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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
August 9, 2009
Black-Male Unemployment Rate Dips In July
But Fewer Black Men Are In The Workforce
Black men look for work at a recent job fair in Los Angeles.
The unemployment rate for black men fell in July, but fewer black men are participating in the nation's workforce since the recession began in December 2007.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, Aug. 7, that 15.8% or 1.251 million, black men 20- years old and older were unemployed on a seasonally adjusted basis in July.
This is down slightly from June when 16.4% or 1.297 million black men 20-years old and older were unemployed on a seasonally adjusted basis, the bureau of labor statistics said.
The unemployment rate for black men has steadily declined since April when it peaked at 17.2% or 1.370 million individuals, but even at it lowest point, it remains nearly twice as high as the unemployment rate for white men, which was 9.1% in July.
Since April, the number of employed black men has been like a roller coaster--up and down.
In April, 6.620 million black men were employed, according to the bureau. In May, the number declined to 6.656 million and in June, it fell again to 6.633 million. In July, however, the number of employed black men climbed to 6.645 million, reports the bureau.
However, the number of black men participating in the civilian labor force, which includes retired black men receiving pensions, continues to decline.
In July, 7.896 million black men participated in the nation's workforce compared with 7.929 million in June. In May, 8 million black men participated in the nation's labor force compared with 7.990 million in April.
The nation's unemployment rate remains high for everyone, but it improved slightly in July.
From May through July, the average monthly job loss was 331,000 compared with November through April when the average monthly job loss was 645,000, the bureau says.
President Barack Obama noted that the slowing of job losses may mean the recession is finally ending.
"This month's jobs numbers are a sign that we've begun to put the brakes on this recession and that the worst may be behind us," President Obama said during his radio address August 8.
President Obama added, however, more work still has to be done to restore the economy. "We must rebuild it [the economy] stronger than before. I won't stop until every person who wants a job has one."
Job losses continued in construction, manufacturing, retail, professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, and financial services. On the other hand, health care added 20,000 jobs in July.
President Obama comes out fighting
for health care reform.
President Obama Defends Health Care Reform In His Saturday Radio Address
President Barack Obama used his Saturday radio address to challenge misconceptions and lies espoused by health care reform opponents, who have disrupted members of the U.S. House of Representatives' town hall meetings held during their summer recess.
"As we draw close to finalizing--and passing--real health insurance reform, the defenders of the status quo and political-point scorers in Washington are growing fiercer in their opposition," the president said. "In recent days and weeks, some have been using misleading information to defeat what they know is the best chance of reform we have ever had. That is why it is important, especially now, as senators and representatives head home and meet with their constituents, for you the American people, to have all of the facts."
President Obama then explained what health care reform means for American citizens.
"And let me start by by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid or bring about a government takeover of health care," Obama said. "That's simply is not true. This isn't about putting government in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."
The president explained that his health-reform package will provide insurance coverage for the 46 million Americans who do not have it. "It will also provide more stability and security to hundreds of millions who do," Obama said. "What we need, and what we will have when we pass health insurance reform, are consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and that insurance companies are held accountable."
He added: "We will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, or eye and foot exams for diabetics, so we can avoid chronic illinesses that cost too many lives and too much money." Health insurance reform also will stop insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals because of their past medical history.
The radio address in which President Obama defended health care reform follows a series of widely aired and disseminated television and newspaper stories showing health care opponents disrupting town hall meetings held by members of Congress during their August recess.
At a town hall meeting in Mehlville, Mo., police arrested six people, following a fight between conservative opponents of health care reform and Service Employees International Union members who support the legislation. Conservative radio talk show hosts, including Russ Limbaugh, and Freedom Works, a conservative lobbying group, have encouraged supporters to attend the meetings to disrupt them. Limbaugh has said that he wants Obama to fail and has likened the administration's logo for health care reform to a Nazi symbol. The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League released statements denouncing the comparsion.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Republican candidate for vice president in 2008, is the latest conservative politician to jump into the fray. In her Facebook account, Palin labeled President Obama's health care plan as "evil." She urged her 700,000 readers to actively oppose the legislation.
But President Obama said in his radio address health care reform is key to the nation's future."We must lay a new foundation for future growth and prosperity, and a key pillar of a new foundation is health insurance reform," he said.
Black Star wants to see more of this.
The Million Father March Is Ready For Schools' Opening Day
With schools around the country scheduled to open this month, the Black Star Project, USA in Chicago predicts 800,000 black men in 550 cities nationwide will take their children to school on the first day and volunteer at their children's schools during the school year as part of the "Million Father March."
This is a dramatic increase from 2008 when an estimated 600,000 men in 475 cities participated in the event.
Black Star is managing the "Million Father March 2009. The event is sponsored by the Open Society Institute's Campaign for Black Male Achievement, which is part of the Soros Foundation in New York; the Schott Foundation for Public Education; 100 Black Men of America; the National Association of Black Social Workers and the National PTA.
It is vital that black men become involved with their children's education, Phillip Jackson, the Black Star Project's executive director, said in a statement.
"Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, get better test scores, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college," Black Star said in a statement. "Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk to them regularly and are active in their lives."
Jackson added: "Better parents produce better communities, better schools and better students with higher academic achievements."
There also are side benefits to black men's involvement in their children's education.
"Gang recruitment, bullying and random violence goes way down on any day that black men are in the school," Jackson says.
The Million Father March takes its name from the Million Man March, which occurred Oct. 16, 1995, when 1 million black men gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss unity and how to improve their communities.
Instead of gathering at one central location, participants in the Million Father March will escort their children to school on opening day. The nation's schools open for the first day of classes on different days, but schools generally begin opening in mid-to-late August and early September.
Black Star is urging employers to give workers two hours off to participate in the program. Although the Million Father March's target audience is black fathers, grandfathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers and other significant male caregivers are encouraged to take part.
Jefferson following his Aug. 5
conviction with his wife, Andrea.
Jury Convicts Former Congressman William J. Jefferson
When voters elected William J. Jefferson the first black man to Congress from Louisiana since Reconstruction, people said Jefferson was going places.
He is. He's going to jail.
A conviction by a federal jury Wednesday, August 5 in Virginia unlocked the jail door for Jefferson, who served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, beginning in 1991. He lost his bid for reelection in December 2008, when Joseph Cao, a Republican, defeated him.
Jefferson represented Louisiana's second congressional district, which includes much of the greater New Orleans area.
The jury convicted Jefferson of 11 of 16 counts of corruption, and he faces 20 to 150 years in prison. Prosecutors charged Jefferson with accepting $400,000 to promote iGate, a Louisville, Ky.-based, black-owned technology company, to the U.S. Army and to the Nigerian government.
There is, however, a ray of hope for Jefferson. Harry Rosenberg, Jefferson's attorney and a former U.S. Attorney for New Orleans, told the
that he will appeal Jefferson's conviction because the jury failed to convict him all 16 counts in the indictment.
Jefferson's fall from one of the nation's highest elected offices was highlighted by the FBI raiding his Congressional offices in Capitol Hill's Rayburn Building, which was believed to be the first time the FBI raided a Congressional office. The raid, which occurred in May 2006, raised concerns that administrations could use the raids to harass members of Congress whose men and women belong to a co-equal branch of government.
The FBI's investigation of Jefferson began in August 2005, when law enforcement officials raided Jefferson's Washington home and discovered $90,000 in cash in his freezer. The "cold cash" was wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers. The discovery made headlines around the world and during Mardi Gras, it was the subject of a sarcastic float titled "Dollar Bill Jefferson a la Millionaire."
Jefferson's fall is all the more tragic, considering he rose from poverty to win a seat in Congress. Jefferson was born in Lake Providence, La., March 31, 1947. Lake Providence is a poor community, but the Jefferson family stood out because they owned their farm.
Jefferson had eight brothers and sisters, all of whom worked with their father on the farm. The father also was a heavy equipment operator. Jefferson attended Southern University, where he led a student protest against substandard campus facilities. He graduated in 1969, and he received his law degree from Harvard University Law School in 1972.
While a member of Congress, Jefferson was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Three Black Men Are Among 16 Slated To Receive The Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Obama will award three black men the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House on August 12. The three men are among a diverse group of sixteen recipients chosen to receive the award, the country's highest civilian honor. The three black honorees are Desmond Tutu, Reverend Joseph Lowery and Sidney Poitier.
Desmond Tutu, 77, South African cleric and anti-apartheid activist, was the the first black South African Archbishop of Capetown. An international leader of conscience, Tutu has fought against racism, homophobia and poverty. He has worked to increase awareness of the international AIDS crisis. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Reverend Joseph Lowery, 87, a Methodist minister, has worked as a civil rights worker and leader since the 1950s. With Dr. Martin Luther King, he found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 and later served as its president from 1977 to 1997.
Reverend Lowery delivered the benediction at President Obama's inauguration. Though now retired, he remains active in the civil rights movement.
Bahamian-American actor, director, author and diplomat, Sidney Poitier, 82, was the first black man to win an Academy Award for best actor. He was awarded the Oscar in 1963 for his role in "Lilies of the Field."
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to chosen persons living and deceased who have contributed substantially to politics, social movements, arts and sciences and sports. Obama said all 16 award recipients broke down barriers. "Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way."
Naomi Sims, America's First Black Supermodel, Is Dead
Naomi Sims, who came of age during the "Black Is Beautiful" era and broke the color barrier in the American modeling industry, eventually becoming the country's first black supermodel, died August 1 of cancer. She was 61.
Determined to secure a career in modeling, Ms. Sims, a 1966 scholarship-graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, was turned down as "too dark" when she auditioned for modeling jobs. Undeterred, Ms. Sims approached photographers on her own and eventually appeared on the November 1968 cover of
Ladies' Home Journal
, igniting a rocket-fueled five-year career at the top of the industry. During those years she modeled for some of the world's most elegant designers, including Halston and Bill Blass.
Ms. Sims voluntarily left modeling in 1973 to establish a company that designed wigs for black women. She designed many of the wigs herself, bringing innovations to the industry. By 1978, her company boasted annual sales of $5 million. During the 1980s she expanded her business and her profits by creating a signature fragrance and cosmetics and by acquiring upscale beauty salons.
In 1978 Ms. Sims married art dealer Michael Findlay, director of Manhattan's prestigious Acquavellva Gallery. The two divorced in 1991. They had a son, Robert Findlay of Seattle.
Born to John and Elizabeth Sims on March 30, 1948 in Oxford, Mississippi, Ms. Sims was the third of three daughters. In addition to her son, Ms. Sims, a resident of Newark, N.J., is survived by a granddaughter, and a sister, Betty Sims.
Nevada Court To Hear O. J.'s Request For Release
Attorneys for O. J. Simpson and convicted co-defendant Clarence "C. J." Stewart will attempt to persuade Nevada's appellate court to release the two men from prison while the justices review their convictions. The attorneys will appear in court on behalf of their clients August 10.
Police arrested Simpson and Stewart, and a jury convicted them of perpetrating an armed confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room in September 2007. A judge sentenced Simpson, 62, to 9 to 33 years for kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. Stewart, 55, was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 27 years in prison.
Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter will plead that Simpson is not a flight risk, poses no danger to the community and will abide by any terms and conditions of release mandated by the court. Stewart's attorney, Brent Bryson, will argue his client should be granted a new trial because he should have been tried separately from Simpson. It is rare for a high court to hear oral arguments on bond. It is ever more unusual for the high court to grant releases.
Wayne Brady To Host "Let's Make a Deal"
CBS Television announced recently that an updated version of "Let's Make a Deal" will return to television. The show will air October 5 as part of the network's new Fall line-up and will be hosted by Wayne Brady, one of television's more versatile entertainers. Brady, 37, began his career as an improvisational performer on the British television show "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" He later appeared on the American edition of the same show, hosted by Drew Carey. His work on the show earned him an Emmy. "Let's Make a Deal" will replace "Guiding Light," a soap opera that closes September 21 after more than 50n years on the air. Monty Hall, longtime host of the original "Let's Make a Deal," will serve as a consultant to the new version.
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