by Taki S. Raton
In response to the sudden demise of radio station 1290 WMCS, a community forum has been planned for Monday, March 11 at the Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Rd, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
A special tribute to TJ, 1290’s operations manager, is included in the evening’s agenda.
A panel of community stakeholders has also been convened to share views, opinions and concerns as to what this loss means and the moving forward options available to fill the void of broadcasting much needed news, information, and issue analysis of particular interest to and for Black Milwaukeeans.
Confirmed panelists to date include Sherwin Hughes, Dr. William Rogers, Homer Blow, and Nathaniel J. Stampley, Sr.
“My goal for organizing this gathering is to offer an opportunity for our community to respond with gratitude for the voice that 1290 has provided for over 20 years,” says Carmen C. Ray, President and C.E.O. of Rays Consulting and Training and co-author of “Raising Healthy Children in an Unhealthy World.”
As reported in the Milwaukee Community Journal’s February 27, 2013 edition, 1290 AM, “The Talk of the Town” was closed down on Tuesday, February 26 at precisely 10 a.m. The reason reported, according to the MCJ account, was “business, pure and simple.”
Quoting MCJ Publisher Patricia O. Pattillo upon being notified of such an unfortunate circumstance, she positioned that, whether it is print, television or radio, “This is still a business; and to run a business, to keep the doors open, you must make money.”
It was further cited in the MCJ editorial that what happened to WMCS “should serve as a reminder to our community that we must support our institutions with our dollars through supporting the businesses that advertise with Black media (print and broadcast) or if you’re a business owner, buying advertising from the various Black media that have accepted the responsibility of speaking truth-to-power on our behalf.”
The editorial adds that as freedom is not free, “Communication is not free.
There is a cost,” and that we must learn that economics is “the stabilizing force of our community” and we must spend with each other to keep our institutions alive.
MCJ encourages all to read the MCJ in print and/or online and that its website if updated daily.
In a message on her facebook page, TJ expressed that, “It is with great sadness that I say that 1290 WMCS as we have know it for over 30 years has changed. The days of ‘Talk of the Town’ are over. Thank you all who have supported the station.”
According to a March 2 MetroMilwaukee.org posting, the WMCS call letters will be changed to WZTI-AM thereby launching its “Martini Radio” programming featuring the “Rat Pack” era maladies of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin , Tony Bennett and modern artists to include Adele, Norah Jones, and Michael Buble.
“1290 WMCS provided us information so that we could empower ourselves and move our community forwards,” cites the MCJ editorial in its closing. “Its silence on the airwaves will be deafening, will be sorely missed, and hard to replace.”
The scheduled Monday gathering is free and open to the public. For any additional information on this event, please email Ray at: [email protected].
Tavis Smiley (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment)
by Jenée Desmond-Harris, The Root
(The Root) — When we spoke to Tavis Smiley back in September, right in the midst of widespread hand-wringing about his and Cornel West’s election-season criticism of President Obama’s treatment of the issue of poverty, he made a promise: Regardless of which candidate won the election, Smiley said, he’d challenge the nation’s new leader to make a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in America not just on high on his second-term agenda, but the very first item on his January, 21, 2013 agenda.
Four months later, Smiley is doing just that. He’s planning Washington, D.C. event designed to encouraging the president to give a major policy address on poverty, and then to hold the long-awaited conference on the issue, bringing together conservative and liberal experts to create a national plan to cut poverty in half in ten years and eradicate it in 25.
“During the campaign, poverty was written about everywhere but the candidates gave lip service to it at best,” Smiley told The Root. “So here we are, just days before inauguration, rising the issue again.”
He’s asked the members of the public to sign a letter pushing the issue, which he says couldn’t be more timely (“What kind of economic policy do you really have when you’re teetering on cliffs and bumping up against ceilings?” Smiley asks). Plus, in his view, with inauguration falling on late civil rights leader and anti-poverty activist Martin Luther King’s birthday, to ignore the issue would be an abomination.
Smiley’s “Vision for a New America: A Future Without Poverty” nationally televised symposium will take place at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium on January 17, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Rev. Al Sharpton joined the roundtable on Meet the Press on Sunday to discuss the “fiscal cliff,” and the anticipated second term agenda for President Barack Obama.
Sharpton, along with fellow guests MSNBC anchor and senior Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell, New York Times columnist David Brooks, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina discussed what Americans can expect in a second Obama term, and in upcoming fiscal cliff negotiations.
Sharpton said there is no question “we are gonna have to deal with the question of where the tax rates go,” and noted that during a meeting the president held with progressive leaders including himself, Obama pledged to uphold his campaign pledge to raise taxes on the rich. After that, Sharpton said the priorities of jobs and unemployment “will be dealt with.”
Brooks said that if the U.S. can prove that it is “governable” in the coming months, “we have the potential to be the hotspot of the world,” noting that Europe, the Middle East and other regions around the globe are stagnating.
Burns, who said he recently emerged from “witness protection, along with Big Bird,” joking about the threats to cut PBS by the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, said that people understand that the pain of budget cuts will be felt by everyone.
And Mitchell added that the president will need to show a different brand of leadership in the second term than he did in the first.
The roundtable was joined by Honeywell CEO David Cote, who concurred with Brooks on the idea that the U.S. needs to prove it is “governable,” in order for business leaders to invest.
And the group discussed the leadership lessons to be learned from the movie, “Lincoln,” and the ongoing role race plays in our politics.
Watch the entire roundtable above.
Dr. Rahn Bailey (left) being installed as the 113th president of the National Medical Association (NMA) in New Orleans on July 31. As president, Dr. Bailey represents 50,000 African-American physicians. His health policy agenda includes increasing access to care and eliminating health disparities. As a forensic psychiatrist and head of the Department of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College, Dr. Bailey will also work to address the need for mental health care for African Americans and veterans. (Photo by Neil Hurd)
The NAACP took a principled stand against voter suppression at their 103rd Annual Convention last week in Houston, Texas. The theme “Your Power, Your Decision – VOTE” was on full display as delegates heard from Vice President Biden and Governor Mitt Romney and learned about attacks on the right to vote in states across the country. An estimated 8,000 NAACP delegates, members and supporters traveled from around the country to represent their local units and set the NAACP’s policy agenda for the coming year.
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous set the tone during the convention’s first plenary session as he criticized voter suppression efforts. He said that the NAACP is dedicated to protecting the franchise, by fighting back against suppressive laws and registering hundreds of thousands of people to vote this year.
“In the past year, more states have passed more laws pushing more voters out of the ballot box than at any time since the rise of Jim Crow,” he said. “The right to vote is the right upon which the ability to defend all our other rights is leveraged. We will ensure that our nation continues to practice free and fair elections even as we approach the day when people of color will be the majority in this country.”
The NAACP’s “This Is My Vote” campaign features a website – www.thisismyvote.org – with information on voter suppression efforts and a form to register to vote. The NAACP has also set up a hotline, 1-866-MYVOTE1 (1-866-698-6831) which helps people access registration forms.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder referred to voter suppression laws as “poll taxes” in his speech to the NAACP crowd. Speaking in Texas’ largest city, he specifically criticized the state’s law requiring voters to show a government-issued photo identification card. The Department of Justice challenged that law in March, arguing that it violated the Voting Rights Act.
In an important election year, Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Mitt Romney traveled to Houston to share their respective visions for the nation’s future. The two candidates offered sharply contrasting messages about the best way to revive the economy and help the middle class. President Obama also contributed a video message to the crowd.
Vice President Biden commended Attorney General Holder for his work defending the right to vote, and called for an end to racial profiling. NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock praised his speech, saying that, “From the Senate to the White House, Vice President Biden has had a strong value system in line with the NAACP’s historic mission. Today’s speech revealed that he remains committed to protecting civil rights and protecting the right to vote.
Governor Romney followed in the tradition of former Republican nominees for president by addressing the NAACP, despite overwhelming African-American support for President Obama in 2008. He argued that his economic policies would be more effective than President Obama’s, and said that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“While we are glad that Governor Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests,” said President Jealous. “His criticism of the Affordable Care Act – legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions – signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.”
The NAACP also used the week to introduce their five “game changers”, issue areas that will guide the Association’s mission over the next several years. Each program held a “mini summit” on their respective issue area, and Chairman Brock spoke about their importance in her keynote address during the convention’s first open mass meeting.
“Today, the enemies of justice are not lynching African-Americans and practicing Jim Crow laws of segregation,” she said. “They are more sophisticated. But they are equally sinister. They are erecting barriers to economic viability, educational quality, health care accessibility, judicial equity, and political opportunity. The opponents of justice are more refined, but they are equally threatening.”
The convention, which ran from July 5-12, also featured the 34th annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition, which brought together hundreds of the nation’s most gifted young people to compete in the areas of sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business.