Newswire: Parents and Black publishers discuss excellence in public education during ‘Black Press Week’

By Stacey M. Brown, NNPA contributor


nnpaessabreakfast_bpw18_2550_fallen_web120.jpgPanelists discuss the role of the Black Press in education during a breakfast session hosted by the NNPA ESSA Public Awareness Campaign, during Black Press Week in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Educators and education experts discussed parental engagement, equity in education and teacher diversity, during a special breakfast session for the NNPA’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Public Awareness Campaign in Washington, D.C.
The session took place during the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) Black Press Week, an annual celebration of the relevance and lasting legacy of Black publishers.
Panelists included Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes; DNA Educational Solutions and Support CEO Dr. Robert L. Kirton Jr.; NAACP Washington Bureau Chief Hilary O. Shelton; Prince George’s County School Board Member Curtis Valentine; and Dr. Lannette Woodruff, an ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) taskforce member for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Elizabeth Primas, the project manager for the NNPA’s ESSA Public Awareness Campaign, served as moderator for the session titled, “Striving for African American Excellence in Public Education: The Role of the Black Press” at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Friday, March 16. “I’m pretty fired up about education,” Rolark Barnes said of the current state of education in the Black community. “As we celebrate 191 years of the Black Press in America, it’s important to remember that the education of Black people is rooted in the Black Press and the Black Church.”
Rolark Barnes also reminded the audience that one of the founders of the Black Press, Samuel Cornish, graduated from the Free African School and became a minister, before he started the Freedom’s Journal.
Shelton noted that the Black Press has been the voice of the Black community for a very long time; the NAACP Washington bureau chief also said that education is the bridge over troubled waters.
Kirton recounted a false, yet familiar adage that suggested that “The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book.” Kirton used the saying to shine a light on the paucity of high-quality education options in the Black community.
“I got into the [education] fight, because I want to make a difference,” Kirton said.
Valentine advocated for increased parental engagement in our schools at every level. “We need policies that are more welcoming for our parents to come in,” Valentine said.
Woodruff agreed. “We want programs in our schools, so that children understand what [parental engagement] is all about,” Woodruff said.
In 2017, the NNPA received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a three-year, multi-media public awareness campaign focusing on the unique opportunities and challenges related to the implementation of ESSA, according to a press release about the campaign.
Under the ESSA, states have more flexibility under federal regulations to design customized solutions to improve elementary and secondary education in the nation’s public schools. The law also ensures that every child, regardless of race, income, background, or where they live have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education; ESSA received bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 10, 2015.
The NNPA selected Primas, a decorated and award-winning educator, as program manager and she famously refers to all of her students as ‘her children’.
“My children’” are all of the children in schools that have been underserved, undereducated, and for all intents and purposes, forgotten about,” Primas said.


Newswire : NAACP concerned with HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s efforts to change agency mission

By: Malik Russell, NAACP Director of Communications

BALTIMORE (March 8, 2018)—The NAACP is deeply concerned by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s move to dilute the agency’s long-standing mission.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, which established HUD as a cabinet-level agency, declared a purpose: “[T]o provide for full and appropriate consideration, at the national level, of the needs and interests of the Nation’s communities and of the people who live and work in them.” This purpose is sustained through the agency’s mission to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Secretary Carson’s action not only threatens HUD’s founding purpose, but also reveals plans of regression.

“Dr. Carson’s attempt to diminish HUD’s mission comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission’s report which affirmed that discrimination and segregation had long permeated much of American Life and continues to threaten the future of every American; and at a time when the Trump administration seeks to cut billions of dollars in housing aid for low-income families,” said NAACP’s Sr. Director of Economic Programs, Marvin J. Owens, Jr.

Despite these attempts, the promise of discrimination-free practices lives on in the Fair Housing Act which has the central objective of prohibiting race discrimination in sales and rentals of housing. The hope of continued progress in America rests in the hands of communities across the country that continue to push their elected leaders to preserve programs designed to help disadvantaged communities and promote policies that make economic inclusion a reality.

The NAACP recognizes the importance of an inclusive economy and economic policies that address the challenging realities facing our country including poverty, lack of jobs and disproportionate high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and foreclosures. The NAACP Economic Department’s work enhances the capacity of African Americans and other under-served groups through financial economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; diversity and inclusion in business hiring, career advancement and procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting

Newswire : ‘Unequal Realities’ hold back rural women, says U. N. on eve of Women’s Confab

international womens day.png

( – On the eve of International Women’s Day, the United Nations is renewing its call for concrete actions to address the plight of rural women who make up over a quarter of the world population yet are being left behind in every measure of development.
In an opening statement, UN Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka applauded a new era for women displaying “a remarkable gathering of strength, speaking with one voice, calling for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from grassroots networks and coalitions that stretch right up to government leadership.”
But rural women, “face unequal day-to-day realities because of entrenched socio-cultural norms and practices,” noted the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa. “There is an urgent need to step up efforts with concrete actions (to) fulfil the commitments made to rural women in Africa.”
“Rural women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labor force,” affirmed a research and documentation center in Nigeria. “Yet they lack access to agricultural inputs and finance, they have less than 14 percent land holding rights, while culture, tradition and discriminatory laws deny women equal access to government programs at national and state levels. “
In Nigeria, over 90 percent of land is held and controlled by men while women as wives or daughters in many communities have little control over such lands, added Ms Mimido Akchapa of Women Rights to Education of Benue (Nigeria).
“They continue to suffer in silence due to discrimination on the basis of gender and not because they have less strength or intelligence to perform rural activities in the agricultural value chain,” the Benue women’s group said. “This has negative implications for basic food production and the eradication of poverty.”
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a statement: “Let me be clear: this is not a favor to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls.
“Investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous.”
The high-level side event, during the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62), is scheduled to take place from March 12 to 23 at UN Headquarters .The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”.

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Commission approves $85,000 for engineering work on County Road 69

In its monthly meeting held Monday, March 12, 2018, the Greene County Commission authorized preliminary engineering work to begin on the bridge on County Road 69 with an investment not to exceed $85,000. At the previous commission work session, county engineer Willie Branch informed the body that this particular bridge has to be inspected every month and warrants this engineering work to begin to replace the bridge. The school bus cannot travel this bridge as it is. The bridge is currently posted at 3 tons.
The commission also gave its approval for the county engineer to sell all surplus equipment and/or surplus supplies.
Opening advertisement for a part-time position in the Solid Waste Department was approved following the commission accepting an employee’s resignation from that position.
The commission acted on the following:
Approved having a public hearing on vacating a portion of Outland Road from the end of the pavement at the railroad to the North Gloria Street property line.Approved various staff travel requests for continuing professional development.
In her financial report, CFO Paula Bird gave the various bank balances as of Feb. 18 as follows: Citizen Trust Bank, $3,109,438.69; Merchants & Farmers Bank, $2,157,243.70; Bank of New York, $363,933.28; total CD investments, $802,978.18. She noted that the Coroner’s office was over the amount budgeted for transportation, noting that it is difficult to estimate what will be needed for a given year. Bird also stated that the Sheriff paid $3,272.95 to cover overtime for his personnel.

Greene County Health System (GCHS) thanks municipalities for financial contributions

Shown above Mayor of Forkland Charlie McAlpine, City Council and community members with CEO of Greene County Health System giving plaque of appreciation.

Shown above Mayor of Boligee Louis Harper, City Council and community members with CEO of Greene County Health System giving plaque of appreciation.


Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS CEO/Administrator, attended meetings of the municipal governments in Forkland and Boligee to thank the Mayors and councilmembers for assistance to the Greene County Health System. The GCHS consists of the Hospital, Residential Care Center (Nursing Home) Physicians Clinic and other ancillary health services.
On Monday night, March 5, Dr. Pugh thanked the Mayor and Council members in Forkland and presented them a plaque for their contribution of $3,499 which was used to purchase a commercial hot water heater for the hospital when the current hot water heater failed.
On Tuesday night, March 13, Dr. Pugh thanked the Mayor and Council of Boligee and presented them with a plaque for their contribution of $4,488, which was used to purchase new air conditioning units for the facility to replace units that had served their time and worn out.
Dr. Pugh also received $1,074.70 from the Town of Union, which was used to purchase a new hospital bed for the Residential Care Center, where more replacement beds are urgently needed. Dr. Pugh said she would also bring a plaque for the Town of Union at a future city council meeting.
“Our hospital is non-profit and we have a charitable foundation that can accept donations and bequests from individuals, churches, organizations, businesses and others in the community to improve and strengthen our facilities. We have a long needs list, with small and large items, if you would like to help us to enhance our facilities and services, said Pugh.
For more information contact Dr. Pugh at GCHS, 509 Wilson Avenue, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone: 205/372-3388; email:

Newswire : New EPI study shows no Black economic progress in 50 years

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)


Late last year, “The Washington Post” wrote that African Americans were the only group that showed no economic improvement since 2000. They based their conclusions on Census data. This year, there was even more sobering news in a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The new study issued found “no progress” for African Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years.
Much of what was included in the EPI study was stunning data on African American economic progress. Fifty years after the famous and controversial Kerner Commission Report that identified “white racism” as the driver of “pervasive discrimination in employment and education” for African Americans, EPI concluded that not much has changed.
The EPI study stated the obvious and pointed to glaring statistics.
Regarding the justice system, the share of incarcerated African Americans has close to tripled between 1968 and 2016, as Blacks are 6.4 times more likely than Whites to be jailed or imprisoned. Homeownership rates have remained unchanged for African Americans, over the last 50 years. Black homeownership is about 40 percent, which is 30 percent behind the rate for Whites.
Regarding income, perhaps the most important economic metric, the average income for an African American household was $39,490 in 2017, a decrease from $41,363 in 2000.
A press release about the report said that, “Black workers still make only 82.5 cents on every dollar earned by white workers, African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be in poverty than Whites, and the median White family has almost ten times as much wealth as the median Black family.”
In 2017, the Black unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 1968, and still roughly twice the White unemployment rate. In 2015, the Black homeownership rate was just over 40 percent, virtually unchanged since 1968 and trailing a full 30 points behind the White homeownership rate, which saw modest gains over the same period.
President Trump has bragged about the Black unemployment rate has reached record lows and homeownership has reached record highs under his presidency. What Trump leaves out is the overall statistical data over many years.
Much of what the data shows is connected to systemic policy problems that have been persistent for decades. In the press release about the EPI report, EPI economic analyst Janelle Jones said that it’s clear that structural racism is the root cause of the economic inequality between Blacks and Whites.
“Solutions must be bold and to scale, which means we need structural change that eliminates the barriers that have stymied economic progress for generations of African American workers,” said Jones.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a congressional correspondent for the NNPA Newswire. Lauren also works independently as a political analyst and communications strategist. You can reach Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Newswire: The Black press honors Senator Kamala Harris with NNPA’s 2018 ‘Newsmaker of the Year Award’ during Black press week

Senator Kamala Harris (D CA)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—(NNPANewswirePR)—The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will honor Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award during the NNPA’s 2018 Black Press Week. The Newsmaker event will take place at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, March 14 at 7pm.
“The Honorable Kamala Harris, the second African American woman and first South Asian American senator in U.S. history, is an outstanding choice for the NNPA’s 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award,” said Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader Newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind.
The NNPA will also celebrate the senator’s efforts to raise wages for working people, reform the criminal justice system, and expand healthcare access for all Americans.
“In all of my years of covering news in our community, Senator Harris has been one of the smartest, most fearless, steadfast and caring politicians that I have come to know,” said Amelia Ashley-Ward, the new NNPA Foundation chair and publisher of the San Francisco Sun-Reporter. “She has a lot to offer the world…we are so fortunate to have her advocating on our behalf.”
The theme of this year’s Black Press Week is “Celebrating 191 Years of the Black Press of America: Publishing Truth to Empower.” Black publishers, media professionals, civil rights leaders and lawmakers from across the country attend the annual event, taking place March 14-16. On Friday, March 16, Democratic strategist and author Donna Brazile will deliver a keynote address on the state of the Black Press in America.
“When John B. Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish printed that first issue of Freedom’s Journal they sought to empower Black people to determine their own destiny and to define themselves,” said Leavell. “How iconic, that in 2018, our theme still rings true: ‘Publishing Truth to Empower.’”
Black Press Week will also feature sessions on business development, education reform, and sickle cell disease. Outstanding leaders in the Black community will be honored during the Torch Awards Dinner.

The Torch Award recipients are: Dr. Amos Brown, the pastor of the San Francisco Third Baptist Church; Rep. Barbara Jean Lee (D-Calif.); and James Farmer, a senior consultant for General Motors.
Ken Barrett, the global chief diversity officer for General Motors, said that “Jim” Farmer dedicated his career to transforming the automotive industry through diversity and community service. “I am proud of the invaluable support Jim continues to provide GM and he is truly most deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Barrett.
Chairman Leavell agreed. “The NNPA Foundation, under the leadership of Chairman Amelia Ward, the publisher of the Sun Reporter in San Francisco, Calif., has chosen some of the most outstanding leaders and trailblazers in the Black community to receive Torch Awards, this year,” said Leavell.
The 2018 Black Press Week partners include the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Reynolds American (RAI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Pfizer, Inc. The 2018 Black Press Week sponsors include AARP, Amerihealth, Comcast, Koch Industries, Wells Fargo, AT&T, and Volkswagen.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the NNPA and the NNPA Foundation have joined together to celebrate the 191-year anniversary of the Black Press in America. “This year, Black Press Week convenes at a time of profound opportunity and responsibility to ensure a record turnout for Black American voters in the upcoming midterm elections across the nation,” said Chavis. “The new strategic alliance between the NNPA and the NAACP bodes well to advance civil rights and the economic, political, and cultural empowerment of Black America.”

The National Newspaper Publishers Association represents more than 200 Black-owned media companies in the United States. The NNPA promotes the profession of journalism and the business of publishing, while celebrating the evolution of the Black Press in America.