Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
It’s been called a trendsetter in the history of presidential book publishing as Global Mark Makers (www.globalmarkmakers.com) publishing group in Iowa, announces a six-part series on the Obama presidency written by Bankole Thompson, senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle, and the selection of Bob Weiner, former White House spokesperson during the Bill Clinton administration, to write the epilogue to the second title of the series “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” due in October of this year.
Weiner, former press secretary at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton administration, said, “I am honored to be invited to write the epilogue to Bankole Thompson’s latest book on religion and politics. The abuse of religion by the right is scary for America. God belongs to no party and no candidate. Claiming religious principles for ‘life’ but cutting programs for the poor is about as far from the point of religion as one can be.”
Weiner added, “Rick Perry’s recent pray-in days before his presidential campaign ‘announcement’ and then saying Social Security and Medicare violently violate the Constitution, and Michele Bachman’s revealing that she supposedly makes all her decisions based on her religion while she wants to take health care from those who now have it, show the danger of allowing abuse of the mantle of religion.”
Weiner, who recently was the director of the Daily Press Briefing Room at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, served as a top aide and spokesman to a litany of Washington political figures including the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Congressmen Charles Rangel, John Conyers, Ed Koch and Claude Pepper.
“Bob Weiner is no doubt a man with remarkable experiential insight into the intersection of faith, politics and governance and how such dynamic intersection affects America’s mainstream and middle class,” notes Global Mark Makers CEO C. Paschal Eze.
The interview-based book, the prologue of which is written by Bishop P.A. Brooks, First Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ Inc., is scoring the opinions of Christians about President Obama’s performance in office across a myriad of issues. The book examines the politics of the evangelical right and explores an important question: If President Obama were White, would anyone in the evangelical right question his faith?
Individuals from around the country interviewed in the book include Rogelio Orta of the Latino Christian Business Network, Hyepin Im of the Korean Churches for Community Development, Christian author TN Williams, education advocate Dr. Brenda Lewis, attorney Kathleen Weidner, a self-described “recovering Catholic,” Cordell Uzonwanne an IT consultant, Republican strategist Paul Welday, and Bishop Charles Ellis, Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), among others.
The remaining titles in Thompson’s six-part series on the Obama presidency include “Obama and Jewish Loyalty (January 2012), “Obama and Black Disloyalty: Deconstructing Prominent Blacks Against Obama” (April 2012), “Obama and Hispanic Loyalty” (July 2012) and “Obama and American Loyalty” (October 2012).
“The uniqueness of the Obama book series lies not only in the fact that it is in six parts, all published within four years of a historic presidential administration and written by one author, but also the fact that it is interview-based, sourcing meaningful ideas from people both from at the top and middle of society, different ethnic ecologies and political persuasions,” Global Mark Makers said.
Bishop Brooks, in the prologue to “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” said, “The test of true Christian loyalty lies is in the one’s devotion to God and humanity that ‘Christianess’ is proved. For this reason, I am so thankful for the scope of this book.”
The book will be launched Nov. 12 in Detroit.
Thompson’s previous book was titled “Obama and Black Loyalty, Vol. 1.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:24
Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
The General Motors Foundation and Chevrolet will serve as the dedication chair; dedication co-chair is The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation; and dedication vice chairs include Aetna, Boeing, BP, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, GE McDonalds, Travelers, and Wal- Mart Stores for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy, George Lucas, Jamie Foxx and Clarence Avant will serve as celebrity co-chairs. The memorial, the first on the National Mall to honor a man of peace, hope and color, will be dedicated on Aug. 28 in a West Potomac Park ceremony on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Members of the King family, civil rights leaders including Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andy Young, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev. Joseph Lowery and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will play roles in several events in the nation’s capital to celebrate the memorial’s dedication Aug. 24 through 28. Former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, General Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, Dr. Maya Angelou, Alpha Phi Alpha general president Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., Tommy Hilfiger, General Motors chairman and CEO Dan Aker son, leaders of the faith-based community and others will participate in Dedication Week events. President Barack Obama will give remarks during the Aug. 28 dedication ceremony.
Located on the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial creates a visual line of leadership between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
The memorial will be an engaging landscape experience conveying four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life — democracy, justice, hope and love — and features the use of natural elements including water, stone and trees.
A 450-foot inscription wall will feature more than a dozen Dr. King quotes engraved into granite to serve as a lasting testament and reminder of Dr. King’s humanitarian vision. The memorial will include the “Mountain of Despair” and the “Stone of Hope,” which will feature a 30-foot sculpture of Dr. King.
“We deeply appreciate the support of Stevie, Aretha, Berry, George, Jamie and Clarence, leaders from the entertainment community who believe in and portray Dr. King’s universal messages of democracy, hope, justice and love,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
“The dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial has been long-awaited, and people from around the world are coming to experience this tremendous, historic moment. We are excited to welcome them all.”
A pre-dedication program will commence at 8:45 a.m. and a post-dedication concert will follow the ceremony.
Dedication Week events include:
• Honoring Global Leaders for Peace International Salute Gala: In celebration of Dr. King’s quest for worldwide equality and peace and in tribute to international leaders who share that commitment.
• Honoring Past, Present Future Pioneers Civil Rights Pioneers Luncheon: In recognition of those who dared to stand with Dr. King, those who dare to stand for the dream today, and those who dare future generations to continue to stand for social justice and equality.
• Partners in the Dream Public Expo: Information booths, performances, and a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., free and open to the public.
• The Message in the Music Concert of Civil Rights Era Music: Entertainment artists will perform legendary sounds of the Civil Rights Movement inspiring hope, strength and change.
• Women Who Dare to Dream Luncheon Honoring Women Civil Rights Leaders: Honoring the women of the Civil Rights Movement whose legacy of strength and dignity continues to inspire hope and special tribute to Coretta Scott King.
• Interfaith Prayer Service: In recognition of faith as a guiding source for Dr. King’s mission, life, and legacy.
• Dream Keepers Encouraging Future Leaders Youth Symposium: Afternoon forum inspiring youth to spread Dr. King’s universal, timeless messages and to live to their potential.
• The Celebration Dream Gala: A gala salute and momentous celebration honoring those whose support has made the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial a reality.
About the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is being completed on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
Congress passed a joint resolution in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring Dr. King. The Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Memorial will be dedicated on Aug. 28, 2011. McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company / Tompkins Builders, Inc./Gilford Corporation Joint Venture serves as the Design-Build Team.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.buildthedream.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 17:17
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
The public and the music industry were shocked and saddened by news of the passing of Nick Ashford, half of the prolific Nick Ashford-Valerie Simpson songwriting, producing and performing team.
On Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, one of the greatest songwriters in the history of recorded music was lost with the passing of Nickolas Ashford, half of the prolific husband and wife team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.
Ashford, who was, somewhat surprisingly, 69 years old, lost a courageous battle with throat cancer.
Ashford and Simpson, who had been married for nearly four decades and were one of the industry’s most admired couples, both for the sincerity of their relationship and its duration, composed some of the greatest and most loved songs of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
Among the most noteworthy was the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” first a smash for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and then, with a completely different arrangement, for Diana Ross.
Also, “I’m Every Woman” (Chaka Khan), “Your Precious Love,” “You’re All I Need To Get By” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “The Boss” (Diana Ross) and the less often remembered “Destination Anywhere” (the Marvelettes).
In addition, as Ashford & Simpson they scored with many hits of their own, including “It Seems to Hang On,” “Don’t Cost You Nothing,” “Street Corner,” ““Is It Still Good to Ya?” and, especially, “Solid.”
Their first major success was an unusual song recorded by Ray Charles titled “Let’s Got Get Stoned,” that reached No. 1 on national R&B charts in 1966 and went Top 40 Pop.
Shortly thereafter, they came to the attention of Motown Record Corp. and were chosen to write and produced the first solo records by Diana Ross who had just left the Supremes.
They left Motown in 1974, signing first with Warner Bros. and then Capitol.
Among the other artists who have recorded their songs are Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Deniece Williams, Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau and Randy Crawford.
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who met at White Rock Baptist Church in New York, were voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
In addition to his wife, Nickolas Ashford’s survivors include their two daughters. — SVH
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2011 16:15
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
It is doubtful that anyone, no matter how altruistic, is any more in love with Detroit or more concerned with helping those in need than KEM. It’s a matter of giving back in the most real sense of the often talked about but not always practiced concept.
“The city’s been good to me,” said KEM in a phone interview without detailing his own past from the dark side of life. “I want to help organizations like Detroit Rescue Mission, Neighborhood Service Organization and others like them that helped me. They lifted me in my time of need, so we do what we can so they will have the resources to continue to reach out to help others.”
The event, taking place on Sunday, Aug. 28, is officially titled “KEM Live @ Mack & Third: A Call to Service.” (No, Cass Park is not on Mack and Third, the area where many homeless and drug-addicted people reside. It is located across the street from Masonic Temple, boarded by Ledyard, Second and Temple in Midtown.)
“A Call to Service” is an all-day event that starts at 1 p.m.
The first such free concert, in 2009, drew a massive crowd, there to have a good time for
a worthy cause — providing meals and canned goods and more to those in need. And because of the shaky economy, the number of needy has increased.
Interestingly, Cass Park has long been known for the multitude of illegal activities that go on there. However, in preparation for the 2009 concert, the benches were removed. Afterwards they were not replaced, thus reducing the number of unsavory characters hanging out and doing business there.
“I didn’t know that,” said KEM.
The park is not likely to ever become family friendly, but any improvement is appreciated.
The magnitude of the success of that first concert was gratifying for all parties involved and a pleasant surprise because, as KEM put it, “We really didn’t know what to expect.”
KEM knew he wanted this to be an ongoing event based on that success but as it turned out, there wasn’t time to stage a 2010 event properly, so the decision was made to wait until the following year.
The most surprising aspect of “KEM Live @ Mack & Third: A Call to Service” is that the special guest will be none other than Morris Day & the Time, whose style and music are drastically different from KEM’s mellow, laid back style and jazz-tinged music.
The Morris Day & the Time choice was for a good reason: KEM “wants this to be a party,” the group was available, plus they had worked together on a Tom Joyner cruise. He offers assurance that in addition to him doing his best, the audience will be able “to get their ‘Jungle Love’ on.”
KEM will, of course, perform a generous number of songs from his three certified Gold albums, “Kemistry,” “Album II” and “Intimacy: Album III,” along with some surprises. (Work has begun on his fourth album.)
In addition to the music, there will be food and merchandise provided by vendors, free health screenings and prizes.
On a lighter note, KEM, who is so grateful to be living his dream, has had the opportunity to meet many of the artists he admires, including Jill Scott, Adele, Pat Metheny, Fred Hammond, Sting, Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan.
“I get star-struck all the time,” he acknowledged.
Those interested in making a donation, volunteering, or being a sponsor or a vendor are invited to visit www.mackandthird.org. You could win a free two-year lease on a Chevy vehicle.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:33
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
On Sunday Aug. 28, the world will witness a major chapter in American history: a man who 40 years ago was vilified, even by members of the clergy, for calling on the conscience of the nation to rise against Jim Crow and other forms of human indignity that African Americans were subjected to, will finally join the pantheon of architects of American history like George Washington when the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is officially dedicated in West Potomac Park in the nation’s capital.
For the young Baptist preacher from Atlanta who rose out of a conviction to lead a movement to challenge injustice and oppression, the honor that will be bestowed on him in Washington this week can best be captured in the Biblical phrase, “The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
King was seeking to build America. He believed that America was
greater than it was and that those who were spewing hatred with their lips “dripping with the words of interposition and nullification” did not know any better. They needed to be cured while the movement tackled oppression in a nonviolent way.
He was not a perfect man, but he carried with him a powerful moral force that could compel even those who did not agree with his views to listen. He always placed the movement ahead of his own personal benefit and that was demonstrated when he donated his Nobel Prize gift to the Civil Rights Movement.
In doing so, King taught us that fighting for human dignity and sounding the alarm about the grinding poverty that had entrapped innocent Blacks and non-Blacks alike required a sacrificial approach. That anyone who dares to be a voice for the poor and underserved must first show an example of how personally committed they are.
On Dec. 10, 1964, King went to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize that would later designate him as America’s premier peace officer.
In his acceptance speech he questioned why the prize was being given to him and a movement that was in a battle that had yet to win the peace that was being sought, the essence of the prize.
“The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are traveling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super highway of justice as Negro and White men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems,” King said.
In Oslo King continued, “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events, which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
King was determined, and four decades later he is been vindicated by a political system that was in conflict with him. A system that was visibly disturbed with his famous 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” in which he used his moral authority as a minister of the gospel at the Riverside church in New York to question the war.
“We were taking the Black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem,” King said. “And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and White boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.”
King was concerned about justice and the underprivileged and it came out very clearly during his prophetic mission on earth.
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” was how King summed up his view of justice and why he was unrelenting in his fight against oppression.
It is important to understand King’s prophetic calling in our current social and political context to see why he did what he did with courage and fearlessness.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his book “The Prophets” writes that “the distinction of the prophets was in their remorseless unveiling of injustice and oppression, in their comprehension of social, political and religious evils. They are not concerned with the definition, but with the predicament, of justice, with the fact that those called upon to apply it defied it. The urgency of justice was an urgency of aiding and saving the victims of oppression.”
Heschel’s succinct explanation of the role of the prophets reflected in the life of King provides a searchlight for our today’s political leaders and pastors who claim inspiration from King.
Many of them say they look up to King but how many are actually following his work?
How many are setting an example like the one he left for us?
Aside from the statue that will be unveiled in Washington, what kind of pragmatic everyday memorial are our leaders willing to build to honor his life?
If we care about the poor as he did, what specifically have we done to address the widening gap between the rich and the poor?
If we want to be “Kingian” in tackling the inherent problems in our political system, we will not just talk, but demonstrate real action to address the economic malaise we are in.
King paid his dues. It is up to to us to make the dream come true.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:21
Category: Top News Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
President Barack Obama on Monday declared a major disaster exists in the State of Tennessee and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds on April 4.
Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds in the counties of Chester, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Henderson, Humphreys, Lake, Shelby, and Sumner.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named W. Montague Winfield as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi River was expected to crest at 48 feet in Memphis on Tuesday, with officials warning that the crest does not signal the end of danger. read more
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 12:02
Category: Top News Written by Danton Wilson
It's official: The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is going to school.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:09
Category: Top News Written by Damon Keith
My friends Maureen and Roy Roberts have just made a significant investment in our community. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has named a gallery of contemporary African American Art after Maureen and Roy in honor of their recent substantial gift to the DIA. This is one of the first times a gallery in a major fine arts museum has been named for African Americans. “We have this legacy with our children, to whom we’ve instilled the values of education, working hard and giving back. We are happy to celebrate this milestone with them,” says Roy.
The DIA is the only encyclopedia fine arts museum in the world with a curatorial department devoted to African American Art. The Maureen & Roy S. Roberts gallery is one in a suite that chronicles the development of African American Art, and features works by such prominent artists as Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Alvin Loving, Richard Hunt, William T. Williams and Charles McGee, among others.
The curatorial department, named the General Motors Center for African American Art, was established in 2000 and Valerie Mercer, formerly senior curator at the Studio Museum of Harlem, was hired as its department heat in 2001. The DIA also features works by 18th and 19th- century African American artists in the American art wing, as well as African American works interspersed throughout the contemporary art galleries.
For more than 20 years, Maureen’s career focused on nursing and health care. She studied at the former Mercy Central School of Nursing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and became a registered nurse. She subsequently earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and a Master of Arts in Health Education and Occupational Education from the University of Michigan. She was a supervisor of Health Education and Health Services for the Grand Rapids Public School District, and was a coordinator in the Corneal Transplant Program for the Michigan Eye Bank.
Mrs. Roberts served on the boards of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Visiting Nurses Association and was active in the DIA’s Volunteer Information Committee for several years. She was a co-chair for the museum’s annual gala fundraiser, Under the Stars.
Roy, a retired General Motors (GM) group vice president and philanthropist, brought hard work, integrity and service to his distinguished career. He received a business degree from Western Michigan University, and began his career in 1977 at General Motors Diesel Equipment Division as a salaried employee in training – one of the smartest hires GM ever made!
After moving through various positions of greater and greater responsibility, in 1983 Roy was promoted to the significant position of plant manager of the General Motors Tarrytown (New York) Assembly Plant. He made it his business to understand every aspect of building a car – including the myriad elements of successfully managing several thousand employees through leadership, trust and respect. Four years later, Roy was promoted to vice president of GM’s Personnel Administration and Development Staff. After leaving GM in 1988 to become vice president and chief operating officer for Navistar International Corporation, Roy was recruited back to General Motors to major manufacturing positions leading up to his being named Group Vice President with responsibility for GM’s Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Group – the highest position held by an African American at GM.
Following his retirement in 2000, Roy became managing director and co-founding member of the successful private-equity investment firm Reliant Equity Investors. He served on the board of directors of the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, and is a board member of Abbott Laboratories and Enova Systems Corp. Leadership, diligence and hard work characterize every aspect of his rise through the ranks of the business world.
Valuing the importance of his own education, Roy served as a trustee of his alma mater, Western Michigan University and is now a trustee emeritus. He served as president of the Boy Scouts of America National Board of Directors. He also was President of the Grand Rapids NAACP and a Board Member of the Morehouse School of Medicine, the United Negro College Fund, Aspen Institute and National Urban League. Roberts was recently named a Detroit Urban League Distinguished Warrior.
In addition to their DIA gift, the Roberts’ philanthropy extends to other cultural and educational organizations as well. They were major contributors to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History when that museum was fighting for its survival, and have given generously over the years to the United Negro College Fund, Western Michigan University, Urban League and the NAACP.
Maureen and Roy are again showing their leadership with this important gift to the DIA – one of the top five encyclopedia art museums in the United States. “Maureen and I have always loved the arts and realize the cultural importance of museums like the DIA, both to our community and for future generations,” said Roy. “You can’t have a world-class city without world-class art.” Maureen and Roy believe that art should be for everyone, everywhere and forever.
While the Roberts gift is generous and substantial, the DIA must continue to raise significant funds to achieve financial stability. Some of you might ask, “Why the DIA?” Throughout their careers, Maureen and Roy have been trailblazers. They have always had the foresight to focus on the big picture, to make connections that help people grow in their careers, personally, and spiritually. They believe that art helps us see into the soul of a culture, and that exposure to art from various world cultures will result in more tolerance and self-awareness – one of the best legacies any of us could leave to our future generations.
The Roberts are leading by example and have been involved with the DIA for many years. Like the Roberts, if we want to keep the DIA as a leading source of pride for our community, we must all do our part. We must demonstrate the strength and conviction to support the institutions that hold our city together – that constitute our source of communal pride.
Damon J. Keith is the senior judge of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 12:02
Category: Top News Written by Erica Taylor
Sam Nzima is an award-winning photographer from Pretoria, South Africa, who is best known for his iconic photo taken June 16 1976 during the infamous Soweto uprising.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:09
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