Protect Your Digital Info | Passionate American in Africa | Gambians on US Deportations
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March 29 – April 11, 2018
On The Dock This Issue:
Disabled Rights Reporting Online
According to RespectAbility, an advocate for the disabled, the database will allow the public to see what civil rights complaints exist in individual schools.
Gambians Speak on US Immigration Practice
Though Gambians are such a small portion of those deported, a Gambian reader of Port Of Harlem offered an interesting way to classify illegal US immigrants and what their future should be like.
Interesting, diverse things to do - Win Tickets to see Paper Dolls
See what is most popular in Port Of Harlem's e-mailed issue, and on our web, Pinterest, and Facebook pages.
Answer These 8 Questions to Find Out How Private Your Personal Data Really Is
After the recent revelation that political analysis firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the data of 50 million Facebook accounts, many internet users are exploring ways to better protect their digital privacy.
You're probably aware that tech giants like Facebook, Google, and others are consistently gathering valuable information about you as you travel around the web.
Read More and Take the Quiz
Port Of Harlem Publisher Wayne Young's Online Privacy Report Card Result: You got a D.
You're not taking many steps to protect your privacy online, but it's never too late to start.
Also: I Found Out Everything Facebook Knows About Me — And You Can Too
Also: Facebook Changes Privacy Controls As Criticism Escalates
Tim Campbell, Passionate American in Africa
Tim Campbell was a long way from his hometown, Little Rock, Arkansas, when I met him at the bus stop in Kanifing, The Gambia. The Omega Phi Psi man and I were headed towards the middle of the smallest country on the African continent, where he is stationed as one of about 12 Black Peace Corp volunteers among about 100 in The Gambia. (Nearly half of the more than 7,000 Peace Corp volunteers serve in the homeland.) I was going to visit a library the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Project proposes to assist in the West African nation.
In Gambia, Campbell lives in the very small village of Jiffnroing. Most of the villagers' first language is Mandinka, very few speak any English. Sans domestic violence, crime is virtually non-existent. There is no modern plumbing. There is no electricity. "It is so dark at night that you cannot even see your hands," says the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Health Science graduate.
Wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and gym shoes, Campbell melted into the worn bus filled with people in every tattered seat and with others sitting on their baggage or standing on their feet in the aisle. There was cargo under the seats and on people's laps. As the bus rolled forward along the smooth road, Campbell started to tell me about his life in the village and the three sectors he is focusing on: malnutrition, sanitation, and malaria prevention - - since we had four hours to kill.
Armed with information, this American cavalryman says his challenge on the nutritional front is knowing that his people in Jiffnroing "battle between eating what they grow and selling it for needed money." However, he says optimistically, "proper food preparation, hydration, sanitation, breastfeeding, and gardening have been my most productive methods of alleviating the issues surrounding nutrition in The Gambia."
Besides learning the hard choices Gambian families must make, Campbell has learned that Gambians are much more "community" oriented than Americans. The now fluent Mandinka speaker finds himself more often using the words, "we," than "I" than before he arrived in the country that calls itself "The Smiling Coast of Africa."
The people even eat as a community, often from the same large bowl, he says. With such cultural practices in place, Campbell does not put changing their culture on the table, but says to them, "maybe you should wash your hands before eating."
As the bus made stops to let a few people off and even more on, the 2010 graduate of Little Rock's historic Central High spoke of how he helped the villagers create a simple hand washing apparatus called the "tippy tap" (How to Make a Tippy Tap
) using sticks and a used bottle filled with water from the village well. When they tap a stick that has a string attached to the bottle with their feet, the apparatus tilts the bottle just enough so water slowly pours from the bottle and over their hands for washing.
Unlike the prevention of spreading germs with hand washing, dealing with malaria is more difficult. "There are no means of prevention outside of the use of bed nets," he explained. So, he reminds villagers to use them, especially during the rainy season when the disease is most prevalent. However, like other prevention tactics, people often find various reasons to not follow through.
Since coming to this country where its namesake, the Gambia River, slices the country into two, Tim Campbell says he has become an advocate for empowering women and has a stronger value for community.
As a first generation college graduate and the first in his family to travel internationally, Campbell is an example that others can expand their lives, too. On the bus, he comfortably spoke with Gambians in Mandinka, while the mother sitting next to me breast feed her baby - - and no one gawked. At every stop, women ran to the bus windows to hawk water, peeled oranges, and home-baked cakes. Since coming to this country where its namesake, the Gambia River, slices the country into two, Campbell says he has become an advocate for empowering women and has a stronger value for community.
When we finally got to his stop, it was well before dark. "We have to do everything by 8 p.m., when the sun goes down," he reminded me. The ride was long, but the cost was only 100 dalasis, or about two American dollars. At the bus stop where he got off carrying is back pack, the passionate American in Africa still had about four miles to walk to his village. We had another 20 minutes to get to my stop, Soma, also a small village, but with electricity.
With daily trails, tribulations, and victories, Campbell also says the experience most importantly "has opened me up to understand that life is more than about things, but it is about people." His 27 month commitment ends in December 2018 and he will be heading back to Razorback country where he hopes to enroll into the Clinton School of Public Service. "Public services are for the passionate," Campbell told me, "it's for those who take accountability; for those who put people first."
Note: The Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership
(POHGEP) has been creating connections between Gambians and primarily Americans since 2002. It is currently working on creating or maintaining three small libraries in The Gambia, including one in Soma. Port Of Harlem magazine
is the chief business sponsor of POHGEP.
Disabled Rights Reporting Online
The U.S. Department of Education
, for the first time ever, released a searchable listing that includes cases alleging discrimination based on disability in addition to race and national origin, sex, age, and equal access. According to RespectAbility, an advocate for the disabled, the database will allow the public to see what civil rights complaints exist in individual schools.
"As we have seen in the #MeToo movement, transparency is vital as many victims of abuse are afraid to come forward. When one victim sees that another has filed a complaint, they may have the courage to speak up and help stop abuses. Also, the public will be able to stand with victims to help ensure the facts come to light. And in cases where the allegations are not true, there will also be transparency," says RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.
Ease on the Down the Road: A Fresh Take on the Musical Classic
"The Wiz," now at the Ford's Theatre is nothing short of amazing. I mostly enjoyed the updates and references to African American history and culture in this timeless classic.
The tornado that takes Dorothy to the Land of Oz and the travel down the yellow brick road are both depicted through modern dance. During another dance scene, when Dorothy first arrives to the land of Oz, projected images of Harlem's Apollo Theater and Cotton Club, both historic entertainment venues for African-American entertainers, are in the background.
L. Frank Baum's novel, "The Wizard of Oz," turned play, then movie, and later into the book, play, movie, and television production "The Wiz," was the basis of the Ford's adaptation. As a fan of the original "The Wiz" movie with Diana Ross and the late Michael Jackson, I was curious how the creators of the musical would show pivotal points of the movie. The director, Kent Gash, did not disappoint.
Each of the characters including Dorothy (Ines Nassara), The Tinman (Kevin McAllister), The Lion (Christopher Michael Richardson), and The Scarecrow (Hasani Allen) gave stellar performances. The tap dance sequence by the Tinman, the gospel, jazz, and hip-hop renditions of the songs, the lion's mention of Wakanda, the fictional African nation in the box office buster "Black Panther," and the one-handed somersault by The Scarecrow, all brought an exciting and fresh perspectives to this age-old classic.
Ed McCreanor, a former theater major at the show, added, "I was stunned by the dancing. I didn't know what to expect." McCreanor had not seen the movie "The Wiz" and went on to add, "The costuming, the staging, the lights . . . I was watching the whole thing. It's interesting that in the original "Wizard of Oz" movie, Dorothy is the main character. This performance is egalitarian, with no character being more important than the others."
Gambians Speak on US Immigration Practices
News that the United States recently deported 36 Gambians have rattled Gambians with finger pointing and the sharing of misinformation, but mostly with puzzlement on how the US can implement a policy that negatively affects the lives of the 36 Gambians, their families, and even the development of the nation.
One leading Gambian newspaper, The Point, reported the secretary general of The Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), Mai Ahmad Fatty, feeling the need to clarify that the deportation of Gambians from the United States "was not created by the (new President Adama) Barrow led government because it's an inherited problem."
The former interior minister's reaction at a press conference may have also been to weaken rumors that the current government refused to pay some unnamed US operative. Though Gambians are such a small portion of those deported, a Gambian reader of Port Of Harlem offered an interesting way to classify illegal US immigrants and what their future should be like:
1) Those who left because of former President Jammeh – he asks why they don't come back since Jammeh is no longer president
2. Those who overstayed their VISA – The readers says they should be asked to return home after acquiring degrees and qualifications that are required to develop the Gambia or their own country. Or, he says, once they've acquired American citizenship, The US should send them back to their countries of origin as expatriates and Peace Corp volunteers
3) And, for those who are deported leaving families behind without proper documentation – he asks what consideration are given to his/her American children
Fatty seemed to clarify the reader's latter point. According to The Point, he said, "They have spent years of their lives there, some of them have spent 30 years in the U.S. and they have been paying taxes and contributed to the U.S. economy and they have contributed to making lives better in the U.S. It will be wrong to disconnect their entire lives earnings and their affiliate connections back in The Gambia. This is not an issue to be quiet about." He also said Gambian children who have affinity to the U.S. should be given active consideration.
In an editorial in The Point, "Op-Ed on Gambian Deportees from the United States US Ambassador to the Gambia
," US Ambassador to the Gambia C. Patricia Alsup "cleared up some misunderstandings and provided more information about the deportation process," that even many Americans will find surprising.
She wrote, "Prior to departure from the United States, each deportee has the opportunity to sell or otherwise dispose of his or her personal items in the United States. He or she can also sign a power of attorney while in custody to allow a friend or family member to handle his or her affairs if necessary. Deportees are allowed to bring personal items back with them on the flight, subject to a weight restriction."
Nevertheless, the social, economic, cultural, and other costs to the United States and the cost of the deportees continue to be debated. As reported in the Morning Call
, according to a study issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research, loss of that segment of the labor force will cost the U.S. economy $5 trillion over a decade.
Let us start with a book for children and move on to the more salacious, but serious books for adults. With Black History and Women's Month at their end, there is "Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest
" that parents may find attractive because it "teaches" female empowerment subtly though animals.
With lots of colorful pictures that youngsters find intriguing, the main character, Paisley Rabbit, is female. And, through her planning and thinking, she overcomes obstacles. Surprisingly, the story has a subplot about helping others and being aware of people with health challenges, in particular, a character in need of a kidney transplant. This story has lots angles a parent or teacher can use to explore with children what it means to treat other humans as they would want to be treated.
How to treat women and how women treat themselves are at the heart of the next two books, "Right My Life: A Quest to Find My True Self
" and "Moving Forward: Walking in Faith Not Fear." I am not a great fan of tell all books, but this one was written by a first cousin and during the #MeToo movement where we are all learning to take allegations of sexual oppression seriously. Jaia Amore's book brings to question how individuals force themselves onto others sexually and how others react.
It's a larger than life fictional book intertwined with her story of sexual oppression. People not familiar with Amore will probably assume that none of the story is fictionalized and would not know the real names or places of the alleged events.
Nevertheless, throughout the story, readers will be sad for her, hopefully relate how men and women treat women, and be outright shocked at passages such as this: "Well," dad said, "I am going to have sex with you." In the end, the book could use some editing, but it reinforces how protective we must be of our children and ourselves.
Monique V. Hines, author of "Moving Forward: Walking in Faith Not Fear
" took a somewhat different path to tell her story. Firstly, readers have to wait until Chapter 6 to read all the "dirt" and why she felt she needed a change in her life: "I have been pregnant a total of seven times. After having three abortions, I vowed to never again terminate a life God has given me."
Much of the book, however, is more of a testimonial complete with Bible references. While the three books are different and the main characters take dissimilar approaches toward self-actualization, they have one thing in common: female empowerment.
Win Tickets to See Paper Dolls - Free Drawing Rules:
14 and P St, NW
Now through Sun, Apr 22, $
Through Sun, Apr 29, $
Two Trains Running
Fri, Mar 30-Sun, Apr29, $
Science in Ancient & Medieval Africa Greenbelt Library
11 Crescent Rd
Tue, Apr 3, 7p, free
Taste Black Baltimore
B'more Fit Studio
1718 Belmont Avenue #b
Sat, Mar 31, 2p-6p, $20
The Love You Want Tour @ The Black Women's Expo
2301 S. King Dr.
Fri, Apr 6-Sun, Apr 8, $
Race and Homelessness, a symposium
National United Methodist Church
3401 Nebraska Ave, NW
Wed, Apr 4, 7p, free
The Great Gambia Run (Bajana Int. Marathon 2018)
The Gambia Bajana Village Foni Berefet West Coast Region
Sat, Mar 31, 9a, $
New York City
Harlem Easter Egg Hunt
Marcus Garvey Park
120th Street & Madison Ave
Sat, Mar 31,
Easter Harlem Gospel Celebration
Mt Olivet Baptist Church
201 Malcolm X Boulevard
Sat, Mar 31, 11a-12p, $21.75
Dollhouse Making At Calabar Imports
Calabar Imports Bed Stuy
351 Tompkins Avenue
Sat, Mar 31, 2p-5p, $25
Philadelphia Inter-University Conversation about Race
Houston Hall (Hall of Flags)
3417 Spruce Street
Tue, Apr 3, 7p-9p, free
National Black Memorabilia, Fine Art & Crafts Show
Montgomery County Fairgrounds
501 Perry Parkway
Sat, April 14, 10a-7p and Sun, Apr 15, 10a-5p, $7, students free