September 3 - September 15, 2010

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Opinion: The Divide at the Marches
by Wayne A. Young

I exited the Metro at the Smithsonian stop and swam through the crowd of out-of-towners trying to navigate to the subway system. “Where’s the monorail?,” one lady asked. “The subway is straight ahead,” I replied. “Monorail?” I questioned myself. “This is not Disney World!” As I made my way through the sea of people holding dearly to their water bottles and folding sports chairs, I didn’t see Mickey Mouse and I very rarely saw a Black person. Rarely.

Yet, there was this huge mural of Dr. King at the Beck rally. And I can hear the recording of Dr. King speaking about America giving Black America a check marked “insufficient funds.” It was surreal.

In Congress now, the Congressional Black Caucus is asking how even the Obama administration can ask Congress for 1.5 billion dollars in disaster relief for farmers and still tell Black farmers it has insufficient funds to pay $1.25 billion it owes Black farmers under the settlement of a major discrimination lawsuit that the Black farmers won against the U.S. government.

I continued walking and just happened to run into a stream of mostly Black marchers with its sprinkling of Whites. I felt like Alex Haley when he found the other piece of Kunte’s story. “Oh, Al Sharpton, I found you,” I thought.

America was at its best. Here I was witnessing two divergent marches and no fighting and no yelling at each other, just stares. America was also at it worst. Two marches, one Black, one White.

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Free Prison to the Stage

Kennedy Center

 

Saturday, September 4 at 7:30p - Kennedy Center. This fourth annual free program of justice-related music, drama and comedy at the Kennedy Center happens as part of the Kennedy Center's popular Page-to-Stage Festival. This year From Prison to the Stage will present a prisoner-written rock operetta (sung by professional singers), music by a police band (who will perform in uniform), a new play by an ex-prisoner playwright (about a teen with addicted parents), and a dramatic reading of an original work by a probation officer and former corrections officer (with a musical accompaniment by an ex-prisoner composer).


Off and Running - PBS

Tuesday, September 7 at 10p (90 minutes) Off and Running tells the story of Brooklyn teenager Avery, a track star with a bright future. She is the adopted African-American child of White Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is Afro-Puerto Rican and her younger brother is Korean. Avery’s household is like many American homes until Avery writes to her birth mother and the response throws her into crisis. She struggles over her true identity, the circumstances of her adoption and her estrangement from Black culture. Just when it seems as if her life is unraveling, Avery decides to pick up the pieces and make sense of her identity, with inspiring results.


Saturday, September 11 at 4:30p (70 minutes) - Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street, 703.746.4356) This groundbreaking documentary takes a heartfelt look at the emotional journey of a group of African Americans who called it quits in the U.S. to start a new life in South Africa, chronicling 12 modern-day globetrotters who have uprooted their lives in pursuit of their dreams and are finding that America is not the only land of opportunity. The film provides a candid and touching tale of sacrifice, hardship and great rewards by U.S.-born citizens as they adjust to the cultural differences and combat negative perceptions that America may garner in other parts of the world.


What Muslims

Do These People Dislike?

TimeMagazine released a poll late last month that revealed that more than 4 of every 10 Americans hold unfavorable views of Muslims? Yet, Islam is an integral part of African lives and that of the United States. 

 

Photo:  Early Washingtonian Yarrow Marmood was a devout follower of Islam.

 

Did You Know:

  • 1 of every 2 Muslims in America is an African-American with deep North American roots
  • Famous African-American Muslims were here before the American Revolution including: Ayub ben Suleiman Diallo, Abdur Rahman Ibrahim ibn Sori, Lizzie Gray, and Yarrow Marmood.  An 1882 painting of Marmood hangs in the Peabody Room at the Georgetown Public Library (see May - July 2006 print issue))
  • One of the most famous African-Americans, Senegambian Kunte Kinte, was a Muslim
  • Of the 435 members in Congress, two are Muslims and both African-American
  • Long before 9/11, one can easily find a Muslim in most Black communities in a suit and tie, no matter how hot the weather, selling bean pies and the Final Call
  • Most Blacks in the world are Muslim including 50% of the people in Nigeria, the world’s most populous Black nation
  • A recent Gallop poll indicates that President Obama receives his highest approval ratings from Muslims

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Blacks and Hispanics Strongly Support Obama

A recent Brookings Poll shows that among Blacks, Obama has a 91 percent approval rating and 59 percent approval rating among Hispanics. Amongst Whites, his approval rating falls to 40 percent. During Obama’s historic election he significantly carried the Black, Hispanic and Asian votes and lost the White vote except among 18-29 year-old Whites and White college graduates.



Meeks Wins in Florida

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) won the Florida Democratic primary. If he wins the general election, the Congressional Black Caucus member will be the only Black in the 100-member senate. Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) leaves the U.S. Senate in 2011.

 


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