By William J. Ford
With another round of Democratic presidential debates coming July 30-31, voters can possibly decide which candidate appeals to them for next year’s primary election.
However, several Maryland voters used the words “charismatic,” “experienced” and “unfazed” to describe former Vice President Joe Biden as the one to defeat Republican President Donald Trump.
Former state Sen. Gloria Lawlah, who represented southern Prince George’s County, admits Sen. Kamala Harris of California excelled at the first round of debates last month, adding however, that it only reinvigorated Biden to “regroup” and come back stronger.
Plus, his connection and work with former President Barack Obama carries weight, she said.
“Joe goes a long way back,” said Lawlah, 80, who serves on the Biden for Maryland campaign. “Women are going to be the deciding vote in this election. Women are coming out in droves…”
Del. Erek Barron (D-District 24) of Mitchellville, who serves as co-chair of the Biden for Maryland campaign, has some personal connection with when he worked on Capitol Hill as counsel and policy advisor for then-Senator Biden.
Not speaking on behalf of the campaign, Barron outlined in an email July 12 several reasons Biden would help Marylanders eliminate inequitable disparities, restore the Voting Rights Act, and dedicate cyber and other resources to defend election systems.
“Biden’s experience far exceeds his competition and his authenticity allows him to naturally connect with Americans from all walks of life,” Barron, 45, said. “Marylanders want to be able to sleep comfortably at night, knowing we’re being led by an experienced hand that shares our values. We were able to trust Biden as a solid partner to President Obama.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted July 7-9 revealed Biden to be well ahead of the more than 20 presidential candidates.
Among 400 Democratic primary voters surveyed, Biden led the pack at 26 percent to receive the Democratic nomination in the primary or caucuses. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts came second at 19 percent, and Harris and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont tied at 13 percent.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg garnered 7 percent. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang both received 2 percent. The remaining candidates either registered at 1 percent or below.
The poll highlights only 12 percent of Democratic voters who say their “mind is definitely made up.”
That’s not the case for Prince George’s County Councilwoman Deni Taveras (D-District 2) of Adelphi, who still wants to hear and read the candidate’s platforms on how to decrease the national debt, create a pathway to immigration, and plans to improve Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.
Taveras attended the 36th annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference June 21 in Miami, five and six days before the Democratic presidential debates held in that city.
Eight of the candidates showed up, but Taveras noticed Biden, Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker didn’t attend.
“They didn’t think highly of this portion of the voting bloc to show up to a national event,” Taveras said. “We had thousands of people present. Elected and appointed officials from all over the country from every single party. To not show up spoke volumes to me.”
A Prince George’s voter, who declined to be identified during a July 12 interview, said she might vote for Harris or Warren because “a woman would give this country a kick in the pants.”
Although Del. Nick Charles (D-District 25) of Forestville agrees, he said Biden’s experience makes him the top candidate to challenge Trump.
“Every candidate has some level of experience, but when you couple that with the candor, [Biden’s] able to fight back and forth with [Trump],” Charles said. “I haven’t seen anybody as aggressive going after him like Biden.”
This post originally appeared in the Washington Informer.
Count New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer among those supporting House Resolution 40, legislation by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee that would form a commission to consider reparations proposals for African Americans.
“I’ve always believed racism is the poison of America. When Alexis de Tocqueville came to America in the 1830s – he was a French, famous historian,” Schumer said. “He said America was a nobody then and he said, America is going to become the greatest country in the world … it was a puny country compared to France, or Britain or Russia. But one thing could do it in: race and racism.” Schumer said.
The senator continued:
“He said that in the 1830s. Well, it’s still true. Racism is the poison of America, and the disparities in race affect everything. Not just the obvious things, but the non-obvious things like pollution, climate change,” Schumer said.
HR 40 is intended to examine the institution of slavery in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present, and further recommend appropriate remedies.
Since the initial introduction of the legislation, its proponents have made substantial progress in elevating the discussion of reparations and reparatory justice at the national level and joining the mainstream international debate on the issues. “Though some have tried to deflect the importance of these conversations by focusing on individual monetary compensation, the real issue is whether and how this nation can come to grips with the legacy of slavery that still infects current society,” Jackson-Lee said.
Through legislation, resolutions, news, and litigation, she said Congress is moving closer to making more strides in the movement toward reparations.
“Today there are more people at the table – more activists, more scholars, more CEO’s, more state and local officials, and more Members of Congress,” Jackson-Lee said.
“However, despite this progress and the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation. While we have focused on the social effects of slavery and segregation, its continuing economic implications remain largely ignored by mainstream analysis,” she said.
Those economic issues are the root cause of many critical issues in the African-American community today, such as education, healthcare and criminal justice policy, including policing practices and the call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society, Jackson-Lee said.
Schumer joins a long list of supporters of HR 40, including Democratic Sens. Edward Markey, Richard Durbin, Mazie Horono, Christopher Coons, Bob Casey, Tammy Duckworth, and Chris Van Hollen.
Additionally, Democratic presidential hopefuls Corey Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuch, have all expressed support for the measure.
“I have tried to address racial inequality, I have felt very strongly about it from even when I ran for congress, and a bigoted campaign was run against me in 1980, and so I’ve tried to do a lot, but more has to be done,” Schumer said. “So what I’m telling you is, I will support the legislation by Senator Cory Booker and Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee to establish a commission to study the issue of reparations for slavery and discrimination,” he said.
The senator noted that he’s accomplished some reparations-related legislation already, including securing $130 billion in the 2018 budget.
“That did a lot in terms of healthcare. We doubled the child care block grant, we got more funding for public housing and Pell grants, and that was something,” Schumer said.
“We also are very strong on expungement and the sealing of records so that people who five years ago, or twenty years ago, had a small amount of marijuana in their pocket, are not going to have unfair difficulty in finding jobs and living decent lives,” he said.
“The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow are still with us … and that’s why I’m supporting this legislation,” Schumer said.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.
By Linda Goler Blount, MPH, President and CEO, Black Women’s Health Imperative
The cost of insulin is skyrocketing and people—especially Black women—are dying because they cannot afford or don’t have access to vital medication.
There is not enough being done to lower the prices of prescription medications that could mean life or death for so many African Americans that depend on it to live.
Over 30 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes—including nearly 13% of all non-Hispanic Black people. According to the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, African Americans are 80% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and the majority of them are women.
Many of those suffering from diabetes depend on insulin to regulate their blood sugar to remain healthy so that the food they eat does not threaten their lives. Instead of ensuring that people with diabetes can have access to this life-saving drug, some political leaders have put up road block after road block to make it harder for patients to receive care, despite bipartisan outrage by the excessively high cost of prescription drugs.
This isn’t just bad politics: this is a life or death issue for working families across the country, and African Americans are disproportionately paying the price.
Instead of focusing on lowering drug costs for all Americans, some lawmakers continue to attack the Affordable Care Act and its health care protections for those that have pre-existing conditions. While they do this, as many as one in four people skips insulin doses or ration prescriptions because of the rising cost. Sadly, some of these people are dying as a result—and many black women are specifically at risk.
African Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and unfortunately suffer fatalities from type 2 diabetes at twice the rate of their white counterparts. Black people are overwhelmingly more likely to suffer from debilitating complications caused by diabetes such as amputations, blindness and kidney failure more than their white counterparts. Due to lack of health resources in predominately African American communities, black people receive poorer quality care and get care later when the disease has progressed.
The risk for getting type 2 diabetes increases with age with the highest incidence occurring between 65-75. This is precisely the point in life when income decreases. African American women are especially affected. They are likely to be care-givers and spend their hard-earned money on ensuring family members are healthy making access to insulin a greater challenge.
The health and wellness of Black women must be a top priority so we must take action.
Recently, a coalition of health care, social justice, and faith organizations launched “Affordable Insulin NOW,” a campaign demanding lower drug costs for those suffering from diabetes.
Together, we are raising our voices, amplifying each other’s stories, building on-the-ground teams, and demanding our policymakers and pharmaceutical companies work together to provide access to high quality and affordable insulin.
We need affordable insulin now. Too many lives depend on it.
Linda Goler Blount, MPH, is President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI). Linda oversees BWHI’s strategic direction and is responsible for directing the organization toward achieving its mission of leading efforts to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the United States.
Before joining BWHI, Linda served as the vice president of programmatic impact for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she led the effort to eliminate inequalities in health, income, education and housing through place- and population‐based work.
Bank Providing Paid Summer Internships to Community-Minded Teens at Local Nonprofits Along with Leadership Development
By Sentinel News Service
Bank of America recently announced that five high school students across Los Angeles have been selected as Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders). This signature philanthropic program offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit and the ability to help improve their communities.
Through Student Leaders, Bank of America helps young people gain work experience, broaden their perspective on how nonprofits serve community needs, and advance their civic engagement. Student Leaders from across the country also develop better money habits by working with bank volunteers to increase their financial management skills, from building a budget to creating a savings plan.
The five Student Leaders are Christian Alexander, a Torrance resident and recent graduate at Hawthorne Math & Science Academy, Mehrin Ashraf, a Los Angeles resident and rising senior at UCLA Community School, Jordan Desai, a Woodland Hills resident and recent graduate at Chaminade High School, Darwin Perez de Pablo, an Inglewood resident and rising senior at Lennox MST Academy and Angelina Quint, a Hawthorne resident and recent graduate at Da Vinci Science School.
They will work at Archdiocesan Youth Employment Services (AYE) at Los Angeles South West College, Boys and Girls Club of Carson, Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) and Operation Gratitude, where they will learn all aspects of running a large nonprofit.
“We recognize that building workforce skills early can help prepare a young person for long-term success,” said Raul A. Anaya, Greater Los Angeles market president, Bank of America. “Investing in youth and young adults is part of our broader commitment to connect people to the training and jobs needed for success, ultimately strengthening our community.”
To bring the program full circle and enable Student Leaders to engage with their likeminded peers, Bank of America also hosted its annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C. on July 8 through July 13. Students joined nearly 300 other young people from across the country to build advocacy and inclusive leadership skills and develop a peer network. In addition to discussing civil rights and the value of cross-sector partnerships, they will meet with members of Congress and participate in a service learning project at the American Red Cross.
For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit www.bankofamerica.com.
This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.
By Cheryl Smith, Texas Metro News
It was a tough decision to make for some, and not so tough for others. But a decision had to be made.
The leadership of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority had about 16,000 registered attendees expected in New Orleans for the public service organization’s 54th National Convention. The weather looked like it could take a turn for the worse. Although Deltas have been to New Orleans since and everything was fine, many remember Hurricane Katrina 14 years ago.
When reports from the Weather Channel and meteorologists across the country focused on the threat of Tropical Storm Barry, sorority sisters, speakers, honorees, vendors, family members and loved ones begin rethinking their travel plans. Some canceled their trips altogether, while others who were already in route or had arrived, were faced with decisions.
New Orleans was ready for the Deltas, who were going to paint the town red. But New Orleans is always ready. It’s a beautiful destination and combines good food, good people, great entertainment, great customer service with a smile, good food, wonderful attractions, good people, serious programming, and, I might add, good food; well you have a formula for a successful gathering. Just ask Essence Festival-goers who were there just a week prior.
I smile just thinking of the wonderful times I have had in New Orleans, the city in the state with so many great HBCUs, and folks who act like they are glad, well actually honored, to have you there. But if you will recall, during Hurricane Katrina, folks asked, “Why, when the threat was issued, didn’t many citizens leave New Orleans?”
Truth is yes, there were many who thought things would blow over as they did in the past, and others, simply didn’t have anywhere to go. New Orleans was their home!
Which brings me to my truth: Doing the right thing can be challenging.
Everyone can second guess, talk about what should have happened or what they would have done. You see, it’s difficult to make decisions that impact thousands, but that’s what leaders have to do. That’s what Delta Sigma Theta Sorority president Beverly E. Smith did when she announced that the convention would come to an end at noon on the third day of the five-day convention.
“The safety and wellbeing of our members and friends is our top priority,” she said. “We have been in regular communication throughout the week with Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center leadership and a host of other local organizations who contributed to the production of the 54th National Convention.
“While the decision to conclude our convention was a decision we did not anticipate making, I am confident that the best choice was made to not only protect our members but also all those who have helped to make our time in New Orleans a success. Notwithstanding an abbreviated agenda we were able to handle the business of Delta; and our members are returning to their communities energized and committed to implementing programs to uplift their communities.”
And if one lesson was learned for many, especially the vendors; you must invest in an insurance policy. Also, this is not the first time the sorority has faced challenges during convention time.
In 1985, Delta Airlines Flight #191, crashed in Dallas, TX, killing 137, including passengers, flight crew and a motorist on the ground. Members of Delta Sigma Theta were among the fatalities.
I still remember the tears, the praying, the spirit of family as people from all walks of life came together, donating blood, food, and a shoulder; helping out, everywhere.
Although Barry did not do the anticipated damage to New Orleans, precautions needed to be taken. Last week, what was also appropriately lauded was the decision to donate to local charities the food which had been purchased by the Sorority through the convention center’s in-house catering service, Center Plate. The food, according to President Smith, would have been used for two food functions, the Sisterhood Luncheon and closing Soiree Celebration.
Imagine the thousands who will benefit from that one decision. And these are the stories I like to hear and spread. But guess what? Sorority and fraternities are always doing positive deeds.
There are so many dedicated men and women who are committed to public service and making a difference in their communities. I’m committed to sharing those stories of the great members of the Divine 9 (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity).
We must work together, and I urge those charged with telling the stories of the great works of their organizations to step up. If they need help, I’m more than happy to assist.
Just like with the Black Press, our organizations have to tell our own stories. We have to shape the narrative, or others will do the developing and many times we won’t like the results. Thanks President Smith for doing the right thing. I’m proud of you as the leader of our great sorority!
This too, shall pass.
NNPA Newswire Staff Report
The City of Atlanta is seeking volunteers to mentor local boys ages 6-14.
As a part of Atlanta’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the city is partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta to help secure mentors for the Atlanta boys who are currently on a waiting list to be matched with mentors.
“As the mother of three boys, I know how important it is for youth in our communities to see and engage with positive male role models” Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a news release.
“It is up to all of us to create the kind of city that we want to live in and I am confident that the men of Atlanta – be they barbers, teachers, city employees, public officials, corporate executives, athletes, entertainers and every occupation in between – will answer the call to help us create a city where our boys see and believe that they can become anything they dream of being,” Bottoms said.
As part of the One Atlanta vision, the city is working to expand opportunities to residents, and Atlanta’s youth in particular, according to a news release.
“At its core, the Office of One Atlanta exists to avail resources to residents who have not had an equitable chance to participate in the attributes that make Atlanta an attractive city to so many,” said Bill Hawthorne, Chief Equity Officer of the city of Atlanta.
“The people of Atlanta are our city’s greatest resource. We are therefore proud to serve as a connector of the men who make this city move, with the boys who will grow up and move Atlanta into the future. We are also appreciative of the opportunity to partner with an organization as well-respected as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta,” Hawthorne said in the release.
Earlier this year, Hawthorne and other city officials met with leaders from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.
Upon learning that there were 100 boys who live in Atlanta on a waitlist for mentors, Bottoms committed to elevating the importance and the impact of the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has been “Defending Potential” of local youth for nearly 60 years.
The organization, which came under new leadership in 2018, has a longstanding track record of work which aligns with Bottoms’ goals of building a safe and welcoming city with thriving communities and neighborhoods and residents who are equipped for success, officials noted in the news release.
“We are honored to partner with the Mayor’s Office as part of Atlanta’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.”, said Kwame Johnson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.
“Our initial goal is to match the boys we have on our waiting list in the city of Atlanta [with mentors]. Through this partnership, we can help defend the potential of students that are seeking a Big Brother mentor to help them navigate life,” Johnson said.
“I personally know the impact of mentorship and I am excited that Mayor Bottoms is offering the support of her administration to help more young boys reach their full potential,” he said.
Atlanta men who are interested in answering the mayor’s call for mentors may visit www.atlantaga.gov/MenToMentorsChallenge to learn more and register for an upcoming information session.
All local men are encouraged to join this citywide call to action.
Priority matching will go to men living in or near the 30315, 30318, and 30310 zip codes.
In order to serve as a Big Brother, registrants must be over the age of 21 and able to commit to meeting with the appointed Little Brother a couple times a month for at least one year.
By Michelle McCalope, Jozef Syndicate Reporter, The DRUM Newspaper
BATON ROUGE, LA (THE DRUM/NNPA) — Hundreds of people, including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, BatonRouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, other elected officials, community leaders, and even residents who barely knew Sadie Roberts-Joseph filled the pews at Living Faith Christian Center to say goodbye to a woman who was remembered for living a life of purpose.
“What she has done has inspired me and all of us,” said Edwards. “That’s why we’re all here.”
Roberts-Joseph, the founder of the Baton Rouge African American History Museum formerly known as the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American History Museum, was found dead in the trunk of her car on July 12. She was 75.
The mother and grandmother who was affectionately known as “Ms. Sadie” was also a civil rights icon who hosted the city’s Juneteenth celebration. She was known for her dedication to bringing peace and unity to the community.
“She was a lady small in stature, but mighty in spirit,” the governor said. “I hope everyone will continue telling Ms. Sadie’s story. Let us never forget what Ms. Sadie stood for – education, love, and community. She was a leader in this community.”
Mayor Broome echoed those sentiments.
“Sadie Roberts Joseph was a beacon of light in our community. She was the matriarch of our community,” said Mayor Broome. “She lived a life of purpose. She was a woman on a mission.”
People from all walks of life came to pay their final respects. Big spray flowers and a quilt that had been donated by a man in Arkansas flanked her wooden casket as her big family (she was one of 12 siblings) and others looked on.
Many who came barely knew her but admired her spirit and dedication.
“I had met Ms. Sadie maybe one time, but I just felt like I needed to show my support,” said Patricia Francois. “I liked what she was doing for people. She was trying to help everybody.”
Roberts-Joseph also received several proclamations from everyone from the governor to the mayor to state representatives and U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.
Her nephews remembered their aunt as someone who was curious about life and asked a lot of questions. She was also the one in the family who didn’t have a lot of rhythm, they joked – someone who marched to the beat of her drum.
“She lived a life offbeat, but on purpose,” said her nephew the Rev. Shalamar Armstrong.
Community leaders promised to continue to support the efforts started by Ms. Sadie. They urged those in attendance to do the same.
“Just don’t talk about what she stood for,” Broome said. “Stand for what she stood for.”
On July 16, Baton Rouge police arrested Ronn Bell, 38, Robert-Joseph’s tenant, and charged him with first degree murder. They say Bell was $1, 200 behind on his rent.