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Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

“Our Desire is to Cast our Net Broader”

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2010 at 12:30 am

Buried between Tiger Woods’ apology and President Obama’s $3.8 trillion dollar proposed budget and the President’s Bipartisan Health Care Reform Summit, the NAACP announced its youngest Chairman of its 64 member Board in Roslyn Brock.

Brock, 44, replaces Julian Bond, 70, after he announced his retirement from the post he held for 10 years. The NAACP is looking to revive the organization, find its footing in the post-Modern Civil Rights era. With Brock as the youngest Chairman and Benjamin Todd Jealous,37, President and CEO and the youngest to hold that post, the NAACP is making it no secret that its strategy, according to Bond, “is deliberate, but it’s also fortuitous. We are lucky to have had this confluence of a young CEO and a young chair. I don’t think we plotted and planned that in 2010 the stars would align this way.” Brock, who is VP of advocacy and government relations of the Maryland based Bon Secours Health Systems, assessed that the organization must “retool our frontline.”

Brock too acknowledged that the NAACP is more than an African American organization. Many question the necessity to have such an organization considering the advancements we have made in race relations. Brock states that “we are a multiracial, multiethnic organization. So as we move into our second century, our desire is to cast our net broader. ‘People of color’ or ‘colored people’ really speaks to those who are falling through the cracks … who feel locked out.”

How to reduce obesity in Mississippi? Tax it away

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 at 4:12 am

MLB pitchers and catchers have begun to report to camp, and for many baseball enthusiasts the return of America’s game is imminent. “This is just the first batter in the first inning.” This sounds like something I tell my best friend when I’m talking about A-Rod’s first at-bat against the Red Sox. Actually, Mississippi state representative John Mayo of Clarksdale said this in response to a proposed bill he’s sponsoring to combat obesity in Mississippi. The proposed legislation Sweetened Beverages and Syrups Tax Law “would require soft drink distributors and retailers to pay a tax of $2.56 a gallon, or two cents an ounce, for sweetened soft drinks.”

Stennis Institute’s Judith Phillips’ study “Obesity and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: An Overview for Decision-Makers” lays out the significant factors that assist in making Mississippi one of the most obese states in the union. The report also discusses the significance soft drinks have had in this growing public health problem. According to the study, “…the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to weight gain in children.” Taxing soft drinks is not a widely used practice, yet potentially “…more significant price interventions might have a measurable effect on obesity, particularly for children, adolescents, low income populations, and those most at risk for overweight.”

For Mayo, he understands the opponents’ challenge to the proposed legislation, “but with a problem of this scope — obesity — private business will respond as a result of either implemented government policy or threatened government policy.” To read press coverage of this topic, click here to visit the Memphis Commerical Appeal.

Welcome Back Shoshana?

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 at 12:42 am

Shoshana Johnson resurfaced last week, making her rounds on talk shows discussing and marketing her autobiography I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Solider to Free Citizen–My Journey Home. Her journey home has much more implications than coming to a physical place; her journey home has much to do with finding oneself after the unexpected, whatever that may be. How do you deal with the world, which you knew as one way, now is mysteriously another?

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shoshana Johnson, the former Army cook, was rescued from captives in April 2003. Of her ideal, Johnson said “I was shaking. I was saying the Lord’s Prayer to myself…when someone grabbed my legs and pulled me from my shelter. And like that, I became a prisoner of war.”

Lynette Holloway of AOL Black Voices describes the book as “a riveting piece of black history that should be read for generations. It also is a compelling story of a woman’s courage to survive against all odds.”

Have You Seen Him?

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 at 6:15 am

Courtesy of Starkville Daily News

His name is Lester R. Jones, Jr. Also known as LJ; a grad student at Mississippi State University. LJ is on schedule to graduate in May with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. LJ is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Today, LJ is still missing. He was last seen leaving a gas station in Flowood, Mississippi on January 11 en route to Jackson. He was driving a blue 2002 Ford Expedition with a Mississippi tag KTW 714.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of LJ, please contact

Starkville Police Department
101 East Lampkin Street
Starkville, MS 39759-2944
(662) 323-4134

OR
Flowood Police Department
2101 Airport Rd
Flowood, Mississippi 39208
(601) 932-5400

The 21st Century Civil Rights Issue

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 10:40 am

“The average African American public school twelfth grader´s performance on academic measures approximates that of the average white eighth grader.” This is a statement from Drs. Rod Paige and Elaine Witty’s book The Black White Achievement Gap: Why Closing It Is One of Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time. According to Tonya Pendleton, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that African Americans children fall behind as early as kindergarten and generally do not make up the achievement gap.

Former Secretary of Education Paige says that “The primary cause of the black-white achievement gap is that low-achieving students have been deprived of the educational essentials which support learning to high levels.” President Obama has recently announced changes to No Child Left Behind. According to Sam Dillion of The New York Times the proposed changes include “how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing, as well as for the elimination of the law’s 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to academic proficiency.”

Paige believes “Rather than continue the age-old controversy about the causes of the achievement gap and rather than continue to look outward and blame racism and discrimination, African-American leaders must look inward and move forward. My goal for ‘The Black-White Achievement Gap’ is to compel African-American leaders to work together and with educators to create a high level of school quality across America, and with service-oriented and faith-based organizations, corporations, policy makers and parents to implement [changes].”

Carter’s Legacy

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2010 at 11:26 am

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”–Carter G. Woodson

Initially began as Carter G. Woodson’s attempt to preserve a people’s history while demonstrating how Black history is America’s history, Black History Month, which initially started out as Negro History Week, is much more than us reciting the events of our predecessors. African American history is 365; we live it; we breathe it, everyday. Looking to the White House down to the state house, African American history is intrinsically woven into the American fabric.

There are still African American firsts being accomplished– in 2009 the people of Alligator, MS, and Philadelphia, MS, elected an African American as mayor for the first time, Michael Steele became the first leader of the Republican National Committee, only to name a couple.

It wasn’t that long ago where my grandmother would tell me stories of her experiences of paying poll taxes. It wasn’t that long ago where I didn’t think an African American would become President. If I were my cousin’s age during this time (he’s 12), the prospects for one America couldn’t be more achievable.