The New Orleans Agenda
 
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Thursday,  Sept 25, 2014
 
Greetings!
In This Issue
Dillard University to Host Global Citizens Conference
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS HEALTH DEPARTMENT AWARDED $10M GRANT TO IMPROVE BIRTH OUTCOMES
Circle Food Store continues fight to qualify to participate in the WIC assistance program
Circle Food Store Can Again Accept WIC Assistance
Council receives Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) recommendation
Entergy Named as National Leader in Economic Development For Seventh Consecutive Year
Will Ferguson Be a Tipping Point for National Black Youth Voter Turnout?
Signs Now: Ask About Our Special Political Rates!
Marc Morial - The Lessons of Ferguson, Part One: Economic Inequality a Root Cause of Unrest
Kemberley Washington: 3 Ways to Hurricane-proof your finances!
Why Nubian Skin Lingerie Matters for Women of Color
GoToInterview
"N-formed About the N-word"
Liberty Bank & Trust

 

Dillard University to Host Global Citizens Conference;  Innovative, Global Leaders Bring Expertise to New Orleans 

 

Making a difference in education, human rights and gender equity, they will use their stories and work to inspire others. 

 

Dillard University NEW ORLEANS - On October 3, 2014, four dynamic speakers making an impact in the fields of education, human rights and gender equity will take residence at Dillard University for the Melton Foundation Springboard Sessions.  Open to the public, the sessions, which will take place at the Georges Auditorium in the Professional Schools and Sciences Building (PSB) on the Dillard University Campus and will provoke action, thought and change around the world's most challenging problems.

On stage at the 2014 Springboard Sessions:

 

Melton Foundation Last year's Springboard Sessions attendees found themselves inspired to take action:

 

"As with most experiences with the Melton Foundation, the Springboard sessions in Bangalore were especially impressive," said Lauren Lemonius, a Dillard University Melton Fellow.  "For me, the most relevant takeaway was seeing how the speakers transformed their emotions, ideas, and desires into workable, impactful projects. They demonstrated that strong feelings coupled with the ability to 'do something' about them really do change things.

 

"The work of others always serves as inspiration as we all take steps and build systems to tackle the global problems that are felt worldwide, no matter where you call home," said Melton Foundation Executive Director Winthrop Carty. "The Springboard Sessions provide a way for us to not only learn how others have seen a problem and acted but to also connect with the communities surrounding our GCC as we all seek to bring about sustainable change."

 

The sessions will begin at 3 p.m. CST in the Georges Auditorium in the Professional Schools and Science Building on the Dillard University Campus, and are open to the public.  Please visit the Melton Foundation website (http://bit.ly/1p72Agi) to register your attendance by September 28. For additional information or for interview requests, please contact Mona Duffel-Jones at the Dillard University Office of Communications at mduffeljones@dillard.eduor (504) 816-4024. Additional testimonials from the five Melton Foundation countries are available on request.

 

The Melton Foundation is the only global Fellowship program that unites a network of more than 450 Fellows to act as global citizens addressing local and global challenges throughout their lives. The Melton Foundation recruits potential global citizens from five partner campuses in Chile, China, Germany, India and the United States (and expanding to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014), trains the Fellows and supports them to act as global citizens in their spheres of influence for the rest of their lives. www.meltonfoundation.org.  


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CITY OF NEW ORLEANS HEALTH DEPARTMENT AWARDED $10M GRANT TO IMPROVE BIRTH OUTCOMES
 

 

NEW ORLEANS - The City of New Orleans Health Department announced that it has been awarded a $10 million, five year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant will continue funding for Healthy Start New Orleans, a program focused on reducing infant mortality and improving birth outcomes that has served the greater New Orleans area since 1991.

 


"I applaud the federal government's continued investment in family health in New Orleans. Strong, healthy families lie at the heart of our city's continued growth and development," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "If we are to become the city that we wish to be, our next generation must be healthy. I am pleased that Healthy Start New Orleans will continue the important work of improving birth outcomes and look forward to this project's success in the years ahead."

Healthy Start New Orleans quickly rebounded from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which scattered program participants across the country. Within a year after the storm, Healthy Start New Orleans' caseload surpassed its pre-Katrina numbers, earning national recognition for the program's outreach to Katrina survivors and leading national conversations on emergency preparedness for the maternal and child health population. In the program's previous grant cycle from 2009 to 2013, Healthy Start New Orleans served 3,381 participants and their families.

"Healthy Start is exactly the type of community-based prevention program that will save lives and millions of dollars in future health care costs. Healthy Start New Orleans has done tremendous work to address the needs of expectant mothers and their families, and this grant will allow them to continue their great work," said United States Senator Mary Landrieu. "Vibrant programs aimed at improving the quality of life for new mothers and their children are a win for expecting mothers and for American taxpayers."

 

Today, New Orleans continues to face considerable challenges in maternal and child health. In some sections of the city, more than one in five infants is born at a low birth weight, a leading cause of infant mortality. Such rates of low birth weight are nearly twice the national average.

With this grant award, Healthy Start New Orleans will pioneer a cross-sector, zonal approach to improve quality of life for families. The project will focus its activities on the four neighborhood "zones" with the highest rates of low birth weight: Hollygrove, Behrman, and the Little Woods and Plum Orchard sections of New Orleans East.

 

Healthy Start New Orleans will develop neighborhood-based, wrap-around service hubs to comprehensively address family health from preconception through infancy. Ultimately, the project aims to help transform neighborhoods and improve birth outcomes by working with partners from health, education, economic, and community sectors to drive true community change.

 

"The New Orleans Health Department is thrilled to receive this grant award. Healthy Start New Orleans is a cornerstone of our efforts to improve the health of the city," said Charlotte Parent, Director, CIty of New Orleans Health Department. "This project will serve children and families who live in our most vulnerable neighborhoods, helping to ensure that babies born in these areas have the healthy start that they deserve.  In support of our families, our nationally-accredited Health Department will continue to stay on the cutting edge of public health by forging cross-sector partnerships to improve community health and wellbeing."

 

 

About Healthy Start New Orleans
The mission of Healthy Start New Orleans (HSNO) is to promote healthy communities by nurturing healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, and healthy families.  HSNO offers outreach, health education, teen, male, and grandparent programs, and case management services to help families who are pregnant or have a child under two years old get off to a good start and have a healthy start in life.

 

About the New Orleans Health Department
The mission of the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) is to protect, promote, and ensure the health of all who live in New Orleans.  NOHD aims to serve New Orleanians as a 21st century health department and a model for the nation, capable of improving population health through data-driven decision making and policy development. Learn more at www.nola.gov/health

 

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Circle Food Store continues fight to qualify to participate in the WIC assistance program

 

By Mason Harrison, Contributing Writer, Louisiana Weekly  Louisiana Weekly

 

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 1, 2014) -  Nine months after reopening the doors of the Circle Food Store-after an eight-year battle to resurrect the iconic retailer-owner Dwayne Boudreaux is embroiled in another fight to help secure the bottom line of the store he began managing in 1991.

 

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the Circle Food Store, like many urban grocers, participated in the federal food program known as WIC, shorthand for the Women, Infants and Children assistance program authorized by the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., and operated in each state by government officials assigned to various public service agencies. Yet the program has been halted over charges of mismanagement from federal authorities affecting the store's revenue.

 

Louisiana's WIC program has come under fire in recent months due to cost overruns and overpayments to WIC vendors, causing state officials to place a limited, then total, moratorium last fall on receiving new applications from would-be vendors until the program can be righted. Federal authorities, however, dissatisfied with the state's oversight of the program issued their own moratorium "due to the depth and severity of management and oversight problems within the Louisiana WIC program," according to a letter from the agriculture department to the state's Depart­ment of Health and Hospitals regarding the change. Federal officials estimate that mismanagement of the program between 2007 and 2010 has cost taxpayers more than $8 million.

Circle Food Store Grand Opening (File photo)

 

But the wrangling between state and federal officials has placed vendors like the Circle Food Store in limbo and has kept consumers waiting. "Everyday I get questions about when we are going to be able to accept WIC," Boudreaux says. "People sometimes think its a choice that I am making, but what they don't understand is that I have to be authorized to accept WIC." Boudreaux notes that before Katrina the Circle Food Store served the area as an approved WIC vendor, but closing the store for several years while working to secure financing to redevelop the damaged property has placed that in jeopardy.

 

"There's a provision of the law," says Boudreaux, "that will allow a vendor to remain closed for six months to do repairs without having to submit a new vendor application. I guess that's how long the federal government thinks it'll take to refurbish a store." But Boud­reaux contends his circumstances are different and has argued with federal and state officials that his vendor request is not a new application, but, instead, a request to renew an already-approved application.

 

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu backed the store's attempt to re-certify its application in a letter to federal officials in late May. "In a neighborhood with a poverty level 103.7% greater than the New Orleans average," Landrieu wrote, "and 147.9 percent greater than the Louisiana average, it is vital that WIC participants have the opportunity to use their vouchers at a full grocery store that offers a wide assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables." Landrieu supported the efforts to reform the state's WIC program and to reign in cost overruns but asked agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, to grant "explicit approval for Circle Food to be WIC-certified."

 

"We know that we're losing business because we're at a competitive disadvantage by not being able to accept WIC vouchers," Boudreaux says. "There are other stores in the area, including gas stations, that accept WIC which is eating into our business. Some customers use WIC vouchers and SNAP benefits, but won't take the time to just use their SNAP benefits here and have to go somewhere else to use their WIC vouchers. They'll just go somewhere where they can use both and we know that."

 

Boudreaux couldn't estimate what percentage of his business has been affected by the WIC moratorium, but said the neighborhood's changing demographics have helped to buttress his bottom line. "I would say the changes to the neighborhood have been good for business. It means that items I would not have carried before like soy milk, tofu, imported cheese or ginger provide a higher profit margin than items that may be cheaper, even though I may end up selling more of those items."

 

Boudreaux says, for now, the store's sales are on par with pre-Katrina dollar figures, but securing WIC approval is essential to the long-term financial health of the store that lies in the midst of a food desert. "If there's any place in the city that should be able to accept WIC, it's the Circle Food Store," Boudreaux says.  "But I just have no idea of the timeframe for approval."

 

Viola Washington, executive director of the Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization, calls WIC approval for the Circle Food Store a vital component to help women and children living in poverty to secure financial independence. "We can't say, on the one hand, that we want women and their children to be free of welfare dependency, but, on the other hand, provide them with no way to do so. Approving the Circle Food Store's application for WIC vouchers is the way that we can help them achieve that."

 

In mid-July, the state's health and hospitals agency, in a letter to Sen. Landrieu, indicated approval for the Circle Food Store to submit a WIC vendor application. "USDA notified us of their decision to remove the six-month time limit...related to temporary closure. The [government] based this decision on the understanding that the amount of time it can take for a store to renovate or rebuild can take longer than six months." The move should allow the Circle Food Store to move forward with its application.

 

"We think the Circle Food Store could be in a position to start accepting WIC vouchers by the end of August or the beginning of September," according to a Senate staffer in Landrieu's office. "We've been working on this issue for quite some time and feel that we're finally making some headway despite all of the management issues affecting the state's WIC program in general." But a spokesperson for the health and hospitals department could not confirm the effective date for the store's WIC approval.

 

But, in the interim, Boudreaux remains optimistic about the future of the Circle Food Store. "People are glad that we're back," Boudreaux says. "We provide a variety of shopping needs spread across 22,000 square feet, including a pharmacy and bill payment center. I believe we'll be able to work through the WIC application process and be able to welcome those customers back as well."

 

This article originally published in the September 1, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

 

76th Anniversary Sale
76th Anniversary Sale

 

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Circle Food Store Can Again Accept WIC Assistance Thanks to Sen. Landrieu
 
Circle Food Store
Photo courtesy of A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 18, 2014) -  U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu's, D-La., today announced that Circle Food Store is now certified to participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) assistance program, which is authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and operated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). Nine years ago, Circle Food closed due to Hurricane Katrina. After reopening this year, Circle Food was unable to participate in WIC due to state and federal moratoriums on the authorization of new vendors for the program in Louisiana. Senator Landrieu wrote to the USDA in May, urging it make an exception to the moratorium to exempt stores, like Circle Food, that were previously authorized for WIC but closed because of natural disaster or renovation.  Read the letter.

 

Dwayne Boudreaux, owner of Circle Food Store. (Photo: by Cheryl Gerber)
Dwayne Boudreaux, owner of Circle Food Store. (Photo: by Cheryl Gerber)

"Circle Food first opened in the 1930s as the first African-American owned and operated grocery store in New Orleans and has participated in the WIC program since USDA launched the program in the 1970s. It is vital that Treme's struggling mothers and their young children have the opportunity to use WIC vouchers at a full grocery store like Circle Food, which offers a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for its shoppers," said Sen. Landrieu. "Circle Food reopening last January was an ongoing symbol of recovery after Hurricane Katrina and I am proud to have been able to help this store and others like it participate in WIC."    

 

In response to Senator Landrieu's letter, USDA agreed that, "the moratorium should not exclude existing, previously-authorized WIC stores that are rebuilding their facilities due to natural disasters or renovating their buildings," and decided to modify their regulations to make an exemption for such stores. Read the full response here

 

"It's a great day at Circle Food Store- we are now an authorized WIC vendor! Through the hard work and efforts of Sen. Landrieu, who led our fight during this battle all the way to Washington, we are victorious! It's good to know you can depend on your government officials to act on your behalf- thanks again to Sen. Landrieu who made this all possible," said Dwayne Boudreaux, owner of Circle Food.

 

With this change, Circle Food Store became eligible to reapply for WIC and was officially certified to participate in the program today.

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Council receives Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) recommendation and provides opportunity for public comment
 


NEW ORLEANS  - 
The City's Home Rule Charter requires that a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) be adopted and that it be consistent with the Master Plan. After several years of development, including many public meetings, the City Planning staff presented their final recommended draft CZO to the City Planning Commission (CPC) at its September 9 meeting. The CPC voted unanimously for a modified approval of the staff's recommendations, and the final draft CZO now comes to the Council for consideration. The Council recognizes that there are substantial conversations still to be had, and that additional public comment and debate will further inform the process and result in a better product. With that in mind, the Council presents the following timeline:

  • Immediately and ongoing: Written comment not previously provided to the CPC may be submitted by completing the online comment form on the Council's website. This feature will remain available throughout the public comment period.
     
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014: The Council will hold a special Committee of the Whole meeting on September 30 (time TBA) to receive public comment and engage in debate. No vote or formal action by the Council will take place at this meeting.
     
  • October 2014: It is expected that the Council will take up the City Planning Commission's recommendation and vote on the final draft CZO before the end of October. However, the Council is prepared to alter its 2015 Budget hearing schedule, which begins on October 27, in order to allow for further consideration, if necessary. 

The public is advised that on September 18, the City Planning Commission's recommendation will be formally and officially transmitted to the Council and will appear as a "communication" from the City Planning Commission on the Council meeting agenda. The Council will not take any formal action, and no comments or discussion will be heard. Additionally, the final draft CZO will appear on the Council's October 2 regular Council meeting agenda as Zoning Docket 81/14 - City Council Motion M-14-314, but the matter will be deferred, no formal action will be taken and no comments or discussion will be heard.

 

"It is important to the Council that the public be well-informed of this final opportunity to engage in the CZO adoption process," said City Council President Stacy Head.  "Councilmembers are committed to transparency and strong community participation, and these commitments, along with other best practices, will continue through the final decision."

  

Contact:

Evelyn F. Pugh

Council Chief of Staff

Ph. (504) 658-1082

efpugh@nola.gov 

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For Seventh Consecutive Year, Entergy Named as National Leader in Economic Development   

 

 Company's efforts help attract nearly $21 billion in projects to Gulf South,  potentially creating more than 9,200 jobs

 

Site Selection
THE MAGAZINE OF CORPORATE REAL ESTATE STRATEGY & AREA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
NEW ORLEANS -  Entergy has been named one of the nation's Top 10 utilities in economic development for 2013 by Site Selection magazine. The company was chosen for its efforts to help attract nearly $21 billion in projects, which could result in as many as 9,200 jobs across its four-state service territory of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
 

The ranking may be viewed in the September 2014 edition and online at www.siteselection.com.

 

"We've dramatically stepped up our economic development efforts through the formation of a corporate business and economic development department that reinforces and supports the efforts our local economic development employees are making in attracting new business, retaining existing companies and helping them grow," said Ed Jimenez, Entergy's director of business and economic development in Louisiana.

 

"We're in a unique position here along the Gulf Coast," Jimenez added, "and we continue to play an integral role in the ongoing industrial renaissance taking place in Louisiana. Not only will attracting business and industry help grow our business, it also will provide increased employment and economic opportunities for the citizens we serve."

 

Site Selection chose the top utilities based in part on jobs created and investments made in their respective service areas. While other Entergy operating companies saw successes contributing to the recognition by the magazine, Entergy's Louisiana companies led in corporate capital investment activity with more than $17 billion planned.

 

Some of the Louisiana team's recent wins include providing 200 megawatts of additional power to Sempra Energy's proposed Cameron LNG liquefaction project in Hackberry, La., supplying up to 30 megawatts of electric power to Methanex USA's new methanol facility in Geismar, La., and supplying up to 200 megawatts of electric power for Sasol North America's proposed ethane cracker and derivatives project  in Westlake, La. In addition, the team recently negotiated an agreement with PennTex North Louisiana  to supply up to 25 megawatts of electric power to its Lincoln Parish plant near Arcadia, La.

 

The magazine recognized Entergy for its major system-level initiatives, which include its Strategic Sites Initiative, its Certified Sites Program, and a planned rebuild and redesign of the Entergy Site Selection Center - the company's GIS buildings and sites database. To help customer speed-to-market, a team of engineering project managers also was created.

 

More information on Entergy's economic development efforts can be found at entergy.com.             

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Will Ferguson Be a Tipping Point for National Black Youth Voter Turnout?
 

by Khalil Abdullah

 

New America Media NEW AMERICA MEDIA  - A week before National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, September 23, civil rights leaders hope to increase African American youth voter turnout by citing the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a city where only 12 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in the last city council elections.

 

Community organizers in New Orleans and Houston - two cities with a long history of confrontations between African-Americans and the police - have mixed views on whether outrage over Ferguson will translate into voter participation.

 

Ferguson may be a rallying call in New Orleans, but it won't be the dominant theme for staff and volunteers as they work voter registration tables around the city on Sept. 23, says Erica Buher of VAYLA-New Orleans, a multi-ethnic community organization focused on youth empowerment. Big Easy youth are attuned and empathetic to Brown's killing on August 9, but, according to Buher "what happened in Ferguson happens frequently in New Orleans."

 

Young people have their own Michael Browns to focus on. Their names, Buher says, are virtually unknown outside the city.

 

Buher remembers when the police officer - convicted of shooting Ronald Madison on Danziger Bridge in Hurricane Katrina's wake - was freed after a court upheld his appeal in September of 2013. James Brissette, 17 years old, also died on the bridge from police gunfire. Henry Glover was killed in a separate Katrina incident. The police officer charged in his death was also acquitted on appeal last year in December. "The court's reversal hit the community hard," Buher says of the Glover case.

 

Just weeks ago, Armand Bennett, a 26-year-old African-American man, was shot twice in the head during a NOPD traffic stop by an officer who allegedly turned off her camera before the confrontation. The incident initially went unreported to the public by the police superintendent's office. Buher says it reminds people all over again of the NOPD's lack of transparency.

 

"We will work to register voters through National Voter Registration Day up untilOctober 6 which is the last day for us," Buher says. Some 23 sites include college and university campuses as well as organizations like Covenant House and Liberty's Kitchen, which offer services to the homeless and formerly incarcerated juveniles, respectively.

 

"We work hard to reach that 18 to 24-year-old transitional age group because they're such a critical age and they're the hardest to reach," Buher explains, adding that In Louisiana, "you can actually register to vote when you're 16. A lot of that under-18 age group is pushing back on the concept that voting is the only way you can be civically engaged."

 

Yet, in Houston, Christina Sanders, the director of the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund, is convinced that Ferguson has been an "aha moment" for some of her city's youth and a catalyst that may yield an increase in voter registration rolls.

 

"This is a time when I've seen more young people connect to the power of the ballot," Sanders said. She attributes increased interest to social media. "Social media, like Facebook, and the ability to connect with people around the country who are saying the same thing, feeling the same way, that changes the conservation."

 

Sanders concurs with Buher that voter registration is not a panacea or silver bullet to foster change, but the Houston native sees voter registration as the gateway for young people to become more involved in determining how to define and address critical concerns within their communities.

 

"Youth should not expect everything to happen overnight, because things didn't get the way they are overnight," Sanders said. "Voter registration isn't sexy, but if you connect with young people about Ferguson and how it affects people's lives on so many different levels, you have the capacity to build on the fire in people's bellies. You can build these small fires into a firestorm. What I say to young people is that voting is an opportunity, but your job is to constantly participate."

 

Sanders maintains that Ferguson has brought out a higher level of interest among African American youth in Houston than any single recent incident, an observation about other cities that is shared by Hazel Trice Edney, former Editor-in-Chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and current president of the Capital Press Club in the District of Columbia.

 

After a visit to Ferguson before the funeral of Brown, Edney says she had intense discussions with the media writing class she occasionally teaches at Howard University as an adjunct professor.

 

"The students are extremely interested in what's going on in Ferguson. They wanted to know about the disposition of the people, about the next steps the community plans to take. Even more than the Trayvon Martin shooting almost two years ago, Michael Brown's death has been a wake-up call to many communities."

 

Edney found the stories Ferguson residents told her about police abuse to be appalling, but Brown's death seems to be a tipping point. "People are in a mood for action. They feel it's time to do something."

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Signs Now: Ask About Our Special Political Rates!

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Marc Morial - The Lessons of Ferguson, Part One: Economic Inequality a Root Cause of Unrest 

 

 
 

Marc Morial - President & CEO, National Urban League

To Be Equal #34
August 27, 2014

 

Marc H. Morial
 
President and CEO
 

National Urban League  

 

     

 "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

NEW YORK, NY - I am haunted by the words spoken by Lesley McSpadden immediately following the shooting death of her son, Michael Brown, at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson almost three weeks ago. She said, "Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many Black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don't got nothing to live for anyway." Lesley McSpadden's words reflect more than her own deep anguish. They have been echoed by many of Ferguson's citizens and civic leaders who have rallied for justice since Brown's killing. They also expose the pervasive problems of joblessness and hopelessness fueling so much of the anger and tension in communities of color across America.
 

Michael Brown's death was the spark that ignited a long-smoldering fire in Ferguson; and while the immediate goal of the National Urban League and our affiliate network is the arrest and indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, this column represents the first in a three-part series that aims to examine some of the root causes and identify solutions that must be implemented to avoid more crises like Ferguson in the future.

 

Let's begin with the lack of jobs and the epidemic of unemployment in Ferguson, a city that is 67% Black. The National Urban League's 2014 State of Black America report found that the St. Louis metro area, which includes Ferguson, had a Black unemployment rate of 19.6% and a white unemployment rate of 6.9% - resulting in an unemployment Equality Index of 35.2% on a 100-point scale. This level of economic inequality reflects a glaring disparity of opportunity and has created a chasm of misunderstanding and distrust that is behind much of the violence that has erupted between police and citizens.

 

Four years out of the recession, America's private sector is expanding, but too many people have been left behind. In fact, many communities like Ferguson are worse off. According to a recent Brookings study, "Between 2000 and 2010-2012, Ferguson's poor population doubled."

 

The National Urban League has long been leading the charge for targeted federal and state action to bring jobs and opportunity to hard-pressed communities across the nation. Our Jobs Rebuild America campaign is a $100 million, five-year effort to engage federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 communities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network with a special emphasis on vulnerable youth.

 

In response to the crisis in Ferguson, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders last week sent a letter to his Senate colleagues calling for both a thorough federal investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown and targeted legislation to bring jobs to Ferguson and similar struggling cities. Sanders points out, "There is an economic crisis facing our nation's youth, particularly young African-Americans. Nationwide, the youth unemployment rate today is more than 20 percent and African-American youth unemployment is nearly 35 percent. The legislation would provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to states and localities to employ 1 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24." 

 

At Michael Brown's funeral service on Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton called the nation and our community to task: "We can't have a fit, we've got to have a movement. We've got to be here for the long haul and turn our chants into change, our demonstration into legislation."

One of the big lessons of Ferguson is the importance of investing in jobs, education and other tools to combat poverty in our communities instead of militaristic weapons for use against our communities. We hope that Washington and America are listening - and preparing to act.

  

www.nul.org

   

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Kemberley Washington:  3 Ways to Hurricane-proof your finances!

 

 
     

  

Thursday's Financial Tips
 by Kemberley Washington, CPA 

  

3 Ways to Hurricane-proof your finances!

Kemberley's interview with Fox 8 News.
Check out Kemberley's interview with Fox 8 News.
 Click here to view
 

NEW ORLEANS AGENDA - On August 29, 2005, who knew an evacuation order would be the last time I would see New Orleans as I knew it. A "hurricane trip" as I referred to it happened frequently, so why would this time be anything different? My "hurricane trips" would usually turn out to be short vacations and time off from work.  So, to be honest, I actually looked forward to it!  But this time would be different. Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, my personal belongings and left me homeless. More importantly, I was now faced with many financial uncertainties.

 

With the start of hurricane season, how can you protect yourself financially?

 

Make a "To Go" System

 

Using a simple accordion folder, create tabs  using a checklist for important financial documents that may be necessary in case of an evacuation order.  Your folder should include the following items:

 

*    Insurance documents

*    Titles and deeds

*    Birth certificates and social security cards

*    Photographs of personal property

*    Tax returns

*    Irreplaceable items (pictures, rare coins or currency, etc.)

*    Wills

 

Oftentimes after a disaster, many government agencies and organizations require these documents.  Therefore, it is a great idea to have them on hand.

 

Review your insurance

 

Depending where you reside, it is important to make certain you insure against all risks that can affect your area. During Hurricane Katrina, many residents did not have adequate insurance because they only carried homeowners insurance but neglected to carry additional flood insurance policies. Take time to visit with an insurance agent to determine whether you should carry additional insurance beyond your basic homeowner's policy.

 

Keep Cash on Hand

 

Quite often you may hear, save some cash in case of a disaster. But, I am here to tell you not only save cash, but keep cash on hand. I can recall during Hurricane Katrina how difficult it was to access funds from ATMs.

 

Since I banked locally, not only was I out of pocket, but my financial institution was as well! So make certain you take some cash when you evacuate. It can go a mighty long way.

 

 

Remember: your choice, your future!

 

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and certified public accountant. Check out her eBook Let your budget inspire you! 

 

Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on  FaceBook!

 

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Why Nubian Skin Lingerie Matters for Women of Color
 

When today's black and brown girls grow up, maybe they won't remember when "nude" lingerie didn't take their color into consideration. 

 

Nubian Skin lingerie models
Nubian Skin lingerie models (Courtesy of nubianskin.com)
Keli Goff
Keli Goff


 

THE ROOTS  - At the end of a summer when unarmed black men seem to have become, increasingly, routine targets of law enforcement, it would be easy to overstate the significance of an advance for people of color in the world of fashion. But with the caveat that this obviously isn't the most pressing news of the day, it still bears mentioning that the launch of a new apparel line reminds us that there are many different ways that we make incremental progress in society, and this time it appears to involve lingerie.

 

Yes, you read that right. I said lingerie.

 

It was recently announced that Nubian Skin is launching a line of lingerie that matches the wide range of skin tones of women of color. This may not seem like a big deal to everyone, but for millions of women of color, it is. Lingerie can be a lot like makeup, in that finding a brand that is both comfortable and complimentary is considered essential for the average woman but has long been tough to do for the average woman of color.

 

For years, major makeup brands didn't make products that matched our skin tones. And inspired by the popularity of the Ebony Fashion Fair show, in 1973 the founders of Ebony magazine launched Fashion Fair Cosmetics, one of the first lines designed for and marketed to women of color. Similarly, supermodel-turned-supermogul Iman has acknowledged that part of the inspiration for her makeup line comes from the challenges she faced early in her modeling career to find products that matched her skin tone.

 

Yet even today, if you're a black woman with a richer skin tone, finding suitable makeup choices remains a struggle. During my The Root interview with Yaba Blay on the subject of the cultural impact of Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, Blay said, "If Lupita gets signed by a L'Oréal or CoverGirl, I can finally look forward to some foundation that matches my skin color." (Nyong'o has since been signed as a spokeswoman for Lancôme.)

 

But cosmetics aren't the only cultural domain in which women, and all people of color, have often been treated as invisible. I can remember being a child and seeing boxes of pantyhose labeled "nude" and thinking that the legs pictured on the packaging didn't match my mother's. Then, of course, there are Band-Aids. "Flesh" colored has long had a singular meaning when it comes to adhesive bandages: a pinkish color meant to roughly resemble white skin. But that color doesn't correlate with the varied hues of what will soon be a majority-minority America.

Which brings me to lingerie.

 

Before we even walk out the door in the morning, women have to think about a host of things that men never have to, and probably wouldn't believe that we have to, even if we told them. One of them is occasionally figuring out what-color undergarments to wear. And not for the reasons men might think (or perhaps hope), but for professional reasons.

 

For instance, if a woman is wearing a white dress to a business function, or even a white dress shirt to a job interview, it is considered poor form for others to be able to see her undergarments underneath, which is always a danger when one is wearing light-colored material. Those of us whose skin tone does not constitute the "traditional" definition of "nude" have had few options, despite our purchasing power. I have never owned undergarments that truly match my skin color, but have simply bought any brown-toned undergarment I've come across, and been grateful that even though it doesn't really match my complexion, it's at least a color other than white, black or traditional nude-i.e., beige.

 

But thanks to the creation of this new line by Nubian, I, and millions of other women of color, now have more options. Who knows? Maybe when today's young black and brown girls grow up, they won't even remember a time when "nude" undergarments didn't take their color into consideration.

 

Keli Goff is The Root's special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.

 

 

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"N-formed About the N-word"

 

by CeLillianne Green; Guest Columnist  

Copyright © 2014  

  

"CeLillianne Green's That Word is an informative and inspirational masterpiece and a must read for anybody grappling with the true nature and ugliness of the N-word. This outstanding book has inspired the FPA to stand strong as to why That Word should be eliminated from the NFL playing fields." - John Wooten, Chairman  

 
That Word
"That Word" is an inspired work of poetry.
WASHINGTON, DC  - I commend the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation ('FPAF") for its call to past, present, and future National Football League ("NFL") players to "respect the dignity of your teammates, fellow players, officials, coaches, fans, and yourselves," by not using the 'n-word'. I hope the NFL appreciates the wisdom of the FPAF and joins in their call for action. To do so, recognizes human dignity and is a reminder of good sportsmanship. Moreover, it would be a sound business practice to minimize hostile work environment claims, particularly since hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. This is a moment for education and for the maturation of our nation. Indeed, the NFL is in a position to serve as an example for the nation and the world by educating its players and making known that hate speech, in all its forms, has no place in athletics.

 

 

The n-word is a word of absolute hate. Those who claim otherwise are misinformed about a word steeped in a history of pain and degradation inflicted upon Africans, who were forcibly transported to America to be enslaved due to the color of their skin. Institutionalized enslavement of Africans and their descendants in America spanned nearly two and half centuries, plus a century more of de facto enslavement in the form of legalized discrimination and racism. These facts must be understood as the reality for millions of people who were forced to live and die with indignity of the n-word hurled at them. In some instances, these people used their oppressors' words to denigrate themselves. An elementary understanding of the Stockholm syndrome helps to explain why traumatized and oppressed people accept the words of their oppressor to identify themselves. 

 

The generations of trauma from institutionalized slavery has yet to be fully addressed, let alone healed in the psyche of our nation. Of course, I applaud how the film, "12 Years a Slave" shed light on slavery in America. Yet, this Oscar-winning film only focused on the life of one man, Solomon Northup. He was born a free man, educated, and was able to write about his capture and enslavement. Northup's enslavement and that of millions of others, who were legally banned from learning to read or write, was a nightmare. Their nightmare cannot be converted into a dream by a contemporary notion of changing definitions. To claim otherwise, is to disrespect them and the collective history of America. 

 

While everyone may not share a deep connection to the history and legacy of enslaved people and their enslavers in America, the fact and impact of slavery must not be minimized. Education allowed Northup to write his 1853 memoir about the horrors of slavery. In 2014, more education is needed about the pain inflicted from the n-word. I have had the opportunity to contribute to that education in That Word, an inspired work of epic poetry, in which the "Council of Elders" in the "Circle of Truth" reminds some and teaches others why the n-word is profane. From the spirit realm, the Elders in That Word lament to their descendants: 

 

"We knew who created that word and why 
That word was to perpetuate the lie

 

The lie of our inferiority 
To promote our oppressors' lie of superiority

 

Now we're compelled to leave our graves 
As we hear you saying it like you're slaves

 

That word was created to denigrate us and our descendants too 
Under no circumstances, should we hear it from you" 

 

 

Like the Elders in the Circle of Truth, I implore those who do not know history, to learn, to heal, and to respect the pain and legacy of those who were enslaved and their descendants.  Continued use of the n-word and variations of it represent the back door referred to in The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. Mis-educated people build back doors to use even after signs directing them to do so have been removed. It is time to remove those signs from our minds. It is time to stop building back doors.
 

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CeLillianne Green
CeLillianne Green

 

 

CeLillianne Green is a poet, an attorney and a freelance writer. She is the author of That Word, the e-book Marching Orders & She Rose, and other poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

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