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Black Advocacy Group Says: 'Turn Off FOX'

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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspapers –

(NNPA) - ColorOfChange.org, the community activist group that successfully urged dozens of advertisers to pull away from Glenn Beck’s FOX news show, recently announced a new initiative directed at discouraging public establishments across the country from airing FNC. The campaign, dubbed “Turn off Fox,” attempts to expose what the group’s leaders call, “divisive rhetoric and dishonest smear campaigns” while reducing the number of TVs broadcasting the network in public venues like airports and gyms.

Colorofchange.org began a phone and online campaign to its more than 600,000 members asking businesses and other public establishments not to be a “conduit for the race-baiting and distortions put forth by Fox News Channel.”

“The case against Fox News Channel is easy to make - no legitimate news organization consistently wages smear campaigns based on lies and race-baiting,” said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, in a press release. “But for years, Fox News Channel has done exactly that, and the pattern has only gotten worse since President Obama entered the White House. Our campaign gives people a way to demand that businesses that serve the public not force Fox News’s divisive propaganda on their customers.”

Fear, Exclusion Prevent Haitian-Americans from Voting

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By Cyril Josh Barker, Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News –

(NNPA) - As Wyclef Jean continues to criticize the Haitian government for not allowing him to run for president, questions are being raised about the Haitian government’s attitude toward Haitians not living in the country.

Unlike in the United States, Haitians who aren’t living in their country at the time of an election are not able to vote. There’s no system set up to submit a votes from another country.

This is due to the stigma that spending time away from the country leads the Haitian government to give the label of those not in the country as uninvited.

“Haiti has gone through a lot of changes since the overthrow of the old government,” said Haitian-American and political candidate Rodneyse Bichotte. “The constitution was revamped, and it takes time for a country such as Haiti, which has been under in dictatorship so many years, to grab the meaning of democracy.”

Involving herself in American politics, Bichotte is running for state committee leader of the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, which has the largest number of Haitian immigrants in the state. None of those living in the district can vote in Haiti’s presidential election.

“If you look or sound American with Haitian roots, then you are not invited,” she said. “Sometimes, people get backlash for being away so long. I’m not sure why they make it so difficult.”

But along with the stigma that Haiti has against those not living in the country, many also fear being involved in Haitian politics at all because of the history of corruption.

Bichotte said, “Some people are afraid and they feel that anything having to do with Haitian politics is bad karma. Having that sense of independence seems unreachable, but everyone wants the best for the country.”

Haiti was supposed to hold an election this February, but it was postponed due the January earthquake. Elections in Haiti will be held in November with 38 candidates running for president of the country.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Helps Black Businesses, Homeowners

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By Joseph Wright, Special to the NNPA from Our Weekly News –

(NNPA) - Congresswoman Maxine Waters was the keynote speaker at a recent forum designed to help Black and other non-White businesses, as well as those run by women, gain greater access to major banks and brokers to help sustain and establish their corporations.

“Since the recession really took hold in December 2007,” the congresswoman explained, “about 2.3 million homes have been repossessed by banks. Currently, about one in 10 American households, with a mortgage, is at risk of foreclosure.”

According to Waters, the non-White communities across the United States suffered the most in this economic downturn because African-American and Latino families represent more than half of all California foreclosures. This data came from the Center for Responsible Lending which also notes that African-American and Latino foreclosure rates, respectively, are more than double those of White borrowers in California.

On the business side, the Black community has been impacted by the disproportionate distribution of foreclosed properties given to brokers from outside of Black areas for resale. Many Black-owned real estate offices have been forced to close down their businesses because of the disparities. “These are a couple of (the) reasons why I have worked so hard to help to offer more solutions to the problems facing our community,” Waters told those in attendance.

“We all reached out to [Rep. Waters],” Inglewood Century 21 owner Denise Woods said. “Some of us reached out individually to her as real estate professionals; African American real estate professionals. Then we decided we would come together as a group for the whole organization . . ."

“We told her what we were dealing with as far as the financial institutions were concerned in the distribution of their resale (and) their foreclosure properties, because we [African-American real estate brokers] were being excluded. . . . the banks were using agents from outside of [the Black community].”

Within President Barack Obama’s Wall Street Reform bill were provisions authored by Waters that establishes a $1 billion program with The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide low-interest loans to unemployed homeowners in danger of losing there homes.

CEO Mark Alston of Alston and Associates Mortgage Company applauded the efforts of the congresswoman. “I am proud to say that I am the friend of someone who will stand up for those in our community,” Alston said. “I started looking at the numbers and the data (regarding Black businesses and Black foreclosure rates). After I saw the data, I got (angry). The economy and the recession has got me in a corner, I thought. I’m tired of working hard and not being able to go to the dentist. That is why this meeting is important.”

Alston emphasized that the Black community and its businesses need to understand what steps are necessary to remedy the problem of foreclosures. In addition, he pointed out the need to understand what policies and laws are in place to help those businesses and homeowners who face troubling situations due to lack of finances.

Alston said, “You need to understand that you as a homeowner or business owner are not in the fight alone. You have people in government like [Waters] fighting for you.”

The corporations and businesses attending the summit included Citibank, Chase Bank, members of the Consolidated Board of Realists, and representatives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Former Atlanta Mayor Accuses Police of Racial Profiling in T.I. Case

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Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American –

(NNPA) – Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young has weighed in on the arrest of T.I., claiming the rapper may have been stopped for "DWB - Driving While Black."

T.I. and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle were arrested after they were stopped in the rapper's Maybach on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, for allegedly making an illegal U-turn.

Police allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana, searched the vehicle and uncovered a small amount of ecstasy and what is reported to be meth-amphetamines.

Young questioned the police's initial intent when they stopped the chart-topping rapper/actor, who recently starred in the #1 hit movie, Takers.

“There’s another culture in L.A. that I don’t understand,” Young told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Most people in Los Angeles would wonder why he was stopped. I don’t know why they should have been stopped ... When a Black man is stopped and not speeding … you call that driving while Black.”

Young, who officiated T.I.'s wedding to Tiny in July, also counseled T.I. after the rapper pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

T.I. immediately notified his probation officer of the arrest, as required by the terms of his probation.At press time, T.I. is heading back to Atlanta. He will most likely have to appear in court where Judge Charles Pannell Jr. could revoke his probation and send the rapper to jail.

"T.I. is going to be back on his way to Atlanta in the next 24 hours," Don Samuel, one of T.I.'s lawyers, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's almost certain he'll end up appearing before the court here. But without knowing all the facts, it's premature to speculate what the court is likely to do."

According to the terms of T.I.'s probation, the rapper cannot possess or use any narcotic, or frequent any place drugs are sold, used or administered.

Hot Mayoral Race Heads for Probable Upset in Nation's Capitol

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By Dorothy Rowley, Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper –

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty realizes his disconnect with district residents could cost him the job he was as elected to four years ago, he said during a Sept. 1 Newseum debate against contender Vincent Gray, and asked voters for another chance.

Fenty was elected with 89 percent of the general election vote on the promise of vastly improving the District’s delivery of public services and programs.

In what came across as an earnest, last-minute plea for a second chance, the results-oriented Fenty said during the debate that his original goal was to improve the city’s troubled education system and forge better communities while making residents feel safer.

“I never imagined one day there would be people who would feel I was trying to run them out of D.C., or who would think I was arrogant or who would think I cared more about some neighborhoods than others,” Fenty said. “If you don’t find it in your hearts to forgive me and give me a second chance, I will have no one to blame but myself.”

However, Gray called Fenty’s apology not, “a change of heart, it’s a change of strategy,” according to The Washington Post. Gray said he would work to undo the damage caused by Fenty’s approach to leadership and work to create new partnerships with the public and other local leaders.

“It is time we bring collaboration, integrity and sound management back to the mayor's office,” Gray said.

Over the past three years Fenty has been accused of governing in an overly arrogant, distant and non-inclusive way. However, he promised in the debate to do better and said the District’s best days are yet to come.

“If you believe that we can never go back to the dark days of the past; if you believe in all these things, then I ask you to believe in me again,” Fenty said.

Even Fenty’s attorney wife Michelle, who is rarely seen before the cameras, spoke out in his defense. Following the debate, she tearfully told reporters that the mayor is nothing like the aloof person the media has made him out to be.

“The reason he goes out there every single day, moving a thousand miles an hour [is] for the people of Washington, D.C.,” she said, “and for them to not understand that the whole point of his actions is for them, is very difficult.”

With the Sept. 14 primary looming, a Washington Post poll taken prior to the debate found that Gray holds a solid lead over the incumbent mayor, claiming 53 percent of likely voters to Fenty’s 36 percent.

According to Gray’s campaign manager, Traci Hughes, Fenty realizes he’s behind in the polls and is acting out of desperation.

“His pleas for an apology are insincere at best and quite frankly, it’s a change in strategy,” Hughes told the AFRO. “He knows that he’s behind and that voters are extremely dissatisfied with him as the incumbent.”

Hughes added that while she wasn’t sure if Michelle Fenty’s comments were contrived or if she felt genuinely hurt, the timing of her statements so close to the primary election is suspect. Hughes said, “It’s probably little more than a coincidence that she’s suddenly appearing before cameras pleading for her husband to be re-elected."

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