Insight News

Oct 08th


Life after the Election

Life after the ElectionLife for me after this past election cycle has been an interesting process of rebuilding a more profound life step by step.

I ran for a seat on the Minneapolis City Council because of my great dissatisfaction with how our community has been treated, engaged and represented. I also wanted to explore life beyond the level I was currently at. I had been in a funk for the past two years after the death of my youngest brother prior to my run for 5th Ward City council. After his death in 2006, I lost interest in everything including my responsibilities to support my life and eventually grew very tired of the world that surrounded me. I made the choice that I needed to be refreshed and pushed to greater heights in my life and I was willing to put everything that I had into it. I had nothing to lose because I felt as if I had already hit rock bottom, so I had nowhere to go but up.

Obamacare: At what price?

Reforming health care in America is proving complicated.  Until now, every attempt to provide Americans universal health coverage, as most other leading nations already do, has failed.  Each of the 200 countries on our planet devises its own arrangements for keeping people healthy, treating the sick, and protecting families against financial ruin from medical costs.  America has been the lone exception among 32 of the 33 developed nations that have universal health care.

A home is where wealth is

Despite expansive and deep-seated beliefs in the American Dream’s egalitarian concept America’s structure still perpetuates racial and class inequalities.  At the base of “the American Dream” is homeownership.  A home is equal parts family sanctuary and wealth asset.  A home is a status symbol of substance.  Homeownership provides: shelter and security and elevated community involvement and in democratic institutions.   So, in the worst real estate market since the 1940s on whom do we rely to eradicate racial and class inequalities in homeownership? During the nation’s economic downturn homeownership rates among minority communities declined significantly.

Go beyond high school

The percentage of high school students who went on to college or trade school within a year of finishing high school climbed from 47 percent in 1973 to 67 percent in 2007. That’s good news; our students are falling behind other industrialized nations in terms of graduation rates and we must play catch up. The bad news is that many young people, gifted in their own ways, don’t feel college is for them simply because they don’t thrive in the classroom.  Higher education, more often than not, promises economic stability and career growth for those who go after it, more so than a high school diploma. But, with our nation’s focus on colleges and universities, we may be losing some very talented young people and damaging our future workforce.

Tough on teachers

The recent firing of all the teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island by the district superintendent was applauded by both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Both thought this was the right thing for the students being failed by the teachers and the school. But is it all the teacher’s fault? Should the principals also be held responsible? What about the parents?  After all, it does take a village.

I am empowered - Are you?

(NNPA) - "I pledge to responsibly commit my time and talent to ensure that the nation is empowered to eliminate racial gaps and disparities in housing, education, employment and healthcare by 2025…"

Last week, the National Urban League officially kicked off its centennial celebration and takes its century-long fight for equal opportunity and empowerment to the next level.  The centerpiece of our celebration is a bold, new social mobilization campaign which we are calling I AM EMPOWERED.  We recently launched a new, interactive website:, which asks citizens across the country to join us in a pledge of time and talent to achieve four Empowerment Goals by 2025:

Consider what the Haitian people want

(NNPA) - In the midst of the rubble that still contains the bodies of loved ones, the real people of Haitian, civil society and NGO leaders, met last month to begin to think about how they would build a new Haiti.  I am on my way to Haiti now to consult with many of those leaders in order to ensure that I and TransAfrica Forum fully understand their reality, their needs and their vision for a new society.  Because I know that Haiti’s full recovery must be based upon their priorities and their needs.  But even while Haitians are beginning to imagine their future, I also know that the reality of day-to-day life in Haiti is overwhelming.
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