Insight News

Saturday
Dec 20th

Commentary

Katrina revealed race and poverty

(NNPA) – The Black Leadership Forum, led by the Hip Hop Caucus, returned to New Orleans last Sunday, August 29 —the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—to raise righteous voices of indignation for the right of return and the rebuilding of housing for the poor.


As much as the Emmit Till murder did 55 years ago, Hurricane Katrina pulled back the cultural curtains and revealed the intersecting roads of race and poverty in the United States of America. In both cases, America’s egalitarian myth of civility to all her citizens was shattered by the photo of Till’s open casket in Chicago (Jet Magazine) and news images (CNN) of African Americans treated as animals and “refugees” in New Orleans.
Before and after Hurricane Katrina the City of New Orleans has been a case study in the oppressive confluence of race and poverty on African Americans. Prior to Katrina, New Orleans had the highest percentage of public housing residents in the nation, many of who were allowed to live poorly policed, sub-standard living conditions.
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"Black power": Not yet

“Politics without economics is symbol without substance” - Minister Louis Farrakhan

August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.  The landmark legislation outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.  But, 45 years after the legislation Blacks nor their vote have attained  “Black Power”.
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CitySongs: UROC program nurtures art, culture

(NNPA) - In late July, both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the National Urban League’s Centennial Conference about what the President called “an issue that I believe will largely determine not only African American success, but the success of our nation in the 21st century — and that is whether we are offering our children the very best education possible.” Right now, of course, the answer is, “no” so President Obama and Secretary Duncan were there to speak about the Administration’s plans for education reform.


American education, which used to be the envy of the world, is in dire straits. The U.S. ranks 21st among 25 developed countries on overall educational achievement for 15-year-olds. Many public school students are struggling; minority children and poor children are struggling most. Too often they fall behind in school and drop out, increasing their risk of entering the cradle to prison pipeline. Staying in school and receiving a quality education are the best deterrents to juvenile delinquency and the surest route towards responsible, productive adulthood.
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Where are the Garveyites?

Aug 17, 2010, marks the 123rd anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey.  The legend of Garvey is based on his leadership toward Blacks’ pride and self-determination.  When Garvey died in 1940, European countries dominated the world.  But, it was his teachings that spurred uprisings and rising expectations of among colonies.  Though Garvey had passed, it was his ideology that was the basis of the 5th Pan-African Congress agenda in 1945 in Manchester, England.  That event was attended by Black legends such as Kwame Nkrumah, W.E.B. DuBois and Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta and, through the influence of Garvey, marked the first time Africans from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States, got together to design programs for the future independence of Africa.
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Pay teachers now!

It’s no secret that the American economy is in shambles; every sector is feeling the pinch. The nation’s public school system, which has long struggled with issues related to under funding, has been hit particularly hard. In fact, the states all but begged the federal government for a safety net just as teachers around the country were being laid off. So, it’s surprising that, with billions in federal funds set aside so that schools could hire needed staff, school districts around the country aren’t making any moves.

In early August, President Obama signed a $26 billion federal aid package that granted $10 billion to the country’s school districts. The money would allow schools to keep existing teachers on staff or rehire those who had been laid off, as well as bring on new teachers, counselors, and other school staff. Instead of moving quickly and creating a hiring boom, many states began thinking of ways to save the money so that it could be used for other school years and purposes.
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Tolerance and the Ground Zero Mosque


I am fascinated that the same people who have been able to find a Constitutional right to government control of education, healthcare, and the energy industry are unable to divine from that same document any rational basis for the government to prevent a mosque from being built on Ground Zero. 

Of course, the issue is not whether the American Society for Muslim Advancement has a constitutional right to build a 13-story, mosque, and community center within 600 feet of Ground Zero.  There are a number of things citizens have a right to do—things that the constitutional protection of speech protects—that people of good conscience choose not to do and that others might view as offensive or insulting.
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Avoid blood diamonds


Diamonds are a girl’s – or rapper or baller's - best friend; this we know. But, these precious stones are also at the core of some of the greatest atrocities known to man.  “Blood diamonds” or conflict diamonds, as they are called, are diamonds mined in war zones and then used to fund violent militias; they’re most common in Africa, where about two thirds of the world’s diamonds are produced.  As governments and organizations around the world have become more of ‘blood diamonds’ and the roles they play in war, actions have been taken to limit their appearance in the market place. We too can, and should, do our part to make sure any bling we might buy is conflict free.
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