November 28 – December 11, 2013


champion services travel - group travel

More Social Security In Your Future?

maya rockeymoore on social securityWith about three in four African-American and Hispanic seniors relying on Social Security for more than half of their income, Maya Rockeymoore asserted “we have been having a dishonest conversation about our options” and the impact those options have on segments of the American population.

Social Security is the foundation for retirement security for almost all Americans. The benefits keep more than 21 million Americans out of poverty, including 1 million children, 6 million adults under age 65, and 14 million seniors. That is what “progressive” Democrats asserted at a conference on Capitol Hill as they called for increased benefits, not less.

Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) has even introduced a bill to link Social Security increases not to the general increase in prices, but an inflation indicator specifically aimed at capturing any rise in cost of items that seniors typically purchase such as medical care. 

Sen. Harkin recalled that when he came to Washington in 1974, 1 in 2 Americans were entitled to a pension. That number has since dropped to
1 in 5.

expand social securityFurthermore, the thought of increasing the minimum retirement age alarms many working Americans. “This would impose unfair risks on those Americans who serve our communities through physically demanding jobs such as firefighters, nursing attendants, and construction workers,” said John Adler, director of Service Employees International Union’s retirement security campaign, in a later interview.

Adler continued, “These physically demanding jobs often make it difficult to keep working until the current minimum age for qualifying for Social Security, 62, let alone continue on the job until the current normal retirement age, which is rising to 67.”

The importance of Social Security to Americans is becoming more important with the changes in the American pension system.  Harkin recalled that when he came to Washington in 1974, 1 in 2 Americans were entitled to a pension. That number has since dropped to 1 in 5.

According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, having a retirement account makes a $37,000 difference.  The typical working-age household has only $3,000 in retirement account assets, but among those with a retirement account, those assets grew, but only to $40,000.

Most conference participants, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), agreed that the cap on the amount of earnings that is taxed (FICA) should be fairer and include taxes on all earnings and not just the first $106,800. Sanders also called for basing future increases on the increase cost of what seniors buy (health care and utilities) versus what other Americans buy (electronics and clothes).  He deplored the talk of cutting benefits to the most vulnerable, declaring that to balance budgets, “we aren’t supporting tax breaks for billionaires.”

From our Archives: The Social Security Debate and Black America (How the Current Social Security System Rips Off African-Americans Privatization Can Work for Us vs. Social Security, Financial Planning, and You)

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New African-American
History Answer Book

Jessie Carney Smith, the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities at Fisk University, has released an interestingly formatted history book.  The book, “The Handy African American History Answer Book” ($21.95, Visible Ink Press), presents questions on various subjects then answers the questions for an interesting read. The subjects range from arts and entertainment to organizations and sports. Smith also serves as the university librarian. (Port Of Harlem Snippets will provide the book to the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP) so that POHGEP may add the book to the new Phillis Wheatley Library in Nema Kunku, The Gambia). 
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83-Year-Old Makes First Trip to West Africa

seniors visit Africa

Jamaican-American Lenora Henry at 83 on her first trip to Africa, (left, middle row with white hat) and travel partners.

At 83, Jamaican born Lenora Henry finally made it home, visiting Senegal and Ghana. “It was just like being in the country (rural areas) of Jamaica,” she says.  Four days in Senegal and 15 days in Ghana left the retired Brooklynite with the impression that the Senegalese are “dark and trim.”  She also noted that many preferred to wear “slippers” (sandals) rather than shoes.

Being in countries where many things are done the old fashion way, Henry added, “it wasn’t strange, everything we did back in Jamaica, they now do in Ghana. While recanting her experiences in both West African countries, it was obvious that Henry enjoyed recalling her younger days eating out of a calabash bowl, drinking coconut water, and eating yams, plantains, fish, and goat.  “The food was tasty, just like at home (Jamaica),” she said with a fresh smile.

And like many Africans from the diaspora traveling to the motherland, she was enamored by the locals who told her, “you are not a tourist, you have come home.”  Now 84 and still seeking new adventures, she reflected on how best to summarize her experience, “Yes, this is where our parents come from.”

Most U.S. Engineering Graduate Students are International

foreign students in STEM 

International students play a critical role in sustaining quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate programs at U.S. universities, a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) argues.

It will come as no surprise to observers of graduate education that the report documents the fact that foreign students make up the majority of enrollments in U.S. graduate programs in many STEM fields, accounting for 70.3 percent of all full-time graduate students in electrical engineering, 63.2 percent in computer science, 60.4 percent in industrial engineering, and more than 50 percent in chemical, materials and mechanical engineering, as well as in economics (a non-STEM field).

Read more on Inside Higher Ed


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advertise in port of harlem


 bzb 2013

23rd Annual BZB Holiday Gift Art Show
Shiloh Family Life Center
1510 9th Street, NW
Fri, Nov 29-Sat Nov 30
Sats Dec 7, 14, and 21, 10a-7p, free

Zawadi Ornament Collection 2013
1524 U ST. N.W.
Fri, Nov 29–Sat, Nov 30, 12p to 7p, free

World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil
Us Helping Us
3636 Georgia Avenue, NW
Sun, Dec 1, 7p, free

J's Jook Joint
African Continuum Theater
Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street, NE
Sat, Dec 7, 7:30p, $25

Kwanzaa Live!
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe Street
Alexandria, VA
Sat, Dec 7, 11a-12:30p, $5

Kwanzaa Celebration
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Avenue
Sat, Dec 28, 1:30p,-3:30p, free

New York (Greater)
RFA gallery presents Shaunté Gates
2075 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, Blvd
(7th Ave. @124th St.)
Till Fri, Nov 29, free

Black Friday Expo Sale
69th Regiment Armory - New York City
68 Lexington Avenue
Fri, Nov 29–Sat Nov 30, 9a-9p

New Orleans
The 40th Annual Bayou Classic
Grambling vs. Southern
List of Events
Sat, Nov 30, 2013, 1:30p, $

Buy Black Marketplace
PA Convention Center
12th and Arch Streets
Nov 29–Dec 1, 10a-7p, free
parking discount at 1214 Arch

ObamaCare Update

affordable heallth care 
  • MoveOn Member Jim Frost of Reston, VA is circulating a petition asking President Obama to defend Obamacare and stop being  “fixated on 4 million insured people who may lose their current and mostly sub-standard health insurance policies and ignoring the fact that 48 million people who have never had health insurance will finally be able to buy health insurance.”

  • On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services claimed they are still on track to having an online system that the majority of users will be able to use to apply for mandatory health insurance.

    During the almost daily conference call to reporters, the spokesperson said the new upgrade “should handle 50,000 users at the same time by Saturday, November 23.” When the system meets “extraordinary” demand, the system will prompt users a suggestion to return to the system during non-peak hours.

    Currently, the system can handle about 25,000 users concurrently and users spend about 20 minutes on the site.

  • So far in November, 50,000 people have selected a plan in the federal site,, up from 27,000 for the entire month of October.

  • California, which enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month, nearly doubled that in the first two weeks of this month.

  • California, which has had about 80,000 sign-ups, is now reporting about 2,000 enrollments per day.

  • Connecticut officials say they have seen about 14 percent of their expected
    enrollees sign up through mid-November.

  • In Washington state, health law enrollment has nearly doubled, from 55,000 at the end of October to 98,000 through Nov. 14.
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Thomas Sankara Remembrance

 thomas sankara brothers

Former Burkina Faso President Thomas Sankara’s younger brother Paul and his older brother Pascal participated in a remembrance of their brother in Washington, DC. 

Thomas Sankara came to power via a coup and changed the name of the former French colony from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Upright Men.” Thomas Sankara is remembered by many for his pan-Africanist, anti-colonial, and populist views.

culture coffe 
Most Popular Page and Searched Word
on the Website for November to Date 

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