Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Annual Report reveals that a Black person is killed every 28 hours (313 a year) by police, security, guards and vigilantes

Posted by TheBlackList eNewsletter in Call To Action

Every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman, or child! This startling fact is revealed in Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards, and Vigilantes.
When we started this investigation in early 2012, we knew a serious human rights crisis was confronting the Black community”, says Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). “However, we did not have a clear sense of its true depth until we compiled and examined the annual figuresWe have uncovered outrageous rates of extrajudicial killings--rates, that when they are found in countries like Mexico or Brazil, are universally condemned.  The same outrage inside the U.S. also demands immediate action.”
Given recent revelations in the case of Floyd et al v New York City that challenge “stop-and-frisk”, our study demonstrates that NYPD violations of human rights are endemic throughout the U.S. For example, racial profiling that singles Black people for looking, driving or behaving “suspiciously” leads to at least 43% of Black peoples’ fatal encounters with police. Only 13% of those who were killed were involved in allegedly violent criminal activity that physically threatened others’ lives. These and many more of the Report’s findings reveal the deadly impact of systemic racism in the U.S.
Akuno further points out, “Operation Ghetto Storm follows the trail of extrajudicial killings to the rise of militarized police forces and their occupation of Black communities. And explores how systemic racism has led to increased militarization and militarization, in turn has exacerbated the human rights crises devastating Black communities.”
He added, “This Report breaks new ground by going beyond reliance on police department press releases and investigating as fully as possible the context and consequences of each killing. This investigative journalism serves as an example of respect for Black life so often neglected in public conversations.
Arlene Eisen, member of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee and the author of the Report, explained, "Any one of these people killed could have been my son or your husband or daughter. Regardless of education, class, behavior or dress, nowhere is a Black person safe from potentially-fatal racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance and overriding suspicion.”
Based on a year of research, Eisen concluded, “police departments and government agencies throughout the United States go to great lengths to hide the data on extrajudicial killings, particularly the race of the murder victims. I am quite sure that there were more than 313 Black people killed by the police in 2012. Social movements in the United States must demand this information and must demand an end to these killings.”
Operation Ghetto Storm is issued by the Every 36 Hours Campaign and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and can be downloaded at www.mxgm.org.

New Annual Report reveals that 313 Black People were killed in 2012, averaging one every 28 hours
 Download here: http://mxgm.org/operation-ghetto-storm-2012-annual-report-on-the-extrajudicial-killing-of-313-black-people/

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In Unity and Struggle,
Kali Akuno
404.567.5938
kaliakuno@mxgm.org
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Small Business Administration (SBA) Deputy Said to Go "Beyond the Call of Duty" for Black Businesses

Posted by SendMeYourNews in ABOUT BUSINESS


Marie Johns, Deputy Administrative, U.S. Small Business Administration 
Doyle Mitchell, president, Industrial Bank, chairman, National Bankers Association; Marie Johns, SBA Deputy Administrator; Ron Busby, President, U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce; Michael Grant, president National Bankers Association
 It is a story that has unfolded all too often. The owner of a small business finds it simply impossible to pull through the torturous economy. The doors shut or the website shuts down and another business venture comes to a close.

Without incubation and support, the nation's small businesses - including Black-owned businesses which are doubly vulnerable due to a history of racism and discrimination - would go under at alarming rates. In short, they need an advocate.

This is the reason that when the leaders of the National Bankers Association, an organization of 37 mostly Black-owned banks, began pondering prospective recipients of their annual "Beyond the Call of Duty Award", its president says they did not have to look very far. No question, it was Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration, he said.

"I think Marie Johns has an extraordinary record of serving the small business community in our country. She has shown a genuine interest in working with all small businesses. She's been fair and inclusive, she believes in diversity, she's shown a great sensitivity to the struggle of small businesses," says Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association after bestowing Johns with the award during the NBA's Annual Legislative/Regulatory Conference last week.

In prepared remarks, he said, "Ms. Johns has developed a reputation for being a good listener. She not only listened to community bankers and small business owners, she acted," he said. In fact, Grant says Johns has served so well in the position that he believes she should be promoted to the top of the agency. "I think she would be an excellent candidate to be SBA administrator," he said in an interview, noting that the agency has even greater potential.

An article by Claudio E. Cabrera, originally posted last fall on business website The Street.com and re-published this month on BlackEnterprise.com, is headlined, "Minority Businesses a Big Driver in the U.S. Small Business Economy."

The article reports that "the number of black-owned businesses rose a noteworthy 60.5% to 1.9 million from 2002 to 2007, more than triple the 18% rate for businesses established nationally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners."
It continues, "During the most recent period for which there is Census data, black-owned businesses generated $137.5 billion in receipts, up 55.1%."
But the down side is this: Most of the highly prosperous Black-owned businesses are concentrated in certain states. New York, Georgia and Florida and cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and Detroit have the largest concentration of the nation's black-owned businesses, the article reports, based on Census calculations. Also, "of the 1.9 million black-owned businesses, little more than 100,000 had paid employees" and only "14,000 of those businesses had receipts of $1 million or more."
Johns agrees that as Black and other minority businesses grow, the economy grows.

"In 2013, minority-owned small businesses are one of the fastest-growing segments of our economy, and an engine of opportunity for millions of hard-working men and women in our communities," Johns said in a prepared statement issued after last week's award. "Empowering these businesses, and embracing an inclusive view of entrepreneurship, is essential to our long-term economic growth and global competitiveness."

She also agrees with Grant that more must be done. "We must ensure that more people across the country have access to the capital, technical assistance, and support networks they need to help them start businesses, create jobs, and grow our economy."

Suring up Black banks in order to serve their communities is a part of that mission, she says. "Over the past four years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has been working hard to create more access for entrepreneurs and more opportunities for lenders to work with the small businesses in their communities. The NBA and our network of lending partners are on the front lines of these efforts to revitalize our economy and communities."

 In her statement, Johns ticked off a list of services available to strengthen small businesses and "undeserved communities". They include the Small Loan Advantage (SLA) program and Community Advantage lenders, she listed.

In fiscal year 2013 alone, she reported, the SLA Program "has already surpassed total SLA loans and approved SLA dollars in FY 2012 and 2011 combined, with more than 1,000 loans approved for a total of nearly $150,000,000 since the start of the fiscal year."

Deputy administrator Johns is already a presidential appointee, nominated by President Obama on December 17, 2009, and confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate. Her bio on sba.gov boasts more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses across the country.  

"That is the most capital going to small businesses in the history of the SBA," it states. She doesn't have to convince Grant: "At a White House news briefing three years ago, President Barack Obama announced a number of new initiatives designed to streamline SBA guidelines and render the agency more user-friendly. Working in tandem with the Administration, Ms. Johns used her business savvy and exceptional executive skills to bring a more modern and less cumbersome SBA to community banks and small businesses, in general, and minority banks and minority-owned business enterprises in particular."
By Hazel Trice Edney
TriceEdneyWire.com

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Friday, April 12, 2013

State of Equality and Justice in America: 'The Maternal Wall'

"The State of Equality and Justice in America" is a 20-part series of columns written by an all-star list of contributors to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The contributors include: U. S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) LCCRUL 50th Anniversary Grand Marshal; Ms. Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL); Mr. Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard University Law School/Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice; the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., President/CEO, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Co-founder, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; U. S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.); and 14 additional thought leaders and national advocates for equal justice.
This is a resend of  the 10th op-ed of the series. We will resume next week with the 14th op-ed. We apologize for any inconvenience: 
  
 Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
State of Equality and Justice in America:
'The Maternal Wall'

By Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

In our national conversations about equality and justice in America, we have too often avoided the conversation about the realities of women and mothers in the workforce. This is particularly odd given that women comprise half of the entire paid labor force, three-quarters of moms are now in the labor force, and most families now need two breadwinners to make ends meet.

Yet, despite comprising half of the paid labor force
only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The glass ceiling remains solid and a Maternal Wall is blocking the way for many women to even get anywhere near that glass barrier. Yes, a Maternal Wall.

Here's what the 
Maternal Wall looks like:
  • Women without children make 90 cents to a man's dollar, mothers make only 73 cents, single moms make about 60 cents to a man's dollar, and women of color experience increased wage hits on top of that.
  • Mothers with equal resumes are hired 80 percent less of the time than non-mothers and are offered lower starting salaries.
  • More than 80 percent of women in our nation have children by the time they're 44 - and most hit the Maternal Wall.
  • Overall women make only 77 cents to a man's dollar for full-time year round work, with African-American women making only 68 cents to a man's dollar and Latino women making just 59 cents to a man's dollar.
Think all of this doesn't matter to you, or to our national economy? Consider this: Women makethree-quarters of purchasing decisions. When women don't have adequate funds in their pockets, our entire economy - which for better or worse is now built on consumer spending - suffers.

The glass ceiling and Maternal Wall not only hurts women's pocketbooks, they also hurt the bottom line of our nation's businesses. A 19-year 
Pepperdine University survey of Fortune 500 companies found that those with the best record of promoting women outperformed the competition by anywhere from 41 to 116 percent. In other words, more women in leadership meant higher profits.

Many women and mothers 
are struggling against tradition, subliminal discrimination, and structural barriers. Indeed, we need to start uniting and lifting each other up. We are living in more than one America.

The realities of life for higher-wage earning women are vastly different from the realities of most women in our country. 
More than 80 percent of low-wage workers don't have access to a single paid sick day for themselves or their children.
Our national "floor" for workplace policies is way too low. These floors need to be raised; and structural barriers need to be addressed, particularly since it now costs over $200,000 to raise one child from birth to age eighteen.
Despite what it may appear from the focus of recent media coverage, there are vastly more women in low wage positions than in high. In fact, only 9 percent of all women in the labor force earn $75,000 or more annually, 37 percent earn between $30,000 and $74,999 annually, and 54 percent earn less than $30,000 annually. The majority of minimum wage earners are women.
Most mothers in the low wage workforce are struggling to find quality and affordable daycare (which now costs more than college in most states) and are working in jobs without paid family leave, sick days, or flexible work options that ensure that employees can be successful both at home and at work.
Middle-income women struggle with many of these same work structure issues, while women in higher income positions often have access to these programs. We've seen recently that the mere ascension of women in the workplace alone does not guarantee that family friendly policies will be implemented. One example is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's move to end the company's policy of allowing employees to work remotely.

Solutions are within our reach.

We know which policies - like paid family leave, earned sick days, and affordable childcare -
save taxpayer dollars, improve women's economic security, act to help close gender-based wage gaps and break down the Maternal Wall, while strengthening our national economy as a whole.
These solutions won't magically happen without people coming together to push to update our outdated workplace policies, practices, and laws. It's going to take all of us - women, men, elected and corporate leaders - leaning forward together to build a nation where women, families, and businesses can thrive.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is Executive Director/CEO & Co-Founder of MomsRising.org. This article - the tenth of a 20-part series - is written in commemoration of the 50thAnniversary of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Lawyers' Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today. For more information, please visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

The Apotheos-ification of Nigerian Leaders and Political Elites

Posted by Akintokunbo Adejumo

Apotheosis (from Greek, apotheoun "to deify"; in Latin deificatio "making divine"; also called divinization and deification) is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre (Wikipaedia).
In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject (a figure, group, locale, motif, convention or melody) in a particularly grand or exalted manner.
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.
Throughout history, monarchs and heads of state were almost always held in enormous reverence. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, for example, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Imperial China, ancient Egypt, Japan, Britain, the royals, the Inca, the Aztecs, Tibet, Thailand, and the Roman Empire are especially noted for redefining monarchs as god-kings. In pre-colonial Africa and Nigeria, the same applies with most of the monarchs, e.g. in Yoruba land, the Alaafin of Oyo and the Ooni of Ife used to be deified until somehow, they lost their reverence.
The spread of democratic and secular ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of photography, sound recording, film, and mass production, as well as public education and techniques used in commercial advertising, enabled political leaders to project a positive image like never before. It was from these circumstances in the 20th century that the best-known personality cults arose. Often these cults are a form of political religion (Wikipaedia)
Service is the best reason for being a leader. There are many examples of true service; Jesus Christ is one of them. A true leader asks people to follow his/her example. This is what has made democracy work and sustainable in Western democracies and societies – leaders serve and ask their people to follow, and the people follow.
I really do not have a problem with leaders who are performing or are seen to be performing their duties and responsibilities, if ONLY selflessly. (This is very rare anyway) Once in a while we see such leaders, but usually and mostly in the horizon.
My problem is Praise-singing and Hero-worshipping of our leaders (ironically, these people are not even anywhere near being heroes, not to talk of worthy of praise), and that's the reason we are having problems with them and they take advantage of us. I never indulge in such trivial pursuits. I am not a sycophant. Most of the time, I don't see what these leaders are doing that is unexpected or extraordinary. After all, look around you; the country is still as backward as ever, despite very strong infrastructural and civil legacies left by the colonialists, so what are they really doing?
Recently one Governor described his own people (we, Nigerians) as TIMID. It was then I saw the irony and the insult, albeit true. It is because we are timid, or they feel we are timid, that the corrupt, evil and clueless political elite take undue advantage of us, stealing, looting, raping, killing and generally mismanaging our resources, our common wealth. They bank and rely on the fact that they are lording it over a very TIMID people. That is what they have been relying on and banking on for the past 5 decades, with a toxic combination of intimidation, divide and rule, outright dishonesty, deceit and mediocrity.
When would we, as a people, realise that in a democracy, those elected into political positions as well as civil servants, are expected and must do what we elected or appointed them to do and are paid to do and that they are NOT doing us any favour whatsoever by building roads, bridges, hospitals, schools or providing employment? This is their damned job! And after all, the money they are using to execute all these projects are not theirs but ours. Or have you ever heard of a Nigerian politician using his/her own money to build roads or even to contest elections? It is our money they waste to sponsor the weddings of their children, and in a recent instance, the wedding in Dubai of a famous singer.
When you hear or read of our devious and callous political leaders, saying they are empowering people by distributing bicycles, generators, bags of rice, umbrellas, sewing machines and 10 thousand Naira to the people of their constituencies, accompanied by loud media coverage, and projecting to the people as if they are spending their own personal wealth (the hypocrisy of it!), then you know we are indeed in trouble. It is not their money; and they can do much better than this, can’t they?; the money is the Constituency Project allowances they are supposed to use in the first place but which most of them convert to their own use.
THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE BEING PAID TO DO! We can only recognise and commend them for doing their job if they are actually doing it selflessly, but NOT praise them to high heavens as if they are the Messiah, demi-gods or Super-humans.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am only against apotheosis, praise-singing and hero-worshipping. I will recognise, commend, celebrate, reward honour and sing to high heavens any good work that is being done selflessly, sincerely, timely, considerately, compassionately, holistically and appropriately by any leader in my country.
We are getting a very raw deal from these people we now regard as demi-gods and untouchables by law. But we are more powerful than them. We can vote them out. We should vote them out. We must not allow then to sniff or get anywhere near the seats of power. We must not allow them to rig elections or manipulate votes and voting equipment. We must not allow them to intimidate us.
Nigerians and Africans should stop treating politicians as gods; treat them as a normal people on the street. As a matter of fact, our politicians should be treated with some measure of disdain and perhaps, held in contempt, because politics is not a career, it is a symbiotic way of life, in any society – they depend on the society to thrive and the society expects something in return for sucking us for their livelihood. We pay their salaries and they are supposed to look after and deliver our expectations. So don't treat them like gods.
Some of us treat our Nigerian Legis-looters, Execu-thieves, Poli-trickcians, Sin-ators, like God’s gift to the world; these are the cronies, boot-lickers, political jobbers, impostors, mediocre whose only way of survival is cuddling up to anybody in power. This ilk of people do not have any capacity or intelligence to making a living, so they infect and infest the politician, who is him/herself ready to be infected and infested. It is mutually convenient and beneficial to both parties.
On a recent lecture I delivered in Lagos on a similar topic, the reactions that arose are in bold, in response to my position:
• Nigerians should treat their political leaders as a normal people on the street: Impossible! Every time there's a politicians coming to certain place, there is always a big community event to welcomed or celebrate them. See the convoys and the jamboree of hangers-on that follow them.
• We pay their salaries and they are supposed to look after and deliver our expectations: They will only look after their lackeys, their flatterers and those who aid them in their misrule and lootings.
They control the media, what do you expect?
• So don't treat them like gods – It is a cultural thing, Africans hold people with age, wealth, authority and power in awe so much, they regard those who hold such as almost gods, and when regarded as such, these irresponsible parasites will do anything and everything possible to stay in power, and that includes killing.
I agree 100% with this last bit. It is a cultural malaise. This is why a lot is amiss with our combination of leadership, democracy and system of governance, and should be changed. A very good instance is the appointment of people into positions such as Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers and Assistants, Board Members, etc. These sets of people fail miserably in the performance of what are expected of them as public servants, not only because they are mostly pedestrian and quacks anyway, but because they do not owe their allegiance, appointments or responsibilities to the service of the people, but to their Almighty Leaders (President, Governors, etc) who appointed them.
The result is that when a Cabinet re-shuffle is imminent; these lackeys start panicking and start running around like headless chicken, scared and lobbying to stay in their jobs. When they do not perform, they will not resign. That is the affairs of state in Nigeria; no moral will to admit mistakes, non-performance and inefficiency, hence the massive level of corruption that has brought the country almost on its knees while saner and more sincere minds look on helplessly whilst middling and men and women of low intelligence take over running – ruining- the lives of 150 million people.
We should learn from the Japanese:
The Best Leader
The best leaders, the people do not notice.
 The next best, the people honour and praise.
 The next, the people fear;
 And the next, the people hate.
If you have no faith,
 People will have no faith in you,
 And you must resort to oaths (lies).
When the best leader’s work is done
 The people say: “We did it ourselves!

 It's actually from the Chinese poet Lao Tzu, but this is what Japanese people think of Politicians.
I can't stand sycophancy and obsequiousness. I can’t stand timidity and reticence either.


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