News & Commentary
April 4 will mark the 45th year since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Dr. King, 39, at the time, has now been gone from us longer than he was with us. A monument celebrates his life on the mall in Washington. He is remembered as the man with a dream at the March on Washington. In 1968, however, Dr. King was far from the favored celebrity he is today. He was under fierce criticism for opposing the war in Vietnam. Former colleagues were scorning his commitment to nonviolence. When he went to …
We are witnessing the very serious decline of Black radio in general and Black owned radio in particular. This is happening at a time when Blacks can ill afford to be without voice in the marketplace of ideas. With the hateful indifference to Blacks that dominates so much of what is considered mainstream media, Blacks must have access to social, political, esthetic and cultural expressions that are born of the Black experience in the world.
It is important to take into account the factors that have made Black radio so vulnerable. Two Major contributing factors to the demise of Black owned radio are the 1990 Bill Clinton telecommunications ACT, and the bias inherent in the radio ratings system, a system whose incorrect information has consistently deprived Black radio of a fair share of advertising revenue, leading to the financial demise of a number of Black owned radio stations throughout the …
African American students achieve at a different level than white students. Test scores are lower, as are high school and college completion rates, and the number of African Americans attending four-year institutions is falling. The rate of African American suspensions and expulsions from K-12 schools is higher than that of other groups. By almost any metric there are gaps between African American students and white or Asian students (Latinos achieve at about the same rate as African Americans).
Why does this happen? The late sociologist John Ogbu hypothesized that the gap was the result of young African Americans thinking that learning was “acting white”. His theory was batted around as if it were fact, even when Duke economist William Darity refuted the Ogbu theory. Why? Because it fits somebody’s stereotype to describe African American youngsters as culturally alienated from the mainstream, so much that they eschew the very institution that…
When the sequester federal spending cuts forced flight delays because of the furlough of air traffic controllers, the normally deadlocked Congress acted in less than a week to give the Federal Aviation Administration flexibility to avoid the furloughs. The aggravations of business travelers are heard in Washington. But Congress can’t seem to hear the tribulations of the less fortunate: † Chicago hospitals are facing a 2 percent cut in Medicare support, which will leave some seniors with less care. † 125 AIDS-afflicted families will lose their subsidized housing in Chicago because of the sequester. † 460 teachers and teachers aide …
There is no easy way or walk to freedom; no shortcuts to justice; no quick fix for conceiving and constructing the good and sustainable society and world we all want and deserve to live in. Indeed, to achieve the good we all want in the world, we must work and struggle long and hard for it. In a word, we must be in it for real, in it for the good, and in it for the long. It is always good to remember and remind each other of this in our constant reasoning and wrestling with the urgent issues of our time. Certainly, Black/Brown relations are one of these. And how we work out our relations with each other will determine the quality of life of our communities and this country, and our capacity to realize the just and good society we’ve fought so long for.
Our challenge is to
Imagine Gov. George Wallace of Alabama in 1963 appointing an emergency manager in Birmingham with broad powers to dismiss elected officials, renegotiate contracts, sell assets and become sole authority of the city’s pension funds a month after the voters rejected the emergency manager law in a statewide referendum? What would Dr. King have written from his Birmingham jail cell? Emergencies can force people to come together. They can also be used by the powerful to impose policies that would otherwise be rejected. Author Naomi Klein called this the “shock doctrine,” using a crisis to overcome democratic resistance. The state of …
As this is written, everyone wounded in the terror bombings at the Boston Marathon has survived his or her wounds. This remarkable testament to effective medical response stems largely from Boston’s exceptional health-care capacity. But as demonstrated by the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas, the chaos wreaked by Superstorm Sandy, the shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., and the horrible gun violence that savages Chicago, every community must ask if it has the capacity to answer emergencies. And in South Chicago and other neglected poor communities, the answer is surely no. The remarkable response in Boston was exemplary, but …
Immigrants to America would gain tremendously by learning of the struggle for racial justice. Millions of immigrant families are navigating American life with time for little else. However, immigrants should study this nation’s racial history.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were mere words for people of color until African-Americans forced this country to deliver on her promises. Yet, too often, immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa fail to acknowledge how African-American battles for racial justice assists these new arrivals to the country.
African-Americans successfully fought a Super-Power and won. They contributed mind and body to create justice for all. Most areas of American life enjoyed by immigrants, from employment and housing to education and political rights were made better by African-Americans challenging discrimination.
African-Americans fought for rights most immigrants now take for granted. Unfortunately, knowledge of African-Americans is often based on cancelled television shows or bad movies this …
The Black Left Unity Network (BLUN) salutes the victory of Nicolas Maduro Moros as the new and democratically elected President of Venezuela.
We stand in revolutionary solidarity with the statement issued by the Afro-Venezuela movement that pledges its’ continued support to the objectives of the revolutionary process in Venezuela and the election of President Maduro.
The struggles and voices of Afro-Venezuelans represent the deepest sentiments for democracy and social transformation and were critical to this victory and the ongoing Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela that was led by Comrade President Hugo Chavez.
We will never forget the immediate response by the Venezuelan people led by President Chavez to the tragedy triggered by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast and the offer of major aid to assist the survivors remaining in the disaster area and those dispersed to all corners of the U.S. The U.S. government’s refusal of this aid and the …
Until the Lion writes his own history he will always be misrepresented. That’s what Frederick Douglass said. Until America convenes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on racism, the complete African-American story will not be told.
Last month, an exasperated Justice Elena Kagen asked attorneys arguing the Shelby County voting rights case if the Supreme Court should really decide when racism has ended. Respectfully, no such decision on racism can be made without first convening a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
South Africa’s government sponsored a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Cape Town, in 1995. Apartheid ended legal segregation there. Black South Africans testified to life in wooden shack ghettos; of how murder, torture, and kidnapping by police comprised their daily lives. Students and teachers testified to schools without books, chairs, and heat. South African men and women spoke of humiliating body searches, beatings, and arrests while living under constant curfews without …
- Child poverty is the real scandal
May 21, 2013
- Malcolm X: A Complex Legacy
May 20, 2013
- Reparations in order for 1963 bombing
May 17, 2013
- Student loan crisis is coming to a head
May 14, 2013
- AT LAST
May 13, 2013
- Chicago Sun-Times 2013-05-10 11:14:31
May 10, 2013
- Justice Sotomayor: The Whole Truth
May 7, 2013
- A fair minimum wage is a measure of decency
- THE FLAWED IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
May 6, 2013
- Africa Lags Behind As It’s Resources Power China’s Growth
May 5, 2013
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Black Family Summit
A collaborative of national Black professional organizations dedicated to promoting holistic principles, policies and practices to strengthen Black families and communities.
Damu Smith Leadership Development and Organizer Training Institute
An Initiative devoted to providing training in the principles of community organizing and
Collaborative of progressive, African-centered scholars, think tanks and research centers dedicated to utilizing theoretical and applied research to address issues of vital concern to people of African descent and enhance the development of Black communities.
Shirley Chisolm Presidential Accountability Commission
Group of leading Black scholars and activists charged with monitoring the executive branch/presidential administrations of the U.S. government for progress on the Black Agenda/ issues of importance to people of African descent in the U.S. and globally.
Haiti Support Project
An Initiative committed to “Building a Constituency for Haiti in the United States,” focusing on mobilizing/organizing African Americans and other people of African descent to strengthen the process of democracy and development in the world’s first Black Republic.