Insight News

Oct 13th


Malcolm X and Haitian Flag Days - Building bonds of unity between Haitians and African Americans

Malcolm X and Haitian Flag Days - Building bonds of unity between Haitians and African AmericansMay 18 marks the 207th anniversary of the creation of the Haitian Flag by freedom fighters determined to defeat the formidable invading army of Napoleon Bonaparte to achieve independence, and declare Haiti the world's first Black Republic. May 19 is the 85 birthday or Kuzaliwa of El Hajji Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X, one of the most fierce, feared and revolutionary freedom fighters the African world has ever known. As the first Black Republic seeks to build a new nation out of the ashes of one of the most devastating earthquakes ever experienced in the Caribbean, it occurs to me that the proximity of these commemorations offers an excellent opportunity to promote unity between Haitians and African Americans.



Thurgood Marshall protégé?

Solicitor General of the United States Elena Kagan has been, thanks to her recent nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, thrust into the spotlight. The media wants to learn more about her while Congress is unearthing her background to see if she’s fit to serve on the nation’s highest court. While Kagan waits - and politics - to see if she’ll secure the spot, many are left wondering if her time serving as a clerk to former Supreme Court Justice  and civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall has in any way shaped her legal and world views. To conservatives, any influence Marshall may have had would be a bad thing. Champions of justice, however, hope Kagan has retained some of Marshall’s perspectives.

Critics are quick to point out that Kagan, who clerked for the justice in 1988, is no Thurgood Marshall. No one expects her to be.  Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice and former Chief Counsel of the NAACP, won an impressive 29 Supreme Court victories as a litigator, including Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark case that found separate and unequal schools unconstitutional.

Dr. Elliott "Dad" Mason, Sr.: A great prayer warrior

Dr. Elliott At Dr. Elliott Mason, Sr.’s infant dedication in 1922, the pastor at his family’s New Orleans church prophesied he would grow up to be a preacher. How true that vision turned out to be! Dr. Mason preached his first sermon at age 16—the same year he entered Dillard University, where he was honored three years in a row as the top student in religion and philosophy. He received a second bachelor’s degree in divinity from the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, where he also ranked first in his class. He then earned a master’s degree in Sacred Theology from Oberlin and, later, a doctorate in New Testament Theology from the University of Southern California. After serving as a pastor in Toledo, OH, for 15 years, in 1959 he was called as Assistant Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Three years later he became Trinity’s pastor, a post he held until his retirement in 1985.

Continue rebuilding New Orleans

On Monday May 3, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was succeeded by Mitch Landrieu. New Orleans’ mayors are, by city law, only allowed to serve two terms and Nagin has done that; much of his tenure was spent dealing with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Nagin left office with a mixed legacy – many criticized his ability to handle the evacuation, recovery and subsequent rebuilding efforts in the city. He’s fired back at his critics and calls out FEMA for the lag in redevelopment efforts. Where the blame lies is open to debate but one thing is clear: progress has been made but things are moving far too slowly.

Who among us is getting paid?

Most candidates don't seek high elected or appointed government posts with the sole intention of becoming rich from government job salaries.  Compensation for such offices as the U.S. president and other post is very generous when compared with the average American's salary.

The current salary for United States President is $400,000.  But, being President has done wonders for Barack Obama’s personal wealth. Even though his official salary - pro-rated to reflect earnings from his first 345 days in office - amounted to $374,460, Mr. Obama declared a total income for 2009 of more than $5.5 million.  Obama’s tax returns showed an adjusted gross income of $5,505,409 in 2009 – mostly from best-selling book sales. The Obamas owed $1,792,414 on that.

Of flags and Cinco de Mayo

Last week, Americans of all nationalities celebrated Cinco de Mayo; some, like me, acknowledged the day by partaking of margaritas and carne asada. 

Others, like the Mexican students at Live Oak high school in Northern California, observe the day by wearing the Mexican colors of red, white, and green.  In a gesture meant to display American pride, five Live Oak students--Daniel Galli, Austin Carvalho, Matt Dariano, Dominic Maciel, and Clayton Howard--decided to wear American flag t-shirts and bandannas. After receiving complaints from some Mexican students, Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez asked the boys to turn their shirts inside out.  The boys refused, were threatened with suspension, and were asked to leave the campus.

Legislature got high marks for Green Jobs leadership

Payday loans a civil right issue

Jermaine Toney is the Principal researcher at the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, which recently released its ‘Annual Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity’. Batala McFarlane, publisher of ‘Insight News’ and producer of Conversations with Al McFarlane, joined host Al McFarlane in conducting the Toney interview.

Al McFarlane: The Report Card says, “Despite declarations that an economic recovery is underway; more than a 132,000 Minnesotans have lost their jobs since December 2007 and in particular the unemployment and wealth crises has worsened for American Indians, Communities of color and new Minnesotans who were facing desperate poverty and unemployment rates even before this recession and to make matters worse the report says Minnesota’s safety net for child care, for housing and education has been nearly dismantled by a decade of public disinvestment. Predatory lending practices from home ownership to pay-day lending have undermined income and wealth opportunity making it nearly impossible for Minnesotans of color and poor Minnesotans to earn and lean on assets in hard times. Our economic recovery must be equitable fueled by policy that upholds fair treatment, family supporting wages, a vibrant safety net, culturally appropriate financial services and that build on economic contributions of Communities of Color.” The report summarizes, “Our future prosperity relies on eliminating barriers economic opportunity. Minnesota’s younger workers are more racially diverse than older workers. We do see today’s barriers will ensure that our younger workers of color are successful future investors, law makers, farmers and business owners of Minnesota”.

So Jermaine, why it is important to insure equity and to reduce inequity in the area of economic and wealth equity?
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