Category: News Briefs Written by Kevin P. Chavous
Kevin P. Chavous asks at the Huffington Post whether forced integration of our schools has actually led to better outcomes.
For most African-Americans, the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision is like the Holy Grail. Brown effectively paved the way for the civil rights movement of the '60s by declaring that "separate but equal had no place" in our schools and, by extension, in our society. The effort leading to that ruling, spearheaded by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, is viewed as a brilliant example of legal strategizing and execution. Plus, for countless years after the ruling, Brown was hailed as the first concrete statement against segregation by the US government.
The primary thesis of Brown back in 1954 was that segregated schools exacerbated the inherent second class treatment of African-Americans that was a natural by-product of slavery. To address this problem, the Brown Court reasoned, the U.S. government had a responsibility to end segregated schools and the states were ordered to integrate their schools with "all deliberate speed." This of course led to a host of federal court school busing decisions and orders, many of which still exist today. At the time, Brown made infinite sense. America needed a shot in the arm to remind itself that racism, discrimination and second class American citizenship were all contrary to our constitution, even if our founding fathers didn't have the courage to make those facts clear at the time our nation was created. It is generally accepted that one doesn't speak ill of the Brown decision. No one, not even subsequent conservative Courts, messes with Brown vs. Board of Education.
But, what do you do when the blood, sweat and tears of your history clashes with the realities of today?
Read Kevin P. Chavous' entire article at the Huffington Post.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:15
Category: News Briefs Written by Amber Bogins
John and Heather McDougall, brother and sister, designed a biodegradable toothbrush with a socially conscious business model. Bogobrush is based in Detroit.
A toothbrush might be one of the least examined household products people purchase on a regular basis, but a new company launched in Detroit is asking you to take a second look at what you're using to clean your teeth, and what happens after you're done with it.
Bogobrush founders John and Heather McDougall, siblings with a dentist dad, created a toothbrush made of bamboo and nylon bristles they say is completely biodegradable.
Building on the "buy one, give one" model pioneered by TOMS shoes, they will donate a toothbrush for each one they sell, partnering with organizations including Detroit's Covenant Community Care, a faith-based nonprofit that provides community health services regardless of patients' ability to pay.
Chief Creative Officer John McDougall, a graduate of College for Creative Studies, designed the toothbrush when he wasn't working his day job designing cars at General Motors.
The small company plans to produce the brushes in the U.S., acquiring start-up funding through pre-order sales of individual Bogobrushes as well as the option to order a year's supply that are delivered to your home every three months. McDougall said the success of the pre-order push would determine if they could begin producing Bogobrushes locally or produce them overseas until sales volumes allow them to bring manufacturing to the U.S.
HuffPost Detroit took a minute to chat with John about his tinkering past, the importance of social responsibility for their business and why a toothbrush deserves as much design care as an iPhone.
HuffPost: Tell us about your background as an inventor/entrepreneur.
John McDougall: I grew up always drawing, tinkering and inventing. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I discovered industrial design, and after searching out the best design schools in the country, my dreams took me from a small town in North Dakota to Midtown Detroit to study at CCS.
Design school took me all around the world, studying and working in Europe, California, and the East Coast. I saw the power of design to improve the world, and while finishing school; my sister, Heather (who was finishing her law degree) and I started brainstorming about what we could do to use our talents to make a positive impact.
We gathered people from all walks of life that shared our passion, and started thinking about what we could do to increase environmental and social awareness in people’s daily routines, and as children of a dentist, we kept coming back to the idea of re-imagining the toothbrush.
We never set out to be entrepreneurs; we just knew that we wanted to make a difference in the world.
What makes the Bogobrush different from other toothbrushes?
Today’s toothbrushes are over-styled pieces of plastic that are going to be around for thousands of years after we throw them away. Bogobrush’s biodegradable design means that you can literally bury it in your backyard, and it will return safely to earth without the next generation having to worry.
From a functional perspective, today’s brushes are loaded with rubber grips, and shaped in a way that is really only comfortable to hold in one or two positions. The way we brush our teeth however requires constant movement of the brush in our hand, so with Bogobrush we got rid of all the useless grips and gimmicks, and were left with a pure form that will fit in any hand, and comfortably reach any part of the mouth.
Why make a socially responsible toothbrush?
There are over 80 million people in the USA alone who lack basic access to oral care. Without a healthy mouth, there are dramatic consequences in nutrition and overall well-being. Supplying toothbrushes to those in need is just one small step towards addressing the issue, and we believe that if we can get people to truly care about the social mission of their toothbrush, it could be the start of something even bigger.
How will the brushes be distributed to those in need?
The donations of Bogobrushes to our partners will mean that they can focus on doing what they do best, providing care to those most in need in our communities. And instead of spending their resources buying toothbrushes to distribute, we can help meet their need with a beautiful product that we hope will make people excited about brushing their teeth.
Tell us a little bit about the development.
We brushed our teeth with everything from boar’s hair bristles, all the way to $300 electric gadgets. After talking with dentists and looking at studies, we realized that, more than any special sonic bristle, or expensive gimmick, just about the only thing that improved a brush’s efficacy was whether or not people cared enough about their brush to take the proper time to brush twice a day. So we set out to create a toothbrush that people could care about not because it cost them a fortune, but because it was doing good for people in need and our environment.
How many tries did it take to get it right?
We have a big box full of sketches, prototypes, and mockups that just weren’t quite right. We thought the product you use to start your day and finish your night deserved the same perfecting attention to detail as an iPhone.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:59
Category: Breaking News Written by The Root
(The Root) -- Though President Obama's re-election was widely celebrated in the black community, and his victory attributed to the overwhelming support he enjoyed among black voters, there was another victory on Nov. 6 -- credited at least in part to black voters -- that has not received nearly as much attention.
Same-sex marriage was approved in ballot measures in three states, including Maryland. According to exit polls, black voters played a significant role in the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland: Twenty-nine percent of its population is African American, and 46 percent of them voted in support of same-sex marriage.
But an analysis of national data shows that despite high-profile support from African-American men like President Obama and Jay-Z, political support within the black community for legalizing same-sex marriage is being driven largely by women. The Washington Post notes that nationally, 59 percent of black women now support gay marriage, compared with 42 percent of black men, which the Post terms "a huge gender gap."
While this gender gap is not limited to the black community, with predominantly white states like Maine reporting one, too, the gap is more pronounced among African Americans.
In an interview with The Root, Aisha Moodie-Mills, an adviser on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) policy and racial justice at the Center for American Progress, said that she is not surprised there exists a notable gender gap on the issue of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in general. But Moodie-Mills insisted that the issue is far more complex than just blaming traditional homophobia.
"I think we see in African-American culture -- art, pop culture [and] music -- a level of misogyny and heterosexism that is embedded in culture," she said. "As a result of this hypermasculinity, there is discomfort among men with anything that does not fit strict gender-conforming lines."
Moodie-Mills explained that in her experience, many black men are uncomfortable not only with the idea of a man identifying as gay but even with a man identifying as heterosexual but choosing to get a manicure -- something that has been described as metrosexual. She compared this to the discomfort some black men may feel with a woman they are in a relationship with earning more money than they do. "I think it's bigger than just marriage equality," she explained. "In our community we struggle with gender parity and what masculinity and femininity are supposed to look like."
She continued, "We have hip-hop perpetuating misogyny, and we have Tyler Perry perpetuating [stereotypes of blue- and white-collar] masculinity [for the] dominant head of household, and skewing how black men and women see each other and see masculinity. Those rigid ideas of masculinity don't allow for the fluidity that is sexuality. That's how people get stuck on LGBT issues, because they think, 'That behavior doesn't fit with my idea of being a black man, so I can't get down with that.' "
Moodie-Mills posited that this could in part be a reaction to our community's complicated history, one in which many black women have assumed the role of head of household, while black men have found their very existence and their manhood attacked.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the African-American LGBT-rights group the National Black Justice Coalition, echoed this sentiment. "Historically, black manhood and masculinity have been under attack systematically and socially. Anything that doesn't fit within that box of what it means to be a man -- specifically a black man -- is seen as a threat, and many black brothers want nothing to do with it."
Moodie-Mills also suggested that something is likely at play that can't be overlooked. "Women in our community are often the nurturers."
Mental-health expert Dr. Jeffrey Gardere concurred. "My clinical opinion is that women -- and in this case black women -- are more maternal [than men]," he said. "Where there may be some men who may have significant issues with the sexuality of their children, women give birth to these children. That is an unbreakable bond which leads to quicker acceptance of the child, no matter what the situation may be."
He added this: "It is my experience that black men are becoming more progressive and accepting of their children being gay, bisexual or transgender, even if it is a major issue for them earlier on when they learn of it."
When asked for solutions on how to encourage more black men to become progressive on LGBT rights, thereby closing the gender gap, Lettman-Hicks offered, "More black, male allies need to come out and stand up for their brothers." In other words, it's not enough for the Don Lemons and Frank Oceans of the world to come out as gay. More Jay-Zs need to "come out" as supportive of the LGBT community.
Moodie-Mills had another suggestion. Regarding misogyny within the black community, she said, "I think the faith community perpetuates it in a lot of ways." She noted that many black churches are still "predicated on a pastor being king."
While she is not critical of the church itself, she did note that the idea of one man being dominant over a congregation or community, and the idea that men must be a certain way to be real men -- including being dominant over women and dominant in the culture in general -- is a notion that many black churches continue to perpetuate. "Until we challenge this, we are going to keep seeing this gender split on LGBT issues," she said.
Lettman-Hicks noted that celebrating those who have the courage to challenge gender-based stereotypes is also key. "Black women need to laud black men, gay and heterosexual, who turn gender binaries, stereotypes and roles on their heads. There isn't one way to be a black man. And black gay, bisexual and transgender men are black, too. They are your brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, co-workers and friends, and should be free to live authentically and proud of who they are."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:31
Category: Breaking News Written by Jenée Desmond-Harris
At this point in time more than ever, the GOP's racist, racialized, coded -- take your pick -- statements about minorities are more embarrassing for the speaker than they are for the people they criticize with inaccurate blanket generalizations.
But don't tell that to Bill O'Reilly, who is still refining his theory about why black and Latino voters turned out for President Obama. (His last stab at it was that Obama voters "feel that they are entitled to things.") Here's what he said last night about people of color failing to understand "American values." From Think Progress:
If you look at the exit polling, you'll see that a coalition of voters put the President back into the oval office. That coalition was non-tradition, which means it veered away from things like traditional marriage, robust capitalism, and self reliance. Instead, each constituency that voted for the President -- whether it be single women, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, whatever -- had very specific reasons for doing so ...
Traditional American voters generally want a smaller government in Washington, more local control, some oversight on abortion, and believe in American exceptionalism.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:29
Category: Breaking News Written by The Grio
A new NAACP report shines a light on the many coal power plants dotting the silhouettes of major American cities. Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People addresses the issue of coal-fired power plant pollution and its disproportionate impact on communities of color.
The grassroots groups Indigenous Environmental Network and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization partnered with lead researcher and author Adrian Wilson and several other contributors to create this study. This coalition scored, graded, and ranked the nation’s coal power plants based on the impact of each plant’s pollution output on the health, economics, and environment of nearby neighborhoods.
Its findings show that of the six million people living within three miles of our nation’s 378 coal power plants, these citizens have an average per capita income of $18,400 per year. Communities of color represent 39 percent of this group, according to the report.
The top ten coal-energy producing states have an average lung cancer rate of 98.3 per 100,000 people, or 19 percent higher than the U.S. average; the bottom ten states have an average lung cancer rate of 77.2 per 100,000 — nearly 7 percent lower than the national average, according to a 2006 report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For residents in states such as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, which were found to have eight of 12 “worst offending” coal plants according to Coal Blooded, these facts might prove alarming.
Yet, the NAACP has had difficulty conveying the disturbing nature of this portrait to this segment of the energy industry. “The biggest obstacle has been the refusal by coal companies to acknowledge, much less address, the significance of the toxins the plants are putting into the air,” Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program, told theGrio. “Instead, they will obstinately deny that these toxins are affecting human health and will deny the contribution to our carbon dioxide load or even deny the impact of carbon dioxide on climate change.”
Much of the information available on this environmental justice issue is not geared towards the “average person,” said Patterson. To remedy this, the Coal Blooded report will serve as the launching point for a campaign to address coal power plant pollution, including youth-friendly toolkits.
“It’s very easy right now to talk about climate change as something that is theoretical, to talk about the dirtiness caused by coal plants as something that is aesthetic,” NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous told The Daily Climate. “But when you … actually meet with people in these communities, the stories that they tell you – about their children’s lives being diminished, about older people in the communities lives being shortened by the presence of these plants – are disturbing.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 16:15
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - If you’re ready for some racing, tickets for the 2013 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix go on sale Tuesday.
Tickets for the Grand Prix, which takes place May 31-June 2, can be purchased by visiting www.DetroitGP.com or by calling the ticket hotline at 866-464-7749.
Free Prix Day, a Grand Prix tradition in Detroit, will return in 2013 as everyone will be admitted to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park venue free of charge on Friday, May 31. Single-day tickets can be purchased for as little as $25 for a general admission seat and two-day general admission tickets are available for $45. Children 12 and under are admitted free to GA seating with a ticket-holding adult.
Two-day reserved grandstand tickets can be purchased for as little as $70 and premium seating options are also available. Fans can also buy the Three-day Super Ticket plan which features premiere seating and paddock passes for all three days of the Grand Prix.
Penske racing owner, Roger Penske, said races on Saturday and Sunday will be televised nationally.
“To me, the exposure for the city, and letting people come down and have a day that they can count on each year will be important to build this event to world-class, so we’re excited,” Penske told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.
Penske said they’ve spent time and money fixing parts of the track that caused issues during this year’s races.
“In all the places where we had the problems with the pavement coming up, they’ve been changed,” he said.
And IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power will be on hand Tuesday to drive members of the media on the new track.
“We’re going to go around and show the new track, its extended a little bit more, we fixed a problem that we had last year, there’s 80,000 square feet of surface,” said Castroneves.
“It’s definitely going to be better. There will be more passing, it’s smoother and faster, so I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel,” said Power.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.DetroitGP.com or call 866-464-7749.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:40
Category: Breaking News Written by Abdul Sada
With the appointment of Captain Steven Griffith to lead the West 126th Street’s 26th precinct, Harlem’s police precincts are now under the command of African-American NYPD officers for the first time ever.
Captain Griffith joins Deputy Inspector Kevin Williams of the 28th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Ruel Stephenson of the 30th Precinct and Inspector Rodney Harrison of the 32nd Precinct.
According to DNAinfo, the historic milestone, which has been hailed as evidence of diversity in the NYPD, is however open to skepticism by some of the department’s veterans.
“Is any of this all an accident? … Or is it a reaction to the department’s problems over stop and frisk and other community issues?” said an unnamed black police official in an interview with DNAinfo.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who appointed the first African-American New York City Police Commissioner back in 1984 said, “It is terrific that the force has now probably doubled in terms of minorities, which gives the commissioner the authority to select captains and above in larger numbers.”
Koch added, “There is no question you want to expand the number of African-Americans in leadership positions, and no question black communities will respond with a greater sense of security to a black commanding officer than to a white one.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:29
Category: Breaking News Written by The Grio
Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who for decades has brought the beloved character Elmo to life on Sesame Street, is officially leaving the show in midst of allegations that has had sexual relationships with underage boys.
Clash is leaving the show after 28 seasons because the accusations, which he has vehemently denied, are a “distraction.”
The performer had previously been on an extended leave of absence from the show.
When the initial claims were reported, Sesame Street stood by Clash but also suggested that his departure would not effect the future of Elmo.
“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of Sesame Street to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement.
The Clash resignation comes on the heels of TMZ reports that his first accuser was paid off to recant his story and that a second accuser has come forward, alleging he had a relationship with Clash when he was only 15 years old.
That accuser, who has been identified as Cecil Singleton, filed a lawsuit against Clash on Tuesday.
Sesame Workshop released this statement today in reaction to Clash’s departure:
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:17
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) - The 86th America’s Thanksgiving Parade, one of the country’s oldest and most celebrated parades, will kick-off on the corner of Woodward and Mack on Thursday, November 22 at 10 a.m. and end at Woodward Avenue and Congress in downtown Detroit.
Then called the Thanksgiving Detroit Parade, the event was first broadcast in 1931 on radio station WWJ.
2012 Parade Who’s Who
Grand Marshals Congressman John Dingell and Debbie Dingell
2012 USA Olympic Champions
• Alex Morgan-US Women’s National Soccer Team, 2012 Olympic gold medalist
• Nathan Adrian-American swimmer, record holder and three-time Olympic medalist
• Allison Schmitt-American swimmer and six time Olympic medalist
• Tucker Dupree-One of the top blind swimmers in America, gold medalist and record holder
• Peter Vanderkaay-American swimmer and four-time Olympic gold medalist
• Tyler Clary-American swimmer, Olympic gold medalist and Olympic record holder
• Ashanti-Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, actor and author
• Ray Scott-Detroit Pistons great and Michigan Sports Hall of Famer
• Jason Earles-Actor and comedian known for his roles in Disney’s Hanna Montana & Kickin’ It
• Mateen Cleaves-Michigan State University’s only three-time All-American in basketball
• Dave Hester-Reality TV star of A&E’s Storage Wars
• Lomas Brown-Detroit Lions’ great and one of the NFL’s premier offensive tackles
• Miss Michigan America Angela Venditti
• Santa Claus
• Miss Michigan USA Jaclyn Schultz
• Strawberry Shortcake
• Despicable Me II Minions
•And everyone’s favorite … Santa Claus
Other highlights of the event include the 30th annual Turkey Trot, Michigan’s largest 10K run paced for record numbers this year with 20,000 participants expected. The race also includes the 7th Annual Strategic Staffing Solutions Stuffing Strut (5K) and 10th Annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mashed Potato Mile. (Please note: Grandstand seat tickets for the parade are sold out).
Coming & Going
If you plan to drive anywhere near Woodward on Wednesday or Thursday you might want to check this list of street closures.
The best way to get down to the route is to use the park and ride shuttle. Park your vehicles and ride a DDOT shuttle starting at 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Parking is free at the following park and ride locations.
Eastland Mall (Beaconsfield entrance) – arrives downtown at Library between Gratiot and Grand River
Fairlane Mall – arrives downtown at Adams Street at Clifford
Northland Mall (Greenfield entrance) – arrives downtown at Adams Street at Clifford
Fares: (exact change please!)
Adult: $2 each way
Youth: (18 years and under) – $1 each way
Children: (under age 5 or 44 inches tall) – Free (limit three, accompanied by an adult)
Recommended parking areas:
Cadillac Farmer $10
6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Ford Underground Garage $10
30 East Jefferson
5 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Joe Louis Arena Garage $5
900 W. Jefferson
4:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The parade starts on Woodward North of Henry and travels through downtown to Jefferson Ave.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:50
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Arson investigators in Detroit are working to find the cause of a deadly house fire on the city’s west side.
The fire happened just after 12 a.m. Tuesday on Monte Vista Street, near Schoolcraft and I-96.
Fire officials told WWJ Newsradio 950 one man was killed and it appears he died from burns and smoke inhalation. The victim’s identity has not yet been released.
Reports say the man’s sister had talked with him about 20 minutes before he was killed. An autopsy is being conducted.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 09:11
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