Community News

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Khalid Lateef

By Khalid S. Lateef

In the documentary, “Sing Your Song – Harry Belafonte,” he called a gathering of the elders to address the current problems of African Americans that seems to be spinning out of control. And at that meeting, Ruby Dee spoke and she said: “Over the years, I’ve come to places like this, so many times! And I leave without an assignment. We need an assignment!”

I attended a program at a church in Florida that has a young and productive minister; they have a senior citizen food program, senior citizen transportation vans and housing development. During his sermon, he addressed the fact that some people are more concerned with “titles” than getting work done. He said, “Don’t ask what your title will be; you should be asking ‘what is my task?’”

One winter morning a couple of years ago, I was called before Fajr prayer, around 4 a.m. It was a brother in our Association whom I had known for 35 years – we were as close as blood brothers. I first met him in FOI class when we were known as the Nation of Islam.
He was a very productive brother; he sold our newspaper, interacted with the African American community and was well liked inside and outside our Association.
When he began to speak, I noticed a very serious tone in his voice. I immediately asked him was he alright? He then told me his son had been attacked and was in a coma and hewas at the hospital. I asked him the name of the hospital and I told him I was on my way….

I arrived at the hospital and stayed with the brother until the morning. His son died from his wounds and we drove to the Masjid to begin making arrangements. As we traveled in the car, we cried together. I remember these words came to my mind from a song: “What’s it all about?”
This brother and I had “soldiered” for years for the promise and goal of having a community that would change things; better homes, better schools, safe and clean neighborhoods, etc. However, what we have obtained is a great deal of individual material success, without the collective community life that our souls longed for and our human dignity demands.
Individual success is not new to African Americans; we’ve had individuals with wealth for many years. The problem is not the lack of individual wealth; the problem is the lack of pooling our collective wealth, knowledge and skills.
We need to re-ignite the spirit for developing African American communities of excellence like Greenwood, Oklahoma (“Black Wall Street”). Black Wall Street had 1 bank, 1 hospital, 2 movie theaters, 6 private airplanes, 21 churches, 30 grocery stores, 600 businesses and its own school system.
There were hundreds of other African American towns that were established immediately after slavery in America. I have been able to find 157 such towns so far in my brief research. So it’s not that African Americans have never established communities or community life before.

Today, what is holding us back from making progress towards establishing African American Muslim communities by members of this Association? I’ll let our leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed address it:

Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Motivation and Sacrifice 1983
…What made the big trouble for the followers, for the Ummah of Prophet Muhammed, the Ummah of the Muslims? It was this thing that those secret agents through our ignorant people are trying to promote right now! They promoted the division; the division based on loyalty for family and the way of Prophet Muhammad; Right? They promoted that!
“And the result was what? They persecuted the family of the Prophet... This is History... They persecuted the family of the Prophet and in persecuting the family of the Prophet, they drove them away from them and they set up what? Shi’ite and Sunni. Right?!”
That’s not the doing of Prophet MuhammEd, that's the doing of the Enemy. And the Enemy manipulated the believers. Arabic saying: ‘The Muslim (believer), don’t fall into the same trap twice.’ They won’t be successful in doing this to us. No indeed!
We’re not going to let this community split up after my life; split up! One goes towards favoring me as a personality and the other one goes towards fighting the personality; no! That’s the work of The Satan! That's the work of the CIA! That’s the work of the FBI! That’s the work of the bad element in the Government! And we are not going to let it happen!
Those who go to the extreme to say that the Imam is not important, that the leadership is in The WORD, the leadership is in The Qur’an, the leadership is in The Sunnah of the Prophet – the Imam did all he could do and that was to call us back to the right religion; called us back to The Qur’an; those who teach you that are following the plan of The Strategist, who’s The Devil!
And those who go to the other extreme and say the Imam is not ordinary, he’s above the ordinary. None of us can be like the Imam; none of us can do what the Imam does. Allah blessed him with something that none of us have; they make you think I'm Supernatural; They make you think I'm a god or a saint or a being of another type...; they too are working the strategy of The Devil!
But those who take the natural mind, the natural attitude and they say, ‘No, the Imam is important…. The Imam is our leader…. We didn't see no word come among us and do this; it was a man telling us about The Word.’
Say, he is important. Say, but I'm not going to follow you in saying that he’s supernatural; he’s a regular brother. He’s my regular brother; they are the ones who are going to hold this Community together! Praise Be To Allah!”

Imam W. Deen Mohammed’s Talim on the dedication of Masjid Saahir, Inglewood, Calif., Sun., Dec. 30, 1984
…The Prophet (pbuh), when he was presented with a person for that person's excellence, in religion, he was told that person kept all the devotions, praise, faith in prayer and fasting, etc. But they didn’t tell the Prophet anything about his productive work, his livelihood – only his spiritual devotion and religious strengths.

The Prophet asked: “Who takes care of him?” They said, “We do, O Messenger of G-d.” And the Prophet said, “You are better than he is.”

So the people who are responsible for life supports – the means of survival, the means of life, food, clothes, shelter, transportation, etc. – those people are more useful to society and are more beautiful in the eyes of G-d than those who just devote themselves to just spiritual discipline.

Be faithful and productive. I really plead to this community, because we are not getting younger, we are getting older. I’m 51-years-old, and I thank Allah that I lived this long, because many people die before 51. I would like to see another 51, but I can’t expect it.

I expect to go like my relatives go – they go at around 70 or so. Some of them lived longer, but if I live longer than that, I’ll still be gone as far as you are concerned. I will be retired unless a miracle does happen in my life that I know nothing about right now.

Our people have to stop this sitting and waiting for something to happen, spookily. Those who have ability, go ahead, move out, do something, show something – join those who have better qualifications. Lend your help to a stronger person and you will share in the blessings.
Have more than just mere faith or spirit – have production, have establishment. That’s what makes a people feel good – when they can look at their establishment. This particular facility here represents an establishment – an establishment of a pretty good size.
If the believers owned this, it would be a source of inspiration, strength and encouragement for those whom we can’t reach with mere Dawah.

Imam W. Deen Mohammed’s Lecture, May 29, 2005
…Jonah had to progress through generations, not one life but through life continuously. And isn’t this how we have progressed in America? Not one generation, but through life reproduction continuously. And we are a long ways advanced from where we started.

But we are not doing as a people what the Nation of Islam founders – I say founders, my father’s teacher and him – what the Nation of Islam founders planned for us. What is that? To not depend on outside communities, not to depend on outside people, but to depend on your own people for your future in this world.
Let the world plan what it wants to plan for whomever they want to plan for. But let us always have a plan of our own for carrying us in this world to where we want to go. Yes.

But through Jonah, God is showing us through this figure called “Jonah” that this is not the work of one generation; this is the work of many generations. But you have to hold to it like we held to our own independence from 1930 to 2005, May 29.
And we’re not going to give it up; we’re going to hold on to it until we deliver ourselves and that community life is safe and secured.
Praise be to Allah. Thank you. That’s all I wanted to say to you. Peace. As-Salaam-Alaikum.

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Acclaimed Director Jesse Vaughan who directed The Last Punch movie attended the premier

By Sabir Kasib Muhammad

ATLANTA, Ga.  – The ritzy confines of the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead district played well as host for the premier of The Last Punch, a movie made in tribute to the great Muhammad Ali by one of his greatest fans.
Ali Muhammad is adamant about his love and respect for Muhammad Ali and years ago wrote a book chronicling the events that surrounded his promotion of Ali’s last boxing match, The Rumble in The Bahama against Trevor Berbick.
The multi-ethnic, interreligious sold out audience at the premier included several important figures in Ali’s career, including legendary Nation of Islam Minister Abdul Rahman, who accompanied Ali from the beginning of his association with Nation of Islam.
There was also former Georgia State Senator Leroy Johnson who recounted the maneuvering he had to do to overcome opposition from the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Council.
This was to obtain a license for Ali to return to the fight game with a fight stated in Atlanta with Jerry Quarry as his opponent. It  was following his absence from the ring as he fought against attacks for his opposition to entering the armed services.
Those in attendance lauded Ali and Dorothea for their dedication to the project and making the film a reality. Acclaimed Director of the film, Jesse Vaughan, called the project a very important film. He said Ali Muhammad was “the most determined person I have ever met.”
The audience gave a rousing cheer at the completion of the film and a standing ovation to Ali and Dorothea that echoed a unanimous sentiment. That was that this film is a major contribution to not only the history of Muhammad Ali but also a major credit to African American film making history.
The film, which illustrates the power of the human will and its ability to overcome obstacles, is a story of the life of Ali Muhammad as a young man when he was known as James Cornelius.
His indomitable spirit is portrayed brilliantly by lead actor Tony Grant on the screen. And newcomer Karon Joseph turns in an admirable depiction as Muhammad Ali.
Look for the film in theaters nationwide soon. It is definitely a must see!

(Photos by Nassar Madyun)

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Community News

By Lonnie Abdul Saboor

(Note: Bro. Lonnie Saboor delivered the special address at Muslim Journal’s Annual Business Breakfast, Sun., Dec. 14, 2015, held at Masjid Al-Muminun in Memphis, Tenn. This is part 2 of his address; part 1 published in Muslim Journal issue dated Jan. 9, 2015. Part 1 covered “ The Business Legacy of Muslim Business Development in Atlanta” and “Efforts to unite Muslim Businesses both locally and nationally.” Part 2 covers what he titled “What we can do today to achieve our rightful business Khalifa (custodian/vicegerent) position in The Promised Land [and I don’t mean just 40 acres and a mule].)

What Local Muslim Business Associations Should Do:

If you are a Muslim Business Association or want to start one, you should do the following things:

Add younger business people to your Board (ages 20-40).
Your membership and board should consist of both businessmen and women.
Develop a membership directory
Establish your association website and make it very user friendly.
Promote the experience of your Board on the website.
Add a member’s only portal to your website.
Develop online webinars for members.
Add a Resource Page to your website that will connect your members with local partner organizations that can help your members grow.
In order to truly empower your members you must identify other organizations that have business development as part of their purpose.
Develop an action plan to assist all levels of business membership both internally and externally.
Use social media to communicate with your younger membership base.
Identify business sponsors for your association. Sponsorships will be needed to insure the financial stability of the association and allow the organization to continue serving its membership base.
Make contact with your city, county and state Economic Development and Community Development offices to inform your members about available programs in your area that they can take advantage of.
Some of these programs can be interest free, grants and tax credits. (In Atlanta, I have been able to provide over ½ a billion dollars in public/private sector financing to assist over 600 business projects.)
State and Federal Tax Credits can allow you to get grant funds to finance your apartment and senior citizen housing projects, thus minimizing your equity injection.
Find out if you have areas in your city that are qualified as Tax Allocation Districts or Tax Increment Districts that provide special funds to commercial property owners.
Invite these agencies to speak at your membership events).
We need every association to join the National Muslim Business Council in 2015. There is strength in numbers and active associations can make a difference.  There are many projects and opportunities around the country that we can take advantage of, if we are connected and know each other.

In Atlanta alone, we have the new $1.3 billion dollar Atlanta Falcon Football Stadium going up in 2017.  My office at Invest Atlanta is issuing the $200 million in bond financing required by the city of Atlanta to fund part of the project.

Active associations can allow us to pass on upcoming business opportunities in various cities and states; form potential joint venture partnerships with each other and expand our annual business revenue substantially.

As an active association we should have excess to your membership directory and expect you to know about the credibility of your members.

If I know about a possible $50 million engineering project in Atlanta and one of our members is looking for a joint venture partner, I would expect you to let us know if you have any concerns regarding a member listed in your directory.

This is also an added incentive to have all Muslim businesses in your area join your association.

Working together, we can provide the strength needed to accomplish our goals.  Working together we can overcome all obstacles in our path. It’s our time, 40 years have passed and we are now working with a new generation of believers.

It is time to take our 40-year Legacy deeper into The Promised Land to achieve our awaited destiny.  We have unfinished business to do in this material world for our family, community, country and the world.

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Micheal Balcombe
Michael Balcombe, owner of Precious Wings, releases one of his ring necked doves at Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Conn. Behind him are the graves of Sade Auriel Brantley and her sister, Madisyn Aniyah Mitchell, whose family released his doves recently during a memorial service. (Photo by Arnold Gold-New Haven Register)

By D. Shahid Abdul-Karim
@Shahid_Akarim on Twitter

Micheal Balcombe BirdNEW HAVEN, Conn. – Michael Balcombe said when he was in prison, he didn’t want family photos or letters to be sent to him. He wanted information on raising and training doves.

“I had people Google information about birds and mailing it to me,” said Balcombe, 31, founder of Precious Wings of New Haven, a ceremonial white dove release service.

“I wanted information so I could begin reading up on it, because I knew I had to do something with my life once I got out,” he said.

Balcombe recalled that when his grandfather died in 2006, ceremonial birds were released during the burial service.

“It always stuck with me and it was something I liked and it would be different for the city,” said Balcombe, who is originally from Stamford.

“I asked myself, how was I going to come back into society, find a job and make a positive difference in my community,” he said.

“As soon as my cell door closed on me, I started thinking about what I was going to do once I got from behind those bars. I decided to raise birds and that’s exactly what I did.”

Precious Wings of New Haven took flight as a way of helping grieving families cope with the loss of loved ones from tragedy.

“I’ve never seen so many homicides take place in this city, so I wanted to come up with another way to help families ease their suffering and pain,” said Balcombe, who also works at a local funeral home.

“It’s something about the birds that release some sort of feeling that families may be holding inside; it’s a relief for most of them,” he said.

Balcombe was released from prison into a halfway house in New Haven in Febuary 2013 and decided to remain in the city after serving his time. He started the business in May 2014.

Balcombe was convicted for the sale of a controlled substance and criminal mischief.

“People laughed at the idea of ceremonial doves and that has been my problem; I’ve always worried about what everyone else thought,” he said. “Now, I’m doing what I think and what I feel as one of the best ways for me to give back to my community.”

According to Balcombe, the birds symbolize more than just death and tragedy.

“The wings symbolize freedom and when you have the opportunity of freedom, you have to treat it so precious,” Balcombe said.

“You can’t be rough with such a precious gift,” he said.

The business has done more than 20 ceremonies since its inception in May, including weddings, birthdays, commencements, anniversaries and other special occasions.

Joanna Mitchell, who lost her daughters, Sade Auriel Brantley and Madisyn Aniyah Mitchell, in last year’s plane crash in East Haven, said she used Precious Wings for her daughters’ anniversary.

“I met Michael through Bereavement Care Network and I was looking to release doves for my daughters’ one-year anniversary. I was having a hard time finding someone reasonable,” said Mitchell, who’s daughters’ one-year anniversary was Aug. 9.

“Releasing of the doves represents angels for me and my family,” she said.

Mitchell said she chose to release five doves because it represented grace.

“It’s by God’s grace that I’m still here and it’s God’s grace that I get through every day and find peace,” she said.

“I would recommend Precious Wings to anyone.”

Nakia Dawson, founder of Bereavement Care Network said she uses Precious Wings for some her events and programs in the community.

“They were raised and trained in the community. The white doves symbolizes peace; we want peace over our community,” said Dawson.

“I believe the white doves are soft and calming, which allows the families to feel at peace after the doves are released into the sky,” she said.

Balcombe said it took five months of intense training of the birds.

“I left them locked up for two months. Its the only place they know and where it’s clean and where they can eat; I have a special call for them when it’s feeding time.” said Balcombe.

“In the summer, it’s air conditioned and in the winter, there is heat; it worked for me,” he said.

In addition to running Precious Wings of New Haven, Balcombe has been accepted to the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Home Services.

The funeral service business has been a life dream for Balcombe. He started the funeral academy Jan. 5.

“Mike has always wanted to be in the funeral service business, but he thought of something else that would impact the families to make their experience even more special,” said McClam Funeral Home Director Darrell McClam, 42, who has known Balcombe for years.

“He makes the service economical for people and he has ties to this community,” he said.

“People don’t have to go to New York, they have this service right here in New Haven.”

Darnell McClam, also the co-owner of McClam Funeral Home, said the birds add to the tapestry of the city.

“He was dedicated and never gave up on what he wanted to do; it took a lot of time for him to train the birds,” said McClam, who uses Precious Wings for some of their funeral services.

“It’s a whole experience with the birds, kids love it too,” he said. “Its just another piece of how New Haven is growing.”

Balcombe said networking is an important factor for other young men who may have a felony conviction.

“My advice would be, to be respectful, move on your ideas and don’t let others discourage you,” he said.

“If others don’t want to give you a job, you create one for yourself; my life is a testament of that.”

(For more information about Precious Wings of New Haven, contact 203-980-9219 or email to preciouswingsofnewhaven@gmail.com)

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The Anacostia Community Museum
The Anacostia Community Museum falls under the purview of the Smithsonian Institute, but funding opportunities still must be acted upon swiftly, said Tykia Warden, development director at the Southeast D.C. museum. (Photo by Bernadette Dare/The Washington Informer)

Association President Scolds Those Offering ‘Negro Money’

Special to the NNPA from
The Washington Informer

Prior to a house fire five years ago that destroyed much of her heralded assemblage of 19th- and 20th-century paintings, which included pieces by Edward Mitchell Bannister, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden, Peggy Cooper Cafritz reportedly owned one of the largest private collections of African and African-American art in the world.

Today, the Northwest D.C. arts patron said she’s concerned about the future of black museums and she hopes that public and private donors will step up to the plate.

“Hopefully, Congress, the Senate and the administration would see what the needs are for our African-American museums and do something about it,” said Cafritz, 67. “I think art funding has been cut all across the board and obviously it affects black museums more than others.”

Cafritz said it’s more important than ever for her and other private donors to ramp up their offerings, even though she cautioned that the pockets of African-American benefactors aren’t as deep as other groups.

Significant funding has continued to elude Black museums and officials throughout the industry said the search for funding reveals an age-old problem.

“We’ve been screaming very loud for 20 years that the major funding sources are ignoring us or giving us what we call, ‘Negro money,'” said Sam Black, president of the Association of African American Museums in Northeast Washington.

“Negro money means if we ask for $4 million, we get $15,000, which really is money to go away, money that can’t help us reach our projected goals.”

A report published in June by the Nonprofit Quarterly, a national journal covering the management and governance of nonprofits, revealed that African-American museums in the U.S. are faring at levels far below those that are considered white, or mainstream.

“There are issues on a couple of fronts,” said Kimberly Camp, the former president and CEO of The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Formerly located in Merion, Pennsylvania, the foundation includes the world’s largest collection and archives of the great French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, post-impressionist Paul Cezanne and others. The collection has been valued at more than $70 billion.

“There’s been a resurgence of racism and bigotry in this country and there’s been a pushback against black institutions since Barack Obama became president in 2008,” said Camp, 57, who is now president of Gallery Marie.

The Gallery Marie is an art gallery in Collingswood, New Jersey, that features the work of artists from around the world, including Camp’s paintings and dolls.

“Another issue is that there really needs to be better board training at African-American museums,” said Camp, who also served as president of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

“People need to understand the role of the board and, really, there are board members at some museums who don’t like the institution and they’ve undermined the efforts to get funding.”

Redell Hearn, a professor of Museum Studies at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said she’s well aware that nearly every institution of art and culture – whether black, white or other – faces significant challenges when seeking financial support.

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Everett Glenn

By Everett L. Glenn
NNPA Guest Columnist

There’s a runninng debate in basketball that Michael Jordan made winners out of the players around him in Chicago, while LeBron James had to go join other winners in Miami to become a winner.

The debate rages on, and the question will not be answered definitively until LeBron hangs up his sneakers.

We can agree on the impact that MJ, and now LeBron, have had on the  company that was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) and initially operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger (now ASICS).

With sales of $26 billion over the last year, Nike has leveraged the Jordan name to become the world’s most famous sports brand. One of every two basketball shoes sold in the U.S. last year carried the Jordan brand.

Factor in Nike-branded shoe sales into the mix, and Nike has a near monopoly in basketball with market share of 92 percent, according to SportsOneSource.

Beyond sales of basketball shoes, MJ and King James also drive sales of apparel and other non-basketball shoe items for Nike, according to industry sources.

When he entered the NBA in 1984, Jordan signed a five-year, $2.5 million contract with Nike.  The U.S. Jordan brand now generates more than $1.75 billion globally, including apparel.

The U.S. Jordan brand alone had $2.25 billion in U.S. retail basketball sales in 2013, according to Sports One Source.

If you factor in sales of Jordan apparel, the international Jordan business and sales at Nike stores, the Jordan brand is contributing roughly $3 billion of annual revenue to Nike.

Hard to argue with MJ’s decision to sell his name to Nike. While the terms of Jordan’s deal with Nike are a closely guarded secret, royalties generate approximately $75 million annually for MJ, according to sources.  That’s a lot of cheddar!

Nineteen years after MJ’s first deal, LeBron signed a 7-year, $90 million endorsement contract out of high school.  LeBron re-upped with Nike in 2010 and while terms were not disclosed, Forbes estimates that the deal brings in $20 million annually, including royalties.

Not Jordan money, but with his return to Cleveland and a nice rebound in the court of public opinion, I would not be surprised if the new deal that Kevin Durant recently struck with Nike that is reportedly worth up to $300 million does not prompt a late night call from LeBron.                                                                                             After all, LeBron’s signature shoe raked in a reported $300 million in revenue per year compared to Durant’s $175 million and Nike’s CEO Mark Parker is on record that it is possible for James to be on a MJ-level for Nike and its business.

On the relationship between Nike and LeBron, Carter said “our relationship with Nike is more than a shoe deal. It’s more like a joint venture – meaning we are working to build a business.”

When you build a business, you employ people, right?  Well, Nike employs more than 56,000 people. Not sure how many people LeBron, MJ or Kobe employ but a lot less than 56,000 for sure.

According to Forbes, Jordan’s net worth is about $750 million. According to published reports, LeBron’s net worth has jumped to $120 million.  Based on his Nike holdings along, Phil Knight is ranked as the 43rd richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$18.4 billion.

Between the two of them, MJ and King James are raking in more than $100 million including royalties.  Big dough, no doubt, until you do the math.  MJ’s $75 million is less than 3 percent of what the Jordan brand contributes to Nike revenue.

While LeBron’s $20 million is more on a percentage (of revenue) basis, it still represents about 6 percent of Nike’s take from the sale of LeBron’s signature sneakers.

If it is just about lining their own pockets, then one would be hard pressed to question the decision by MJ and King James to simply allow Nike to exploit their names.

Unless you consider how, in the process, the growth and true potential of these young men is stunted by an agenda they/we seem to be blind to.

And exactly what has Nike done to help tap the resolve of the tens of thousands of Black boys who don’t make it to the NBA or NFL?  What is Nike doing to help close the achievement gap?

On the other hand, Nike’s Phil Knight has donated more than $300 million to Oregon and its athletic department over the past 20 years according to reports, single handedly financing Oregon’s transition from also-ran to D-1 powerhouse/fashion statement.

When I posed the question to a Nike representative the response was “Nike makes shoes and sports apparel, it is not our business to fix society’s problems.”

Never mind that the marquee shoes are aimed at Black kids from the hood because of their willingness to spend huge amounts of money every time the new, hot shoe hits shelves.  An Adidas exec once said that “the day after payday is the biggest sales day in this category”.

How is this mindset, the lack of give back, any different from the exercise of free speech that led to the demise of Donald Sterling and Bruce Levenson?

Imagine if MJ and King James developed facilities to make marquee shoes in the inner city instead of in facilities in Indonesia where children under 16 are paid like “slaves.”  With nearly $3.5 billion in combined sales, they’d rank second to World Wide Technology as the nation’s largest Black business.

Such a bold move would change the conversation from whose contribution to the game is greater to who has done the most to help create winners from a lost generation of youngsters.

What has to happen for us to realize our true value?  To see the same value in “us” that others see?  What amount of destruction and tragedy has to beset us before we change and do things different?

Will we ever learn?

(Everett L. Glenn, an attorney and former sports agent, was one of the first agents to represent multiple NFL and NBA first-round draft picks in the same year. His clients have included three NFL Hall of Fame inductees and 11 first-round draft picks. He is author of a NNPA three part series detailing how the sports industry exploits not only Black athletes, but other African Americans – accountants, financial advisers,  banks, construction firms, etc. – who are capable of rendering services. See more at: http://www.blackpressusa.com/2014/04/unsportsmanlike-conduct-shattering-the-ncaa-exploitive-business-model/#sthash.r2DHlJhY.dpuf)

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Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux

NNPA Columnist

Pundits are likely to spend the next several weeks attempting to explain the many reasons that Republicans simply kicked the Democrats square in the hind parts to dominate both houses of Congress in ways that had not been expected.

With turnout at abysmal low – 33 percent – two thirds of the electorate didn’t think this election important enough to vote.   President Obama had it right when he said he heard them.

Many of those who cared enough didn’t have the opportunity to vote since voter suppression laws may have reduced the number of people willing to vote by 2.4 percent.

The reduction of early voting days, the requirement of additional ID (in Kansas proof of citizenship could be requested), the elimination of same-day registration were among the tools Republican state legislatures used to suppress the vote, especially the African American vote.

The tactic worked. Too many races were decided by minuscule margins, and laws that encouraged rather than discouraged voter participation might have made a difference.

In North Carolina, Senator Kay Hagan (D) lost by just 48,000 votes, or 1.7 percent of the vote, despite a robust Moral Monday movement that encouraged voter participation.  In Florida, the governor’s race was decided narrowly, and the current governor reduced the ways former felons had to restore their voting rights.

There were some cases were Republicans simply trounced Democrats – Mitch McConnell (R) handily won his race over Alison Lundergan, a refreshing female candidate who had support from the Clintons, among others.  In Maryland, the one-time front-runner, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown lost to Republican Larry Hogan, a businessman who hit hard on tax increases without offering a single idea about how he might pay for the programs he supported, and cut (as he promised) taxes and spending.

Too many Democratic Senators were elected on the Obama coattails in 2008, and chose to jog away from the president this election.

Instead of running away from the president, Democrats needed to embrace him. The economy has improved, and President Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage will help millions of low-wage workers.

Millions more Americans have health care since the Affordable Care Act was passed.  The Obama administration hasn’t tooted its own horn enough, and the Senators who have supported his work, even tepidly, ought to have been the ones to toot it.

Some, like Kay Hagan in North Carolina, ran from Obama because he wasn’t popular in their state. They lost anyway.  Imagine if Democrats were as united as Republicans in putting a message out there.

Noneconomic issues, such as ISIS and the handling of the Ebola virus presence in the United States, have been among the reasons President Obama’s popularity has plummeted.  The fact that Democrats have yet to promote a strong, cohesive, economic justice agenda is another.

You can’t sleep with Wall Street on one hand and talk about wage increases on another without showing that Wall Street and corporate America pay their fair share of taxes. When Democrats send mixed signals, the Democratic base is indifferent to a mid-term election and people stay home.

Republican dominance might not have the effect Republicans hope for it to have.  President Obama still has veto power. And Republicans have the opportunity to squander their legislative dominance, setting up the opportunity for a Democratic victory in 2016.

But this 2014 election ought to remind Democrats that the development of a progressive agenda, with fair pay, health care, quality education, and social and economic justice at its base, will result in an energized base in 2016.

It ought to remind Democrats that reliable allies aren’t so reliable anymore.  Dems lost traction among unmarried women and people under 30, so they have to have a plan to win them back.

Republicans tend to be consistent with their message, even if their message is devoid of real programmatic meaning.  They connected their Democratic opponents to President Obama so that those ambivalent about the president either stayed home or voted for Republican candidates.

What Democrats failed to understand is that they couldn’t run away from the president and mobilize the base that supported him, and that part of their message had to be their support of successful economic programs?

No message, no votes, no victory.  That’s the lesson for 2016.

(Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist in Washington, D.C.)

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George Curry

By George E. Curry
NNPA Columnist

C O M M E N T A R Y

JERUSALEM - On Election Night, I usually stay awake as long as my eyelids are willing to cooperate. But this year was different. Instead of alternating between watching CNN and tracking results on the Internet, I was in the Holy Land, nearly 6,000 miles from my office in Washington, D.C.
With Daylight Savings Time going into effect last Sunday, I was in a time zone Tuesday seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. So I fell asleep in my hotel room confident of two things:
First, no matter how strong blacks went to the polls in this off-year election, when voting historically favors the party out of the White House, Democrats were unlikely to regain control of the House of Representatives.
Second, if Republicans managed to wrestle control from Democrats in the Senate, Democrats would blame the low turnout among African Americans.
Before departing Washington, I already saw this scenario unfolding. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two most politically influential newspapers in the nation, had published stories about the importance of the black vote in Tuesday’s midterm election and that without a heavy black turnout, the prospect of Democrats retaining the upper chamber were doomed.
Missing in the analysis was how Democrats had shot themselves in the foot. It is important to understand that most white voters don’t support Democrats. The last three Democrats elected president – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – won each time with a minority of the white vote.
Considering there are more white voters in the U.S. than blacks, perhaps a more appropriate question is: Why are white voters not turning out for Democrats? All that weight should not fall on the shoulders of black voters.
A second point to remember is that even with black voters being key to Democratic success, Democratic strategists have not, as the old lady making church announcements puts it, governed themselves accordingly.
Even in battleground states, they didn’t purchase ads in most black newspapers, if they bought any ads at all, until the waning days of the campaign.
Last-minute White House efforts were largely directed at radio programs hosted by comedians and DJs, as if they could mobilize black voters all by themselves with shallow drive-by interviews.
Although I was on foreign soil on Election Night, I did my civic duty by voting before I left. That, too, was different.
I usually enjoy the energy of voting on Election Day, seeing who turns out and watching as children enter the voting booth with a parent.
But voting early this year had its own satisfying sensation. There was the sheer joy of knowing I had made my voice heard, even though I wouldn’t be home on Tuesday.
My attention for the past two weeks has been split between the midterm elections in the U.S. and growing tension between Israel and Palestine. Though I have been in the Middle East for that period, at times I had to double-check to make sure I wasn’t reliving my childhood in segregated Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, reacting to pressure to settlers on land formerly occupied by Palestinians, has proposed barring Palestinians who live in the West Bank, but commute to work in Israel, from riding the same buses as Jewish riders.
The proposal to operate segregated buses like the ones I grew up with in Alabama is facing a strong pushback from other Israeli leaders and supporters of Israel in the U.S.
Equally disturbing, a delegation of African Americans visiting the village of Bil’in Saturday afternoon was looking at the long, concrete wall encircling a large settlement on previously occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank when one of our hosts noticed a jeep inside the housing compound headed in our direction.
No one worried because we were on the outside of the settlement, which is about seven miles west of the Ramallah, and we were not breaking any laws. Still, moments later, several canisters of tear gas were fired just yards from us, forcing us to flee.
Most of us were coughing and feeling a burning sensation in our eyes as we quickly fled. It was but a small sample of what Palestinians experience in their everyday life.
I will be returning home after a fascinating two-week trip. I will write a series of stories based on visit upon my return. And like all trips abroad, I will be following news out of the Middle East more closely than before.
That is always one of the lasting benefits of traveling to other parts of the world.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He can be reached through his Website, www.georgecurry.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook.

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George Curry

By George E. Curry
NNPA Columnist
Although Latinos are growing at a faster rate than any other ethnic group in the United States, they will have less of an impact on whether Democrats retain control of the Senate than African Americans, according to a study of Census data by the Pew Research Center.
The report, titled, “Latino Voters and the 2014 Midterm Elections,” stated: “A record 25.2 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, making up, for the first time, 11 percent of all eligible voters nationwide. But despite a growing national presence, in many states with close Senate and gubernatorial races this year, Latinos make up a smaller share of eligible voters.”
Meanwhile, Democrats say it is unlikely they can retain control of the Senate without the Black vote in key states, including North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas. Latinos will basically be a non-factor – at least, for now.
“California and Texas contain nearly half (46.4 percent) of all Latino eligible voters, but neither has been a battleground state in recent presidential elections.
“As a result, nearly half of Latino voters do not get the level of attention from campaigns that Latino voters who live in battleground states receive. And this year, neither state has a close Senate race.”
The report further noted, “…in the eight states with close Senate races, just 4.7 percent of eligible voters on average are Latinos. Among those states, Latinos make up less than 5 percent of eligible voters in six. Only in Colorado does the 14.2 percent Latino share among eligible voters exceed the 10.7 percent national average.
Kansas is the only other state where the Latino share among eligible voters exceeds 5 percent. As a result, the impact of Latino voters in determining which party controls the U.S. Senate may not be as large as might be expected given their growing electoral and demographic presence nationwide.”
According to the report, “In other 2014 Senate races – none of which are competitive – Latinos make up more than 10 percent of eligible voters in just three: New Mexico, where Latinos make up 40.1 percent of eligible voters; Texas, where 27.4 percent of eligible voters are Latino; and New Jersey, where Latinos make up 12.8 percent of eligible voters.”
In the case of this year’s 14 competitive House races, the share of eligible voters who are Hispanic is, on average, 13.6 percent – slightly exceeding Hispanics’ 10.7 percent share nationwide, the report said.
Still, voting by Latinos is on the upswing.
Approximately 800,000 U.S. born Hispanics turn 18 each year, with at least 1 million expected to reach adulthood annually by 2024.
By 2030, the number of Hispanic eligible voters is projected to top more than 40 million, according to the report.
“Since 2010, the number of Hispanic eligible voters has increased by 3.9 million. Their share among eligible voters nationally is also on the rise, up from 10.1 percent in 2010 and 8.6 percent in 2006 (Lopez, 2011), reflecting the relatively faster growth of the Hispanic electorate compared with other groups.”
Republicans currently hold 233 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and appear unlikely to lose control of the House. Among this year’s 14 toss-up races, most incumbents are Democrats.
“In the 36 states with gubernatorial races this year, nine have close races. Just as with competitive U.S. Senate races, Hispanics on average account for a smaller share of eligible voters in these races than they do nationally,” the report said.
“Overall, 7.9 percentof eligible voters in these states are Hispanic, compared with a 10.7 percent share nationally. Among these states, three have Hispanic eligible voter shares above 10 percent (Florida with 17.1 percent, Colorado with 14.2 percent and Connecticut with 10.3 percent) and three have voter shares below 5 percent (Wisconsin 3.2 percent, Michigan 2.9 percent and Maine 1.0 percent).
In each midterm election since 1974, the number of Latino voters reached a new record high, largely reflecting the community’s fast population growth. However, the share of those Latinos who actually vote on Election Day – the voter turnout rate – has lagged significantly behind other racial and ethnic groups.
“During the 2010 midterm election, a record 6.6 million Hispanics voted, representing a turnout rate of 31.2 percent. But more than twice as many Hispanics – 14.7 million – could have voted but did not (Lopez, 2011). By comparison, voter turnout rates were higher among blacks (44 percent) and whites (48.6 percent).”
Low voter participation rates among Hispanics can be attributed to many factors, including the relative youth of the Hispanic population.
In 2014, 33 percent of the Latino eligible voters are ages 18 to 29. However, among White eligible voters the figure is 18 percent; among Blacks, that share is 25 percent. Among Asians, 21 percent are between ages 18 and 29.
Even with African Americans strategically placed in important districts, the Democratic Party may have botched this election but doing limited work with grassroots groups and largely ignoring the Black Press until the final two weeks of the campaign.
(George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He can be reached through his website, www.georgecurry.com.)

Politics

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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (nusayba@uscpr.org) WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...
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