- Created on 20 May 2013
In February of 2000, four N.Y.C. police officers were acquitted of all charges in the death of Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea who was shot 41 times after police thought his wallet was somehow a gun. In January of 2004, 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury was shot and killed by an NYPD officer patrolling the rooftop near his building who said he...
- Created on 17 May 2013
“Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are…for all the land that you see I will give to you.” Genesis 13: 14-15
University commencement season is a time of high hopes and great celebration. I was again reminded of that when I delivered the commencement address at Huston-Tillotson (HT) University in Austin, Texas. This coming weekend, I will also speak during graduation ceremonies at Tuskegee University and Alcorn State.
Perhaps best known as the university where Jackie Robinson served as athletic director and basketball coach before he set out to break the color barrier in baseball, Huston-Tillotson is the oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) west of the Mississippi. For 137 years, it has opened doors of educational opportunity that might have otherwise been closed to many African American students. The enthusiasm and optimism I saw in the faces of this year’s HT graduates – and that I expect to see at Tuskegee and Alcorn – reaffirmed my belief that the future is indeed in good hands.
My message to the graduates was simply to make sure that in addition to emerging from college academically prepared, they should also embrace their obligation to pave the way for the next generation and leave this world better than they found it. I am all too aware that this is easier said than done. So, I also shared three key observations, or better yet life lessons, to help them navigate this next phase of their journey. I call them the three C’s – courage, choice and compassion.
The class of 2013 is graduating at a pivotal moment in American history. Fifty years ago, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his passionate dream that America live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. That same year, four little Black girls were killed by a terrorist bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan at Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, and civil rights hero Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Miss. Now 50 years later, we have witnessed the second inauguration of the nation’s first Black president. As I told the HT graduates, we’ve come a long way baby, but we still have a long way to go.
While many of the legal impediments to equal opportunity have been eliminated over the past half-century, new challenges including voter suppression, criminal justice abuses, economic inequality and opposition to common sense gun safety legislation, have risen to take their place. All of these problems will require this generation of graduates to muster the kind of courage shown by people like Jackie Robinson, Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and National Urban Leaguer Heman Sweatt, who fought the battle to integrate the University of Texas in 1950. They each found the courage and made the choice to devote themselves to a cause greater than themselves. They each demonstrated the kind of compassion required to act beyond individual interests and clear obstacle-laden paths so that those who followed could have better opportunities. The baton is now passing to a new generation, and I have no doubt they will rise to the challenge.
The National Urban League has always engaged young people in our empowerment movement. For more than 40 years, our Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) has been cultivating new leaders and inspiring achievement by enabling African American students to interface and network with African American business professionals to prepare for careers in corporate America. In addition, the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP) engages young professionals ages 21-40 in voluntarism and philanthropy to empower their communities and change lives.
Many of today’s HBCU graduates have been touched by those and similar efforts. We expect that they will use the blueprint of courage, choice and compassion summoned and shown by so many before them. We expect that they will pass it on and choose to serve.
Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.
- Created on 17 May 2013
In the overly dramatic story entitled “An Onset of Woes Raises Questions on Obama Vision,” the New York Times reports that President Barack Obama has privately expressed his desire of “going Bulworth,” a reference to the political comedy movie of the same name starring Warren Beatty. If you don’t remember the movie, just know that it was one of m...
- Created on 17 May 2013
Dudley Randall’s poem, “It seems to me, said Booker T, I disagree, said W.E.B.” points out an issue that has plagued Black folks for generations. During Booker T’s time, some Blacks said he was working “for the man” as he tried to build an economic foundation for his people via education, industrial training, self-help, and business principles. W.E.B. DuBois said Washington’s program came along “at the correct psychological moment,” but he ended up being Booker T’s antagonist because Black people began to choose sides. Rather than take the best of both of those giants, we succumbed to the “divide and conquer” syndrome.
In 1915, Marcus Garvey decided to come to this country to meet with Booker T., who died before Garvey’s arrival. But, the naysayers and detractors soon started dividing the people again, pitting DuBois against Garvey instead of taking the best of what both offered and working toward our collective uplift.
Since then, we have seen similar scenarios played out, such as Malcolm and Martin, Stokely and Martin, Al and Jesse, Tupac/Biggie/Knight/Dogg and all that madness, Eddie Long and Al Sharpton, Smiley/West and Dyson/Harris-Perry, and the list goes on. It’s not that we should agree on everything; that would create a bunch of robots. We should, however, have enough sense and knowledge of the past and the present to deal with our personal disagreements in private while moving collectively and publicly toward one goal. Could our penchant for one-ups-man-ship be attributed to another syndrome called, the “HNIC,” as described in Norman Kelley’s excellent book of the same name?
All the silliness, rancor, redundancy, and, yes, jealousy among our people are both unnecessary and divisive. I recall when George Bush attended the 2003 Urban League convention but dissed the NAACP’s meeting. Marc Morial and Kweisi Mfume were at the helms of those two organizations, and the feathers started to fly about what George Bush did. More importantly, our folks began to take sides because Bush decided he would deal with Morial rather than the fiery Mfume.
As long as we, both individually and organizationally, are fighting one another and choosing sides, as if we are on different teams, our economic empowerment will always be an illusory, quixotic, and romanticized state of mind rather than a substantive realization.
In my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, our NAACP branch will be 100 years old in 2015. Under its current leadership over the past seven years, we have advanced from a fledgling 400 or so membership base and a tenuous financial position, to a 2,400 membership base and a long-term and stable financial position. We have also built strong, mutually beneficial, broad-based relationships – unprecedented in the history of this branch.
Around the first part of this year, 98 years after the founding of Cincinnati branch of the NAACP, a local chapter of the National Action Network (NAN) was established. Some say it was simply an effort to “compete” and make irrelevant the NAACP and its president, who overwhelmingly defeated his opposition candidate last November. Idiocy has prevailed since then, mainly because of a few malcontents and sore losers who “don’t like” the NAACP president and are desperately trying to bring him down. At the same time, the images of our two organizations are being dragged through the mud on, of all places, a “Black” radio station. How stupid is that?
The new president of the NAN chapter has not had the common courtesy to contact the leader of the NAACP branch to explore ways to cooperate and move forward on common agenda items. Rather, he has operated under the guise of “neutrality,” knowing all along that the main intentions of many of his founding members are divisiveness, rancor, adversity, and ultimate destruction of the NAACP branch – unless they can take it over. Their feeble attempts and bully tactics will not work. Still, it is sad to see a few jealous, envious, and spoiled Black folks attempt to stymy and negate the tremendous progress made in this town over the past seven years via the NAACP.
My use of Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous in the title of this article is just a generic representation of how some of our people have and continue to make Randall’s W.E.B./Booker T. poem relevant today. Al and Ben may disagree on some issues, but they are not trying to tear each other down.
Our penchant for choosing sides and trying to destroy the opposite side is detrimental to our progress. Whether we like it or not, we are all on the same team; and like on any sports team, the best players are starters and the less accomplished ones are benchwarmers. Yes, some on the bench may secretly hope for the demise of a starter so they can get into the game, but at least they are not sitting there outwardly booing their own team in order to get their chance to play.
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.
- Created on 16 May 2013
The congressional hearings on May 8 may become the beginning of the end for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Three credible eye witnesses of our Benghazi consulate assault last September 11, finally got to give their accounting of it. They had been kept from the FBI, all committees of Congress, media and anyone else in the world. It was through the Whistle- Blower Program that they came to tell the real story.
As expected, when the assault began, one of them called Secretary of State Clinton and alerted her to the attack. She promised to get back to him. Then one of them called the White House asking for immediate help. The whistleblowers organized a small group of marines and security personnel at the Tripoli Embassy to fly to Benghazi and fight the identified terrorists and rescue our people at the consulate.
As they approached the waiting C-130 airplane, they were told to “stand down” (you can’t go). One thing is clear: Secretary Clinton and all at the White House immediately knew that terrorists had struck our Benghazi consulate. The president of Libya soon announced to the Tripoli Embassy that Ambassador Stevens was dead. That, too, was immediately reported to the State Department. American personnel were under attack and the White House and State Department were giving them up for slaughter.
To begin their cover up, they began to blame the action on a protest about some You Tube Video. The protest was in Cairo, Egypt but never came to Libya. Our White House including President Obama and the State Department including Hillary Clinton knowingly lied to America. As a result of betraying our personnel at the consulate, four State Department officials including Ambassador Stevens were murdered. An untold number of personnel were wounded. We still don’t know the names of all the wounded because they are keeping us from that portion of the truth.
At the ceremony to receive the dead bodies at Andrews Air Force Base, both President Obama and Secretary Clinton were still telling the Big Lie. Secretary Clinton even looked one of the grieving parents in the eye and said “We are going to prosecute the producer of the film.” Did she think the truth would never be told? They didn’t send the FBI to investigate for 18 days, causing much disturbance of the crime scene. They didn’t want to know any more about this attack. The wounded were put into hiding. They even misnamed them as they entered into hospitals for treatment.
This reminds us of the past Clinton years in the White House. The White Water scandal lingered on as Hillary became a master of stalling and giving out disinformation. The Travelgate scandal, which happened as they were entering the White House, shocked us all. They just arrived and they started rigging procurement opportunities. As she was leaving the White House Hillary stole the official china, which was so tacky. This is Hillary alone. Her teacher, President Bill Clinton, taught her well. He was the master of disinformation.
Remember the Paula Jones Scandal? How about the affair with Jennifer Flowers that caused Hillary to claim it was a “Bimbo Eruption”? There were other claims of President Clinton’s adulterous past which he denied each time. He would meet his demise when 19-year-old Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, would start doing freaky things with Bill inside the Oval Office. When it was exposed, Clinton pointed fingers at the press and again denied everything. He still would be denying it if the investigators had not found his DNA (semen) on one of her dresses.
For the above, President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives (later pardoned by the Senate) and his law license was suspended. President Clinton became only the second president to be impeached (Andrew Johnson was first). In a fashion similar to Hillary’s denial of terrorist activity, President Clinton made a terrible decision. The rogue nation of Sudan alerted the White House that they had Osama bin Laden under surveillance and could turn him over to them. They refused to accept him. Later, bin Laden would bomb our two embassies in Kenya and Tanzania – hundreds were murdered. It could have been prevented.
So this Benghazi scandal has evolved from the partnership of the Clintons and President Obama. It brings a better understanding of the trickery within the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare. Each week we find another hidden tax in it. There is $50 billion here, $100 billion there, and it starts adding up to a big financial “train wreck.” We should have never passed a bill that no one actually read. The sponsors should not have been trusted.