK NYS lawmakers and renewed mayoral control of NYC schools are hotter-than-caliente topics among NY politico cognoscenti. Everyone has had his/her say on the subject – Mayor Bloomberg, his supporters Reverends Calvin Butts and Floyd Flake, both of whom head schools, Harlem Children’s Zone founder/director Geoffrey Canada and UFT Randi Weingarten. Now, another group weighs in on who controls NYC schools. Yes, the mothers of the 1.1 million students who populate city schools, some of whom have formed a proactive group called MOTHERS AGAINST MAYORAL CONTROL. The MOTHERS want their voices heard and want to dialogue on 1)regions and implementation of Board 2) increase test taking (performance driven) mandates 3) prison to pipeline/ metal detectors/rubber rooms 4) charter schools/empowerment schools/increase in school closings. The Mothers Against Mayoral Control will join the NO MAYORAL CONTROL COALITION’s May 14 Rally at Battery Park at 4 pm. The group has organized a May 19 Albany trip to lobby NYS elected officials, and will attend the May 20 NYC Department of Education (DOE) public hearing germane to school space, at PS185 at 21 West 111 Street, Harlem, USA. For more MOTHERS AGAINST MAYORAL CONTROL info, call Olaiya Deen at 212.927-1899. According to a 5/11 NYT article, “For Many Teachers, A Famously Fertile Market Dries Up ..,” DOE advised principals, last Wednesday to fill vacancies with internal candidates only. A recent NYT editorial, railing against the governor alluded to what his priorities should be, one of which was NYC mayoral control of schools. Was the Mayor ’s visit to the White House last week a message to Albany? Why is President Obama meeting with non-educators - Mayor Bloomberg, Reverend Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich, to discuss education policy and strategies? Hardly a day goes by without a NYP, Daily News, NYT story/editorial about a renewal of mayoral control, which the NYS legislators vote on next month. Gossip abounds about DOE personnel changes at the top, by September, regardless of the June Albany vote on mayoral control. It is difficult to understand how a mayor can effectively control schools without a season educator as chancellor as is the custom in other mayoral controlled schools across the country. Parental involvement in education is another imperative. It is non-existent in the NYC school system by metrics studies. The NYC system must be modified or evolve into a partnership of the mayor with empowered educators and parents. Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott joins the latest Great

Sarah Dash Harlem Debate, Is NYC Mayor Bloomberg Good for Black People, Yes or No?, on Sunday, May 17 at 6 pm at Harlem’s Salem Methodist Church Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (Seventh Avenue) and 129 Street At NYB press time, a tv newscast indicated that Mayor David Dinkins would announce his support for NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson’s NYC mayoral bid. SOUTH AFRICA Congratulations to South African President Jacob Zuma, an African National Congress member and a Zulu traditionalist, who was sworn in last Saturday. The nation’s fourth democratically elected president, President Zuma has attracted more world media attention about his personal life - his three wives, ages 66 to 33 – than his governance, his vision and his cabinet. President Zuma plans to be a one-term president; has expanded the cabinet from 28-34 members; has retained Kgalema Motlanthe, most recent SA interim president, after President Mbeki was ousted last September, as his deputy president. Black SA billionaire Tokyo Sexwale, a veteran ANC member, was named minister of human settlements. Will Minister Sexwale be SA Prexy # 5? The ANC was originally a liberation movement which evolved into a political party. NEWSMAKER GALLERY Filmmaker George Lucas, creator and mastermind of Hollywood’s STAR WARS franchise, is on location in Prague, Czech Republic, producing a new film, RED TAILS, a story about the heroic African American fighter pilots during WWII… It is rumored that Chelsea Clinton, Hillary and ex President Bill Clinton’s daughter will tie the knot this summer in Martha’s Vineyard, while President Barack Obama and family vacation there this summer….. Desiree Glapion Rogers, current White House social secretary, the uber glamorous Harvard alum, former president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, a Chicago utility, and descendant of fabled New Orleans Creole Voodoo Doyenne Marie Laveau, dons the cover of the 4/30/09 Wall Street Journal Magazine. The article “Desiree Rogers, Brand Obama,” by Amy Chozick, is a good profile of her life as White House social secretary. Rogers says. “We

have the best brand on Earth, the Obama Brand…Our possibilities are endless.”………….. LaBelle diva/vocalist Sarah Dash will attend the AIDS WALK opening ceremony, at CPW and 67 Street, on Sunday, May 17 at 9 am. Ms. Dash will sing the Rodgers and Hammerstein confection “You’ll Never Walk Alone”………….. Writer/public relations executive Angela Smith has teamed with fine artist Margaret Warfield. The result of this collaboration is an incredible book titled THE ART OF POETRY, featuring Angela’s poems and Warfield’s art, a spiritual labor of love. For an ART OF POETRY preview, visit www.blurb.com/books/ 584124…….. Congratulations to African-American Ron Sims who was recently confirmed at Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who will have oversight of day-to-day operations with a $39 billion budget. NY Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and Congresswoman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania are honorary co-chairs of the Black Caucus’ 39th Annual Legislative Conference Weekend in D.C, from September 23 to 26. CULTURE STUFF Heritage Heights Village (HHV)invites you to its CELEBRATE THE GLORY OF SUGAR HILL Festival, a twoweekend event showcasing the arts, culture, food and multicultural flavor within that Harlem enclave. The Festival’s offerings will cater to multiple cultures and tastes. There will be theatre, jazz, Soul and Latin Food, Fine Arts, and Area Walking Tours. Café One, Ecuadorian Restaurant, Fat Man Flavor Caribbean & Soul Food, St. Nick’s Pub, Harlem Textile Works, Children’s Art Carnival Essie Green Galleries, and Temple M are a few of the CELEBRATE THE GLORY OF SUGAR HILL participants. The fun begins on May 24, then continues on May 28-31 and ends during the June 4-7 weekend. Heritage Heights Village Commercial Revitalization Initiative, is a division of the Heritage Health and Housing Inc., promotes commercial revitalization of Amsterdam Avenue from 135 to 155 Streets and surrounding areas. For more info, call LaQuita Henry at 212.866.2600.

Louisiana crime victims to get financial assistance Special to the NNPA from the statewide through non-profit orLouisiana Weekly ganizations that provide direct services to victims of crime. SpecifiNEW ORLEANS (NNPA) - U. cally, they will be used to: respond S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and U.S. to the emotional and physical Rep. Charlie Melancon, both of needs of crime victims; assist priLouisiana, have announced that mary and secondary victims of the U.S. Department of Justice crime to stabilize their lives after has invested more than $1 million victimization; help victims to unin Recovery Act grants for Loui- derstand and participate in the siana state victim assistance and criminal justice system; and provictim compensation programs. vide victims of crime with a mea“Victims of violent crimes suf- sure of safety and security, such fer tremendous physical, emo- as boarding up broken windows tional and psychological difficul- and replacing and repairing locks. ties during the healing process,” Priority areas are spousal abuse, Sen. Landrieu said. “As Con- sexual assault, child abuse, and gress takes steps to enhance previously underserved victims. The Louisiana Crime Victims crime prevention, we must also ensure that victims and their Reparations Fund will be allocated families have the resources to $233,894 through the Recovery make a full recovery. This $1 mil- Act. This program helps innocent lion will help the Louisiana Com- victims and their families who have mission on Law Enforcement suffered out of pocket expenses as a result of being a victim of a continue its important work.” Melancon said, “No one plans violent crime. The fund is adminto be a crime victim, and survi- istered by the Crime Victims Repavors often don’t have the re- rations Board under the jurisdicsources to rebuild their lives on tion of the Louisiana Commission their own...This funding will on Law Enforcement. “As we take time to reflect durboost critical crime victim programs throughout Louisiana, ing National Crime Victims’ Rights giving more survivors access to Week, April 26 — May 2, the services that will help them Commission on Law Enforcement along the path to recovery. As is committed to a comprehensive we continue working to fight approach to victim services ofcrime in Louisiana, grants like fered through our assistance, these will also help meet the compensation and automated vicneeds of victims who suffer long tim notification programs,” said Judy Dupuy, executive director of after the case is closed.” Through the Recovery Act, the Louisiana Commission on Law Louisiana will receive $792,000 Enforcement. “The Commission for crime victim assistance. This also offers a toll-free number (888grant program was designed to 6-VICTIM) for those citizens who provide financial assistance to wish to learn about our compenstates to help crime victims sation program. Please visit our through comprehensive ser- website at www.lcle.la.gov to vices. These funds will be used learn more about our programs.”

New Orleans poll finds varying storm readiness Special to the NNPA from the education or less have made plans. Louisiana Weekly Though not surprising, these results point to a potential problem NEW ORLEANS (NNPA) - Resi- since nearly 20 percent of Orleans dents of Orleans and Jefferson and Jefferson residents fall into parishes seem generally well pre- this less-educated category, Sims pared to meet the upcoming hurri- said. cane season, but for some groups The poll also indicated that the preparedness may be danger- majority of residents, 54 percent, ously low, said Robert Sims, di- would definitely evacuate and 27 rector of the University of New percent would probably evacuate Orleans Survey Research Center if advised to do so by public officommonly known as the UNO Poll. cials. African-American responResults of a recent UNO Poll dents and residents of Orleans Parsurvey reported at the National ish indicated greater receptivity to Hurricane Conference in Austin, the advice of public officials than Texas earlier in April indicate that White respondents and Jefferson 71 percent of area residents claim Parish residents, Sims said. to have made plans about what Nearly half, 46 percent, of resito do if a hurricane threatens. dents who indicated they would not But, that number drops to 50 likely follow the recommendations percent among low-income of public officials regarding evacuhouseholds (less than $20,000 ation indicated that they do not annual income) and with those trust official recommendations and/ with less than a high school edu- or they are more comfortable makcation. Less than 40 percent of ing evacuation decisions for themresidents with a ninth- grade selves.

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By Don Thomas

Inside Reggae

Caribbeans successfully move gala from Harlem to Queens for 28th IRAWMA By Vinette K. Pryce Not yet the caliber of The Grammy, Tony, EMMY or Academy Awards, some might argue the merits of the International R e g g a e & Wo r l d M u s i c Aw a r d s ( I R AW M A ) . A c claimed a Caribbean composite of the major entertainment honors, singers, producers, songwriters, deejays, and the most popular are recognized and regaled by the audience who knows them best. Although still elusive to prime-time television viewers here, winners receive a prestigious trophy and loads of platitudes from peers and ad-

IRAWMA’S 28th MANIFEST OBAMA’S YES WE CAN MANTRA Poet Mutabaruka has always maintained that Chicago’s Ephraim Martin should be credited for persevering despite setbacks from promoting an annual showcase for Reggae music. The Rastafarian first encountered Martin in 1986 when he attended his first IRAWMA ceremony at the Broadway Armory in Chicago. Back then it was known as the International Reggae Music Awards, one of a few that celebrated mostly Jamaican composers. Apparently, the

stacles but did not disappoint patrons. He named a category for composer of campaign songs named for Obama. Glen Adman’s “Rise and shine for Obama,” Steel Pulse’ “ Vo t e O b a m a , ” M i g h t y Sparrow’s “Barack The Magn i f i c e n t , ” L u s h y B a n t o n ’s “Obama,” and Cocoa Tea’s Barack Obama,” won final consideration. When the votes were counted, Cocoa Tea emerged the winner of the special category. The reggae artist performed the track on January 20th at the US Virgin Island Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. on the day the leader took office. His composition seemed the best-known of the group. On arrival to the Queens gala, patrons were given a journal that displayed a photo of Martin and the president. The picture was allegedly taken in Illinois when the young, politician represented the state as a senator. Throughout the journal, articles and mentions hail Obama’s example of perseverance. And onstage both Trinidad & Tobago’s calypso titan The Mighty Sparrow and Jamaican poet Malachi Smith performed tributes to the first Black President. Emcee Tony Rebel touted the New York audience saying “Mi proud ah oonu.” Assuming they had endorsed and voted for the winning Democrat, Rebel commended citizens who voted in the unprecedented election. Through and through, Obama’s victory, Change and ‘yes we can’ mantra permeated the 28 th annual awards.

Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Colombia and even Cote d’Ivoire and The Congo, Africa and the USA. Trophies to Alison Hinds, Machel Montano, Calypso

Copeland Forbes stepped in to replace the announced host. Forbes repeatedly asked for a performance rating. “How am I doing?” He proved an able stand-in.

Actress Hazelle Goodman Rose, Wyclef Jean, Daddy Yankee, Shakira, Alpha Blondy, Awilo Longomba, John Legend as well as those to Muta, Beenie Man, Etana, Queen Ifrica, Dean Frasier, etc. exalted the diversity of the presentation. Since three consecutive

Also laudable is the fact sponsors provided practical gifts to fill the complimentary b a g s p r o v i d e d b y We s t e r n Union. The money transmission experts gifted – pens, flashlight/ keychain, and $3 discount coupons on transmissions to Ja-

Tony Rebel hosts mirers. Anticipated annually on any given Sunday prior to Mothers Day, IRAWMA is considered the only consistent, black-tie gala to spotlight and hail Caribbean achievers. After three consistent years at the landmark Apollo Theatre, the 28 th took flight from Harlem, landed in Jamaica, Queens where new categories hailed an Olympian, a politician and in 43 categories saluted the best in Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Latin, Spoken Word, promoters, concerts and various strains of African music. Held at York College, this year’s affair hailed Olympian and fastest man on earth Usain Bolt, Jamaican Member of Parliament Olivia “Babsy” Grange and paid tribute to the 44 th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

barefoot, dub poet liked what he saw. Since that year, he has loyally and regularly promoted the showcase on his “Cutting Edge” radio show, aired in Jamaica on IRIE-FM. “Once upon a time everybody had an award show, Martin is di only one still a hol’ on,” Mutabaruka in his signature Jamaican patois said of the staying-power of the founder and Chicago resident, Ephraim Martin. Executing a few of the principles associated with President Obama, this year brought the signature message of Change with a new venue. In another Obama-related parallel, despite the economic challenges, Martin and his team decided the “yes we can” mantra had to be applied in order to successfully stage the showcase. He faced numerous ob-

IRAWMA GETTING BETTER & BETTER One could argue that the IRAWMA is the best awards showcase presented by Caribbean promoters. If only for the fact that it remains the only one to laud a variety of genre from the region and beyond and has lasted almost three decades, the IRAWMA stands alone. With directors and co-producers Austin Mc Bean, Clifton Edwards, Howard Smith, and Victor Lewis solidly behind Martin’s brainchild, the 28th improved on last year’s, forging forward as one of the better presentations. With smooth transitions from live performances to award presentations, this year, despite a few technical glitches the outing featured winners representing Barbados,

Beenie Performs Apollo Theater showcases, time maica. American Airlines ofsensitivity enhanced the on- fered 10 percent off discount time start which continued this coupons for travel to destinayear with only a five minute (Continued on page 28) delay to 8:05 p.m. when

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Enter tainment


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th

28 IRAWMA Throughout the years, the IRAWMA has been entertaintions anywhere in the world. ing. From Chicago, Florida, And Keeling Records gave Louisiana, Georgia, Jamaica DVDs of the 2008 Apollo Theatre IRAWMA awards. 31 sponsors enabled this year’s presentation. Kudos to each one of them, without which, the presentation might not have been possible. Due to the open spacing of the auditorium, there were no bad seats to argue. From orchestra to the balcony patrons enjoyed unobstructed view of the stage and three monitors that added to the set. A welcomed improvement limited performances to a single delivery. No longer the stage-show of yesteryears, patrons were able to see many more acts than in previous Calypso Rose wows the years. In addition the artists crowd have become more sophisticated and more appreciative of and New York each outing, the gala by appearing to col- unique and varied offered a lect their prize. Fans welcome forum for celebration of less heralded strains of music and this growth. And it seems fair judging their achievers. produced justified winners. SOME PERFORMERS The surprise was that the DAZZLED hyped names did not necessary win categories often conIt is safe to say that every sidered unrivaled. Gone are the years when dancehall names performer delivered. With a such as Beenie Man took home welcomed one opportunity to five or six trophies. Better yet shine, a few dazzled, leaving a is the caliber of presenters who favorable and lasting impreshad interesting things to say sion on patrons curious to other than the usual off-color learn the outcome of votes they cast online. In past years, attempts at humor. Sister Carol gave cause to multiple performances expause for gender equality. hausted guests and prolonged Brigadier Jerry was greeted the ceremony to a new day. Top honors to Calypso with cheers. Fans were pleased to see him out for an R o s e , g o s p e l g o v e r n o r evening of fun. Also out and Stitchie, poet Smith and hua b o u t w e r e : G l e n A d a m s , morist Hazel Goodman who Reggae Sumfest presenters delivered beyond the miniJohnny Gourzong and Robert mum. Stitchie leapt, for the Russell, solo singer Gramps Lord Almighty before claiming Morgan, Barbee, D’Angel, his best gospel trophy for the Queen Ifrica, Tarrus Riley, same song. The Stitchie, New Clive Hunt, NYS Supreme Yorkers loved as a secular artCourt Justice L. Priscilla Hall ist has not lost his stride. The only conversion seems and her sister Illinois Court Judge Shelvin Louise Marie to be his lyrics and commitment to his ministry. His athHall and others. The absence of politicians letic performance exalted a deseemed refreshing. Other than parture from dancehall that President Barack Obama, pa- clearly declared him devoted trons might not have been tol- to gospel but more than anyerant of long, speeches in thing, spirited in his faith. 2009. Emcees continue to be F l o r i d a - b a s e d p o e t S m i t h haunted by time management started off with a horse race and the tedium of trying too call to a political campaign clihard to be funny. Tony Rebel max that patrons cheered. Parodying a humorous finally arrived one hour late but spent much of his time ad- campaign parade of contenddressing comments to Beenie ers he named John McCain, George Bush, Condoleeza Man. The artist he is acclaimed Rice, Hillary Clinton, Obama did not seem to prepare him to and others a bettors delight posture over such a reputable won he said by 13 lengths by gathering. His slouch across the first Black to take the field. t h e t r a n s p a r e n t p o d i u m Smith laid the preview for an evening. seemed an irritant that de- e n t e r t a i n i n g tracted from what is expected Goodman’s presentation seto be a picture-perfect visual quence topped all others when on DVD. To his credit, Rebel she appeared onstage wearing scored a memorable laugh for a costume rather than black-tie explaining Stephen Fray’s re- attire. Dressed for pantomime, she cent hijack attempt in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “Yu si wi nuh said she did not know it was a know nutten ‘bout hijacking dressed-up affair. She carried and dem tings deh. Dat was a white doll and immediately just one guy ah try stick up ah launched into a funny commentary hailing Michelle plane.”

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Obama. Goodman’s humor escalated from good to best in a proportion that left no room for boredom. But the gender and age defiant calypso queen also proved tantalizing, regaling the talent that finds her performing consistently throughout the year on every continent. Rose bloomed to display why she was named the most consistent performer of the year. She burned with “Fire in mi wya…”

The deejay slumped in his seat looking defeated by the goodhearted, snap. However, when he took the stage to collect his win the best deejay winner fired back at the soca sensation saying: “I make this suit look better!” Ouch! Score one for the comeback equalizer from ‘the girls dem

YORK COLLEGE IN JAMAICA QUEENS WINS A BEST CATEGORY Organizers of the 28 th annual contemplated a fourth year at the Apollo Theatre. The central Harlem locale, the reputation and tradition of the landmark plus the kick-off success made the place irresistible and alluring to the promoters. The decision weighed heavily on the minds of the four men at the helm of the production/awards process. However, a reality check of the gradual decline of patrons last year, high production costs and diminishing returns of profits forced a venue search that ended in Jamaica, Queens. The real reality was that York College provided a better deal. The exorbitant, Manhattan costs, amenable hosts, viable parking, access to public transportation and wide open vantage to the stage made the campus setting an alluring alternative. From the reception to the end of the show, patrons chatted up the occasion. And whether or not the seating capacity provided adequate space to profit, patrons left feeling the 2009 staging was well worth their investment. Hopefully, next year, Jamaica will toil to up the ante for the 2010 presentations. And perhaps on the three decade milestones, the year after, one of the Eastern Caribbean islands will invite a backto-back international outing for red carpet greeting; green seating and soca golds.

Queen Ifrica wins Best Female Deejay sugar.’ Catch You On The Inside! 2009 IRAWMA Winners Bob Marley Award for Entert a i n e r o f t h e Ye a r, B e re s Hammond, Recording Artist of the Year, Mavado, Best Male Vocalist Tarrus Riley, Best Female Vocalist, Queen Ifrica & Etana (TIE), Best Song, Mavado – “So Special,” Best Album Etana Strong One, Best Crossover Song, John Legend & Buju – “Can’t Be My Lover,” Best Gospel Song, Stitchie & Elephant Man – “What A Mighty God,” Best Female D.J./Rapper, Queen Ifrica, Best Male D.J./ Rapper, Beenie Man, Best New Entertainer, Serani.

Best Calypso/Soca Entert a i n e r, A l i s o n H i n d s , B e s t Reggaeton Entertainer, Daddy Yankee, Best Latin Entertainer, Shakira, Best Compas Entertainer, Nu-Look, Best African Entertainer, Alpha Blondy, Best S o u k o u s E n t e r t a i n e r, Aw i l o Longomba, Best Hip Hop/R&B Entertainer, Lil Wayne, Outstanding Contribution toWorld Music, Wyclef Jean, Most Outs t a n d i n g St a g e P e r s o n a l i t y, Machel Mantano. Best Music Video, Stephen & Damian Marley, “The Mission,” Best Poet, Mutabaruka, Most Educational Entertainer, Morgan Heritage, Most Outstanding Show Band, Machel & HD Band, Most Consistent Entertainer, Calypso Rose, Most Promising Entertainer, Lutan Fyah, Most Imp r o v e d E n t e r t a i n e r, Ta n y a Mullings, Best Instrumentalist, Dean Fraser, Best Backing Band, New Kingston Band, Most Popular Selector, Stone Love. Concert of the Year, IRIE Jamboree, Promoter of the Year, Sumfest, Producer of the Year, Steven McGregor, Songwriter of t h e Ye a r, B e re s H a m m o n d , Aw a r d f o r S p i r i t u a l S e r v i c e through Music, Lutan Fyah, Community Service Award, Ziggy Marley, U.R.G.E., Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award, Shaggy, Best Song in Tribute to Barack Osama, Cocoa Tea, “Barack Osama.” SPECIAL: Int’l Reggae & World Music Hall of Fame/Lifetime Inductee, Clive Hunt, King Short Shirt, Sweet Honey in the Rock. SPECIAL: Master of the Caribbea Award Mighty Sparrow, Martin’s International/Inter-Culture Award of Honor, Granville Straker, Award for Contributions to Music, Arts & Culture, Hon. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Producer’s “Respect” Award, Usain Bolt, Awards of Appreciation for Contributions to Music Industry included, Owen Dalhouse, Brigadier Jerry, Road Int’l, Heavy D.

NOTE WORTHY As usual Debbie Bass delivered a souvenir journal that compiled all the elements that enabled a successful presentation. The humble and unassuming Chicago resident seemed to work well with the more than enough volunteers who annually rally to assist. With ads and editorials to fill 60 pages, the glossy she edited was fully loaded with colorful photos and pertinent information. Unfortunately, the one glaring oversight on the ‘Gone Too Soon’ page was the missing image of Mikey Dread from those who passed in 2009. Mikey died March 15, 2008. By the way, white suits are just about all too common at awards shows but both Machel Montana and Beenie Man showed up wearing bright, white suits. Yikes! When Montano took the stage to collect his trophy, the most outstanding stage personality of 2009 aimed directly at his dancehall counterpart saying: “The better white suit won.”

Mighty Sparrow


In Performance

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Compiled By Don Thomas The prestigious Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency, the nightclub proclaimed “Best of New York” by New York Magazine, continues its 10 th anniversary season with Grammy Awardnominated R&B singer Freddie Jackson from May 19 th to May 30 th. His show is entitled “An Evening With Freddie Jackson For Old Times Sake” as it will runs the musical gamut from R &B favorites to classic standards. “I’m giving back to the people of New York who have supported me through the years. I want everybody to come out so I can rock them for old time’s sake,” says JackFashionably dressed Freddie Jackson brings his musical son, who is best known for the performance to the elegant Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency. hit songs “Rock Me Tonight,

For Old Time’s Sake,” “Jam Tonight,” “Do Me Again,” and “You are My Lady.” His debut album Rock Me Tonight climbed the R&B charts in 1985, spending 6 weeks at number one, making Jackson an instant sensation on urban contemporary radio. His single “Until The End of Time” was charted as the #1 most added new single during its first week of airplay, showing the same muscle as his other chart-topping ballads. “Until The End of Time” has become the wedding song choice for numerous couples and goes into the books as one of the great love songs right next to “You are My Lady,” explains Jackson, who recently returned from performing sold out concerts in Johannesburg,

South Africa, Kingston, Jamaica; and London. He continues to play to standing room only crowds throughout the United States and around the world. In addition to performing, he is the author of a cookbook entitled “Tasty Love” and continues to lend his voice to support numerous charities. Freddie Jackson’s Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency engagement schedule will be Tuesday thru Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Jackets are suggested but not required. The elegant nightclub is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street. For tickets reservations and club information, visit online @feinsteinsatloewsrgency.com and TicketWeb.com.

Yanni’s beautiful sounds engulf the Hall Compiled By Don Thomas Yours truly recently had the pleasure of attending Yanni’s awesome concert at Radio City Music Hall, where a sold-out audience of more than 3,500 loyal fans embraced his breath-

winner Ric Wake is a collection of some of the most beautiful arrangements ever recorded. Combined with the voices of the forementioned singers, the project unleashes such songs as “The Keeper,” “Our Days,” “Never Leave The Sun,” “Before The

Voices. More than two years in the making, the CD is without question Yanni’s most ambitious project yet. Teaming up with Wake, Yanni took on a mentoring role for this project, discovering and producing four young singers –

Yanni’s expansive arrangements and you have compositions that will appeal to a global audience. The singers then accelerated the energy beyond the composer’s wildest dreams. “I knew if we could match the melodies with the right lyrics and voices, we would be adding powerful layers beyond just the instrumental music, giving a re-birth to these compositions.

I believe that the human voice is the most powerful and expressive instrument known to man,” says Yanni. Since they launched the Voices project more than two years ago, life has taken on an ascetic quality for both Yanni and Wake. Hunkered down at “Camp Yanni” (as they refer to Yanni’s Florida

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Big Score Entertainment LLC

Yanni (right) recently brought his beautiful arrangements to Radio City Music Hall during a concert called Yanni Voices featuring vocalists accompanied by a magnificent orchestra. He is currently signed to Disney’s Pearl Series and lives in Florida. (Photo: Ronnie Wright) taking musical performance for more than 2 hours. Accompanied by a bevy of magnificent singing voices including Nathan Pacheco, Leslie Mills, Chloe and Ender Thomas and a superb orchestra Yanni dressed in a fashionable black ensemble, sailed through his musical arrangements with the greatest of ease. His latest CD is titled Yanni Voices, produced by him and Grammy and Academy Award

Night Ends,” “Set Me Free” and scores more. Adding excitement to Yanni’s concerts are the flawless back drop scenic designs combined with dazzling lighting arrangements. Revered for more than 30 years for his symphonic pieces, intimate keyboard airs and unforgettable musical themes, Yanni long resisted having vocalists reinterpret his music with lyrics. That is, until now with his premiere Disney Pearl album, Yanni

Nathan Pacheco, Ender Thomas, Leslie Mills and Chloe. Pairing their vocal talents with his compositions, old and new, he encouraged the singers to write lyrics for the melodies that moved them most. It proved a winning gamble. On Voices, Yanni and Wake effortlessly wove a mainstream sensibility with modern rhythms, Mediterranean sensuality, Latin passion, and operatic flourishes. Add to that,

Hit single...

‘Bcuz I Luv U’ BSERecordings.com www.myspace.com/offical Arika Kane Check out this soulful singer’s debut CD due summer 2009 “Arika rocked the Sugar Bar crowd with an awesome performance” Don Thomas/entertainment editor New York Beacon

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Mr. Jackson sings for ‘Old Times Sake’


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Apollo Bound

Bow Wow, Day26, Unique to rock the house!

Bow Bow Compiled By Don Thomas In the entertainment field Bow Woo is known as a triple threat: a rapper, a music producer, and an actor. The Ohioborn recording artist is a household name in rap and pop music. He recorded his first CD Beware The Dog when

he was 13. It became a double platinum, Top 10 hit. His 2006 project The Price of Fame went gold. His latest CD New Jack City II was released on March 31. B o w Wo w h e a d l i n e s a t Harlem’s Apollo Theater, with R&B groupDAY26, on Saturday, May 30 at 7 pm. Both acts boast Billboard chart-topping CDs. Brooklyn R&B newcomer, Unique, opens the show, which is a Mary Flowers Entertainment presentation. DAY26 was founded on August 26, 2007 by music impresario P.Diddy during the finale of MTV’s “Making the Band 4.” The group members include, Robert Curry, Brian Andrews, Willie Taylor, Michael McCluney and Qwanell Mosley. Currently they are breaking Soundscan charting records for male groups. Signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, the group has recorded 2 projects. Their first CD

DAY26 DAY26, debuted at #1 on Billboard and the second Forever In A Day released on April 14, already has a Billboard #1 single “Got Me Going.” Newcomer Unique, a Bed-

Stuy Brooklynite is a R&B singer who has toured with NeYo and Chris Brown on the Up Close and Personal Tour. Mary Flowers Entertainment (MFE) has been producing musicians,

for almost 15 years. She has presented the Jadakiss and Fabulous Apollo concerts. Tickets for the Bow Wow and DAY26 concert are available at the Apollo Theater box office.

Theater/Review

Good intentions undermine dramatic potential By Ernece B. Kelly Theater Critic “A Nervous Smile” opens in a tastefully decorated, obviously expensive, living room with white furniture set against black walls. Audiences have a moment to admire it before the married couple, Nic (Marilee Talkington) and Brian (Nicholas Viselli), stagger in with their friend, Eileen (Pamela Sabaugh). They’ve all had too much to

drink. Having just left a funeral in Upstate New York, they avoid depressing conversation by focusing on whether the birds fighting in the cemetery’s lake were geese or mergansers and whether or not Eileen should refer to her helper as a baby sitter or a personal assistant. But playwright John Belluso— he has a fine way with silences and there’s are some genuinely moving scenes—moves quickly

from this banal conversation to the unimaginable when Brian suggests to Eileen that he leave his wife and run away to Buenos Aires with her—it means leaving their respective children— Emily and Dominick—both of whom have cerebral palsy! “I’m tired of cleaning that kid up,” he screams. “She’s not the daughter I wanted to have”. And if all goes according to their plan, the child will be left at a hospital emergency room. And Eileen’s

Yanni’s beautiful sounds engulfs the Hall (From page 29) studio complex) and huddled together with Nathan, Ender, Leslie and Chloe, the two continue to write and record all day and into the night. So far they have recorded more than 130 songs, including debut solo albums by all four singers. “We probably packed 4 or 5 years of work into 2. If you focus that much on one subject, your mind accommodates you. You rise to a level not normally accessible to you,” says Yanni. “Why Ric Wake? Few other producers have had as much success turning young vocalists into stars. His track record includes developing and producing artists like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Jennifer Lopez, in addition to his Oscar-winning production of the musical feature film, Chicago. But he and Yanni were friends long before they decided to join forces professionally. “We were both at a time in our lives when we were trying to figure out what to do next musically. Eventually after months of hanging out I said, hey, we should do music to-

gether and I told him the concept of Voices. At that point I was immersed in his music and realized that Yanni is a genius, his musical themes are timeless; many consider him the Mozart of our time. I thought if we could put voices and lyrics to these powerful melodies we would be creating something magical that will touch the world,” says Wake. “He’s been a great influence. I’m relieved to have someone I can trust and bounce ideas off. So far we’ve pretty much never left the studio. I thought when I got tired I’ll take a break, but I never got tired. This is the best time in my life right now,” Yanni says of Wake. Born Yannis Chrysomalis in Kalamata, Greece, Yanni came to the United States as a teen to study, attending the University of Minnesota, successfully obtaining his B.A. in Psychology and an honorary PhD of Music in 2004. He had been a champion swimmer, breaking the Greek national freestyle record at age 14. Also a best selling author reaching Top 10 in The New York Times best selling list, music remained his principal passion,

and though he had no formal training, Yanni poured his energy into developing a music career. He performed with numerous Rock and Roll bands in the late 1980s, but eventually went out on his own to pursue an original path, writing and performing instrumental music that adhered to his guiding principle: music as a liquid medium that cannot be held, contained or cornered. With multiple world tours performing before millions, and more than 35 gold and platinum album awards to his credit, Yanni had finally earned a break. But he never grew comfortable with the downtime, which led to his partnership with Ric Wake and the Voices project. Add in the power of the Disney brand, and Yanni is clearly set to soar again. In a world so seemingly precarious, can music change lives anymore? Ask Yanni and he’ll tell you he still has plenty of faith in the power of art. “If I can play a small role in getting people together, introducing cultures to each other and show our common ground I would find this to be most fulfilling,” concludes Yanni.

son will be left with his father. But with the introduction of Blanka (Melanie Boland) Emily’s caregiver, clarity and forward motion diminish. So much about her is inexplicable—Why read Crime and Punishment to her charge? Why suddenly resort to coarse profanity? Why would they employ a woman who drinks (vodka, of course) on the job? And, most damning to the play, why is she spouting pieties about Emily—“she had a brain

and a soul” which go on so long they drain what momentum the 70 minute play had? The playwright allows Blanka to highjack his drama! In short, a fine cast and Bert Scott’s stunning set and lighting design are squandered here in a play which has its heart in the right place. Sadly, good intentions undermine its dramatic potential. “A Nervous Smile” is at the Kirk Theatre, 410 W. 42 nd St., Manhattan until May 17th.


KICKIN’ IT

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toric Gramercy Park South venue. NAC’s president, Aldon James, made the presentation to the legendary director as many veteran movers and shakers from the entertainment industry looked on. In his heartfelt remarks James expressed a true appreciation for Jewison’s timeless works. One work in particular, the 1967

ing actor described Jewison as a man who has “balance and peace (which) center him in an unsteady world” and thus “we should draw closer and listen to his life.” During dinner, Whoopi Goldberg caused a slight commotion with a surprise visit that shocked not only the VIP guests but Jewison himself who worked with the iconic comedian on his

light-hearted film, Bogus. Whoopi poked fun at the film stating, “I did not make a deep heavy film with Norman; most Black people in the room did, I did not. I made a frivolous film with Norman. A film that I love; with a crazy Frenchman and a little boy who grew up to see dead people and whose little sister is now Miley Cyrus’ best friend on TV.” Also in attendance was Harry Belafonte who spoke of the first time he and the honoree had worked together, which was for CBS’ “The Big Party by Revlon.” Other speakers included Academy Award Winning Actress, Olympia Dukakis; Academy Award Winning Screenwriter, William Goldman; producer David Picker; Award Winning TV Interviewer, Professor Richard Brown; and The Consul General of Canada in New York, Daniel Sullivan. Cher, who appeared via a video, spoke of her profound respect for her Moonstruck director and revealed an almost-wedding that garnered hilarious laughter from the black tie crowd. “I once almost got married after I saw Fiddler on the Roof so either I am an idiot or you’re too persuasive or both.” Entertainment was provided by Academy Award and Grammy winning songwriters, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, who performed their award-winning song “The Windmills of Your Mind,” that was featured in Jewison’s acclaimed film, The Thomas Crown Affair. Jewison, who was born in Toronto, Canada, has directed

Edith and Erwin Drake

Marilyn and Alan Bergman

Norman Jewison and Lynn Annete Insdorf, Sharyn Grossman, Olympia Dukakis, Lisa St. David Dickler Awano and Louis Zorich

By Audrey J. Bernard Lifestyles/Society Editor The esteemed president, board of governors and film committee of The National Arts Club (NAC) recently presented its coveted Medal of Honor for Film to Norman Jewison at a dinner in his honor at the his-

Academy Award winning film for Best Picture, In the Heat of the Night, starred Sidney Poitier. This landmark film won five Oscars including Best Picture. In 2008, it made the American Film Institute’s List of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. Although Poitier was unable to attend the event, he expressed his love and respect for Jewison via a letter that was read by James in which the Academy Award win-

Norman Jewison and Whoopi Goldberg

Norman Jewison, Harry Belafonte, Consul Sullivan and Olympia Dukakis

25 motion pictures, which have received 46 Academy Award nominations (including five for Best Picture and three for Best Director). He was also honored by the Academy with their prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Lifetime Achievement Award. Famous for his diversity, the

York Times literary and art critic in 1898 with the mission to stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts and educate the American people in the fine arts. A historic staple in Gramercy Park, the Arts Club is located in the Tilden Mansion which was built in the 1840’s.

A l d o n J a m e s a n d D r. Consul General of Canada, Patrick Suraci Daniel Sullivan director’s outstanding body of work has won him numerous international prizes and acclaim including Moonstruck, Jesus Christ Superstar, …And Justice for All, Fiddler on the Roof, The Cincinnati Kid, Agnes of God, Rollerball (1975) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). Run by volunteers, NAC was founded by Charles de Kay, New

Today, NAC hosts art unveilings, award dinners, film screenings, lectures, dances and many more various types of art performances. In order to help recognize untapped talents, the Arts Club’s committees frequently award scholarships to young artists, writers and singers to help them develop their talent and work towards their dreams.

Kurt Yaghjian and guest with Ramona Bechtos and Marguerite Yaghjian (Photos: Ben Gabbe)

NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

Whoopi Goldberg surprises director Norman Jewison at prestigious feté


NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

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Flick-Chat

Laughs aplenty in hilarious homage to Blaxploitation genre

Donald Faison and Mos Def in scene from “Next Day Year” By Kam Williams Movie Critic “Next Day Air” is a throwback which brings to mind the mediocre Blaxploitation era flicks from the 1970s. But where most of those low-budget productions were merely poorly-scripted, sloppily-edited, take-the-moneyand-run rip-offs, this homage to that best-forgotten genre is ac-

tually a well executed, comic crime caper. The movie marks the directorial debut of Benny Boom, the veteran purveyor of gangsta’ rap famous for making music videos for everyone from Snoop Dogg to 50 Cent to Nas to Nelly to Busta Rhymes. Here, he makes a remarkably smooth transition to the big screen with the help of a talented ensemble capable of breathing life

Wendy Williams Daytime television will get a wake-up call when “The Wendy Williams Show” launches in national syndication, on Monday, July 13th . Williams made headlines the minute she hit the air last summer, delivering her unique brand of topical, not typical content - the result: a top-rated, six-week run in four major markets where she broke every rule in the book, winning over viewers by giving them the content they’d been craving. Taped live in New York, the show will combine the latest buzz and hot topics with a diverse mix of celebrities from film, music,

sports and television. Williams’ bold personality and witty commentary on life will make for a talk format that will entertain viewers and quench their thirst for honest, enlightening and entertaining television. With 23 years as a radio personality and successful in publishing, Williams’ show will deliver even more Wendy to her loyal fan base across the nation and introduce the gregarious “Queen of all Media” to an even broader audience. Whether she is offering real and often tough love advice during her “Ask Wendy” segments, provid-

into his host of colorful characters. The story opens in Philadelphia where we meet a couple of drivers for an overnight delivery service, “Employee of the Month” Eric (Mos Def) and his hapless counterpart, Leo (Donald Faison). The former doesn’t deserve the accolade since he wastes too much company time getting high and chasing a pretty colleague (Lauren London) around the office. The latter, meanwhile, is an equally-lazy loser who’s on the verge of getting fired by his own mother (Debbie Allen), the manager of Next Day Air. Lollygagging Leo is known to smoke weed behind the wheel and to slow his truck to a crawl to flirt with the ladies. This helps explains how, one fateful day, he accidentally delivers a box from Mexico he has no idea is filled with 10 kilos of cocaine to the wrong apartment. He leaves the package in the hands of Brody (Mike Epps) and Guch (Wood Harris), small-time crooks ing her take on the latest headlines during “Hot Topics,” or getting up close and personal with headline makers, celebrities or real people, Williams no-holds barred approach and love of life and laughter is sure to shine through in every hour. Commenting on the show going into national syndication, executive producer and host Wendy Williams said: “I can’t help but feel like the time is right for this kind of show. I want it to be a respite for viewers, a place to sit back, relax and laugh about topics we can all relate to as women. I know my core audience from my days in radio will be so excited about the TV show and I look forward to bringing new fans to daytime with our really fun mix of segments. “This is truly the most exciting time in my life and I feel so honored to have the chance to be in people’s living rooms this summer. Here I am, a Jersey girl, with the opportunity of a lifetime and I plan to make the most of it,” said Williams, executive producer/ host. Rob Dauber, the show’s Emmy Award-winning executive producer said: “Someone like Wendy Williams doesn’t come along every day. I know that television audiences will really connect with her, not only as a talk show host but as a person. And our ultimate goal is to provide our viewers with an hour to escape from the everyday challenges we are all dealing with right now.” The Show is produced and distributed by Debmar-Mercury. Executive Producers are Rob Dauber, Kevin Hunter and Wendy Williams. Liz Koman is executive VP of branded marketing for the program and Matt Uzzle is executive in charge for Debmar-Mercury.

who think they’ve died and gone to heaven when they open it up. Figuring the solid bricks have a street value in the six-figures, they start making plans to retire by selling it in one fell swoop to a local dealer (Omari Hardwick) with a very menacing henchman (Darius McCrary). What Brody and Guch don’t know, however, is that the coke was meant for Jesus (Cisco Reyes), the henpecked Latino who lives just down the hall with his loudmouthed girlfriend Chita (Yasmin Deliz). The unassuming neighbor happens to be a gangsta’ with an international cartel run by Bodega (Emilio Rivera), a ruthless mobster already on his way to America with guns and a goon (Lobo Sebastian) and determined to retrieve his con-

traband come hell or high water. Taking no prisoners, Bodega retraces the path of his errant parcel, embroiling all of the above in a high body-count affair that’s every bit as funny as it is bloody. Brace yourself for a raunchy brand of humor and for gratuitous gore that can get fairly gruesome. A screwball comedy/splatter flick which might best thought of as a campy cross of “Cotton Comes to Harlem” and “No Country for Old Men.” Excellent (4 stars). Rated R for violence, drug use, pervasive profanity and brief sexuality. Running time: 88 minutes. Studio: Summit Entertainment. To see a trailer for “Next Day Air,” visit: http:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=HkIT3BsaCv4


(From page 8) are simply foolish, and we will deserve what we get. So don’t sit back and think that things will change simply because Obama is in office. Don’t think he is going to personally take care of your needs. Obama ain’t cha mama; he is the president of a country that is still run, by and large, by white men who have, by their past resistance to change, proven time and again that Black folks will have to fight for everything we get in this country. I think it was Douglass who also said, “We may not get everything we fight for, but we will certainly have to fight for everything we get.” As individuals, we must understand and act upon the fact that things are still about the same for most of us; each of us still has to work for what we want and need. Collectively, we must form a broad-based coalition and submit a national Black agenda that addresses our needs and desires for this government of ours. Do you think we can do that without some of us caving in,

breaking ranks, and selling out? Do you think we can do that without worrying about who will be the HNIC? I think we can, at least those of us who are conscious and dedicated to the uplift of our people and a secure future for our children. Please don’t fall for the okeydoke again, brothers and sisters. Be more than just happy to have a Black man in the White House. The results of our happiness and euphoria should be something tangible to which we can point and share with our children. Brother

Obama’s children are fairly secure right now; their father and mother are millionaires twice over. They should be just fine. They are “in the house,” as we like to say. The question is: “Where are Black people in general?’’ Finally, let’s go back to the post-racial society charade that some are promoting as a result of Obama’s election. An excellent example of how some of us are thinking now is the national pledge campaign that was started after the election.

If you have seen the commercial, replete with celebrities, movie stars, athletes, and entertainers, you may have noticed what each of them pledged. (See http://www.my space.com/ presidentialpledge) Of all the pledges, the one that struck me as strange and out of sync with the others was that of Michael Strahan, former New York Giant football player. He said, “I pledge to consider myself an American, not an African- American.” No other person of any of the

various ethnic groups featured in the video said they would give up his or her identity; the Black man was the only one who volunteered to do that. Go figure. As I said, Obama ain’t cha mama. Don’t sit back and think you will be clothed, fed, employed, educated, sheltered, and included, simply because a Black man sits at the top of the political food chain. Get real and get to work, before we miss another opportunity to build something for ourselves – something that will last far beyond the next four or eight years.

Jack Kemp, Arlen Specter and the GOP (From page 8) defectors are fairly well-educated voters in the middle- to upperincome categories. More than two-thirds of them – 68 percent – cited dissatisfaction with George W. Bush’s performance in the White House as a very important reason for changing parties. In second-place, at 54 percent, was the Iraq War, followed by dissatisfaction with the GOP’s positions on foreign policy is-

sues (49 percent), the GOP’s position on environmental affairs (45 percent) and Republican stances on taxes and spending (44 percent). Had Republicans listened to Jack Kemp, it could have stemmed some of those losses to Democrats. But they didn’t. Today, they continue to listen to the advice of failed leaders, such as former vice president Dick Chaney. Chaney said on Sunday that

he favors the conservatism of Rush Limbaugh’s over the politics of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who crossed party lines last year to endorse Barack Obama. “Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think,” Cheney said in an interview on “Face the Nation. “I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.”

As the Louisville Courier-Journal observed in a recent editorial, “It isn’t clear why anyone would take seriously a drug-abusing radio blowhard or a former vice president who left office with an approval rating of 13 percent.” George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com

95% Harlem Success Academy students pass ELA exam (From page 17) cess Charter Network and mother of three. “In the midst of a mass exodus from failing zone schools in Harlem, the ELA results further support the need to embrace education reforms. We are simply failing our children if we don’t.” Two weeks ago, more than 5,000 Harlem parents attended the admission lottery for the four Harlem Success Academies, where students were randomly selected to fill 475 spots, in total. The unprecedented volume of applicants demonstrates the immense demand among Harlem parents for better educational options for their children. The Harlem Success Academy ’s ELA exam results confirm quantitatively that those options exist and

must be expanded. ELA Exam Results: Comparison

All Students Harlem Success • 95% of Harlem Success 3rd grade students passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2009 • 23.3% of Harlem Success 3rd grade students passed ELA exam at Level 4 in 2009 • Only 3 Harlem Success 3rd grade students got Level 2 on ELA exam in 2009 • No Harlem Success 3rd grade students got Level 1 on ELA exam in 2009 Compared To • 64.8% of 3rd grade students across District 3 who passed ELA (From page 17) exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 43.0% of 3rd grade students focus his attention on the needs of our children – who already are suffering from the largest classes in the state– and start building and leasing more schools now!” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters. “I am so disheartened that the same short-sightedness that brought about this problem is being used to find a band-aid start. What do they expect us to solution. PS 3 is not currently equipped and doesn’t have the do?” AFSCME Assistant to the Presi- infrastructure to handle additional dent Lee Saunders said, “Our mes- classes effectively and safely. sage today is clear: They cannot This is not a solution. This is a make children of working families recipe for disaster. We need a real victims of the City’s financial cri- solution, we need more schools sis. Bloomberg may be able to ig- to handle the increase of chilnore little kids, but we won’t let dren,” said Samantha Harmon, PS him ignore us. We are here to be 3 PTA Co-President. “ New York City parents are the children’s voices.” For more information about united in calling for seats in how to join DC 1707’s battle to neighborhood schools for all defeat Bloomberg’s plan to elimi- wait-listed children and an end nate kindergarten in daycare to overcrowded schools as our centers, contact Neal Tepel at only response to neighborhood growth. We ask that our elected (646) 591-6484. leaders make a commitment to

DC 1707 fights for childcare availability for poor families (From page 2) about 2,000 working parents many with their children daycare center staff, union members and community leaders marched from Battery Park to City Hall to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed cuts. Carrying her handmade sign reading “How Will I Work If I Don’t Have Child Care?” Shevon Massiah, whose family hails from Trinidad, said, “I need my job; my parents also work, and my kids need a head

across District 5 who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 79.7% of 3rd grade students across District 2 who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 35.9% of 3rd grade students at PS 149 (co-located zone school) who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 59.9% of 3rd grade students across New York City who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008

Special Ed Students Harlem Success • 70% of Harlem Success 3rd grade special ed students passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2009 Compared To • 28.8% of 3rd grade special ed students across District 3 who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 18.7% of 3rd grade special ed students across District 5 who passed

ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 48.7% of 3rd grade special ed students across District 2 who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 00.0% of 3rd grade special ed students at PS 149 (co-located zone school) who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008 • 27.0% of 3rd grade special ed students across New York City who passed ELA exam at Levels 3 or 4 in 2008

Pols, parents and children rally against NYC school overcrowding neighborhood education, by realistic planning for future school capacity, and by adequate capital spending to meet our city’s educational needs,” said Ann Kjellberg of Public School Parent Advocacy Committee (PS.PAC). “Manhattan school overcrowding is a case study in mismanagement. We are about to complete a five year capital plan that was supposed to bring every Kindergarten through 3rd grade class to 20 students but instead we have 25, 28 or just a spot on a wait list. Chancellor Joel Klein says our schools are so far over capacity because too many parents want to send their kids to public school. The Chancellor must stop blaming parents and stop deflecting the blame. We hear all about ‘accountability’ when the Chancellor wants more standardized tests but he refuses to be held accountable himself,” said Patrick J. Sullivan, Manhattan member of the Panel for Educational Policy. “The capping and over-crowding problems facing District 2 are nothing new to the parents and

residents of District 10 in the Bronx . At least seven elementary/ middle schools are capped this year, and we had to resort to zone line changes to hopefully prevent some of our future Kindergartners from being bussed out of zone due to overcrowding. District 10 needs all of its originally projected 4,000 additional seats to be constructed as soon as possible to accommodate our growing school aged population,” said Marvin Shelton of CEC 10. The rally was co-sponsored by: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough P r e s i d e n t S c o t t St r i n g e r, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Council Member Robert Jackson, Council Member Jessica Lappin, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Community Education Council District 2, Manhattan Community Boards 1, 2, 6 and 8, Class Size Matters, Manhattan Borough President’s Task Force on Overcrowding, Parent Leaders of Upper East Side Schools (PLUS), Public School Parent Advocacy Committee (PS.PAC), and Kids Shut OUT (KSO).

NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

President Obama ain’t cha mama!

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Entertainment Special 2 Thumbs Up

August Wilson’s ‘Joe Turner’ wins 6 Tony Award nominations including Best Revival Compiled By Don Thomas

“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” has received 6 Tony Award nomiThe Lincoln Center Theater nations including Best Revival, production of August Wilson’s Best Director (Bartlett Sher) and

HADLEY Players presents ‘Amen Sister’

Gertrude Jeannette Founder/CEO The H.A.D.L.E.Y. PLAYERS, announces the revival of “Amen Sister” written and directed by Roger Parris, which was nominated for a 2004 AUDELCO Award, in the category of Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Gertrude Jeannette produced the play in 2004 and also its first production in 1993. The play is filled with comedic surprises and dramatic revelations. Five members of the Women’s Executive Board of Shiloe Baptist Church face a challenging dilemma when they have to select a new member on their board. They convene a meeting on a Saturday afternoon at Sister Ruby’s house to make their decision. Meeting outside the church, having to challenge the imperious Sister Esther, and trying to understand the eccentric behavior of Sister Viola, provide an exciting and entertaining experience in theater as the women struggle with hidden agenda’s and well-kept secrets. Appearing as Sister Esther is celebrated actress Olivia Williams, and Kim Monroe, who plays Sister Ruby, is a versatile actress who has worked exten-

sively with Parris and the H.A.D.L.E.Y. PLAYERS. The play will be staged at the historical Harlem School of the Arts, located at 645 St. Nicholas Avenue at 142nd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. “Amen Sister” previews Fri. and Sat., June 5 th and 6 th at 7:30pm. Admission will be free will offerings (donations only). The play’s official opening is Sunday, June 7th at 2:30pm and will be followed by a gala reception and refreshments. Tickets are $25.00 for everyone. The remaining performances are June 12th through June 28th. Fri. and Sat. Shows begin at 7:30pm and Sun. matinees at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $20.00 General Admission, $18.00 for Seniors, Students & Groups of 10 or more, and $8.00 for children under 14. For tickets and more information visit the H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players website at www.hadleyplay ers.com. This program made possible “in part” with funds from the NY State Council on the Arts, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis Foundation, Sidney and Johanna S. Poitier Foundation, and individual contributions from people like you.

Best Featured Actor (Roger Robinson). It also received nominations for sets, lighting and sound design. The dramatic production part of the late playwright Wilson’s ten-play Century Cycle, which depicts the African American experience in each decade of the 20 th Century, originally opened on Broadway in 1988, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Play and winning that year’s New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Set in 1911, it tells the story of Herald Loomis who, after serving seven years hard labor, has journeyed North with his young daughter and arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house filled with memorable characters who aid him in his search for his inner freedom. The current production opened on Broadway at the

Belasco Theatre on April 16. The cast features Marsha Stephanie Blake, Chad L. Coleman, Michael Cummings, Aunjanue Ellis, Danai Gurira, Andre Holland, Arliss Howard, Ernie Hudson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Amari Rose Leigh and Roger Robinson. It has sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Brian MacDevitt, sound by Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, music by Taj Mahal and juba staging by Dianne McIntyre. The performance schedule for “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” is Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 3pm Affordable tickets are available at the Belasco Theatre box office, at telecharge.com, or, by visiting www.lct.org.

Roger Robinson


(From page 7) American, he identified with their struggles. “I know what it’s like to not have always been respected or to have been ignored and I know what it’s like to struggle

and that’s how I think many of you understand what’s happened here on the reservation,” Obama said. In his speech, Obama added: “A lot of times you have been forgotten, just like African-Americans have been forgotten or other

groups in this country have been forgotten.” In the Nov. 4 presidential elections, a vast majority of Native people voted for Obama, according to Frank LaMere of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, who led the American Indian del-

U.S. now leading in swine flu cases (From page 15) gland Journal of Medicine. On Saturday, health officials in Costa Rica reported the first swine flu-related death in that country — a 53-year-old man who also suffered from diabetes and heart disease. The death marked the first swine flulinked death outside North America, according to the AP. U.S. health officials last week said the outbreak of swine flu

appears similar to the seasonal flu in its severity, so schools across the nation should remain open and any schools that did close should reopen. On Monday, the World Health Organization was reporting 4,694 confirmed cases of swine flu in 30 countries, with Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom having the most cases outside of the United States and Mexico. Japan and Australia reported their first cases of swine flu on

Saturday. And on Sunday health officials reported the first case in mainland China — a man returning from studying at an American university. Meanwhile in Mexico, the country continued to emerge from a virtual shutdown designed to limit infections. High schools, universities, dance halls, movie theaters and bars have reopened, and primary schools are to reopen this week, the Associated Press reported.

egation to the Democratic Convention. On the campaign trail in Montana, Obama was adopted as an honorary member of the Crow Tribe, a ceremony that natives say is reserved for special guests. On that occasion, he was given a new name, “Barack Black Eagle.” Before Obama became the firstever non-white president of the United States, the country faced scathing criticism from a Geneva-based U.N. rights body for its treatment of the indigenous communities and objectionable use of their traditional lands and resources. In March 2006 and again in 2008, a panel of U.S. experts analyzed the U.S. government’s treatment of indigenous citizens and ruled that it was guilty of racial discrimination. Canada, another settler-nation founded on the indigenous territories in North America, has also

been scolded by the U.N. Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for its abusive and discriminatory treatment of acts of native communities. The right-wing government in Ottawa continues to justify its current policies towards the native population as just and fair with no indication whatsoever of a willingness to sign the U.N. document on indigenous peoples’ rights. In the United States, there appears to be some signs of policy shift with regard to the U.S. government’s relations with the American Indian communities. Some representatives of indigenous tribes are currently working with Obama as advisors. However, it remains unclear when and if the Obama administration would sign the declaration. “I can’t comment further,” said Ventrell about the outcome of discussions on possible U.S. support.

Strong Black support lifts former DNC chair that McAuliffe’s fundraising advantage is “beginning to manifest Dean Debnam, president of PPP, itself.” Seeking to counter such views, stated in releasing the results. He said the results suggest the Moran campaign has re-

(From page 13)

leased an internal poll that Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted that found the race was far closer. That poll shows McAuliffe ahead by just two points — 31 percent to 29 percent for Moran and 18 percent for Sen. Deeds, with 22 percent undecided. Moran also could take solace in the SurveyUSA finding that he • and “Granting greater authority led McAuliffe by a 2-1 margin to USDA’s Office of Civil Rights. among voters in the state’s most The Assistant Secretary for Civil populous region, Northern VirRights will collaborate with the other agencies to develop and implement a proposal for data collection across USDA, make sure all complaints are incorporated as (From page 4) part of one data system; and develop USDA policy and training to ensure that all complaints are voted in favor of the Reinvestreceived and dealt with in a con- ment Act, my efforts to reinvigosistent manner within a specific rate our economy are beginning to pay off,” said Clarke. timeframe.“

Obama pushes to close Black farmers’ lawsuit (From page 4) to review the loan granting process for possible discriminatory conduct; “ • “The creation of a Task force to conduct a review of a sample of program civil rights complaints that have been processed or that are currently being processed - the complaints and inquiries total over 14,000, including over 3,000 that have not been processed;”

ginia, where both reside. However, McAuliffe led with voters in the state’s other large urban areas, including Richmond and Hampton Roads, SurveyUSA indicated. Debnam stated that despite the PPP finding of a McAuliffe lead, “the race is far from over.” He said the PPP results show that 36 percent of likely voters are still undecided. In addition, he said, 41 percent of the people who favored one candidate also

indicated they could switch before the primary. And while McAuliffe might hold an advantage among likely primary voters, the SurveyUSA poll also indicated that he, as well as his two rivals, would face a tough general election fight against McDonnell, a former attorney general. The survey found that at this point, McDonnell is favored over McAuliffe by seven points, Moran by 12 points and Deeds by 5 points.

State earmarks $29 million Velazquez said young people in New York City need positive places to go where they can learn, develop new skills, and connect with mentors. “The American Recovery and Rein-

vestment Act enables more of our youth to participate in summer programs expanding educational opportunities and helping to lay the groundwork for a bright future,” said Velazquez.

Anti-torture bill introduced in New York State Assembly (From page 3) flict pain and suffering. “This bill would protect patients in the community from having their bodies put in the hands of people who had misused their medical education, training and license in that way.” The bill has 30 co-sponsors in both parties in the Assembly and is the first of its kind in the nation, Gottfried said. The bill has been endorsed by: The Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, National Association of Social Workers — NYS Chapter, and the NYS Nurse Practitioners Association. Following is a statement on the bill by Assembly Member Gottfried: “The country has been horrified by the recently-declassified U.S. Justice Department memoranda that documented

and purported to justify the extensive use of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation,’ more properly regarded as torture, by the CIA. “What has been less widely reported is the shocking fact that physicians and other health care professionals were actively and systematically involved in this program. Indeed, the Jus-

tice Department papers show that the participation of health care professionals was essential to the rationalization and implementation of the program. “No physician or other health professional should be allowed to use his or her education, training and professional status to cooperate in the torture or improper treatment of prisoners.

“These documents repeatedly state that that in the use of ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods such as waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, ‘dietary manipulation,’ ‘walling,’ abdominal slapping, water dousing, etc., health care professionals were involved ‘whenever this technique is applied.’ “Their role included evaluat-

ing the prisoner’s physical and mental condition to certify that use of the techniques may be commenced, monitoring the ‘interrogation’ to make sure that the ‘physical or mental pain or suffering’ inflicted stops short of being ‘severe,’ and being available for such things as performing a tracheotomy if waterboarding goes awry.”

New Jersey students dominate math contest (From page 14) the second place team from Elk County Catholic High School in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania, noted that although the Challenge was labeled as a math competition it actually incorporated a lot more than that. “It involved social sci-

ences and English and mathematics, and seeing how that applies to real life was interesting.” James Crowley, executive director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, which organizes and administers the competition, was on the panel of judges for the presentations. Judges review papers and select

the best ones to go to the final round, but he said it is always amazing to see the presentations from the top six teams. “The presentations are always impressive, and this year’s top six teams were especially strong in both their presentations and their ability to field questions from the judges. They were able to grapple

with a difficult problem, construct mathematical models, and do thoughtful analysis based on those models. As several of participants noted, they learned a lot about a subject area (the economics of the stimulus package) in a very short amount of time, and were able to work as a team to produce some useful results. Each of these teams is a winner.”

35 NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

President Obama is urged to sign native rights declaration


CLASSIFIED

NEW YORK BEACON, May 14, 2009 - May 20, 2009 newyorkbeacon.com

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Houses For Sale

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CLASSIFIED Notice is hereby given that an Order entered by the Civil Court, New York County, on 03/12/2009, bearing Index Number NC-00051309/NY, a copy of which can be examined at the Office of the Clerk, located at 111 Center Street New York, NY 10013, grants Deborah Jenise Olin the right to assume the name of Deborah Sunshine J Olin. The place of birth is Bronx, NY, the date of birth is March 5, 1962 and the present address is 30-32 Saint Nicholas Place, Apt #2A New York, NY 10031

Notice is hereby given that an Order entered by the Civil Court, New York County, on 03/13/2009, bearing Index Number NC-000514-09/NY, a copy of which can be examined at the Office of the Clerk, located at 111 Center Street New York, NY 10013, grants Zain Butt the right to assume the name of Zain Jamshaid. The place of birth is Lahore, Pakistan, the date of birth is April 5, 1988 and the present address is 202 East 21 Street, Apt #5C, New York, NY 10010

Notice is hereby given that an Order entered by the Civil Court, New York County, on 03/24/2009, bearing Index Number NC000504-09/NY, a copy of which can be examined at the Office of the Clerk, located at 111 Center Street New York, NY 10013, grants Louis Sanchez AKA Louis Moreira the right to assume the name of Louis Moreira. The place of birth is New York, NY, the date of birth is Jan. 24, 1964 and the present address is 387 Snyder Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237

HOROSCOPE ARIES It’s a great week to tell somebody you are close to that you love them. Saying it aloud gives you energy and of course your designated adoree will be delighted! Keep the big picture in mind this week and you’ll feel completely buoyant! TAURUS Hardly anyone alive learns new skills in an instant so cut yourself some slack if you feel you’ve made a beginner ’s mistake somewhere. Mistakes are part of the learning process that is called Life so self-correct and proceed with happiness. GEMINI A happy week is in store for sociable souls. Lots of friends and a party or two or three will keep your energy bright. Use caution while driving and watch for a pleasant surprise or two this week. CANCER Your sense of self is feeling unusually well-defined. And it is causing you to look as confident as the lion that you are. People will notice your regal bearing and noble outlook this week. LEO Busy week as the energy around you seems supercharged. With everyone rushing about you will wonder how you’ll get anything done much less the things you feel you must get done. Not to worry. Stay calm and flexible and a way will be found. VIRGO You may feel a bit crabby about your health this week. If you feel you need a physical checkup make the appointment this week, if you want to feel and look better this week skip some lunches and take walks instead. LIBRA A new version of an old project lands on your desk this week, and you are not happy about the added responsibility. Recognize it as an opportunity to find the good in all situations. Think of ways to enjoy this task and you’ll feel happier at the end of the week. SCORPIO Pleasure is on your agenda and you’ll find many ways to indulge your craving for quality leisure time. It’s a good idea to keep a cautious eye on your budget; don’t scrimp, just don’t overspend. Get-togethers with friends and family will add to your happiness, especially in the evenings. SAGITTARIUS Communications flow smoothly this week and your intuition is high. A wild idea for money making could come to you, but you should let it walk on by. Stick to your current plan and use your imagination for ways to streamline your work. CAPRICORN The companionship of a dear friend or partner is special this week. You’ll be deeply grateful that you have this person in your life. Friendship like this is a blessing, and you are truly blessed with many people who love and care for you. Letting them know how much you care will warm and charm the hearts near to you.

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AQUARIUS You continue in your togetherness cycle. Communications between partners are tender and cooperative. You who are single are attracting new admirers every week. The feeling that you share the thoughts of another will be very strong this week. Call this person and validate your intuition. A new invitation arrives in the mail this week.

PISCES

PISCES What’s this —a fly in your personal soup? Fish it out, and don’t sweat the small stuff this week. Keep your optimism revved up by remembering how unstoppably brilliant and wonderful you are. You can handle any situation with poise and grace. This week, practice your grace under a little pressure. You’ll be amazed and proud of yourself by how well you manage!

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LEGAL NOTICES

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SPORTS The Jets show their good taste By Marc Rasbury This has been one busy offseason for the New York Jets. They had an extensive head coach job search that ended with the hiring of Rex Ryan. They signed Pro Bowlers, Bart Scott and Lito Sheppard, to shore up their defense. Then they moved Heaven and Earth to land outstanding rookies Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. One would think that Gang Green would not have time for any extra curricular activities but that is not the case for Rex & Company. Last week, the members of the Jets origination took time out from their busy schedules to take part in the 7th Annual Jets Taste of the NFL. Several local restaurants prepared and served samples of their specialty dishes to over 500 guests. The event was held at Cipriani Wall Street Grand Ballroom. The organization raised over $200, Derrelle Revis loves the dishes Shin Tsujimura of NOBU 000, 17% more than last year. 57 prepared for the 7th Annual Jets Taste of the NFL. When you consider that we are in the midst of a depression, The Gang Green Nation should be commended. Participating restaurants included NOBU 57, Serenade and Tartaric L’incontro. I told each station, “Give my compliments to the chef”, trust me the food was slamming! The guests also rubbed elbows with stars who never wore shoulder pads as well. Famed rappers Salt-N-Pepper and New York legend, John Starks were also on hand. But the biggest star in the room was definitely, new headcoach Rex Ryan. People gravitated to him like a planet to the sun. If this guy can deliver a championship to New York, he will own this city. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. The food was great and the company was even better. New Jets coach Rex Ryan (left) hopes to become a fan If you get a chance to go next year, favorite like former Knicks John Starks. please do not miss this event!

Vernon Gholston with one of Gang Green's young fans.

Kareem Brown shares a moment with the Chefs of Tartaric L’incontro.

Our own Ira Weihart kicks it with members of the Jets Flight crew.

Salt-N-Pepper were in the house. (Photos by Marc Rasbury)


39

Cheat the game, or has the game always cheated? By Jason Clinkscales Baseball – like one of America’s most beloved cartooned protagonists, Charlie Brown – can’t win, no matter how hard it tries. Since the questions and requests for thoughts on the suspension of Manny Ramirez last week, Roger Clemens’ personal mission to seek the truth and the continuing soap opera of Alex Rodriguez have subsided some, this feels like a far more comfortable time to speak some about the overarching theme of performance-enhancing use in the sport. After the initial surprise (or in the case of Ramirez, complete and utter shock) and some time to read various reports, opinions and Facebook comments, the overall news elicited a mere shrug of the shoulders. It’s not so much that baseball fans have become completely numb to the accusations and confessions of PED users; the personal shock comes from the fact that Manny is one of the best pure hitters to ever step in the batter’s box. The eventual ambivalence stems from the open secret that Major League Baseball has quite the history with cheating. The lone difference these days is that the players truly have the upper hand. This is a league that banned non-white players for six decades from its professional infancy in the 1870s until 1947 when Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby were the first black players to play in the modern era. Considering that there were talented players of various hues and households that were barred from the majors, do you really think that the New York Yankees would have won 26 championships or that Ted Williams would have been the last player to bat .400 for an entire season? This is a league where the reserve clause bound players to one team, even as many owners did little to improve the long-term performance of their clubs. Beyond the fact that a player could not freely negotiate his worth with his current club and offer his services to another employ, this allowed owners to have their way with their players. Instead of being granted their release to sign with any franchise, the most valuable

players on the team were either coerced to re-signing for not much more than the previous contracts, traded to other teams or traded outright for cash. If this did not keep some teams in perpetual awfulness for years and years, then certainly another pro-cheapskate owner tactic did. Over the past few seasons, MLB has given several teams revenue sharing payments from higher-payroll teams such as the New York Yankees and Mets, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and (Anaheim) Angels. Revenue sharing is baseball’s version of welfare, subsidizing some of the payrolls for the Minnes o t a Tw i n s , P i t t s b u rg h P i rates, Kansas City Royals and others. The idea that a few billionaires and corporations refuse to follow the adage “spend money to make money” shows how short-term thinking can kill long-term competitiveness (and wealth). This is a league – a business, rather – that is exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act based on notions in 1890 that it could not remain popular and profitable with a significant competitor lurking in the shadows. This exemption may have very well been the reason for the existence of the reserve clause and the continued fuzzy math of the current economic model. As great of a league as it is, we must keep in mind that this is an organization that allowed for spitballs, as evidenced by one of the Hall of Fame’s most infamous inductees, Gaylord Perry. He may have earned his credentials with other pitches; however, he was the best of all the junkthrowers of that era. So what does all of this have to do with juicing, 50game suspensions and salacious books? For all of the anger and indignation that we feel and want others to feel, the truth is that baseball has never been a sport on the up-and-up. This isn’t to say that the entire culture is dirty to those of you who believe PED use taints the game and its players. This post doesn’t give the players the chance to abscond themselves from responsibility of their own bodies. Yet, it’s too easy to shake a fist at the current shepherds of the game when there has always been some sort of skirting of the rules.

Roger Clements

Manny Ramirez

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SPORTS


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40

BEACON

Marc Rasbury

SPORTS

Not so ‘happy happy’ in Orlando By Marc Rasbury Things are not so rosy in the hometown of Disney World, Orlando Florida. After blowing a 14-point lead in the 4 th quarter of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final Game 5, 9288 defeat, All-Pro center Dwight Howard indirectly took a shot at his teammates and landed a knockout punch at his coach, Stan Van Gundy. As their lead dwindled in the final period of Game 5 of this series, the Orlando Magic forgot that they had the best player on the court and did not let Howard touch the rock down the stretch. As a matter of fact, he only took ten shots during the course of the entire game. This was straight out blasphemous. When you have a player of Howard’s caliber, you must force feed this kid the ball. Good things happen when a good athletic post player gets the ball, especially, in the playoffs. The Magic was my dark horse favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals but that was before Jameer Nelson got hurt. Everybody is harping on the fact that Boston lost Kevin Garnett for the playoffs. However, losing Nelson is a bigger factor to Orlando Orlando's playoff hopes took a huge hit when Nelson went than the Celtics losing KG. down in February. This was exemplified by the

To take a quote from Keyshawn Johnson, Give me the damm ball!!!! (Photos by Marc Rasbury)

Stan Van Gundy appears to be over his head at times. Magic coming apart at the seams in Game 5. They were jacking up three pointers that led to quick fast breakpoints for the Celtics and did not take much time off the clock. The Celtics do not have any answers for Howard, so why aren’t the Magic exploiting this? This question should be answered by Van Gundy. He should have called a time out when the game was starting to slip away and told his guys to forget about the three pointers and get the ball to Howard. That is why Nelson’s absence is so important. He is one of the few point guards in the League that still knows how to play with a big man. You see, in the era of the “killa cross over”, a lot of the perimeter players do not understand how to play with a good post player. Moreover, you hear some wing and perimeter players claim that big men clog up the lane and prevent them from doing their thing! You see, Nelson will not only get Howard the ball when he wants it and in a manner that he can do something positive with it but his penetration will also open up the court for

those perimeter players as well. It is amazing to me that in this day and age with so much on the line these coaches who are making more money than the law allows, forget the basic principles of the game. This is a simple game as the iconic John Isaacs use to tell me, “Our dum asses screw it up trying to be fancy and making the game about me instead of we.” I just hope that it finally sinks in and the Magic and their coach get it and give the ball to Howard. It is all a mute point anyway. The Cavs and the Lakers are on a collision course for the NBA Finals. Whoever wins the Celtics –Magic series is going to beat Cleveland. LeBron and Company are on a mission and have literally punched their ticket to the Finals where Kobe will be waiting! Listen, I like Van Gundy and think he got a raw deal in Miami. But, after hearing Howard in the post game press conference, I could not help but think about what Shaq said about his former coach. If the Magic do not to heed this warning, they will have plenty of time to visit Mickey at the Magic Kingdom after this weekend.


THOMPSON IN THE BEACON