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Commentary

The Time for a Revolution

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By Ron Walters, NNPA Columnist -- It struck me while analyzing the current victory of
Barack Obama that the last time there had been such a formidable Democratic landslide was in 1964 and the election of Lyndon Johnson made possible the mandate he used to create the Great Society.

At that time, the racial progress of Blacks was at the center of the ‘64 election, but today the fears and anxiety of Americans for their own economic viability drove the 2008 election. Given the difference, the great question that Blacks must face now is whether they yield their own needs for change entirely, in light of the fact that they have been the most damaged recipients of both the inhumane policies of the past 30 years of conservative government and have doubly
suffered disproportionally in the current economic crisis.

The answer to that question may be that in binding up the wounds of the nation, the Obama administration should be demanded to consider the truth of the previous statement and find a way to attend to the Black community simultaneously. Blacks may benefit from ratcheting down spending for the war in Iraq, or from universal health care, or creating jobs from the stimulus package.

But while it may be obvious that they are conjoined, many analysts also feel that although occasionally strong patterns of general economic growth have lifted Blacks too, they have not lifted them sufficiently to overcome the inequalities that persist without targeted policies.

In the last 30 years, legislators have pulled back from policies that favored disadvantaged adults, leaving them to the vagaries of the demand and supply of Capitalism. They have also eliminated policies that appeared to favor racial or ethnic groups of color, viewing that as “preferential treatment.”

Yet, there were few Blacks who have profited from the tax cuts or no-bid contracts; instead they
fought the wars, filled the jails and survived on their “personal responsibility.”

I believe that a revolutionary approach to the current crises is absolutely necessary, since what has happened to America is not just the fault of a few bad decisions, but a structural crisis, produced by a way of thinking about privilege and the use of power.

Events rom Katrina to the present, have uncovered the inability of government institutions to
address the needs of people because they were not fundamentally structured for that purpose, but to serve powerful interests.

Bayard Rustin, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said in a 1965 Commentary article that the movement from protest to politics could affect American institutions. Rustin felt that the participation of Civil Rights leaders in the 1964 election proved their capacity to promote such a project to launch a new revolution that would transform American institutions that served human needs.

By 1967, Dr. King was convinced that political and moral corruption had led to the Vietnam War and what was needed to restore American morality was “a true revolution of values.” In his speech, “A Time To Break Silence,” he said that this kind of revolution would “look uneasily” and say “this is not just,” to the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth,” to capitalists who invest but care little for the people whose profits they take out, to Western arrogance which has everything to teach people and nothing to learn, to people who believe that war is the only way settling
human differences, to those who inject the poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of normally humane people.

With a strong election mandate, an equally strengthened political party in government, the
wealth of the resources from his campaign, his positive personal appeal in the U. S. and around the world and the abilities of those around him, Obama is in an important posture for historically significant change.

His approach has been not just been focused on immediate fixes, but to embed in them the seeds of long-term change as well.

Furthermore, the depth, severity and comprehensive nature of these crises should lead any logical observer to conclude that they cannot be fixed by merely returning to business as usual, Obama must go beyond that, he must affect a “true revolution of values” that affects the structure and mission of American governmental institutions.

If this project is done right – and if it includes and is sensitive to - the relevant leadership of those communities who have the most to gain from a new American revolution, then perhaps many of the problems that African American people face could be addressed.

Dr. Ron Walters is the Distinguished Leadership Scholar, Director of the African American Leadership Center and Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland College Park. His latest book is: The Price of Racial Reconciliation (Rowman and Littlefield) 

Slavery was Music to the Beatles' Hometown

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George E. Curry
The Beatles are credited with putting this city on the map. But long before Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison conquered the music world in the mid-1960s, the city of their birth was prominent on another map as one of the largest slave trading centers in the world.

“The estimate is that on Liverpool ships alone, there were more than 1.5 million enslaved Africans – that’s a low estimate,” Richard Benjamin, director of the International Slavery Museum, told a delegation accompanying Jesse L. Jackson to England.

The museum, said to be the largest slave museum outside of North America, is impressive and places many visitors on the verge of tears as it recreates the horrors of slavery.

To put 1.5 million enslaved Africans into perspective, that’s larger than the African-American population of every U.S. city except New York. That’s more than the combined number of Blacks in Los Angeles and Chicago.

''What made Liverpool the most successful slave trading city was it had dry docks, it had infrastructure to build the ships, the people to command the ships and to make the goods that were sold – it had everything.

It was the ultimate business for Liverpool merchants. And it took it to a different level than London and Bristol and that’s why Liverpool became capital of the slave trade,” Benjamin said as he showed visitors around the museum.

A museum brochure notes, “The first known slave ship to sail from Liverpool was Liverpool Merchant, which left the port on 3 October 1699 and transported 220 Africans to Barbados. The trade grew slowly over the next 20 years but then developed rapidly.

“By 1750 Liverpool was sending more ships to Africa than the other main slaving ports of Bristol
and London put together and the town’s ships dominated the trade until abolition in 1807. In the final 15 years of the trade being legal, Liverpool controlled 80% of the British and over 40% of the European slave trade.”

One section of the museum seeks to simulate conditions on a packed Trans-Atlantic voyage, with strong visuals, beatings, and even captured Africans throwing up. Through it all, the exhibits make clear that enslaved Africans resisted.

Posted prominently in the museum is a quote from William Prescott, a former slave: “They will remember that we were sold, but not that we were strong.

They will remember that we were bought, but not that we were brave.”

Fortunately, the museum doesn’t limit its collections to slavery. It covers the U.S. Civil Rights
Movement in great detail, down to the sounds of barking dogs in Birmingham through the Black
Power Movement of the late 1960s.

For example, there is one video clip of a White supremacist saying, “They all look at the White man as being the master and the (n-word) as being the slave.” Immediately following that clip is an audio visual of Dr. King saying, “A new Negro came into being with a new determination to suffer, struggle, to sacrifice and even to die, if necessary, in order to be free.”

Posted on one wall is a poignant quote from Jesse Owens, the star of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He said: “I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.”

Classes are held in the museum to teach students about slavery and how Europeans benefited from it.

“A lot of the people in the Black community said don’t let people leave the museum equating Black history and African history with slavery,” Benjamin recalled. “You also have to tell them of the many different achievements and other aspects.”

Consequently, a Black achievement wall has short biographies of 76 descendants of Africa, many of them Americans. The 77th – Barack Obama – will be added soon.

Most of the major streets in Liverpool, including Abby Road popularized by the Beatles, were named after famous slave traders. The museum has a display of most of the street names with their connection to slavery.

It is estimated that between a third and one-half of Liverpool’s slave trade between 1750 and 1807 was to Africa and the West Indies. Approximately 40 percent of Liverpool’s wealth was derived from either dealing in enslaved people or the goods they produced.

At least 20 mayors of the city were directly involved in the slave trade.

Benjamin, the director of the museum, said there was some resistance to the establishment of the museum in 2007. It was opened on August 23, observed each year as Slavery Remembrance Day.

“Don’t be under the illusion that everyone in the city thought it was a good idea,” Benjamin stated. “A lot of people were saying, ‘Okay, the past is the past. Let’s move on.’ But the museum made the decision, ‘No, we need to tell the story.’”

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge
magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote
speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be
reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com.


Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
PRAYER FOR A DAY’S WALK
God let me find the lonely ones. Among the throng today. And let me say the word to take the loneliness away. So many walk with aching hearts along the old highway. So many walk breaking hearts. And no one understands. They find the roadway rough and steep, across the barren lands. God help me lighten weary eyes and let my own grief be. A sure reminder of the grief of those who walk with me. When words fail hands fail. Let me go in silent sympathy.
(Words written by Grace M. Crowell.)


HELLO MORENO VALLEY
Where Dreams Soar


Moreno Valley it’s that time of year again, the reason for the season and what a wonderful season to just be alive. So many almost made it. But they were called home for this season. Let us always remember that one day our season will also come we must stay focused and keep our eyes on the prize.

Santa will be reading The Night Before Christmas at the Library. Santa Claus will visit the Moreno Valley Public Library on December 22, 2008 to read to parents and children. Parents and children can attend the 10:00 a.m. reading or the 10:30 a.m. reading but not both. Parents are welcome to take pictures of their children with Santa and each child will receive a free candy cane! For more information call Moreno Valley Public Library at (951) 413–3880.

Moreno Valley Photo Contest Winners announced on December 9, 2008. It is the city’s 1st Annual Calendar Photo Contest. The City’s Arts Commission selected 13 winning photographs which appeared in the City’s official 2009 Wall Calendar. The winning shutterbugs were recognized at the City Council meeting. The photo contest theme was People and Places in Moreno Valley.

These are the winners: LaVay Rudy, Rosanna Hanson, Kevin Barisic, Toni Charboneau, Val
Genipis, Dolores Baisden, Henry Ford, Barbara J. Kezar, Rylan Benson, and Jordan Garenett.

For information on purchasing the calendar, visit the City’s online store at www.moval.org and click on the online store icon or call City, Media and Communications Division at (951) 413–3053.

I am a believer that love is so important in our lives and that we must in return give love back. This is what I have done for many years and what Helen S. Rice wrote about in Where There Is Love: Where there is love the heart is light. Where there is love the day is bright.

Where there is love there is a song to help when things are going wrong. Where there is love there is a smile. To make all things seem worthwhile. Where there is love there is quiet peace. A tranquil place where turmoils cease… Love changes darkness into light and makes the heart take “wingless flight” Oh blessed are they who walk in love… They also walk with God above. And when man or woman walks with God again, there shall be peace on earth for men. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25 ) Love does no wrong to a neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10). Read your Bible prayerful and think.

Be Blessed

JB

Overcoming the Reluctance to Apologize -- Part 2 of 2

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Richard O. Jones
According to the book Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman and Jennifer
Thomas there are five levels of apologies which are: (1) Expressing regret: In expressing regret a person should say that they are sorry. But equal to saying that they are sorry, they should verbally say what it is that they are sorry for. For instance: I am sorry that I wrecked your car. (2) Accepting responsibility: In accepting responsibility they should not try to blame another person.

For instance: I am sorry that I wrecked your car but it was not my fault because if you had not gotten me upset... (3) Making restitution: I will pay for the damages to your car and your rental car, if you need one. (4) Repenting: A sincere expression of sorrow should include your intentions never to behave in such a manner again. (5) Requesting forgiveness: In most cases, asking for forgiveness should follow an apology.

For instance: I am sorry for wrecking your car. How can I make it up to you? Will you please forgive me? Many people adopt one or two of the different level but a combination of four or five are needed to truly convey a sincere apology. The absence of an apology has prompted many legal and physical, sometimes deadly, battles. Many people can’t maintain a long-term romantic relationship with anyone because they were never taught to apologize when they are wrong.

They might think they are apologizing when they buy the other person flowers or engage in romantic evening but that is not the same as sincerely saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me. I realize that I was wrong and will never do that again. What can I do to make it up to you?” Many marriages would not have ended in divorce if spouses were not so stubborn about admitting
fault.

It is detrimental to any relationship foranyone to assume immunity from apologizing because of age, family hierarchy, social status, religion, or professional position. A millionaire employer should apologize to an indigent employee if the employer is wrong. A parent that is wrong should apologize to their child. No one is exempt from doing the right thing.

Sometimes people who were hurt in the past live by a vow that they will never be hurt again or back down from a challenge. They begin to see every disagreement as a challenge and are unyielding even when they realize that they are wrong. Some believe that to be wrong makes them a bad person. This false belief causes normal indifferences to escalate way out of proportion.

The Bible speaks of peacemakers. Matt: 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth. Too often people are more concerned about being right. And if certain people believe that they are right then they will not apologize because they feel entitled to an apology themselves.

However, it is better to be kind than to be right. Usually, the wiser of the two in any given dispute is the first to make peace. Learning how to forgive is equally, if not more, essential to your emotional well being and the vitally of healthy relationships as knowing how to apologize. When it comes to forgiving, ask God to forgive you for your transgressions. Then you forgive
others as God has forgiven you.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net

Civil Rights Movement Inspires Blacks Abroad

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George E. Curry
A trip from Gatwick Airport to London’s central city is visible confirmation that national entities are no longer restricted to imaginary geographical boundaries. Among the United States-based businesses passed en route were: Friday’s, Pizza Hut, Texaco, Coca-Cola, Nike, a Chevrolet dealership, KFC, Hilton Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King and Blockbuster’s. But the leading U.S. import for Blacks living in the United Kingdom is the modern Civil Rights
Movement.

That was made clear repeatedly this week as an American delegation accompanied Jesse Jackson to London, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Liverpool. Everywhere he went in the U.K., the civil rights leader was treated more like Michael Jackson than Jesse Jackson – he was hounded by people seeking autographs, photos or simply a peek at the former aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At a stop at a local community center, for example, dozens of people lingered for more than an hour after Jackson’s speech, ignoring repeated appeals from organizers to vacate the building. They weren’t the only people waiting – there was intense media interest in interviewing Jackson. And he accommodated journalists, sometimes doing three or four back-to-back interviews.

“Barack Obama will be America’s next president,” Jackson told reporters. “He stands on the
shoulders of many well-known and yet nameless and faceless freedom fighters who made this day possible.”

While some African-Americans suffer through what could be called Jesse Fatigue – watching him on the national stage for more than four decades – Jackson is often treated like a head of state when traveling abroad. And when he interacts with Blacks, he gets the rock star treatment.

Karen Chouhan, the organizer of Jackson’s trip to England, says Americans underestimate the impact of the Civil Rights Movement abroad.

“We see the example in the U.S. of the Civil Rights Movement, a struggle that has taken over 40
years, from when Black people had no right to vote to a Black president today,” said Chouhan, head of Equanomics, a London-based organization that seeks economic parity for people of color.

“It gives us hope that we can achieve the same thing.”

Some activists here see a parallel between the plight of African-Americans in the U.S. and Blacks in Britain.

“In the London mayoral election, the person who became the mayor was known for having called
Black people piccaninnies and saying they had ‘watermelon smiles,’” recalled Chouhan. “Yet, he was still elected mayor of London. That’s incredible in a city with a Black population of 38 percent.

He appealed to Whites in the suburbs and that’s why he got elected. We can’t let that happen again. We must use our voting power and our economic power to much greater effect.”

Blacks here flock to Jackson in part because he remains King’s most visible political heir.

At virtually every stop, he was asked whether a Barack Obama-like figure could become Prime
Minister of Britain. Jackson flipped the question, asking if White voters here had matured enough to elect a qualified person of color. At that point, reporters usually shifted to another topic.

As Jackson acknowledges, he is not the first African-American to become involved in international affairs. Others that predate him include W.E. B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Dr. King.

But the combination of the civil rights protest model, widely copied by other groups seeking to
empower their communities, and the election of Obama on Nov. 4 has arguably made Jesse Jackson more popular abroad than he is at home. Each time he was introduced this week, the Civil Rights Movement or Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, or both were credited with paving the way for Obama’s victory.

Without prompting, people were eager to discuss President-elect Obama.

”We’re all excited about Obama,” my driver, Renford Carr, told me on the trip from the airport. He
jokingly asked, “Is it true that they are going to call the White House the Black House?”

“Chouhan says she, too, is excited. “It has given us permission to aspire, to hope that
we can do that, too,” she said. “The message of change, hope and equality is what we want to pick up. We already have change, we already have hope, but we don’t have equality. That’s what we want to accomplish.”

Obama’s victory has sparked calls for stronger ties among Black people around the world.

“If we can join hands across the water with the U.S., and if we can join hands in Europe and with
Africa, that’s the internationalization of the movement that we need,” explained Chouhan. “It increases our clout. Together, we’re stronger and Rev. Jackson is making that possible for us.”

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com.

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