Insight News

Feb 10th


“Held Captive": Child Poverty in America

My father told me I could do and be anything I wanted to be, if I dreamed and worked hard enough for it.  I took these words to heart, despite growing up in the Jim Crow era in Marlboro County, South Carolina. 

Today, too many children in Marlboro County and throughout America are not being taught to dream and to work hard for a better future. Unemployment in my home county has hovered between 16 and 20% for long periods of time and many children there have never seen anyone in their family able to find a job and go to work.  I was deeply saddened by a story I heard recently about three young teen boys who were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up.  The first boy said he wanted to work at McDonald’s; the second boy said he wanted to be Spiderman and when pushed for a real person, he could not think of one; and the third boy drew a boy lying on the ground and said he was going to be dead before he grew up.

Egypt, economic justice and the rest of us

People took it to the streets in Egypt on Tuesday, January 25, and they’ve been on the streets ever since.   They’ve been demanding the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, and agitating for “freedom, democracy, and change”.   Unemployment is high, economic opportunity is low, and people are so frustrated that they are taking it to the streets.   In Egypt, at least 40 percent of the population lives in poverty, on less than $2 a day.   The population of 80 million skews young, with an average age of 24 (in contrast, the average age in the US is 36).   President Mubarak, at 82, seems out of touch with the population.

Green Empowerment Zones mean jobs

“To ignore the potential contribution of private enterprise is to fight the war on poverty with a single platoon while great armies are left to stand aside.”  Robert Kennedy

It is time for policy makers on both sides of the progressive-conservative divide to stop debating and start enacting policies to create jobs, especially for those suffering the most from the persisting great recession.   One way to do that is to create green empowerment zones that would generate urban jobs, promote clean energy, and enhance American competitiveness in the global shift to green technology.  An empowerment zone generally is an economically distressed urban area that is eligible for government tax breaks as a way to spur business investment, small business growth and jobs.  The concept has been embraced by Republicans like Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan as well as Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. 

Black History Month 2011: State of Blacks in America

We’ve got a nice-looking, bright and articulate mainstream African American as President. It is this flirt and allure with mainstream American cultures and values that causes African Americans’ lack of advancements. It was anticipated that an Obama Administration would usher America into a new era of hope, change, and unity; but in reality this regime has brought about a static hold and regression among African Americans.

Traditional racial barriers such as discrimination and inequality are swept under the rug and no action is being taken to break the back of America’s institutionalized racism.

Would Today Bring Tears To Their Eyes?

When it comes to the who’s who in Black History, the list of heroes is as endless as was the unselfish, tireless journey of our formidable leaders of days gone by, and those anew.   Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Charles Drew, Bob Johnson, Miles Davis, Benjamin Banneker, Rosa Parks, W.E. B. DuBois, Marian Anderson, Thurgood Marshall, Ralphe Bunche, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordon, David Wilder, Booker T. Washington, Mae Jamison, Madame C. J. Walker, Henry Gates, Jackie Robinson, and countless others are vehicles of change.  Attempting to name all who contributed to improving the lives of people of color and to the progress of this nation could fill page after page.

The Black Caucus in the 112th Congress

As they assembled at the US Capitol for the 112th Congressional session a record number 44 African Americans were sworn in as Members of the House of Representatives.   The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) gained national recognition when its Members met with President Richard Nixon in March of 1971 and presented him a list of 60 recommendations for governmental action on domestic and foreign issues. Today, the CBC, whose membership is exclusive to Blacks, represents the political aspirations of 13 percent of the American population and comprises 9.6 percent of the Congress.

Sabathani Community Center names new executive director

Sabathani Community Center names new executive directorClyde Turner has been named executive director of Sabathani Community Center, announces Shana Zaiser, chair of Sabathani’s board of directors. Turner will begin his assignment on February 14 becoming Sabathani’s fourth executive director since the organization began in 1966.

“It is a great honor to be selected executive director of Sabathani,” says Turner. “I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to facilitate growth and meet the challenges ahead.”

Clyde Turner has more than 34 years of experience in human services working with communities, families and children. Turner was most recently Manager of Ramsey County Family Support Services Division composed of the Child Foster Care, Adult Foster Care, Adoption and Guardianship units. Turner has served on the boards of Phyllis Wheatley, YMCA, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota and National Foster Parent.
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