Page 1

n a b ur

CNY The Constitution

Celebrating urban life since 1989

In this issue:


February 2010 ●

To Protect And Serve A conversation with newly appointed Police Chief Frank Fowler By Ken Jackson

‘We’ll never turn back’ Mavis Staples to perform Feb. 27 6

Boyce Watkins Beyonce, Jay-Z dominate ‘richest couple’ list 5

Black History Month

Look inside and visit for Black History Month events! Serving Upstate urban communities since 1989. In partnership with:



I sat down with newly appointed Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler to discuss his new position and get an opportunity to introduce the community to a man who has been described as “down to earth” and “approachable.” Chief Fowler is a military veteran and 20-year member of the Syracuse Police Department. “I took the police exam just to see if I could pass it. I passed the exam and when I got the canvass letter, it said ‘call if you’re interested in pursuing a

Ellen Leahy

Please see Fowler, page 8 Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler in his Syracuse office.

Urban CNY celebrates 21 years Over the next twelve months, Urban CNY and will highlight some of our pictures and stories written over our 21-year history. Founded in Syracuse on Hall Avenue in 1989 by Ken Jackson and Stanley Dean, the newspaper has been associated with Eagle Newspapers ever since Brown Newspapers was acquired by Eagle. We didn’t want the paper modeled after The Post-Standard or the Syracuse New Times. Our mission was simple - bring to the people of Syracuse something different than what was being presented at the time. While black newspapers and other written media existed, they aimed their pens at each other instead of the ills that affected the African-American community. You wouldn’t know it by listening to the variety we have today on radio, but we had no radio station in 1989. Syracusan Robert Short became the first African American to own a radio station. Until then, we had to play soul finger on the radio hoping to find a station or song. A lot has changed since then and Urban CNY/The Constitution has been with you every step of the way. Journey with us as we review 21 years of Urban CNY! See page 2 for more photos.

PROTEST: After a jury found police officers accused of beating Rodney King innocent of charges, citizens across the country took to the streets; Syracuse was no exception. LEFT: George A. Kilpatrick and Roosevelt “Rick” Wright became two of the most influential African-Americans in communications. Kilpatrick appearing on both radio and television and Dr.Wright’s longevity on the air is unparalleled.

/Urban CNY, February 2010

Black History Month at ArtRage Gallery Ongoing through Feb. 27 BREACH OF PEACE EXHIBIT Published monthly by: URBAN CNY Send mail c/o Eagle Media 5910 Firestone Drive, Syracuse, NY 13206 For advertising and editorial: (315) 422-7778 (315) 434-8883 -- Fax Kenneth Jackson – Editor and Publisher Doug Campbell – Designer Walt Shepperd – Consultant Mia Burse – Contributing Writer Marjory W. Wilkins – Contributing Photographer Mia E. Burse, Sales 5910 Firestone Drive Syracuse, NY 13206 (315) 254-8653 (315) 434-8883 -- Fax Printed by: Community Media Group LLC 5910 Firestone Drive Syracuse, NY 13206 No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission.The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily the opinions of Community Media Group LLC or Eagle Newspapers.

Creative Arts Academy looking for new students

Syracuse’s premier pre-professional arts education and training program is holding auditions for new students in grades 7 through 11. Our goal is to provide well-rounded arts education experience so students are prepared to continue their studies beyond their high school experience. In addition, The Academy collaborates with local artists, schools and organizations to provide enriching experiences in visual and expressive arts. We will be auditioning students in the fields of Dance, Theater, and Visual Arts Auditions, and Portfolios Reviews will be held during the week of Feb. 15 through 19. Auditions will be held at Community Folk Art Center, 805 East Genesee St., Syracuse. You must register to audition for more information and to register, call Amanda Roskopf, CAA Coordinator at 442-2536, or e-mail

Runs thru Feb. 27. Open 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711,

Saturday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m. The Long Walk Home

$5 donation. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711,

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. From the Back of the Bus

Walt Shepperd & the Media Unit. FREE. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711, The Media Unit presents From the Back of the Bus, a national award winning original musical theater performance on racism and racial healing at ArtRage in observance of Black History Month and celebration of Breach of Peace, an exhibit of portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders by Eric Etheridge. The cast for this performance includes Allen Graves, Ana-rachel Richardson, Anna Quackenbush and Sarah Orr. Walt Shepperd will facilitate an audience discussion, sharing his experience with the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964.

Photo by Brantley Carroll. Pictured are Deborah Orr,Ana-rachel Richardson and George Stroman performing From the Back of the Bus at May Memorial Church.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. Poetry & Rebellion

Performance poetry directed by Mark Wright. FREE. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711, Cultural Eclectic to Perform 100 plus years of Poetry and writings of African Ameri-

cans. “Cultural Eclectic” is a performance troupe directed by Mark Wright and features Cheryl Wilkins Mitchell, Carol Charles,Vanessa Johnson, and Tony Brown. They will perform a sampling of selected poetry and verse representing commentary and expressions of the struggles of African Americans fighting for freedom and equality in America. The writings of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Claude Mckay, James Weldon Johnson, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks and some lesser known poets will show the way they used words to fight for the right to be free and equal. Some were forerunners of the official Civil Rights Movement and some were products of the Movement. The performance will be followed by a discussion. We also invite local poets to come and share their poems and stories.

Saturday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m. to midnight Valentine Movie Marathon

$5 donation. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711,

Thursday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m.

Th3 event: Civil Rights Connection Presentation with Sen. Nancy Lorraine Hoffmann. FREE. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711, Former NY State Senator Nancy Lorraine Hoffmann created The Civil Rights Connection at the urging of her long-time friend former Mississippi NAACP Field Secretary Charles Evers. NYS high school juniors have made the life-changing journey each spring since 1996. After a week of visits with veterans of the Freedom Struggle, the students are guests of BB King at his tribute concert to Medgar Evers. Upon return home, students attend community and school forums to spread the powerful message of the non-violence movement. They share stories of ordinary people

Urban CNY celebrates 21 years

Hillary Clinton, along with former President Bill Clinton, made a special visit to Pan-African Village.TALE OF TWO CITIES:We looked at the disparity between Franklin Square’s amenities; the Creek Walk, new lighting, condos and special lighting versus the once blighted area now redeveloped as the Midland Regional Treatment Facility.

who were determined to end segregation. Sen. Hoffmann and select students will present at ArtRage in conjunction with Breach of Peace, an exhibit of portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders by Eric Etheridge.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m. The Well

$5 donation. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711,

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m. MAKING HISTORY

Eric Etheridge & local Freedom Rider, Rev. LeRoy Wright -Presentation & Booksigning. FREE. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 2185711, In the spring and summer of 1961, several hundred Americans — blacks and whites, men and women — converged on Jackson, Mississippi, to challenge state segregation laws. The Freedom Riders, as they came to be known, were determined to open up the South to civil rights. Over 300 people were arrested and convicted of the charge “breach of the peace.” Eric Etheridge’s book and current ArtRage exhibit, BREACH OF PEACE, collects the mug shots of those arrested and juxtaposes them with present-day photographs of the Riders and their recollections about the experience. Join us when Eric Etheridge and Freedom Rider, Rev. LeRoy Wright make history come alive at this very special event at ArtRage. The presentation will be followed by a book signing.

Photo of Eric Etheridge and 1961 Mugshot of Rev. LeRoy Glenn Wright.

Saturday, Feb. 27, 8 p.m. $5 donation. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. 218-5711,

From page 1

Urban CNY, February 2010/

opinion Editorial

Miner’s appointment of Chief Fowler

On Dec. 17 the Miner administration made one of its most important announcements; Frank Fowler had been selected to become the next Police Chief of the City of Syracuse. As Deputy Chief of the Community Services Bureau for five years Fowler developed a reputation as an individual who’s engaged with community issues, is approachable and can be seen at many neighborhood meetings dealing with quality of life issues. In a release from the Mayor’s office Fowler said, “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the new mayor and to build better relationships between the Police Department and city residents, with the goals of strengthening our neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for all residents in our city. I am confident that together we can rebuild our city street by street and block by block.” Those who’ve met Chief Fowler will find that he knows the city and its neighborhoods having been with the Syracuse Police Department since 1989. Fowler’s personable and approachable. His appointment can be viewed as an acknowledgement of Gary Miguel’s style and influence on Syracuse’s Police Department. There was a time when you’d never have a conversation with your police chief, they were held high above the grade and your only hope for communication was to know the right person and hope. Those days are gone now. The appointment of Fowler means more than just another African-American as Police Chief it’s an affirmation of a commitment to inclusion in an era where we’re getting away from pinning-a-tail on the person who’s “the first.” Look at how far we’ve come given Syracuse’s history of federal government criticism for discriminating against minorities, being threatened with funding sanctions to having an African-American Police Chief who’s a 20 year law enforcement professional and not, “the first.” There will be critics (and there are) in the blogosphere and especially on who claim that Fowler’s is just a “race-based” selection. These attitudes are reminiscent of a past where an AfricanAmerican could not join the Syracuse Police force, a woman or minority couldn’t dream of growing up to become a firefighter. These bigots haven’t disappeared; instead they’ve gone underground and now hide behind anonymity on the Internet. The appointment of Frank Fowler as Police Chief is not a panacea for race relations in fact there are still issues in the Syracuse Police and Fire Department’s ability to recruit and retain minorities. There have been reports of active campaigns to drive some African-Americans out of the Fire Department, they (African-American recruits) dare not complain or they’ll never make it through their initial training phase. This appointment is a good start for our new Mayor, now comes the ongoing task of selecting appointee’s that resembles the diversity that is Syracuse 2010.

The hall monitor Control This is a story about control, my control Control of what I say, control of what I do And this time I’m gonna do it my way I hope you like this as much as I do Are we ready? I am ‘Cause it’s all about control And I’ve got lots of it

Ken Jackson Urban CNY

Janet Jackson’s “Control,” that’s a paraphrase of a sampling of feedback concerning Mayor Stephanie Miner and the investigation of a plan that would place control of the Syracuse City School District in the hands of the mayor’s office. Not everyone is critical of the coup attempt as one churchgoer stated, “I don’t care who runs the schools, they’re terrible when half the kids don’t even graduate.” Is there an inordinate amount of waxy buildup in my ears? This is the first we’ve heard of a plan to take control of the Syracuse City Schools. Because I don’t believe during the campaign we ever heard candidate Miner unveil her plans for a SCSD takeover. During election season candidates’ heap lavish praise on our SCSD; yet as soon as the election is over it seems so is their concern. Give Mayor Miner credit for at least hitting this political piñata with a stick. (Note: If the school shaped piñata is hit correctly there are lots of goodies inside.) The implications of a takeover go far beyond the issue of educational control. This is also about the heart and soul of ascension politics. For our entire history Syracuse has been a city that choose its future leaders from the ranks of the upwardly mobile political candidate. Initially you started on the school board where you established a name for yourself. There was interaction between the Commissioners of Education and their constituents, the families of Syracuse. For a growing African-American and Latino community these elected Commissioner of Education positions are a stepladder to possibly becoming a Common Councilor, NYS Senator, Assemblyperson or the next mayor. The city of Syracuse’s responsibility is to supply funding for SCSD operations. Anyone with an abacus can figure out that over the last two decades as state funds increased the city’s support dwindled percentage wise. In an attempt to keep taxes low the city never kept pace with outside sources therefore shorting families especially their children of a quality education. It may just be coincidence but why is it that as African-Americans and other minorities reach a population of critical mass the rules change, the rungs of the traditional ladder are removed, it happens in redistricting where there’s traditionally been carved from each area a “black” city of Syracuse Common Council District and a “black” Onondaga County Legislature District. It’s not in writing; don’t believe me, try to establish candidacy in non-minority districts. The real problem is that Syracuse was informed decades ago that if we didn’t invest in educating our city’s minorities especially the African-American population we’d have a permanent underclass. We have no real technical high school therefore students who aren’t going to college have few alternatives; students in suburban districts have learning opportunities galore while the children of Syracuse have to hope that their school has an adequate library. Our city buses and Zoo animals have better quarters than the facilities our children are sent to learn in. The manufacturing payroll for the entire area has been decimated. That sucking sound is that of the annual removal of hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy, which means no jobs and escalating poverty. The best cure for all of our ills is a job. If our elected officials found creative methods of job creation and neighborhood enhancement for the poorest of communities we’d have a better educational outcome. Our problem in Syracuse is that we’ve become increasingly poor especially in the inner city. Removing highway overpasses, taking over schools and playing musical chairs with housing doesn’t solve this problem. Control (Now I’ve got a lot) Control (Now I’m all grown up, ah) I’m in control, uh Don’t make me lose it Control

/Urban CNY, February 2010

News A perspective on ‘Power Perspectives’ By Mia E. Burse

Readers, can I keep it real with you? I’m not the biggest fan of the available radio stations in Syracuse, and if I had a choice, I’d rather plug in my iPod and keep up with new music. If I must listen to the radio, I’m keeping my ears open about issues affecting the black community, and my station of choice is Power 106.9. I love listening to Michael Baisden on my way home from work, and I’m getting used to listening to Steve Harvey on my way there. While I care about the needs of the black community on a national scale, I am more interested in what is going on within the city I live and serve – where I can readily make a difference. However, few, if any media outlets were available that focus completely on those needs – until now. On Saturday Jan. 23, Power 106.9 introduced “Power Perspectives,” hosted by Rev. Daren C. Jaime, Pastor of People’s A.M.E. Zion Church. The two-hour broadcast, which focuses on topics directly affecting the

city of Syracuse, encourages residents to ask the tough questions of their business and community leaders. One Syracuse resident called into the broadcast to share her story of her son, a senior enrolled in Mia E. Burse the Syracuse City School District. “My son feels cheated,” she said. “Back when I was going to school, the students came home with books. I do not want my other two children to feel the same way when it’s time for them to graduate.” Walt Dixie, president of the local chapter of the National Action Network, was available to respond with contact information for the board of education. Another caller directly asked local entrepreneur and McDonald’s owner,

Ralph Crawford, about the hiring practices and being turned down for an interview. Crawford immediately responded positively by offering the caller an interview, conducted personally by Crawford and provided him mailing information. I’m excited about the potential of Power Perspectives. Here we finally have the religious, political, and business community leaders coming together, and a place where the “average citizen” can address them. Common ground – something that has been lacking within the city of Syracuse — has been made available to all, and there are no excuses. It’s going to be interesting to see what positive outcomes spawn from the discussions that are sure to take place on future broadcasts. “Power Perspectives” may not solve all of the problems facing the black community, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Power 106.9 has provided the outlet – “Power Perspectives” every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. Will you answer the call to action?

Understanding the basics of social security contributions By James and Barbara Peterson

Over a lifetime many Americans contribute substantial amounts to Social Security, especially when the portion contributed by the employee is matched by the employer. These contributions, the government refers to them as contributions. The word ‘contributions’ sound as though it is voluntary. These so-called contributions are actually required taxes. These contributions are made by over 100 million workers, either weekly or monthly. When we begin to think about it more, that is slightly over 2 billion records of dollar amounts that are matched my names and account numbers. And they are tallied each and every year. Our hats off to the Social Security Administration, they do a good job of keeping track of these very important records. But what happens when the records are not correct? Have your accumulated earnings been properly credited to your account at the Social Security Administration? If they have not, your monthly Social Security Benefits at retirement may be less than the amount to which you are entitled. Social Security Benefit payments

change from one taxpayer to the next depending on different factors including retirement age and the specific amount of earnings credited to each taxpayers account. We know that the computer age has reduced the number of errors in the tabulation of earnings. Mistakes are bound to happen. So, what’s a hard working person to do? For starters, you can make sure you’re getting the proper credit for your account by receiving a copy of your Social Security earnings record periodically. The Social Security Administrative headquarters located in Baltimore, Maryland has a special mailer of your recorded earnings that it will send automatically to you three months before your birthday. If you request it, they will furnish you with a statement that includes all covered earnings credited to your account from 1937 through present. There is a posting time lag of six months to one year at the SSA. Depending on your age, your statements will be broken down as follows: Earnings for each recent year postings have been completed; total earnings from 1952 to present; and total earnings from 1937 to 1951. When you receive the statement, be sure to compare the figures against cop-

ies of your old W-2 forms or income tax returns. Remember, only earnings that were subject to Social Security tax will appear on this record. If you worked for a non-profit organization that did not participate in Social Security, those earnings will not appear. For example, if your earnings totaled $95,000 in 2004, the statement will show only $87,900 because earnings more than that, were not subject to the FICA tax that year. If your records do not agree with the SSA, contact your local office as soon as possible. Disability benefits require that the disabled person have a minimum number of quarters of coverage as a contributor to Social Security. This is very critical factor for people who have long periods of unemployment or those who have periodic employment in the non-profit sector or abroad. Quarters of Coverage, or what are now called Credits, are also detailed on the Social Security Statement sent to you before your birthday or on request. This aspect of coverage is very critical for people who are close to, but may not have met or exceeded the minimum requirement. It might make it practical for you to consider part-time employment in a FICA covered firm. If a former employer Please see Social security, page 5

Alliance Network to celebrate 13 years

The Alliance Network has a history of working on the social, economic, health, youth, and political issues that affect the American American and Latino commuWalt Shepperd nities in Central New York. This year, the Alliance Network is focusing on engaging young people to sustain the progress made. On Saturday Feb. 27, the organization invites your to celebrate their 13th anniversary, “Empowering Generation Next,” at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel Horizons Room. This distinguished affair will feature a keynote address by the Honorable John L. Sampson, NYS 19th Senate District and Democratic Conference Leader, entertainment by Donna Alford JassBand, and several other guests from across New York State. The organization will recognize the following individuals with awards: Exemplary Leadership Award, John Liu, New York City Comptroller; Clarence Dunham Award for Outstanding Civic Leadership, Duane Owens; Paulette Johnson Award for Outstanding Commitment to Education, Monique W. Williams; Bea Gonzalez Award for Outstanding Advocacy for Latino Community, Juanita Perez Williams; Charles Anderson Award for Outstanding Advocacy for the Rights of Women and Minorities, Walt Shepperd; Exemplary Young Adult Awards, Melvin Baker and Juilo Urruitia, Jr. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $30, made payable to The Alliance Network. Proceeds are used to continue the network’s initiatives, including its annual youth road trip to the Urban League Hall of Fame Game at New York Giants Stadium. To RSVP or for more information, please contact the organization’s founder, Walt Dixie, at 474-0922, or email the organization at

Urban CNY, February 2010/

What’s Up

African-Americans in the news

Bethany Baptist to host Turning Another Page Festival

Bethany Baptist Church will be presenting its annual Turning Another Page Festival - “Remembering Who We Are on the Way to Where We’re Going,” at 7 p.m. Friday Feb. 12 and at 6:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 13. This popular event commemorating Black History Month features world famous bass soloist Gregory Sheppard; local commentator and T.V. personality George Kilpatrick; and includes performances by Syracuse Stage. Also featured are the Bethany Baptist Church Liturgical Dancers and spoken word performances by local artists. A special presentation of the Harriet Tubman Spirit Award will be made to newly appointed Syracuse Police Chief, Frank Fowler. Bethany Baptist Church invites the community to come out and celebrate with them as they “TAP.” You can’t know where you’re going until you understand where you’ve been. For more information, visit, or call the Bethany Baptist Church Office at 446-5080.

Memories of the 15th Ward: Syracuse University Public Memory Project

The Historical Perspectives event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday Feb. 11 at the Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip St., in Liverpool. Admission is free. An evening of memories and stories related to Syracuse’s 15th Ward and our sense of home, neighborhood and community. A reception and viewing of the photography exhibit will be followed by a mixed/media presentation and a documentary about the Ward. Call 457-0310 for more information.

Beyonce, Jay-Z dominate richest couples list By Boyce Watkins, Ph. D Jay-Z and Beyonce go beyond the definition of a power couple. They might as well be called “Super Friends” because they simply dominated the list of richest celebs in the latest Forbes list. Last year, the couple pulled in over $122 million, with Beyonce leading the charge with her $87 million dollar income. Poor Jiggaman only raked in $35 million, giving his wife the ability to officially wear the pants of the house. Just kidding. An empowered woman like Beyonce would only be a threat to a man who doesn’t understand what such a potent woman can do for your household. What is most interesting about the couple’s massive wealth is that they actually took a pay cut last year. In 2008, the couple actually earned $162 million dollars. As the comedian Katt Williams might say, “Now that’s pimpin!” The also-rans on the list didn’t even come close to the Beyonce and Jay-Z. Next on the list was Harrison Ford

and his wife Calista Flockhart, who brought home $69 million. Harrison earned his take from the $65 million dollars he received from “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are third on the list, with a “measly” $55 million in combined income. Perhaps Beyonce and Jay-Z should send them a care package. Let’s not forget Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, America’s other favorite example of Black Royalty. This couple brought home $48 million last year. But even their kids are making dough, since Jaden is now starring in “The Karate Kid,” and Willow is now part of the “Madagascar” series. OK, so what’s the teachable moment in all this? Let’s try to find our financial lessons: 1) The world is better off with women being allowed to work. In fact, women are now more than 50% of the American labor force, and this trend is not going to reverse anytime

Social security has failed to report your earnings, or perhaps the record was never posted to your account, it will take a long time to have your records revised. The time to be doing this is when you are well, and there is no pressure. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to audit all adult accounts every three years. Be sure to ask for both the amount of coverage as well as the quarters of coverage. SO, HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE? Your retirement benefits are based on your average wages, price indexed to reflect the income level and purchasing power they represented when earned. The government will eliminate several years of low earnings and average out the rest. There is a special formula applied to ‘average earnings’ to calculate your basic benefit amount. The basic benefit amount is used to figure the actual monthly amount you receive. The payment can be more or less than the basic benefit, depending on your full retirement age (FRA). The benefit payments are geared toward the normal retirement age of 65 if you were born prior to 1938. This normal age will gradually be increased to 67. Eventually, all people retiring before age 67 will receive reduced benefits. Age 62 is the earliest retirement age to receive retirement benefits. However,

soon. In terms of working women, a stronger embrace of laws designed to support women in the workplace might be beneficial to our nation. As it stands, America is among the worst among wealthy nations when it comes to supporting women in the workplace with things like paid maternity leave and childcare. 2) Peep out Will and Jada’s kids: By positioning their children to fruitful careers, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are preparing their children for a bright future. While you might not be able to get your child a job in Hollywood, you can help them to get a job and learn how to build wealth at an early age. 3) Thinking like a boss pays off: Jay-Z is no longer the best rapper in the game, even he might admit to that. But he owns half the game, which is why he will always make money. Be an owner, not a laborer. An understanding of business management goes a long way toward true economic empowerment. From page 4

electing to begin benefits at this age will reduce your basic benefit permanently. How much your benefit will be reduced for early retirement depends on your age when the benefit begins and how many months younger you are than your full retirement age. For example, for persons born 1943 - 1954 the full retirement age is 66 and the reduced benefit is 75%. For persons born after 1959, the full retirement age is 67 and the reduced benefit is 70%. FULL RETIREMENT AGE Year of Birth FRA 1938 65 & 2 months 1939 65 & 4 months 1940 65 & 6 months 1941 65 & 8 months 1942 65 & 10 months 1943 - 1954 66 1955 66 & 2 months 1956 66 & 4 months 1957 66 & 6 months 1958 66 & 8 months 1959 66 & 10 months 1960 & later 67 In addition to receiving retirement benefits yourself, your spouse and children may qualify to receive payments. The monthly payments they receive will be based on your full basic benefit. A

spouse must meet one of the following conditions to receive payments. Spouse is 62 or older when you retire (Or the spouse must be at least 60 at your death.). Or your spouse is caring for a child receiving benefits. This child must either be under 16 or, if disabled, up to age 22. The amount of benefits received by your spouse will vary depending on certain conditions, such as age and prior employment. If you plan to retire soon and have always earned the maximum covered earnings, the estimated monthly benefits you and your spouse will receive depends on inflation and the increase in average wages. These benefits may increase yearly. However, the automatic escalation of benefits is subject to review by Congress. If there is sufficient pressure, this increase may be delayed, reduced or eliminated. It is best to plan assuming a level benefit. If eligible for two, one receives the larger benefit. However, a person may not receive both. For example, a wife who has worked will be eligible for a spouse’s benefit as well as the benefit accumulated on her own work record. However, she will receive only the larger amount. To schedule a workshop/seminar for your group, church organization, please contact Peterson Ministries at 315-4463294.

/Urban CNY, February 2010

Arts & entertainment ‘We’ll Never Turn Back’ Mavis Staples in concert at Goldstein Auditorium Feb. 27

Grammy Award-nominee, legendary artist and civil rights activist Mavis Staples will perform in concert, “We’ll Never Turn Back,” at 5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 27 in the Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center at Syracuse University. The concert is sponsored by the Cold Case Justice Initiative at the Syracuse University College of Law. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 for students, and are currently available at the Schine Student Center box office, 443-4517. A conversation with civil rights-era cold case activists and family members, “It’s Never Too Late for Justice,” will precede the program from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Rooms 304A-C in the Schine Student Center. The conversation event is free and open to the public. Mavis Staples, a member of the legendary Staple Singers family gospel group, is a native of Mississippi and was active in the Civil Rights movement. Her blend of gospel, soul, folk, blues and jazz music inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in the Civil Rights movement, and continues to inspire those who work for peace and justice throughout the world. Staples reached back to the Freedom Songs of the 1960s and new originals for her latest studio hit CD “We’ll Never Turn Back,” which appeared on over 30 “Best Of” critics lists (including #1 CD of the Year from the Chicago Tribune). Her first live solo CD, “Live: Hope at


• Sewing Classes • Pattern Making • Fashion Design • Jewelry Design • Quilting • Home Decor • Fiber Art Classes • And More

920 Euclid Ave (inside Erwin First United Methodist Church)

Syracuse, NY 13224


Mavis Staples will perform at 5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 27 in the Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center at Syracuse University.

the Hideout,” a recording of her acclaimed show at Chicago’s Hideout, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Blues Album of the Year. For more information on the concert and conversation, contact the Cold Case Justice Initiative at 443-2166 or e-mail

Kids invited to show off their creativity

Fashion + February = Fashion Week By E.V. Albright February is the month to begin spring/summer shopping. Yes! I said spring/summer shopping. Why? Fashion week marks the beginning of spring/ summer attire, which means, clean out your closet, comb through your spring/ summer essentials and look for key pieces to add or delete. Think of it like this; you can get the best deals, good prices and all of your spring/summer shopping done early. Many stores are stocking their shelves with items seen throughout fashion week. Once the Christmas season ends and the New Year begin, you start to see summer attire appearing in circulations. It marks the beginning of the new fashion season. Fashion doesn’t have a season; it follows its own creed. When we (consumers) are thinking fall/winter, the fashion world is thinking spring/summer attire. That’s how the fashion industry stays ahead and gives you early access to the latest trends. Get an early start and contact me for a wardrobe consultant. For those that dread cleaning your closet, don’t fret, I can handle any size closet. I’ll help you clean and organize your closet all on a budget. You set the budget; I’ll take care of the rest. Your budget will consist of key items that you’re replacing and longterm items. Pick up the phone and give me a call or send an email to E.V. Allbright is a Delicate Rose Image Consultant.

Come create with us! Have fun while learning different forms of art. CFAC Winter Children’s Dental Health Break Arts Camp 2010, located at 805 E. Genesee Street, in Syracuse, will be held Month programs announced Feb. 15 through 19 and children age 6 through 13 are welcome. The day starts at Children’s dental health will be the 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. and we also have Extended Day available, 8 a.m. to 5 focus of events and programs being p.m. For more information call Rosalyn 442-2230 or email sponsored by the New York State Dental Association during Children’s Dental Health Month in February. The “Keeping Smiles Brighter” creative contest is open to children in pre805 East Genesee Street school through 12th grade. Participants Syracuse, NY are being asked to create a design for Tesoros del Pueblo: a T-shirt with a positive dental health message. Entries are due March 6. El Arte Folklórico de Sugarless Wednesday, a day devoted México/Treasures of to helping children become more aware the People: The Folk of non-essential sugars in their diet, will Art of Mexico. be celebrated Feb.24. Free teaching maJanuary 23rd through May 5th, 2010. terials are available from NYSDA. Educators, parents and children can Gallery 805, the Herbert T. Williams Gallery and the Corridor Gallery obtain details about Children’s Dental Health Month programs in New York Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 State at or by calling a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. NYSDA at (518) 465-0044.

Community Folk Art Center

Urban CNY, February 2010/

Arts & Entertainment Black History Month at OCC Feb. 2

Center (Hui Chen)

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Nick Howard, Gordon Student Center, Dining Commons (Monty Flynn)

Feb. 8 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Black Aids Awareness Day”, Whitney, Atrium (Dr. Ednita Wright) 7 to 9 p.m.: “Spoken Word: Shi Han”, Gordon Student Center, Dining Commons (Monty Flynn)

Feb. 9

Mia E. Burse Photos

La Joven Guardia delTeatro Latino dancer performs at the “Tesoros del Pueblo: El Arte Folklórico de México” inaugural reception.

Treasures of the People: The Folk Art of Mexico The Collection of Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Feb. 10 3 to 4:30 p.m.: “Pocketbook Monologues”, Whitney, Room M345 (Jennie Breland) 3 to 4:30 p.m.: “Pocketbook Monologues”, JOBSPlus, (Debra McClendon-Boddie) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Information Booth, Gordon Student

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Blood Drive/Bone Marrow, Gordon Student Center, Great Room (Monty Flynn) 4 to 5:30 p.m.: African American Quiz, Mawhinney, Room M245 (Beverly Mack)

Feb. 12 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Blood Drive/Bone Marrow, Gordon Student Center, Great Room (Monty Flynn)

Feb. 17 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Information Booth, Gordon Student Center (Hui Chen) 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Where Are the Black Males: The State of the Black Male Population”, Mawhinney, Room M245 and M345 (Eunice and Deb Irwin) 3 to 5:30 p.m.: “Millennial Student Language” a film and panel discussion, Whitney, Room W101 (Drake Har-

Feb. 18 4 to 5:30 p.m.: African American Quiz, Mawhinney, Room M245 (Beverly Mack)

Feb. 22 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: “Gospel Feast, Ferrante Hall, Storer Auditorium (Corey Hudson)

Feb. 24 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Information Booth, Gordon Student Center (Hui Chen) 7 to 9 p.m.: “S.E.L.L.O.U.T., Gordon Student Center, Great Room (Monty Flynn)

Feb. 25 11:15-12:15: “TBA,” a panel discussion, Mawhinney, Room M245 (Eunice and Deb Irwin) 4 to 5:30 p.m.: African American Quiz, Mawhinney, Room M245 (Beverly Mack)

Do you want to become a first-time homebuyer? Give us a call.

By Mia E. Burse

Heritage identity, and tradition are the words that best describe the collection of Dr. Alejandro Garcia. “Tesoros del Pueblo: El Arte Folklórico de México/Treasures of the People: The Folk Art of Mexico” showcases his personal collection that spans over 40 years and includes vibrant Mexican art pieces, including masks, statues and clothing. The Community Folk Art Center’s inaugural reception for the exhibit was held on the afternoon of Saturday Jan. 23, featuring dancing by La Joven Guardia del Teatro Latino and musical performances by Victor Lopez and Carolina Kim. During the reception, Dr. Garcia addressed the crowd by sharing some of the history of his collection. “I grew up in a Texas school system which taught me that Mexicans had no culture,” he said. Garcia eventually visited Mexico, and discovered his passion for collecting Mexican folk art. He later focused his efforts on collecting Mexican ceremonial masks because of their beauty, diversity, and intricate carving. “This collection, in essence, represents who I am, my pride in the richness and diversity of Mexican culture, and

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Magician: Ran D’Shine”, Gordon Student Center, Dining Commons (Monty Flynn)

Feb. 11

rison) 6 to 7:30 p.m.: “Soul Cuisine” catered by Aramark, Gordon Student Center, Dining Commons

The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers:

Dr. Alejandro Garcia

my celebration of the artistry of Mexican individuals who, in their carving, painting, sewing, and molding, present all of us with precious gifts,” he said. “Tesoros del Pueblo: El Arte Folklórico de México/Treasures of the People: The Folk Art of Mexico” will be on display at the Community Folk Art Center though May 5, 2010 (cinco de Mayo). The exhibition will feature several special events, including films, workshops, and special programs. For more information, call CFAC at 442-2230, or visit their website at

• 30- or 40- year fixed interest rates that are typically below market; • Financing up to 97%; • Flexible underwriting guidelines; • Down payment assistance (higher of $3,000 or 3% of the loan amount or up to $10,000); • No points; • No financing add ons; • Tax Credit Advance Loans on the Federal homebuyer tax credit.

For more information, call

1-800-382-HOME (4663) or visit


/Urban CNY, February 2010

NEWS Fowler

career with the Syracuse Police Department.’ So I called to inquire to see about the next step. “ In the ensuing days, Fowler reflected on upbringing in St. Louis and his history with the police department as a youth and thought, “Why not me?” Fowler reflects for a moment on his youth. “I didn’t have very positive interactions with the police when I was growing up as a kid. I’m a firm believer that any constructive change has to start from within. Whether it’s something a human being decides to change about him or herself personally, physically, emotionally, it has to start from within and likewise with institutions and organizations. You can’t change an institution or an organization from being on the outside. You can scream and protest all you want, but the only person who is going to be able to change it is that person on the inside. “ He continues, “So I said this is a great opportunity for me to pursue this thing because if I don’t pursue this right now, then what I do is forfeit my right to ever complain about what a police officer does in a negative fashion. So on that day I decided to try this out and see how far I can get.” As we discussed the issues of youth, I asked him what he would say to parents struggling to raise children in an urban

From page 1

environment. Fowler replied, ”I’d say keep your eyes open and talk with your children.” He talked about the things parents are concerned about when their children leave the house, but his overall advice is for parents to be vigilant and communicative with their children. He also encouraged neighbors to speak with each other and encouraged people to get involved with neighborhood groups, especially Neighborhood Watch. “Get involved early on. Get involved with each other, share information, and confront the challenges in your neighborhood. There’s strength in numbers.“ I then asked, “How would you confront these challenges?” Fowler describes Neighborhood Watch as more than a group of people that meet. It’s educational. “The Neighborhood Watch leader is going to bring people from city government so that they can learn how to utilize Codes ordinance, the police department, fire department and various other parts of the community to their advantage; to improve or restore the quality of life to their neighborhood. That’s why I suggest the Neighborhood Watch – because they have a recipe for this already there is no need to re-invent the wheel.” “It’s the quality of life stuff that af-

fects the most people. Certainly we get alarmed when someone gets killed, shot or stabbed in the city. ‘Someone else has been shot or stabbed!’ But those are likely people who know each other to some degree and they have a problem with one another. But when you get a person throwing trash all over the place, someone blasting their stereo, or kids being loud and unruly throwing rocks and breaking windows and stuff like that in the neighborhood affects the neighborhood as a whole, not just individuals. And it’s a lasting effect over a longer period of time.” What about the taser? “It’s not that the police officer says, you’re late for class and pulls the taser out and zaps them. That person’s behavior has to be so egregious, so far out of bounds and the police officer has to exhaust all options in front of them. At that point, they have to bring this person under control and it’s likely an arrest situation for their behavior and it’s at that point when the taser becomes an option. Every step leading up to that, the young person has an opportunity to stop their actions. If they refuse to do that, then that’s when the taser is then introduced. That’s when the officer feels that the person is about to cross the threshold and someone else can get hurt.“ To those critics, Fowler says, “Let’s be

realistic about this. The police officer is not tasering every young person in the school. It’s only those who decide they’re going to ignore the rules of the schools, laws of society and the verbal commands of a police officer and every other authority within the school. Those are the people who find themselves in the position to be tasered. The vast majority of the young people that are attending our schools are there for the right reasons and they’re doing the right thing. They have a right to go to school and be in an environment free from someone that’s going to be unruly and to violate the rules. Someone’s going to have to hold people accountable for their behavior. Unfortunately when a young person gets so far out of control, the police officer has to intervene.” Chief Fowler made it clear that the Police officers in the schools receive special training and if those same behaviors were exhibited at Carousel Mall the consequences would be different. “We use restraint,” Fowler said. When asked about how he found out about the appointment by Mayor Miner, it wasn’t until he received a personal phone call from Mayor Minor. Based on the ensuing meeting and conversation, and what he knows of Stephanie Miner, “I quickly accepted.”

For Black History Month events, log on to Check out our new updated web design! We are now online daily.

[re]think your future From Workforce Development to Continuing Education, Onondaga offers programs that meet the needs of of employees and employers in Central New York.

Learn more at

UrbanCNY February 2010  

Latest version of the Award Winning newspaper targeting the African American community of Syracuse, NY