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Congressional Black Caucus Stands Up for Jobs in Black Community

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By Yussuf J. Simmonds, Sentinel Managing Editor, Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel –

(NNPA) According to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)--known as the 'Conscience of the Congress'--over 40 job bills have been brought to the House floor by its members since the beginning of the 112th (the current session) Congress. To that end, they have been holding town halls and job fairs around the country to ease the devastating crush of human misery that the high unemployment has taken in their districts and beyond, as a part of the jobs initiative thrust. To date, this initiative has included town halls and jobs fairs in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta and Miami. Each stop has featured at least 100 employers with real and available jobs, and thousands of eager jobs seekers.

CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver was scheduled to join his colleagues Congresswomen Maxine Waters, Laura Richardson, and Karen Bass in Los Angeles later this week, the final stop of the national jobs initiative effort. They have demonstrated national leadership in their efforts at championing jobs for the Black community. Congresswoman Waters will host the event, which will include more than a dozen members of the CBC, for the Final Stop of the CBC's "For the People" Jobs Initiative.

According to CBC Chairman Cleaver, the genesis of the jobs initiative tour was the devastating impact that the high unemployment was having in members’ districts. He explained, "The Congressional Black Caucus, of which I am the chair began to look at what we can do in terms of reducing the depression level unemployment among African Americans. We came to the conclusion that it was pointless to just complain and growl the government's lack of attention to this segment of the American population that is unable to find work. So we decided that we would select five cities where unemployment was high, get major corporation to commit to hiring a large number of those individuals who came out and we would travel around the country with this job fair," Cleaver said.

As a result, Los Angeles was one of the targeted cities and they are scheduled to be here to discuss the high unemployment rate in the African American community, jobs legislation and how to stimulate the economy in urban communities. "The Congressional Black Caucus cannot tolerate this crisis," said Waters, "that is why we are taking the unusual step of getting out of Washington and connecting our constituents directly with real jobs. With the national unemployment rate at 9.2 percent, California's rate at 12.1 percent, and the rate in the African American Community at 16 percent, the CBC has made job creation our number one priority. This initiative will extend beyond these events."

Cleaver continued, "The whole caucus was going to participate with these districts. But instead we chose Cleveland as our first site--which was two weeks ago--we had 7,000 people to turn out for about 2,200 jobs from 200 major corporations: from General Electric to Wal-Mart or Home Depot. Next we were in Detroit on this past Monday with about four thousand people who came out for about 1,500 jobs. And then yesterday, we were in Atlanta where about 5,000 people turned out for a couple of thousand jobs," he concluded.

Bass said, "It's most important leaving Washington and coming to L.A. and hearing from people who are hurting, and taking their stories back to Washington and demanding that we have the resources to take the jobs back to these communities."

Over the last week, Rep. Waters, who chairs the jobs initiative, has made national headlines as a result of her sharp criticism of the handling of the unemployment crisis by both the administration and the tea party led Republican House majority. These events promise to provide an open forum to continue this dialogue. Waters has been outspoken on the topic of the unemployment crisis facing African-Americans. She also chided Obama for ignoring the Black community during his recent bus tour through Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. At a job fair in Detroit, she said, "We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any Black community. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is," she continued. "We're supportive of the president, but we getting tired, y'all, getting tired."

Echoing her sentiments, Rep. Elijah Cummings said that African-Americans are "totally frustrated, and people need to know that the president feels their pain. Almost every African-American person I spoke to said he (the President) needs to fight, and fight harder," Cummings said, responding to the high unemployment rates in the Black community."

And that pain is real for as Cleaver described an incident at one of the job fairs, "To show how desperate these individuals are for work, 12 individuals standing in line for hours to get inside where they would meet a potential employer, fainted and had to go to the hospital."

He said that the next stop would be in Miami where they were expecting "double digits, ten thousand or more. And the last two days of this month (August) we would be in Los Angeles."

It was due to Cleaver's leadership that members of the CBC unanimously co-sponsored and introduced the Congressional Black Caucus 'For the People' Jobs Initiative Resolution (H. Res. 348) to encourage the House of Representatives to immediately consider and pass critical jobs legislation to address the growing jobs crisis in America.

About his leadership, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Sentinel commented, "Emanuel Cleaver has a clear vision of his leadership role as chairman of CBC; he is the right man, in the right job, at the right time, delivering the economic resources for our community that it deserves."

Other CBC members scheduled to participate in the Los Angeles town hall and job fair are: Reps. G. K. Butterfield, Andre Carson, Yvette Clarke, Lacy Clay, Jr., Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson, Barbara Lee, Cedric Richmond, and Frederica Wilson.

The Los Angeles stop on Tuesday, August 30th will to be held at the Crenshaw Christian Center and a huge jobs fair to be held at the same location the following day. This event has already confirmed more than 100 employers.

Victims Detail Bishop Eddie Long's Alleged Sexual Coercion

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Pair Plan to Write a Book About Their Involvement with Atlanta Pastor

Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

(NNPA) Bishop Eddie Long settled civil lawsuits several months ago, which alleged that he used his influence to coerce young men into sexual relationships. But new interviews by two of the five men that were party to the settlement have put the pastor and Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church back in the media spotlight.

When the settlement was announced in May, plaintiff's attorney B.J. Bernstein said neither she nor her clients would give interviews on the case, then or in the future. But two of the men, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande, have risked their still-undisclosed settlements to share their story.

“I'm going to tell the world—money does not buy happiness," LeGrande told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Aug. 24. “When you sleep at night, the problems are still there. The money stuff, who cares about the number. I feel like burning [the money].”

The extensive interviews, conducted in conjunction with Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, detail the relationship between the boys and Long, and how they feel they were manipulated. The interviews were conducted in Miami, Florida where LeGrande and Parris have relocated, hoping to start fresh. But both men said they still bear scars of Long’s manipulation of their need for a father into unwanted sexual encounters.

“[The money is] just not enough anymore,” Parris told WSB. “I thought I could cover the pain up. I thought I could move, start over and everything will go away. I was terribly wrong."

During the interview, Parris and LeGrande announced that they were writing a book together which would share the details of what happened to them in hopes of helping others.

With the interviews made public on the WSB Web site, Bishop Long has issued a statement in response.

“Unfortunately, we are in the media again and people are wondering what I am going to say,” the statement read. “All I have to say is what we stated earlier. All parties involved decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. The decision was made to bring closure to this matter and allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.

“I will continue to honor and abide by my commitment of confidentiality and restraint as it relates to the resolution of the civil litigation and will not be diverted from the important work of this ministry.”

One on One Interview with Martin Luther King, III

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Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer –

(NNPA) On the eve of what was supposed to be the landmark dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, The Washington Informer spoke with the preeminent civil rights leader's son Martin Luther King III. He shared his thoughts about his father, the monument and the momentous occasion. The dedication ceremony was postponed due to Hurricane Irene.

How does it feel to have a memorial on the National Mall honoring your father?

I am gratified and overjoyed by the coming unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in the nation's capital. More importantly, it is a great gift to America. Of course, it's an historic accomplishment for an African American leader to be honored on the National Mall, adjacent to the Lincoln, Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt memorials. But it is even more gratifying that, for the first time, a nonviolent leader, a man of peace, will now be represented alongside the greatest presidents of American history. It will provide a symbolic affirmation that nonviolent leadership can make history and transform America. This memorial will have powerful symbolic resonance, and it will certainly increase requests for information from The King Center in Atlanta, which remains the primary resource for information and education about the life, work and teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Does the design of the memorial and the inscriptions that speak of love, peace, justice and freedom give an accurate representation of your father and his legacy?

Yes. I like the design, particularly the imagery associated with my father's challenge to "hew a stone of hope out of the mountain of despair." I think the other quotations in the memorial are excellent and very relevant to our times. 'Love, peace and justice' are cornerstones of my father's teachings and they never go out of style.

What can young people gain from visiting the King monument at the National Mall?

They can gain inspiration and hope and a sense of the unique power of nonviolence as a transformative historical force, and perhaps they can also gain an understanding of the redemptive power of nonviolence as the hope of humanity for a more just and peaceful world. They can learn something as well from the quotations. My hope is that they will also make a point of visiting or contacting The King Center in Atlanta (www.thekingcenter.org), which is the official institution charged with educating people of all races, religions and nations about my father's teachings.

Key Aide to Michele Bachmann Once Charged As Terrorist in Uganda

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

(NNPA) A political organizer who helped send Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to victory in the recent Ames Iowa straw poll faced a life sentence in Uganda in 2006 on a gun-running charge.

Peter E. Waldron was held for 37 days, along with six Congolese and Ugandan nationals, in Luriza Prison, outside of Kampala. They were charged with possession of assault rifles and ammunition. Waldron was deported back to the U.S. reportedly after intervention from the Bush Administration.

Waldron, originally from Wyoming, spent several years in the East African country. The Kampala Monitor reported he was working with a Congo group to set up a Christian political party in Uganda. He also reportedly told a friend he has worked for the CIA.

He was also rumored to have been working with Congolese rebel militia members to capture Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan guerrilla group the Lord's Resistance Army, and claim a $1.7 million bounty on his head but that planning for the operation went awry, leading police to Waldron's house and the guns.

Waldron ‘s East African ordeal is detailed in The Ultimate Price: The Peter E. Waldron Story, a film whose trailer was abruptly removed from YouTube after The Atlantic online magazine carried a piece on it. A synopsis of the film reads as follows:

"Lebanon. Iraq. Syria. Afghanistan. Pakistan. Uganda. India. For over 30 years, his family never knew where he went -- never knew what he did. Based on a true story, Dr. Peter Waldron was on a mission. Was he a businessman, a preacher, a spy? Tortured and facing a firing squad, he never broke his oath of silence. What secret was worth the ultimate price?"

For now, presidential hopeful Bachmann is standing behind her man.

Amnesty: $260 Million Intended for Ivory Coast Toxic Dump Victims Must Be Found

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

(NNPA) A settlement of $260 million owed to citizens of the West African nation of Ivory Coast, victims of a nighttime dumping of toxic trash by a foreign barge, must be found and distributed, says the rights group Amnesty International.

According to the group, only a handful of the 92,000 victims received any payment and the money paid to the former government of Laurent Gbagbo is largely unaccounted for. “It’s unacceptable that so many people …have not received the compensation they are entitled to,” said Benedetta Lacey, special advisor to Amnesty on the 5th anniversary of the disaster.

Hundreds of tons of highly toxic oil waste were offloaded in Abidjan, the country’s commercial capital, on Aug. 19, 2006. Later it was learned that the British company, Trafigura, was fully aware that its waste was so toxic that it was banned in Europe. More than 100,000 Ivorians required medical attention and 12 victims appeared to show fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide, one of the waste's lethal byproducts.

Trafigura agreed to pay $195 million for about 95,000 victims. A second payment of $20 million was approved as final payment for additional costs and clean-up expenses.

But a group calling itself the National Coordination of Toxic Waste Victims of Cote d’Ivoire managed to hijack some of the funds. Much of the money is now missing and the head of the group has disappeared.

Genevieve Diallo, of the victims’ group next to Akouedo dumpsite said: “On the 5th anniversary, we must think about the victims… “Those who have misappropriated the money must be brought to justice. Justice must be done.”

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