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Conservative Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Blasts Black Caucus Members as 'Race Hustlers'

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By Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

In his March 24 “The O’Reilly Factor” broadcast, O’Reilly supported Ryan’s latest apparent put-down of Blacks and came out firing against Ryan detractors, calling Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) a “notorious race hustler.”

“There is a cultural problem…. And that problem holds certain Americans back from competing in the marketplace.

“But as you may know, if you say that, you become a target. You are called a racist, as I have been many, many times,” O’Reilly said.

George Will, author and Fox News contributor who was a guest on O’Reilly’s show, added, “It’s a reflex on their part to call people racist, just as it was for Joe McCarthy to call people communist in 1954. People stopped listening to him. People stopped listening to these people.”

Ryan has been vilified for statements he made about poverty and the culture of inner cities in an interview on Bill Bennett’s “Morning In America” radio show on March 12.

“We have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work. And so, there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said, according to a recording of the show.

CBC members immediately fired back, saying Ryan’s comments were uninformed and repugnant.

Lee characterized Ryan’s comments as “a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated.

“His assertions about the racial dynamics of poverty are not only statistically inaccurate, but deeply offensive,” she added in the statement.

The next day, Ryan denied any racial insinuation, saying only that his wording was “inarticulate.”

“After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make,” he said in a statement. “I was not implicating the culture of one community—but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities [and] the predictable result has been multi-generational poverty and little opportunity.”

Still, CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), another CBC member, sent Ryan a letter assailing him about his assessments.

“The problem many people in poverty face is not isolation, but rather the lack of resources to help ensure all people have the opportunity to succeed and contribute to society, such as adequate transportation, infrastructure, job training programs and other resources to search for jobs and become gainfully employed,” the letter read.

“A serious policy conversation on poverty should not begin with assumptions or stereotypes. Poverty in our nation is a critical problem that must be approached with diligence and the utmost respect for those who are trapped by poverty’s grasp,” the Black lawmakers said.

Danziger Cop Awaiting New Trial Asks to be Moved to Local Jail

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Special to the NNPA from The Louisiana Weekly

Attorneys for a former New Orleans police sergeant who is awaiting a new trial on charges stemming from deadly shootings that took place on an eastern New Orleans bridge less than a week after Hurricane Katrina have asked a federal judge to move him to a local jail, The Associated Press reported last week.

Kenneth Bowen and three other former NOPD officers have been in custody since their indictment in 2010.

The Danziger Bridge shootings took place on September 4, 2005 and resulted in the deaths of two unarmed civilians and the wound ing of four others. The two civilians killed were 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, a mentally disabled man. Former NOPD Sgt. Kenneth Bow­en, former Sgt. Robert Gise­vius, former Officer Robert Faulcon and former Officer Anthony Villavaso were tried and convicted of federal civil rights charges stemming from the shootings and an attempt to cover up the deadly incident.

A fifth former NOPD officer, Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, was convicted of charges that he orchestrated the cover-up. Kaufman, who wasn’t charged in the shootings themselves, was serving a six-year prison sentence when Engelhardt agreed in October 2014 to free him on bond pending a new trial.

Five other officers — Michael Lohman, Jeffery Lehrmann, Michael Hunter, Robert Barrios and Ignatis Hill — pleaded guilty on a variety of federal charges and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice as it continued its probe of the 2005 incident.

Bowen was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his part in the Danziger Bridge shootings.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered new trials for them in September 2013, citing prosecutorial misconduct, but did not free them. In a filing Monday, Bowen’s attorneys claim his confinement in a maximum security prison — where the most violent inmates are housed — puts him in danger because of his history as a police officer.

“Bowen is scheduled to move to the Florence SHU (Special Housing Unit) on or about Thursday, March 20,” attorney Robin Schulberg wrote in court papers. “As a result, his living conditions will be restricted in the same manner as inmates on disciplinary segregation: his telephone calls to his family will be confined to one 15-minute call a month, he will not have access to email, and he will have little, if any, access to the law library.”

Schulberg told the judge in papers filed last week that Bowen will also have limited access to his attorney through U.S. mail.

“National Action Now continues to support the families impacted by the Danziger and Glover cases and will continue to fight for justice alongside them,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a New Orleans-based community activist and president of National Action Now, told The Louisiana Weekly Thursday. “Of course, we oppose Kenneth Bowen having the freedom to move closer to the city…We also are disappointed by the judge’s decision to grant him and all of the other officers a new trial. There is overwhelming evidence showing him violating these victims’ civil rights. The civil rights community is united in the belief and conviction that Kenneth Bowen should remain in jail and should not be transferred closer to New Orleans.

“Why is the justice system bending over backwards to accommodate these convicted police officers but doing so little to help these families to get justice?” Brown continued. “The Justice Dept. is showing favoritism toward these convicted cops. They’re being released from jail quicker than civilians ever have been. It usually takes an individual many years to get a conviction overturned, but these cops have been in jail only two or three years and are getting their convictions overturned and getting out of jail on bond. …Why is the judge allowing these murderers to go free? The appeals process is working in their favor despite all of the evidence that shows that these officers are guilty. … The Jim Letten (online posting) scandal has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that these cops shot and murdered innocent human beings.”

Brown encouraged concerned residents to stand up and be heard on the issue in New Orleans. “National Action Now is calling for people to organize and rally against it,” he said. “If we sit back and don’t say anything, we’re giving them a green light to allow the cops to keep murdering innocent people and violating our constitutional rights.”

“It is very discouraging to watch the unraveling of a justice system that claims to be the protector of the people it claims to serve,” W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change and host of local cable-access show “OurStory,” told The Louisiana Weekly Thursday. “After more than 140 years of fighting the NOPD, Blacks have remained the victims while the white establishment continues to follow laws they write as they go along their daily duties exhibiting ‘might is right’ and ‘do as I say not as I do’ philosophy. The politics of America is said to be found in the U.S. Constitution, yet the protections granted under the constitution are always being questioned when it comes to Blacks living in America.”

Johnson said that Black residents have learned the hard way that they cannot depend on the Feds to right the wrongs that have devastated the Black community in New Orleans as far back as anyone can remember.

“Blacks in New Orleans have never received any considerations from the federal government who allowed Len Davis to murder Kim Groves while the Feds listened in on conversations describing the instruction to kill Kim Groves,” W.C. Johnson said, “After three years of trying to get the federal government to impart their constitutional protections on the Black people of New Orleans, Blacks in New Orleans find themselves faced with bewilderment from the disenfranchisement of federal protections. It seems as if the American Black population is experiencing a return to third-class citizenship. All of this while under the tenure of a Black president.”

“It is the absolute height of injustice, disrespect and inhumanity for the cops in the Danziger and Henry Glover cases to be allowed to not only get away with murder but to even seek to be reimbursed for their legal expenses, get their old jobs back and to be moved to correctional facilities that are more comfortable and convenient for them as they await new trials,” Ramessu Merriamen Aha, a New Orleans businessman and former congressional candidate, told The Louisiana Weekly. “They have shown absolutely no remorse or concern for the innocent lives lost or the loved ones left behind to grieve in their wake. That says a lot about the caliber of men and women that make up the NOPD.

“Not only are they telling us that Blacks have no rights that white people are bound by law to respect, nike the Dred Scott decision,” Aha continued. “They are also telling us that they are not simply above the law — they are the law.” Additional reporting by Louisiana Weekly editor Edmund W. Lewis.

This article originally published in the March 24, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

Flame of Remembrance Crisscrosses Rwanda on 20th Anniversary of Genocide

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

Mar. 31 (GIN) – Ceremonies around Rwanda and abroad are underway to mark the 20th year since the devastating genocide which, according to the Genocide Memorial Center in Rwanda, took over a million lives during a three-month killing spree.

At a ceremony last Thursday in the town of Kirehe, thousands of residents gathered in a field to hear genocide memories. Nsengiyomva Apollinaise, a local official, said the memorials help Rwandans examine the causes and find a path on which to move forward.

The flame reaches Kigali, the capital, on April 7.

At Kirehe’s flame ceremony, Theopiste Mukanoheli recounted how as an 18-year-old she watched her neighbor dig a 10-foot grave to cram bodies in. She was inside Nyarubuye Catholic Church when attackers threw in grenades, killing hundreds. Most of her close family died there, she said.

Mike Nkuzumuwami, who helps look after the rebuilt red-brick church, says 35,000 people died in his hilltop community, a sea of green where tens of thousands of banana trees grow. One positive change since the genocide is a near erasure of the Hutu-Tutsi divide, he said, a principle directive of the Rwandan government, which wants Rwandans to see themselves as Rwandan, not an ethnic tribe.

“After the killings no one has called me a Tutsi, and those Hutus involved in the genocide regret what they have done,” the 45-year-old said.

School groups visit the church, mass grave and museum of death. Near the skulls and bones are tables of dusty brown clothes, sandals, slippers and shoes. The younger generation does not understand the genocide, Nkumuwami said, and Rwanda’s aging population doesn’t want them to repeat it.

At the Kwibuka 20 ceremony — a Rwandan word meaning “remember” and 20 for 20th anniversary — a large audience gazed at a film showing some of the genocide horror. A voice in English said the killings were a planned political campaign that came from an ideology called Hutu Power. Tutsis, the video says, were meant to be exterminated.

“This is something that happens every year, an event to help each Rwandan personally remember what happened, and examine the causes,” said Nsengiyomva Apollinaise, a local officials, who said his parents and siblings died in the genocide. “And also to see the path to move forward on.”

Other events can be seen on the website: http://www.kwibuka.rw/

Obama Teams up with Pro Athletes to Meet ACA Deadline

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By Freddie Allen
NNPA Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In the final, frenzied push to boost health insurance enrollment numbers under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama turned to sports figures to promote the health care law on television and online.

Riding on the wave of the highly-anticipated NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, the move could capture the attention of young Blacks, who often view celebrities and professional athletes as positive role models.

Visitors to the http://www.whitehouse.gov/acabracket web page can still download the president’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket which exploded like thousands of other brackets last week when 14th ranked Mercer University upset 3rd ranked Duke University 78-71 in the second round.

Online viewers also voted on in a video GIF contest titled “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered.” A video titled, “Women can’t be charged more than men” featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and NBA superstar Lebron James video bombing Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra won the People’s Choice Award in the short video contest inspired by the Affordable Care Act.

When serious and casual college basketball fans tune in to ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA-TV to catch up on March Madness action, they’ll see NBA superstar Lebron James in a 30-second television ad encouraging people, especially young, healthy people to get covered. NBA legend Magic Johnson and former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, each who have battled highly-publicized health problems, appeared in similar ads.

The ads, largely paid for by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could go a long way in sparking conversations about the need for health insurance coverage in the Black community. According to a study by the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Black children and teens are exposed to at least 80 percent more ads than their White peers. Commercials often feature more positive portrayals of Black men when compared to prime time television.

According to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services, almost 2 million Americans suffered sports-related injuries. including ankle and knee sprains that landed them in the emergency room, one of the most expensive places to get medical treatment.

“Some sports-related injuries, such as sprained ankles, may be relatively minor, while others, such as head or neck injuries, can be quite serious,” stated the HHS report.

The report sports-related injuries continued: “The most common of these were ankle or knee sprains and leg fractures. Estimated rates of sports-related injuries were even higher among children and young adults under the age of 25. An estimated 12 million individuals between the ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sports related injury annually, and about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits are among children 6 to 19 years of age.”

The most common basketball injuries for adults 25 to 40 years-old were ankle and knee sprains, then facial injuries and broken fingers.

NBA veteran and Miami Heat forward Shane Battier said that through 25 years of competitive basketball, he’s received over 90 stitches from elbows to the face, sprained his ankles more than 25 times, suffered broken elbows, reconstructive ankle surgery and arthritis in the knees and the hip.

“These injuries can happen to anyone,” said Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. “For those without health insurance they can be very expensive.”

According to the HHS report: “For 25- to 40-year-olds, the estimated average charges for a leg fracture were about $3,403, while the estimated average charges for an arm fracture were about $7,666 (2011 dollars), according to 2009-2011 pooled data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.”

In 2012, emergency departments treated nearly 600,000 basketball injuries. For adults, sprains cost on average $2,294 and broken arms cost $7,666, medical expenses that most people would struggle to pay out of pocket the report noted.

Emergency rooms reported almost 500,000 football injuries coming through their doors and about 10,000 of those required hospitalization.

The costs associated with treating a broken leg for someone 10- to 19 years-old was $4,700 and a broken arm cost almost $3,000. Charges for treating dislocations for the same age group averaged $6,900 and for 25 to 40 year-olds the average was roughly $4,600. The average cost for treated sprains and strains was about $2,300.

The rate of injuries in basketball and football may have a disproportionate impact in the Black community, where young Black men play basketball and football at higher rates than their White peers.

In a study on high school sports participation and educational attainment, researchers from the University of Minnesota reported that Black boys “are 1.6 times more likely than their White counterparts to play football, and 2.5 times more likely to play basketball.”

The University of Minnesota study observed: “When other factors are controlled for, Black males are actually 2.5 times more likely to play football and 5.7 times more likely to play basketball than White males.”

NBA veteran Shane Battier said that sooner or later, if you’re active and you play sports, chances are you’re going to get banged up at some point.

“The bottom line is this: you have to protect yourself and make sure that if you get hurt on the court or on the field that you’re covered,” said Battier.

In a blog post on the report at http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services wrote that six out of 10 uninsured Americans will pay about $100 a month or less for a health insurance plan.

“That broken arm would take almost 10 years to pay off at that rate without considering interest or harm to your credit,” wrote Sebelius.

Sebelius added: “Whether you’re out on the slopes or playing the boss in a pickup game of basketball after that stressful meeting, you don’t want to have to hold back because you aren’t covered in case of injury.”

Jordan Davis Worried that He Wouldn’t 'Make it' in Life

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By Freddie Allen
NNPA Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Filled with doubt about his future, Jordan Davis, a 17 year-old student at Samuel W. Wolfson High School began to cry one night sitting on the patio of his father’s condo in Jacksonville, Fla.

Like most teenagers, longing for his own identity and independence, Jordan wanted to work and was having a hard time finding a job. He didn’t feel great about his grades, either.

“He said, ‘Dad, I don’t think I’m going to make it,’” Ron Davis, Jordan’s father remembered. “‘I can’t find a job. I’m not doing that well in school. I just don’t think that I’m going to make it.’”

Ron Davis reassured his son and told him that he wasn’t alone.

“You have two parents behind you, you have loved ones behind you,” Davis told his son that night. “Don’t think that you’re in this world by yourself, you’re going to make it.”

Jordan dried his tears and hugged his father.

Looking back, Ron Davis said, maybe Jordan knew more than what he knew at the time. Maybe Jordan saw something.

In 2012, Jordan was living with his father in Jacksonville, Fla., but still maintained close ties with his mother, Lucy McBath, in Atlanta, Ga., and visited often. McBath said that people gravitated to her son, Jordan. He could light up the room with his quick smile and he loved to laugh.

Inside, however, he kept questioning whether he could make it.

Sitting in his mother’s kitchen in Atlanta, Jordan said, “Mom, what would you do if I died?”

Shocked, McBath replied, “Why are you asking me these questions, Jordan?”

“I need to know how you would handle it,” Jordan answered.

McBath told her son that God promised her that he would live a long, fruitful life, that he would get married and give her grandchildren one day. Jordan continued to press, telling his mother that he needed to know that she would be okay, that she would be able to go on.

McBath finally told her son that she would be devastated, but she would find the strength to go on. This time it was the teen reassuring one of his parents.

“I’ll be good, you’ll be the ones that will be suffering,” Jordan told his mother. “I’ll be in Heaven with Jesus. I’ll be fine. I’m not afraid to die.”

On November 23, 2012, a few months before his 18th birthday and only a few days before he was scheduled to begin a new job working at McDonald’s, Jordan Davis, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Jacksonville gas station by Michael Dunn, a White, computer programmer.

Dunn said that he feared for his life after starting an argument over loud music playing in the teens’ SUV. He claimed to have seen a weapon hanging out of the SUV driven by one of Davis’s friends. But no witnesses confirmed his account and no weapon ever found.

What is beyond dispute is that Dunn continued to fire bullets into the SUV while t Davis and his friends were fleeing. Struck three times, Davis sat in bleeding to death while Dunn fled the scene without notifying police.

In February 2014, Michael Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, but the jurors could not agree on the first-degree murder charge connected to Jordan Davis’ shooting death. In interviews after the trial, jurors said that the Dunn murder trial wasn’t about race.

“They probably didn’t want it to be, but the element of race is always there,” said Lucy McBath. “The fact that Michael Dunn was able to describe Jordan as a ‘thug’ and describe his friends as ‘thugs,’ those kinds of words are very specific and play a huge role on people’s opinions and ideas.”

During Black Press Week, the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation honored Ron Davis and Lucy McBath for their work advocating for gun control and repeal or reform “Stand Your Ground” laws nationwide.

“That law right there creates all of the loopholes and all of the confusion for jurors on how to decide those self-defense cases,” said McBath.

Davis doesn’t hold any hope for the law to be repealed in Florida, but he says that the law can be rewritten and that’s what they’re fighting for.

“The way it’s written, it takes into account the mind of the shooter,” said Davis. “The victim has no say-so. Why should the shooter be able to make up a story in his mind about why he shot and killed that other person?”

In Florida, a judge decides whether “Stand Your Ground” can be applied. Davis wants that decision placed in the hands of a jury.

The NNPA Foundation also honored the parents of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed, caught in the crossfire of a Chicago gang war a few miles from a home owned by President Barack Obama.

Ron Davis created The Jordan Davis Foundation to provide educational and travel opportunities for young people across the nation to expose them to different cultures and allow them to explore the world outside of their own neighborhoods.

Lucy McBath founded The Walk With Jordan Scholarship Foundation to provide educational and financial support for students attending four-year colleges and technical training schools.

“We have to educate children to let them know what’s out here and let them know at a young age that they can rally to change the laws,” said Davis. “Young kids think because they’re 14, 15 years old that they can’t do anything, but they can make a difference.”

State Prosecutor Angela Corey said that she would seek a new trial on the first-degree murder charge against Michael Dunn. A new trial date has been set for May 5, but may be delayed to allow time for Dunn’s new lawyer to prepare for the case.

McBath said that they can’t just depend on Jordan’s verdict alone for justice.

“We don’t have a choice to be anything, but optimistic,” said Lucy McBath. “We will continue to work to change the laws no matter what the verdict is.”

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