April 30, 2010

Taser Death: Adil Jouamai (Arlington, VA)

32-year old Adil Jouamai is dead after an Arlington County Police officer shocked him with a taser. Officers responded to reports of a psychiatric emergency at the Wildwood Park Apartments earlier today. Police said he did not live in the apartment but was visiting family there. It was a relative who called police after the man became distressed. Police say they found Jouamai inside the apartment when they arrived. [SOURCE]

The naked man refused all verbal commands and was combative with the officers, police say.

An unidentified officer then pumped Adil Jouamai with 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun. Moments later, officers noticed he was not breathing. Medics already on the scene took Jouamai to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

Police have not said whether Jouamai was armed. The incident remains under investigation.

This is the 2nd taser-related death in Arlington, VA in 2010. William Bumbrey was killed in January 2010.

April 29, 2010

Has Barack Obama Been Caught in Cheating Scandal With Vera Baker?

The National Enquirer broke stories about sordid affairs by former presidential candidate John Edwards and Sarah Palin in the past. As such, we can't count out of hand the Enquirer reports that President Obama was caught a few years ago in a shocking cheating scandal after being caught in a Washington DC hotel with a former campaign aide.

The National Enquirer reports that Obama first became close to gorgeous 35 year-old Vera Baker in 2004 when she worked tirelessly to get him elected to the US Senate, raising millions in campaign contributions.

While Baker has insisted in the past that "nothing happened" between them, reports reveal that top anti-Obama operatives are offering more than $1 million to witnesses to reveal what they know about the alleged hush-hush affair.

Among those being offered money is a limo driver who says in 2004 that he took Vera to a secret hotel rendezvous in where Obama was staying.

April 28, 2010

Village Interview: Martin Lindsey (MARTYblogs)

It has been almost a year since I've published something new to our Village Interview series.  I enjoy doing these interviews and I encourage you to contact me if you know of a blogger that would like to sit under the baobob tree with me to be part of these series.

Today, we are pleased to invite you for a seat under our baobob tree to read interview with Martin Lindsey -- creater of MartyBLOGs. I hope you enjoy it!

  1. What were you like when you were younger? - As a child I was happy-go-lucky, but kind of introverted too. I wasn’t always comfortable being the first to approach other people to make friends but when I got to know you I was the life of the party. The silliness and jokestering always came out in the end.

    That degree of shyness kind of continued into the high school years. I could be a laid back wallflower type some times. I was basically a homebody but I learned to break out of my shell as I got older.

    I loved sports and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be anything other than an athlete when they grew up.

    You’d never know from my early years that I’m now a hard core networker and as an adult I go out of my way to meet a new face.
  2. Name a famous historical figure, living or deceased, you would like to meet and tell us why. - If he were alive it would be really cool to meet Jacques Cousteau. He was one of my favorite scientists when I was a kid (Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom fame was the other) and is a major reason I pursued a technical career. I loved watching Cousteau’s National Geographic specials on PBS (pre-cable T.V era). If there was ever a field of science that seemed exotic and cool it was oceanography the way the captain of the Calypso could portray it. He is the reason scuba diving is #1 for me on your bucket list question.

    I always wanted to join the crew of the Calypso and travel all over the world shooting film of sea animals, ship wrecks and ancient buildings fallen into the sea. I’d still like to pat a whale on its side and get a fin ride from a dolphin before I leave this earth.

    And who knows? As a digital cinema grad student I may yet get the opportunity to do something cool like that.
  3. Name a person in your community who is relatively unknown to the rest of the world, who you believe is significant in some way, and that you would like the rest of the world to know more about. - For me that unsung person would be Mr. William Slayton. I’m not sure if he’s still around now but Mr. Slayton was our block unit president when I was a kid in St. Louis. I think the block unit dealt with safety or neighborhood politics. Maybe both. I’m not sure because while I tagged along with my mother to the meetings, the adults met in the Slayton’s living room and I watched T.V. in their kitchen.

    However there was one time in particular when I went to an actual neighborhood political meeting of some sort with Mr. Slayton completely unrelated to the block unit. To this day I have no idea how I wound up hanging out with him but he drove us over to some storefront in the neighborhood and it was packed with a room full of people. The best I can recall is that they were talking about serious issues and that’s only because I remember all of those adults having serious looks on their faces and really getting into the discussion at hand. That was my first exposure to grass roots politics in action.

    That’s what made Mr. Slayton a significant person, that he put his concerns for the well being of our neighborhood into action. I couldn’t appreciate it as a kid but I remember those events vividly and I have all the respect in the world for him to this day.
  4. What are two items in your 'bucket list' ... things you want to do or accomplish before you kick the bucket? - I want to go scuba diving and see with my own eyes many of the interesting animals and oceanic environments that I watch on National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

    I want to travel into outer space on one of the civilian versions of spacecraft that are under development by various corporations. All the NASA missions are the yet another reason I fell in love with science.
  5. Describe your first experience on the Internet? - I learned about the Internet in 1995 when it first went public. I was a young engineer who discovered something way more interesting than engineering (LOL). I knew even back then that I wasn’t going to be in that profession the rest of my life.

    The most exciting thing about it was finding a web page that taught basic HTML. I learned the basics in an hour and started creating and editing some bare bones pages with sections, colors, radio buttons and all the other now rudimentary features that were new and fascinating back in the old days at the end of the 20th century.

    That’s how I entertained myself after work each day, by learning this new technology. It’s interesting seeing its evolution over the years. Some online applications that I imagined have come to fruition and many others that never occurred to me have been transformative in the way business is done and the way we live our daily lives on a personal level.
  6. Tell us about your current blogging career and how you got into it. - I got into blogging about four or five years ago. I don’t recall where I first read or heard of blogging but I used it as the subject of two of my early Toastmasters International speeches. It was quite fascinating to me and I knew it would be an eye opening subject for my club. The focus of my research for the speeches was on corporate blogging mostly. Of course as it turns out it’s individuals who have been the most popular and widely read bloggers and not the corporations.

    It was around that time that I started my first blog. I have rehashed it in a couple of different incarnations since then as I discovered platforms that seemed easier or more advantageous for one reason or another.
  7. Who are the two bloggers you read the most and why? Include their links and tell us why we should subscribe to their feeds. - This one is hard to nail down to two that I read most so I’ll take interviewee’s privilege and reclassify the question as two that I really like and respect.

    First I’d recommend a blogger I've discovered on Facebook over the last few months. His name is Mason Jamal and his site, Mason Says, with his irreverent brand of humor is always good for a laugh.

    To take his tagline, he writes about "style, substance and sensibilities for men (and sometimes women)". His sarcastic, yet thoughtful observations and analysis of life makes you think while cracking you up. I like his writing style and as a blogger who regular tries to include humor in my writing and public speaking I admire his skill with the craft.

    Secondly I’d recommend you oh great attendant of the baobab tree. The Electronic Village is one I can’t miss. Neither should anyone else. I’ve gotten to know you virtually over the last few years as we’ve both worked on improving our blogging skills. Your range of content covering matters social, technical and fun makes for interesting and different reading each day.

    I like the way your layout shines the spotlight on other bloggers or people of interest in your side columns. You’ve gone beyond the blog roll with your AfroSpear Voices link featuring individual bloggers of color. And your Village Heroes link gives us a consistent dose of Black History. The other linked sections are cool too but those are my favorites.
  8. Where are you taking your blog over the next 2-3 years? - I’m working on expanding the scope of MartyBLOGs over the next couple of years. I’ve begun focusing the subject matter of my posts into a consistent set of categories over the last year. I have been doing more on social networking and music for instance. Sometimes I’ll write about principles to live by and other times I’ll write about my spiritual perspective as a Christian in particular.

    I also want to begin learning how to monetize my site. I’ve always had good intentions and made small scale attempts at it but I’ve never focused on it as a feature in order to make it effective.
  9. What is your 'killer post' over the past year ... the post you are most proud of? - I don’t have one that qualifies as a killer post in my eyes. The last year has been filled with school work. Classes haven’t allowed me the time to dig as deeply and as consistently as I like to in my writing. So most of my subject matter has been shorter and to the point.
  10. What is your 'biggest noise post' over the past year ... the one that you took the most heat over from your readers? - I never hear big noise over any of my posts but I really seem to know how to fire people up when I comment from time to time. So how about a biggest noise comment?

    As a person who is seriously conservative when it comes to applying timeless standards of morals and spiritual values to everyday living I get a lot of flack about one subject only, for some reason, and never for anything else that I might take the soap box for.

    Everybody seems to want to raise cain with Marty when it comes to discussions of homosexuality. I don’t go for the “rights” excuse that is so popular and that some are trying their best to make mainstream. I’m trying my best to fight against this trend that threatens the social fabric of our society. I believe in the “what is right” line of thinking and living. People can continue to be upset with me, try to justify immoral lifestyles and pass them off as social issues all they like. Doesn’t matter to me because I’m going to continue saying what’s right anyway.
Martin ended his interview by saying, "Thanks for allowing me to participate in your interview series, Villager. This has given me a chance to think on some subjects I haven’t had the opportunity to focus on in a while. I appreciate it."

Martin was one of the first Black bloggers that I discovered in the afrosphere. I think that the thing I most appreciated about Martin is his action-oriented blogging style. Oddly enough, we have never met face-to-face, however, we have worked together in a variety of online activism efforts and within BDPA Education and Technology Foundation.

I enjoy publishing interviews of bloggers. I hope that I can do some more of these over the coming weeks and months. Let me know if you have a blogger you would like us to interview. Also, share some love with Martin for taking time to participate in this Q&A process.

April 27, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Brittany Carey Overcomes Brain Tumor to Achieve Educational Dreams

How often do you hear folks complaining about one thing or another? Sometimes it is a good idea to remember how good we have it. What right do any of us have to compain about anything when we see the positive attitude expressed by Brittany Carey, a Trimble Tech sophmore in Fort Worth, TX. Brittany is living with a malignant brain tumor ... however, she was able to work with her parents and teachers to achieve an educational dream ... wearing a cap and gown. Learn about Brittany's story from the following video:

This blog plans to share some good news about people of African descent each and every Tuesday. You can help ... let me know if you see a good news story that you think would inspire our Villagers!

April 26, 2010

Obama Wants First-Time Voters in 2008 to Vote Again in 2010 Elections

It appears that the Democrats are going to try to counter the usual losses that occur in an off-year election by reaching out to the 15 million voters that supported President Obama's election in 2008. There were many young people, Blacks and Latinos that voted for the first time in 2008. The question is whether or not these same first-time voters will be inspired to vote again in November 2010.

Here is the recruitment pitch from President Obama:

What do you think about this strategy? Will it work?

April 24, 2010

Lakeesha Alert * Chioma Gray

Chioma Gray has been missing since December 2007.   She celebrates her 18th birthday today ... but, her family can't celebrate because they have no idea where she is located.   Chioma's mom, Franciene Black (shown in above photo), wrote an open letter awhile ago that still seems to be appropriate.   I'm going to re-post it for your consideration:

On April 27, 1992, God loaned us one of his most incredible, gifts of all. The gift of life! A beyond, beautiful child of God. This gift was just what I had requested from Jesus. A healthy, beautiful baby girl. It was so very important that I observed this gift for two months before God gave me the name inscribed in Gods hand. It was so important that she be given a name of her character and a meaning representing God. She was blessed with his "Word" of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Lord knew that she was so special that he even stamped a birthmark on her body, representing Love, a beautiful heart!!! The definition of this baby loaned by Jesus Christ. A Child of God!

The Power is in the Blood of Jesus, was given as her first name: CHIOMA = God's Good Blood, ATINUKE = loved cherished and protected from the womb. AMARACHI = God's blessing, God's Grace, OGECHI = God's Time!

We must know with his power that God did not send his son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. I give many thanks and praise for this young beautiful daughter Chiomaezronesha... Truly, Chioma has represented her name through out her life.

Who is Chioma? Chioma is my daughter, whom loves Jesus. She is a very well respected and loved girl in her community. Chioma is invited to an International event every year, for students that have high GPA, and Excel in sports. Chioma wrote a story called "The Perfect Story". She describes how great her life is. Her love for her family is so innocent and pure. Chioma is my last beautiful baby girl.

On December 13, 2007, as usual, Chioma was driven to school by her father and two brothers. She was taken inside of the campus. That same day she was abducted by, Andrew Joshua Tafoya, a convicted felon. He abducted her on the same day he was released from work furlough. If anyone knows Chioma, she always takes a few important things with her. First her make-up, second electronics such as sidekick phone, and if she was going far away, third she would have taken her 1lb dog "Pink," that she carries everywhere in her purse. All of these personal belongings were at home. Trust and Believe that Chioma has been "ABDUCTED AND KIDNAPED." She is completely against her will, and her beliefs.

Her education is extremely important. Chioma’s number one dream in this life since the age of 6 was to become an OB/GYN. She was looking forward to join her sister, who is presently studying to become a Pediatrician. They had planned to open a practice together after receiving their degrees. My daughter, Chioma and my dreams are on hold. The absence of my Soul "Chioma" is desperately seeking the safe return of Chioma. Please pray that all of our dreams will come true. Our family has a strong belief in our Lord Jesus Christ; He is our Alpha and the Omega. We know that God’s word is True. Chioma is in God’s beautiful big hands, just waiting to return. No matter what the situation, God is in control! God has never failed! God is the same yesterday as he is today! I will always love him, worship him, adore, believe, have faith and trust only GOD!

And I know this, that whatever God does is final-nothing can be added or taken from it; God’s purpose in this is that man should fear the all-powerful God. Whatever is has been long ago; and whatever is going to be has been before; God brings to pass again what was in the distant past and disappeared.

Moreover, I notice that throughout the earth "JUSTICE" is giving way to "CRIME" and even the "POLICE" and COURTS" are "CORRUPT." I said to myself, "In due time season God will judge everything man does, both good and bad."

Remember, " Delay is not Denial." "Continue to pray without Ceasing"


Missing You "Cho Cho"!

I wonder if Chioma or her abductor ever use the Internet to see whether there is still activity to find her? If so, then I hope that they find this Lakessha Alert. I hope that this Lakeesha Alert is seen as a blessing by Chioma's mom. I don't know how else we can help her at this time ... I'm open to hearing some suggestions from villagers.

It is apparent that the Amber Alert system didn't work in this missing person case. Perhaps our Lakeesha Alert will have more impact.

April 23, 2010

Blogging While Brown Conference Announces 2010 Speakers

I attended the inaugural Blogging While Brown Conference in Atlanta GA. In fact, I was honored to be one of the seminar speakers at the conference that year. The BWB conference is growing in quality with the following announcement of the speakers for the event later this summer in Washington DC.

The BWB conference takes place in Washington DC on June 18-19, 2010. Are you attending?

April 22, 2010

Obama Considers Judge Ann Claire Williams -- a Black Woman -- for Supreme Court

Elections have consequences. President Obama selected a wise Latina for the Supreme Court last year. He recently added a wise Sista to the mix this year.

Multiple sources say that the White House added a federal judge from Chicago to its working list of potential Supreme Court nominees to fill the upcoming vacancy.

Judge Ann Claire Williams, who became the first African American appellate judge in the federal Seventh Circuit, has joined a working list of about 10 other candidates.

One of the things that caught my attention about Judge Williams is that she is a native of Detroit MI. That is one town that could sure use some good karma in 2010! Her dad was a bus driver in Detroit and she dreamed being a Motown star.

Here are some other tidbits about Judge Williams:
  • Named to federal bench by Presidents Reagan, Clinton
  • Former 3rd-grade teacher in Detroit
  • Considered a moderate on the court
  • Third African American woman named to a federal appeals court (NOTE: who were the first two?)
Have you heard about this sista-Judge before? I never heard of her until today.

It does seem that she has that 'real-world' experience that President Obama seems to like. What are your thoughts on Judge Williams or the whole SCOTUS selection process?

April 20, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Togo Student Sam Todo Inspires STEM Students Around the World

I'm a science fiction fan. One of my favorite authors is Isaac Asimov. He delivered to us the Three Laws of Robotics.
  1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
I'm not sure if Sam Todo, a student in the Togolese Republic in Africa, knows about the three laws. I do know that this young brother has a vision about robots and robotics. He views robotics as a way to put the outdated technology found in the garbage to new, innovative uses. In this video, Todo displays a humanoid robot he created almost entirely from discarded TV parts.

For now, the robot only walks in straight lines, but Todo is working on future versions that automatically greets people and naturally avoids objects in its path.

More than simply showing off his own amazing ingenuity, Todo hopes his robot serves as an inspiration to other Africans (and even Americans of African descent) to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. After all, if this young brother with few resources in the Togolese Republic can seek out STEM education and acheivement ... then perhaps our young brothers and sisters in the United States can seek STEM tools out as well.

This blog is committed to sharing good news about people of African descent each and every Tuesday ... we call it Good News Tuesday and I wish that other bloggers would join this weekly meme!

April 19, 2010

Taser Update: What Happened to Patrick Burns (Sangamon County)

This blog has shared information with you about the taser death of Patrick Burns. He was killed by an unidentified sheriff's deputy in Sangamon County. I'm convinced that the police did not need to kill this man with their taser guns on January 28, 2010. His family agrees. Many of them are wondering what happened to Patrick ... they want to know how a mild-mannered man ended up dead as a result of pre-trial electrocution by unidentified police officers.

A local reporter, Bruce Rushton, did a remarkable job of reporting about Patrick Burns' life and times prior to his taser-related death. The question that this reporter wanted to answer was simple: 'What Happened to Patrick Burns'?

April 18, 2010

8 Marketing Tips for Recession Stressed Black Entrepreneurs - Day 1 of 10

I came across this 10-part series of online seminars for recession-stressed entrepreneurs. The Foundation for the Advancement of Marketing Excellence in Entrepreneurs (FAMEE) helps small and medium sized companies improve how they grow profitable, sustainable, long-term customer revenue steams. They do this by providing free resources, training programs, and guidance to both entrepreneurs and consultants.

I've been operating my own business since July 2002.  As such, there were a number of important learnings shared in this 10-part series.  I thought it worthwhile to share with those entrepreneurs that follow my blog.

Curt Clinkinbeard developed this course for the FAMEE Foundation.  Curt owns his own company, Strive Coaching.  He is also the author of Customer Pillars.

Click here to see the Day 1 video.

The 8 marketing tips for recession-stressed entrepreneurs are:
  1. Keep your cool
  2. It's not the things you do that's different, but how well you do them
  3. Get close to your existing customers
  4. Resist the temptation to discount
  5. Look for opportunities to innovate
  6. Look for 'deals' to promote and expand
  7. Focus on what you can control (take a lesson from Alcoholics Anonymous)
  8. Be optimistic -- pessimism REPELS customers
Download a more detailed outline if you care to have something to use for notes.

My plan is to share the other nine parts of this online seminar over the coming days. I hope that you will take a moment to respond with your thoughts if you have time or inclination.

April 17, 2010

Give 'Birther' Terry Lakin His Wish -- Court-Martial His Misguided Palin-JoePlumber-McCain Butt Right Away!

The November 2008 election of Barack Obama as our president and commander-in-chief is driving ignorant white folks stark-raving mad.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used to be a reasonable lawmaker. Lately, he seems more and more like a sad and desperate politician destined to lose his job in November. He spends a great deal of time attacking President Obama.

Half-term quitter Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) used to be the most popular governor in America and the darling of the Republican Party. Now she is a celebrity seeking to get every penny she can from her elongated 15 minutes of fame. She spends most of her time attacking President Obama.

An entire Tea Party movement has grown over the past year. They spit at Black politicians, yell epitaphs at congressmen, carry racist signs at their rallies, and appear to be about 99% white folks. They spend most of their time attacking President Obama.

Joe Plumber became a pop culture icon in 2008 when he began attacking President Obama. His sidekick is LTC Terry Lakin. Lakin is an 18-year military veteran who is asking to be court-martialed rather than obey his military orders to report to Afghanistan. Why? Because Lakin isn't convinced that President Obama was born in America.

Yep ... this clown is buying into the myth that Barack Obama is a foriegner ... and as such Lakin doesn't feel any obligation to obey orders issued by the commander-in-chief.

It seems to irk these folks that Barack and Michelle Obama are in the White House. The attacks almost always seem personal in nature ... and rarely do they seem based on policy.

The next seven years of the Obama administration are really gonna be rough on these misguided miscreants. Don't you agree?

April 16, 2010

Old School Friday: The Bar Kays

How many villagers remember an unsung group from back in the day known as 'The Bar Kays'? I didn't realize that this group survived 40 years, 27 albums, 25 members, 23 hits, a tragic plane crash, a stroke and a murder. The miracle is that this band nearly ended before it began, when all but two members – Ben Cauley and James Alexander - died in the plane crash that killed singing great Otis Redding. Yet those two members rebuilt the Bar-Kays into a remarkable hit machine.

I am looking forward to taping the Unsung episode on TV-One that will provide some background on this crew. One of my favorite tunes from The Bar-Kays was a slow ballad that I used to enjoy playing late at night on my college radio show -- 'Running In and Out of My Life'.

Of course, I think that the Bar Kays are probably better known to us Ol' School folks for their ability to bring the funk out of each of us! How many of you can remember seeking out your own personal 'Freakshow on the Dance Floor'?

What is your favorite song or memory of The Bar Kays?

April 15, 2010

Streak of Disrespect for Civil Rights Icons Continues With Haki Madhubuti and Chicago State University

The old lions in our village are being disrespected quite abit lately. Calling Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) the N-word during the health care debate was out of line. Spitting on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) as he walked to his place of work was out of line. Next we learn that civil rights icon Haki Madhubuti was forced out of his job as an educator at Chicago State University after 26 years of service.

"This is a difficult time for me. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I have been forced to seek early retirement. On June 22 , 2009, I issued an open letter to the university community in regards to the appointment of our current president, Dr. Wayne Watson," said the Third World Press founder and Chicago Public Schools charter operator. "I questioned in no uncertain language the flawed and undemocratic process in which he was selected. I was as fully aware when I issued the letter as I am now that all actions have consequences."
Madhubuti said his split from the university came after Watson, who took the helm of the South Side institution last year, demoted him.

Madhubuti said Watson demanded he teach four courses a semester -- contrary to his contract -- removed him from the paid staff of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center he founded, and reduced him to volunteer status with the master's program in creative writing that he co-founded.

"I am convinced that this move against me is personal and vindictive," Madhubuti said. "Although I did agree to increase my course load, I rejected the points that removed me from the structures I founded and co-founded at the university."
Watson denied Madhubuti was being forced out, although Watson declined to discuss details of the departure.

"That is his decision. I am only asking him to teach," said Watson.
Madhubuti has filed a grievance against the university.

Madhubuti rose to international fame as a fiery poet who gave voice to the pain of the 1960s civil rights movement and founded the renowned Black publishing firm that distributed Black authors deemed untouchable by the mainstream publishers in the early '60s.

The prolific poet and longtime educator also operates three Chicago public charter schools and a private preschool he founded with his wife.

"Haki Madhubuti, he is an institution," said acclaimed author, biographer and researcher Maryemma Graham, a university of Kansas English professor inducted into the center's hall of fame Friday. "The Chicago State MFA program and Gwendolyn Brooks Center has become as powerful and renowned as it has in part because of his presence. That will never change."

I first learned of Madhubuti when I was taking Black Studies college courses back in the day. I'm sorry that Chicago State University chose to join the Tea Party in its disrespect of our old lions.

April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Barack Obama Does the Heavy Lifting for Nuclear Disarmament

How many of these world leaders can you name?

2nd Annual Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Wright State University and Honda of America Mfg., Inc., will sponsor the 2nd Annual Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame event on October 14, 2010 in the Ohio Statehouse.

I encourage all villagers in Ohio to participate in this process by downloading the nomination packet for the 2nd Annual Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Villagers and other community leaders of Ohio are encouraged to to submit the nomination of a person in your community who has served as a leader by advancing the goals of civil rights in the State of Ohio. Click here to see the nomination criteria and guidelines.

All nominations must be submitted by May 31, 2010.

Check out the inductees from last year’s event to get an idea of the calibre of Civil Rights Hall of Famers we have in Ohio.

For questions or additional information regarding this event please contact Brandi Klein Martin at (614) 644-0244.

April 13, 2010

Tune In Tuesday: Stacy Lattisaw

Stacy Lattisaw had a strong run of R&B hits in the 1980s. She stopped making records in 1989. One of her most popular hits was 'I Found Love on a Two-Way Street'.

Of course, the song that first brought her to my attention amazed me because it turned out that she was a young teenager at the time. Her voice was so strong that she was soon the opening act for Michael Jackson. Are any of you ol' school enough to remember, 'Let Me Be Your Angel'?

Feel free to use the COMMENTS section (click on 'village voices') to share your memories of Stacy Lattisaw or to suggest other artists that I should feature in future Tune In Tuesday blog posts.

Good News Tuesday: Jonathan Walton is Social Ethicist On The Move to Harvard Divinity School

This blog is committed to sharing good news about people of African descent each and every Tuesday ... we call it Good News Tuesday and I wish that other bloggers would join this weekly meme!

This week we want to congratulate Dr. Jonathan Walton for his recent selection as the new assistant professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

Dr. Walton is a Social ethicist and African American religious studies scholar. He is currently an assistant professor of religious studies at my alma mater (University of California, Riverside). His research addresses the intersections among religion, politics, and popular culture.

"Harvard Divinity School is among the premier centers of theological education and hubs of academic inquiry," Walton said. "I am honored and humbled to join such an amazing scholarly community, particularly since HDS has a proven track record of neither resting on its reputation nor being lulled asleep by its laurels. Its continued commitment to recruiting and cultivating cutting-edge scholars of religion in general, and of American religion in particular, makes it the place I want to be."
Walton's scholarly work is grounded in the progressive strand of the African American religious tradition and informed by the creative potentiality and rhythmic sensibility of hip-hop culture. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of African American Religious Broadcasting, is an important intervention into the study of African American and American religion. As he explains, those working on Christian religious broadcasting have given little attention to the phenomenon outside of white, conservative, evangelical communities, while Black liberation theologians have yet to give careful attention to televisual representation as a site of theological production.

"Jonathan Walton thinks historically, ethically, and theologically," said Amy Hollywood, Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies at HDS, who chaired the faculty search committee." His intellectual range, his energy, and the interdisciplinary nature of his work on African American religions make him uniquely suited to HDS and to the University as a whole."
Drawing on British cultural studies, Walton explores the interrelationship between the media used by African American megachurches and the theologies thereby conveyed. He argues for forms of theological innovation within the productions of black televangelism that are enabled-perhaps even generated-by the media that televangalists use, and he asks what the implications are for black theology and the study of African American religion when one attends to these particular forms of religious and theological expression.

"He is an exciting young scholar whose field work with contemporary religious communities will bring an added dimension to our course offerings and faculty coverage here at HDS and at Harvard more broadly," said Dean William A. Graham. "I feel strongly that with this appointment, together with that of Mayra Rivera Rivera, Assistant Professor of Theology and Latina/o Studies, who will also begin her work at HDS on July 1, we are now well staffed in two important areas that we have wanted covered for some time."
Trained as a social ethicist, Walton earned his PhD in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Seminary as well as a BA in political science from Morehouse College in Atlanta. His insights and reflections concerning the intersections of religion, culture, and society have been noted in numerous prominent news media outlets, such as CNN, The New York Times, Time magazine, and NPR.

"I look forward to this challenge," Walton said of his appointment to HDS, "Just as I look forward to contributing to the intellectual, spiritual, and familial climate on campus."

April 12, 2010

America I AM: The African American Imprint

I truly appreciated Tavis Smiley back in the day when he was engaged in a series of forums branded as 'Blacks in Technology'. However, his recent tantrums against POTUS have caused me (and most of Black America) to be disappointed in Tavis.

However, even a person with questionable political antennae can do good things. I think that the creation of the America I AM museum exhibit is a positive addition to Tavis' resume.

This traveling museum exhibit celebrate nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the nation through artifacts, documents, multimedia, photos and music. In fact, some have called it 'the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of African American history ever created.'.

I am pleased to note that the America I AM exhibit is coming to the Cincinnati Museum Center in June 2010 for about 6-7 months. Cincinnati isn't your usual suspect for things that uplift Black culture ... however, when someone does good ... it should be acknowledged. Kudos to the leaders of the Cincinnati Museum Center for getting this exhibit to our town!

America I AM is a four-year touring exhibit that premiered in Philadelphia last year. It is currently in Los Angeles CA. The exhibit endeavors to bring together Americans of all cultures, ages, and backgrounds to celebrate and further understand the indelible African American imprint on this country.

The exhibit is HUGE ... containing twelve galleries encompassing over 15,000 square feet. It takes visitors through a journey that spans nearly five (5) centuries of American history ... there has never been a culture and history exhibition as complete and impactful.

My understanding is that Tavis Smiley used his brand and contacts to obtain over 250 rarely toured artifacts from over 70 contributors from across the globe. The exhibition will include the doors to the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana (Doors of No Return), Alex Haley’s typewriter used to write Roots, personal Koran of Malcolm X, the door key and stool from the Birmingham jail cell that held Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sports memorabilia from Michael Jordan and Arthur Ashe, Muhammad Ali’s robe, a personal loan of Prince's guitar, and much more.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is going to take advantage of this national exhibit to present its internationally significant collection of J.P. Ball photographs -- the largest collection of his works in the world. For those villagers that don't know ... J.P. Ball was a free Black man who settled in Cincinnati in the mid-19th century. An entrepreneur, abolitionist and photographer, Ball was a careful observer and recorder of key transformations of his time.

Anyhow, I hope that the Cincinnati community -- of all races, but particularly African Americans -- support the America I AM exhibit when it gets here in a few weeks. This exhibit can have a positive impact on our community life -- from economics to self-image to youth and community development to social progress to spirituality.

Have you seen the America I Am exhibit yet? Do you plan to do so over the course of its 4-year run?

April 11, 2010

Taser Lawsuit: Gregory Rold (Salem, OR)

Felisa Rold is the mother of a schizophrenic son killed by Salem police officers Eric Brown, Daron Mumey, Jacob Pratt and Adam Waite. Rold's mother is filing a lawsuit in which she demands punitive damages for wrongful death, negligence and civil rights violations. [SOURCE]

Mrs. Rold indicates that the Salem police officers came to her house and used their taser guns multiple times in May 2009. She says her son had been eating lunch with her and his brother, and that he did not resist arrest until they shot him with the Taser.

Rold's attorney says Officers Pratt and Mumey came to her apartment on May 23, 2009 in response to the apartment manager's complaint about her schizophrenic son's presence. The manager had previously told Felisa Rold that he didn't want her son around, said the attorney, Todd Peterson.

"He had a right to be there," Peterson said. "There was no citation or court order or anything (barring his presence)."
Peterson said Gregory Rold had just come from a family celebration and stopped by his mother's house to pick up some clothes.

"He was just sitting there by the window, smoking a cigarette, when he saw the police outside," Peterson said.
Gregory let them in, and the police told him that he was under arrest, according to the federal complaint. English was Rold's second language. He was "slow to respond" Peterson said, because of his mental illness and because he was translating for his 75-year-old mother, who speaks little English.

Felicia Rold claims Officer Mumey Tasered her son without warning, and shot him 16 more times with the stun gun in the next 4 minutes. Witnesses said the police used their Tasers "almost immediately" after entering the apartment, according to Peterson.

The police told Rold's mother and brother to go into another room, "or else they would get Tased too," Peterson said.

Rold says her son did not resist arrest until police had tasered him more than once. When Officers Brown and Waite arrived, 17 minutes after Mumey and Pratt had stopped shocking Rold, Gregory Rold was leaning on a table, "not actively offering resistance," according to the complaint.

Rold tried to run into another room in the apartment, and Brown allegedly tasered him with 50,000 volts at least two more times. Then police repeatedly punched him in his side and hit him with a baton to the knees before pushing him onto his belly and handcuffing his arms behind his back, Rold's mother says.

Rold weighed between 300 and 350 pounds. Police knelt on his back, crushing his lungs and trachea and suffocating him to death, according to the complaint.

"He was dead within 25 minutes of (the officers') arrival," Peterson said. "They turned something into a real tragedy that could have ended in a far different way."
What is your take on this case? Do you think that Mrs. Rold will have a chance with her lawsuit?

April 10, 2010

Michael Steele Speaks at Confederate History Month Conference in New Orleans

I understand that Michael Steele will be a keynoter at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference ... affectionately known in my circles as the 'Confederate History Month' Conference. Tiger Woods got a very good welcome-back from the crowds in Augusta. For some reason I don't think that the GOP audience in New Orleans is going to give that same warm welcome to Steele.

Other Republican Party leaders planning to attend the conference include former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), former senator Rick Santorum, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

I wonder if Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is planning on flying the Confederate flag at this conference in New Orleans?

April 9, 2010

Two More RNC Leaders Call for Resignation of Michael Steele

How long can Michael Steele keep his job as the chair of the Republican National Committee? Personally, I think that he is a 'dead man walking'. I can't imagine that the GOP is going to keep him in office for very much longer.

Two Republican National Committee (RNC) members from North Carolina have called on Chairman Michael Steele to resign. The state's chairman called for Steele to step down yesterday.

Today we learn that one of the few African American RNC members, Dr. Ada Fisher, wants him to resign, saying, "Leadership demands that when something is fundamentally wrong, we must stand up to it."

There are some folks that still support Michael Steele. Do you?

Have You Checked Out 'Blacks In Technology' Website or Newsletter?

Advancing the careers of African Americans in the information technology industry from the classroom to the boardroom is something that we need to work 24/7/365.   I've been a member of BDPA Information Technology Thought Leaders for over 20 years. BDPA has been delivering in this area for over 35 years, however, there are other players in the field.   I invite villagers to check out the newsletter:

This new group wants to accomplish three specific things:
  1. Deliver the most relevant and beneficial information and network for African American’s in the technology field or pursuing a career in technology.
  2. Focus on creating a community in which African American’s are comfortable, motivated and inspired to pursue careers in technology.
  3. Establish effective communicaton between African American’s in order to help drive individual growth, development and long-term success.
I would love to hear from any of the brothers or sisters that are working behind the scenes on this newsletter and the organization. I would also be interested to see how the Electronic Villager can support this effort.

All of us can learn more from their website.

At the end of the day I'm in favor of anyone who has a passion for people of African descent that seek to advance themselves in the information technology industryWhat are your thoughts about this new organization -- Blacks In Technology?

April 8, 2010

Do Black Folks Care About 'Net Neutrality'?

Crossposted: Wichita NAACP Blog

You should, and here’s why…

What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the idea that the Internet should always remain an unrestricted information and communication portal. That like streets and highways, the internet should be open and available for anyone to use and that it should continue to provide an equal platform for all voices.

What are the challenges to Net Neutrality?
The challenge to Net Neutrality is that several major telecom companies (such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner) are currently seeking to monetize the internet. Access to technologies, sites, applications, and speeds, would be limited and tiered by a fee structure with the fastest speeds and best access reserved for those companies or organizations that paid a premium rate. Akin to television, where you have public access, broadcast, basic cable, and premium cable channels, these telecom companies are seeking to divide the internet along the same basic lines. Under the structure they seek to create, these telecom companies would be able to change they way you and I access the internet; providing packages that favored their sites, products, search engines, and platforms, while at the same time slowing down or limiting access to the services, sites, and applications of their competitors.

Why should I care about Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is a concept that is embedded in the way we view the internet. The Internet provides everyone who owns or has access to a computer an equal opportunity to render their thoughts and opinions into the public sphere. It is the great equalizer - giving everyone the opportunity to "tell their own story". The Internet is changing the way that we see and understand the world around us; giving us immediate access to voices, video, pictures, documents, and first-hand accounts of events. The internet does not have an editor. The internet is not concerned with market share. The internet does not use talking points. The internet does not spin. The internet is simply an open platform, where anyone who has a story can tell it, and anyone else who has an interest can listen. It is the 21st century Hyde Park speaker's corner; a true digital soapbox...

On the Internet, community organizations and ordinary citizens don't have to worry about whether or not the local paper or television stations feel their issues are "newsworthy" or if they have sufficient appeal to the larger community: This a shared space, where we each can speak to our respective constituencies without having to meet the approval of some editorial board or telecom company, and without having to pay to speak. Our voices and our stories are posted on equal footing, using the same technologies, which are accessible at the same speeds, and available to the same audience, as those posted by national media organizations, government officials, or the Telecom companies themselves.

Currently, the Internet allows everyone to speak freely with no gatekeepers deciding which voices should be amplified and which others should be silenced. Money does not enhance your message, nor does the lack of money diminish it. There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites should be freely accessible, and which should have limited access. There are no gatekeepers deciding whose data and content will run fast and whose should run slowly. There are no financial limitations on speakers and content providers (ordinary people like you and I). There is no overseer to decide if you'd paid enough money to host those videos, or to post those pictures. But the plans proposed by the telecom companies would change all that. Under the guise of honoring the "free market", the Telecom companies and their supporters seek to introduce fee structures, tiered access, and content packaging. This is why we need Net Neutrality.

What do opponents say about Net Neutrality?
The "Government Takeover" Argument: Critics argue that Net Neutrality legislation represents a 'government takeover' of the Internet. They claim that the Internet is now a Free Market System and should be allowed to continue in its current state without Government interference. The obvious problem with this argument is that the Telecom companies have made it clear that they do not want to see the Internet continue in its current state. They are proposing a change to a tiered system as I have described above. Net Neutrality legislation would not "take over the Internet" and change it to a new system; it would simply safeguard the system we currently have. It would codify the principles of an open and free Internet into law and prevent Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

The "Corporate Welfare" Argument: Groups like Hands off the Internet and NetCompetition.org argue that Net Neutrality is akin to a corporate welfare scheme that would benefit the Silicon Valley crowd; forcing everyone to subsidize the expansion of bandwidth and capacity which in turn Silicon Valley would use sans the costs of development. They argue that speed and capacity are expensive so those who need it should pay for it. In other words, pay to play - let everyone have access to the net but scale their speed and capacity according to their 'need' and budget. That way the Silicon Valley crowd could have their lighting fast connection speeds because they'd be paying for them, smaller companies could purchase the speed and capacity they needed on a lesser scale, and ordinary folks could have a 'level of access' suitable for our need and budget. (Again, think television: Premium Channels, Basic Cable, Network Television, and Public Access). The problem with this argument is that it assumes that people are merely 'content consumers' and not 'content providers'. The real power of the internet is that it allows ordinary citizens to be content providers. Its one thing to offer lower bandwidth and slower speeds for downloads and surfing, but when you think in terms of content providers (people who use blogs, social networks, web sites, you tube etc) scaling their bandwidth and speed to match their bank accounts artificially prioritizes some voices over others. Those with money would speak louder; their voices heard faster, their messages accessed easier, their messages better enabled with video and streaming content. Those without money would be relegated to the cyberspace equivalent of public television; Slow uploads, poorly enabled, with lesser capacity and lessened access.

Next Steps?
The first step is to educate yourself. You should begin by reading HR3458 - The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. Please, take the time to read the whole text, because to effectively advocate for the bill, we must fully understand it. The telecom companies have already spent millions of dollars to lobby Congress and the FCC against Net Neutrality, so it's critical that we understand not only why the bill is important, but also why our opponents are wrong.

Second, you should contact your Representative to let them know that you support Net Neutrality and that you want them to vote in favor of HR3458.

And lastly, stay informed... Visit savetheinternet.com and sign the petition; add your voice to the 1.6 million people who have already come out in favor of Net Neutrality...

April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Cityscape (by Chalk Artist Julian Beever)

Red Pump Project Celebrates Its First Anniversary

This blog has been a supporter of the Red Pump Project since it came to life a little over a year ago. We were pleased when the project added an element for men known as the Red Tie Project. In our view it is important that awareness of the HIV-AIDS plague in our community is the best way to eliminate the danger.
The founders of the Red Pump Project held a remarkable fashion show last month in Chicago to celebrate its first anniversary.

I wasn't able to attend ... but, I wanted to ensure that all of our blog readers knew about the event ... as well as the accomplishments achieved over the past year.

I hope that you find ways to support these efforts in the weeks and months to come. What say u?

April 6, 2010

Good News Tuesday: Diamond Abdus-Shakoor

Soulclap to Jennifer Smith Richards for her recent article about a remarkable 9-year old girl that is setting a positive example for our community with her willingness to excel in the world of chess. Here is article published recently in the Columbus Dispatch:

There are plenty of things to learn from chess, but Diamond Abdus-Shakoor's dad says this is the most important: Win with grace, lose with dignity.

Abdul Abdus-Shakoor says Diamond soaks up everything that chess teaches her. Patience. Humility. Perseverance.

Diamond is very, very good.

She hasn't been beaten yet on her East Columbus Elementary chess team. The 9-year-old plays grown men in coffee houses and often wins. She has won five national titles in her age group since she learned to play about two years ago, including one in Arizona this month. Her dad says she was the only African American girl competing.

"I play her. She beats me," he said. "It's hard to keep her motivated and keep pushing her."
But Abdus-Shakoor is always standing behind her. He trumpets her successes and makes pitches for her on Twitter (Diamond would love to meet Oprah soon! She would like to play Will Smith in a chess match! Check out YouTube!) and e-mails news releases when she rocks at a tournament.

To the single father, there is nothing more important than helping pave the way for Diamond's bright future. He said that is why he does whatever it takes, even when that means asking for donations at gas stations to help fund her trips.

It's one reason he coaches her chess club at East Columbus.

"I get to be wherever my daughter is and help other kids. It's a win-win," he said.

During practice, Diamond gives up her queen before play to handicap herself. At a recent practice, Abdus-Shakoor set up a simultaneous exhibition in which she played 11 students at once.

"If somebody wins, I'll give you $1," he told the students. Diamond took a few seconds at each board and before long had started collecting pieces.

"She can be beat," Abdus-Shakoor told the students. But not that day.

You figure a third-grader with as many trophies as Diamond has would be a hot-dogger. But she has no post-game shuffle and casts no smirks at her fallen opponents. That's part of winning with grace. And maybe that's why the other kids in the club don't resent her for being good. They respect her for it.

"I learn from my mistakes and her mistakes," said fifth-grader Noah Jones-Smith, who has lost only to Diamond during club play.

That's what it's all about, Abdus-Shakoor said.

"Chess is bigger than me and my daughter. It's a window into their world. I'm trying to prepare them for life," he said.

The woman who grew Columbus City Schools' chess program agrees. Students who play learn how to interact with one another, think critically, compete with grace. Even after the district cut funding for chess coaches a few years ago, clubs like the one at Diamond's school lived on.

There are clubs in 77 schools with more than 2,700 students playing. And there have been several children like Diamond.

"Once you get a kid who has won a trophy for the first time, it's exciting. It's fulfilling for everybody on every level that cares about kids in the schools," said Francie Nolan, who started the program in the mid-'80s.

She's gotten to know Diamond and her dad, and thinks Diamond's name is fitting.

"She sparkles," Nolan said.

Other girls and boys in Diamond's club are waiting to shine, too. Abdus-Shakoor wants to take them to a national tournament; there are two big ones in central Ohio this spring, but registration and transportation cost money. He and Nolan say that's the biggest obstacle.

The talent is there. The kids have been waiting patiently and soaking up everything they can from their chess coaches and standout players like Diamond.
"My dad tells me to have fun. He tells me it's just a game," Diamond said. "But it's not just a fun game. It's an excellent game."

I am very proud of this father and his work with his child. It is no easy thing to teach a young 'un how to play chess when there are so many other faster-paced options available for them. I taught my two youngest the basic moves ... but, we never were able to follow-up with enough time playing the game for them to pick up a love or appreciation for it. This article inspires me to try again!

Are you a chess player?

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing effort by this blog (and others) to ensure that positive and uplifting news by and for people of African descent is regularly shared with our blog readers. Please let me know if you come across an article or other information about someone or something that you think worthy of our weekly Good News Tuesday blog meme!