Sunday, March 31, 2013

Emergency Readiness Workshop for Youth-Serving Organizations


Calendar event Emergency Readiness Workshop for Youth-Serving Organizations
Ilyssa Plumer (Mar 30th 2013 11:24 am)
Are you part of a youth-serving organization and interested in integrating emergency preparedness into your existing programs?! In May, FEMA Region X and the American Red Cross, Western Washington Chapters, will be co-sponsoring free workshops on these very topics. Please see the attached announcement about this exciting opportunity! Here is the link to register (can be found on the flyer as well): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/readinesswkshp. Please find the Workshop Flyer attached and share it with anyone who may benefit from attending; email it, share it on your website, post it on community boards, etc. Thanks! Ilyssa Plumer, FEMA Region X; Email: ilyssa.plumer@fema.dhs.gov

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saggin Pants


BEMA Network Members (All):
 
Perceptions, and how we view each other personally, and how others view us.
 
Please take a look at the different views listed below.  Urban legends, some truth, and different perspectives on a hot subject.  Especially if you know of some young, or older individual that's unable to find a job.  The perception and image may be the key in addition to knowing 110% of our job.
 
Question:  Is it harder to change a system from inside or outside?
 
The world is not a large as you think it is.  Language only separates us in the 21st Century.
 
Be safe, be prepared.
 
cds
 
 
Charles D. Sharp
Chief Executive
Black Emergency Managers Association   
bEMA
2027 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097

Apologizing: does not always mean you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.  (Author Unknown)
 
 
 
 
 
3 .  Saggin Pants....................................................
Saggin Pants
Pass this on to Our Youth, Our Parents, Our Black Men and Women
Letter from a college student
The other day a friend of mine visited me in the lobby of my dorm just to chat while her laundry was drying. As we were chatting two young freshmen came by. One of the 2 boys wanted to 'talk' to my friend (as in date). She asked him how old they were, and both of the boys replied 18. My friend and I both laughed hysterically because we are both 22 years old.
After my friend left the young men were still hanging around and one wanted to know how he could gain her interest.
The first thing I told him to do was to pull up his pants! He asked why, and then said he liked saggin' his pants. I told him to come over to my computer and spell the word saggin'. Then I told him to write the word saggin' backwards.
< FONT face="Times New Roman" color=black size=3>
S-A-G-G-I-N
N-I-G-G-A-S
I told him the origin of that look was from centuries ago. It was the intent of slave owners to demoralize the field workers by forbidding them to wear a belt as they worked in the fields or at any other rigorous job. In addition, men in prison wore their pants low when they were 'spoken for'. The other reason their pants looked like that was they were not allowed to have belts because prisoners were likely to try to commit suicide. And, saggin' pants prevents you from running.
We as young Black people have to be the ones to effect change. We are dying. The media has made a mockery of the Black American. Even our brothers and sisters from Africa don't take us seriously. Something as simple as pulling up your pants and standing with your head held high could make the biggest difference in the world's perception of us. It is time to do right by ourselves. We need to love and embrace each other. No one is going to do that for us.
It all comes down to perception. What people perceive is what reality to them is. We have to change not only the media's perception of us, but we need to change our perception of ourselves.
Remember all eyes are on you Black Man. All eyes are on you Black Woman. All eyes are on your Black Child. People point the finger at us and expect us to engage in negative and illegal activities, to manifest loud, boisterous behavior, to spend our hard earned money in their stores, buying goods we don't need, or really want. We have allowed not only the media, but the government and the world to portray us as a 'sub-culture'. They have stripped our culture down to the point where the image of Black people is perpetuated as rappers, athletes, drug users, and consumers of junk food, expensive tennis shoes, expensive cars, expensive TVs, cell phones and not investing in homes for our families.
We are so much more!!!!!!!  

Connect DC: 2013

Banner
Friends,
Technology affects us all—from residents to businesses to community institutions. It has the potential to transform lives, solve problems, and connect communities. Access to the Internet has changed the way we communicate, work, learn, and get our news and information. These advances have improved the quality of life for most of us, but not for everyone.
And that’s why we go to work each day. 
At Connect.DC, we understand that everything is affected by technology, but we also know that many people still don’t have the access or skills to take full advantage of everything modern technology has to offer. Together with our partners, we are working to do something about that. We’re providing indoor and outdoor free Wi-Fi hotspots and computer access in libraries and recreation centers, training District residents and small businesses to use technology, and working with service providers to ensure both groups have affordable options once they finish their training. We’re also reaching out to people like you to see how we might collaborate to reach the underserved.
Our efforts at Connect.DC are making a difference, and we welcome your suggestions for ways that we can better serve our community. 
Your Connect.DC team

Small Business Success Project Update

woman at computer
In December, OCTO announced a new initiative connecting District-based small businesses with basic digital literacy education through a subgrant to the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). LEDC’s Small Business Success Project is helping entrepreneurs get comfortable with technology tools and giving them the opportunity to advance their business goals and remain competitive in the digital economy. Participants are eligible to receive hardware, software, and Internet connectivity through the trainings. Since December, LEDC has trained more than 60 micro and small businesses.
For a full list of LEDC’s upcoming workshops, click here.

Save the Date: Spring 2013 Community Broadband Summit

We are excited to announce our Spring 2013 Community Broadband Summit will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013! As in the past, we will collaborate with community partners and technology advocates to explore the power of broadband technology in the District and to build tech capacity in DC residents, small businesses, and community institutions. Please contact us to be part of this unique community event. More details to come!
See video and pictures from our Fall 2012 Community Broadband Summit, held in conjunction with DCWEEK 2012.

Out and About

crowds gather at google event
Your Connect.DC team was on the move this past winter, supporting local events and collaborating with technology groups to advance the cause. Acting Program Director Delano Squires presented at the Ward 8 Tech Council meeting on February 5th, where he described Connect.DC’s digital inclusion efforts and gained insight on the specific tech needs of Ward 8 residents. On February 12th, Connect.DC and OCTO subgrantee Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) participated in an event with Google.
We picked up a few pointers from a handful of Social Media Week events, engaged with panelists during a very enlightening Broadband Summit hosted by The Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in early February, made new friends at the first Black Girls Code Meet and Greet in the District, and caught up with old friends at a town hall meeting for the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI).
If you would like to partner with us on your next outreach event, please contact us.

Digital Inclusion in District Schools

When the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools (CAPCS) began receiving broadband services from DC-Net in September, 2012, they were looking to better use technology to fulfill their mission of helping elementary and middle school students develop in all aspects of learning—from critical thinking to mathematical reasoning and scientific inquiry. Read more

Interact with DC’s Broadband Mapping Application

OCTO’s DC Broadband Mapping Application allows users to identify broadband availability and performance throughout the District. The map includes the ability to view by technology type, download/upload speeds and the number of providers within a given location. For information on other mapping efforts in the District, click here.

Facebook Survey: What’s Your Most Essential Tech Tool?

In January, we asked our Facebook fans this question: if you HAD to choose one device/platform to access the Internet, which would you choose? Our fans were split evenly between laptop and tablet. No one chose desktop!
For up-to-the-minute news and engagement with our team, ‘like’ us on Facebook.

UPCOMING EVENTS


Research Subgrant Request for Application (RFA) Release Date

Monday, March 25, 2013
Stay tuned for updates >>

Grant Proposal Writing 101 Workshop

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
10am-12pm
View more info >>

Spring 2013 Community Broadband Summit

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Stay tuned for event details >>

2012 Taxes. Free Software

If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $57,000 or less, you may qualify to use a brand name tax software to prepare and e-file your taxes for FREE.

Answer a few questions on IRS.gov to help you determine your eligibility to use Free File tax software.

If your AGI is more than $57,000, you can still use Free File fillable forms for your federal tax return. Learn more about Free File for all taxpayers

Monday, March 18, 2013

Webinar: Recording & Feedback. DoD-Civil EM Program Integration


The Webinar recording of the March 13th EMForum.org program, "Department of Defense - Civil Emergency Management Program Integration," with Ryan Broughton, CEM®, CBCP, Emergency Management Program Manager for Davis-Paige Management Systems, LLC, is now available. This is a large file and requires Windows Media Player or Windows Media Components for QuickTime or a similar product to view. The recording is also available in MP4 format for mobile users. The TranscriptAudio PodcastSlides, as well as Ratings and Comments are available from the Background Page. The Audio Podcast and MP4 recordings are also available from the iTunes Store.
 
Note: The Army EM Program all hazards mutual aid agreement (MAA) template is found at Appendix H and has been extracted and posted at http://www.emforum.org/vforum/DOD/p525_27AppendixH.pdf.  The Navy program manual also includes an MAA template at Appendix H pertaining to fire protection and hazardous materials response, which is available here.  These links are also available from the Background Page. 
 
Thanks to all who participated.  Please take a moment to rate this program for relevance and share your comments.

Our next program is scheduled for March 27th when we are very excited to present an update on the status of the Public Safety Broadband Network.  Our guest will be FirstNet Board Member Kevin McGinnis. Please make plans to join us then.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Job Opportunites: Washington, D.C., Virginia



National Aeronautics and Space Administration 8 reviews - Washington, DC
tracking all corrective actions and assigning responsible entities to ensure the completion of actions;. Develops and manages a comprehensive Corrective Action... $89,033 - $115,742 a year

Government of the District of Columbia 7 reviews - Washington, DC
Incumbent must possess a valid Driver License. This position is located in DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency (DCHSEMA), Operations Division.... $66,953 - $93,734 a year
Government of the District of Columbia - 12:05 PM





MSS-DMD Headquarters - Kingstowne, VA
Demonstrated experience in conducting and planning emergency public health operations at State and National levels;....
Cubic Corporation - Mar 14

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homeland Security Today: Hurricane Sandy. Unified Military Response.

http://www.hstoday.us/blogs/guest-commentaries/blog/exclusive-dual-status-single-purpose-a-unified-military-response-to-hurricane-sandy/805345bdee0530ceef07d9e5b4c31002.html


EXCLUSIVE -- Dual-Status, Single Purpose: A Unified Military Response to Hurricane Sandy
March 11, 2013


By: Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., and Gen. Frank J. Grass


On the evening of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy roared ashore and wreaked devastation upon the people and infrastructure of New York and New Jersey. It was the worst natural disaster to strike our shores since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. And while destructive, Sandy’s effects could have been much worse if not for the cooperative efforts of local leaders and first responders, the National Guard, the Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other state and federal agencies.

Even as long-term recovery efforts continue in the hardest hit communities of the Northeast, it is worth pausing to reflect on how our military forces performed in the response to Sandy, and in particular noting the success of the Dual-Status Commander concept that aligns both National Guard and federal military forces under a single leader.

To begin, Sandy reinforced a basic principle of domestic disaster response, and that is local civilian first responders remain the fastest and most effective forces available. Local police, firefighters, paramedics and government officials have the extraordinary responsibility to protect life and meet the immediate needs of its citizens while setting the stage for a long-term community recovery. Volunteers, non-profits, corporations and faith-based organizations also fill a critical role in helping people who have been impacted. These first responders and local volunteers may suffice in routine emergencies. However, in complex disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which may span multiple states and municipalities, the demands of the crisis have the potential to exceed local capacity to meet those needs. This is when our military must be ready to respond.

The National Guard, as the military’s first responders in most domestic disasters, provides the next layer of response, offering the governor a robust response force. National Guard forces enjoy tremendous acceptance and trust within their communities and are empowered by emergency management assistance compacts and other agreements that enable rapid sharing of capabilities between states. Finally, upon the governor’s request and approval of the President or Secretary of Defense, DoD forces operating under Title 10 may be introduced as an additional layer of response capabilities -- a “strategic reserve” to support lead federal agencies supporting state and local authorities.

This tiered and scalable response construct, as described in the National Response Framework, has served us well through several emergencies. But its bottom-up process for requesting military support can be too cumbersome and time-consuming in a large-scale, complex disaster. Which brings us to the second lesson:  we simply cannot be late to respond when our citizens are in danger.

If we wait until we receive a request before we start identifying and preparing our forces, they may not arrive in time to help. In a complex catastrophe, response time equates to potential human suffering. Yet, we also must respect the sovereignty and responsibility of state and local authorities. A top-down analysis of potential requests must be conducted and assets staged ahead of time so that we can respond quickly with relationships already built; processes practiced and honed by training and exercising together to save lives; and to help our communities get back to normal.
 
Even before Sandy made landfall, as states prepositioned first responders and National Guard forces -- and FEMA readied its assets -- thousands of active-duty and reserve DoD forces were placed on standby, positioned to rapidly respond when called. DoD coordinating officers were deployed to FEMA’s joint field offices to facilitate requests for federal military assistance. A joint support element was established at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to serve as a forward staging point for relief supplies and personnel, and the USS Wasp Amphibious Ready Group began steaming towards the area to render assistance. Thanks to this forward-leaning stance, DoD forces stood ready to quickly assist National Guard forces in helping those who lay in Sandy’s destructive path.

The complexity of the Sandy relief efforts highlights a third lesson: the importance of establishing a clear chain of command that ensures operational unity of effort that achieves the balance between timeliness and respect for civil authority. In the midst of a complex catastrophe, with Title 32 National Guard forces from multiple states working alongside Title 10 active duty and reserve forces, there is a potential for confusion in the chain of command, which risks undermining unity of effort -- a key principle of military operational effectiveness. We simply cannot afford to have our military forces working at cross-purposes without effective coordination and synergy that could hamper time-critical search and rescue and lifesaving operations. Nor can we impose multiple uniformed voices on stressed federal, state and local civilian agencies.

Last year, Congress took a bold step to prevent such an occurrence. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act built upon earlier legislation to enable individual states and DoD to coordinate their efforts through a single commander, usually a National Guard officer, who is given tactical control of both state-controlled National Guard forces and DoD military forces. While state and federal military forces maintain separate and distinct chains of command, this Dual-Status Commander leads all military forces and directs their response efforts, achieving a level of unity of effort that was unachievable or difficult prior to implementation of this construct.

During Hurricane Sandy, this unity of effort enabled much-needed assistance from DoD to move quickly to support states. For example, with the US Transportation Command we were able to move 262 power restoration vehicles and 429 support personnel from western states to New York and New Jersey. With the US Army Corps of Engineers we contributed 100 large pumps that were able to remove 475 million gallons of flood water from tunnels and basements. And with the Defense Logistics Agency, we helped distribute six million meals and 8.1 million gallons of unleaded and diesel fuel to the people of both states.

While the Dual-Status Commander construct was put in place for several small-scale emergencies such as the Colorado and California wildfires, and for key national-level events including the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Hurricane Sandy marked the first time that actual tactical control of National Guard and DoD active and reserve forces was given to Dual-Status Commanders for a major, multi-state natural disaster. While this inaugural use of Dual-Status Commanders wasn’t flawless, in the end we can say with conviction that the concept works. It is simply the best command and control construct that exists for responding effectively and efficiently to complex disasters, because it can bring the full weight of the DoD response to the worst man-made or natural disasters while maintaining the authority of state and local governments.

Nobody knows a state better than its governor, the individual elected by the people and accountable to them during their time of greatest need. The governor, working with the National Guard adjutant general, will continue to lead disaster response and recovery efforts within their state. A Dual-Status Commander allows them to do it better by ensuring all types of DoD support work together within the governor’s intent. It allows the President and Secretary of Defense to bring the weight of unique DoD capabilities and national capacity to bear when our citizens most need it, and when the interests of the entire country are at stake. And, it allows US Northern Command to achieve its vision of working with partners to outpace threats and support the American people in their times of greatest need.

Although the Dual-Status Commander concept is relatively new, it has already proven itself to be a powerful tool for improving responsiveness, command and control, continuity of operations and unity of effort. Together, we will maintain an open dialog with the Council of Governors and state adjutants general to ensure the many lessons from Hurricane Sandy are indeed learned, incorporated into our planning, and battle-tested during complex disaster exercises.

When the next major disaster strikes, we will be even better prepared to serve the American people.

Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr. is the Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command. Gen. Frank J. Grass is Chief of the National Guard Bureau, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Deputy Commander of US Northern Command

March 21, 2013.. International Challenges and Opportunities: Law and Policy on Cybersecurity

GW horizontal
 

 International Challenges and Opportunities:  Law and Policy on Cybersecurity  

Please join the George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative and the George Washington University Law School on March 21st for a conversation with leading subject matter experts on "International Challenges and Opportunities:  Law and Policy on Cybersecurity". Panelists will share thoughts on the best means and mechanisms for addressing gaps and shortfalls, from a range of perspectives -- U.S. and international, both public and private sector.

Graduate and undergraduate students in all disciplines are welcome, and encouraged to share their ideas and reactions.
 
  
Panelists: 
Scott Charney  
Corporate Vice President,  
Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft 
   
 Ambassador, Embassy of Estonia
  
Christopher Painter
Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State 

  Moderated by:   
  Frank J. Cilluffo  
 Director, Homeland Security Policy Institute 

       
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
3:30 pm until 5:00 pm 
 Reception to follow  

 
The George Washington University
Elliott School of International Affairs 
Seventh Floor | City View Room  
1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052 | Map It
  
 
   

   
Speaker Biographies:     

Scott Charney
is Corporate Vice President for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group. Mr. Charney is responsible for a range of corporate programs that influence the security, privacy, and reliability of Microsoft's products, services, and internal networks. He also manages the Engineering Excellence Team, a group focused on promoting best-of-breed engineering practices and ensuring compliance with Microsoft's mandatory engineering policies. More 
 
Jason Healey is the director  
of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council, focusing on international cooperation, competition and conflict in cyberspace. He also is a board member (and former executive director) of the Cyber Conflict Studies Association and lecturer in cyber policy at Georgetown University. He co-authored the book Cyber Security Policy Guidebook by Wiley and he is the editor for the first book ever on cyber conflict history (due in 2013). His ideas on cyber topics have been widely published in dozens of articles and essays published by the National Research Council; academic journals such as from Brown and Georgetown Universities; the Aspen Strategy Group and various think tanks. More 
 
    Marina Kaljurdand, Estonian Embassy
Marina Kaljurand
became Ambassador of Estonia to the United States on September 6, 2011.  Previous to this post she served as Undersecretary for Foreign Economic Relations and Development Aid in Estonia (2008-2011), non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan (2007-2011), Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2005-2008), and Ambassador to Israel (2004-2006). Kaljurand also held the positions of Counselor at the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki, Undersecretary for Legal and Consular Affairs, Director General of Legal Department, Director of International Treaties Division, and 3rd Secretary of the Press and Information Department. More 
     

Christopher Painter, DoS Christopher Painter has been on the vanguard of cyber issues for twenty years. Most recently, Mr. Painter served in the White House as Senior Director for Cybersecurity Policy in the National Security Staff. During his two years at the White House, Mr. Painter was a senior member of the team that conducted the President's Cyberspace Policy Review and subsequently served as Acting Cybersecurity Coordinator. He coordinated the development of a forthcoming international strategy for cyberspace and chaired high-level interagency groups devoted to international and other cyber issues.More   

Youth Scientist Challenge 2013



Do you have some budding young scientists in your classroom? 

Discovery Education and 3M are looking for students in grades 5-8 who are enthusiastic about science. 

To enter the Young Scientist Challenge, students must create a 1-2 minute video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to how we live, how we work or how we play. 

The top 10 students will receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN to compete for the chance to win $25,000!

Here is the Teachers Tools page for you to help your students get started right away. The contest ends April 23

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013-2014 John D. Solomon Fellowship Program


2013-2014 John D. Solomon Fellowship Program.

The John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service is the first student fellowship in New York City government devoted specifically to emergency management. This program provides the opportunity for up to seven graduate students in New York City-area universities to have a nine-month paid fellowship (approximately 20 hours per week) in an agency of New York City government charged with helping the city prepare for all types of emergencies. Each fellow will receive a $4,000 stipend, will be assigned an agency mentor and will participate in special programs with other fellows.

Participating New York City government agencies in 2013-2014 will be:
  • Office of Emergency Management
  • Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
  • Department of Aging
  • Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • NYC Digital
  • NYC Service
  • Department of Youth and Community Development

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 15, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Essence Editor Says She Was Fired


http://naturallymoi.com/2013/03/news/essence-editor-says-she-was-fired-it-wasnt-what-i-expected-at-all/

Essence Editor Says She Was Fired; “It wasn’t what I expected at all”

Filed under News
Essence editorIt seems that Essence Magazine is no longer about empowering and inspiring Black women. Constance C.R. White is the former Editor of Essence magazine and she has let the cat out of the bag. She shares that she did not leave the top Black women’s magazine of her own accord but was actually let go because she disagreed with the direction the magazine was going.


According to White, when Time Inc took over the magazine, which was previously Black owned, they increasingly made an effort to “limit the way black women were portrayed.” White says that she disagreed with this new direction and constantly had disagreements with her bosses and they eventually told her that they were letting her go.

“I went in there with passion and excitement and high expectations,” White told Journal-isms, referring to her 2011 hiring. “It wasn’t what I expected at all.  What needs to happen is the reader is getting lost and the reader has to be at the center. To make their world smaller is unacceptable,” White said by telephone. “A lot of the readers have sensed” what is happening, she said.

Essence, the nation’s leading magazine for black women, was originally black-owned but has not fared well under Time Inc. ownership, White maintained. Nelson [Martha Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Time Inc.] vetoed such pieces as a look at African American art and culture, and “I was not able to make the creative hires that needed to be made,” White said.

White’s story adds additional doubt to the notion that Essence can be considered a legitimate advocate for black women when black women are not being allowed to make key decisions for the magazine.  This was the concern for millions of readers when the magazine was purchased by Time Inc.  Since the merger took place, the content became lighter and less-controversial in tone, focusing on a steady staple of relationship advice, beauty tips, and more advertising than ever before.

She elaborated by email, “When was the last time you saw Essence in the community advocating for or talking with Black women?

“No more T-shirts with a male employee’s face on it being distributed at the [Essence] Festival.”

Essence announced White’s departure in a terse statement on Feb. 8. No explanation was given.

A New Paradigm for Black America. Chicago, IL March 30, 2013


Wealth, Education, Family and Community: A New Paradigm for Black America

watkins-farrakhan

Although we as African Americans were officially granted our freedom nearly 150 years ago, many of us do not feel truly free.  Some of us get up and go to jobs that we do not enjoy, working for people who don’t like us very much.   Then, when those companies feel that we’ve gotten out of line or they don’t need us anymore, we are sent out the door.
There is also a great deal of frustration with regard to how our kids are being educated, and the violence that has taken too many young lives in our community.   Mass incarceration has ripped the black family to its core and an entire industry has been built from the prison industrial complex.
The solutions must lie with us.  Taking charge of our individual and collective future requires a set of coordinated strategies that relate to how we build resources, protect our resources and target those resources.  Education must become a leading priority that goes beyond what our children learn in school everyday.  We must recommit ourselves to building and supporting black businesses, strengthening our families and sustaining our communities.
The future belongs to us.
Wealth, Education, Family and Community: A New Paradigm for Black America is a forum hosted by Min. Louis Farrakhan and Dr. Boyce Watkins. Min. Farrakhan and Dr. Watkins will discuss the need for a shift in the way people of color think about building wealth, pursuing education and challenging the obstacles to progress which exist in black America today.  The forum will be exciting, engaging and fulfilling, with the presentation of long-term strategies for African American socio-economic progress and sustainability.
The next step of the Civil Rights Movement must go beyond voting for the right politician.

When: Saturday, March 30, 2013, 5 PM CST, doors open at 4 PM
Where: The UIC Forum on the campus of The University of Illinois at Chicago – 725 W Roosevelt (on the corner of Halsted and Roosevelt)
Cost: Free and open to the public
Note: You must RSVP on this form in order to attend the event.

RSVP for the event at this link. 

The Old and Reshaped Black Media


Dr. Boyce: Let’s Face it, Essence Magazine Has Lost it’s “Essence”

wowo
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
The revelations by former Essence Magazine editor Constance White both intrigued and concerned me.  Not to say that I was surprised, but I admittedly long for the days when my friend Susan Taylor stood at the helm of the magazine, and Essence represented something black, extraordinary and authentic.  There was a time when we fully understood that the power of media wasn’t just for making money, it was also for shaping minds.  In fact, Adolph Hitler once said that if you want to control a group of people, all you have to do is control what they read, watch and hear.
For much of my life, when I thought about Essence Magazine, I thought about black women.   Now, when I think about Essence, I think about what white people want black women to become.  The mind can be under occupation in the same way that one colonizes a foreign country, and in the space of African American media, it’s difficult to argue that we’re not a conquered and imperialized group of people.
The pressure to assimilate is overwhelming when I look at how most of the radio stations our kids listen to are owned by big corporations like Clear Channel, who don’t care that commercialized hip-hop music is teaching young boys how to grow up and become murderers and r*pists.  Television Networks like BET seem to believe that it should once again be illegal for black people to learn how to read.  Even TV One, the “good version” of BET (a network that most of us respect), is 49% owned by NBC Universal, implying that they remain officially black-owned by a mere technicality.
Essence is one of the latest victims of the perpetual paper chase that turns us into the kinds of economic addicts that are produced by a racially-oppressive capitalist society.   As black kids, we grow up believing that our goal in life is to sell our soul to the highest bidder, and that it’s OK to be an asset on someone else’s plantation, as long as our overseers allow us to live in the big house.  This opens the door to a life of fancy cars, big houses and expensive meals at the finest restaurants, where we charge it to the game without realizing that there is a massive debt to be repaid.
Then, one day, you look in the mirror and the person you see no longer has a soul.  Like the hooker on the corner who gave her baby away for another vile of crack cocaine, you realize that your worth in this world has been reduced to the size of your paycheck (which can be taken away as soon as they are finished with you).   The community you love languishes and dies, while you sit in the warmth of your corporate office with a boss telling you that the plight of “those people” has nothing to do with you.
I understand this well, because I know capitalism.  I’ve been teaching Finance at the college level for the last 20 years, and one thing I know for sure is that the powerful temptation of money can lead us to become something that we’re not, and it can literally reshape the structure of our psycho-sociological DNA, turning a righteous mission into an abandoned one.  I believe this is what happened to Essence magazine, and quite frankly, it disgusts me.
I wasn’t surprised in the least to hear former Essence editor White say that the corporate captains who own Essence were pulling the strings and dressing the magazine up in black face.  I could hear the voices of thousands of black women on our blogs who, through women’s intuition, could tell that something was wrong.   I’ll keep things simple:  If you want to understand why most corporations or politicians do anything that doesn’t make sense, just follow the money.  Its much more profitable to sell beauty tips and relationship advice than it is to discuss controversial topics like racism, poverty or the prison industrial complex.  Purely capitalist organizations are not designed to incur these kinds of risks.

I don’t hate Essence Magazine, but I think that we should not define the magazine by what it used to be.  Instead, we should define it by what it is.  Essence Magazine is NOT a publication designed for the empowerment and independence of African American women.  It is a magazine that is run and owned by a big corporation with mostly white shareholders who have positioned the brand to get access to the spending power of African American women.   Ladies, the magazine is certainly wired to SERVE you, but it is not wired to LIBERATE you.   There is a very big difference between the two.
Susan Taylor left the building long ago and Essence has “evolved.”  The painful truth that we must realize is that to truly create black-owned media that empowers the African American community, we must be able to think beyond the financial bottom line.  Economic inequality is the last great hurdle of black civil rights, and overcoming starts with the power of OWNERSHIP.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money: How Black Power Can Thrive in a Capitalist Society.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


..Haiti. We will not forget.

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