Daily Archive: October 1, 2009



G-20 has gone, what’s changed for us?

The demonstrators came first from as far away as London, England, and they came for a multitude of reasons. There were those who slept in tents, parks and hotels with their children. Some came with the idea of a peaceful demonstration, others came with the expectation of being disruptive and still others just came with their children primarily to brag at cocktails that “we were at the march.”


Black political power is exaggerated

(NNPA)—The annual Self-Congratulation Political Weekend in Washington, D.C., formally known as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference and informally known as CBC Weekend, is over. But after a series of feel-good panel discussions, members of Congress darting in and our of rooms and even a speech by President Barack Obama—with requisite nonstop partying thrown in for good measure—the true needs of most African-Americans are no closer to becoming a reality than before Black political junkies descended on the nation’s capital for the gathering.


What becomes of the brokenhearted?

(NNPA)—This past week, I was doing my Congressional Black Caucus thing, an act I’ve perfected over the 30 years since I attended my first Congressional Black Caucus legislative weekend as an intern in the Carter administration’s Council of Economic Advisors. Then, I walked around wide-eyed at the legislators, at the brain trusts, at the energy and the possibilities. Now, instead of sitting in the audience wide-eyed, I’m featured as a panelist and I am rolling with hardly any time to sit back and inhale Black people. In my mind, I’m talking, rushing, late even when I am on time. It is easy to get so consumed by the swirl that we forget about that which is real.



Homeless at the Congressional Black Caucus

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—Sometimes you can go to a professional event and the most important thing that happens is way outside the convention center. You’re spending all day looking for an angel investor and you end up meeting them in the parking lot. Happens all the time. I had a similar experience at the Congressional Black Caucus convention last week. As much as I wanted the event to be about the making contacts and informative panels, the most powerful event of the weekend for me was meeting Oscar Quinzero, a man I’ll never see or meet again, but who defined the weekend for me.


High quality early childhood education a step closer for all

(NNPA)—A few weeks ago, the nation’s 50 million public school children returned to the classroom. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included a record 3.8 million kindergarteners. While we should be pleased that enrollments are up, we cannot ignore the fact that, if current trends persist, many of those eager five-year-olds will never earn a high school diploma. More than a million American students drop out of high school each year, with graduation rates in some of our largest cities at less than 40 percent.



Health care analogies

It is good that the president has ceased attempting to sell his public option health care initiative on the strength of a comparison to the United States Postal Service. Americans will not soon be convinced of the economic viability of an expansion of public health care when it is compared to an entity on track to lose $7 billion this year. This past summer the Government Accountability Office put the postal service on its high risk list because of its “increasingly shaky financial footing,” and in the spring Post Master General John Potter asked Congress for permission to cut delivery service back to five days per week and close 700 offices nationwide. This is not the sort of talk that inspires confidence that a government takeover of the health care industry is the answer to our fiscal tribulations.


Feeding the hungry should be a SNAP

(NNPA)—AARP believes that no one—of any age—should go hungry. Yet many older people must make the devastating choice to either pay for their medications or their groceries. The struggling economy has resulted in an increasing number of families left to wonder where their next meal will come from. One result is a dramatic rise in the number of individuals and families visiting food banks each week—and the associated stress on food banks to meet the new demand. The need for convenient and meaningful food assistance programs is critical.


Multicultural Arts Initiative: celebrating Pittsburgh’s arts

Pittsburgh has a rich history in jazz, dance and the arts in general. This legacy was celebrated in a spectacular showcase earlier this month. The much anticipated beautiful newly opened August Wilson Center for African American Culture hosted the Multicultural Arts Initiative’s third annual celebration of diversity in the arts with “Legacy: Celebrating the Fabric of Our Culture,” a program celebrating diversity and richness of the arts and fashion. ARTIST OF THE YEAR—Sean Jones performing one of his many hits.


Sweet Honey in the Rock lend voices for economic relief

Aisha Kahlil is happy that fans are inspired by and enjoy Sweet Honey in the Rock’s music. “The force of healing is something that we want in our music. There’s nothing more powerful than that and hopefully we can get that in the hearts and minds of the people,” said Kahlil, who lives in Maryland. She has been a member of the group for more than 10 years. SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK


‘Ella’ a natural for Fabrique

Of all the voices in jazz, soul or gospel, Ella Fitzgerald might just be the voice to end all voices. Known for the smoothness of her tones; the ability to sustain and stretch long, round notes and her ever crowd-pleasing improvisation, Fitzgerald achieved unparalleled international acclaim. On Oct. 1, Tina Fabrique, a jazz star in her own right, will bring Fitzgerald to life in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of “Ella.” TINA FABRIQUE AS ELLA FITZGERALD