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Summer Must-Read

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By Jordan Brown

“Friend Me” and “Besties” are novels by Author Cathy Hopkins. They are in the teen fiction drama. These novels include books one through six of the Mates, Dates series. Cathy Hopkins’ novels are enjoyable and fun to read real page-turners. When I read these novels, I couldn’t stop reading. I know reading a book is not normally on a teen’s summer to-do-list but Cathy Hopkins “Mates Dates” series are a summer must read.

The books are about three best friends, Lucy, Izzie, and Nesta and their struggles with being teenage girls. Hopkins has a moral for each story, like in Mates, Dates and Designer Diva’s it’s jealousy. Nesta gets jealous and almost loses her friends. The girls are trying to “find themselves” and doing different things like trying to “fit in” and make friends are helping them on this quest.

There are seventeen “Mates Dates” books in the series. Cathy has written more than 50 books. She started writing in 1986 and started writing teen fiction in 2000. This year Cathy was nominated for the most glamorous book awards called the “Queen of Teen.” It is to congratulate her and other author’s amazing work in teen fiction.

Summer Advice

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By Jordan Brown

I know summer can be a fun filled fest, but you don’t want to get rid of all the knowledge you’ve gained during school.

Summer has endless possibilities; you could find something you really love to do. Research keeps the mind fresh and you could be doing many things on the internet, since multitasking is so popular. I suggest playing a game of Word Dynamo on dyamo.dictionary.com. It tests you on the words you know by giving clues to find the definitions of interesting words.

Its fun style might have you playing for hours. You also want to exercise this summer because being a “coach potato” is not healthy. The First Lady, Michelle Obama has a program called “Lets Move” it gets kids moving and she says to “play for at least an hour every day.” Get up and play or maybe take a walk or try Beyonce’s let’s move dance. It’s fun from ages 3 to 93.

So what ever you choose to do this summer, don’t forget about school in the fall. Keep your mind sharp and ready to learn. Have fun this summer. Remember you don’t have to “work” everyday. Get up and have fun!

Obama Needs to Run Against Congress

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By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

NNPA Columnist

If President Obama wants to win in November he will have to run against the Republican Congress. He will actually not need to spend his time on Romney. When you have people like former President Jimmy Carter suggesting that Romney is not that bad, you have a message problem and one that may not be resolvable in the short-term. On the other hand, as a few people have suggested, if the obstructionist, wealthy Republican Congress can be tied around Romney’s neck, it could quite possibly undermine Romney’s campaign.

What does running against the Republican Congress mean? It means taking a message to the public about what sort of economy we need. It means picking up on the themes raised by the Occupy movement and hammering away at the policies of the Republican Congress and their support of the upper 1 percent. It means walking the streets of our devastated cities and speaking with the unemployed, and particularly speaking with those who have been out of work for years, people who fear that they may never be able to work again. Obama needs to become the voice of the voiceless. President Obama needs to remind people about the economic policies that got us into this mess. This is something that the White unemployed and precariously employed need to hear time and again. Too many of them seem to be ready to go one more round in the Republican economic fun-house.

If there was one thing that Obama needs to do, and I am not sure that he is prepared to do it, it is to encourage protests and action among the bottom 99 percent against economic injustice. I don’t particularly care that he did not show up in Wisconsin to support the anti-Scott Walker recall movement. Wisconsin needed to be about Walker, not Obama. That said, the people at the base need to hear from Obama the way that we did in January 2009 when he supported the demands of the workers at Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago when they occupied – no pun intended – their factory. When was the last time that we had heard a president of the USA take such a stand? We now ask, why was that the last time we heard this from Obama? We also need President Obama to stop trying to out-Republican the Republicans when it comes to national security. One of the best ways to demoralize segments of his base can be found in the continuing attacks on civil liberties that have been underway during his administration. ”Whistleblowers” have come under attack. Peaceful, non-violent protesters – d such as the anti-war protesters in Minneapolis and Chicago – have not only come under surveillance but also have faced various legal charges. Look, we voted for a president we hoped would expand democracy rather than contract it.

We also voted for someone to end these senseless wars. Well, points go out to President Obama for ending the Iraq occupation, but we are still in Afghanistan and these drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen do nothing but inflame local tensions and create more enemies. To win, Obama needs an “Obama Doctrine” for the 21st century, a clear, non-rhetorical statement that situates his campaign in the hearts and minds of the 99 percent. We do not need any more feel-good speeches. We need change that we can see.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the co-author of Solidarity Divided. He can be reached at papaq54@hotmail.com.

Angela Minniefield Named 2012 “Champion of Health Professions Diversity”

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Los Angeles - Angela Minniefield will be honored by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) as the 2012 Champion of Health Professions Diversity for her successful efforts to improve the health and wellness of California’s most underserved communities. On June 12, 2012, TCWF honored Minniefield along with two other leaders at its tenth annual “Champions of Health Professions Diversity Award” ceremony in San Francisco. In recognition of her efforts to mentor and inspire students, increase access to higher education and better serve the health and well-being of California’s underserved and disadvantaged communities, she received a cash award of $25,000.

Minniefield worked for 20 years in the state government advancing policies and programs that increase the number of underrepresented students in health professions. Minniefield recently became the vice president of strategic advancement at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She had previously held several leadership positions at the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, including deputy director of the Healthcare Workforce Development Division. Minniefield states, “Not only is increasing access to higher education imperative in developing and diversifying California’s health workforce, there is also a direct relationship between one’s educational background and his or her own health status.”

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women’s health and work and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities

Street Culture vs. Church Power

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By Bankole Thompson

Special to the NNPA from the Michigan Chronicle The Rev. Marvin Winans’ remark, “I refuse to be afraid of us,” in the wake of the robbery attack on him by four young Black men at a neighborhood gas station on Linwood and Davison, carries a moral truth.

is a statement deeply rooted in the belief that we cannot throw our children away or become prisoners in our own communities, afraid to go out because  young Black males have become tigers in the hood, on the prowl for their next victims. I refuse to accept the notion that there is nothing else we can do, and that the solution is to dump Detroit and move out as quickly as you can. While such reasoning is politically expedient and the common sense thing to do in a state of fear, it is not the answer to the growing socioeconomic ills facing our community. It is not the answer to halt the violence in our town. To conclude that the best way  to  deal with the escalating violence in Detroit is to move out of the city is a defeatist attitude grounded in a weak notion that, in fact, we can no longer be problem solvers. Therefore, we should run away from the problem. What happened to our resilient spirit?

The carjacking of Rev. Winans, a prominent Detroit minister and nationally celebrated gospel singer who was driving with a suspended license, provides a context for our men and women of the clergy to be engaged in tackling the despicable acts of crime in this city. Just as many were concerned about Winans and his well-being in the aftermath of the carjacking, we should all be equally concerned about the escalating crime rate in our city, and the senseless taking of lives.

We should be concerned about the young woman who was raped in view of her child in broad daylight on Detroit’s west side. Children and adults are dying in horrific numbers, and the perpetrators of the crimes are usually young Black men.

The young men who attacked Rev. Winans did not know who their victim was, despite his being a prominent figure, seen often on television and in the print media. It says something much deeper: how out of touch they are with the real world outside of their own underworld of violence and mayhem.

If those young men had been properly steered on a right, productive path they would not have become carjackers. If properly brought up in a nurturing environment and having the self-confidence to know they can be whoever they choose to be, they would not be lured into a world of crime and drugs. Yes, they must bear personal responsibility, but as a community we also bear responsibility. Churches in particular cannot sit on the sidelines, claiming that parents have all of the responsibility.

What happened to the communal spirit that made each of us responsible for the other? Our brother’s keeper.

What happened to the church that was once the center of our life and thus took a prominent role in the well-being of our children – the future leaders? Truth be told, Rev. Winans’ attack brought the violent crime in Detroit to the doorstep of the church, and has prompted many in the clergy to call for some kind of action, and knowing that they could be the next victim.

The church has long been the center of transformation and at this crucial time cannot ignore its role in the community. The engagement has to reflect a broader embrace of children who are often treated as outcasts.  They need not be. The interest has to go beyond  church members focusing on their own well-being. After all, the church’s Biblical mandate is to go in search of the lost, not the saved. We have lost young Black males walking down the streets like lions looking for someone to devour. They need to be saved and mentored into understanding that they have great potential, they need not rob, sell drugs or kill.

If their homes did not remind or inculcate in them that sense of personal responsibility, the church can help them develop a clear path to the future. Because the Black church historically has been the guiding light for our communities.

If there was ever a time for the church to demonstrate its power, it is now when Black children are dying and adults are  being killed by their own children. To be commended are the group of clergy members, including Bishop Edgar Vann, as well as members of the law enforcement community and other leaders who last week launched an initiative called Detroit Night Walk to fight crime.

We can create change and help those young Black males trapped at the crossroads of drug dealing and carjacking. I believe that we can transform young Black males who believe they have no alternatives and no future.

In the words of the hip-hop icon and street poet Tupac Shakur, we can make these young Black males “the rose that grew from concrete,” because by virtue of being a Black male they already live under the heavy weight of stereotypes just as we saw in the Trayvon Martin case. Our young Black males — and anyone who is raising a Black boy is aware of this reality — are already facing an image battle, and many of them are holding our community hostage. The church can liberate the hostage taker and the hostages.

Bankole Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle and the author of a six-part series on the Obama presidency, including “Obama and Black Loyalty,” published last year. His latest book is ”Obama and Christian Loyalty” with an epilogue written by Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman. His upcoming books in 2012 are “Obama and Jewish Loyalty” and ”Obama and Business Loyalty.” Listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET 101.9 FM Detroit and every Sunday, 9 to 10 p.m., on “The Obama Watch” program on WLIB 1190 AM-New York. E-mail   HYPERLINK "mailto:bthomspon@michronicle.com"bthomspon@michronicle.com.

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