The fall of the Roman Empire is best captured in the phrase that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Set on pursuing his own pleasures and indulgences, Nero could not see the walls crumbling around him. Similarly, our leaders seem oblivious to the walls crashing in on us, bickering about the way that relief on our employment situation should be structured, while poverty rates are soaring.
Daily Archive: September 21, 2011
Politicians and mainstream media often ignore the poor but the growing numbers of Americans slipping into poverty should put an urgently needed spotlight on this crisis. While the nation’s elected leaders talk about federal deficits, slashing social programs, cutting public sector jobs and other austerity measures, the government reported last week that another 2.6 million Americans slipped into poverty last year. The Census Bureau reported Sept. 13 that the number of Americans living in poverty soared to 46.2 million people, the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it. The poverty rate for all American increased in 2010 for the third consecutive year, to 15.1 percent, an increase from 14.3 percent in 2009.
There have been cries from certain segments of the African-American community that President Obama has not done enough for Black people. Among those voices—perhaps the loudest from Tavis Smiley and Cornel West—were critics all the way from the barbershops and beauty parlors to the pulpits, academia and the highest Black social strata. Some of that criticism—not the personal beefs of Smiley and West—is deserved. However, much more comes from lack of information about things that have helped African-Americans because the White House, rightly so, did not separate and label the legislation as “for Blacks or minorities.”
A recent incident where one teenager tried to rob another of his drugs and money at a McDonald’s in Penn Hills led to a gun battle in broad daylight ending in one dead. This has become more and more common in the Black community where young Black males care nothing for human life. Some say it’s because of the economy. Some say it’s the lack of parents. Some say it’s a lack of education. Some say it’s all these guns. Some say it’s the drugs. And some, like me, say it’s all of the above plus some. But how do we stop it? First lets’ stop making excuses. It’s because of the economy? If you study Black history, there has never been a time in this country that Blacks have not been struggling. The 1990s during the Clinton administration was probably our best time and many of us still were in poverty. I grew up poor, yet I or no one else I knew even thought about robbing our neighbors, who had no more or less than us. If the economy is the problem why not go into Squirrel Hill, South Hills, Fox Chapel or some other suburb where people have money to rob. Think of how much more money the White drug dealers have, because their clients make far more money.
Making arts more accessible to Pittsburgh’s East End communities is a goal that the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture and the Community Empowerment Association are working together to bring to fruition. “It’s important for the August Wilson Center to return to the community it came from,” explained August Wilson Center President and CEO Andre Kimo Stone Guess. We need to be an active participant in the places where the art that we put on our walls comes from like Wilkinsburg and East Liberty. The center is trying to resonate with the community. FUTURE IN THE ARTS—Rashad Byrdsong is surrounded by East End students who will be exposed to the arts in a unique venture by CEA and AWC. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart) “It’s critically important for us to be connected to these communities. We need to do our part and show what it means to be Black in America and in Pittsburgh. What I want people to get is that the August Wilson Center belongs to them. It’s a living, breathing entity and I want people to see that art has a transforming power to it,” Guess continued.
This week I visited the Monroeville Convention Center, Savoy Restaurant in the Strip District, Kennard Field in the Hill District, Galaxy Lounge and Entertainment Center in Homewood and the Hood-Stop the Violence Rally in the Hill District. My first stop was at the Monroeville Convention Center where Savoy Restaurant presented the concert Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Confunkshun and Pittsburgh’s own Artistree. There was also an after party with the one and only DJ Sly Jock on the 1’s and 2’s. The legendary R&B group Confunkshun after their performance at the Monroeville Convention Center.
Thursday 22 Jazz Jam CJ’s Restaurant & Lounge presents “The Roger Humphries & RH Factor Jazz Jam Session” at 8 p.m. at 2901-2911 Penn Ave., Strip District. There will be live jazz and fun every Thursday night. Must be 25-years or older and there is a dress code that will be enforced. No tennis shoes, sweats, or athletic gear. For more information, call 412-642-2377.
When African American Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doris Carson Williams learned that the scheduled presenters for the organization’s September PowerBreakfast would have to reschedule, she was lucky enough to be lunching with an old acquaintance who agreed to fill in. “I’d have been up here doing a soft shoe. But he changed his flight back to Florida,” she said. “It was divine intervention that it was Edgar Morales I was with, and he graciously agreed to be with us today.” NOVEL APPROACH—Edgar Morales, who represents Pinnacle Financial Services, talks about nontraditional approaches to landing contracts during the Sept. 16 African American Chamber of Commerce PowerBreakfast. Morales, said he first began working with the African American Chamber in his capacity as chief diversity officer for Prudential Financial. He retired from that position in 2008 and began his own consulting firm.
(NNPA)—The “Black Market” will play a major role among automobile makers for the next two decades. The African-American market is “the best thing going” and if automobile manufacturers don’t establish creditable linkages for their brands with this audience they will, undoubtedly, lose significant market share and growth opportunities. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the African-American population will grow 12 percent by 2020 and by nearly 25 percent in 2030. In 2010, the Black car-buying pace totaled 10 times that of the general market. Last year, Toyota led all automotive brands among new vehicle purchases made by African Americans. New vehicle registrations among this audience totaled 641,090 and amounted to 7.4 percent of all 2010 new vehicle registrations. Ford ranked second among African-American buyers with Chevrolet rounding out the Top three. The demand for Buick jumped 70 percent. Korean brands are also making gains among this key buying group.
by Brandon A. Perry (NNPA)—Contributing to a business, organization or project can be hard enough without the occasional “mishaps” that can seriously derail plans. Common mishaps include dropped appointments, last-minute flight changes, lost information and lack of trusted contacts, who can perform needed tasks. The good news is that those misfortunes can be avoided with technology at the palm of your hand. Companies have stepped up to offer numerous apps that can help manage not only business affairs, but also personal itineraries.