Newswire : Friends, medical community weigh-In on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s diagnosis

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)




                                                                   Rev. Jesse Jackson
Last week, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., 76, revealed that he has Parkinson’s Disease.
Rev. Jackson said that this all came about after family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago, and he could no longer ignore symptoms of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.
Rarely do we hear about high profile members in the African American community being affected by Parkinson’s. But make no mistake, Parkinson’s disease is not a White man’s disease. Anyone can get it. One of the most high-profile African-Americans with Parkinson’s was heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali who was diagnosed in 1984 at the age of 42.
Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis caught many by surprise, but those who know him said they’re confident that he’ll overcome the life-threatening challenge before him.
“He’s in the rumble of his life, but he’s rumbled some big foes before,” said Vincent Hughes, a Democratic state senator from Pennsylvania who campaigned for Jackson in 1984 and again in 1988. Hughes said that Jackson’s campaigns were birthed in the Black empowerment movement that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “I’m one of those African Americans, who took office and was a part of that issue of ‘protest to power’ and Rev. Jackson was, in many respects, our leader and he still is.”
More than anyone else, Jackson opened the door for the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Chavis was one of Jackson’s contemporaries during the Civil Rights Movement. “Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., is a living, global civil rights icon. As a colleague in the Civil Rights Movement dating back to the 1960s and under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have personally witnessed the selfless sacrifice and dedication of Rev. Jackson.”
Chavis continued: “For all who have cried out for freedom justice and equality, the news of his Parkinson’s disease should only serve to re-dedicate a movement now for healthcare equality for all, not only as a civil right, but as a human right.”
In his statement about the disease, Jackson recalled his foray into activism, being arrested on July 17, 1960 with seven other college students who advocated for the right to use a public library in his hometown of Greenville, S.C. He said that he remembers the arrest as if it happened yesterday and it was a day that forever changed his life.
“From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access,” said Jackson, whose multiracial National Rainbow Coalition grew out of his work in the 1984 presidential campaign.
He said he resisted interrupting his work to visit a doctor, but his daily physical struggles intensified and he could no longer ignore his symptoms. “After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father,” Jackson said.
Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement saying that he spent time with Jackson and his family in New York, as Jackson made the announcement of his illness. “As I watched him, I was reminded of the greatness of this man,” Sharpton said. “Reverend Jackson has changed the nation and served in ways in which he never got credit.”
Maynard Eaton, a journalist and national director of communications for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Jackson a legendary and fearless civil rights champion. He said the disease may slow Jackson, but won’t stop him.
“Activism and civil rights are in his blood. As a journalist, Jesse Jackson has been a treat and joy to cover and write about,” said Eaton. “He has been a civil rights darling and media maverick…Jesse Jackson is a quintessential and preeminent civil rights activist of our time.”
Even though Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurological condition, it is very treatable, said Dr. Nabila Dahodwala, an associate professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease does not necessarily mean that you must make drastic changes, but every individual is different in how they are affected, how they respond to treatment and how they choose to spend their time,” Dahodwala said.
Ihtsham ul Haq, an expert in neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said he believes Jackson will do well. “Though each patient’s journey with Parkinson’s disease is a little bit different, thankfully for many the symptoms are often well-managed with medication, said Haq. “The hallmark of the disease is the slow loss of dopamine in the brain, which unlocks our movement.”
Haq continued: “As patients begin to produce less of it they show the slowness, stiffness, and tremor that typify the disease. Replacing dopamine usually substantially alleviates these problems.”
Leslie A. Chambers, the president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association, said making appropriate lifestyle changes and focusing on physical therapy will go a very long way to helping Jackson live the best life possible, in spite of the disease.
“Since its a lifelong chronic illness, the American Parkinson Disease Association encourages people with Parkinson’s to seek out a top notch medical and healthcare team, which includes a movement disorders specialist physician and allied healthcare providers and protect and defend their overall health status with a nutritious diet, physical therapy and safe, effective daily exercise programs, as well as emotional and social support from family, and professional care partners-givers,” Chambers said, adding that the association extends heartfelt wishes to Jackson.
Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group said that even though Jackson is in for the fight of his life, she warned that Parkinson’s disease had met its match. “This is a major blow, but it’s not the death knell,” said Leavell. “We will keep working and encourage Jesse with all he’s done for us and continues to do.”

The Women’s March organizers are planning ‘A Day Without A Woman’ strike

By: Desire Thompson, VIBE
Womens March leader

The minds behind the Women’s March on Washington aren’t giving up on the people. Their latest move hints at an economic boycott titled, “A Day Without A Woman.”
The announcement was made Monday (Feb. 6) through their social channels with little detail. What has been shared is the general statement, “The will of the people will stand.” Last month, over a million women from all over the world came together in solidarity to protest the election of President Donald Trump, climate change, immigration laws and unlawful police practice. The Women’s March on Washington brought 500,000 people to the city, making it the most recent largest demonstration in the area. Crowd specialists reportedly stated the Women’s March brought three times the number of people than Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
CNN reports after the exposure of several companies lining up with Trump, the organization made up of Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland, released a statement on those boycotting companies like Uber and Nordstrom. “At a time when our foundational principles of freedom and equality are under threat, The Women’s March is committed to engaging in actions that affirmatively build community, strengthen relationships and support local, women- and minority-owned businesses,” The Women’s March said in a statement.
General strikes thrived during the Civil Rights Movement and other labor movements. Strike4Democracy is currently planning a general strike on Feb. 17. So far, 16,000 people plan to take part in it. Last year, actor Isiah Washington attempted to launch a boycott where African Americans didn’t spend, work or attend school. Middle-class African Americans have been known to spend a hefty amount in a retail market, even with specks of racial inequality proving that black families have less access to substantial goods and services than white families. Nonetheless, the Women’s March organizers have stressed the importance of inclusion.

Emmett Till’s accuser admits it was all a lie


By Stacy M. Brown (The Washington Informer/NNPA Member)

More than six decades after the horrific, racially-motivated murder of Emmett Till, the White woman who accused the Chicago teenager of verbally and physically accosting her in Money, Miss., in 1955, has admitted she lied, according to a new book.

Till had allegedly whistled at and groped Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old White woman, while at a country store in the small town.

After the encounter, Roy Bryant, Carolyn’s husband, and J.W. Milam tracked young Emmett down, kidnapped him, tortured him, shot him, and then tied his battered body to a cotton gin fan using barbed wire and dumped him in the muddy Tallahatchie River. Later, the two men were acquitted of the murder by an all-White, all-male jury after an hour’s deliberation. Till’s brutal killing and photos of his open casket at his funeral helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.

During the trial, Carolyn Bryant testified that Emmett, who was 14, had made physical and verbal advances toward her, a sensational claim that increased tensions surrounding the case. She testified that Emmett had grabbed and threatened her inside the store – and that he had used an “unprintable” word when he told her he had been intimate “with White women before.”

But according to a 2007 interview, newly revealed in the book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” Carolyn Bryant admits that it never happened.

“That part’s not true,” she told writer Timothy Tyson, according to “Vanity Fair,” though she claimed she could not recall what happened the rest of the evening at her husband’s country store, where Emmett stopped by briefly on Aug. 24, 1955, to buy two cents worth of gum.

Till was shot in the head and was found with barbed wire wrapped around his neck; one of his eyes was gouged out. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” she is quoted as saying. Bryant’s testimony was out of the earshot of the jury, but helped to frame the case publicly.

“I was just scared to death,” she said in court. The two killers later admitted their guilt, after their acquittals.

Emmett Till’s murder became the flashpoint in the American Civil Rights Movement. Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother, had even insisted on an open casket at his funeral, leading to photographs of his battered corpse being spread across the country, which helped focus public attention on what was happening in the heart of the country.

In 2004, the FBI reopened the case to see if any accomplices could be hauled to court, but a grand jury decided three years later that there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges.

The young Carolyn Bryant went into hiding after the murder trial — divorcing and marrying twice more — and remained mum on the case until she gave the interview with Tyson, the “New York Post” reported.

Bryant is now known as Carolyn Bryant Donham. Donham told Tyson that she “felt tender sorrow” for Emmett’s mother, who died in 2003, but Tyson doesn’t mention if Donham expressed guilt or apologized.

Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has said she thought about Emmett when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., a few months after his death.

The shocking crime was memorialized in the arts and literature; in Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s play “Dreaming Emmett,” a Langston Hughes poem, and a song by Bob Dylan.

The whereabouts of the now-82-year-old Donham are unknown.

The Washington Informer is a member publication of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Learn more about becoming a member at

‘Realizing the Dream’ program honors Wendell Paris, Isabel Rubio and Fan Yang


Shown above Isabel Rubio and Wendell Paris

The 28th year of the Realizing the Dream program to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. was held this weekend in Tuscaloosa.
The program, a joint effort of Stillman College, University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College and the Tuscaloosa SCLC, includes a legacy awards banquet, a concert and community breakfast and march on the third Monday – National Holiday for DR. King.
At the awards banquet Friday evening at the Sellers Auditorium in the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus, Wendell Paris, long-time civil rights leader from Sumter County was honored with the Mountaintop Award. Paris, a native of Sumter County, moved with his family to Tuskegee and attended Tuskegee University where he joined SNCC. Paris also worked for many years with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives at their Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama. Paris is now an Assistant Pastor at the New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
Isabel Rubio of Birmingham received the Call to Conscience Award for her work with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, on behalf of full equality for Latino people. Fan Yang, a PhD student at the University of Alabama, was given the Horizon Award for her work with Heart Touch, an outreach organization with Asian-American students and community members.
John Quinones of ABC-TV news and the developer of the What Would You Do? television show, which poses ethical and moral questions with viewers of scenarios with ordinary people, was the keynote speaker for the banquet.
Quinones who was born in the barrios of San Antonio, Texas gave the story of his life and success in television attributing many of his opportunities in broadcasting to the work of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.
His theme was that there are many stories in our communities that will not get told unless we work to tell them.
Kirk Franklin, renowned gospel artist gave the concert

More than 50 House Democrats join John Lewis boycott of Trump inauguration


By: Greg BlueStein, Atlanta Journal Constitution


Cong. John Lewis

A growing number of House Democrats, 50 as of this writing, say they won’t attend Donald Trump’s inauguration after he criticized Georgia Rep. John Lewis as “all talk” and insulted his Atlanta-based district.

Trump called the district a “crime infested” area that is “falling apart,” a day after the Democrat told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will skip Trump’s inauguration next week because he doesn’t see him as a “legitimate president.”

Other Democrats are citing that early-morning Twitter barrage for their decision to avoid this week’s inauguration festivities. California Rep. Mark Takano, California Rep. Ted Lieu and New York Rep. Yvette Clarke all said on Twitter Saturday they will not attend the swearing-in ceremony to stand in solidarity with Lewis. “For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis?” Lieu said in a statement. “I am standing with John Lewis.”


In an interview with Meet the Press on Friday, Lewis said he felt that Donald Trump was not a legitimate President because of the involvement of Russia in the elections. Lewis who was very active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s said he would not attend Trumps’ Inauguration. Trump responded on twitter criticizing Lewis as a person who just talks and should do more to improve his district.

Clarke tweeted: “When you insult @repjohnlewis, you insult America.”

Several other Democrats, including Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, had previously announced plans to boycott the event.

Some Republicans are urging them to reconsider. Among them is Nebraska U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, one of the most vocal Trump critics in the GOP, who wrote that the inauguration isn’t about Trump but “a celebration of peaceful transfer of power.”


SPOT students honor Greene County Trailblazers


The Greene County Children’s Policy Council (CPC) through its SPOT Program (Strategically Preparing Out Teens) honored six individuals who played strategic roles in the Civil Rights Movement in Greene County. The honorees and their student presenters were: Mrs. Johnnie Ella Williams, presented by Jamia Jackson, Jamar Jackson, and JaMarcus Jackson; Mrs. Ninnia Jo Hutton (posthumously), presented by Victoria Jones and Talia Hawkins;  Mrs. Annie Knox, presented by Courtney Davis; Mr. George ‘Boy’ Perry, presented by Ivan Peebles and DeMarius Cockrell; Mrs. Marie Perry Hines,  presented by Elijah Isaac and Gabriella Walker; and Mr. Raymond (Mank) Powell (posthumously), presented by Jorien Reeves and Jamaiyah White.
The Trailblazers program is an annual event begun in 2009 by CPC through a grant from the Black Belt Community Foundation and has continued since then. In preparation for the event, the SPOT students interview the perspective honorees and/or their family members and write their individual stories.  This is a unique experience for young people to learn local history and the key players who affected social and political change in the county and the region.
Other program participants included: Prelude Music by Nigel Speights; Welcome by Makayla Farrow, Meditation by LaTaursa Jones, Occasion by Sara Hawkins, Musical Selections by Wanda Hawkins, Closing Remarks by Judge Lillie Jones Osborne and Benediction and Blessing of Food by Rev. James E. Carter.

Bernie Sanders would apologize for slavery if elected President

Written By NewsOne Staff

Bernie Sanders

 Bernie Sanders campaigning

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders became known for his work during the Civil Rights Movement and was the first candidate to explicitly declare that Black Lives Matter, but would he address slavery if elected president?
Well, yes. In fact, the Democratic candidate said Wednesday at an event in Philadelphia that he would issue a “necessary and overdue” apology about the horrific system, The Hill reports: “An American president has yet to muster up the courage to formally apologize for the 400 heinous years of rape, death and inhumanity that occurred during the enslavement of black people in this country that still impacts million of slave descendants,” an audience member told Sanders before asking whether he’d apologize for it.
“Want the short answer?” Sanders asked in response. “Yes.”
His response isn’t all that surprising. In July, Sanders said the nation should apologize for slavery. He later reiterated his statement, saying, “as a nation we have got to apologize for slavery, and of course the president is the leader of the nation.”