Archives for May 2010
Washington—On Friday morning, May 28, President Barack Obama will travel from Chicago to the Louisiana Gulf Coast to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Administration has mobilized one of the largest responses to a catastrophic event in history, with more than 1,200 vessels in the region and more than 22,000 people, including many of the brightest scientific minds from both the public and private sector, working around the clock to mitigate the oil’s impact.
County Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs announced today that she has an exploratory committee seeking information and support as she looks at running for the seat recently vacate by State Representative Annette Polly Williams.
Elizabeth Coggs was elected and has served as 10th District Supervisor since 1988 and was re-elected in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Supervisor Coggs is currently Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee and a member of the Health and Human Needs Committee and Parks, Energy and Environment Committee. From 1996 to 2000 she was the Second Vice Chair of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, the first person of color and first female to be elected to this position by her peers.
Supervisor Coggs is a graduate of Lincoln High School and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is also an alumna of Future Milwaukee.
She continues the legacy of politics as a family tradition. Her father, Isaac N. Coggs, was one of the first African-Americans elected to the State Legislature in 1952 and the Milwaukee County Board in 1964. Her mother, Marcia P. Coggs, was the first African-American woman elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1976. Presently tow cousins serve in State Government: State Representative Leon D. Young and State Senator G. Spencer Coggs
Supervisor Coggs values her roots and upbringing and appreciates the community for upholding the accomplishments of her parents by the naming of the Isaac N. Coggs Community Health Connection in 1987 and the naming of the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center and the D.J. Young/Marcia P. Coggs Academy in 2004. These facilities uphold the visionary legacy of her ancestors: giving back to the community to better the quality of life.
Supervisor Coggs has served as Chairman of the Combined Community Services Board for the past four years. She is also a member of the National Association of County Officials and the National Organization of Black County Officials. She’s also a member of the Leaders Forum and the Historic Concordia Neighborhood Association.
She has a lifetime of involvement in the Milwaukee community. She is founder of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Back to School Festival, Chairman of Vision for Vliet, and a member of the Milwaukee Urban League Guild, NAACP and Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God In Christ.
Elizabeth is the dedicated mother of Priscilla, Chloé and Devona and grandmother to Solomon Kingston. She and her family attend Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God In Christ. Supervisor Coggs lives by the motto of “God first, then family and community” and believes in the power of “Faith, Hope & Harmony.”
Her committee will be making an official announcement on June 1, 2010 regarding her election for State Representative of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Detroit, MI (BlackNews.com) –- The young adult novel, The Magic Pencil, explores the nuances of language many African Americans may use when communicating within varying situations. This practice — known as code-switching — is not unique to African Americans but it has attracted much attention and discussion in the academic world of late.
Karen E. Dabney has taken this subject and crafted a compelling and entertaining story revolving around an inquisitive boy, a mysterious girl and a magic pencil.
In the story the children speak naturally to one another using Standard English, when necessary or desired, while demonstrating their ability to switch back and forth with little effort. The result is a gentle education for those who have preconceived notions regarding the users of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also known as “Ebonics”.
AAVE has a long history that began when the first enslaved Africans were brought to the United States. They had to develop ways to communicate verbally with each other due to speaking differing dialects and languages. This task, coupled with learning how to communicate with the white slave owners, required skill and patience. The result of the style with which the average enslaved person spoke displayed a new language complete with its own rules and consistencies.
The AAVE one hears today around the country is basically the same as its roots.
Readers of The Magic Pencil will come to understand that the characters who continually use AAVE are not any less intelligent than those who speak Standard English. This discovery is important in that it lifts the self-esteem of youth who may struggle with the latter’s correct usage.
They will find vindication while reading about others who live full lives and verbally share their feelings in what may be the reader’s home/first language.
Important lessons are also to be found in The Magic Pencil. The story imparts means and methods youth may employ to successfully navigate through the pitfalls they may encounter in life. Self-determination and reliance are fostered. The attainment of knowledge is lauded.
Ms. Dabney has created an important and magnetically didactic read!
For more information visit www.dabsandcompany.com
The most powerful way to break the cycle of poverty in our central city is through education, exposure, and empowerment. With these in mind, Upsilon Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (r) is sponsoring its fourth annual AKA Money Camp for Kids to provide financial literacy skills to Milwaukee youth.
Co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Library, Q. C. Holdings Companies, and Associated Bank, the camp will be held from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Monday, June 21st – Friday, June 25th, 2010 at the Washington Park Library located at 2121 North Sherman Blvd in Milwaukee. This enriching, unique, and much-needed camp for the Milwaukee area will be offered FREE of charge for 35 youth (ages 12-14) or youth who are entering grades 6 through 8 this fall semester.
The following workshops will be presented: budgeting, banking, investing, saving, career choices, and entrepreneurship. Field trips to area banks and local businesses are also planned. Students will learn techniques in goal setting, communication skills and effective presentation skills as they develop entrepreneurial projects during the week. Each year the camp is increasingly more successful and well-received by parents and students.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and applications are available at each city library, the Milwaukee Public Library website at www.mpl.org and on the sorority’s website www.akaumo.org . For further information, please contact Tammi Summers, President at [email protected] or Sandra Melcher, Chairperson at [email protected].
by Troy A. Sparks
When Milwaukee Vincent freshman Sedrick Washington wanted to try something new, he didn’t waste time.
He works just as hard on the track on three wheels as his two-legged teammates.
What separates Washington from the other Viking tracksters is the determination and effort at the events he competes. Washington often competes alone in his events as spectators and athletes cheer him on.
A car accident at 3 years old paralyzed Washington from the waist down. He uses a regular wheelchair to get around, but it takes him longer to complete a race in a wheelchair with one wheel in the front and two in the back.
Washington’s times are slow, but he’s trying a sport new to him. And he has at least four years to see where it takes him.
“I wanted to get a workout, get out there and make something happen,” Washington said.
Brief conversations by track coach Glen Gardiner, in his 15th year, persuaded Washington to try wheelchair racing.
“He’s brand new to it,” said Gardiner of Washington. “I just saw him in the hallways when I found out the wheelchair competition will be at the state meet. I just happened to see him in the hall when I found that out last fall and approached him. He seemed pretty open to it.
“About once a month, I would see him in the hall. I’m like, ‘Don’t forget, you’re coming out for track!’ He said, ‘I know, I know.’ He learns and I learn.”
When Washington is on the track racing, he must wear a helmet for safety reasons. It prevents him from a serious head injury.
“When (Washington) first got into that chair, the racing chair, he’s never been in it before,” Gardiner said. “And at the center of gravity, he found out that if you lean back too far, (he’ll tip over).”
Washington is using an old racing wheelchair, which is borrowed from someone in the MPS Recreation Department. It’s not quite the fit Washington is used to, but it’ll do.
Gardiner said there will be grant money available to purchase Washington his own chair that will make it more comfortable for him.
At the City Conference outdoor meet at Wisconsin Lutheran College, May 19, Washington was clocked at 25.68 seconds in the 100-meter dash. His time in the 400 was 1 minute 51.83 seconds and the 1600 time was 8:42.31.
And Gardiner threw Washington in the shot put event at the last minute.
“We showed him how to do that (day before meet),” Gardiner said, laughing. “I actually went on You Tube and found shot put video. I had to go online and look up the rules, and we went from there.”
Washington threw the shot 11-feet, 7 inches from his regular wheelchair.
The WIAA offered wheelchair racing in regular meets last year. They will feature it for the first time at the state meet. That was what motivated Washington to give the sport a try.
“I just want the experience of how regular people go to state,” he said.
In some meets, Washington was the only one on the track, but he competed at the Marquette High Invitational against a racer from West Bend West who, according to Gardiner, is one of the best in the state.
“(Washington) saw where he is now and where he could be,” Gardiner said.
At the state meet in LaCrosse, Washington will have plenty of company, about 8-10 boys and four girls. “They are gonna be there,” he said.
But for Washington to get to state, he needs to finish one or all the races he competes in at the sectional meet this week and follow the rules, which means making adjustments to the chair on his own during a race. It means trying to get up if the chair tips backwards or on the side. Any assistance by anyone else during a race is an automatic disqualification.
There are other kids who may give wheelchair racing a try in the future, but don’t call Washington a trendsetter for something he took a shot at.
“If (other kids) do get inspired, I did something,” Washington said.
Added Gardiner: “There are more kids like Sedrick that could compete. And we’d like to see them compete at conference. I know they’re out there, because the person that we borrowed the chair from has kids that he knows of that have played (wheelchair) basketball for him or competed in other things.”
Every member of the Vincent track team accepts Washington and will help him when needed.
“Kids on the team are awesome,” Gardiner said. “If (Washington) falls, they’re over there to help him up if I can’t get there before they get there.”
Washington has learned to not to make his disability a crutch. He hardly needs help with everyday routines. And he wants everyone to know that he can do things on his own.
Through wheelchair racing, Washington is making a giant leap. He’ll get practice through MPS recreation once a week, next year, to master the art of racing on a track.
by Brother Salim Adofo
On May 25th, 1963, thirty-one African heads of state met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The purpose of this historic coalition was to unite African nations, in order to regain political, social and economic control of the African continent from its European colonizers.
At this historic meeting, May 25th was declared African Liberation Day. Currently, it is celebrated the last Saturday in the month of May.
Understanding the importance of being organized, as well as African people in America being connected to Africans on the continent, Malcolm X organized the Organization of Afro American Unity (OAAU) in 1964.
The OAAU was formulated with the same principles in mind for Africans in America: to gain political, social & economic control of Black communities in America. These three principles are the basic tenants of the concept of Black Nationalism & Pan-Africanism.
African Liberation Day celebrations in America began May of 1972, in Washington D.C. Over 50,000 Black people came together to unify around the same principles of Black Nationalism & Pan Africanism that the OAU & Malcolm X espoused. For African Liberation Day and its purpose to continue to be effective it must be connected to the Hip Hop Generation.
Through the medium of Hip Hop and the economic principle of Black Nationalism (Black people creating their own businesses), music artists such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent & Sean “Diddy” Combs have built lucrative music empires. They have also been able to establish themselves in other areas of business such as film, clothing apparel, food & beverage.
During the “Golden Age of Hip Hop” the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, artist such as Queen Latifah, X-Clan, & Gang Starr, incorporated the social aspects of Black Nationalism (Black people using their traditional value system as a standard) into their lyrics and music videos.
This encouraged many young people to reflect African culture in their styles of dress, social settings and various forms of art. Young people were attending lectures by African scholars such as Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan and Dr. John Henrik Clarke, as oppose to “making it rain” or doing the “stank leg”. In recent times, the election of America’s first African in America president Barak Obama, could not have taken place had it not been for the influence of the Hip Hop generation. More people under the age of 40 voted in his election than any other election previously.
With these key elements of engagement, the Hip Hop generation has shown its ability to be an influential force. More importantly when the Hip Hop generation has worked with the Black Nationalist/Pan African Community it has shown that it can be a force that can move Black people, Black youth in particular, forward in a very energetic and productive manner. An example of this was scene at the 1998 Million Youth March in Harlem NY.
At the Million Youth March, over 25,000 young Black people from across the country came together to take a stand against police brutality, call for an end to “Black on Black crime” & become more politically educated.
The march, which was partially financed by one of the most popular Hip Hop stars of the time Master P, included DJ Kool Herc (one of the founding fathers of hip hop), recording artists Dead Prez, and Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party.
When the New York City Police Department (NYPD) chose to disrupt this call for unity, the Hip Hop generation took a position of self-determination, self-respect and self-defense. The Hip Hop generation defend and protected its’ elders & young from the racist attack of the NYPD.
It is this type of courage and political consciousness that the Hip Hop generation is lacking today and the National Black United Front (NBUF) is working diligently to correct this.
On May 22, 2010 the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Black United Front is sponsoring its annual African Liberation Day celebration. This years’ celebration will focus on uniting the Hip Hop generation and the Black Nationalist community.
NBUF has made it a priority to connect with the Hip Hop generation and provide them with the political consciousness necessary to make Hip Hop an instrument of liberation.
Activities for the day include student panel discussion, African Liberation Day youth talent show & African market place. Those residing in the Milwaukee area are encouraged to attend this celebration of family, community, culture and liberation.
Brother Salim Adofo is the Vice Chair for Organizing & Training with the National Black United Front (NBUF)
Movie Review: Just Wright
How do you make a movie that feels totally fresh despite the fact that it follows a fairly-transparent blueprint for a romantic comedy formula? Ask Sanaa Hamri, for not only did she first achieve this same feat back in 2006 with her directorial debut, Something New, but she’s now done it again with Just Wright, a syrupy-sweet love story guaranteed to leave you in tears as the closing credits roll, even though there’s never a doubt about how it will all end.
The picture stars Queen Latifah as Leslie Wright, a physical therapist and lifelong New Jersey Nets fan. She’s obsessed with the team because she was taken to their basketball games as a child by her father (James Pickens, Jr.) who raised her like the son he never had. Consequently, today the 35 year-old tomboy still goes to see them play regularly, always wearing jeans and a Nets jersey.
And while her dad has no problems with the casual attire, the unflattering look simply doesn’t sit well with her mother (Pam Grier) who’s concerned about whether her daughter will ever get married. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said about Leslie’s gorgeous god-sister, Morgan (Paula Patton). This shameless gold-digger could care less about the NBA, yet spends countless hours primping herself in front of the mirror in order to attract a wealthy all-star from the stands.
The most-desirable eligible bachelor on the Nets squad is point guard Scott McNight (Common) a two-time league MVP and a perfect gentleman to boot. Leslie and Scott’s paths cross the night of the season opener, not at the stadium, but purely by chance after the game when they both stop to fill their tanks at the same gas station. She strikes up a conversation, sparks fly, and he invites her to his upcoming birthday party.
However, against her better judgment, she extends the invitation to Morgan who ends turning his head at the soiree, and it’s not long before she has a gaudy engagement ring on her finger. The plot triangulates when Scott suffers a career-threatening knee injury on the court and needs months of rehabilitation. Re-enter Leslie, the only female therapist possessive Morgan is willing to trust not to try to sabotage her impending wedding, which she sees as a big payday.
Will Scott wise-up during and realize which of the two women is capable of really loving him for himself, or will he marry a shallow witch who’s only interested in his bank account? The only surprise here is that, in spite of telegraphing its punches, Just Wright nonetheless has you reaching for a Kleenex in spite of yourself.
A sentimental soap opera well-enough executed to push all the right emotional buttons!
Excellent (4 stars) Rated PG for mild epithets and suggestive material. Running time: 101 Minutes Distributor: Fox Searchlight
New Career Development Conference Targets Milwaukee’s Young Professionals
Milwaukee, Wis. ‐ (May 17, 2010) – As the City of Milwaukee continues battling with high unemployment rates and a fragile job market, local young professionals are receiving some much needed help in remaining competitive in today’s workforce.
The Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP) will host the city’s first conference geared toward young business executives, offering a series of workshops and initiatives that focus on personal, professional and career development. The MULYP Development Conference is scheduled for Saturday, June 12, 2010 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Cardinal Stritch University, in Glendale, Wis.
“MULYP is responding to the needs of today’s young professionals. Most are either facing increased responsibilities and challenges at work due to company downsizing and hiring freezes, or they’re in the job market,” said Richard Badger, president of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals.
“We’re offering a low‐cost, yet high quality conference that would help young professionals of various levels advance in their professional tracks and careers.”
The MULYP Development Conference complements the organization’s ongoing commitment to empower its members and the Milwaukee community in taking claim over their careers and personal development.
Suited for a range of professionals (from entry to upper management, as well as those seeking employment or exploring entrepreneurship), the half‐day event features 12 workshops and presentations led by Milwaukee‐area experts, covering topics such as business etiquette, leading effective meetings, starting your own business, personal marketing and more. A CEO roundtable panel discussion will feature leaders from Milwaukee‐area businesses, and a Resource Center will offer information on job openings, resume reviews and mock interviews, and more.
The event is sponsored by Milwaukee‐based Direct Supply, Inc., an innovative company devoted to the success of the senior care continuum. Among speakers and participating businesses, the conference welcomes Dr. Robert Davis, president of the Milwaukee Zoological Society, Kelly Leadership Group, LLC, African‐American Leadership Program, GE Healthcare, Great Lakes School of Etiquette and more.
MULYP, an auxiliary of the Milwaukee Urban League, is a non‐profit organization that helps to improve the lives of Milwaukee‐area young professionals through a variety of programming and community service projects that address health, education and financial issues, to name a few.
MULYP serves as the premier organization for young professionals in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. MULYP’s mission is to engage young professionals in the Milwaukee Urban League’s movement towards the achievement of social and economic equality.
The MULYP Development Conference is free for MULYP members and costs $10 for non‐members. For more information on the event, scheduled speakers, and workshops, or to register, please visit www.tmulyp.org.
For more information on the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, please visit www.tmulyp.org, or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MULYP.
The community lost another restaurant icon with the death Tuesday of Speed Queen Barbecue matriarch Betty Jean Gillespie.
Gillespie’s death is the second this year of a noted Black restaurateur. In January, Willie Perkins, Jr. of the popular Mr. Perkin’s Family Restaurant died. Like Perkins’ death, Gillespie’s passing leaves a huge void in our community from a business and historical standpoint.
We’re confident both businesses will survive and continue to thrive at the respective helms of family and relatives who will and have dutifully carried on the mission to feed our community some of the most unique and delicious food that can be found in Milwaukee.
Both Speed Queen and Mr. Perkins represent a very, very small number of Black owned and operated eateries in our community. Upon hearing about the death of Gillespie, one of our staffers lamented the overall scarcity of quality Black-owned restaurants, a tiny collection of “islands” in a “sea” of white-owned establishments that can be found all over the city.
Yes, there have been ambitious entrepreneurs who have tried (and, alas, failed) to make a go of the restaurant business, one of the most demanding and toughest business ventures anyone can get into.
We hope that there are ambitious and community minded-individuals out there who want to not only increase the number of Black eating establishments but, through their existence and dedication to quality food and four star service, expunge once and for all the myth that Black restaurants can’t make it in Milwaukee, especially in the central city.
Gillespie and Perkins both did their part to tear down that mental barrier. Let’s hope others who love food and want to give back to their community have the courage and vision to “serve-up” a delicious reality of their own.