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Right Wing March Called 'Slap in the Face' to King Legacy

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By Askia Muhammad, Special to the NNPA from the Final Call –

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - On the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastating landfall in New Orleans; the 47th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; and the 55th anniversary of the savage murder of Emmitt Till near Greenwood, Miss.—on Aug. 28—cable-TV news commentator Glenn Beck has been given a permit to host a rally “Restoring Honor” in the nation's capital.

The event is scheduled for the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech.

“Join the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and many more for this non-political event that pays tribute to America's service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor,” Beck says, inviting people to the event.

The rally, Beck states, will “celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future.” Many Black observers disagree. The symbolism of this event is as shocking an inappropriate as former California Gov. Ronald Reagan launching his first presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss. the site of the brutal 1964 murder of three civil rights workers, says some critics.

“I think it ought to be clear, this has nothing to do with the civil rights movement,” Dr. Ronald Walters, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Maryland told The Final Call of the planned march. “This has everything to do with the White nationalist movement.

“I use that term because it's the title of a book I wrote on ‘the Right.' So, they're White nationalists. Essentially, what's going on is that this is an opportunity for them to make a stab at what some people have called, ‘taking back their country.'

“And they're taking it back on the vision of King, and progressives, and the good things that this country has stood for. And they're replacing it with a very narrow, narrow-minded vision,” Walters said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are also planning a Washington mobilization on Aug. 28, at Dunbar High School, near downtown.

“But we will in no way be deterred by those dividers like Glenn Beck and other Tea Party members who are attempting to tarnish the legacy of this historic day and our impeccable leader,” the Rev. Sharpton said in a commentary distributed by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). “We will not allow them to hijack the dream, nor destroy Dr. King's mission.”

Beck, who is known for inflammatory rhetoric on his television and radio programs, says the rally is to be followed by “Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny, an eye-opening event at the historic Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. that will help heal your soul. Guided by uplifting music, nationally known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days,” according to Simon Maloy writing for Media Matters.

There will probably be no mass protest or counter-march against Mr. Beck's rally, according to Dr. Walters. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is planning an Aug. 28 march in Detroit, and residents of New Orleans are planning a commemoration of Hurricane Katrina that same day.

Still, Dr. Walters insists, the Tea Party, Glenn Beck and his people, “are not worthy of that date. I think that's what people ought to understand.

“Washington won't be the only site, because people are concerned, not just about Glenn Beck, but about jobs and justice, and that is in the tradition of Dr. King. If we don't do that, then (the Black response) is totally reactionary,” said Walters.

“Glenn Beck doesn't have a civil rights bone in his body,” said Pastor Timothy McDonald, a member of the Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, which was Dr. King's base of operations and where the center named in his honor stands.

“This march is nothing more than an attempt to hijack and distort the civil rights movement. It is a highjack of the movement, a highjack of its tactics and a highjack of approach,” Rev. McDonald continued.

Beck's march is a slap in the face of the established legacy of Dr. King and others, but responses to the march should be tempered so that in some way the Beck march appears valid, McDonald said.

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood will be among those marching in New Orleans the weekend of the Beck march. “Let Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Fox News have Washington, DC on August 28th this year. We shall respond with morality, faith, and love for our country. We will not respond to hate with more hate,” he wrote for GlobalGrind.com.

“What is right is to stand up for justice, to stand up for a sustainable economy, for jobs, for peace, and to stand up for our environment,” he said.

“Glenn Beck and the right wing have a right to conduct their march, said Dick Gregory, the social satirist, comedian, historian, and civil rights advocate who marched with Dr. King. The problem is that Black folks just were not clever enough to book that date 10 years in a row so “that's our fault,” he told The Final Call.

He said one of the sad parts about it is who announced their march first. “If that (National Action Network) was announced after him (Beck), it means that we weren't planning to celebrate anything and that this is just a reaction to his,” Gregory continued.

He recalled that the Ku Klux Klan, a White supremacy group known for terrorizing Blacks and people of color, opposed every march they held but they couldn't stop the civil rights marches because they were not illegal. In this case, Glenn Beck had law on his side and even if the Army were called in, it would attack the Blacks and not Beck, he added.

“It's not reaching too far to think they are attempting to preserve White supremacy and White privilege in this country. Here you have people that have taken King's words and taken them completely out of context to say that he was speaking about all people, but what they're saying is they're going to restore what was, under one hand equality for all people, a non-racial society, what King would have wanted,” explained Dr. William Boone, a political science professor at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.

He views the Beck march as a continued 20 year effort to distort Dr. King around and have him suit all people, regardless of whether their purposes reflect what the civil rights leader lived and died for.

It is definitely an attempt to hijack and legitimize the whole anti-social, anti-progressive movement that has occurred in America over 30 years or so, but what people are missing is that Dr. King's dream was for equality and justice for all people, not just the right wing, he said. Certainly Dr. King argued for a non-racial society, Boone continued, but a society where there would be equality and justice for everyone as well, and that's what the right wing are overlooking.

Rangel Buoyant at Birthday Bash

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By Herb Boyd, Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News –

(NNPA) - Several stories about Congressman Charles Rangel’s birthday bash pegged their ledes on Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For,” which was indeed appropriate since the Plaza Hotel was an impenetrable gaggle of his friends, family and associates last week.

But Chuck Jackson’s soaring “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was equally on target and key as he matched Warwick—who was substituting for the ailing Aretha Franklin—in moving the crowd to thunderous applause.

Because of Rangel’s recent turmoil, many pundits on the right were predicting a small turnout and something akin to a wake. “I’ve been to a lot of funerals, but this damn sure ain’t no funeral!” Rangel said to loud approval.

The event was sold out hours before folks such as Harry Belafonte and an impressive retinue of elected officials began arriving.

When Rangel arrived with his wife, Alma, it took him a good hour to move across the Grand Ballroom to the stage, where Danny Mixon and his trio were grooving on—was that—“Some Enchanted Evening.”

If not enchanted, the evening was festive and made all the more enjoyable with Governor David Paterson as emcee. One of his best quips was that everyone in the crowd would get a chance to speak. “Just come on up with three blank checks and the mic is yours,” he joshed.

And at a reported $200 per person, the Rangel campaign banked a few more bucks in the war chest. Rep. Carolyn Maloney wasn’t able to attend, but, according to the emcee, texted her goodwill and the promise of a check for $2,500.

There were a number of great one-liners, and Rev. Al Sharpton was the usual nimble wordsmith, tossing a riposte to the mainstream media. “You started and executed a political crucifixion,” he said, his bomb lobbed to the press, “but stay tuned for a political resurrection.”

Mayor Bloomberg got in a nifty one, too. Commenting on those not in attendance, the mayor said, “They knew they were going to have a headache.”

Inside the ballroom, the hilarity and praise were unending with Rep. Joe Crowley, Councilwoman Inez Dickens (her leg in a cast), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, City Comptroller John Liu and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo each extending their warm regards to the octogenarian Lion of Lenox Avenue.

Outside, there was a small group of protesters with placards calling Rangel a “liar” and a “cheat.” Among the dissenters were people carrying signs supporting Jonathan Tasini, one of the candidates seeking to unseat Rangel.

When one of protesters directly heckled former Mayor David Dinkins as he arrived, the feisty mayor shot back a middle finger and then hurried on to the festivities.

“We’re going to win this one,” Rangel roared before cutting his huge birthday cake, and that was the only understatement of the evening.

But Chuck Jackson’s soaring “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was equally on target and key as he matched Warwick—who was substituting for the ailing Aretha Franklin—in moving the crowd to thunderous applause.

Because of Rangel’s recent turmoil, many pundits on the right were predicting a small turnout and something akin to a wake. “I’ve been to a lot of funerals, but this damn sure ain’t no funeral!” Rangel said to loud approval.

The event was sold out hours before folks such as Harry Belafonte and an impressive retinue of elected officials began arriving.

When Rangel arrived with his wife, Alma, it took him a good hour to move across the Grand Ballroom to the stage, where Danny Mixon and his trio were grooving on—was that—“Some Enchanted Evening.”

If not enchanted, the evening was festive and made all the more enjoyable with Governor David Paterson as emcee. One of his best quips was that everyone in the crowd would get a chance to speak. “Just come on up with three blank checks and the mic is yours,” he joshed.

And at a reported $200 per person, the Rangel campaign banked a few more bucks in the war chest. Rep. Carolyn Maloney wasn’t able to attend, but, according to the emcee, texted her goodwill and the promise of a check for $2,500.

There were a number of great one-liners, and Rev. Al Sharpton was the usual nimble wordsmith, tossing a riposte to the mainstream media. “You started and executed a political crucifixion,” he said, his bomb lobbed to the press, “but stay tuned for a political resurrection.”

Mayor Bloomberg got in a nifty one, too. Commenting on those not in attendance, the mayor said, “They knew they were going to have a headache.”

Inside the ballroom, the hilarity and praise were unending with Rep. Joe Crowley, Councilwoman Inez Dickens (her leg in a cast), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, City Comptroller John Liu and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo each extending their warm regards to the octogenarian Lion of Lenox Avenue.

Outside, there was a small group of protesters with placards calling Rangel a “liar” and a “cheat.” Among the dissenters were people carrying signs supporting Jonathan Tasini, one of the candidates seeking to unseat Rangel.

When one of protesters directly heckled former Mayor David Dinkins as he arrived, the feisty mayor shot back a middle finger and then hurried on to the festivities.

“We’re going to win this one,” Rangel roared before cutting his huge birthday cake, and that was the only understatement of the evening.

Unemployment Among Black Women Surges

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Special to the NNPA from the Louisiana Weekly –

(NNPA) - Analysis by the National Wo men’s Law Center of July jobs data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that unemployment surged among vulnerable groups of women last month, highlighting the need for Congress to do more to help vulnerable families.

While the data indicates no change in overall unemployment and little change for all men and women, the unemployment rates for women who head families and minority women shot up, while rates among minority men dropped.

Unemployment for women who head families jumped to 13.4 percent in July from 12.1 percent in June. This marks the highest unemployment rate for this particularly vulnerable group since the recession began in December 2007 and the highest rate in over 25 years.

Unemployment among African-American women rose from 11.8 percent in June to 12.9 percent in July, while the rate for African-American men declined from 17.4 percent to 16.7 percent. The situation was similar for Hispanic women, whose unemployment rate increased by 1.1 percentage points to 12.1 percent in July, marking this group’s highest unemployment rate since 1986.

Hispanic men’s unemployment rate dropped from 11.3 percent in June to 10.2 percent in July.

Women lost 62 percent of the 131,000 non-farm jobs lost in July. And while the private sector added 71,000 jobs, women’s employment actually dropped by 1,000 jobs in this area. Additionally state and local government education systems, a female-dominated sector, shed a substantial number of jobs. Preliminary numbers reveal that local education lost 27,100 jobs, the largest loss of any industry (excluding temporary Census workers).

“Today’s data show that for many women and families, things are getting worse,” said Nancy Duff Campbell, NWLC Co-President. “Congress must do far more to help the most vulnerable.

Additional funding for child care assistance, child support enforcement, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund would help struggling families make ends meet. But even more must be done to create jobs and strengthen the economy.”

Congress recently extended enhanced unemployment benefits through November to help workers unemployed for six months or more, and the Senate just approved additional funding to states and localities for health care and education that will help stem further job losses and deeper cuts in public services. But Congress has yet to act on a more substantial jobs measure—the Jobs for America Act, additional funding for child care assistance, restored funding for child support enforcement, and an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which has allowed states to create jobs and provide emergency assistance to families.

“This brutal recession will have lasting effects on the well-being of women and their families,” Campbell said. “Congress must treat it as the emergency it is.”

Bridging Generation Gaps to Inspire African-American Youth Health

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By Jessica Harper, Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer –

(NNPA) - A 2009 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that Black teens and young adults are more prone to violence than their White counterparts. Despite that alarming fact, mentoring and counseling groups like the District-based Evolutionary Elders (EE) continue to inspire African-American youth to excel personally and professionally.

Co-founder and author, Eugene Williams, Sr., said the organization fights the odds, by maintaining a positive outlook about the future of Black youth.

"We don't want to be bothered with defeatist attitudes," Williams, 68, said.

"Our goal is to work with mentors, counselors and organizations who have not given up on our children," the Clinton, Md., resident said.

Evolutionary Elders seeks to heal social ills that plague African-American young men and women by bridging generational gaps. Members close these gaps by using education and positive reinforcement to reach Black youth.

"We came together to forge this concept--soon-to-become-movement--because we were really upset at some of the things we saw in families and also in schools," Williams said.

Williams established Evolutionary Elders in spring 2010 with his long-time friend Wetzel Witten, a 67-year-old community organizer from Washington, D.C.

The two men bring together men and women, who were born in the 1930s and 1940s, grew up in the 1950s and became social revolutionaries in the 1960s to mentor and counsel young people and their families. These elders forfeit vacations in Miami to "liberate and elevate the thinking and actions" of Black youth.

“We are an African people, and Negritude represents our attitude,” Witten said. “Therefore, we will never be senior citizens because senior citizens retire, Evolutionary Elders inspire.”

Members inspire by venturing into schools, recreation centers and churches across the D.C. area with a two-pronged mission: to work with parents, guardians and educators to improve education (academics and athletics) and to teach Black youth about their history and respect for their elders.

"Whether anybody accepts it or not, our schools and families are in crisis and our children are caught up in this," Williams said.

"As we see it, if something is not done soon, we will see our schools dissolve and become worse off than they are now."

Now 10 members strong, counselors include an eclectic mix of Ph.D. holders and activists; mathematicians and wordsmiths; athletes and musicians--each of whom share their knowledge with young mentees.

Mary H. Johnson, a member of Evolutionary Elders, said psychological counseling warrants as much attention as academic tutoring.

"The highest compliment I have received since I began working with EE came from a student who was asked, 'Why do you go to the math center so often?' Do you know what he said in response to that? ‘Because Dr. Johnson makes me feel like I'm somebody,’" Johnson said.

Johnson holds an Ed.D. in Mathematics Education from University of Maryland College Park and is married to Williams. The two founded Academic Resources Unlimited (ARU) in 2008. ARU is a non-profit that provides tutorial and communication services to high school students and educators.

Johnson said because many of the organization’s mentees receive little encouragement at home, it is incumbent on the mentors to remind them of their worth.

"Our children fight so hard to feel accepted," Johnson said. "Sometimes all it takes is for them to meet someone who says, 'You can do it!'"

Ed Brown, creator of YouTube's social commentary program The Ed Brown Show, echoed Johnson's sentiment.

"Environment affects development," Brown said. "Some of these kids have no one who cares whether or not they succeed."

Brown’s program covers topics ranging from politics to education, and featured guests include university presidents and local lawmakers.

He said the elders' experience is their greatest asset.

"A child might pay more attention to someone who is much older," Brown said. "An elder brings knowledge that other people don't have. So when an elder says, 'Study hard,' they listen.”\ Williams and Witten said several students have changed their behavior since coming under their tutelage.

"We mentored a 15-year-old boy, a very smart kid, who sold drugs. He told me, 'I never thought about the consequences.' So, I decided to give him a job designing our books," Williams said. "Now, he tells me he's staying out of trouble. On top of that, the work he produces for us is outstanding."

Evolutionary Elders collaborates with non-profit group Wise Educators.com and the Success and Learning Math Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., to provide quality tutoring and counseling services to their mentees.

Williams said, "We don't want volunteers looking to benefit from the name, Evolutionary Elders. They must have a history of doing good things and want to continue to do that work."

Lawless Police Create Mayhem in Nigeria, New Report Says

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Special to the NNPA from GIN –

(GIN) – Police in this oil-rich nation routinely shake down citizens for everything from bus fare money to expensive flat-screen plasma TV sets. Illegal arrests and torture are commonplace, and some victims lose their life over as little as 13 cents.

This was the dismal finding of the New York-based Human Rights Watch that has been studying entrenched corruption in the ranks of the Nigeria Police Force.

Their new report, “Everyone’s in on the Game” Corruption and Human Rights Abuses by the Nigeria Police Force,” is based on field research in Nigeria in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Researchers looked at three states: Lagos, Anambra, and Kaduna, representing three of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria; as well as in Abuja, the capital, Rivers and Ebonyi State.

The report also shows how government ministers and officials charged with police oversight, have failed to root out corruption. Public complaint mechanisms, internal police controls, and civilian oversight remain weak, underfunded, and ineffective.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu called the report “largely embellished innuendos” reaching a preconceived conclusion, but he also criticized corrupt officers on the department’s website.

Writing on the SaharaReporters anti-corruption website, “Nigerian1” observed: “The only difference between the arm robbers and Nigerian police is that the police bring their victims in police station (where citizens right should be protected), abuse then rob their families while the arm robbers take victims in hide outs and demand ransom, same practice different tactics.”

The full report can be found at http://www.hrw.org/node/92390

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