Daily Archive: July 1, 2011


Violence increasing among young women

Last year in Allegheny County, 242 women were arrested. Though men often play the leading role in the stories of crime and violence across the city, women are increasingly becoming key players. At The Symposium on Reducing Youth Violence on June 17, attendees heard from Erica Gay-Fields, director of administration and the Sisterhood Initiative of One Vision One Life, who shared her own shocking history with violence. By focusing on the ever-growing problem of violence among young women, OVOL is addressing a segment of society long ignored by the juvenile justice system. “Ladies, we are not excluded from jail or death,” Gay-Fields said. “Why do women engage in crime and violence? It can be because of low socio-economic status, lack of education, and the media (hip-hop videos). The main reason is to keep a particular lifestyle.”


AIDs group attacks STDs through Girl Talk

While the statistics are overwhelming but seem to be decreasing from years before, the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force is working to help lower the number of STDs, and pregnancies through awareness with their Girl Talk Project. This program organizes in-home educational parties for and by teens ages 13-18 and focuses on STD awareness, domestic violence awareness, sexuality and orientations, and proper use of condoms, because awareness is one of the keys to keeping this epidemic from growing. JOINING THE FIGHT—Tamika Gethers of Garfield, with daughter Jade Gethers, 13, and niece Stevie Jamison, 13 and of Stanton heights, reading literature on the PATF and their fight against STDs. Tiffani Thompson, coordinator of the Girl Talk Project for the Pittsburgh Aids Task Force, said that with a lot of teenagers not being in steady relationships and having sex, this program teaches them how to be prepared. “We gather 6-10 girls, 13-18 years old, and discuss STDs, domestic violence, HIV 101, have activities and question and answer sessions,” Thompson said. “We also offer testing at these parties at an anonymous location away from the party and meet them at another anonymous location to give them results.”


New York girl, 13, accepted at University of Connecticut

Autum Ashante, a shockingly bright Brooklyn, N.Y., girl, is outpacing her peers in education, the arts and sports. This fall, she will reportedly become a student at the University of Connecticut at 13—about five years younger than the average incoming freshman. According to the New York Daily News, she will study medicine at the massive six-campus school, which educates roughly 30,000 students. AUTUM ASHANTE In an interview with the New York Daily News, Autum’s father, Batin Ashante, said his daughter’s early college entrance is remarkable, but more importantly sets the tone for other children of color. “What she’s doing is groundbreaking but this is not about vanity,” the single father said. “It’s about setting the tone for other Black and Latino children who will come behind her. They’re always being told they are underachievers. We want to show this can be done.”


Ride-along program addresses violence

When you wake from a nightmare, with rapid breathing, heightened awareness, and increased heart rate, it is a psychic shock, a trauma. You look around for clues that it wasn’t real, and finding them, you eventually calm down and go back to sleep. Yale University researcher Steve Marans, director of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, says he has found that children exposed to violence have an identical physiological response to that trauma, but for them, there is no going back to sleep.


U.S.-Africa trade bill comes up short for Africa, Kenyans say

(NNPA)—A highly-touted U.S.-Africa trade bill comes up for renewal in 2015 and some Kenyans are demanding to see better results for Africa. The Kenyan officials were speaking at the close of the recent African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Lusaka, Zambia. AGOA, as the bill is known, was designed to provide preferential access to Africa’s products in U.S. markets. U.S. TRADE SECRETARY RON KIRK In the spirit of “trade not aid,” Kenyan Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere criticized foreign countries for showering African countries with aid. “If you look at the amount of money [given as aid] that has been pumped into Kenya and Africa, it has not been effective,” he said. “If you give money to people there is no sustainability. But if you have a business, it is a bit more dignified. It is good for employees, but also the business and the economy.”


Report: Outlook bleak for young men of color

A report by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center paints a bleak picture of the state of young Black males in America. According to the report, nearly half of the U.S. men of color now between the ages of 15 and 24, who graduate from high school, will end up jobless, in jail or prematurely dead. This jarring statistic is just one of many highlighted in one of two new reports released June 20 by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center at an event held in collaboration with the Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research in Cambridge, Mass. The report, The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress, is especially relevant given the need for these young men to attain postsecondary degrees if the nation’s economy is to thrive and compete globally.


Will.i.am makes sheepish run on Paris catwalk

PARIS (AP)—Will.i.am is used to filling stadiums, but a simple trip down the catwalk at Japanese label Rynshu’s spring-summer menswear show June 26 had the Black Eyed Peas’ rapper blushing. Sporting a snug leather blazer, a pair of cropped harem pants in shiny black and clunky combat boots, will.i.am shuffled up the runway, shooting sheepish glances at the photographers’ pit as the audience encouraged him with a round of applause. WILL.I.AM of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas wears a creation by Japanese fashion designer Rynshu as part of spring-summer 2012 men’s fashion collection, in Paris, June 26. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)


FDA to independently review menthol cigarettes

RICHMOND, Va. (AP)—The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an independent review of research on the public health impact of menthol cigarettes—which are mint flavored and one of the few growth sectors of the shrinking cigarette business. The process is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011. The review comes after the FDA in March received a report from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee on the minty smokes Panels like the tobacco committee advise the FDA on scientific issues. The agency doesn’t have to follow its recommendations, but often does.


Ostracizing Black leaders who criticize Obama

(NNPA)—The Bible is filled with characters who started out on shaky ground—Paul, David and Solomon, among them—before being transformed into epic figures. But it seems that Black leaders who dare to criticize President Obama don’t get second chances. Instead, they are the object of widespread ridicule and condemnation. I spent some time last week with two such leaders—Cornel West and Jesse Jackson—at the NNPA national convention in Chicago. Although their standing among African-Americans has slipped, their analysis of where Blacks have been and need to go is as incisive as ever. Neither Jackson nor West should be viewed in isolation. The Black community does not want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama, even if it’s true. If a White president had been as dismissive of African-Americans’ interests as Obama has been, Blacks would have been ready to march on the White House. As Michael Eric Dyson says, “This president runs from race like a Black man runs from a cop.”