Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
On Sunday, President Obama stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with grace to dedicate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that honors the civil rights leader and international icon whose work and speeches changed the world. In special dedication, we are printing excerpts from some of King’s most famous speeches.
‘I Have A Dream’
“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, Black men as well as White men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’
“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
“Letter From A
“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his Black brothers of Africa and his Brown and Yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.
“If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march, let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall, let him go on freedom rides, and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence. This is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: ‘Get rid of your discontent.’
“Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter, I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’
“Was not Amos an extremist for justice: ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.’ Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian Gospel: ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’ Was not Martin Luther an extremist: ‘Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.’ And John Bunyan: ‘I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.’ And Abraham Lincoln: ‘This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.’ And Thomas Jefferson: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”
“Why I Am Opposed To The War in Vietnam”
“For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.
“Before the end of the war we were meeting 80 percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
“After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators — Premier Diem.
“The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north.
“The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace. The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support.
“All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us — not their fellow Vietnamese — the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go — primarily women and children and the aged.”
“The Birth Of A New Nation”
“Oh, my friends, our aim must be not to defeat Mr. Engelhardt, not to defeat Mr. Sellers and Mr. Gayle and Mr. Parks. Our aim must be to defeat the evil that’s in them. And our aim must be to win the friendship of Mr. Gayle and Mr. Sellers and Mr. Engelhardt. We must come to the point of seeing that our ultimate aim is to live with all men as brothers and sisters under God and not be their enemies or anything that goes with that type of relationship. And this is one thing that Ghana teaches us: that you can break a loose from evil through nonviolence, through a lack of bitterness. Nkrumah says in his book, ‘When I came out of prison, I was not bitter toward Britain. I came out merely with the determination to free my people from the colonialism and imperialism that had been inflicted upon them by the British. But I came out with no bitterness.’
“And because of that this world will be a better place in which to live. There’s another thing that Ghana reminds us. Ghana reminds us that freedom never comes on a silver platter. It’s never easy. Ghana reminds us that whenever you break out of Egypt you better get ready for stiff backs.
“You better get ready for some homes to be bombed. You better get ready for some churches to be bombed. You better get ready for a lot of nasty things to be said about you, because you are getting out of Egypt, and whenever you break a loose from Egypt the initial response of the Egyptian is bitterness. It never comes with ease.
“It comes only through the hardness and persistence of life. Ghana reminds us of that. You better get ready to go to prison. When I looked out and saw the prime minister there with his prison cap on that night that reminded me of that fact, that freedom never comes easy. It comes through hard labor and it comes through toil, it comes through hours of despair and disappointment.”
“Speech At The Great March On Detroit”
“My good friend, the Rev. C. L. Franklin, all of the officers and members of the Detroit Council of Human Rights, distinguished platform guests, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot begin to say to you this afternoon how thrilled I am, and I cannot begin to tell you the deep joy that comes to my heart as I participate with you in what I consider the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States. And I can assure you that what has been done here today will serve as a source of inspiration for all of the freedom-loving people of this nation.
“I think there is something else that must be said because it is a magnificent demonstration of discipline. With all of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people engaged in this demonstration today, there has not been one reported incidence of violence.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:24
Category: Top News Written by Abel Ramirez
Throughout the years I’ve read scores of comic books. Countless outstanding and not-so-outstanding comics have been created over the decades. With so many notable comic books that have graced the racks, it can be difficult to choose a favorite. However, after much contemplation, I’d put Batman comics on the top of my list.
Why the Dark Knight? When I was young I wanted to be like him (a part of me still does). It’s the notion of doing what’s right, putting away evildoers with prevailing justice, as all superheroes do. But I knew I would never fly or halt moving locomotives like Superman. I could never stick to walls like Spidey or produce unbreakable, metal claws from my hands like Wolverine.
Batman, however, is different. Him I could be like, or almost if I really tried. Any person could because unlike his hero counterparts, Bruce Wayne has no super powers. As a hero who is merely a man, Batman, in some ways, is an expression of the pinnacle of human achievement. His body is conditioned to a peak physical state. He has trained in the Far East, becoming a master of several martial arts and a formidable warrior. He has even made a full comeback after having his spinal column broken (see the Knightfall saga).
In terms of mental fortitude, the Dark Knight has a superior intellectual shrewdness and will. Many of his cases are solved due to his astute detective work and knowledge of criminalistics. Being well prepared, he has contingency plans for almost any situation. For example, he carries a Kryptonite ring in his utility belt just in case he has an altercation with Superman (yes, Batman and Superman fight on occasion).
Of course, none of Wayne’s exploits could be achieved without financing. Although he was born into money, he has surpassed his father’s wealth and keeps his billion dollar empire successfully running despite his utter dedication to fighting criminal scum. Most of us aren’t born into money, but it is possible to attain a fortune akin to Bruce Wayne’s. Just ask Robert Kiyosaki.
Although Bruce Wayne is an overachiever, his humanityComics legend Frank Miller’s classic retelling of Batman’s gritty, formative days makes its full-length animated debut in “Batman: Year One,” which is now available on Blu-ray combo pack and DVD, On Demand and for download.
“Batman: Year One” is based on the landmark 1987 DC Comics titles from 12-time Eisner Award winner Frank Miller and illustrator David Mazzucchelli. The film depicts young Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante. The playboy billionaire chooses the guise of a giant bat to combat crime, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon (who is already battling corruption from inside the police department), inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a crooked political system in Gotham.
Primetime television stars Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Ben McKenzie (“Southland,” “The O.C.”), Eliza Dushku (“Dollhouse,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”) provide the core voices for “Batman: Year One.” Three-time Emmy Award winner Cranston gives voice to young Jim Gordon, while McKenzie makes his animated voiceover debut as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Fanboy favorites Dushku and Sackhoff fill the roles of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Detective Sarah Essen, respectively. Alex Rocco (“The Godfather”) is the voice of crime lord Carmine Falcone.
Animation master Bruce Timm is executive producer of “Batman: Year One.” Directors are Lauren Montgomery (“Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”) and Sam Liu (“All-Star Superman”) from a script penned by Academy Award nominee Tab Murphy (“Gorillas in the Mist,” “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”).
“‘Batman: Year One’ offers fans and newcomers alike an animated perspective on one of the true benchmark works in Batman comics history,” said Hersin Magante, Warner Home video marketing manager, Family & Animation. “Bruce Timm and the Warner Bros. animation team have gone to great lengths to realize Frank Miller’s groundbreaking, influential vision. ‘Batman: Year One’ stands tall as the next DC Universe animated original movie.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:20
Norman, MSU’s defense suffocate U-M Former Renaissance High star key in Spartans nationally ranked defense
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
EAST LANSING — In one of the more important games in the Michigan State and University of Michigan rivalry in recent memory, both state of Michigan universities met with the Big Ten Legends Division lead on the line.
Coming into the big rivalry, U-M sported a formidable 6-0 record and MSU entered the contest with a 4-1 record in the fight for state’s rights. After the Spartans had outlasted the Wolverines 28-14, that left them with only one blemish on their 2011 season — a loss to Notre Dame in South Bend.
Michigan State entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense, and its defensive line gave U-M quarterback Denard Robinson problems all day. Cleaning up the leftovers from the d-line’s pressure was linebacker Chris Norman. The former Renaissance High player led MSU’s domineering defense in tackles with 10.
With the Spartans’ impressive victory at home they jumped from 23th in the national polls to 15, U-M fell to 18 from its high of 11. The Spartans have now won four straight against Michigan for the first time since 1959-62, equaling Michigan State’s longest streak in the series.
Michigan State took the field in special green-and-bronze Nike Pro Combat uniforms. In a surprise move, Michigan showed up in “legacy” uniforms by Adidas that included pants that were white instead of the usual maize. All of that increased the hype of the game.
“It’s a big win, a program win,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “To do that a fourth straight year says a lot about our players. I said all along I thought this is a winner-take-all type of game.”
Said Norman: “We are happy about our recent success over U-M, but this was a new year and we knew we had to prepare and work hard to continue what we started. Our game plan helped us win, but it was the emotion and passion that comes with playing Michigan that kept us focused. The Michigan game was the biggest game of the season. We were playing for bragging rights, recruiting and all my people back home.”
MSU’s defense held Robinson to 78 yard rushing and Michigan to 14 points.
“This is what we expected from our defense,” Norman said. “Coach has been on us since the Notre Dame game to step our effort up and we have.”
The previous week’s 10-7 defensive gem at Ohio State highlighted that the Spartans might finally be over the loss of starting linebackers Greg Jones (New York Giants) and Eric Gordon (Cleveland Browns). Norman, as the only remaining starting linebacker returning to the co-Big Ten champion Spartans, knew more was expected of him. With the offense not quite in sync, the defense has been stepping up and in the middle of it all is junior linebacker Norman.
“We lost some senior leadership in linebackers Jones and Gordon,” Norman said. “So in the off season I tried to take myself to a different level. I worked in the weight room and put on another eight pounds. Physically and mentally I tried to get myself better as a person and player. Also I wanted to come in and help be a leader.”
After six games Norman, a former high school All-State, SuperPrep and PrepStar All-American, is second on the team in solo and assisted tackles. He knows he and his teammates will have to keep it up to harness the explosive Wisconsin offense.
Norman said the Detroit Public School League (PSL) prepared him well.
“The PSL gets a lot of flack because it is in the city of Detroit,” he said. “But I’m thankful for my experiences in the PSL. The toughness that it gave me got me ready for Big Ten football and MSU academics. People talk about character, but I have three former high school teammates on this team and we are all good people. We all want to represent the PSL at MSU.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:14
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
So many things are said about age. That it’s “nothing but a number.” That “you’re only as old as you feel.” We’ve heard them all.
And lately it’s been popular to espouse the new realities of what age means: You know, “50 is the new 40,” “60 is the new 50,” etc. Which makes sense considering the fact that people live longer today, work with as much zeal as in years past, take care of themselves, look good and do not think of themselves as out of the mainstream.
Each birthday is a blessing, age notwithstanding.
It is surprising how many people in the entertainment industry have reached the big 4-0, or maybe that should be “the big 4-oh!” And they are still going strong, and showing no signs of slowing down even a little bit anytime in the near — or distant — future.
This week we are putting the spotlight on some of the performers who reached the 40 milestone this year, meaning they were all born in 1971.
Remember when ALFONSO RIBEIRO, as a little boy, was featured with Michael Jackson in those popular “Pepsi” commercials, wearing a red leather jacket just like Michael’s? His birthday was Sept. 21.
Forty sure looks good on MARY J. BLIGE (Jan. 11). She started out as a very rough-edged singer with a lot of personal problems, and became “the queen of hip-hop soul” along the way. Today she has herself together and is one of the music industry’s most glamorous stars.
One of hardest-to-believe “new 40s” is the diminutive EMMANUEL LEWIS. There is a tendency to think of the “Webster” star — the show ran from 1983 to 1987 — as still a kid because he is so small, but on March 9 Lewis celebrated his 40th birthday.
REGINA KING (Jan. 15) first came to our attention as the charming and funny Brenda Jenkins on the sitcom “227.” She has since developed into one of the finest actresses in Hollywood, turning in one outstanding performance after another.
There was a time when all rappers were in their teens or early twenties. Not anymore. Nostalgia (“old school”) rap concerts are now common. Hard-core rapper SNOOP DOGG will be 40 by the time most of you read this (Oct. 20).
From the female rap world comes MC LYTE (Oct. 11). To look at the rapper/actress today, you would never believe she is the same person who became prominent in the early ’90s. She is now beautiful, as we saw when she was a regular on the TV series “Half & Half.”
Joining her is MISSY ELLIOTT, who said goodbye to 39 on July 1. Appearing on the national charts for the first time in 1997, Elliott has the distinction of being the only female rapper to have six albums certified Platinum by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA).
SHAWN WAYANS (Jan. 19) is, of course, part of the first family of comedy. There must have been a lot of laughter in the Wayans household. He was introduced to the public by way of “In Living Color,” the long-running comedy sketch show created by his oldest brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans.
No one could ever accuse JADA PINKETT SMITH (Sept. 18) of riding on the coattails of her husband, megastar Will Smith. She had already made a name for herself long before they married. She is an outstanding actress and has mastered film producing and directing as well.
TAYE DIGGS (Jan. 2) was profiled in last week’s edition as one of the most talented and consistently employed actors in Hollywood, Black or otherwise. He has many and varied movie, television and stage roles to his credit. He is currently a cast member on the popular series “Private Practice.”
ERYKAH BADU, who emerged in 1997 with an attention-grabbing album titled “Baduizm,” has always known that she is not like anyone else and the public learned that quickly. She marches to no one’s band but her own, and that certainly includes her creative attire and often-startling hairstyles. Her birth date is Feb. 26.
From 1992 into the early 2000s, one of the most popular female groups was TLC, who enjoyed a impressive string of hits, including “Creep,” “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “No Scrubs.” One of the members of the trio, ROZONDA “CHILLI” THOMAS, turned 40 on Feb. 27.
Among others sure to remember 1971 at the year they entered their 40s are rock/rap star KID ROCK, actor and former “Soul Train” host DORIAN GREGORY, actress TASHA SMITH (most recently seen in “Jumping the Broom”), actor and former model JASON LEWIS (“Sex and the City”), actor EWAN MCGREGOR, actress and former beauty pageant star KENYA MOORE, Latin singing sensation RICKY MARTIN, rapper/actor FREDRO STARR and actor and former rap star MARK WAHLBERG.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:10
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Chancellor tackles color-blind politics
Dr. Curtis Ivery, who has turned Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) into an education nest where leadership is cultivated since his appointment in 1995, is not your typical education administrator who normally sits at the top of an ivory tower giving administrative directions on how to run the day to day affairs of a college. An encounter with Ivery will reveal a man who in many ways is an education agitator, one who is deeply concerned about the sorry state of affairs in our educational system and wants to see structural and evidentiary change in the system.
That explains why Ivery, who is used to running large institutions such at the Arkansas Department of Human Services which he headed as a member of former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton’s cabinet, has made Wayne County Community College District more than just a regular college. More than the classrooms and administrative buildings that make up the site of the District.
As Michigan’s largest community college, WCCCD is a lifeline for the 70,000 students it serves, most of whom come from Detroit. From high school graduates and international students to single parents and struggling young people seeking a better future by arming themselves with an education from WCCCD, the college is the center of gravity for these students who will be charged with driving the ship of state tomorrow.
That passion to make a difference is why Ivery has co-edited a new book with Joshua Bassett titled “America’s Urban Crisis and the Advent of Color-blind Politics,” a collection of essays that focus on education, incarceration, segregation and the future of multiracial democracy in the U.S.
“I’ve always been an inquisitive soul. I have always loved and appreciated the power of words and I remember telling my mother when I was nine years old that I would write a book. She often said that is a dream I shouldn’t let die,” Ivery said in an interview last week. “Ultimately my first degree was in journalism. So I’ve always been comfortable with words. I felt the need to encourage and have some conversation about race. Because often it’s the five thousand pound gorilla in the room.”
Ivery said the purpose of the book is to get a constructive dialogue going around issues that are tied to race in America.
“You can’t say to me that the decisions we make today are not informed by some of the social construct we are confronted with on a daily basis,” Ivery said. “For example, what we see on television, the media defines our standards, the criminal justice system, etc. We have a disproportionate number of young Black people incarcerated. If we don’t talk about it, some are going to assume that it is a genetic trait.”
“We have to believe that conscious Black people and White people will join together and talk about what’s good for our children. I think the book does that.”
Ivery said while there are multiple issues in the Black community that need to be dealt with, incarceration is one of the major ones that must be tackled if we are to see any real advancement in our community.
Striking a tone that is familiar in the political debate around incarceration, Ivery said it is time we look at whether first time drug offenders should be given jail time rather than treatment, the latter being what criminal justice reform advocates have always sought.
“We know that if you come from a prosperous community or family with resources, you probably would have gone and sought out some type of counseling as opposed to the criminal justice system,” Ivery said. “Now that the issue is here, would it not be better to talk about those young men we are releasing now, because they have to have somewhere to go. They have to have employment.”
Can higher education do anything to help or service the incarcerated population?
“Maybe it might be identifying employers and saying we have 20-60 ex-offenders and we will provide training for them and are you willing to place them in the job market?” Ivery said.
He noted that in order to create transformation we must begin to think outside the box.
Education in Detroit, he said, must be seen as “a form of constructive urgency, that every decision ought to be one of urgency.”
That sense of urgency means involving “the community in a big way” in decisions that affect the education system in the city.
“I know that it’s difficult. Sometimes we don’t feel that people are listening. They don’t understand when we say we’ve got to close X number of schools. Most parents are not interested in that aspect of education economics,” Ivery said. “Their sense of urgency is what is going to happen to their child? Will their child be safe in school? Will they have good teachers and the opportunity to go to college?”
He said as educators “we have to begin to answer those questions for any parent. The first I’m going to do if I’m moving, to this area as a parent I’d like to know about the school system.”
But he quickly pointed that Detroit is not the only city with a poor school record, and that what is happening here reflects a national pattern.
“I don’t think you are going to go to Chicago and get a better school system in the inner city,” Ivery said, adding that is because “we are talking about one common issue and that is poverty.”
He said the “unholy trinity: unemployment, under-employment and under-served” account for what is facing our community and why some are unable to get a good education.
“The common denominator is poverty. It’s always going to be how we help others lift themselves up and ensure that they have a way out,” Ivery said.
WCCCD, he said, has offered hope to thousands of young Detroiters and students from around the world who otherwise would have not the kind of grounded education the college provides.
“We’ve always said to people if they come to the college, we’ll make them proud and feel good about themselves,” Ivery said. “We are going to treat you with civility and honor your dignity. We are going to take you where we find you and help you move to the next level.”
While doing all it can to help students prepare for bigger roles in the future, the WCCCD chancellor made it clear that the college will offer no “crutch” to any student.
“We cannot give you a crutch. We will not make this an entitlement community. We cannot make this an entitlement educational setting. We want you to compete,” Ivery said. “We want you to be mentally and psychologically tough.”
In an era of globalization, Ivery said it is key for students from not only from WCCCD, but other institutions in and around Detroit to experience global exposure, along with an understanding of how the world is evolving, and why students in China, Japan, India, Africa and other places excel and are at the center of global education.
But the value of education and seeing it as a weapon to fight poverty, according to Ivery, starts at home.
“So much of it and who we are has to start at home,” Ivery said. “For instance, by the age of three you’ve got a young person with a personality. You are not going to change that personality after three years of age.”
He said at age six children begin to develop an early self-concept that education is key and that is when they should be taught the value of education at home. Otherwise, the children risk falling through the cracks and coming into contact with the criminal justice system by the age of 15.
“By the time they are 18 years old their experience has been with the criminal justice system,” Ivery said explaining further that when those young people, who fell through the cracks come out of prison their only value system is what they learned behind bars. He called the result “a critical mass of dysfunctionality” because most of them are not really rehabilitated behind prison walls.
“Somehow we have to intercede as education advocates,” Ivery said. “Every single day I get up I’m thinking about how to make life better for another person because to be seriously under-educated is a major problem.”
It’s one thing to say what needs to be done in a community where young people for the most part do not necessarily take their cue anymore from their parents, but rather from the glaring and incessant messages of the mass media.
Does Generation Y, the iPod, BlackBerry generation have any obligation to the past or is it the reverse?
“We owe it to our children to give them a better opportunity,” Ivery said. “I think for me it’s a question of whether we are going to be able to deliver a world that will be good for our children and generations yet unborn.
“Are we going to say that now that we elected a Barack Obama that we’ve arrived and no longer should we continue to work hard to create a stronger community and stronger family in a culture we can be proud of? At some point everything I do is about what I’m going to leave behind.”
Recently, Ivery was named to the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, an initiative supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Kresge Foundation to craft a bold vision for community colleges. The Commission, serving more than six million students and 1,200 institutions, will issue a report on how to attain high quality education.
“America’s Urban Crisis and the Advent of Color-blind Politics” should be read by college students, high school students seeking to enter college and everyone who wants to make a change.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 16:49
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Fifth Third Bank awarded the Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund $50,000 to help strengthen and rebuild Detroit’s commercial corridors. The Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund is a business task force that supports Midtown businesses and entrepreneurs to help bridge the gap in fundamental bank funding.
A 2002 Community Convention hosted by the Detroit Empowerment Zone Neighborhood and Family Initiative program, identified concerns of residents located in Detroit’s central city. The need for more community-based small businesses to provide goods and services within Detroit’s neighborhoods was identified as a major issue. To better examine the focus resources on the issue, a Business Task Force comprised of stakeholders in midtown Detroit was formed.
The Task Force surveyed the existing business community. A recurring issue was access to available credit for equity, to purchase inventory, business development and other marketing needs.
Several members of the Business Task Force attended a regional training meeting of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a national micro-enterprise trade association in 2003. From there, the idea to start a micro-enterprise loan fund in the city of Detroit was born. While many large American cities had as many as ten to twelve micro-enterprise funds at the time, there were none in Detroit.
Operating with a sense of urgency, the Business Task Force established a Michigan non-profit corporation – The Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund (DMF) in 2004. The Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan awarded a DMF grant of $65,000 for start up operations in 2005. The Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund’s 501c-3 federal tax status was established in 2006, and several of the Business Task Force members formed the corporation’s board of directors.
The Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund officially opened its doors on April 1, 2007, with an office in Wayne State University’s TechTown business incubator center. Remaining true to its intent to respond to the needs of the community, DMF partnered with community development corporations (CDC’s), to ensure awareness and access to the fund was communicated to new, emerging and existing business owners in Detroit area neighborhoods.
“Since its official launch four years ago, the Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund has become a bridge to many barriers in the small business community. The Fund has become a bridge for capital investment, entrepreneurs seeking to bring innovation, talent and new products and services into their communities, and a bridge for sustainable community development,” stated Lorenzo Thurman, executive director for Detroit Micro-enterprise Fund. “The DMF has financed or funded approximately 150 projects, created 150 jobs and created or retained one job for every $2,000 loan disbursement.”
With a vision of continued growth through specialized loan funds, the DMF is poised to assist many new and emerging business owners by providing needed capital that will redefine Mainstreet. Their micro-enterprise ventures will offer goods and services most needed and desired by those within their immediate community.
MICRO-LOAN FACTS AND FIGURES
The Micro-loan concept started in the poorest Third World countries, principally Bangladesh, and spread quickly where it was most needed, in Eastern Europe, and Central and South Africa over 30 years ago.
• The recipients of micro-loans are generally individuals with little or no credit history, an unstable job history, and little or no assets to leverage as collateral.
• A micro-loan is $25,000 or less.
• The industry average micro-loan is $12,000.
• The popularity of a micro-loan in the U.S. began approximately 20 years ago.
• Within the state of Michigan, just over 19% of workers are employed by a micro-enterprise.
• There are 869,839 businesses in Michigan. Of that total, 87.46% are micro-enterprises.
• A micro-enterprise is defined as a company with five or fewer employees.
• There are 20 million micro-enterprises in the United States.
·• An estimated 10 million individuals fit the characteristics of the target groups the micro-enterprise industry seeks to serve: women, minorities, low income individuals, individuals with disabilities, and those with difficulty assessing commercial credit markets.
• A survey or micro-enterprise programs found:
■ 59% ( the majority) of micro-entrepreneurs are female
■ 60% are of a traditionally disadvantaged background
■ 68% had incomes at or below the area median income (HUD Guidelines)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 16:39
Category: Top News Written by N'Jeri Nantambu-Bell
I had the pleasure of spending time with Virginia Douglas, CEO of the Renaissance Bowling Center, located at 16900 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. (313.368.5123) It is the only Black female owned bowling alley in Michigan. Virginia is the middle child of nine brothers and sisters. The center is operated by her son, Steve Douglas, president; her grandson, Brian Douglas, manager; and her brother Tyrone Douglas, operations manager.
For those of you who don’t know, Virginia is a walking history book. She told me stories of all the businesses she has had since the early 1960s, some we won’t mention to protect the guilty. She has owned several restaurants in Detroit, nightclubs and other venues. Renaissance Bowling Center is formerly State Fair Bowl.
I was amazed of her struggles to maintain her business as a Black female. “Obtaining funding was hard,” she said, so she just kept saving every penny, nickel and dime to get what she wanted.
Her primary goal was ensure her family was taken care of and to give back to her community. Virginia, a single parent, never gave up hope and always maintained a positive attitude even when the tunnel seemed dark.
“I never walked alone, God had my back,” she said. “I never thought I couldn’t do something. My parents always gave me inspiration. I never depended on anyone to help me. You can only depend on yourself. ‘I can’t’ or ‘I couldn’t’ was never something I said or believed in. My mother wouldn’t hear of it.
“After listening to all she had said and done, I had to ask myself, why isn’t this house filled with bowling leagues?”
There are some great leagues there now, such as Monday Morning Trio, Detroit Retirees, 36 District, Second Baptist, Fellowship, World Travelers and Motor City Blind Bowlers, to name a few. But the question remains: where are the rest of the Detroit Black bowlers to fill the 40 lanes during the day?
This house should be full of leagues and fundraisers. I can’t believe we still do not support our own people.
Yes, I’m saying it. Black folks still have issues supporting other Black folks. Are we looking for a better deal simply because we are Black and think we should get “the hook up”? People, it’s time we wake up and understand that Black business owners work just as hard, if not harder, than others. They are in business to make money just like other business owners. They provide good service, the businesses are clean and family friendly, and they have competitive rates. You should be getting something for next to nothing.
There are several Black bowling clubs in Detroit, and there is one that fully supports this center. We have the best fraternities and sororities in Detroit. We have hundreds of churches, block clubs, school groups and corporate groups.
So, I’m calling you out! Come and support Renaissance Bowling Center. Host your next fundraiser, company outing or birthday party there.
Before your group signs another league contract, come out and speak to the staff at Renaissance Bowling. Before your group books another masters tournament, classic tournament, 9-pin no tap or doubles tournament, come out and meet with the Renaissance Bowling staff. You might be surprised at what you have been missing.
Virginia Douglas has been selected as the TNBA Detroit Senate Pioneer of the Year. She will be honored in November at the American Serbian Memorial Hall.
I’m just saying.
Congratulations to Stephen Teart on his 300 game Thursday night at Renaissance Bowling Center. Stephen’s team, “Daddy Gone,” is currently in first place with the World Travelers Mixed.
N’Jeri Nantambu-Bell is the president of NBS, Inc. Marketing and Public Relations. For more information please call (248) 214-7912.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 16:28
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
There are some actors and actresses that we see occasionally, others more often. And then there are those who have a constant presence, and in such a precarious profession, that is saying a lot.
All the more so when the performers are African-American or of some other minority group.
Taye Diggs always has something going on, either on television or in movies, sometimes both at the same time. And let’s not forget his work in the theater. He is talented, fortunate and blessed that way.
Currently Diggs — whose real first name is Scott — is a regular cast member on “Private Practice” and has been since 2007. On the show, a medical drama that airs on ABC and is a spinoff from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Diggs portrays Dr. Sam Bennett. He had the same role on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
In case you were wondering how he came up with the nickname “Taye,” it is based on a playful way of pronouncing Scotty — that is, “Scottay.”
ACTING MAY have been in Diggs’ blood because his mother, Marcia, is an actress and teacher. She and Jeffries Diggs were living in Newark, New Jersey, when they welcomed Scott Leo Diggs into the world on Jan. 2, 1971, the first of five children. However, he grew up in Rochester, New York.
In New York he enrolled at the School of the Arts. Later he entered Syracuse University. There he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater.
Eager to get his career moving, Diggs made his Broadway debut as part of the ensemble cast in the revival of “Carousel,” the musical that won a Tony Award in 1994.
That was nice, but bigger things were forthcoming.
Diggs originated the role of Benny, the unpleasant landlord in the long-running, Pulitzer and Tony award-winning musical with serious messages, “Rent.”
He loves the stage and has said, “I’m always up for going back into theater. I jump at any chance.”
Diggs says with certainty that nothing beats the stage for laying a foundation.
“Studying stage acting first makes iteasier to make the transition,” he said. “It prepares you for any medium. You learn the basics.”
It was in “Rent” that Diggs met actress Idina Menzel, who would later become his wife. They have a son, Walker.
DIGGS DID NOT appear on Broadway or in any road company of another famed musical, “Chicago,” but he did, however, secure the role of the Bandleader in the movie version.
After making significant inroads on stage, Diggs began to focus on television and film. The daytime drama “Guiding Light” — many still call them “soap operas” or “the soaps” — was the first TV show he appeared on.
That was in 1997. From that point, things really started progressing for the ambitious actor. His list of credits includes “Ally McBeal” (he appeared in ten episodes), “The West Wing,” “Kevin Hill,” “Will & Grace” and on the reality TV side, “Punk’d.”
Taye Diggs is a staunch believer in an actor being diverse, as comfortable in lighthearted roles as in serious drama. In fact, he has described himself as “an all-purpose entertainer.”
Of his impressive array of films, including “The Best Man,” “Drum,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” “Brown Sugar,” “The Wood,” “House on Haunted Hill” and “New Best Friend,” there is one that stands apart.
That movie is “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” from 1998, based on Terry McMillan’s best-selling book. He portrayed Winston Shakespeare opposite Angela Bassett as Stella Payne. Their performances were outstanding and the chemistry could not have been better.
Whoopi Goldberg, as Delilah Abraham, was also great.
In addition to his many acting assignments, Diggs co-owns and co-directs a dance company in New York City, interestingly called dre.dance.
And lest we forget, he also wrote a children’s book titled “Chocolate Me!”
Taye Diggs — actor, dancer, singer, author — could be accurately defined as a man for all entertainment seasons, thoroughly immersed in the arts.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 16:14
Category: Top News Written by Steve Malik Shelton
A group of area small businesses downtown are complaining that movie productions near their business locations, without adequate notice and no real incentive, is costing them business as they struggle in the downturn economy.
They contend that, although film company representatives are required to get their permission to film in the areas where their businesses are because it affects the customer traffic, this does not always happen and their businesses are left out in the cold.
Larry Mongo, who owns Mongo’s, a popular bar and restaurant downtown and also leases retail space for several shops in the Himelhoch Building on Washington Blvd., says he did not receive monetary compensation for the disruption of his business as a result of film production until he vigorously complained and even threatened to file a lawsuit.
Mongo said the first incident occurred in October of 2009, when the Highland Park film crew for the movie “Red Dawn” closed down part of the street and sidewalk. Mongo claims that his and other businesses in the area were not notified about the blocking of the thoroughfares and how it could impact their businesses. “How was the movie company given permits to film before they notified all of the businesses in the area?” said Mongo.
“It doesn’t make sense.” According to Erica Hill, the former director of the Detroit Film Office, it is incumbent upon film crews to contact all businesses in the area that could be affected by movie production and to make sure that they are properly informed. This was verified in a recent conversation with Tony Garcia, location scout for the Michigan Film Office. Although he qualified it by stating the amount of money paid out to businesses affected by film crews is negotiable and there is no set price.
“Anytime there’s a film crew on location and there’s a business that could be affected by it, it is up to the film production company to go out and get the permission from the business owners themselves,” said Garcia. “In most cases now as part of the new Detroit application, it actually requires location agreements to be signed with each business owner.”
Sommer Woods, who is the current director of the Detroit Film Office, concurs. “Our policy is that when a business is impacted, representatives of the film company are supposed to get with these businesses to make sure that they do not have a loss of revenue,” she explained in a recent telephone interview. “What you had with ‘Red Dawn’ and the early filming in Detroit was the city was not prepared for this business. They were overwhelmed and it was not done properly. But I don’t think that the film industry has a negative impact on businesses, but if they do, it is an agreement that has to be worked out between the production companies and those businesses within the city.
“Now you have some businesses within the city that don’t always have a loss of revenue; but it’s an opportunity for themThompsonto be able to leverage the film industry and for them to gain additional revenue.”
But Mongo is adamant that his businesses were negatively impacted on several occasions by film crews in the downtown Detroit area. He wishes that the city was as dedicated to making sure Detroit businesses are compensated as they are in making sure the film companies get what they’re after. Mongo said he was not contacted by them, but had to initiate the dialogue which eventually led to him as well as Mildred Windham, who owns a clothing boutique in the same building, being compensated for loss of revenue.
“There is a paper trail,” said Mongo. “How many times have movie people been given permission to film without any signed letter from affected businesses? Also, some of these permission papers are signed by businesses well after filming has started at their locations.”
The owner of Hilal Books, which is located in the immediate vicinity and on the same side of the street as Mongo’s business, also reported that he had not been contacted by film company production people, per Detroit Film Office and Michigan Film Office policy.
Woods said there is no city ordinance as it relates to street closures in the city of Detroit. “We have a perimeter in place, but there is o law,” said Woods.
According to Mongo, the fact that there are no uniform laws or city codes to regulate business compensation, implementation as well as the necessary follow-up is a major part of the problem. “There should be an official and standard scale that should be paid to all businesses in the state of Michigan based on the size of the movie budget,” said Mongo. “And I’m not greedy. I don’t want to be paid a penny more than businesses are receiving in Grosse Pointe and in Birmingham from the film companies. Why should they be allowed to film in Detroit and pay less than they are paying elsewhere? The City of Detroit should set the standard for how much money is to be paid.”
By offering up to 42 percent in cash rebates to movie production companies, at one time Michigan’s film incentive program was the most lucrative in the nation. Gov. Snyder, however, introduced new cuts to what some considered a sweetheart deal for the movie industry. Under the new regulations, the 42 percent cash incentives are replaced by an annual cap of $25 million. Ryan Kazmirzak, a spokesperson for Gov. Snyder, says such measures were necessary to balance the budget and to stop leakage of taxpayer funds without the desired results. Kazmirzak maintains that the 42 percent tax credit is actually a subsidy whereby the State of Michigan literally writes a check.
“Michigan is actually paying out money to Hollywood film producers,” said Kazmirzak. “And we came to the conclusion that the film subsidy right now is unsustainable.”
He went on to explain a major problem with the 42 percent film incentive was that there was no limit and, thus, if a movie company spent $1 billion on film production, the state would be required to pay out $420 million in subsidies.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:57
Category: Top News Written by Marcus Amick
Ever think, what really defines an icon?
Longevity? Popularity? Legacy?
The answer likely will differ depending on who you ask. That is, once you get past the obvious such as historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr., entertainment legends such as Madonna, and sports figures like the great coach Vince Lombardi.
Sure, no automobile even begins to measure up to those mentioned above (not even close). Still, as car enthusiasts we often find ourselves assessing the value of some vehicles by the same criteria — and while opinions might differ on whether the Jeep Grand Cherokee fits the bill of “icon” when it comes to automobiles, the allnew 2012 model takes direct aim at all naysayers.
SHE’S GOT THE LOOK
Take for the starters the look of the new Cherokee SRT8, which despite keeping much of the original design intact that people have grown to love over the years, completely ups the ante on the SUV. Key exterior design features include a new, SRTexclusive, body-color wheel flares and side sill cladding; a one-piece front fascia with new LED multifunction daytime running lamps, and a body-colored front grille with a unique black screen background and chrome bezel inserts.
The front grille is also painted in gloss black and a newly designed underbody belly pan features integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and fade performance. Then, there’s that newly sculpted hood with functional dual black heat extractors for additional engine cooling that ensure no mistaking the Cherokee SRT8 for anything else on the road.
Rear design elements include a new dual-sport exhaust system featuring 4-inch exhaust tips. The 2012 model also feature s new split 5-spoke, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels riding on Pirelli tires.
Inside, the new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee completely redefines the idea of sport and luxury for an SUV.
It features new SRT-styled Nappa leather and suede seats, with sculpted bolsters and adjustable headrests, an all-new, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel that features a unique satin chrome rim section, and standard paddle-shift controls flanked on both sides of the new contoured palm rests with easy accessibility to all audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls. Heated (front and rear) and ventilated (front) seats are standard.
The new model also features an SRT-exclusive Performance Pages that show instant feedback on steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, 0-60 mph time, 60-0 mph braking distance, g-forces, and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times, along with expanded engine information for true performance buffs.
If you’re into cool views the Cherokee SRT is also available with a Command View dual-pane sun roof provides twice as much glass surface than a standard sun roof. The new Cherokee SRT is also available 825-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon new for the 2012 model, which is worth the trip to the dealership to experience in itself.
FIRE HER UP
All that said, the real beauty of the all new 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 lies in how it performs on the road, which is “unfrickin’” believable for a SUV. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that word. Engineered as the most powerful, technologically advanced, high-performance Jeep vehicle ever built, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is powered by Chrysler Group’s all-new 6.4-liter HEMIV-8 that pumps out a heart-throbbing 470 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque.
That’s an improvement of 50 horsepower and 45 lb.-ft. torque over the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 it replaces.
The Cherokee SRT8 runs from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the mid-16 second range, and has a top speed of 160 mph, and brakes from 60-0 mph in 116 feet.
The ride and handling for the 2012 Grand Cherokee is night and day over the previous model with enhancements like an improvement of 146 percent in torsional stiffness versus the previous model, which is that solid feeling you get from a vehicle when driving it on the road.
Standard fuel saver technology and a new active valve exhaust system makes the new Cherokee SRT8 a little easier to swallow at the pump with improved fuel efficiency of 13-percent increase on the highway — and an extended range of 450 miles on one tank of gas.
In addition to the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, the SUV also features a standard floor mounted auto stick giving the driver the ability to shift manually if given that urge for a manual.
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 also has a trailer tow rating of 5,000 lbs. and features new SRT high-performance Brembo brakes for more stopping power as well as 45 safety and security features.
To top it off those who buy the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 will receive one day of professional driving instruction from the Richard Petty Driving Experience, which if you aren’t already will surely make you a believer.
• $54,470 (base price)
• Better fuel economy
• More horsepower
• 0-60 mph in 4.8 sec
• New Harmon Kardon audio system
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:43
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