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African-Americans Can Get Skin Cancer: Protect Yourself This Summer

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As the summer heats up, Americans will begin spending more time outside, grilling, playing outdoor sports, doing yard work, going to the beach—enjoying the sunshine.  But there may be risk for something much more serious than a tan.

African-Americans may not be as careful with their sun safety habits as their White counterparts, believing that the melanin in their darker skin is protecting them from skin cancer. While skin cancer is less common in people with darker skin, people of color are at some risk for the disease. Unfortunately, African-Americans are often diagnosed at an advanced stage, when there is less chance for a cure.

Although the number of African-Americans affected is small, it’s important to know that proper caution may help you and your friends and family prevent the disease. In this Lifelines column, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) addresses myths about skin cancer and discusses how African-Americans can protect their skin.

·         Myth: There is only one type of skin cancer.

Facts: There are several types of skin cancer. The two most common types are non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer) and melanoma. Basal cell skin cancer grows slowly. It usually occurs on areas of the skin that have been in the sun, and it is most common on the face. Basal cell cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell skin cancer also occurs on parts of the skin that have been in the sun, but it also may be in places that are not in the sun.  Squamous cell cancer sometimes spreads to lymph nodes and organs inside the body. Melanoma occurs much less frequently than basal cell and squamous cell cancer, but it is the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer.

Among African-Americans, squamous cell cancer is the most common form of skin cancer. Although squamous cell cancer is generally curable, it may be more serious when it occurs in African- Americans than when it appears in Whites. And although melanoma is much less common in African-Americans than in Whites, when it does occur in African-Americans it is particularly deadly. This disease usually begins as an abnormal mole. In Whites, melanomas often develop on the trunk and legs, but in African-Americans, melanomas are most often found under the nails, on the palms of hands, and on the soles of the feet.

·         Myth: The only risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation (the sun)

Facts: Research has shown that several risk factors are associated with the development of skin cancer.

For example, studies suggest that both exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the sensitivity of a person’s skin to UV radiation are risk factors for skin cancer. UV radiation is the name for the invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. But there are other risk

factors, such as having burns or scars on the skin, a weakened immune system, previous exposure to radiation therapy, and chronic skin diseases like lupus.

·         Myth: I can’t do anything to reduce my risk for skin cancer.  Facts: Protecting your skin and

eyes from the sun is the single best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer.  For example, seek shade or stay out of the midday sun between 10am and 4pm whenever you can. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. Wear a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses that absorb UV rays. Wear clothing that covers your skin to protect against the sun’s UV rays, and use extra caution near water snow and sand which reflect UV rays.

It is also important not to burn, to avoid tanning beds, and to be aware of any changes in your skin.

Melanoma usually begins as an abnormal mole. For early detection, make sure to examine your skin

once a month to look for any new growths or changes in existing lesions. If you identify a skin change or are concerned about your risk, talk to your doctor.

How can African-Americans learn more about skin cancer?

You can visit the NCI Web site at www.cancer.gov. From the home page, choose “Melanoma” or “Skin Cancer” from the “Common Cancer Types” list or call 1-800-4-Cancer.  Don’t be caught off guard with a skin cancer diagnosis because you assumed it could not happen to you.  Everyone has some risk of skin cancer.  This summer and all year round, protect yourself and spread the word to your friends and family to do the same.

Colin Powell Fights Back

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By Ron Walters
NNPA Columnist

“Face the Nation” was probably a favored TV venue on Sunday May 24 for most watchers of the Sunday talk shows.

That’s because former Secretary of State, Colin Powell defended his place in the Republican Party from charges by Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney. On the same show a week earlier, Cheney said that he preferred Limbaugh to Powell who had left the Republican Party because he voted for Barack Obama. Limbaugh said that Powell did it only because Obama was Black.

Powell fired back coolly that neither Cheney nor Limbaugh were on the membership committee of the Republican Party and as such could not decide who was or was not a Republican.

More important, Powell reaffirmed his status as a moderate Republican like the recently deceased Jack Kemp. I will always remember coming back from Japan several years ago, getting a connecting flight in Los Angeles and because the airline had fouled our reservation, it gave my wife and I first class seats.

Our seats happened to be next to Secretary of Housing Jack Kemp and he proceeded to talk both our right arms off, all the way to Washington, DC. He seemed not to have a racially sensitive bone in his body and was genuinely concerned about policies that would make life better for the disadvantaged Blacks.

He was excited by his alliance with Kemi Gray, a strong public housing activist whom I knew in Washington, DC, who was trying to empower poor public housing residents.  I was not surprised to see that he would become a member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees.

Colin Powell also was a member of Howard’s Board of Trustees signaling his own sensitivity to concerns facing the Black community.

I attended the 1996 convention as a researcher when Powell gave the keynote speech, and when he said that he supported Affirmative Action, he was loudly booed by the Right wing of the Party. However, in his “Face the Nation” appearance, Powell cited several statistics upon which he concluded that for the Republican Party to remain viable it had to be an inclusive “big tent” party that would not only make a

place for moderates, but move closer toward the moderate positions that define why the country is now supporting Democrats. He rejected the small government view that Americans wanted effective government, especially now that the private sector had run aground and carried the country with it.

Powell, however, does not deserve complete absolution for his role in the administration of George Bush.  He said he was briefed (like Nancy Pelosi) on the fact that the CIA was considering the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques like water boarding, but didn’t object, fearing another 9/11 attack.

But Powell was silent when he should have been publicly livid that they put his considerable integrity at issue. Perhaps his way of telegraphing his displeasure was to vote for Barack Obama. Nevertheless, Bush and Cheney should have been grateful that Colin Powell has not done what so many Bush insiders have done, either publish a tell-all book or go on the stump, burnishing their role – and their legacy – in the atrocious decisions made by the Bush/Cheney team.

I have always felt – and still feel –that Colin Powell should be the leader of the Moderate wing of the Republican Party, but that would require him to confront the Right wing hegemony of the party in much stronger terms than anyone has done so far.

He notes quite rightly that the base of the party is narrow and if it continues to shrink, events will pass it by. Perhaps this truth should motivate Michael Steele, the current RNC Chair, and rather than feeding the radical Right and “laying prostrate,” as Powell said, before Rush Limbaugh, he should help turn the corner.

Yet, his latest statements suggesting that he would go after Barack Obama were crafted in the Limbaugh/Cheney country and now govern Congressional Republican approaches.

The lack of a vigorous Moderate wing of the Republican Party keeps it from joining a rational consensus about the needs of the country and supporting policies that are important to serve the American people which have no ideological bent.  Barack Obama has proposed pragmatic approaches that need Republican support but the radical Right has rejected most of them.

This is a moment of opportunity for both Powell and Steele that will test the true courage of their commitment to their country, rather than just to party.

Ronald 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 (Univ. of Michigan Press)

The Streets: Bad Educational Tool -- Part 2 of 6

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Richard O. Jones
Low achieving youth proclaim that they’re from the streets as if that’s an excuse for failure. As if having a hard life automatically develops you into a criminal and/or a low achiever in school. One of the reasons the youth use this excuse for their antisocial behavior is because so many popular stars today claim to have had it hard. A lot of rappers, and music moguls publicly share his or her checkered past. Russell Simmons talks about his days as a teenage weed dealer, Jay-z boasts of his days as a drug dealer, and Fifty Cent is infamous for multiple gunshot wounds. Ice Tea boasts of being a pimp and the late Tu Pac rap messages glamorizes the Thug Life, even from the grave. There are too many negative celebrities to list. However, the point is that they all boast of being from the street and now they’re rich though uneducated. This sends the message that they beat the system.  The impressible youth sees this and decides that they don’t need to have good morals, an education, or a clean police record to make it.

Look at the rich celebrities on drugs and constantly going to jail and everybody loves them. In reality some of the celebrities are no better than the Africans that sold other Africans in slavery. Young people that choose the thug life are sellouts to themselves and future offspring.

The cable television channel B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television) in reality is B.E.T. (Bad Educational Tool). B.E.T. could be a powerful tool to the education our youth but that wouldn’t be lucrative.  African American youth must be made to understand that speaking proper English, getting good grades, and being courteous is not trying to be white. To reject street life is not a rejection of your race.  B.E.T. could teach these lessons since B.E.T. is partially responsible for much of the popular culture.

B.E.T. has the power to elevate strong role models but instead blasts the airwaves with ‘Street’.  The ideology that being from the streets makes you an insensitive tough character is a myth. The welllit city streets are not as tough as living during slavery. Booker T. Washington managed to get an education.

Frederick Douglass managed. Either one of them sold bootleg whiskey or sold their people out to excel. A sellout is someone that has an opportunity to excel and move higher but selects to hang with the ‘street mentality’.

It’s much less challenging to become a teenager mother; drug dealer, gang member, school dropout, or entertainer, than become scientist or a Maxine Waters or a Vernon Jordan. Neither of these role models was born in the lap of luxury.

We must snap our youth into reality.  Being tough is a good thing. It is toughness that compels you to survive through racism, and poverty.

Doing well in school when your mama is an alcoholic and your father is in prison or unknown is tough. Finishing college when you have no financial aid and have to work two jobs is tough. Being an honest person in a den of thieves is tough. Resisting the temptation of sex until adulthood when it’s all around you is tough. That’s being from the street and surviving.


Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
I read this by Eva L. Perry some years ago in the “CAROLINIAN” a newspaper in North Carolina:

“THANK YOU JESUS” We, as the people of God, have a right to never be anxious for, or concerning anything—but in all things be ready to heartily say, “Thank you Jesus.” This is my way of saying that we should not murmur nor complain.  Why? Because it is an established fact that God causes all things to work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called ones according to His purpose.

“Where Dreams Soar”

Moreno Valley what a wonderful past week. Maybe things did not go as you planned but guess what?  You are still here. You are still here by God’s grace, I heard a pastor sing a song saying, “I’m A Living Testimony.” He could have been dead and in his grave and if that isn’t enough, read Hardy Brown’s editorial this past week “MY GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR.”

Moreno Valley let us not forget about the “LORD’S GYM,” coming to Moreno Valley. This is something to help our youth. It will be a facility for at-risk youth. Your partnership with Renewed Life Fellowship, Inc. , is tax exempt.

Any donation is greatly appreciated.

You may send donations to:
RENEWED LIFE FELLOWSHIP, INC. , 12625 FREDERICK ST. Ste. 1-5, 415, Moreno Valley, Ca. 92553 or email renewedlifefellowship@.org or contact Pastor Ted Collins, Sr. (760) 900–6432.

The west coast premier of “Church Basement Ladies” at the Grove Theatre, 276 E. 9th Street, Upland, California started May 8th -- June 7th 2009. This play is based on the renowned Scandinavian Humorous writings of the Lutheran Ladies. Saturday matinees begin at 2:00. Tickets are $25.00 & 30.00.  Senior, students & group discounts are available. For information call (909) 920–4343. See you there.

On May 24th, I attended a wonderful “FAMILY AND FRIENDS DAY” with the Mount Moriah Baptist Church Family under the leadership of Rev. Willie Chambers, Jr. The theme: “Family and Friends United in Love, by the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 4:1-6. The special guests were Mount Moriah founders Pastor James M. Hardy and First Lady Louise Hardy of Woodville, Mississippi. What a great time. The food for your body and the food for your soul was off the hook. To the family of Mount Moriah Church, job well done.

Let me leave you with this: “Lord help me to live from day to day, in such a self- forgetful way, that even when I knell to pray, my prayer shall be for others. Others, Lord.  Yes others. Let this my motto be That I may live for others, that they may live like Thee.”


Californians Called On To Foster Connections For The Thousands In State’s Foster Care System

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Over 68,000 Californian children are in foster care because their own families are in crisis and unable to provide for their essential wellbeing.

Like all young people, youth in foster care deserve and benefit from enduring, positive relationships with caring adults. Now is the time to get involved.

This May, National Foster Care Month will serve as the platform for connecting more of these vulnerable children with concerned, nurturing adults. Join California’s leading child welfare agencies, private foster family agencies, advocates, experts and thousands of foster and adoptive parents as they come together to address the needs of our communities’ young people in foster care.

Their message is simple: No matter how much time you have to give, youth in foster care are OUR CHILDREN and we must provide for them. About half of all foster children are aged 0-5. Aspiranet Adoption and Foster Family Agency was recently awarded a specialized grant through First 5 San Bernardino to find qualified homes to care this special group of children and to allow them to remain with their siblings when placed in foster homes.

Many of these formerly abused or neglected children and teens will either be safely reunited with their parents, be cared for by relatives, or be adopted by loving families. But others are less fortunate. Every year, more than 4,000 older youth “age out” of foster care and are left alone to face life’s challenges. No matter their age, all young people in foster care need a meaningful connection to a caring adult who becomes a supportive and lasting presence in their lives – a lifelong connection.

Research shows that foster care alumni are far more likely than their peers in the general population to endure homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment, incarceration and other adversities after they leave the foster care system.  Aspiranet Adoption and Foster Family Agency will begin on July 1, 2009 partnering with San Bernardino County in a program designed to provide life skills, continued education, health care, housing, employment assistance and mentoring to youth (18-24 years old) aging out of the system through their THP-Plus program.

Across the state, caring individuals are helping foster youth ages 0-24 build brighter futures by serving as their foster parents, relative caregivers, adoptive parents, mentors, advocates, social workers and volunteers.

But much more help is needed in San Bernardino County. Aspiranet is urgently seeking many more everyday people to come forward for our communities’ children so they realize their full potential.

Call Aspiranet today at 909- 890-9022 or visit www.aspiranet.org to learn how you can be that connection to a young person in your community.

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BVN National News Wire