New York’s Beacon website: NewYorkBeacon.net Vol. 21 No. 29 Showing the Way to Truth and Justice July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 E-Mail [email protected] 75 Cents NICE TO BE HOME Tracy Morgan released from hospital IN HAPPIER TIMES – Actor Tracy Morgan with his family before the accident which sent him to hospital. (See Story On Page 3) Black unemployment best in six years (See Story On Page 3) DA Thompson unveils new policy for prosecuting low-level marijuana arrests BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 2 Lilian Roberts DC 37 delegates urged to vote to ratify contract “We won a contract that provides 10.41% in wage hikes plus a $1,000 ratification bonus and back pay. We bargained hard to reach this agreement. It’s a good deal and a good beginning,” said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. Delegates of District Council 37, the city’s largest public employee union, on Tuesday, July 8, voted overwhelmingly to recommend ratification by union members of DC 37’s tentative wage pact with the city. This means that District Council 37 members will now vote on the agreement by mail ballot. In accordance with the DC 37 Constitution, the American Arbitration Association, an independent monitor, will conduct the vote. Ballots will be mailed to members on Monday, July 21 and must be received by the American Arbitration Association by 9: a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Ratification of the contract requires the approval of a majority of the members who are qualified to vote. DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Rob(CONTINUED ON PAGE 14) Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson announced that, under most circumstances, his office will no longer prosecute first-time offenders arrested for low-level misdemeanor marijuana possession in an effort to make better use of limited law enforcement resources and to prevent offenders – who are disproportionately young men of color – from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, nonviolent offense. “My office and the New York City Police Department have a shared mission to protect the public and we will continue to advance that goal. But as district attorney, I have the additional duty to do justice, and not merely convict, and to reform and improve our criminal justice system in Brooklyn,” District Attorney Thompson said. “This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders. Pursuant to this policy, we will use our prosecutorial discretion to decline to prosecute, and dismiss upfront, certain low-level marijuana possession cases based on criteria concerning the particular individual and the circumstances of the case. For example, cases will be dismissed prior to arraignment for those with little or no criminal record, but we will continue to prosecute marijuana cases which most clearly raise public health and safety concerns. “This policy does not express approval for the use of marijuana and should not be interpreted as such. The policy will not apply to those who smoke marijuana in public, or in the presence of children. It will not apply to 16 and 17-year-old offenders, who instead will be redirected on to a healthier path through a diversion program. It will not apply to those with a serious criminal history, to those who are known to Kenneth Thompson act in a dangerous manner while Kings County District Attorney will under the influence, or to those decline to prosecute on a charge of who have a history of selling Criminal Possession of Marihuana in drugs to children,” District Attor- the Fifth Degree (P.L. 221.10  or ney Thompson said. , a class B misdemeanor, whether “If the conduct in which the of- they come into the district attorney’s fender has engaged is the mere office as arrests or desk appearance possession of a small amount of tickets, include the following: marijuana in public, it would not, * If the defendant has no prior arunder most circumstances, warrant rests or criminal convictions, or has saddling that offender with a new only a very minimal criminal record, criminal conviction and all of its and has provided the police with a attendant collateral consequences verifiable name and address. related to employment, education Circumstances that are an excepand housing,” the District Attor- tion to the KCDA policy change inney said. clude the following: “Furthermore, in 2013, this office * If the defendant is smoking mariprocessed well over 8,500 cases juana in a public place, particularly where the top charge was a class around children, such as a park, play‘B’ misdemeanor marijuana pos- ground, bus, subway or school yard. session. More than two-thirds of * If the defendant is 16 or 17 years those cases ended up being dis- old, and has only recently taken up missed by judges, most often be- marijuana, he or she will be directed cause the defendant was of- to an adolescent court part to be difered an adjournment in con- verted into a program and provided templation of dismissal at his with dismissals upon completing the or her criminal court arraign- program, at which time the police will ment. The processing of these be directed to destroy the cases exacts a cost on the crimi- defendant’s fingerprints. nal justice system and takes a * If the defendant has a criminal toll on the individual. Given record supporting the inference that that these cases are ultimately he or she may act in a violent or dan— a n d p r e d i c t a b l y — d i s - gerous manner while under the inmissed, the burdens that they fluence of marijuana (e.g., domestic pose on the system and the in- violence, vehicular traffic law violadividual are difficult to justify. tions, etc.). We are pouring money into an * If the defendant has an open ware n d e a v o r t h a t p r o d u c e s n o rant, if DNA needs to be collected, if public safety benefit,” the Dis- the defendant must register as a sex trict Attorney added. offender, or if the case involves a Circumstances under which the search warrant. Mayor de Blasio signs legislation to create municipal identity card Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a legislation to create a municipal ID card for all New York City residents. The legislation paves the way for the creation of a municipal ID for all residents of the five boroughs who meet the program’s proof of identity and city residency requirements. The City will immediately initiate implementation of the program, with the goal of launching the new identification card in January 2015. The Mayor also announced that the card will be issued at no cost for applicants during the program’s first year. “We cannot accept a city where some of our residents are forced to live fearfully in the shadows, unable to visit their child’s school or sign a lease. Today, this legislation will begin to provide New Yorkers with the dignity and peace of mind they deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This bill has become reality because community activists and organizers worked tirelessly to make this day happen. I want to thank the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and City Council Members Danny Dromm and Carlos Menchaca for their incredible leadership in helping all our city’s residents attain the identification they deserve.” “From our earliest days, New York City has been a beacon of hope and optimism, and today we are continuing to build that legacy,” said City Council Speaker Melissa MarkViverito. “This new ID card is more than a means of identification—it is upholding the promise of acceptance and opportunity we make to one another as New Yorkers. I thank Council Member Dromm, Council Member Mayor Bill de Blasio Menchaca, my Council colleagues, and Mayor de Blasio for their strong support, and I am proud to be here today as we sign this landmark legislation to create a more fair and just city that is inclusive of all New Yorkers.” “Today’s bill signing is a transformative moment in the history of this city. With this law, New Yorkers will have access to the largest municipal identification program in the country, and will have increased access to the rights and privileges afforded to them as members of our city. This identification program is real celebration of the diversity of this city, and a commitment to the protection—and inclusion—of all. I am proud today to be a member of this Council, and a resident of this great city,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigra- tion. “Today is a historic day,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker MarkViverito, Council Member Menchaca, my fellow Council colleagues, and the many advocates and supporters who helped make the municipal ID a reality. This new form of identification will make our city even more inclusive. It is certain to become the must-have accessory for all New Yorkers.” “Today is a great day for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, chair of the Committee on Finance. “Our great city has long celebrated its heritage as a gateway to the American dream for so many people who leave their homeland in search of a better way of life. Mayor de Blasio’s signing of the municipal ID bill marks a (CONTINUED ON PAGE 14) Beacon (USPS 011-156), serving Metropolitan New York is published weekly by SHGM at 237 W. 37th Street, Suite 203, New York, NY 10018. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY. POSTMASTER; send address changes to The New York Beacon - 237 W. 37th Street, Suite 203, New York, NY 10018. (212) 213-8585 Fax: (212) 213-6291, Web Site: www.newyorkbeacon.com, Email:[email protected], The New York Beacon Subscription rate: $35.00 per year. Morgan and his fellow plaintiffs from the June 7 New Jersey Turnpike crash say Wal-Mart was negligent in allowing an overly tired trucker to drive after being up for over 24 hours. Tracy Morgan got a bit of good news Saturday: His physical therapy routine following the June 7 New Jersey Turnpike crash has progressed far enough that he’s been released from a rehabilitation clinic. Morgan suffered a broken leg, nose and ribs in the six-vehicle crash, which killed fellow comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair. The comedian’s publicist, Lewis Kay, says that he will “continue his efforts at home with an aggressive outpatient program. He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point. He would also appreciate some privacy during this crucial point in his recovery.” Kay also confirms that Morgan is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against WalMart, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. The suit alleges the retail giant acted in a negligent manner by allowing tractor-trailer driver Kevin Roper to drive despite being awake for over 24 hours, Trucker Kevin Roper in U. S. District Court in New Jersey. He pleaded not guilty. causing him to fall asleep at the wheel. Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey and Krista A National Transportation Safety Millea — are also named as plaintiffs in Board investigation also found the the suit. Wal-Mart issued a response to the sleep-deprived trucker was going 20 miles per hour over the limit in a con- suit on Saturday, reports NBCPhilly.com: struction zone and near his allotted “This has been a terrible tragedy. We drive-time limit when he hit and flipped wish Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua Jr., and Mr. Millea full recoveries. Our thoughts Morgan’s limousine van. “As a result of Wal-Mart’s gross, continue to go out to them, their famireckless, willful, wanton, and inten- lies and friends, as well as to the families tional conduct, it should be appropri- and friends of everyone involved, inately punished with the imposition of cluding Mr. McNair who lost his life. punitive damages,” according to the We are deeply sorry that one of our complaint. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 14) Morgan’s fellow passengers — Valerie Wilson Blacks unemployment is Two groups announce plan to boost said to be best in 6 years spending among African Americans The fall in the Black unemployBy Freddie Allen NNPA Washington Correspon- ment rate was accompanied by an increase in the groups labor force dent participation rate, which measures WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The the share of Black workers holdBlack unemployment rate hit a six- ing jobs or looking for jobs. year low in June, dipping below 11 When the labor force rate rises, percent for the first time since Au- researchers have found that workers generally have a more posigust 2008. Last week, the Labor Department tive outlook on the economy. In reported that the Black jobless rate June, the Black labor force rate was 10.7 percent in June, compared rose to 61 percent from 60.8 perto the White unemployment rate, cent the previous month. which was 5.3 percent. The unemIn a blog post on the jobs reployment rate for Black men over port, Valerie Wilson, the director 20 years-old fell from 11.5 percent of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, in May to 10.9 percent in June, com- and the Economy at the Economic pared to White men who saw their Policy Institute, said that the injobless rate decrease from 5 percent crease in the labor force rates for to 4.9 percent over the same period. Blacks and Latinos was another The jobless rate for Black women indicator that June jobs report was over 20 years-old continued to im- a strong one. “The share of working age Afprove, dropping one percentage point, from 10 percent in May to 9 rican Americans with a job has inpercent in June. The unemployment creased 1.3 percentage points rate for White women ticked down since January 2014 and the inone-tenth of a percentage point crease for Latinos has been sixfrom 4.9 percent in May to 4.8 per(CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) cent in June. By Jazelle Hunt NNPA Washington Correspondent WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The U.S. Black Chambers (USBC) and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers (NABHOOD) are formally partnering to make sure that a significant portion of the $40 billion African Americans spend each year on travel and tourism remains in Black hands. The partnership was launched last week at the start of USBC’s professional development conference, held at the Marriott Marquis in the District of Columbia. The newly-opened, four-star hotel, next to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, was jointly financed by Capstone Development, a private, Black-owned development firm. “Today is about more investment in the hotel and travel industry,” Ron Busby Jr., USBC presi- Ron Busby dent, said at a press conference. “As African Americans, we have conferences, events, weddings, and vacations, always with Whiteowned establishments. I think we can bring some of that money back to us.” A Nielsen study conducted in cooperation with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) found that African Americans spent 40 billion each year on the travel and tourism industries last year. But Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of NABHOOD, few of those dollars turn over in the Black community. “I’d rate [concerted Black patronization] as pretty nonexistent,” he said. “We have to create awareness, because most people who come in contact with this idea think it’s a damn good idea.” Interestingly, Nielsen finds that Black Americans are 28 percent more likely than other groups to read financial magazines such as Forbes and Fortune, yet have low levels of participation with mainstream financial products such as purchasing stock or mutual funds. Although Black Americans have yet to truly wield their power as con(CONTINUED ON PAGE 14) Labor group withdraws UNCF support over Koch gift By Freddie Allen NNPA Washington Correspondent WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has discontinued supplying scholarships to the United Negro College Fund because it accepted a $25 million donation from ultra-conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and UNCF President Michael Lomax apparent support for the brothers’ right-wing ideology. Saunders, an African American, said in a stinging letter to Lomax that he was “deeply troubled” when the UNCF accepted the donation from Koch Industries, Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation in June, but was even more shocked when Lomax later attended the Koch brothers’ event in California. “This was a betrayal of everything the UNCF stands for. The avowed purpose of this private event was to build support — financial and political — for the Koch brothers’ causes. Your appearance at the summit can only be interpreted as a sign of your personal support and the UNCF’s organizational support of the Koch brothers’ ideological program,” Saunders wrote. He explained, “The Koch brothers and the organizations they fund have devoted themselves for more than a decade to attacking the voting rights of African Americans. They support voter identification laws. They seek to restrict early voting and voter registration. They support laws that threaten organizations that register voters in the African American community.” For nearly a dozen years, AFSCME provided annual scholarships and aid packages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to UNCF, according to officials with the labor group. When Koch Industries acquired Georgia-Pacific in 2005, they continued a long-standing relationship between the Lee Saunders Michael Lomax (CONTINUED ON PAGE 14) 3 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan is home from rehabilitation clinic AG announces pacts ending bias, predatory practices at five city employment agencies BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 4 Eric L. Adams BP Adams pitches Bklyn for Demo convention site Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams pitched Brooklyn as the site for the 2016 Democratic National Convention to delegates attending the Democratic Eastern States Conference. At a gathering in Midtown Manhattan, he highlighted key factors that make the city’s bid stand out, focusing particularly on Brooklyn’s symbolic significance as the largest Democratic county in the nation, its cultural and economic renaissance as well as its embrace of diversity, noted by many to be an important element of the party’s future. “Delegates, I spent 22 years of my life wearing a bulletproof vest as a member of the New York City Police Department, standing on the street corner protecting children, families and visitors of this city,” said Borough President Adams. “I saw the evolution of a city that came into its own, that’s representative of not only what America looked like but what America needs to look like. The Democratic Party understood it long ago. Helen Keller said the only thing that’s worse than not having sight is having sight but no vision. This party saw the vi- sion; it knew that we must be diversified. Brooklyn represents that; 47 percent of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home. Hosting the convention here is saying we are a welcome mat, that we are not living with the Republican philosophy of being exclusionary, but inclusionary. We are the big tent.” Borough President Adams also cited the accommodations that New York City has to offer, including over 100,000 hotel rooms which will be available by the end of 2014, the transportation network that can easily move delegates and guests, including a superior shuttle service, as well as the local experience in hosting major events, such as the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, Super Bowl XLVIII and next year’s NBA All-Star Weekend, which will be split between Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center. The conference was also attended by Public Advocate Letitia James and former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who currently serves as vice president for borough promotion and engagement for NYC and Company. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced agreements ending unlawful discrimination and predatory business practices directed at immigrant job seekers by five employment agencies in New York City. The agreements reached with Excellent Employment Agency, United Employment Agency, Patricia Employment Agency, Rivera Employment Agency, and Sunset Employment Services require the businesses to cease engaging in unlawful discrimination when making job referrals, referring applicants to jobs paying below minimum wage, charging excessive fees and refusing to refund advance fees. These five agencies targeted Spanish-speaking job seekers in two neighborhoods of Queens and Brooklyn. Four of them are located in Jackson Heights and one is in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. An 18-month investigation by the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau found that the agencies collected national origin, gender, and age information from job seekers to unlawfully steer them, in accordance with employers’ discriminatory preferences, away from jobs such as “Mexican pasta man,” “European-looking sales girl,” “delivery, looking for a guy,” “construction 2-3 guys,” and “sales 2025 years.” In addition, the employment agencies unlawfully referred applicants to jobs paying as little as $3.75 per hour, far below the applicable minimum wage in New York State. Finally, the employment agencies charged job seekers excessive referral fees and failed to provide refunds of advance fees as required by New York law. “Employment discrimination against vulnerable populations is an increasing and disturbing trend, and we need to do everything we can to protect job applicants Eric T. Schneiderman across our state,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “These agreements will send a strong message: Employment discrimination and exploitation of job seekers – including among our hard-working immigrant communities – are unacceptable. We will continue to fight for a level playing field for New York workers and our lawabiding businesses.” In addition to requiring compliance with the law, the agreements reached with these five employment agencies require the agencies to report to the Office of the Attorney General any employers that make discriminatory requests for job applicants or seek applicants for jobs paying below minimum wage. These provisions will aid the Attorney General in stopping businesses from using employment agencies to advance discriminatory and other unlawful hiring practices. The agreements also require the employment agencies to revise their policies and procedures, obtain training, and pay a total of $20,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to New York State. There are over 450 licensed employment agencies in New York State, and more than 360 of them are located in New York City. These agencies are often small, family-run businesses, staffed by a small number of employees, which can serve an important function and have a large impact on their communities. The five agencies with which the Attorney General has secured agreements have themselves referred hundreds of job seekers to employment each year, advertising in Spanish-language phone books and distributing Spanish-language flyers or business cards. The agencies located in Jackson Heights are Excellent Employment Agency, located at 88-14 Roosevelt Avenue; the United Employment Agency, at 89-04 Roosevelt Avenue; the Patricia Employment Agency Corp. at 89-18 Roosevelt Avenue; and the Rivera Employment Agency at 82-07 Roosevelt Avenue. Sunset Employment Services, Inc., operates out of 4905 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. Julie Menin, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, said, “Protecting the rights of immigrants is a top priority for the City, and we commend the New York State Attorney General’s office for its continued commitment to protecting consumers from discrimination and unlawful business practices by employment agencies. Many of the bad actors in this industry prey on the most vulnerable and take advantage of their efforts to find a job and provide for their families. We look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General in our efforts to close down employment agencies that are taking job seekers’ last dollars and leave them with nothing.” Valeria Treves of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) said, “For years, the Queens community has been complaining about the predatory, fraudulent and substandard practices of local employment agencies. After conduct(CONTINUED ON PAGE 5) Rangel joins Caucus to introduce legislation in response to Hobby ruling Congressman Charles B. Rangel joined Reps. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chairs of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a veteran member of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the leaders in the fight for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, as one of the 130 original co-sponsors to introduce legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Burwell. The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014 would explicitly prohibit for-profit employers that maintain a group health plan for its employees from using religious beliefs to deny employees coverage of contraception or any other vital health service required by federal law. The bill exempts federally mandated health services from RFRA while keeping in place the existing exemption for religious employers (e.g., houses of worship) and accommodation of religious non-profits who do not wish to provide contraceptives. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) are introducing companion legislation in the Senate. “As a strong supporter of women’s rights, I am proud to join the co-chairs of the House ProCaucus to stand against the Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision that undermines the spirit of the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Rangel, who sponsored the President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform bill and helped shepherd into passage. “We must fight to ensure that any women affected by this decision get the same coverage options that everyone else is offered without interference by their bosses. Women have the right to take ownership of their fundamental health needs.” “This bill will ensure that employee access to critical health services is not at the mercy of their bosses’ religious beliefs,” said Reps. Slaughter, DeGette, and Nadler. “Congress never intended to allow corporate employers to block employee access to critical preventive services like birth control. We hope that our colleagues will join us in acting quickly to cor- Congressman Charles B. Rangel rect the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Our bill simply protects employees’ rights to all federally mandated health services, including contraception. A woman’s private medical decisions should be between her, her doctor, and whomever else she wishes to consult – they should not be subject to approval by politicians, Supreme Court justices, or bosses.” “This critical legislation will protect women’s health care services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and safeguard their rights,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, CoPresident of the National Women’s Law Center. “Women have worked for and earned the right to have their health needs covered—just as men do. This legislation makes it unmistakably clear that businesses, in the name of religion, can neither discriminate against their female employees nor impose their religious beliefs on them. Bosses should stick to what they know best—the board room and the bottom line— and stay out of the bedroom and exam room.” “Last week, we heard a collective gasp across the country as Americans everywhere tried to make sense of five male Justices on the Supreme Court deciding that our bosses could have control over our birth control in the Hobby Lobby decision,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Today, we hear those gasps turn to cheers as we see champions in Congress move to right this wrong. Ninetynine percent of American women use some form a of birth control in our lifetimes, and all medical experts agree that these remedies should be included in comprehensive healthcare. Anything less than this amounts to discrimination against women in the workplace. If there’s one thing we can agree upon more than the idea that politicians aren’t equipped to decide for us how and when and with whom we have families, it’s that our bosses are even less so. This bill is the first step in making sure those personal healthcare decision stay where they belong — in the hands of the women whose lives are affected.” “With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. ”As the nation’s leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no(CONTINUED ON PAGE 5) By Jineea Butler NNPA Columnist Lately, Hip Hop news has been fueled with beef and rants of all kinds. Meek Mill is beefing with Wale because Wale wasn’t supporting Mill’s current project enough on social media, Dame Dash is blaming Lyor Cohen for the downfall of Rocafella Records, Lil Wayne thanks the world for supporting his bull. Chris Brown and Drake are in the studio together and Lebron James shocked the world with a return to Cleveland. Wow! Where is the substance? When are we going to demand something more from those that represent us on a grand stage? Is their job just to entertain us through the struggle and our role is to watch them fight over our attention to keep them relevant and paid in full? Are we really living in the Matrix? When I see people constantly plugged into some form of social media pretending to be whomever they want to be and finding happiness behind a desktop, laptop or handheld device, I realize fan- tasy sells more than truth. Is that by design? Or, are we attracted to our own BS? Are we in fear of being accountable for our actions or successful for our relentless pursuits? Sometimes it feels like that. In our society, it seems like everyone is trying to set each other up for failure. With shows like “Big Brother,” “Survivor” and other reality programs that promote deception in the form of friendship how can we be getting better? People of color are projected to become the majority in the U.S. by 2050, if not sooner. What will that world look like? If we can’t depend on the music and global messages to navigate us to victory, how do we insure we are preparing our children to compete in this society in generations to come? Other ethnic groups have entered America and based their ascension off of what we have endured in this country and they are winning. Why is it that we can’t put a plan in place that ensures the preservation, economic development and success of our culture? Are selfish people with ruthless egos and agendas to blame? Look at the Mexican children running for the borders of America hoping they can get a glimpse at the opportunity to be an American citizen. Their parents and families are praying that once they get caught they will be granted citizenship into a country that can make their dreams come true. Are our children even dreaming? Do you think they would be willing to take a chance to escape the poverty stricken arrangements they are stuck in? I look into the eyes of our children and many are coping out on us. They are purposely rebelling against the world that has been presented to them. They feel that they do not need to subscribe to a system of illusions when they can deal with the real hard core facts. A tattoo on their face, neck, and/or hand proves they are not considering going to work on Wall Street. The harsh reality is that is not their fault that they are not prepared. I doubt they even know the millions of career options available for them to pursue. Why is that? Is it because we allow nonsense-driven content to monopolize our time and our children’s Guns cause life to be measured in days, not years By Walter Fields NNPA Columnist The body count continues to rise as the nation panders to gun zealots and allows the Constitution to be perverted. The family of 12 yearold Genesis Rincon of Paterson, N.J. made the painful decision recently to remove her from life support as she laid brain dead, the latest victim of gun violence. The young girl was shot in the head while riding her scooter home, another casualty of America’s failure to reign in the possession of firearms. Just miles away in Newark, the family of another young lady, 17year-old Chayenne Bond is devastated by her killing; accosted while walking with a friend and shot execution style after she was forced to get on her knees. Over the Independence Day weekend in Chicago, a city that has become our nation’s ‘Killing Fields,’ gun violence swept through the city injuring 82 people and leaving 14 dead. Not all, but most, of the victims are Black and Hispanic, and under 30 years old. Many of the dead are children, innocent bystanders who have been cut down while engaged in routine tasks. For many of our children life expectancy is now jeopardized by the simple act of riding a bicycle, walking through their neighborhood or sitting on a porch. We are sacrificing a generation of children to our cowardly submission to the mostly racially fueled paranoia and explicitly political subversion of the Second Amendment. The defense of gun ownership as an absolute right based on an irrational interpretation of the Constitution has allowed firearms to be more numerous than textbooks in communities. The gun lobby successfully buys protection in Congress and then wraps their insanity in the American flag as the nation’s streets are transformed into rivers of blood. Gun control has never been about curtailing the rights of citizens who are hunters or firearms collectors, but a reasonable restraint upon the proliferation of guns in the hands of citizens with no need to be armed and criminals. . Political leadership in our nation’s capital, in states and cities has been complicit or impotent, despite the death toll and the tragic murders of children. The same politicians who pontificate that children are our nation’s future do nothing as our future is buried in cemetery plots. Meanwhile our national death lobby, better known as the National Rifle Association (NRA), purchases the silence of elected officials through campaign contributions and then feeds the paranoia of its mostly White membership by delivering racially coded messages suggesting America’s social order is at risk. By playing up the theme that ‘others’ are trying to take away their members’ rights, the NRA successfully stimulates White fear and insecurities, and by doing so gives license to the arming of America. Mind you, the NRA’s sinister workings has White casualties, too, because in the long run the deaths of Whites by gun violence is simply viewed as the cost of doing business. We witnessed this after the Newtown Conn. tragedy when innocent children were slaughtered. In the midst of what should have been an opportunity to have an honest dialogue on gun control the NRA had the audacity to suggest that the way to prevent such tragedies was to have armed guards in schools. The blood stain does not stop at the door of the NRA. It also marks the television, motion picture, video gaming and music industries, where gun violence is considered essential to the success formula. We have a generation of youth that have become infected by violence, bom- barded by imagery that glorifies guns and makes death a transaction in a lifetime of dealing for status. The result is an environment where gun related crimes overwhelm communities and innocent lives like Genesis, Chayenne and Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago pay the cost. The fact that so many young people are desensitized to death until the moment they stare in the coffin of a murdered friend is evidence that lives are now negotiated on a 24-hour basis. It’s why so many Black youth contemplate their own funerals because they measure their mortality in days, not years. . The flow of guns in our communities is purposeful and must be seen as weapons of mass destruction as intended by the gun lobby. More effort is put on stemming the flow of marijuana than enforcing gun laws and stopping the flood of illegal guns in cities. It is why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can veto legislation to limit the size of gun magazines; a move that only has relevance in the context of mass destruction in communities of color. Christie isn’t standing on constitutional ground; he is maneuvering for political advantage to fuel presidential ambition. Guns are simply the tools of population and political control. Perhaps we should employ the tactics of the so-called ‘right-to-life’ lobby that uses pictures of aborted fetuses and start showing up at the offices of pro-gun legislators with autopsy photos of children killed by gun violence. The point is that we have been playing too nice as we bury our dead. We must expose those in Congress and the Supreme Court who are the tools of the gun lobby. Our murdered children deserve justice and we are the only ones who can secure it in their names. Walter Fields is Executive Editor of NorthStarNews.com. minds? Our civil rights fight included and needed the athletes, actors and musicians to use their voice to publicize the struggle. Why is it any different today? By 2020, the Department of Energy’s goal is to have 1 million new STEM graduates and 100,000 new teachers in STEM education. We need to immediately begin preparing our children by removing the barriers to success. Our children have to upgrade their math and writing skills as well as stay out of the criminal justice system to reap the benefits of these great paying jobs that will require as little as a two year degree to make over $50,000 a year. For the sake of Hip Hop, I believe we have all continued to support the lifestyle in one form or another knowing the direction has been tainted. For those of us wwho have fought so hard for Hip Hop, it’s hard to turn around and fight against it. But part of our responsibility is to admit when we are wrong. Words have transcending power and we can not ignore the effects this has had on our children and our culture as a whole. All we have to do is pledge to use our power to influence success in areas where it is needed. Why limit ourselves to negative images and tough talk, when can expand our reach and be change agents. Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union is a Hip Hop Analyst who investigates the trends and behaviors of the community and delivers programming that solves the Hip Hop Dilemma. She can be reached at: [email protected] or Tweet her at @flygirlladyjay Rangel joins Caucus to introduce legislation in response to Hobby ruling (from Page 4) copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn’t approve of it.” The contraceptive coverage provision of the ACA has been a success in increasing access to this critical health service for women. As of 2013, 27 million women were covered by this new requirement. Twenty-four million more prescriptions for oral contraceptives were filled with no copayment in 2013 than in 2012, and women have saved $483 million in out of-pocket costs for oral contraceptives. Ninety-nine percent of sexuallyactive women use birth control at least once in their lifetimes, and the Centers for Disease Control declared it one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century. While the most common reason women use contraception is to prevent pregnancy, 58 percent of oral contraceptive users cite noncontraceptive health benefits as reasons for using the pill. Fourteen percent of birth control pill users, more than 1,500,000 women, rely on the birth control pills for only noncontraceptive purposes. AG announces pacts ending bias, predatory practices at five city employment agencies (from Page 4) ing and releasing an in-depth study on this issue and shining a spotlight on the problem, we uncovered that this kind of fraud is very widespread. New York City’s new immigrants, many of whom rely on employment agencies to connect them to the job market, are particularly at risk of exploitation by employment agencies. We applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for taking action against this kind of fraud and securing agreements that will help ensure that job seekers will be protected and the law will be enforced against unscrupulous employment agencies.” Council Member Julissa Ferreras (21st Council District) said, “As the representative of the district that encompasses Jackson Heights and serves as home to thousands of hardworking immigrants, I know that predatory and abusive employment agencies exploit some the most vulnerable communities among us. Low-wage workers in Jackson Heights deserve meaningful access to employment opportunities. I applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for going after fraudulent agencies that prey upon vulnerable communities and thank his office for making this issue a civil rights priority.” State Senator Jose Peralta (13th Senate District) said, “I applaud the At- torney General for this important work. These agreements will serve to protect the most vulnerable members of the labor force, many of them immigrants, who are all too often the targets of predators seeking to profit from their struggles to make ends meet.” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (39th Assembly District) said, “I want to thank the Attorney General for continuing to protect vulnerable New Yorkers, many of whom are in my district. Hard working individuals should not be victimized trying to make a living for themselves and their families, and this settlement will go further to ensure fairness.” Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (51st Assembly District) said, “At a time when many New Yorkers are continuing to feel the impact of the Great Recession and the job market has still not recovered, it is important that we protect job seekers and end the exploitative practices at some employment agencies that take advantage of immigrant workers. I was proud to sponsor legislation this year that sought to crack down on labor sharks and I applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for taking steps to end this predatory behavior.” The Attorney General’s Office is committed to protecting all New Yorkers from unlawful discrimination. To file a civil rights complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250, [email protected] or visit www.ag.ny.gov. 5 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net A challenge for the hip hop generation BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 6 Editorial The state of Black euphoria Beacon By James Clingman Blackonomics Walter Smith: Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Miatta Haj Smith: Co-Publisher & Executive Editor William Egyir: Managing Editor GOP’s impeachment gambit By Lee A. Daniels NNPA Columnist Those who’ve found it difficult to connect with the racial history of post-Civil War America – when Black Americans were stripped of the citizenship rights they gained right after that conflict – should pay special attention to the national political arena now. Because the conservative movement, in its desperate mania to destroy Barack Obama’s presidency and neutralize the growing political clout of Americans of color, is dramatizing how that betrayal and the construction of a post-slavery racist society was accomplished. The tricked–up claims of “voter fraud” by state legislatures in order to deny Blacks access to the ballot box. Federal court and Supreme Court decisions that justified state and local governments’ violations of Black Americans’ rights. Declarations that Whites were being “victimized” and “enslaved” by laws that expanded democracy to those who’d been excluded. White racists’ claims that elected Black officials were acting in “lawless” fashion. (In that regard, search the phrase “Obama and lawless” on the Internet and note how often now and during the past six years GOP party officials and pundits have used it to describe Obama’s actions.) All these were part of the victorious racist reaction to the Civil War’s ending Negro slavery 150 years ago that made the U.S. an apartheid state for the next century. And all are part of the con- servative movement’s playbook today. That current reaction is reaching a new low point with rightwingers’ increasing calls to impeach the president. GOP politicos and their echo chamber of conservative pundits and talkshow jockeys have been dropping heavy hints about this for at least two years. Last week, however, it’s bubbled up to the surface of the cesspool that is Republican politics these days with Sarah Palin’s call for Obama’s impeachment. Perhaps that is as it should be; for no other single individual offers a more instructive comparison of what the Republican Party has become vis-à-vis Obama. Completely ignorant of and uninterested in learning about American domestic and international policy, Palin was rapidly exposed as the worst vice-presidential candidate in U.S. history. Then, she abandoned her post as Alaska’s governor for the lucrative, no-work money trail of no-substance speeches and reality shows. Meanwhile, her GOP confederates were trying again and again to wreck the Obama administration – and the country. But their congressional policy of obstruction hasn’t worked. Their government shutdown tactics haven’t worked. Their tolerating a vicious antiObama racism among their officeholders and supporters hasn’t worked. Their state legislators enacting sham voter ID laws in an effort to block Democratic-leaning voters from the ballot box in 2012 didn’t work. And their two attempts to find two – just two – Republicans to form a credible presidential ticket hasn’t worked. So, now they’re trying to splash more political filth on themselves and the American political tradition and the American people. Of course, true to form, Palin’s cry was all about her: She’s desperately seeking attention in order to prop up her “celebrity status” and to maintain her influence among the GOP base, and thus on the party itself. The GOP establishment despises her, not least because of the outsized contribution she made to Obama’s defeating John McCain in 2008. But don’t be fooled by Speaker of the House John Boehner’s terse “I disagree” when asked about Palin’s remark. He knows that raising the specter of impeachment now – which would make Obama the second consecutive Democratic president the Republicans have sought to impeach – would threaten to alienate both moderate Republicans and independent voters the GOP needs to re-gain control of the Senate in the November elections. If they do, the right-wing calls to impeach Obama will explode, and Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership will start whistling a different tune. But it also should be clear there are two other targets of the GOP’s impeachment gambit. The first is Hillary Clinton. The impeachment gambit is part of the sniping campaign to undermine her extremely likely candidacy in 2016; for the GOP knows that if they lose the White House that year, their future as a credible national party will be dim and dim(CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) How amazing it is that Black people in this nation, collectively, are the worst off but yet the most comical, entertaining, ostentatious, and self-defeating of all other groups. It is striking how, in spite of all the negative aspects of our lives, we spend a great deal of our time living vicariously through the lives of super-stars and megaheroes. They say “Ignorance is bliss,” so maybe we should use that phrase to our advantage by reporting the other side of the bad stuff we face. For example, according to police, Chicago’s murder rate is down 20 percent from last year. According to the Urban League Report, Black people are “optimistic” about the economy. At least the cops in L.A. didn’t kill the woman on the expressway. The FCC and some Black Caucus members’ attempt to kill “net neutrality” will not take away our Twitter accounts. The Black unemployment rate is no longer half of the national rate, having fallen from 12 percent to 11 percent. Poverty statistics indicate that 60 percent of Black people are not poor, and 60 percent of the 2.1 million men in prison are not Black. Even though we are at the bottom politically and economically, a Black family is still in the White House. Feelin’ better? Because our blissful state of mind is so pronounced, I suggest publishing a report titled, “The State of Black Euphoria.” It will permeate our collective psyche, and through it we could look at the other side of the negative stats we always hear. Maybe that would entice us to do more for ourselves instead of languishing in a festering heap of apathy. It seems we are numb to 80 shootings in one weekend in Southside Chicago. “Well, that’s just the way it is;” “Ain’t nuthin’ we can do about it;” “These kids today are just crazy.” We have become immune to the fact that Black people in this coun- try are at the bottom of every good category and at the top of every bad one. “The man got his foot on my neck;” “I can’t get no job;” “Ain’t no use; the deck is stacked against me.” We are immersed in a fantasy world of feel-good rhetoric and empty promises from our Black political leaders. “We know he’s a crook, but he’s our crook;” I know they haven’t done anything for Black people, but neither has anyone else;” “Yeah, but did you see the Prez sink that three-point shot?” “That gown the First Lady wore was slammin!” Since nothing else seems to work, let’s use our euphoria to move us forward because the bad stuff is too hard to take and only makes us more complacent in our misery. The almost daily shootings and murders in Chicago, Cincinnati and other cities are all too real, so let’s focus on the killings in Iraq and Syria and Israel. Instead of actually doing something to stop the children from riding on top of train cars to get into this country, let‘s wait until they get here and then, in a very humane way, house them in concentration camps, that is, if they don’t fall off the train and get killed on the way here. Black folks are tired of bad news; we don’t want to hear any more. It’s too debilitating. The bad news affects poor and middle-class families, but the good news hardly ever does. So reporting on “The State of Black Euphoria” and pretending we are living in Nirvana might just help us. After all, we can still sing and dance, tell funny jokes, drink top-shelf liquor, and revel in the status of the First Family. So, here’s some more good news. Even though the price of gasoline is at a six-year high, at least it’s not $5 per gallon – yet; employers added 1.1 million jobs thus far in 2014, most of which are low-pay or part-time; Jay-Z and Beyoncé put on a great show; Oprah is a two-billionaire; the housewives, divas, and award shows are doing well; and Black folks’ so-called “buying power” exceeds $1 trillion! Feelin’ good? (CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) Black Press: The voice of Black America – Part III By Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. NNPA Columnist Former U.S. Rep. Parren Mitchell (D-Md.) once told me, “It is long overdue for Black Americans to understand the urgent and ongoing necessity to defend and to support Black-owned businesses in the United States.” Mitchell was an outstanding freedom fighter and one of the original founders of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) more than 40 years ago. Mitchell was also probably one of the strongest advocates for development of strong businesses in Black America. The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is the premier national trade association of nearly 200 Black-owned businesses that regularly print vital news and information that serve to inform and empower Black America and its supporters. The NNPA is the “Voice of Black America.” During the past 74 years, it was well known in our communities that the NNPA had the audacity and courage to print the facts and news that other socalled “mainstream” publications traditionally ignored or intentionally distorted. Today, a healthy Black Press is essential to the socioeconomic, political, cultural and spiritual liberation and empowerment of Black America. The Black Press not only uplifts Black America, it also helps to bring a more balance to all Americans who affirm the value of diversity in a multiracial, multicultural democracy that continues to evolve. Cloves C. Campbell Jr., chairman of the NNPA, and I recently attended the annual convention of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) in Washington, D.C. at the newly-opened five-star Blackowned Marriott Marque Hotel across the street from the Water E. Washington Convention Center. It was a great “intergenerational” gathering of Black American and African business leaders. Under the adept leadership of Ron Busby, the U.S. Chambers, Inc. has grown to become a national association of more than 100 self-sustaining Black Chambers and small business associations in every region of the nation. We take note of the emerging “strategic alliance” between the NNPA and the USBC. We will work together. We will plan together. We will build together. We will win together on behalf of 45 million Black Americans and millions of others who yearn for a better quality of like through economic empowerment and prosperity. Now that is the “good stuff” to report. As the NNPA, there are some challenges we must take up on behalf of our community, including the hostile takeover of one of the largest Black-led banks in America headquartered in South Carolina. Unfortunately, most Black Americans are not even aware of the plight of CertusBank based in Greenville. The three top original founders and executives of CertusBank were Black Americans: Executive Chairman Milton H. Jones, Jr., CEO Walter L. Davis, and President Angela Webb. It has been reported that the assets of CertusBank in the first quarter of 2014 were approximately $1.6 billion. Blacks in Greenville and surrounding communities were very proud of CertusBank since its founding in 2010. But in April, without justification, the civil rights of Jones, Davis and Webb were systematically violated as they were unfairly removed from their board and executive position at CertusBank. This was a shock to the Black community. At a time when the American economy is recover(CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) 7 Republicans’ selective memory on executive orders By George E. Curry NNPA Columnist To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, arguably the most overrated U.S. president in history, there they go again. They, of course, are Republicans in the House of Representatives. And they are going after President Obama yet again, this time over his use of executive orders, presidential directives that have been issued by every president over the past 73 years. First, let’s brush up on our high school civics. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), “Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt through Barack Obama have issued orders that seek to leverage the government’s procurement spending to promote socio-economic policies that some commentators would characterize as extraneous to contractors’ provision of goods or services to the government.” The report, titled “Presidential Authority to Impose Requirements on Federal Contractors,” explained, “Presidential power to issue executive orders must derive from the Constitution or from an act of Congress. Contractorrelated executive orders historically have been issued based upon the President’s powers under Article II of the Constitution or the powers delegated to the President by FPASA,” a reference to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. The CRS report noted. “FPASA states that its purpose is to ‘provide the Federal Government with an economical and efficient system for … [p]rocuring and supplying property and nonpersonal services’ and authorizes the President to prescribe any ‘policies and directives’ consistent with the act that he ‘considers necessary to carry out’ the act’s goals of efficiency and economy.” One of the most significant presidential actions was Executive Order 11246, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 28, 1965. It requires federal contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” According to CRS, “Under the authority of Executive Order 11246, officials of the Department of Labor issued two orders commonly known as the Philadelphia Plan. The Philadelphia Plan required bidders for federal and federally funded construction contracts in the Philadelphia area valued in excess of $500,000 to submit ‘acceptable affirmative action program[s],’ including ‘specific goals’ for ‘minority manpower utilization’ in six construction trades prior to contract award.” Of the past 10 presidents, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Obama has issued the fewest executive orders per year. According to the American Presidency Project, Obama issued 147 executive orders during his first term, compared to 504 by FDR, 266 by Dwight D. Eisenhower, 247 by Richard M. Nixon, 213 by Ronald Reagan, 200 by Bill Clinton, and 173 by George W. Bush over a similar period. As of June 20, Obama had issued 35 executive orders during his second term. His executive actions have stopped the deportation of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children, affected climate change by compelling power plants to reduce their emissions by 30 percent by 2030, raised the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour, extended rights for same-sex couples and impacted gun control with 23 separate executive orders. Strangely, Republicans, who have voted 54 times over four years to repeal or alter the Affordable Care Act, are not planning to sue President Obama on any of those issues. Instead, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has asked Congress for permission to sue Obama because he suspended the start date of the employer mandate provision of the health care law. It doesn’t get more ridiculous than this. Unable to repeal what they call Obamacare, House Republicans are moving faster than the lips of an auctioneer on crack to sue the president because he is making it easier to comply with what everyone except anti-Obama Republicans recognize as the law of the land. As Sabastian Payne wrote in the Washington Post, “… For all the accusations of abuse of power, his [Obama] actual uses of his executive authority so far aren’t that farreaching: Not so much the smack of firm government, more nudging in a certain direction. George W. Bush for example managed to gut the Presidential Records Act (greatly reducing access to presidential records), limit federal funding for stem cell research and sidestep the Geneva Convention on interrogation techniques – all through executive orders, even when he had Congress on his side. Interestingly, all of these orders were later rescinded by Obama.” Payne continued, “Bill Clinton was no stranger to far-reaching orders either. During his two terms in office, he banned the import of 50+ types of semi-automatic assault weapons and assault pistols… In May 1989, George H. W. Bush temporarily halted the importation of some semi-automatic firearms, following a school shooting in Stockton, Calif. This was made permanent a month later. Ronald Reagan also enacted some significant policy initiatives through executive power. The NSA has said that its controversial collection of e-mail and Internet data, for example, was authorized back in 1981 by Reagan’s executive order.” What Reagan did was far more dangerous than postponing a health care start date. Yet, there wasn’t even talk of taking him to court. George E. Curry, former editorin-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/ currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook Drop in Black homeownership rate double that of Whites By Charlene Crowell NNPA Columnist Each year the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University assesses the nation’s housing outlook. The recentlyreleased The State of the Nation’s Housing in 2014 reveals that troubled housing areas remain in the midst of rising prices, higher interest rates and low inventories. According to the report, “Millions of homeowners, particularly in minority and high-poverty neighborhoods, are still underwater on their mortgages, while millions more renters have been forced to live in housing they cannot afford or is structurally inadequate. And with the ongoing growth in low-income households, housing assistance reaches a shrinking share of those in need.” A few more data points from the 2014 report reveal: • Homeownership rates have fallen six percentage points among Black households — double that among White households; • In 2011-12, Black applications for conventional mortgages were denied 40 percent of the time; among Hispanics, the denial rate was 25 percent – nearly two to three times that for whites; and • More than 25 percent of mortgage homeowners in both high-poverty and minority neighborhoods were underwater – owing more than their homes are now worth – in 2013. This rate is nearly twice the shares in either white or low-poverty neighborhoods. For Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, these homeownership disparities reflect a devastating generational loss of wealth. Participating in a panel discussion with the Joint Center and other housing policy experts, Calhoun noted that the loss of homeownership in Black communities really reflected a one in six reduction, as Black homeownership peaked at 49 percent before the housing crisis. “With promising increases in home construction, sales, and prices, the housing market gained steam in early 2013,, states the report. “But when interest rates notched up at mid-year, momentum slowed. . . . This moderation is likely to persist until job growth manages to lift household incomes. Even amid a broader recovery, though, many hard-hit communities still struggle and millions of households continue to pay excessive shares of income for housing.” The combined effects of student loan burdens and lower median incomes for younger and middle-aged adults are also cited as key factors in the nation’s housing recovery. Median incomes are at their lowest levels in records dating back to 1970, according to the report. “Between 2001 and 2010, the share of households aged 25-34 with student loan debt soared from 26 percent to 39 percent, with the median amount rising from $10,000 to $15,000 in real terms. Within this group, the share with at least $50,000 in student debt more than tripled from five percent to 16 percent. For these borrowers, the need to pay off these outsized loans will likely delay any move to homeownership.” For the ninth consecutive year, the rate of homeownership continues to decline. According to the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), it is the lowest level since 1995. Housing rentals, by contrast, show growth doubling the average pace in any decade since the 1960s. Between the 2005 peak in homeownership and 2013, more than 1 million new renters were added each year. Whether owning a home or renting, however, nearly 41 million households are now paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing – 1 million more than last year and 9 million more than a decade earlier. A household is considered ‘housing burdened’ when their monthly housing costs exceeds 30 percent of income. Severely housing burdened households where 50 percent or more of income is for housing, now number 5.8 million households. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) Stimulating students during summer By Julianne Malveaux NNPA Columnist It’s mid-July. Do you know if your children are learning? Just a month ago they were eager to leave the regimentation of the daily classroom to “enjoy the summer.” A month from now, many will prepare to return to school. Will they return ready to hit the ground running in the fall? Or, will they struggle to catch up because their summer activities were not stimulating enough to prevent learning losses. Student’s score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than at the beginning of the summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association. That organization makes a strong case that young people must be engaged in summer learning and enrichment opportunities, because they lose as much as two months of math learning, and more than two months of reading proficiency without summer engagement. Of course, lower income students experience more losses, while middle-class students may gain proficiency during the summer. The National Summer Learning Association says that at least half of the achievement gap between lower and higher income young people is a function of unequal access to summer learning opportunities. Some youngsters don’t have summer opportunities because they don’t know about them, others because they can’t afford them, and still others because they are needed at home. Some teens are tasked with taking care of younger siblings, though they might be better served in enrichment programs that would prepare them for the next school year. Others must choose between work and summer enrichment programs, and when money matters, work wins over enrichment. And while subsidized summer enrichment programs are available, some students are unable to participate when even modest fees are required. I’ve not spoken of race, only income, in examining the importance of summer enrichment programs. But because African American students are more likely to be low-income than others, we know that race matters here. We also know that space makes a difference as well. There will be a greater variety of summer enrichment programs in affluent neighborhoods, as opposed to other neighborhoods. And while programs in affluent neighborhoods may offer scholarships for those who need assistance, transportation may become a barrier. Whether excuses or explanations, the achievement gap speaks to differential outcomes. While summer enrichment oppor(CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net Opinion BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 8 African Scene Malala, Taliban victim, finds sisterhood with Nigerian girls Picture of Biafra Biafra war survivors push for reparations (GIN) – Survivors of the Nigerian civil war that raged for 3 years and whose horror was captured in unforgettable photographic images that shocked the world have renewed their demand for compensation for the suffering of those years. Ndigbos, a socio-cultural Igbo group, were cut down in a brutal war that followed years of political wrangling among three regional-political sectors joined in an uneasy alliance by British colonialists. The newlyindependent Nigeria consisted of Yoruba, Igbo and Muslim Hausas. After a deadly coup and counter-coup, the Igbos declared their intention to breakaway and form a sovereign republic called Biafra. Their intention triggered a war against the new republic which had minimal defenses. A military blockade of the Biafrans in 1968 led to a humanitarian disaster including widespread civilian hunger and starvation in the besieged Igbo areas. The Biafrans claimed that Nigeria used hunger and genocide to win the war, and they sought aid from the outside world. Only five countries (Tanzania, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia and Haiti) officially recognized the endangered Biafra republic. The UK and the Soviet Union supported (especially militarily) the Nigerian govern(CONTINUED ON PAGE 16) (GIN) – A Pakistani teen who survived certain death from a terrorist’s gunshot to her face has met with the mothers of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by elements of the group Boko Haram. On the first leg of a three day visit, Malala Yousafzai, now 17, and her father, Ziauddin, spoke with some of the mothers, telling them she saw the more than 200 kidnapped girls as her sisters and would stand up for them. Malala’s recovery led to her advocacy for education for girls. Speaking with the Nigerian News Agency, she said: “On my 17th birthday, my wish is to see every child go to school and I want to see my Nigerian sisters being released from their abduction and I want them to be free to go to school and continue their education.” Though it recently became the leading economy in Africa, Nigeria has one of the world’s worst records for education. More than 10 million children aged between 6 and 11 are not in school. There is a shortage of more than 200,000 primary school teachers. At a meeting this week with Malala, President Goodluck Jonathan disputed criticism that his government was not doing enough to find the girls. He called it “wrong and misplaced,” according to a presidential statement. Jonathan has not met with any of the parents, though some regularly make the dangerous drive from Chibok to join activists who have held daily rallies in Abuja. Parents of the missing girls were quoted this week by The New York Times pleading for in- Malala with kidnapped Nigerian girls ternational support. “American, ing nothing.” France, China, they say they are The government, the Times rehelping, but on the ground we ports, has just hired an American don’t see anything,” said Lawan public relations firm for $1.2 million. Zanah, father of one missing girls. “That money could be better used His frustration was echoed by the to pay for security at schools,” obschool principal, Asabe served Nicholas Kristof, Times jourKwambura who feared that the in- nalist. ternational campaign Meanwhile, a San Francisco#BringBackOurGirls was slacking. based charity promoting education “Continue the campaign,” she for girls in Africa received $900,000 urged. “Our students are still liv- after articles that appeared in the ing in the woods. We want the in- Times. Camfed – or Campaign for ternational community to talk to Female Education – says the the government of Nigeria to do money will help 3,000 girls continue something because they are do- in high school across the continent. Mandela’s last days recalled in ‘assisted dying’ debate (GIN) – A contentious debate will take place this week in England’s House of Lords on a subject close to the heart of Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, now an outspoken advocate for a dignified death at life’s end – something he fears was denied to his best friend and collaborator for human rights – Nelson Mandela. Tutu, in an editorial this week in The Observer of London, recalls with a touch of bitterness how the 95-year-old President, suffering from a lung infection, incapacitated and increasingly unresponsive, was posed for a photo op with political leaders even when he was barely able to smile. “You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba’s dignity,” he said. “The manner of Mandela’s prolonged death was an affront… I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying.” “I revere the sanctity of life — but not at any cost,” he stressed. Similar assisted dying bills have already been passed in Oregon, Washington, Quebec, Holland and Switzerland, he pointed out. Tutu, 82, who was hospitalized last year for a persistent infection, also wrote of his own death. “I have come to realize that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially,” he said. “I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent.” “But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could Desmnd Tutu be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person,” he argued. “Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.” “People should die a decent death,” he maintained. “For me that means having had the conversations with those I have crossed with in life and being at peace. It means being able to say goodbye to loved ones – if possible, at home.” Tutu, who chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and admitted he was “angry with God” during apartheid, has never been afraid to take unpopular positions or stir debate. Mandela once said of him: “Sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humor, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless.” Susannah Mushatt Jones celebrated of her 115th birthday on July 6, 2014. Affectionately known as “Miss Susie,” she was born in Lowndes County, Alabama on July 6, 1899—just 34 years after slavery was abolished in America, 5 months and 25 days prior to the turn of the 20th Century. Today, she is the oldest person in New York City, the second oldest living American, and the third oldest living person in the world . Miss Susie was born as the third of 11 children and is the only one remaining. In 1922, she graduated from the Calhoun School, a boarding school founded 30 years earlier through the efforts of Booker T. Washington. One of her childhood dreams was to attend college and become a teacher. She was accepted to the Tuskegee University Institute, also founded by Booker T. Washington, but the family did not have enough money to pay for college. Recognizing the importance of education throughout her life, she committed to raising money for scholarship and loans to help other aspiring black students obtain a higher education of their own . Miss Susie’s family members fondly call her “Tee”—short for auntie. Although she does not have any children, she has more than 100 nieces and nephews. She also sent three of her nieces to college, one of whom has earned a doctorate degree . “We celebrate Miss Susie’s 115th birthday for she has distinguished herself not only by the length of her great life, but by the impact she has had in so many lives. Her life story truly reflects the history of New York City and the growth of America into the nation it is today. It is fitting, therefore, that we honor her contributions for she has truly enriched us all with her presence and has earned the esteem of her fellow New Yorkers.” That the Council of the City of New York proudly honored Susannah Mushatt Jones in celebration with a proclamation signed by Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito VIVERITO and Inez D. Barron Council Member, 42nd District Brooklyn for the entire Council. Miss Susie Blowing out candle Great Great niece Lois with her Aunt Susie Member of the Miss Susie Family Richard - Omowale and Carl Clay Auntie Susie God Son ‘s 9 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net Miss Susie, New York State’s oldest resident, turns 115 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 10 THE ADAMS REPORT Fashion, Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .& Stuff By Audrey Adams The beauty of silence Audrey Adams From time to time I like to remind you to stop and smell the roses. There are many opportunities do so, but we tend to try and accomplish too many tasks, obligations and responsibilities within the limited number of hours we have each day. For the sake of this week’s article I am going to call those aforementioned tasks etc . . . “noise.” The “noise” is a constant din that forces itself into our consciousness and pushes us to keep up with the “Status-flow.” It is because the world can sometimes be a very noisy place that I thought it would be interesting to consider the beauty of silence. In addition to the pressure that is imposed upon us to keep things moving, think for a moment about all the other “noise” each of us contributes to the environment: cell phones, loud conversations, boom boxes, laughter, the click of our heels on the pavement and even something completely natural like a sneeze! It all adds up to overload! Now thinking about si- lence or anything resembling quiet can be a bit unnerving when you live in a city like New York. I thought about a trip that I took to London a few years ago, another hubbub of activity; the most striking difference between it and New York City, (aside from the architecture and other things that make it unique) wasn’t apparent to me until after I returned home. The d i ff e r e n c e ? A l t h o u g h t h e streets are bustling with activity, the noise was missing! There weren’t any loud boom boxes, or rowdy young folks being well . . . young. People almost whispered their conversations to one another . . . there weren’t even any crying babies. Everyone seemed to be so . . . quiet! It caught me by surprise. But the silence made me notice other things, like the rustling of a newspaper or a gentle sigh, or the wind ruffling the trees, the sound of a gurgling fountain, the hiss of the hydraulic lift on a bus, the click of a camera, chirping birds even. It seemed that no one was willing to break the silence lest they intrude upon someone else’s experience . . . it was a beautiful thing! In New York, just riding the subway is like sitting in the middle of an on-going theatrical production; couples talking animatedly to one-another, street performers wandering from car to car, people selling batteries, candy and the like, kids kidding around; there might even be a fight or two! Not in London. Have you allowed time for silence in your life? Or is your mind too busy trying to think about what you are going to do next? It is time to take control and be still, to listen to the silence instead of letting the noise clutter and cover up the wonder and delightfulness to be found in quiet. Move away from “noise” to a place where you can appreciate silence and spend as much time as you can to relish the peacefulness that discovering newness brings to your life. Step away from the “Status-Flow” for a few moments of quiet. If you say that you don’t have time then you are underestimating the value that silence can contribute to improving the quality of your life. Think about it. See you next week. Visit my website, TalkwithAudrey.com and checkout my weekly online radio 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 an d i n s p i r e w o m e n through her syndicated columns and motivational speaking engagements. Email your fashion, beauty and lifestyle questions or comments to her at [email protected] ADAMS REPORT© Jqmil Al Amin Jamil Al Amin needs better hospital treatment The New Panther’s Party is proud to report that federal prison officials have responded to the people’s call regarding Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s urgent medical condition. Regrettably, test results from efforts to determine the scope of the Imam’s illness revealed that he suffers from multiple myeloma, or cancer of the blood plasma! The demands are now to secure a medically compassionate release for the aging freedom fighter, (he is now 70) and in the interim to have him transferred to another facility better suited to address his condition and age and place him closer to his family. Please call: 719-784-9464 and email the Federal Bureau of Prisons at www.bop.gov/inmates. Once there, click on Voice A Concern and then enter the facility where the Imam is which is Florence ADMAX. Give his name and number, Jamil Al-Amin #99974-555 and demand that he be given all necessary medical care and that he be moved to Butner Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, where he can getter better treatment for his serious medical challenges. Al-Amin is currently incarcerated at America’s most heinous and most draconian of prisons, the Florence Super Max Correctional Facility in Florence, Colorado, a prison built on a toxic waste site dump. He was framed for killing a Fulton county sheriff in Georgia in 2002. Prosecutors damaged and withheld exculpable evidence during the trial to secure the conviction including a confession by a convicted felon to the crime. He was tried before a judge, Stephanie Manis, who also presided over the railroading of Black Panther Kamau Sadiki. The Imam has been held at Florence since 2007 and has endured much of his captivity there in solitary confinement! “Continue to raise hell and continue to sound the drum,” said Zayid Muhammad, the Party’s national minister of culture, insistently. Cuomo unveils $3M in grants to expand college access for low-income students Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the release of a $3.2 million College Access Innovation Grant application that will be used by organizations to increase college enrollment and completion among low-income students across the State. “New York’s legacy is built on providing opportunities for all, and through this competitive grant we are continuing that reputation and investing in programs that work for the people,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This grant allows us to implement successful strategies that help low-income students entering college achieve greater educational and economic opportunities for their future.” The College Access Innovation Grant will support strategies for student success by: · Connecting collegeready, low-income students to colleges and universities that match their academic achievement levels by providing customized information and assistance throughout the college application process. This allows for students to be matched to several colleges that best match their academic and financial levels. · Removing barriers that low-income students face in accessing financial aid. Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal financial aid eligibility form, will be promoted by making available workshops and individual attention to guide prospective students through a potentially prohibitive process. · Providing intensive college preparation, enrollment, and persistence through counseling, coaching and direction on the transition to college beginning in middle school through completion of the college freshman year · Reconnecting adult learners to higher education through services that increase their college completion rates, as well as reduce their time to completion. iv. Establishing new and creative uses of technology to increase college opportunities for low-income students. i. The average collegeeducated worker in New York State earns an estimated $25,000 more each year than somebody with only a high school diploma, and an estimated 53 percent of new jobs are projected to require at least some college education. Low- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo income students are 30 percent less likely to attend college after graduating from high school. The College Access Innovation Grant is New York’s fifth federal College Access Challenge Grant award, which is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. The Grant is administered by the New York State Higher Education Service Corporation (HESC), which has successfully applied for the State’s four previous awards that total $29 million. In the last two academic years, the funds have provided services to more than 124,000 New Yorkers. Applicants can seek grants of up to $500,000 through this Request for Proposals. Applications are due Aug. 13 and interested organizations can apply at the HESC website. Elsa Magee, acting president of HESC, said, “In New York State, fewer low-income high school students attend college, and successfully complete a degree, than their higher-income peers. To reverse these trends and create a system of opportunity and performance, the State is supporting high-quality, research-backed college access and success programs targeted to these students.” Congresswoman Nita Lowey said, “Access to higher education is essential to economic mobility and a stronger middle class. We need to do all we can to ensure each and every person has the opportunity to access a quality education, and this federal investment will help hard-working New Yorkers looking for a brighter future. As the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for funding that helps higher education dreams be- come reality.” Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said, “Every student who can get into a college, university, or trade school should be given the opportunity to earn a degree, regardless of their financial situation. This grant will help students and their families make higher education a reality.” As a national leader for higher education, New York is the top destination for first-time freshmen nationwide and provides $1 billion annually in need-based grants through the State’s Tuition Assistance Program. HESC is New York State’s student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At HESC’s core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. Through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors, HESC puts college within the reach for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year. Chancellor salutes Association of Black Educators at their annual gala Under the theme of “Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future”, the Association of Black Educators of New York (ABENY) held its 39th Annual Scholarships and Award Luncheon at the luxurious Antun’s in Queens Village, on June 21st 2014. ABENY is a long standing organization which was originally established in the 1960s out of a need for Black educators to have a relevant source of support indigenous to their needs. The original membership consisted of licensed Black principals and assistant principals; however, over time the organization has extended membership to include teachers, counselors and all those in the field of education. ABENY has several stated goals and purposes, two of which are to raise and improve the academic achievement of the AfricanAmerican child and to advance, professionally, the African – American educator. To help with the achievements of these objectives, each year ABENY offers scholarships to qualifying high school graduates who are continuing a course of study at a 4 year college. There are also several activities throughout the year which cater to the advancement of education, such as, Black History Essay contest, educational conferences and monthly workshops on topics related to current educational trends. This year, Dr. Dorita P. Gibson, senior deputy chancellor and Nora Barnes ABENY Ex. Board Luncheon Chair — Eric Edward Friend of Education Award Recipient Chancellor Carmen Ferina’s second in command at New York City Department of Education was honored as ABENY’s Educator of the year. Chancellor Ferina had nothing but praise for her deputy chancellor. She described her as “a consummate educator who knows instructional goals. One who treats people respectfully and is always willing to listen to parents. A voice for Equity and Access. Someone who can be spoken to in confidence and get good advice in return” Ms. Gibson is recognized as a true asset to NYCDOE. The Friend of Education award was received by Eric Edwards, owner of the Cultural Museum of African Art and who has one of the largest collections of African Artifacts in his private Museum. He has amassed over 1,500 items which encompass 54 countries of Africa. Other Awardees were: Linda Jones-Price: Teacher of the Year and ABENY’s Life Time Achievement Award recipient, Eugene Brown, a retired educator. Scholarships were awarded to seven outstanding, exceptional High school graduates Tiara Austin,Kyonne Rowe, Chelsea Grant, Omar Saul, Ahmed Zakria, Chantalle Durr and Shanice Campbell- who are all expected to attend a four-year college in the fall. The attendees at this packed affair represented all Pearl Jones ABENY Ex. Board Member Luncheon Co-Chair — Linda Jones - Prince Teacher OF THE Year Recipient (Photos by Lem Peterkin) aspects of the educational spectrum. There was a sense of accomplishment, pride and respect. Some former Presidents such as, Mellouise Murdough, Dr. Robert Kane, Dr. Sheila Bobo and Nora Barnes where all there to support the organization. They spoke of the youths and parents whom they had served and continue to support as they navigate the troubling waters of NYC’s educational system. Ernest Logan, president of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) encouraged educators to continue their support of ABENY. “I have been a member of ABENY for over 30 years and proud of the young people who receive scholarships every year and prove that Public Education works. With support and resources we can do wonders”, he said. ABENY’s current president, Mable W. Robertson challenged the educators to “look beyond the celebrations of past accomplishments and recommit themselves to finding solutions to the educational challenges and social issues existing in homes, schools and the community” Guest and educators networked while the soothing cultural rhythms of Carol/Dad productions permeated the air in response to a job well done. New York City reports decrease in severely obese school children The Health Department announces that severe obesity among New York City public school students in grades K– 8 decreased 9.5%, from 6.3% in the 2006–07 school year to 5.7% in the 2010–11 school year. Among public school students in grades K–8, obesity also decreased during this period by 5.5% (from 21.9% to 20.7%), suggesting that the public response to the obesity epidemic is affecting all levels of childhood obesity. These findings were released in the journal, Preventing Chronic Disease. “This report is promising in that it shows a decrease in the number of severely obese children in New York City, but there is still much work to be done,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “We will continue to look for new ways to reduce and prevent childhood obesity.” Severe obesity is defined as a BMI at or above 120% of the 95th percentile, according to the CDC’s age- and sex-specific growth charts. While severe childhood obesity is decreasing along with or faster than obesity in New York City, a recent study reported severe childhood obesity is increasi n g n a t i o n a l l y. T h e s t u d y found that severe obesity prevalence among children in the United States aged 2-19 years increased from 3.8% in 1999-2000 to 5.9% in 20112012, representing a more than 50 percentage point increase over the past 14 years. Children with severe obesity have increased risks of disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance among others. Obese children are also more likely to become obese adults, meaning they are at greater risk of developing illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Obesity and related diseases like diabetes are at epidemic proportions in New York City due to the ubiquity of unhealthy foods and the aggressive marketing of them to both adults and children. While changes are needed at the industry and retail levels, New Yorkers can take steps to address the problem. The Health Department recommends the following: * Both children and adults get at least one hour of physical activity a day. * Avoid drinking calories by choosing water and low-fat milk instead of juice or high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas. * Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables in place of higher calorie foods such as sweets and chips to prevent obesity and its negative health consequences. In conjunction with the release of the Health Department’s manuscript in Preventing Chronic Disease, the Health Department released the latest BMI data from the NYC FITNESSGRAM Assessment for New York City public school children. Though New York City has seen progress in decreasing severe obesity among public school students, the prevalence of childhood obesity remains high in New York City. In the 2006-07 school year, 22% of public school students in grades K– 8 were obese. In the 2012-13 school year, 21% of public school students in grades K– 8 were obese. In the 2011-12 school year, new self-calibrating, digital scales were introduced in 1,500 schools, providing the City with a more accurate estimate of childhood obesity among public school students. Prior to this change, schools purchased their own scales, resulting in varied measurements and estimates depending on the scales used and how height was measured. Due to these improvements, the 2011-12 and 2012-13 BMI data are not comparable to previous estimates. The City is taking a multifaceted approach to address childhood obesity, which includes increasing opportunities for physical activity in and out of schools, increasing access to healthy foods and reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods. “The administration will use all tools at our disposal to fight the unacceptably high rates of obesity that affect the lives of too many of our young New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios Paoli. “The responsibility to address childhood obesity does not only depend on our schools – it demands a multi-agency approach. Already, efforts are underway to educate New Yorkers about healthier options by bringing better foods to all neighborhoods, expanding outof-school sports and fitness opportunities during the summer and the academic year. We will continue to work to ensure a l l N e w Yo r k C i t y g e t t h e healthy start in life they so rightly deserve.” “We are encouraged that the obesity rate has gone down, but we must also be mindful of the 21 percent obesity rate among K-8 students,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Fitness and wellness are top priorities for the administration and is critical for students to come to school ready to learn, and thrive both inside the classroom and beyond. We will continue to encourage our students participate in physical activity and choose our nutritious meals in schools, and we are grateful for the recommendations of the Health Department.” The DOE’s Office of School Wellness programs increases access to quality physical education, health education, and school wellness initiatives through professional development for teachers and adminis- trators, technical assistance, onsite support, and school-based programs to support students’ well-being. Among successful program physical activity initiatives are Move-to-Improve, a K5 classroom based fitness program designed to increase physical activity among students in elementary school, and the CHAMPS Middle School Sports and Fitness Program, which promotes student physical activity before or after school during the critical middle school years and offers students a wide range of traditional and non-traditional sports and fitness activities. In addition, the City is committed to making the healthy choice the easy choice for public school students. DOE, which serves 860,000 meals a day, created a healthier menu for students by eliminating butter, white bread, fried food, whole milk, soda, and high caloric snacks. Students are now served whole grain pasta instead of bleached pasta. More than 1,300 salad bars and 1,100 water jets have been installed in public schools to make healthy choices more available to students. At public schools across the city, there are 345 registered school gardens, with approximately 300 of them containing edible plants. Sixty-seven of these schools are registered with Garden-to-Café, a program that blends school gardening and healthy school lunches through educational activities and seasonal harvest events. BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net By Eulene Inniss 11 12 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net (Photo: Gideon Manasseh) Congratulations and well wishes to Dominic Alex Effiong, Jr. 5 years old, a 2014 graduate of Little Friends Preschool and Daycare in Mercerville, New Jersey. Dominic is the son of Yassin Sarr and the grandson of Edna Sarr, Office Manager of New York Beacon Newspaper. 13 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net The Metro-Manhattan (NY) Chapter, The Links Inc. & Alpha Gamma Lambda Chapter Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held a graduation dinner for the class of 2014, at Melba’s Restaurant in the Harlem State Office Building. The event titled “And Still I Rise” was dedicated to The Young Achievers (YA) that completed the 2013-14 program year. This year nine YA graduated from high school and are moving on to college. The Young Achievers received a great deal of college preparation. BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 14 Mayor de Blasio signs legislation to create municipal identity card (from Page 3) trucks was involved. As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation. We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.” Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law. A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 mph in the 60 seconds be- fore he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that stretch of the turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction. Roper had been on the job about 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 Two groups announce plan to boost spending among African Americans (from Page 3) sumers, prominent brands have taken notice, including. Marriott International. “We see the power of the African American wallet, spending, and economic value,” said Apoorva Gandhi, vice president of Multicultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott. “It’s really important to us that we are consistently authentic in how we employ – through recruitment and developing executive professionals – and also how we market to, and do business with this segment.” The hotel brand has been named one of Black Enterprise’s top 40 companies for diversity for eight consecutive years. Marriott has also maintained decadeslong partnerships with m major Black organizations such as the National Urban League, NAACP, the National Black MBA Association. “One way we try to reach the African American segment is through our multicultural and diversity partners,” Gandhi says. “One, because these are great organizations doing great things. But also, they are gateway groups to their demographic. We work to support their goals be- cause, frankly, they’re our goals too.” Marriott says it was the first hospitality company to establish a diversity and inclusion program. Today, it is also one of a handful of big-name hotels working to cultivate Black executives and owners. Interestingly, Norman Jenkins, NABHOOD treasurer, and founder of Capstone Development, the company that co-financed the Marriott Marquis in D.C., is also a former Marriott executive. Under his leadership, the brand boasted of at least 500 minority-owned or minority-franchised Marriotts around the world in just three years under its Diversity Ownership Initiative. Jenkins represents the other angle of Black economic power: gatekeeping and ownership. By owning a business, African Americans can solve many of their own community problems. “Black businesses still struggle to find funding, either through equity or debt, to let them grow to what they could be,” Busby says. “But we know Black business is the key to the unemployment that is wreaking havoc on our communities.” As Ingraham explained, more business at Black-owned hotels results in more hires and more cor- porate promotions of other African Americans working within the establishment, who can eventually become executives or owners. More business also means that hotels have to buy more goods from suppliers, and can choose to patronize other Black-owned businesses in the process. NABHOOD counts more than 500 Black-owned hotels and hospitality venues in the United States, and nine abroad, mostly in the Caribbean, with the exception of one in Ghana and another in Liberia. The organization has a listing of these Black-owned properties on its website, www.nabhood.net. The two organizations will continue their partnership for the long run, with the next collaboration at the 18 th Annual International Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show this weekend in Miami. “We’re trying to sign as many agreements as possible for people to give us a chance to provide the level of service they are accustomed to,” Ingraham explains. “The opportunity exists for each of us to play a role in change the economic tapestry. If we could just revise our conscience level and agree to do business with each other, we can all benefit.” Mayor de Blasio signs legislation to create municipal identity card (from Page 2) great stride toward helping all undocumented residents achieve this dream. As the daughter of immigrants, I am proud to see a day where thousands of our undocumented residents will no longer have to live in the shadows, fearing to come forward to receive the many public benefits our great City has to offer. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and my colleagues in the City Council for championing this piece of legislation. Our collective efforts have, at long last, paved the way to equal access of safe and secure identifi- cation amongst all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status.” Municipal ID will be an accessible and safe document that will ensure access to City services and grant admission to all municipal buildings. The City is also working toward having the ID be recognized by banks, as well as connecting the ID with stores, restaurants, cultural institutions, discounts and other incentive programs. The City will continue to expand and improve upon the municipal ID card program and benefits after the launch date. To ensure broad and easy accessibility, the City will establish walk-in enrollment centers in trusted community institutions around the boroughs, and will post the application online for applicants to complete it prior to visiting a walk-in center. In addition, the City will create mobile enrollment units that can travel to neighborhoods that do not have walk-in centers. The City will also ensure that the outreach and application processes are accessible to people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities. The City will protect the confidentiality of all municipal ID card applications, and will not ask applicants about their immigration status. DC 37 delegates urged to vote to ratify contract (from Page 3) erts urged DC 37 members to ratify the pact: “We bargained hard with the deBlasio administration to secure the best possible deal for our members. It is a fair deal in a tough economic climate. I urge our members to vote ‘Yes’ and to return their ballots as soon as possible. The contract gives covered members a total of 10.41% in wage hikes plus a $1,000 ratification bonus and back pay. This includes a 4.58% raise on base sal- ary retroactive to Sept. 3, 2011 and another 2.5% raise on Sept. 3, 2015 followed on Sept. 3, 2016 by a 3% raise. These raises are compounded and pensionable. This gives our members the clarity and economic certainty for the future that they deserve after going so long without a contract. “In addition, this agreement has several significant non-economic components including the preservation of our members’ health and welfare benefits with no increase in out-of-pocket costs. Another is the creation of a highlevel labor-management committee to addresses the favoritism and inequities in promotions and appointments, including the impact of the 1-in-3 rule on women and minorities in DC 37 titles. This contract is worth $1.75 billion and the City has promised to move forward on the ratification bonus and raises as soon as our members have voted and the contract ratification process is completed,” Roberts said. hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. The crash story put the issue of truckers’ driving hours under the microscope. “That driver should have slept at least seven to eight hours and because he didn’t, we lost a good man,” Carlos Ortiz, a friend of McNair, told USATODAY. Morgan, a New York City native, was returning from a stand-up performance at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware when the crash occurred. The injuries forced him to scrap his remaining summer tour dates. Morgan’s lawsuit seeks a jury trial and punitive and compensatory damages. Labor group withdraws UNCF support over Koch gift (from Page 3) manufacturing giant and UNCF that spanned decades. Since then, according to UNCF’s website, both Georgia-Pacific and Koch, have continued to support UNCF programs. Charles and David Koch have been criticized for also supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council, the driving force behind voter identification laws in the United States. ALEC also worked with the National Rifle Association on “Stand Your Ground” legislation that gained notoriety worldwide following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teen in Sanford, Fla. In response to Saunders letter, Lomax and UNCF issued a statement touting UNCF’s successful efforts in sending underprivileged students to college, while recognizing the incredible need for resources that often goes unmet. “This year alone, UNCF awarded $100 million in scholarships to more than 12,000 students at 900 schools across the country, yet had to deny 9 out of every 10 qualified applicants due to lack of resources,” the statement read. Lomax wrote that although he was “saddened by AFSCME’s decision, it will not distract us from our mission of helping thousands of African American students achieve their dream of a college degree and the economic benefits that come with it.” Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh accused AFSCME of operating similar to a plantation with UNCF as its slave. Lezli Baskerville, the president and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), an umbrella group that represents both public and private Black colleges, said that Lomax, as the head of UNCF, carries a heavy burden. “He has to raise scholarship money for all of these institutions and figure out how to get our kids to and through college,” said Baskerville. “I certainly stay up at night trying to figure that out as well.” Black families, still reeling from housing and job losses during the Great Recession, suffered another setback when the Obama administration abruptly changed the eligibility requirements for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program, stifling college dreams for thousands of Black students. When enrollment dropped at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the nation, the schools were forced to cut programs and staff. In a press release about the new Koch Scholars Program, UNCF said that grant will not only cover “nearly 3,000 merit-based awards to African American undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctorate students,” but the money will also be used to “offset funding shortfalls as a result of recent changes to the Parent PLUS loan program.” Advocates for HBCUs and Black students defended Lomax for accepting money from the Kochs, but said that UNCF should have managed the public relations around the partnership better. “For all of those people in our community who were upset with the Koch brothers or anyone else who takes a tough position against the administration and our Black president, the reality is that our schools were compromised by a decision that was made by this administration, and our Black president was leading it,” said Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, an organization representing public HBCUs. “And if someone else came up and offered money to help offset the losses that our schools experienced I say, ‘Good for them.’” Taylor said he understood why people didn’t approve of the partnership, but he wasn’t as troubled by it, until he found out that Lomax had attended the Koch summit also featured Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, a book that asserted that Blacks were intellectually inferior to other races, partly because of genetics. “There is no person in America whose work is more opposed to the fundamental mission of the UNCF than Charles Murray,” Saunders pointed out in his letter to UNCF. “For decades, he has dedicated himself to promoting the notion that the over-representation of African Americans among America’s poor and in America’s prisons is the consequence not of our history or of the types of public policies the Koch brothers promote, but rather is a consequence of our genetic inferiority.” UNCF officials said that Lomax was at the Koch-sponsored event “simply to discuss the new Koch Scholars Program and the importance of a diverse and divided Nation coming together in pursuit of equity in education for all.” Taylor said, “If you’re going to go into that environment and be used, then you have to ensure that when you walk away it is not unclear to anyone what your mission is or the communities you serve and why this unexpected audience should be more sensitive in making some of the decisions that it’s making. That would have been so much more compelling.” Still, Taylor said that Blacks that don’t give and just sit back and criticize are part of the noise and he encouraged them to be a part of the solution. The Nielsen Company predicts that Black buying power will eclipse $1 trillion in 2015, yet top 10 HBCUs, ranked by endowments, combined for less than $2 billion, compared to the top 10 majority-White institutions that combined for more than $150 billion in 2013, according to the National Association for College and University Business Officers. “For all the people that are screaming bloody murder about this gift, the question is: How much have you given to an HBCU?” asked Taylor. “If you haven’t, I’m not so sure you have the right to have an opinion about this gift.” Summer Calendar of Events 15 Haute Hamptons Happenings Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation hosts Art for Life benefit By Audrey J. Bernard Style & Society Editor Diversity Affluence to honor 5 unsung leaders Host Van Jones On Sunday, July 27, 2014, Diversity Affluence will celebrate its 5th annual Diversity Affluence Brunch honoring unsung leaders in technology, innovation and social impact (through STEM diversity), at Harlow East , Sag Harbor, NY where an elite group of brands, luminaries and tastemakers are expected to gather once again. CNN’s Crossfire host Van Jones will emcee the event honoring technology pioneers and influencers. This exclusive brunch is one of the most prominent gatherings of the summer and will be used as a spring board to convene and paint a more accurate picture of the vast number of Blacks in tech, innovation and social impact and those that influence future generations of Blacks, Hispanics and Women to enter into tech. Diversity Affluence is an international business development, strategy and marketing communications consultancy. Founder and CEO Andrea Hoffman conceived the annual brunch in 2010 to provide guests and media with an accurate picture of the growing size, scope, social, and economic clout of multicultural affluent consumers, business influencers and innovators, or “Royaltons” — a term coined by Hoffman in 2006. It was also a way to connect upscale brands with the affluent multicultural consumers described in her book, Black is Art for Life 2014 cover invitation Russell Simmons and Danny E Fresh, Kurtis Blow and Whodini Simmons will host the 15th an- with music by DJ M.O.S. DN Connual Art for Life benefit pre- cepts will set the tone for the fessented by Rush Philanthropic tive event with a spectacular amArts Foundation on Saturday, bience that will – as in keeping with July 26, 2014, in Bridgehampton previous years – rock the house! at Fairview Farms, 19 Horsemill Launched in 2000, Art for Life is Lane, Water Mill, NY. The red the Foundation’s primary fundcarpet arrival kicks off at 6pm fol- raising event. “This year’s benlowed by a festive cocktail recep- efit will celebrate the gala’s ‘15’ tion and dinner and program at year milestone; highlighting youth 7pm featuring entertainment and that have grownup through our live auction. Executive produced Rush programs, and honoring exby Ronnie Davis, Ronnie Davis emplary individuals who have Productions, the evening will supported the Foundation’s misfeature performances by The sion throughout the years,” stated World’s Greatest Entertainer the Tangie Murray, executive director, Original Human BeatBox, Doug Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. the New Green. “My consultancy is committed to connecting brands and businesses to the vast diversity of leaders who represent a shift in American affluence and influence but are under the radar,” explained Hoffman. Within the field of technology, there is an escalating awareness of the lack of diversity despite its high yielding income potential and need for talent. The deficit of diversity in these fields and in the innovation economy as a whole is exacerbated by the lack of awareness of the accomplished and respected multicultural leaders who have paved the way. Consistent with Diversity Affluence’s niche to connect brands and businesses with Royaltons, the brunch will shed light on unsung leaders and pioneers in a growing workforce and marketplace. This year’s invitational only brunch will focus on five technology and social impact powerbrokers who reflect the changing faces from board seats to the C-Suite. They include: Professor James I. Cash, Ph.D., Marian Croak, Ph.D., Chinedu Echeruo, Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D. and Mitch Kapor. Sponsors celebrating these leaders, achievers and pioneers are: Belvedere, Bellucci Napoli, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, HBO, Microsoft, and Vista Equity Partners. For additional information and ticket information visit: http://DiversityAffluence.com. Also, diversityaffluencebrunch.splashthat.com. Soledad O’Brien will emcee the evening honoring Michael R. Bloomberg, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jason Flom, Kimora Lee Simmons and Carrie Mae Weems for their career achievements and philanthropic work. Additionally, guests can expect a special presentation to the inaugural recipients of the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship Fund, graduates of the Rush Teens Program. The event’s honorary chair is Star Jones; and event cochairs are Jamison Ernest, Kimberley Hatchett, Rhonda R. Mims, Camilla Olsson and Josue Sejour (The Sejour Group). The event calls for Hampton Chic festive attire and the evening’s sponsors include Gold Sponsor Bombay Sapphire Gin and Bronze Sponsor Target. Cadillac is the official valet sponsor. This year’s coinciding Art for Life online auction via Charitybuzz launched July 17, 2014 and will run through August 7, 2014. Highlights include: Dinner with Miss Universe Gabriela Isler, Be a Roadie for a day with John Legend, Meet and Greets with Heidi Klum, Michael Strahan and more! In addition there will be an Art for Life Art Auction on Charitybuzz from August 27 to September 17, 2014 with select works available during a live auction held at Christie’s NYC on September 8, 2014. The art auction includes works from 2014 AFL Featured Artist Carrie Mae Weems and many James Cash Marian Croak more! Visit the online auction at charitybuzz.com/artforlife. The Foundation was founded in 1995 by three brothers — Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC — whose goal was to fill the gap that the disenfranchised and people of color faces in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities. The Foundation is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to underrepresented and emerging artists. Proceeds from Art for Life benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which directly serves over 3,000 inner-city youth each year. Individual tickets range from $1,500 and tables of 10 from $15,000. To become a sponsor or purchase tables/tickets, please contact: Tracey Doolin, Inez Weinstein Special Events, Inc. at: 212.254.6677 or : [email protected] For online tickets visit: bmst.co/ artforlife. For more information, visit www.rushphilanthropic.org, twitter @rush_art, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ RushPhilanthropicArtsFoundation, Instagram @rush_arts and Art for Life hashtag #ArtForLife. Chinedu Echeruo Freada Kapor Klein Mitch Kapor BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net AUDREY'S SOCIETY WHIRL BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 16 Blacks unemployment is said to be best in 6 years (from Page 3) tenths of a percent, compared to an increase of one-tenth of a percent for Whites,” wrote Wilson. “The June employment growth accounts for over half of this increase for African Americans and all of the gains for Latinos and Whites. These gains also bring the Black-White unemployment gap to the lowest level this year at a ratio of 2-to-1.” Wilson added: “The fact that employment is now growing more strongly for African Americans and Latinos demonstrates how critical continued strong job growth will be to further reducing unemployment for people of color and narrowing racial unemployment gaps.” The national unemployment rate was 6.1 percent and employers added 288,000 jobs in June. The jobs numbers for April and May were revised upwards, combining for an additional 29,000 jobs over the twomonth period. Speaking in Washington, D.C. about the latest jobs report, President Barack Obama said that the United States has seen “the fastest job growth in the United States in the first half of the year since 1999” and “the quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years.” Obama continued: “So it gives you a sense that the economy has built momentum, that we are making progress. We’ve now seen almost 10 million jobs created over the course of the last 52 months. And it should be a useful reminder to people all across the country that given where we started back in 2008, we have made enormous strides, thanks to the incredible hard work of the American people and American businesses that have been out there competing, getting smarter, getting more effective.” Stimulating students during summer (from Page 7) tunities are differentially available, with Black and Brown young people less likely to have access to opportunities than others, some organizations are doing the work to ensure that young people are intellectually engaged during the summer, enabling them to return to school ready to do their best work. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and leading light of the Children’s Defense Fund, has developed a Freedom School program that teaches young people civil rights history along with basic skills. Organizations can purchase the curriculum and send staff for training in teaching it. Thousands of young people are being positively impacted by Freedom Schools. Lots of local programs have developed programs that have elements similar to those at the CDF Freedom Schools. A week or so ago, I began my morning with the young people at Wash- ington D.C.’s Southeast Tennis and Learning Center for their “Read Aloud” program. At about 8:30 in the morning, the youngsters, whose ages range from 6 to 15, gather in a circle to hear a book read to them, and to engage in an energetic and affirming ritual. I love the read aloud program because I love looking into the eyes of these young people, to imagine the leaders they will become. I read Faith Ringgold’s Aunt Harriett’s Underground Railroad in the Sky as selected students acted out the words, joined me in song, and applauded each other as the story came to an end. Flashback to preadolescence – the students who played the parts of Cassie and Bebe, a sister and brother separated moving along the railroad were supposed to hug when reunited. While the young man was “up” for the hug, the young woman looked like she wanted to run in another direction. The Read Aloud program ends with a rousing group rendition of Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside,” complete with choreographed hand gestures and motions. Every morning, these 50 or so young’uns are affirming themselves through song. The adults who participate in the Read Aloud program are politicians and business leaders, artists and educators. If they are anything like me, they leave uplifted by the children and their promise of resilience. I’m encouraging those who can to help with a summer enrichment program. Spend a day, a few afternoons, and maybe more time to help provide a summer experience. Funding helps provide great summer opportunities for our youth, and informal programs with a couple of retired teachers and a church basement can go a long way, as well. We cannot afford is to widen the achievement gap by leaving too many of our young people unengaged this summer. Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. ing, this is a time for strengthening not weakening the economic base in Black America. We stand with the Greenville NAACP and Branch President J.M. Flemming in opposing this blatant act of racial injustice. Rev. Flemming, in a recent letter to the new primarily non-Black officials now in control of CertusBank, stated, “But now with the swift termination of the 3 African American executives ‘without cause,’ and aggressive removal of more African American Certus employees, we see a new direction which promotes a climate of bigotry in our community.” Once again, Parren Mitchell’s wise observation about the need to have an organized approach to supporting and defending Blackowned businesses from racial discrimination and injustice rings true. His advocacy for the establishment of Black Business Legal Defense Fund is still needed. We will keep you posted on this case, Drop in Black homeownership rate double that of Whites (from Page 7) The most cost-burdened households – whether renting or owning in 2012 – earned less than $30,000 per year. Working households would need to earn at least $42,200 a year to afford the $1,052 median monthly gross rent charged for new units built in the past four years – well above the income of many renters. Further in 2012, there were only 3.3 million rental units that were affordable and available to 11.5 million extremely low-income households. The added factor of a $3 billion sequestration cut in HUD’s FY2013 budget, led to 42,000 fewer households receiving housing vouchers in 2013 than in 2012. For Black consumers, the news doesn’t get any better. Looking to the future, the report observed, “If mortgage markets cannot accommodate the limited financial resources of this new generation of households, there is a real possibility that fewer Americans will be able to enjoy the benefits of homeownership in the future,” states the report. Calhoun spoke directly to the importance of shared prosperity have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, a condition that Blacks suffer at disproportionate rates compared to Whites. Companies that signed the pledge agreed to review current recruitment and hiring practices said that they would make sure employment listings didn’t discriminate against the longterm unemployed or discourage them from applying. “It’s a sort of economic patriotism where you say to yourself, how is it that we can start rebuilding this country to make sure that all of the young people who are here but their kids and their grandkids are going to be able to enjoy the same incredible opportunities that this country offers as we have,” said Obama. “That’s our job. That’s what we should be focused on.” Biafra war survivors push for reparations (from Page 8) ment while Canada and France helped the Biafrans. The United States declared neutrality, with the Secretary of State explaining that “Nigeria is an area under British influence.” Nevertheless the U.S. provided some military assistance to the Nigeria government. Images of the Biafran war came to life in the recent bestseller by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun – now a movie. It is estimated that up to three million people died due to the conflict, most from hunger and disease. This week, the Reparation Committee of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a 28-page document titled: “Atrocities and Injustices Against Ndigbo,” set out which is now in federal court. Let’s a list of demands and submitnot only read and hear the “Voice t e d t h e m t o P r e s i d e n t of Black America,” let’s respond Goodluck Jonathan. with our activism, energy, prayers, resources, support. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the Interim President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers (from Page 6) Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertiseSo, who is going to take up this ment sales and partnership pro- gauntlet and publish “The State posals at: [email protected]; of Black Euphoria”? and for lectures and other profesIt is obvious that all the other sional consultations at: http:// reports on “The State of Black drbenjaminfchavisjr.wix.com/drbfc America” have not elicited appropriate responses from our people, so maybe we should try to make the best use of our euphoria. It will keep us in a positive state of mind, and even if we miss the mark and fail to “do good,” we will still through greater inclusion in homeownership and how the needs underserved communities and communities of color must be (from Page 6) addressed. “We have got to turn this around,” said Calhoun. “Not just mer. The other purpose of the imso we are serving everybody; but also because everybody is in- peachment gambit continues vested. The whole economy will what has been part of the GOP be profoundly affected by how well playbook from, literally, the night we reverse this homeownership of Obama’s 2009 inauguration: to erode the desire of Democraticgap.” Charlene Crowell is a commu- leaning voters to participate in nications manager with the Cen- politics; to make them so dister for Responsible Lending. She gusted with the relentless obstructionism and meanness the can be reached at: [email protected] GOP has made its true party plat- Black Press: The voice of Black America – Part III (from Page 6) In a statement on June’s jobs report, Chad Stone, the chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote that even though the report showed “encouraging signs that the labor market is healing,” millions of workers continue to struggle through periods of long-term unemployment. Washington lawmakers cut a crucial lifeline when they failed to extend emergency unemployment insurance (UI) at the end of last year. Millions of out-of-work Americans will lose their UI benefits by the end of 2014, if Congress doesn’t act. Earlier this year, the Obama administration encouraged companies to sign a pledge to improve opportunities for workers who It reads in part: “The Federal Government should pay 400 billion naira each to the five states of the South East as compensation to those who lost loved ones, lost properties, and those still suffering dislocation today in Nigeria. Compensation would be made to those Igbos who escaped during the pogroms and war and returned to find their jobs taken, their properties and houses occupied and their Biafran money worthless. This has led to a feeling of an injustice as the Nigerian government policies are seen as further economically disabling the Igbos even long after the war. The group is also asking the Federal Government to invest in a massive re-planning of Igbo cities with proper structures such as provision of urban water works, a sort of Marshall Plan often devised for war-ravaged area. w/pix of war memoir by Chinua Acheb. The state of Black euphoria “feel good.” To borrow a phrase from the president’s State of the Union address, “Brothers and Sisters, the State of Black Euphoria is strong!” Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com. GOP’s impeachment gambit form that they’ll give up. But Democratic-leaning voters have to continue – as the national black electorate did in 2012 and as Black Mississippi voters did last month — to follow the words and the spirit of the old civil rights anthem whose signature phrase was: “ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round!” Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. keyboards; conferencer Bluetooth speaker/microphones; mirrored phone cases; battery charging cases. Visit mogulsmobile.com John is cofounder of the FUBU (For Us By By Victoria Horsford Us) urban clothing line, which opened in the early 90s and INTERNATIONALAFFAIRS which once boasted annual worldwide grosses of $350 milTHE US/AFRICA SUMMIT: lion. On January 21, the White House press office announced that ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT President Barack Obama would New York artist Karen host the 2014 US-AFRICA LEADERS SUMMIT in Wash- Taylor’s one woman show, RIFFS ington, DC, on August 5/6. The ON RACE, LOVE AND WAR: The SUMMIT would “further Musical, is a part of the behemoth strengthen (US) ties with one of 2014 NY International Fringe Festhe world’s most dynamic and tival. RIFFS is part family memoir fastest growing regions.” It did –African American and African not mention that Africa is the Caribbean – and part social comworld’s richest piece of natural mentary which sits on a foundaresources real estate, which all tion of song, which includes non African nations covet. Pre- spirituals, rock R&B, opera, acsumably all 54 African nations’ companied by 10 onstage musileaders were invited. Under the cians. RIFFS playdates are Auaegis of that SUMMIT, the US gust 9/13/16/18/22 at the Department of Commerce, Flamboyan Theatre at the headed by Penny Pritzker, and Clemente, located at 107 Suffolk Bloomberg Philanthropies will Street, Manhattan . The NY Inco-host a US-Africa Business ternational Fringe Festival is the Forum. The SUMMIT is the first largest annual multi art show in of its kind for a sitting American North America and opens on president. SUMMIT is attract- August 8. Tickets are $18. Visit ing lots of media attention, both fringenyc.org or karendtaylor.net Justin Emeka’s adaptation of mainstream media attention and Black press. Mainstream head- William Shakespeare’s ROMEO N lines read “Obama’s US-Africa JULIET is the bomb! While strucLeaders Summit Breaks Tradi- turally faithful to Shakespeare’s tion,” and “Obama’s High Risk tragedy, the protagonists are Summit.” The Black press, espe- Black. The Montagues and cially the NNPA essays are ex- Capulets are not so much antagotremely supportive or extremely nistic clans as they are warring cynical. The RSVP list has not gang-like members. Verona is been publicized. We do know more like an American urban sethowever that President Obama ting where gunfire and deaths are will not be available for any one- commonplace. And Romeo’s on-one talks with the African cousin wears a cape that reLeaders attending the SUMMIT. sembles the Jamaican flag. The The 7/13 NY Times book families party to background section finally reviewed the music which resembles reggae Howard French page turner, and soca. This ingenious adapCHINA’S SECOND CONTI- tation of the Bill’s story about NENT: How A Million Migrants doomed young lovers, has a fine, Are Building A New Empire In competent cast as comfortable Africa. The picture painted was with Elizabethan dialogue as they not a salutary one for indig- are with the nuanced theatrics enous Africans. See the item and dream sequences, which below about China and the make the experience so contemporary, like a story off the pages HBCUs. of the NY Daily News or a BET blog. ROMEO N JULIET is perFOREIGN AFFAIRS formed in Marcus Garvey Park FIFA NOTES: Why did the 5 through July 27 and admission is participating FIFA African teams free. Visit www.cthnyc.org. Broadway musical HOLLER - Algeria, Cameroon, Cote Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria - all formi- IF YA HEAR ME, based on the dable soccer players disqualify lyrics and music by rapper Tupac so early in the 4-week competi- Shakur and directed by Tony tion? Some speculators said that Awardee, Kenny Leon, will close it was about payments to the on Sunday, July 20. players. Why did more than 200 EDUCATION UPDATES Ghanaian soccer fans apply for political asylum in Brazil? They Last week, HBCU presidents alleged that it is about religious intolerance back home? Ghana met Chinese government brass in Beijing to sign a Memorandum of denies it. Understanding for Exchange Program Scholarships to benefit 1000 BLACK ENTERPRISE HBCU students who will study Daymond John, one of the in China. The following HBCUs business reality show, SHARK were signatories to the historic TANK co-stars is testing new Memo of Understanding: Xavier, entrepreneurial sites. He Howard, Tougaloo, Morehouse, launches Moguls Mobile, a Hampton, Bowie State, Spelman Manhattan based, company this and Morgan State. week. Targeted to today’s uber The Class of 2014: Joel Beazer professionals on the go Moguls graduated with highest honors Mobile offers mobile accessory from HS in Antigua-Barbuda and Harvard bound. products like Bluetooth Querty is ……..Jamerican Shanelle Davis graduated with honors from the Benjamin Cardoza HS in Queens, NY and will attend Harvard University. Mr. Beazer and Ms Davis are Harvard Class of 2018. Their class includes 176 Blacks, the largest ever Black freshman group in Harvard’s history.……Middle school graduate Elijah Thiam will attend the prestigious Lawrenceville, a 4-year coeducational boarding and day school, in September. Sitoe Thiam, Class of 2015, NY private HS coed, was admitted to Stanford University’s special summer robotics program. Vy Higginsen’s Mama Foundation holds Auditions for its Gospel for Teens Program scholarship, for classes which begin on October 4. Teenagers between 13-19 are invited. Audition dates are 7/29/31 and September 19/20/27. Call 212.280.1045 or visit mamafoundation.org. Education Week reported that delegates to the 2014 Annual NEA National Education Association’s annual convention passed a new business item calling for US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign. NEWSMAKERS LeBron James Penny Pritzer Karen Taylor Former Miami Heat king LeBron James, LBJ, commanded almost as much media ink as the FIFA games in Brazil. Cleveland and the Cavaliers are euphoric about the native son’s return. Economists predict that LBJ’s return will generate about $500 million in Clevelands revenues during the NBA season. Revenue variables included ticket sales and bloating revenues at hotels, bars and restaurants near the basketball arena. Special birthday greetings to Will Anthony, Dr. Betty Holme’s Anthony’s husband, who turns 80 this week. Many happy returns! Ghana-born, New York -based fine artist, TAFA, is named Artist of the Month/ July by NAMOS National Art Museum of Sports. SUMMER PLEASURES CALENDAR Justin Emeka Daymond John Howard French July 26: Russell Simmons and Danny Simmons and the Board of the Directors of the RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation will cohost the 15 th Annual ARTS FOR LIFE Hamptons Gala at Fairview Farms, Bridgehampton, NY. Festivities begin at 6 pm, including cocktails, dinner and program. Tickets from $1500. Call 212.254.6677 for reservations. AUGUST 1: The documentary film FINDING FELA: Music is the Weapon by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, makes its national theatrical release at IFC Center located at 323 Avenue of the Americas. Visit www.findingfela.com AUGUST 2/6: The 2014 NMA Annual Convention will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The National Medical Association is the country’s premier largest organization of African American physicians. Visit: nmanet.org. A public relations consultant, Victoria Horsford is also a Harlem based journalist who can be contacted at: [email protected] BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net WHAT’S GOING ON 17 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 18 NNPA Award Winner Enter tainment By Don Thomas In Brooklyn Maa Sa Akhi Performing Arts Academy celebrates 15 years of music education Maa Sa Akhi Performing Arts Academy recently celebrated its 15th anniversary with energy and style at PS 249 in Brooklyn. Students ages 3-15 showcased their talents on piano, guitar, bass, drums and violin. The program was organized by instruments and levels, from beginner instrumentalists to advanced, solo and ensemble performances. The Rhythm Babies set the program off with a fiery march on snare drums, followed by beginner piano student solo and duet pieces. Performing next were the violin and guitar students, and then intermediate pianists. This half of the program concluded with two of the recital’s outstanding performances, by Sebastian and Samien Mesadieu, both eight years old twins. Sebastian played Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and halfway through the middle second section the audience applauded. When he concluded, he received the show’s first standing ovation. The second standing ovation went to his brother, Samien after his playful rendition of Clementi’s “Sonatina Op.…” It should be noted that Sebastian also plays drums and Samien electric bass in Maa Sa Akhi’s Wee Rock Band program for kids. Later, the twins performed “My Girl” with their father Sam Marquise Sutton (left) leads the Maa Sa Akhi Singers and Wee Rock Band in a rousing rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” Harlem Got Talent was held at the Frederick E Samuel I, II, III Community Center in the Village of Harlem. Opening remarks were made by Clyde Frazier, Sr. (second left) executive director. Musical Director Hal Keshner accompanied the children and Raheim (left) from GQ (band) was a special guest Mesadieu on trombone. “These kids are just taking off,” said Jay Despinosse, the school’s publicity liason and the parent of a Maa Sa Akhi student. A portion of the student performances included music by classical music composers of African descent. That has been part of Maa Sa Akhi’s mission: to bring the music of these composers to the attention of the public. One African-American composer who performed was none other than Maa Sa Akhi director herself, Hefen Sa Akhi. Two of her original compositions, “Winner” and “Going to the Top” (the latter serving as the theme of the recital) received a lively performance by the school’s singers. At the conclusion of the program, students were honored with awards and prizes. The many honors were a true reflection of the excellence and scholarship that has been the hallmark of this Brooklyn institution for the past 15 years. To find out more about Maa Sa Akhi, course offerings for the summer and fall, call: 347414-5486 or check out their website: www.brooklynmusicandarts.com. AUDREY’S REEL WHIRL with film reviewer Audrey J. Bernard how far they will go to protect themselves and, ultimately, each other, as they fight to survive a night fraught with impossible decisions. The story begins with a haunted loner, Leo (Frank Grillo), a sergeant who has suffered the loss of his son prior to tonight. Arming himself with enough The Purge: Anarchy Poster When you want to get the job done right, you have actor Michael K. Williams in your cast! Williams is in the new Universal Pictures’ new thriller The Purge: Anarchy where he plays Carmelo, a character who attempts to inform Americans about the truth of the Purge and its countless poor and homeless victims. Down with capitalism! Rid the country of covetousness! Give America back to its people! The New Founders of America (NFA) invite you to celebrate your annual right to Purge. The Purge: Michael K. Williams stars as Carmello Anarchy, the sequel to summer 2013’s sleeper hit that opened to No. 1 at the box-office, sees the return of writer/director James Demonaco (writer of The Negotiator, Assault on Precinct 13) to craft the next terrifying chapter of dutiful citizens preparing for their country’s yearly 12 hours of anarchy. Returning alongside Demonaco to produce The Purge: Anarchy are Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity and Insidious series), alongside Sébastien K. Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13, Four Lovers) and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay (Pain & Gain, Transformers franchise), Brad Fuller (The Amityville Horror, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th). In 2013, the country responded to the provocative concept that on one night every year, any and all crime is made legal. Audiences turned The Purge into a surprise summer hit as the film debuted at No. 1 with an astonishing $34.1 million weekend at the domestic box office. After witnessing the response to the film and listening to the conversations that it provoked, Demonaco quickly returned to the explosive universe that he created with an even more arresting idea for a sequel: placing the audience outside on the streets during the annual Purge. A speculative thriller that shows us what occurs during The Purge outside of the confines of a suburban neighborhood, The Purge: Anarchy returns us to a dystopic future. Our government, now re-engi- Director James Demonaco on the Another night of purging is coming neered by the NFA, has sanctioned set of Purge: The Anarchy its annual 12-hour Purge to ensure that the crime rate stays below one percent for the rest of the year. With police and hospitals suspending help, it’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment or fear of retribution. It’s time to take to the streets for anarchy. The new story follows an unlikely group of five citizens who, over the course of the night, find out just Grillo and his group of survivors- guns and body armor to make it until dawn, he is a man possessed…and one clearly going out on a vigilante mission of vengeance against those responsible for his loss. Grillo and his band of survivors will keep you glued to your seat. The action is fast and non-stop and adrenalin junkies will revel in it. Nothing about this movie is predictable because just when you think you know what’s going to happen, up pops a Purger who will scare the hell out of you! And do not fear when Williams is in the house because he shuts it down! The Boardwalk star is a good guy who saves the day – or is it the night – until the next day? I smell another Purge in the making. Demonaco has a winning anarchic formula and if it ain’t broke, please don’t fix it. Universal Pictures Presents A Platinum Dunes /Blumhouse / Why Not Production written and directed by James Demonaco and starring Frank Grillo, Michael K. Williams, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoë Soul, Ejustina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel G., Castulo Guerra, Edwin Hodge, and Keith Stanfield. The Purge: Anarchy is executive produced by Jeanette Volturno-Brill, Luc Etienne and produced by Jason Blum P.G.A., Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, and Sébastien K. Lemercier P.G.A. The Purge: Anarchy opens nationwide on Friday, July 18, 2014. The M.P.A.A. “R” Rated film has a running time of 103 minutes. (Photos courtesy Universal Pictures) BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net Michael K. Williams is wired for action in ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ 19 20 In Jamaica Queens BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net ‘Groovin’ In The Park,’ a huge success On a picture perfect summer day in Jamaica, Queens, New York, thousands of music lovers took up early positions at the Roy Wilkins Park to enjoy “Groovin’ In The Park,” a con- cert featuring an impressive lineup of music talent, mainly from the world of reggae. A huge magnet for the near capacity crowd was reggae icon Marcia Griffiths who is Marcia Griffiths performed her hit “Electric Boogie” Beres Hammond thrilled the crowd celebrating 50 years in the music business and who had brought along a powerful army of veterans to help her mark this musical milestone. Among her friends - Bob Chronixx, a newcomer to New York City Ken Boothe delivered his ‘70s hit single “Everything I Own” A n d y, J u d y M o w a t t , K e n Boothe, (who replaced an ailing John Holt), Tony Gregory and Lady G. The show opened with a rising stars section that featured Congo Brainz, Kamsha, Tasha T, Faraji and Ky-enie who all delivered stellar performances, followed by performances from L.U.S.T.- Lukie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody and Tony Curtis. Marcia and her friends performed afterwards and blew the audience away with an unending catalogue of popular and cherished classics. Up next was Chronixx who is still relatively new to the New York audience and he was warmly received as he belted out a list of popular hits including “Smile Jamaica” and “Behind Curtain.” The park transformed to wonderland when reggae luminary Beres Hammond took to the stage and crooned his first note, electrifying the evening with hit after hit. He was joined for a few minutes by hit machine Shaggy and absolute musical magic reigned. Australian pop duo Air Supply took over from Beres, belting out their chart-topping singalong list of love songs. “This show is simply amazing and its great to see our Caribbean people enjoying it all in peace, love and unity,” Yvette Clarke, US Congresswoman from Brooklyn said. She attended with her mom Una and a few friends and to present congressional proclamations for several of the veteran reggae artists whose collective contribution to the genre spans almost 300 years. (D.T.) Now hear this! – ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ set to close Holler If Ya Hear Me Palace Theatre Marquee considered an “icon.” Speaking on behalf of the producers, Eric L. Gold said “We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production. The cast, musicians, production and creative teams gave more than just their professional excellence but contributed their passion as well. My hope is that a production of this caliber, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves. It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac’s urgent socially important insights and the audiences’ nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world.” To that I add, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The producers should be proud that they have put a crack in the Broadway ceiling. Hopefully, the next play of this brand will break through. Holler, the world inside Tupac Shakur’s music and lyrics, blazes to life in a non-biographical story about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope. Inner city lives struggle for peace against the daily challenges they face in this entertaining and original musical. Through the poetry of one of the 20th century’s most influential and culturally prominent voices, we are given a window into realities of the streets still relevant today. The musical features over 20 songs including “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” “California Love,” “I Get Around,” “Thugz Mansion,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Dear Mama,” “Me Against the World,” “Unconditional Love” and “Hail Mary.” “Pac’s” luminescence is intensely captured by writer Todd Kreidler and energetically directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon whose dexterous direction will make you holla! Holler stars award-winning slam poet, actor, singer, musician Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone, Dyllon Burnside, Jahi Kearse and Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins. The captivating cast also features Tracee Beazer, Afi Bijou, Mel Charlot, Carrie Compere, Otis Cotton, Ryan Davis, Brandon Gill, Ari Groover, F. Michael Haynie, Jared Joseph, Muata Langley, Candace Maxwell, Valentine Norton, Christina Sajous, Charlene “Chi Chi” Smith, Jaime Lincoln Smith, Donald Webber Jr. and Joaquina Kalukango. Theater Talk is always a breezy and fun take on what’s happening on Broadway. Very realistic! Very upbeat! Even if the play is negative in nature this column will always find something good to share with its readers. Theater Talk covers what’s coming to Broadway and, when it lands, Opening Nights, in a very lavish manner! On a whole, this column does not deal with Broadway closings and this is the first one of its kind because the closing of Broadway’s Holler If Ya Hear Me, the new musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, closing Sunday, July 20, 2014 at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway at 47th Street, New York City, is shameful. Holler began previews June 2, 2014. As of that date, the musical will have played 38 regular performances and 17 preview performances. The musical drama had a star-studded Opening Night on June 19, 2014 followed by a fabulous party at the premium party venue, Gotham Hall, where I sat in the company of Bridget Bland-Bogee, Karu F. Daniels and Laverne Perry Kennedy, who had, for the most part, favorable comments especially Bland-Bogee who grew up on Shakur’s music and recited his lyrics line for line in the theater as the audience sat buoyed by the haunting performances. Now although I did not grow up on the beloved author’s music, I loved his free Opening Night Curtain Call: The cast of Holler If Ya Hear Me take a deserving bow spirit aura and got in the mood of the evening by wearing a Tupac Shakur T-shirt that I purchased from Forever 21 (how apropos) for a fraction of what it was selling for at the Theater. So why have I strayed from my usual reporting? Because I’m mad as hell that the play was not given a better chance to prove its relativity! The Broadway crowd is a very elite group mainly because they can afford the pricey tickets. It’s a crowd that fears what they don’t understand – at least as far as their understanding of anyone who looks different from them. However, Holler offered The cast of Holler on red carpet at after party Holler's Tonya Pinkins, Jaime so many teachable moments that if Lincoln Smith the regular theatergoers understood the lyrics, they would see that there was no need to fear liking something different – something out of their comfort zone. The premature closing of Holler douses those thoughts as well as shuts down the opportunity for Shakur fans to hear his thought-provoking music resonate on a Broadway stage. It closed down the notion that some of his fans would have a reason to attend a Broadway play – some for the very first time. What a tribute that would be to someone they The ladies of Holler at post party celebration Kenny Leon, Karu F. Daniels Holler boasts an A-1 creative team: Tony Award winning choreographer Wayne Cilento, and musical supervisor Daryl Waters. The creative team also includes scenic design by Edward Pierce based on original concepts by David Gallo, projections by Zachary G. Borovay, costumes by Reggie Ray, lighting by Mike Baldassari, sound by John Shivers and David Patridge and casting by Caparelliotis Casting. Adrian Bryan-Brown and Susanne Tighe and Christine Olver of Boneau Bryan-Brown handle press/publicity. Holler If Ya Hear Me is produced on Broadway by Afeni Shakur, Eric L. Gold, Chunsoo Shin, Jessica Green, Marcy Kaplan-Gold and Anita Waxman. General Manager is Richard Martini for KL Management. For additional information, visit: www.HollerIfYaHearMe.com (Photos courtesy Bruce [email protected]) Holler director Kenny Leon with star Saul Williams Holler's music director Zane Holler's music Mark with daughter Crys- supervisor & ortal and wife Adriane Lenox chestrator Daryl Waters Holler's Mike Baldassari, Wayne Cilento, Kenny Leon, Edward Pierce Crystal Mark and Audrey J. Bernard show off their Tupac T-shirts (Photo by Karu F. Daniels) BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net THEATRICAL TALK with Theater Reviewer Audrey J. Bernard 21 22 Flick Chat BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net Shades of ‘Taken’ in Nicolas Cage’s ‘Rage’ By Kam Williams Senior Movie Critic In recent years, Nicholas Cage has made a lot of mediocre movies, and “Rage” is no exception. This B-movie action flick might be best thought of as an unapologetic ripoff of the Liam Neeson vigilante vehicle “Taken.” But where Neeson was a retired CIA agent, Cage plays a reformed ex-con. And while the former was frantically searching for his miss- ing daughter, the latter is looking for whoever fired a fatal bullet into the head of his daughter. As for the villains, Taken’s were Albanian sex traffickers while Rage’s are Russian mobsters. Otherwise, the stories are similar enough to warrant a comparison. At the point of departure we find Paul Maguire (Cage) and his trophy wife, Vanessa (Rachel ‘Earth to Echo’ shows shades of ‘E.T.’ The cast of ‘Earth to Echo’ By Kam Williams Most people know “E.T.” revolves around several kids who befriend an alien stranded on Earth and eager to return home before ill-intentioned adults can do him any harm. That comingof-age classic landed four Academy Awards back in 1983, and was even voted the best sci-fi of all time in a recent survey by Rotten Tomatoes. But if you’re too young to remember Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming adventure, or if it’s been so long since you saw it that the storyline’s a little fuzzy, have I got an homage for you. Much about “Earth to Echo” just screams remake, starting with the picture’s vaguely-familiar promotional poster which similarly features a human hand reaching out to touch an extra-terrestrial. Still, this delightful variation on the theme endeavors to refresh the original by incorporating current cultural staples, ranging from texting shorthand to social media. So, when the protagonists here communicate with each other, they often rely on inscrutable slang apt to befuddle fuddy-duddies unfamiliar with the lexicon employed by today’s average adolescent. At this found-footage flick’s point of departure, we find narrator Tuck (Astro) lamenting the impending separation from his BFFs Alex (Teo Halm) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) when their Nevada neighborhood is razed in a week to make way for a turnpike. The plot thickens after all their cell phones inexplicably “barf” simultaneously, and they decide to discern the source of the mysterious malfunction. Equipped with a camcorder and state-of-the-art spyglasses, the youngsters ride their bikes into the desert in the middle of the night accompanied by a cute rebel (Ella Wahlestedt) with her own reason for running away from home. GPS sends the sleuths to a site in the desert where, lo and behold, they find Echo, a cuddly visitor from another galaxy with pressing issues akin to the aforementioned “E.T.” The kids, of course, kick it into high gear on his behalf, keeping just a step ahead of the untrustworthy authorities. Their noble efforts inexorably lead to a satisfying resolution every bit as syrupy as Spielberg’s. An unapologetic retread bordering on plagiarism that nevertheless provides the perfect, popcorn summer escape for the tyke and ‘tweener demographics. Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG for action, peril and mild epithets. Running time: 92 minutes. Distributor: Relativity Media. Nichols), bidding his sweet 16 year-old (Aubrey Peeples) adieu for the evening as they head out to dinner at a local restaurant. The overprotective father makes a point of impressing upon Caitlin’s boyfriend, Mike (Max Fowler), that he doesn’t want any hanky-panky on the premises in his absence. However, what actually transpires proves to be far worse than anything he imagined, for he gets a call from Detective St. John (Danny Glover) informing him of a break-in back at the house. Turns out that Caitlin’s been kidnapped and, based on the clues supplied by Mike, Paul suspects that her abductors might be the same ruthless Russian gang he’d had the temerity to rip off 19 years earlier. Sadly, her lifeless body is soon discovered, and all the evidence points to the posse’s kingpin, Chernov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff). So, rather than let the police solve the crime, Paul opts to take the law into his own hands, and rounds up a couple of his tough buddies (Max Ryan and Michael McGrady) before embarking on a revenge-fueled reign of terror armed to the teeth. Gritty and gruesome, Rage is an unapologetic splatterfest featuring pyrotechnics, pistol-whipping, stabbing and slow-motion senseless slaughter murders via sawed-off shotgun. The body count gets pretty high en route to the protagonists’ surprising showdown with Chernov, a barrel-chested Vladimir Putin lookalike. Think “Taken” with a heckuva twist! Good (2 stars). Unrated. Running time: 98 minutes. Distributor: RLJ/ Image. Entertainment. financing: Out of State Real Estate www.helderbergrealty.com CALL Sebastian, Florida Beautiful 55+ Buy or sell at AARauctions.com. HENRY: 518-861-6541 manufactured home community. 4.4 Contents of homes, businesses, vehicles and real estate. Bid NOW! 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Owner BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net CLASSIFIED 23 BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014 newyorkbeacon.net 24 BEACON Marc Rasbury SPORTS Carmelo Anthony stays put By Marc Rasbury From the moment Carmelo Anthony proclaimed that he was going to opt out of the final year of his contract prior to the start of last season, most New York Knicks fans, at least the ones with common sense, feared the worst. The Knicks mortgaged the franchise a few years ago to bring the superstar to the Big Apple. With the threat of him leaving, there was a chance that the organization could have ended up empty handed without Anthony or any championships to speak of. Well, Blue and Orange fans relax. Melo and the Knicks agreed to a five-year deal worth 122 million dollars on Monday. That ended a yearlong anxiety period that had most basketball pundits in this area sweating profusely. This signing still doesn’t guarantee a ticket the Finals, but it gives Phil Jackson and Company a foundation to build upon. OK Melo is not Lebrun James but there are only few individuals who can even be mentioned in the same breath as The Chosen One. Melo, However, is one of the top five-to-ten overall players in the League and definitely one of the top scorers of his generation. The dude can flat out score. He can hit from long range. He can put the rock on floor. He can post up. And at 6’8” and strong as an ox, Melo can do it all. It is my humble opinion that he will thrive in the triangle offense as long as he buys into the concept. Most of his professional career he has relied on his God-given gifts and court savvy to score almost at will. His critics will proclaim that he holds on to the ball too long something that will not hold well with Head Coach Derek Fisher and Jackson. But once he realizes that the game and more importantly his shots will come easier with more ball movement and movement without the ball, then the sky will be the limit for this young man. Once again the key will be Anthony buying into the offense that has made Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant champions. It will be professionally irresponsible to mention MJ and Kobe without stating that they had help with the triangle offense. Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Paxon, Horace Grant and Toni Kukoc. Of course Kobe had Shaquille O’Neal, Robert Horry, Ron Harper, Derek Fisher and Rick Fox. Pippen and O’Neal will go down as two of the greatest players that have picked up a basketball. But what made the triangle offense so special in Jackson’s previous stops were the role players. Paxon, Harper, BJ Armstrong, Fox and Kukoc were solid players but they were not superstars. However, they strived in that system because they knew their roles and delivered when called upon. Thus far in his brief tenure as Team President, Jackson is collecting similar role players like he had in Chicago and Los Angeles. He sent Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler packing and got back Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalenbert and two draft picks which turned out to be Class 2013. Pictured here at the 2004 All Star Game, Lebron James Cleanthony Early and Thanasis and Carmelo Anthony were part of the rookie class that changed the Antetokounmpo . Calderon is tai- game lored made for the triangle offense with his outside shooting. Dalenbert is a poor man’s Chandler so you do not loose too much there. Larkin and Antetokounmpo have been impressive thus far in the Las Vegas Summer League. And I believe Early will be the steal of the draft. Add the new additions to the roster Jackson inherited and we might have something here. Some including yours truly feel that Tim Hardaway Jr. should have a breakout year. Hopefully, Jackson and Fisher can get to Iman Shumpert and J.R.Smith and if they cannot then they could be packaged with some of the expiring contracts that Jackson has at his disposal. Speaking of those expiring contracts, should Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani give Jackson anything on the court this season, things can interesting around here. The one thing that Smith, Stoudemire, Barngani and Shumpert give Jackson is options. When was the last time anyone could say that the Knicks have tradable commodities? Now they do. Perhaps Jackson can put something together to bring in that Robin-like player to match up with his secured Batman in Melo. And then next year if he still has the cap space he can bring in another near max-like talent. It has been a while since the Knicks have had this much flexibility. Based on that alone, Jackson has earned his money thus far. With Melo in place, the Knicks future looks bright. With another couple of moves, the Knicks could be thrust into the Eastern Conference Finals Mix. For once the Knicks future looks bright. Cleveland Conspiracy: LeBron and Gilbert’s plan? By Derrel Jazz Johnson When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat with ‘The Decision’ four years ago, we saw images of Cleveland Cavaliers fans burning his jersey as he became arguably the most hated athlete in professional sports. Four years later, the prodigal son returns to his native land, to the delight of those in Ohio. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have stock-piled talent, acquiring the first overall pick in the NBA Draft three of the last four years. Could LeBron and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert have planned this all along? Those who know LeBron well praise his business acumen, and Gilbert, an NBA owner who is also the owner of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, clearly has succeeded in this arena, so one question begs to be asked: was it possible? LeBron said in his state- ment released Friday through Sports Illustrated that he always saw himself returning to play for the Cavs. “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when.” If he knew four years ago that he would return, could they, simply with a handshake deal, have planned this all, including the letter Gilbert wrote? He called LeBron disloyal and cursed, deemed his decision heartless, and guaranteed the Cavs would win a championship before the Heat. There are some, including myself, who believe Miami should have won three championships with LeBron, so the notion of them not winning at all is nonsensical, and the idea of Cleveland winning before them even more so. But boy does Cleveland look like a winner now. The Cavs drafted Kyrie Irving with the top pick in 2011 NBA Draft and Dion Waiters with the fourth overall pick in the LeBron James 2012 draft. Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins were drafted with the top pick in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and now add King James, a former top pick himself, as the leader of this talented group, with his former teammates Ray Allen and Mike Miller expected to sign as well, and you have an instant contender. In hindsight, especially over the last week or so, it seems obvious that LeBron was headed back to Cleveland, and though it may not be as clear, James, who clearly knows how to keep a secret, and Dan Gilbert could have fooled us all to build a winner in Cleveland. Either way, after four horrible seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have returned to prominence and LeBron James will get a great deal of credit for it, but how much does the King deserve? We may never know the truth, but if James was able to pull this off, he is even better off the court than he is on it.
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