Daily Archive: June 1, 2011


Take a Father to School comes under attack

For the 13th year in a row, the Pittsburgh Public School District’s Take a Father to School Day brought African-American men into schools and classrooms across the district. The annual celebration on May 20, invited fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other father figures to participate in school activities for one day, in the hopes of increasing male involvement year round. FATHER FIGURE—Djamil Sanders and son Malschi Smith of Northview Heights. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “By me coming up without a positive father figure and being raised by my mother, I know it is important for the youth to have someone to guide them in the right direction so they do not make the same mistakes I did in my life,” said Djamil Sanders, father of Malschi Smith. This year’s celebration came under attack in a letter written by Superintendant Linda Lane two months prior to the event. The letter, shared by District 8 School Board Representative Mark Brentley at the March 23 legislative meeting, was written in response to the school board representative’s call for an additional day of recognition for district mothers.


Students gain tools for fiscal success

In September 2010, the Alcoa Foundation awarded Urban Youth Action with a $15,000 grant for their Financial Literacy and Academic Enrichment program. Through this partnership and in collaboration with the National Association of Black Accountants, UYA has been providing high school students with the tools to navigate the financial market when they emerge into the “real world.” At a culmination ceremony on May 25, the three partners saw the fruits of their labor when 11 students from North Side Urban Pathways Charter School received certificates for completing a semester-long program. RUTHIE KING “It would not have been possible without the financial resources of the Alcoa foundation and the human resources of NABA and of course it would not have been possible without the students,” said Ruthie King, executive director, Urban Youth Action. “I think it’s so important because they get so caught up in their wants instead of their needs so we hope if they start early they will learn how to categorize their needs over their wants.”



Violent crime down in city… Black stats not good

The average homicide victim in 2010 was a 33–year-old Black male with four prior arrests, most likely shot on the North Side, in the Hill District or the East End with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the early morning hours of a Saturday in July. The average shooter was a 29-year-old Black male with four prior arrests. The motive was likely retaliation. And according to the clearance-rate data, there is a 46 percent chance that he is still at large. CHIEF NATE HARPER This is just some of the data from the city’s 2010 Annual Report on crime, which begins with messages from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Public Safety Director Michael Huss and police Chief Nate Harper touting the fifth consecutive year of declining Part 1 crimes, or violent crimes. Part 2 is property crime.


Hines Ward is new ‘Dancing’ champ

by Sandy CohenAP Entertainment Writer LOS ANGELES (AP)—Hines Ward added a disco-ball trophy to his Super Bowl shelf May 24 after he samba-ed his way to the “Dancing With the Stars” championship. The Steelers wide receiver and former Super Bowl MVP won the title, besting actresses Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane to become the season 12 champ. “You are the MVP of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ season 12,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after Ward and professional partner Kym Johnson finished their last dance. “You learned how to lead the dancing, not only in the dance, but you led your partner out of injury. You dance with heart and it shows.” TAKING HOME THE MIRRORBALL—Kim Johnson and Hines Ward pose with their trophy’s after scores from the judges were combined with the audience votes to name Hines Ward and Kym Johnson champions of “Dancing with the Stars” and winners of the coveted mirror ball trophy, May 24. (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Taylor)


Rave reviews for ‘Dreamgirls’

ALIQUIPPA—The recent production of “Dreamgirls” by the Aliquippa High School music and drama department, was a smash sensation and featured a cast of high school students who earned standing ovations during their production, held at the newly-constructed high school and auditorium. A 15-member cast featured the likes of Keyonia McClendon, Tyshawnna Kimbrough, Blair Cobb and Katie Pettis as the dream girls. All four Dreamgirls are underclassmen and very active in the Beaver County arts and church community. Special commendations are also extended to the show’s director, Johnathan Burnett; Renee Ludwig, assistant director; and William “Will” Guess, orchestra conductor and a Slippery Rock University graduate. DREAMGIRLS— Keyonia McClendon, Tyshawnna Kimbrough, Blair Cobb and Katie Pettis.


Community Calendar

Founders Day JUNE 3—The Community Empowerment Association Inc. will host its Founders Day Celebration from 7-9 p.m. at the CEA Cultural Center, 7120 Kelly St., Homewood. The community is invited to celebrate CEA’s new location and founder, T. Rashad Byrdsong. There will be a ‘70s theme with dinner, dancing and networking. Reservations are required by June 1. For more information, call 412-371-3689 ext. 19 or visit http://www.ceapittsburgh.org.


This Week In Black History

Week of June 4-10 June 4 1922—Samuel L. Gravely is born. Gravely became the first African-American admiral in the United States Navy and the first African-American to command a U.S. warship. The Richmond, Va., native died in 2004 at the age of 82. ANGELA DAVIS 1972—College professor and activist Angela Davis is acquitted by a jury of charges that she assisted and conspired with the young men involved in a deadly 1970 shootout at the Marin County courthouse in California. The assault on the courthouse was an attempt to free imprisoned Black activist George Jackson. At least three people were killed during the escape attempt. Davis, a Birmingham, Ala., native who became a member of the Communist Party, spent 16 months in prison but on this day in 1972 she was found not guilty of all charges by an all-White San Jose, Calif., jury.


The Black roots of Memorial Day

by V. Mohammed (NNPA)—Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It is believed to have been initially proclaimed in 1868 to commemorate fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. The roots of the Memorial Day holiday, however, reach further back to Black South Carolina, where newly freed slaves expressed gratitude for the Yankee invasion that became the Civil War. EXPRESSING GRATITUDE—Kai Bentley, 4, of Yorktown, Va., and his father, Air Force Master Sgt. Durell Bentley, were the first to arrive at Hampton National Cemetery to begin placing flags at each of the graves in the cemetery May 27, in Hampton, Va., in preparation of Memorial Day. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Bill Tiernan) According to Black and White historians, those Black South Carolinians, “understood the necessity for celebrating the legacy of fallen soldiers who fought to make them free,” said Civil War historian Carroll Gibbs of the Carter G. Woodson Association for the Study of African Life and History in Washington, D.C.



Are Blacks suffering from F.B.I. 501-C3 syndrome?

Have we as a Black people succumbed to being enslaved with nonprofit money described as Faith Based Initiative or 501-C3? Have the metal chains that once shackled our bodies been replaced with a scared mindset that if we oppose those who seek to remain as oppressors they will cut off the dollars? Some of you who are reading this column will have read or remember when Black people from coast to coast owned their own businesses, and Black churches were self-sufficient. What has happened to us? When will we truly recognize that we have the capability to turn our situations around?


History hostages

(NNPA)—History belongs to she who holds the pen. When the lion is writing, he ate. When the prey is writing (but she didn’t survive) she was eaten but also offered a valiant fight. We celebrate our holidays and milestones through the lens of those who won the war, not through the lens of those who mattered, who fought, whose footprint on history is only neglected because we didn’t hold the pen. So last week we celebrated Memorial Day, a day when we lift up our nation’s veterans. Our veterans are men and women who fought for the right to fight, but few want to tell that story. Mary Frances Berry and John Blassingame inspired a collection of essays that I edited on “The Paradox of Loyalty”, which speaks to the ways that a country that turns its back on Black folk also expects us to be spot on in defense and defending. The Paradox of Loyalty provided us with pain around September 11, 2001, when too many were challenged to patriot up, to fly the flag of a country that had disrespected us, to mouth platitudes of loyalty even while being arrested for being too Black, too present in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were called to be loyal, but loyal to what? To a nightmare, dream, or something in between.