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Just Who are “We the People”?

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By James Clingman

NNPA Columnist

Lincoln’s words, included in the Gettysburg Address, “…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” take on an esoteric meaning as we look at today’s political situation.  A brief look at politics will show anyone with an ounce of sense that “we the people” have not, do not, and will not run the U.S. government. The silly name-calling among politicians, the bought-and-paid-for members of Congress, the lack of progress on anything related to our economy, the absolute lack of concern for the poor, the elderly and veterans, the kowtowing to Wall Street puppet masters, and the total aloofness of those whom “we the people” sent to Washington are blatant examples of how screwed up our political system has become.

Just who was Lincoln referring to when he spoke his famous line about “the people”?  One thing we know for sure is that he was not talking about Black folks, and I would venture to guess he was not talking about poor White folks, either.  And that whole thing about the government being of, for, and by “the people” is in no way applicable to us, which leads to the logical conclusion that “we the people” must mean those who have the most money.

So where does that put Black people when it comes to the current economic state of this country and its future?  What does it say about our political clout?  Do “we, the Black people” and “we, the poor people” have a dog in the hunt as regards economic security, political influence, and/or power? Can you wrap your mind around $2 billion being spent by the two presidential candidates for the right to occupy the White House for the next four years?  How about the billions of dollars in bailouts for banks and investment firms that are deemed “too big to fail”?   How many of you have attended one of those $20,000 per plate political fundraisers?

When I think about the fact that the bank bailout fund earmarked $50 billion for those whose mortgages were underwater, yet only $4 billion was used for that purpose, I cannot help but think that we are being played.  But what else is new?  As a result of the bailout, the “too big to fail” banks are now even bigger; if one of them fails now its sheer size will drag the entire economy down the drain with it.  Maybe that’s why the Department of Justice has not prosecuted Goldman Sachs.  Banks can now do whatever they want to “we the people.”

At the end of the day, all of the vitriol, sarcasm, and lying back and forth will result in more millionaire politicians holding on to their money and making every effort to cut into yours.  We will see no relief prior to the election because the two parties are squabbling and posturing for votes and dollars right now.  There will be no solution to unemployment, the housing market, tight lending policies, Medicare, the national debt and deficit, and all the other fiscal ailments that have beset us, simply because the folks we sent to Congress are more interested in keeping their jobs and all the accoutrements thereof.

Meanwhile, Black men are incarcerated at an unprecedented rate; they are shooting themselves in the head with guns that were undetected during two searches, all with their hands cuffed behind their backs; they are still being shot (30 times, or was it 46 times?) by six police officers in Saginaw, Michigan, for cursing and holding a knife.  I suppose they shot him because they didn’t want him to hurt the police dog they threatened to let loose on him.

I don’t claim to know much, but one thing I am certain of is that politicians, no matter what stripe, are not going to do anything about the conditions we, the Black people, face.  I believe it was Marcus Garvey who said, “All the shoes have been shined and all the cotton has been picked.”  He went on to suggest that Black people were no longer needed by White folks, therefore, if we did not change our ways when it came to business development we would indeed become obsolete.

No matter how you look at it you cannot deny that our system of government is broken.  A stranger might ask, “Why would you keep putting the same people back in office, especially considering how they treat you when they get elected?”  Good question, isn’t it?   So I ask again: Just who are “we the people”?  Another thing I know for sure is that, it sure ain’t us.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.

Harry Alford Celebrates 70th Birthday

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This past weekend, Harry Alford celebrated his 70th birthday with a huge classic car themed bash. The members of the Old Farts, a hot rod and car racing club, which originated in April of 1993, participated by providing their classic cars for the celebration.

Mr. and Mrs. Ron Baldwin hosted the party at their home. Alford’s wife, Mary Alice, and his two daughters Sonia (Ron) Baldwin and Wendy (Craig) Gladden and grandchildren Tatyana, Cameron, and little Wendy made the affair a special occasion.

Over 70-people attended with family members coming from as far as New York and Missouri. A contest was held to determine who had the best hot rod and the top three winners won signed trophies.

Inland Empire Resident Pens Book on Growing Up in the South

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William Roosevelt Leggette is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. Having been declared legally blind, Leggette, an Inland Empire resident, recently released a book, “Big Mama’s Little Black Jesus.” A labor of love, the book tells of the many issues Leggette experienced while growing up as a Black person in the South during the 1930’s and 1940’s in the United States.

Not only were the conditions trying, but getting an education was bleak and almost impossible, not just due to the segregation, but from the internal conflicts among the families. Leggette wanted to leave a testimony for his childre n and grandchildren so they would know the things he experienced and how he was able to overcome and make a better life for his family.

He states: “I am currently on the downside of being a septagenarian, and unfortunately have lost my eyesight due to a disease called diabetic retinopathy. I am dependent on my wife and my sister to assist me in getting this book completed. I have been trying to get the book finished for the past fifteen years and I hope this book gives insight to not only my family, but to all that would care to read it.” Big Mama’s Little Black Jesus can be purchased at all major book stores

Million Father March Movement Draws National Attention

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By Natasha Simone Ferguson

Street Positive C.E.O. and Million Father March Organizer, Terry Boykins announced recently that the 2012 Inland Empire Million Father March will be hosted by Bishop Lacy Sykes Jr., and Cross Word Christian Church on Sept. 8, 2012 kicking off at 8 a.m.

The 2012 Inland Empire Million Father March theme; "I Am My Child's Superhero", will pay special tribute to active duty and veteran military fathers as the nation's largest campaign encouraging fathers to take their children back-to-school, gets underway. The procession will begin at Cross Word Christian Church located at 14950 Riverside Dr. next to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., led by those fathers who have distinguishably served in the U.S. military. The proposed march route is approximately 2.2 miles. However, the march is not just open to fathers but single mothers are also expected to join the event and are welcome.

The goal of the campaign is for a million fathers nationwide to be involved in their children’s education, beginning the first day of school. Boykins states, "The choice of Cross Word Christian Church is both symbolically and logistically practical given the goals and objectives we have set with this year's march. Those participating will truly be part of the kind of history their children's children will speak about one day. So, participants definitely want to make sure they bring their cameras and walking shoes. On-lookers will truly see the power of fathers moving as one, in support of their children's education." A petition will also be circulated for fathers to sign in efforts to secure key resources from both state and federal agencies to support more fatherhood engagement in early childhood education. According to statistics, children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor (U.S. Census Bureau).

Dr. D.C. Nosakhere Thomas and son Kamaal Thomas, who was recently awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship and featured on ABC Channel 7’s ‘Cool Kids’, will serve as father-son emcees for the event. Dr. Thomas, a renowned community and youth advocate, stated: "I am elated to join Bishop Sykes, Street Positive and the Black Star Project in a movement that encourages fathers to take their children to the first day of school. I will be taking my son Kamaal to his first day of college at UC Davis in late September. So, sharing this opportunity with him as he prepares to leave home and begins manhood is truly a special moment for me as a father."  Street Positive CEO, Boykins says he will take his daughter, Genevieve (Dean's list), back to school at UC Berkeley and then join Million Father March organizers and supporters in time for both the Inland Empire (September 8th) and Los Angeles (September 29th) marches.     Boykins, who since early 2007 helped organize the national outreach effort founded by Black Star Project's Phillip Jackson in 2004, says he and Bishop Sykes have met and discussed the importance of father involvement on numerous occasions. Sykes has spoken widely on the subject and routinely interacts with "Men of Valor", a church ministry at CWCC, to progress those who are fathers and those who one day will become fathers. In addition to providing the welcome and greetings to attendees, he will also conduct the event's annual "Back-to-School" prayer.  Another instrumental community partner involved in bringing the Million Father March to the Inland Empire is Pastor James Baylark of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Perris, Calif. Pastor Baylark is slated to speak on "The Church and the Streets."

Important topics covered during the 2012 Inland Empire Million Father March will include mental health, academic achievement, child safety, student violence, incarceration, parent-teacher partnerships, graduation rates and goals, college and trade-school support. In addition, the event will also feature special guest speakers, panel discussions, open mic, entertainment, and other important resources.

A commemorative, "I Am My Child's Superhero" t-shirt will be available, as well as a book entitled; "A Fragile Child's Cry" by author H. L. Stampley to promote literacy. Stampley participated in the 2009 Million Father March, which was dedicated to fathers of disabled children. Participation and attendance is expected to be significant. An east coast/west coast movement has been stirred up between the Detroit Million Father March organizers and the West Coast organizers on the challenge of having the largest number of fathers to participate in this initiative of fathers taking their child or children to school on the first day.

Exhibitor space is limited and will be available on a first come-first served basis. To request an application contact Ms. Jessica Garcia at 909-556-4650. For additional updates and information regarding the Inland Empire Million Father March, visit  HYPERLINK "http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=&msgid=0&act=11111&c=18240&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.streetpositive.com" \t "_blank" www.streetpositive.com.Those wishing to volunteer for the 2012 Inland Empire Million Father March should contact 909-880-9427. Additionally, efforts are also being made to collect canned goods and bottled water to support youth and families in transitional living facilities.

Note: The Los Angeles Million Father March will be hosted by the Los Angeles Father Million March Organizing Committee (LAMFMOC) and held at Mona Park in Compton, Calif. on September 29.

The Book Of Mormon Announces Lottery Ticket Policy

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Previews Begin September 5

Los Angeles – The Book Of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the West Coast premiere which begins September 5 at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles and plays a limited 12-week engagement through November 25. In Los Angeles, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making a limited number of tickets available at $25 apiece; cash only. This lottery will be held prior to every performance except for the gala Opening Night on Wednesday September 12.

The lottery for the Broadway production has proven to be wildly popular. The producers of The Book Of Mormon are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour as a thank you to the show’s fans on the road.

Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability. The Book Of Mormon features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

The Book Of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

For more information about the Los Angeles premiere engagement of The Book Of Mormon, please visit the official website of the Pantages Theatre, www.BroadwayLA.org.

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BVN National News Wire