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China Dominated U.S.-Africa Summit

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - China and U.S.-Africa SummitAlthough the continent of Africa has 54 countries, the nation that received the most attention at last week's U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. was China. That's because the U.S. is trying to catch up with and surpass the Asian superpower.

Africa has six of the top 10 fastest-growing economies: Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique, and Rwanda. From 2011-2015, Africa is expected to hold seven of the top 10 spots: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria.

Suddenly, instead of being viewed through the outdated prism of stereotypes – war, famine, disease, corruption – Africa is an attractive place to do business. That was evident when President Obama announced $33 billion in government and private sector investment in Africa – $12 billion in new commitments.

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Migrant Children: Innocent Victims of U.S. War on Drugs

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - Migrant children victims of war on drugsBishop Minerva Carcaño, the Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop of the United Methodist Church, is acting with urgency. Along with more than 100 other religious leaders and activists, she was arrested for civil disobedience at the White House for protesting the deportation of the unaccompanied children crossing our border after fleeing from the brutal violence and poverty of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

A few days earlier, she visited Port Hueneme Naval Base in Oxnard, California for the second time and met some of the hundreds of migrant children temporarily housed there. Joining her this time were Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, Robert Ross of the California Endowment, and Fred Ali of the Weingart Foundation.

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Working at Taking a Vacation

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary - VacationsI don't do vacations well. I have to be pushed and prodded, just about guilt-tripped, into taking time off. Sure, I'll take an hour here, an evening there, to read a book or play word games. But it just about takes an act of God to get me to go play.

Yet, when I play, I find a lightness of spirit, rejuvenation, a rush of fresh ideas, a cessation of frustration. I play and remind myself of an 8-year-old me, pigtails (ugh) flying, water fighting, immersed in a careless and carefree world. I like to think that those few days, or maybe weeks in August prepared me for the coming school year. And I always think of September 1 as the new year, the day when many schools open and when we start our academic year over.

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