(NNPA)—The first Friday of the month is a day when economists like me are riveted to the news. We want to know what’s up with the unemployment rate, and with the changes that have taken place in the last month. Last week, our nation learned that we treaded water. The unemployment rate remained at a high of 9.1 percent, 8 percent for White folks, and 16 percent for Black folks. Some pundits were jazzed at the rates, thinking that they meant we are doing okay. What’s okay? The real unemployment rate for African-Americans is close to thirty percent. This means that a third of the Black world is not working. This means that there are too many Black folks who are tripping. This means that too many are managing pain. And with the Congress ignoring the reality, failing to offer the relief from the jobs bill, this means that nobody cares.
Daily Archive: October 12, 2011
Like crabgrass and broke relatives, racism keeps popping up in America. You would think that with a Black president and all, this country would be much further along when it comes to racial relations, and from time to time we lie to ourselves and say it is. At this very moment, while GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking well-deserved heat for using an inherited North Texas hunting lease named “Niggerhead,” racism deniers are clamoring. The tea party, a group to which Perry has claimed allegiance, is leading the chorus.
(NNPA)—I am often asked, what’s wrong with our children? Children having children. Children killing themselves or others. Children dropping out of school and roaming streets alone or in gangs. Children addicted to tobacco and alcohol, drinking and drugging themselves to escape reality. Children being locked up in jails with adult criminal mentors, bubbling with rage and crushed by depression. Adults are what’s wrong with children. Parents letting children raise themselves or be raised by television or the Internet. Children being shaped by peers instead of parents, grandparents and kin. Children seeing adults be violent to each other and marketing, glorifying and tolerating violence to them and preaching what we don’t practice. Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating and to be healthy while selling them junk food that undermines their health.
Veteran Rapper Paradise Gray believes that children are the future. That’s why he’s working tirelessly to ensure that they have a bright one. “I used to be a youth myself. I lived in the South Bronx and someone stood up for me to give me something to do and I’m returning the favor to the youth,” Gray said. “The old DJ’s and rappers taught me to use art and culture to use creativity to take care of myself and be a man.” GRAY EXHIBIT—Paradise Gray standing with his newest painting of Keith Haring with his exhibit behind him at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The title of the display was “Hip-Hop History: Highlights of the Paradise Collection.” This was an exhibition depicting the life of Paradise Gray and included original photos and artwork of Gray, the photographer, performer, activist, collector, promoter and more. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Gray, who grew up in the South Bronx and Brooklyn, sites Afrika Bambaataa, Disco King Mario and DJ Grand Imperial among others as mentors. Armed with what he learned from old-school disc jockeys, Gray went on to found and produce records for the socially-conscious rap group, X-Clan. In the 1990s, Gray got frustrated with the rap scene in New York City and traveled to Pittsburgh to visit a cousin who was attending the University of Pittsburgh.
Much like “American Idol,” “The Voice” and now “The X Factor” who are out to find America’s next great pop singer, Jazzspace is on a mission to find Pittsburgh’s next generation of emerging Jazz greats. “Jazzspace is about helping artists. We want to become a place where people can find out about new and emerging jazz artists in Pittsburgh and point musicians to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise know about,” said Jazzspace Creator, Director and fellow jazz singer, Maggie Johnson. “I want Jazzspace to be a place of networking for Jazz artists because half the battle is showing them where the gigs are.” MAGGIE JOHNSON In addition, the artists will receive $400 each to help with jazz-related projects and will be promoted throughout the year through the Jazzspace website.
This week I visited the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood, The African American Heritage Day Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh, CJ’s in the Strip District, Galaxy Lounge in Homewood and the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. My first stop was at the African American Heritage Day Parade in Downtown Pittsburgh where businesses, drill teams, entertainers and people from over the Pittsburgh area came out in the rain to watch everyone march from the Mellon Arena to the August Wilson Center. It was a great time for everyone. The Whiteside Road Reunion Committee having a great time at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood.
Thursday 13 offCenter The August Wilson Center Theatre Ensemble presents “offCenter: Open Mic-Monologue Night!” at 7 p.m. at 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. Mark Southers, artistic director for AWC, and members of the ensemble will perform their favorite monologues and invite the audience to perform their own. There will be a special prize given for the best audience performance. For more information, email Southers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the last seven years the Allegheny County Department of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise has hosted an open house filled with information, opportunities and comminatory. The eighth year was no different. “This is a very important department within Allegheny County,” emphasized M. Gale Moss, chair of the MBE Advisory Committee. “With the unstable economy, the services provided by this office and staff are key in helping you meet your goals. Minority businesses are important. They are essential to the city, county and country.” SHARING SECRETS—Spreading the word about programs offered by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Sarah M. Francis a loan administrator provides a wealth of information. On hand during the open house sharing and disbursing information were Sarah Francis, business loan administrator at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; David Forman, purchasing agent at the Allegheny County Purchasing Division; Alice Williams, independent associate of GoSmallBiz.com; and Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County MWDBE Department.
Anyone who watches television is familiar with the pervasive advertisements for “reverse” mortgages. The pitch is compelling: If you’re 62 or older, give up your mortgage payment and receive a monthly payment from your lender instead! This arrangement sounds good, especially to seniors who are facing big bills for medical treatment or major home repairs. However, consumers should be aware that reverse mortgages carry significant risks, and this type of mortgage is not appropriate for everyone. What exactly is a reverse mortgage? This type of home loan allows qualified seniors to borrow against the value of their home. Typically, the homeowner receives cash at the loan closing and a credit line to withdraw regular monthly payments for the life of the loan. Upon the homeowner’s death, or at the end of the mortgage term—whichever comes first—full repayment of the loan is due, which is typically satisfied by selling the home.
Are your file cabinets overflowing? Are you awash in a sea of old checks, bank statements, and pay stubs? Get organized with a plan that purges the unnecessary and ensures you’ve saved what you need should the IRS come calling. While it’s tempting to hang onto every piece of paper in case you need it, there are documents you can go ahead and pitch, say financial planning experts at the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Reducing that burden will help you better organize the documents you need to keep. Why keep anything?