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The Republican War to Stop President Obama

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Republican war to stop President ObamaThere is an old saying that if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. It seems that that saying has been resurrected with the election of President Barack Obama. It was a saying that was applied to slaves as a counter argument to giving the slaves a “little freedom.”  And while it seems a contradiction in terms, a little freedom is exactly what was given to slaves in New Orleans when they were given a half day off on Sundays.  They would congregate at a place called CONGO SQUARE where they were free to dance and practice their tribal traditions. They were, in effect, half free, for a half day.

The Republicans seem to be trying to revisit those “good ol’ days.”  They want to be able to say America is a great country and anyone can live the American Dream and become a mayor or even president, no matter what race, creed, or color they are.  But the realities are something else, especially if you are looking at it from the vantage point of a Black man of fifty, sixty or seventy years of age. We have seen versions of the drama of the Congo Square, meaning half free and half slave. Another version was half free and half victim of discrimination and/or victim of racism.  

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Black-Owned Businesses, Education and Entrepreneurship

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - black-owned businesses, education and entrepreneurshipAn article in the June 2011 Atlanta Tribune says that Black-owned firms make up more than 23 percent of the Atlanta metropolitan landscape. The June Issue is a primer on Black-owned businesses in the south, in general, and Atlanta, specifically. The article entitled, “City of Entrepreneurs”, The Tribune, a twenty five year old Black-owned magazine, cites an article in Forbes magazine as saying that Atlanta  is the best city in the United States for “minority” entrepreneurs. Forbes uses factors like housing affordability, population growth and entrepreneurial spirit. Forbes put Atlanta ahead of 50 other cities with populations over 1 million.  

Answering the question of, “how does Atlanta keep doing it, The Tribune says that when people think about making a living, entrepreneurship is “way up on the list.”   Atlanta boasts an organization called the “Atlanta Business League,” an advocacy organization existing to promote Black Businesses.

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Open Letter to the New Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary from the editor - an open letter to the new PUSD Superintendent, Jon GundryDear Sir, welcome to the hot seat. Today begins a new day in the history of the Pasadena Unified School District. What will be recorded  as your legacy depends on what you do in developing a partnership with the quiet majority of what will be known as your District. That majority will not be at your School Board meetings. They are the parents you will only hear from when there is a problem. This is unfortunate but always remember that “heavy is the head that wears the crown.” You chose the job and as Superintendent so you wear the crown.

A few suggestions are in order here. We know that you will be forced into the paper box  labeled  “no child left behind”  and, accordingly, your performance will be judged on how well your school district performs in that box. However, your true legacy and reputation will be measured by how the “least” of your children perform.  Many of the least of your children are those African American children who always seem to be found on the “bottom of the well.”  You already know that if you keep on doing only what your predecessors have done, you will not distinguish yourself, and the bottom of the well will still be dark.

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Get A Trade, Get A Skill, Get A Job!

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary on job skills and a jobAn article in the Tuesday, June 21, 2011 issue of The Los Angeles Times by columnist Sandy Banks tells a story of a 20 year old young lady named Jasmine.  Jasmine is a mother of two who, when she found herself with a one year old child and an unemployed “baby daddy”, realized the only marketable skill between him and her was her sex.  She and the baby daddy decided that Jasmine would become a prostitute.  At the time Jasmine was 14. So by now she has been turning tricks on the streets for four years. It is not clear how old the boy (her pimp) was, but neither had an education or training in any trade.      

What this story points out is that for some young people there are not a lot of choices and so they choose anything. The article points out that parents, like Jasmine’s, and the schools are failing our children.  The churches aren’t doing a lot for young people either. 

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A Grad Trip South

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary celebrating 2011 graduatesMy wife and I traveled to North Carolina to see our oldest granddaughter graduate from high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We also made a trip to Atlanta to visit our youngest son, Jamal, and his family.  Travel fascinates me because I always learn something that inspires me, one way or another. 

Ironically, our granddaughter and son were both born in hospitals in Los Angeles.  They grew up in Altadena and attended schools in Pasadena, however, our granddaughter’s mother moved her to North Carolina as a teenager.  The South has been good for them, but we have always longed for the day they would both return to California. Thankfully, our granddaughter has chosen to attend a California college. As for our son, only time will tell.

Ironically, Jamal (a Ph.D. and Professor of Theology) teaches at one of the historical Black colleges, Interdenominational Theological Center.  ITC is the school of religion for Morehouse, Spelman, and the other colleges that make up the six Black Colleges and Universities of Atlanta University. Our granddaughter, Ifetayo (fondly called “Ife”, pronounced: “E-faye”), graduated from a school I have been told that was the last school district in North Carolina to desegregate in the turbulent civil rights days. Chapel Hill gave me the impression that it was the Beverly Hills part of North Carolina. Chapel Hill High School, which was at one time the only high school in Chapel Hill, has its second Black principal, Dr. Jesse Dingle. That’s progress, thanks to the civil rights workers! 

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