D.C. marches inclusive – up to a point

George Curry-160Organizers of the two recent marches on Washington – one called by Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III and the other engineered primarily by King's sister, Bernice – almost stumbled over one another praising the diversity of their respective marches.

However, not one addressed the elephant in the room: Why was more emphasis placed on bringing in groups that were not part of the push for jobs and freedom in 1963 than assembling a broad coalition of black leaders?

To be even more direct: How can you justify excluding Minister Louis Farrakhan? After all, he managed to draw more black men to the nation's capital on Oct. 16, 1995 than the combined crowds at the 1963 March on Washington, the Sharpton-led march on Aug. 24 and the Aug. 28 commemorative march. In fact, the Million Man March at least doubled their combined attendance.


All children deserve teachers who care about them

janolvinson-500"You see a lot of teachers judge and stigmatize their students based on where they come from. A lot of my teachers thought that since I was from the South End of Louisville and I grew up in Section 8 housing that I wasn't capable of doing all the things that I did, and the first time that I really felt like I was someone, it was the first time my fifth grade teacher actually pulled me to the side and said, 'What can I do for you to help you as a student?' And I ask my students that now. I pull them to the side and I say, 'What can I do as an adult to help you?'... I feel like every time I talk to someone, I should instill something in them, and I want that in return. And that happens just through treating people with love."

– Janol Vinson


We are all toxic – really?

Chef Timothy Moore-160In the past 50 to 60 years our environment has become progressively more polluted, which has resulted in a larger human toxic burden than ever before. Chemicals are being produced, tested and introduced into our environment at a frightening rate. It doesn't matter where we are or in what part of the county we live, everyone will have some level of exposure to toxins.

These invisible toxins are in our prescription drugs, household cleaners, alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter drugs. It is virtually impossible to keep our bodies free of these substances, unless of course we live in a bubble.

Our bodies are composed of many organs, but our liver carries the greatest burden. The liver has the task of disposing of foreign substances, as well as body-produced hormones. We can assist in this process by providing our body with enough of the proper nutrients to help the liver function.


50 years later What do we do NOW?

Bernal-E-Smith-ii-160Fifty years, half a century, five decades – a milestone by any standard, and a sufficient passing of time to allow for deep reflection and measurement of one's relative position and progress with great expectation of significant growth and accomplishment.

One might simultaneously reflect in some disappointment with a lack of forward progress and achievement and even more so with a retardation of growth during a space of 600 months.

Understanding of both are necessary to answer the most urgent question of today: Where do we go from here?


Enough already with the knocks on RNC’s chairman

R Jackson-160Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Chairman Reince Priebus hosted a great 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington. It was truly wonderful to see the best of what America stands for. In attendance were blacks, whites, hispanics, Asians, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, males and females. In other words, it was America.

As I sat there and listened to the various speakers during the program, it dawned on me just how diverse the crowd was. I was also reminded how there were many differences of opinions represented in the room, but for that moment in time, we all rallied around that which we could all agree on – that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington, helped move America toward delivering on its promise of equality for all.

I was also reminded that not everyone in the civil rights community agreed with Dr. King's approach. Some within the movement wanted a more aggressive, militant approach to the movement – namely Malcolm X.


Defending Black Breast-Feeding Week

breastfeeding-400(The Root) – Kimberly Seals Allers at Mocha Manual presents a five-point response to folks who are opposed to the Black Breast-Feeding Week social media campaign she organized that began Monday. She explains why she's tailoring the issue for the black community, writing that "there has been a gaping racial disparity in breast-feeding rates." She encourages the campaign's white detractors to support her efforts.

The week will be marked with celebratory "fist bump" images to be shared on Facebook, a live interactive webcast via You Tube and a groundbreaking twitter chat, under the inaugural theme: #BlackLivesMatter (get all the info & shareable images here).


Miley Cyrus’ imitation of black life adds insult to injury

miley-600Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it's also the sincerest form of ignorance and annoyance.

Black women with large behinds are not accessories. Grills, trap music and stripper anthems are not all there is to black culture. These are little life lessons that Miley Cyrus seems to be unaware of as she desperately seeks to shed her Disney-approved Hannah Montana image.

The 20-year-old's latest cringe-worthy spectacle was a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards over the weekend that was a total embarrassment for Miley and anyone within a 10-foot radius.


Obama: Standing in the shadow of MLK

king-obama-split-575In my grandmother's Arkansas home hangs a portrait of President Barack Obama with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the portrait has written beneath the two men "We Have a Dream; the Dream Has Come True."

It was one of many paintings, posters, buttons, T-shirts and other products that came out in 2008 during Obama's historic election, tying the election back to King and his historic "speech during the March on Washington in 1963.

Some felt the comparisons were premature, even inaccurate, but many simply did not care. The idea of a black president once seemed like a dream, but now it was realized. Expectations for Obama were high, but what we received after 2008 was a president often stymied by a gridlocked Congress, and a voice constrained by being the president of all and not some.


Should Obama pay interns?

interns-600NEW YORK – The White House may not be able to afford to pay its interns.

While pressure has been mounting for President Obama to pay his interns, there could be a reason why the White House hasn't ponied up: It would cost more than $7.3 million a year.

That's double what the White House paid to give tours of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which were infamously halted in March due to forced spending cuts.

It's also slightly more than the $6 million that Vice President Joe Biden gets paid for carrying out his White House responsibilities and taking care of his official residence, according White House budget estimates for 2013.


Memphis Branch NAACP takes on toxic waste fight

MCTaylor-160In African-American communities across the United States, young men are besieged by violence and their families struggle to overcome economic deprivation, which threatens their way of life. In those depressed enclaves, African Americans are often relegated to poor housing conditions, and escaping such conditions has been fruitless in some cases.

But there is another threat to the African-American community that looms overhead, and in the ground water, like a modern-day plague: residue from chemical and coal burning plants. That's because African-American neighborhoods are often located in close proximity to these "killing" plants. It's happening across the United States and it's happening in Memphis and Shelby County.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has consistently been concerned about the quality of air and water in the United States on a daily basis. Our poor African-American communities are routinely oppressed with the deadly residue from coal burning plants that is emitted in the air and found in the water supply. Memphis is not immune to this plague.


The man black history erased

march-600On August 13, 1963, in a last ditch effort to derail the pending March on Washington, Strom Thurmond took the Senate floor and hurled a series of vicious, personal attacks against the man organizing the largest protest in U.S. history.

Thurmond called him a Communist and a draft dodger.

He brought up a previous arrest and accused him of being immoral and a pervert.

The man Thurmond was attacking was not Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Why we’re still marching

22emailmarch-600For a while, it looked like the 50th anniversary observance of the March on Washington would expose a sharp split in the Civil Rights Movement. Al Sharpton jumped ahead of his colleagues by cornering Martin Luther King III and the two of them announced a March on Washington for Saturday, August 24.

Other civil rights leaders were planning events around that time and complained privately that Sharpton and Martin III had locked up key funding from major labor groups, a primary source of funding for the movement.

A series of high-profile events – the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, remanding a University of Texas affirmative action case back to the appellate level for stricter scrutiny and George Zimmerman being found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. – left African-Americans and their supporters clamoring for an outlet to express their disgust.


For Republicans, ‘brand’ problem is not brand new

R Jackson-160During the past year, we have watched monumental change take place all over the world; not just in terms of democracy, but in terms of culture, law, and politics, etc.

Our major institutions have not been immune from this change that is sweeping across the globe. There has been a major push to redefine what a family is; we have redefined marriage; we have redefined sexuality—no longer is there male or female, now there is other; there are now gay Christians; we now have Christian gangsta rappers, etc.

Everything seems to be changing other than the Republicans approach to engaging the black community.