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Alpha Kappa Alpha Lawsuit Reinstated by D.C. Appeals Court

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

Allegations of financial impropriety within Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. will get an airing in court, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 18, reversing the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by members of the nation’s oldest Black sorority.

Dismissal of the lawsuit questioning $375,000 the sorority leadership gave AKA President Barbara McKenzie was in error, the three-judge panel ruled, reinstating the lawsuit filed by eight members in 2009.

The original lawsuit said the payment to McKenzie was not properly approved by the membership and that the money, which included a $25,000 payout and a $4,000 a month stipend for the president, was used for clothing, jewelry, and a wax statue of McKenzie.

The suit was dismissed in 2010 by a D.C. Superior Court judge, who said the Chicago-based plaintiffs failed to accuse the sorority and its leadership of taking actions prohibited by statute, that the suit wasn’t filed on behalf of the entire membership; and that the court lacked jurisdiction over individual officials who don’t live in Washington.

The panel said that, unlike allegations of impropriety by shareholders of a for-profit organization, dues-paying members of a non-profit group can sue as individuals and aren’t required to file a class action.

Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Tells Black Teens to Quit Embarrassing Their Race

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia may be the first Black politician to address “flash mob” attacks that involve majority Black teens rummaging stores and attacking other races.

“You have damaged your own race,” Nutter said to a group of Black teens, the Washington Times reported. “Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”

The series of flash mob attacks in Philadelphia involve a group of teens who spontaneously assault random people in the tourist locations.

Nutter then continued: “If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ‘cause you look like you’re crazy.”

In order to slow attacks, Nutter has moved up the curfew for minors to 9 p.m. on the weekend. Police patrols are also sent to certain neighborhoods.

Each time a child is caught in violation of the curfew, the parent will face an increase fine, according to the Washington Times.

Whyatt Mondesire, president of Philadelphia’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, appreciated Nutter’s comments and said it “took courage.”

“These are majority African-American youths and they need to be called on it,” he said.

Teens use text messaging to organize attacks on bystanders. On July 29, 20 to 30 teens went to Center City at night, then beat and robbed onlookers. One man was hospitalized as he was kicked in the head repeatedly and had a fractured skull.

Philadelphia is not the only city facing the same “flash mob” attacks. During memorial day weekend in Chicago, teens knocked over cyclists and “harassed picnickers,” according to the Washington Times.

In Washington, D.C., 20 teenagers entered a store in Dupont Circle and stole $20,000 worth of merchandise.

Recent flash mob attacks in the U.S. have been compared to riots seen in the current London crisis.

West and Smiley Impact on Obama Voters: Real or Fleeting?

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Duo’s Obama Challenges Generate Black Community Protests But Some Fear Black Apathy

Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

Although Princeton professor Cornel West supported President Barack Obama in 2008, his recent criticism of the nation’s first Black president may be trouble for 2012. Radio personality Tavis Smiley has also joined in the Black chorus of public dissatisfaction of Obama.

It is unclear whether calling the president “Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs,” and publicly denouncing the policies of Obama in a majority of recent interviews will hurt the Obama’s election next year. But Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Obama’s former church in Chicago, said the intellectual’s remarks could increase African Americans’ trust of Congress.

“The negative discussion Dr. West is having can only put more apathy in the hearts of African-Americans and could ultimately cause them to lose more faith in the entire political process,” Moss told Newsweek. “Where will that leave us?”

Buddies West and Smiley have teamed to launch a two-week “Poverty Tour,” which will take the duo to different cities as they encourage the president to “wake up.” The purpose of the tour is supposed to be to help America refocus on the “least among us,” according to Newsweek.

But recently citizens have started to fight back. In Detroit, when the “Call to Conscience” bus pulled up in August, a group of people met the two outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to protest.

“We will not stand silent as Smiley and West criticize the man who brought us health-care reform, one of the greatest accomplishments for the poor in this country’s history,” a spokesperson for Detroiters for Better Government told Newsweek.

The West and Smiley approach may or may not have an impact on Black voters. Obama’s approval rate is slowly dwindling. In 2008, 96 percent of African Americans voted for Obama. In March, Black Entertainment Television (BET) conducted a poll, where 85 percent of people supported the president. But in a recent Washington Post/CBS poll, African American support dropped sharply—from 77 percent in October 2010 to nearly half of that this month, according to Newsweek.

Steve Harvey disagreed with the tour and said Smiley should let go of the grudge he had when Obama did not make it to his town hall meeting.

“You don't have any real basis behind your dislike for this man...you keep masking it saying it's not about hate. Then what is it about? Poverty existed before January 20, 2008. Where was your damn bus then?” Steve Harvey said, according to the St. Louis American.

He continued: “Who in the hell got 2-3 days for your [expletive]? I ain't got time to sit down with your monkey behind for two, three days, let alone the President of the United States. We got three wars going on, the economy crashing and we going to sit down with Tavis [expletive] for three days?”

New Initiative to Defuse Ethnic Conflict in Kenya Before Polls

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

The chair of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has launched a four month series of conferences countrywide in an effort to curb conflicts related to ethnicity and race before next year’s polls.

NCIC chair Mzalendo Kibunjia said the sessions were designed to avoid the re-occurrence of post-election violence in the country.

Marginalization of some communities, bad governance, unequal distribution of resources, discrimination and misappropriation of public resources were the major issues to be addressed during the exercise, he said.

University of Nairobi Prof. Vincent Simiyu traced the creation of epithets fuelling negative ethnicity to the colonial state, which did not disappear even after independence. He noted there was still not a government-printed version of the new constitution in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national language spoken by 100% of the population.

Meanwhile, a conference on the question of reparations for victims of past violations was begun last month in Nairobi. It was convened by the International Center for Transitional Justice and a German group. The “Study of the Reparative Demands of Kenyan Victims of Human Rights Violations” has been posted on the group’s website at http://ictj.org

Rich African Nations sit on the Sidelines as Somalis Starve

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Only four African nations have contributed emergency funds for drought-stricken Somalia, and the amounts donated have been pitifully small, according to the British aid agency Oxfam.

Despite the many oil-rich countries around the continent, only South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Sudan have stepped up to the plate, said Irungu Houghton of Oxfam.

The African Union initially announced a contribution of around $500,000 as did Namibia. South Africa also announced an initial contribution of more than $150,000. But Oxfam’s Anne Mitaru called such contributions “unacceptable.”

“When you look at the South African economy, one of the largest, actually the biggest economy on the continent, $150,000 is a poor show," said Mitaru. “African governments may not have the resources to entirely meet the funding gap,” said Houghton, “but they must make a decent contribution and show the true meaning of African solutions to African problems.”

The newly-organized Africans Act 4 Africa, known as AA4A, also criticized the continent for not pulling its financial weight. “Governments must give a reasonable fraction of the $1.4 billion still needed if the humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa is to be stopped, they declared.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have died in the current famine and more than 12 million people are in desperate need of food aid.

The United States has been the biggest international donor to date, with about $580 million in aid this year. Britain is the second-biggest donor at $205 million, followed by Japan and Australia. Saudi Arabia, the biggest donor from the Muslim world, is next at $60 million.

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