Beacon NICE TO BE HOME Tracy Morgan released from hospital

New York’s
Vol. 21 No. 29
Showing the Way to Truth and Justice
July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
[email protected]
75 Cents
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
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
“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 [1] or
ney Thompson said.
[2], 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-
“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
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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
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
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
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
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
But Andy Ingraham, president
and CEO of NABHOOD, few of
those dollars turn over in the Black
“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
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
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
Lobby and Conestoga Wood v.
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
“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
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
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
Walter Fields is Executive Editor
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
A challenge for the hip hop generation
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
The state of Black euphoria
By James Clingman
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
“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)
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
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
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
site, You can
also follow him at
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
“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
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
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
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
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
Asabe served Nicholas Kristof, Times jourKwambura who feared that the in- nalist.
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
“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
“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
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
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
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
Miss Susie, New York State’s oldest resident, turns 115
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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, 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
[email protected]
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
By Eulene Inniss
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
(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.
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
artforlife. For more information,
twitter @rush_art, Facebook
Instagram @rush_arts and Art
for Life hashtag #ArtForLife.
Chinedu Echeruo
Freada Kapor Klein
Mitch Kapor
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
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 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)
“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
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
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
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
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His
latest book is Last Chance: The
Political Threat to Black America.
Bluetooth speaker/microphones;
mirrored phone cases; battery
Visit 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 or
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
of the NY Daily News or a BET
formed in Marcus Garvey Park
FIFA NOTES: Why did the 5 through July 27 and admission is
participating FIFA African teams free. Visit
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
Michael K. Williams is wired for
action in ‘The Purge: Anarchy’
In Jamaica Queens
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
‘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
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
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
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: (Photos
Bruce [email protected])
Holler director Kenny Leon with star Saul
Holler's music director Zane Holler's music
Mark with daughter Crys- supervisor & ortal and wife Adriane Lenox chestrator Daryl
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.
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
THEATRICAL TALK with Theater Reviewer Audrey J. Bernard
Flick Chat
BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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BEACON, July 17, 2014 - July 23, 2014
Marc Rasbury
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
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.