Daily Archive: May 20, 2011


Black females targeted by health group

Health professionals agree African-Americans have the most, and many times the largest, differences in health risks when compared to other ethnic groups. One factor could be that African-American women are less likely to receive healthcare, even when they have access to it. “We present late. We die early. It is so important that we understand health involves every aspect of your being, emotional, physical, social and sexual,” said Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. “They don’t teach this in schools. Many people have access to healthcare and don’t access healthcare.” LOVE YOURSELF—Dr. Charma Dudley leads a workshop for girls ages 10-13. (Photo by J.L. Martello). Larkins-Pettigrew who is the former president of the Gateway Medical Society, was one of many presenters at the GMS and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. sponsored health symposium on May 14. The “Gateway to Wellness: Our Health is Our Wealth” symposium offered to Black females ages 10 and up was part of GMS’s mission to close the health gap between African-Americans and other ethnic groups.


Today’s 8th graders are tomorrow’s scientists

Throughout his time in office, President Barack Obama has identified growth in science, technology, engineering and math as a key solution to economic recovery. In his announcement of the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching April 28, Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to investment in STEM fields. PITTSBURGH’S PROMISE—Pittsburgh Science and Technology students Kevin Williams and Senque Little-Poole are well on their way to achieving their goals. (Photo by Rebecca Nuttall) “The teachers we honor today have demonstrated uncommon skill and devotion in the classroom, nurturing the young minds of tomorrow’s science and math leaders,” Obama said. “America’s competitiveness rests on the excellence of our citizens in technical fields, and we owe these teachers a debt of gratitude for strengthening America’s prosperity.”


Crossroads lays foundation for success

There are not many days more important in a parent’s life than the day their child graduates from high school, except maybe the day their child graduates from college. Thanks to the Crossroads Foundation, the parents of 27 students are on their way to seeing both of their dreams come true. The Crossroads Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides “holistic scholarships” to at risk students living in urban areas in the Pittsburgh region. Through the program these students receive tuition assistance to attend catholic high schools as well as intensive academic and psychosocial support services. REX CRAWLEY (Photo by J.L. Martello). “The scholars came here to journey up the road to education. We made it this far with the help of the Crossroads Foundation,” said Christina Gassette, mother of Tyrone Pugh one of this year’s Crossroads scholars. “The counselors were there when we needed someone to talk to.” At the Crossroads Foundation’s Class of 2011 Senior Recognition Dinner on April 25, the Crossroads scholars gathered with their family, friends, and mentors to celebrate their accomplishments. Of this year’s 26 seniors, 16 are African-American and all are going on to college.


Tito Jackson named Ambassador to Kenya

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Entertainment and music legend Tito Jackson was awarded the title of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya for the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation and Honorary Citizen of Kenya by Kenya’s Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, Calif. The ambassadorial ceremony, in which Tito Jackson was honored, marked the Kenyan Prime Minister’s inaugural trip to Los Angeles and the launch of the JOOF in the United States. TITO JACKSON In his duties as Ambassador, Tito Jackson will serve as a national spokes­man for JOOF and work in collaboration with Kenyan Ambassador Wenwa Akinyi Oranga along with the JOOF board of directors to create and develop projects and events to bring global awareness to the organization and its initiative in Kenya. The new U.S. office of JOOF is based in Los Angeles, the same location of the consulate where Ambassador Wenwa Akinyi Oranga operates. One of many projects already in development since Jackson’s appointment is an annual concert event that will serve as a fund­raiser for health initiatives and the children of Kenya, where he and his band will perform.


Ladies with Hattitude

The Hat ladies of Johnstown say, “A woman isn’t fully dressed until she puts on a hat; then she becomes a lady.” On April 30, at Homewood AMEZ Church “The Hat Ladies of Johnstown” were the centerpiece of the afternoon tea presented by the Senior Missionary Society. Marsha McDowell and Pat Holifield have been collecting, caring for and wearing hats for more than 20 years. With more than 500 hats in their collection, they are the quintessential experts on how, when and why the hat is a fashion essential. Their hat show is an education in “hattitude.” The ladies modeled more than 50 hats for an audience that was wearing some very fashionable hats as well. LADIES OF THE SENIOR MISSIONARY—Debra Dennison, Twanda Dennis, Sheila Johnson, Shirlee Carter, Minnie Gardner, Onnie Peyton, Mary Pryor and Florence Reed. (Photo by Debbie Norrell)


Frivolous attacks on Obama and Common

(NNPA)—If you thought nothing could be more frivolous than conservatives questioning whether the president was born in the United States, think again. The recent criticism of Obama’s decisions to worship Easter Sunday at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and invite poet/rapper Common to participate in a White House celebration of poetry illustrates how far his critics will stoop to manufacture a controversy. Fox News was hysterical over the Obamas’ decision to worship at the predominantly Black church founded in the 1800s by former slaves. Sean Hannity, co-host of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” aired a clip from the speech Rev. Wallace Smith, the pastor of Shiloh, had given at Eastern University, in Davids, Pa.


Race still matters

Americans have a hard time talking about race. So, instead of dealing with an issue that continues to have a lingering impact, we ignore it. We sweep it, along with our ability to deal with a social and political system that creates racial disparities on a variety of levels, under the rug. While our heads are buried in the sand, disparities in opportunity continue to grow, with African-Americans, more than any other ethnic group, lacking access to decent schools, affordable housing, jobs that pay a livable wage and quality healthcare.


Voting rights under attack

(NNPA)—At the signing of the historic Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965 striking down the discriminatory practices many states had put in place to prohibit Blacks from exercising their right to vote, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.” Many Americans think of the fight for voting rights as a struggle that was settled once and for all during the Civil Rights Movement in that celebrated “triumph for freedom,” and is now a piece of history. But, that’s a dangerous assumption. While the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, language, ethnicity, religion, and age, there is still no law that affirmatively guarantees citizens the right to vote. Just as we are experiencing a quiet but systematic rise in school segregation across the country, many people don’t realize that there is once again a quiet but systematic movement that would deny many African-Americans and other American citizens the ability to vote with 21st century versions of old exclusionary practices.


Thrown out of our homes and out of the GOP budget

(NNPA)—Last year when I spoke at a forum in Atlanta on the foreclosure crisis, I met Gloria McAlpin. Gloria and her late husband Langdon, a police officer, bought their home in 1990. Gloria’s husband was struck by a car while directing traffic in the line of duty. He became permanently disabled and they could no longer afford their mortgage payments. When they went to refinance they were given an adjustable rate mortgage, which increased their payments to 88 percent of their income. Atlanta Legal Aid, a non-profit that counsels homeowners, stepped in to guide Gloria through the confusing and sometimes misleading path of mortgage adjustments. Thanks to their hard work, Gloria and her husband were able to save their home—but one month later Gloria’s husband passed away.


Cover to Cover…‘The Choir Director’

In your house, Sundays belong to God. Even before you get up, you start Sundays with prayer. You put on your best clothes and open your mind to receive the Lord. You might have breakfast, or you might fast before you head over to church – either way, you’re hungry for The Word. You can’t wait to get it. In the new novel “The Choir Director” by Carl Weber, Bishop T.K. Wilson’s First Jamaica Church is hungry for a good music leader. What they don’t need is any more scandal.