1 - April 15, 2011 The Afro-American
–––––– – – —
. . , . .
(USPS 040-800) is published weekly by The
, 2519 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4602.
Baltimore - 1 Year - $30.00 (Price includes tax.) Checks for subscriptions should be madepayable to: The
Afro-American Newspaper Company,
2519 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD21218-4602. Periodicals postage paid at Baltimore, MD.POSTMASTER:
Send addresses changes to
Afro-American Newspaper Company,
2519N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4602.
The Washington Afro-American & Washington Tribune
(0276-6523) is publishedweekly by the
Afro-American Newspapers at 1917 Benning Road, N.E., Washington, D.C.20002-4723.
Washington - 1 Year - $30.00. Periodical Postage paidat Washington, D.C.POSTMASTER:
Send addresses changes to
The Washington Afro-American& Washington Tribune,
2519 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4602.
Let Your Smile Bloom
Dr. Maxine V. Clark has been making
Maryland smiles beautiful for over 25 years!
(Valid through 4-30-11. Full orthodontic treatment only.)
Art, Doll & Collectible Show
April 16-17, 2011
Saturday: 10 AM – 7 PM**Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PMMontgomery County Fairgrounds
16 Chestnut Street**Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
“An Education on the African American Experience”
•Purchase Black Memorabilia and Collectibles from many dealersfrom across the United States
View Educational Exhibits
including Slavery Artifacts, Civil War, Buffalo Soldiers,Jim Crow, Black Panther Party, Marcus Garvey, Tuskegee Airmen, Malcolm X, Blacks inHockey, Madame C. J. Walker, George Washington Carver and others..•
Meet and obtain autographs
from former Negro League Baseball Players;Jim Kelly, Karate Champion and movie actor; and Marlin Briscoe, former AFL/NFL player.
Admission: $6, Children 16 and under free
All Indoors – Good Food – Free Parking
On March 29, the Senate passed a $14.6billion operating budget for the state andBaltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presented her budget for the city thesame week, which included about $65 millionin cuts. Of course, the cuts (and a lack of property tax relief), is what everybody isfocused on, especially if the budget axe cutstoo close to home.“You can’t manage your way out of thegreat recession. You need to lead your way outof the great recession,” said Rawlings-Blake inreference to the massive nancial challengesfaced by many big city mayors.Among the items potentially on themayor’s chopping block, or perhaps moreaccurately the reduction block: a fewrehouses, libraries, 311 service, swimmingpools and recreation centers.When I was a little boy growing up inthe 1970s “rec” centers were ubiquitous inBaltimore City. They seemed to be on everyother corner and literally every kid I knewhung out at them.And not all of them were run by the city.In fact, several of them were privately fundedand operated. I went to a summer day campon Garrison Boulevard in a church near thecorner of Liberty Heights that also functionedas s recreation center for kids. The church wasshuttered and abandoned years ago, but simplyput, these places kept a lot of us out of trouble.Less than 10 years later crack implodedmany of America’s big cities, includingBaltimore, and the ensuing epidemics of murder and wretchedness vaporized hugeswaths of benevolence and consumedmyriad manpower and tax dollars. Baltimorerecreation centers have been struggling toremain open ever since.Rawlings-Blake said more than half of thecity’s 55 recreation centers would be turnedover to nonprots or other third-party groups.But, if groups don’t step up to take over thecenters by the beginning of next year, themayor said some of them could be closed. CityHall has not disclosed a list of which centerscould be targeted.Of course, our city isn’t the only one facedwith the prospect of closing recreation centers.In February, Columbus, Ohio closed more thana third of its 30 centers because of budget cuts.But, when I heard Rawlings-Blake – confronted with extremely difcult scalchoices – is considering closing some of Baltimore’s recreation centers, one place cameto my mind immediately – the Upton BoxingCenter.Upton, on Pennsylvania Avenue, is whereRonald “Roc” Gibbs – the 17-year-oldchampion boxer and Olympic hopeful – trained for ve years before he was tragicallystabbed to death in February defending hisolder sister just steps from the family home.Gibbs, a charismatic and talented ghter,was anointed “the Roc of Upton Boxing,” andit was a title he carried with grace and honor.His murder hit a lot of people hard.“I just want them to remember Roc for what he was and what he stood for,” his coachCalvin Ford tearfully told me when I went tovisit a couple of days after Gibbs’ murder.“I loved that dude man, he was a good kid.”The truth is there are a lot of good kidsat Upton. It stands as a safe haven for youngmen and women in the midst of a communityravaged by violence, drugs and poverty. Butaccording to his teammates and Coach Ford,Roc was a haven to many of them.“He was one of my homegrown, I took him from the womb, so I’m trying to staystrong because this could either make us or itcould break us,” said Ford, who trains severalprofessional ghters and other Olympichopefuls like Gibbs.Lorenzo Simpson, 10, is another of thoseUpton Olympic hopefuls and a good kid.Less than a week after Gibbs – a friend andmentor – was killed, Simpson demolishedthe last of the opponents he faced in route tothe 95-pound title at National Silver GlovesTournament of Champions in Kansas City,Mo.Simpson, who is 21-0 as a boxer, toldthe
Roc’s memory continuesto inspire and motivate him. “I knew I wasgoing to win for Roc,” Simpson said of the championship he won on March 12. “Isaw him win the Silver Gloves before, so Iwanted to do it for him. I knew everyone wasdepending on me.”And there are a lot of kids like Simpson,and before he died Gibbs, who depend onrecreation centers like Upton Boxing – safehavens from often treacherous streets. Placeslled with stories of heroism, courage, tragedyand honor and young people seeking guidancefrom leaders like Ford.As he so poignantly put it, “These aren’trecreation centers, these are families.”I know we’re facing tough times, but I justhope the city isn’t in the business of breakingup families.
Sean Yoes is a former staff reporter and contributing writer to the AFRO.
Upton Boxing – More Than aRecreation Center
the budget by going afternon-security discretionaryspending; proposing todrastically cut or completelyeliminate social safetynet programs that helpAmericans most in need,”Butler-McIntyre said. “Whenthey target programs likeHead Start, which provideseducational and healthservices to low-incomechildren and their families, weare going to rock the boat.”The group is not onlyasking that the cuts not bemade, but it is also callingHouse Republicans out ontheir plan. Morial says thatthe claims Republicans aremaking that the cuts willcreate more jobs isn’t truthful.“If [the cuts] went throughthey would cost the nationbetween 500,000 and 700,000jobs,” Morial said. “Makeno mistake about it; thosethat argue that cutting theseprograms will create jobs havenot one scintilla of evidence,not one report, and not oneeconomist that has stoodbehind them on that point.”In fact, Morial claimsthat the very programsCongressional leaders wantto cut are not the programsthat have thrown the nationinto this decit. He says theunending expenditures ontwo wars have brought thenation to the point of nearbankruptcy. “Two unpaid-forwars have led to a doubling,in a 10-year period, of thebudget of the Department of Defense,” he said.The group is calling onCongress to fund programsthat will protect education,jobs and job trainingprograms. They say thesethings are what people of color, particularly AfricanAmericans, need to live theAmerican dream.“We are here this morningto say, unequivocally, thatour national priorities arein the wrong place,” saidWade Henderson, presidentand CEO of the LeadershipConference on Civil andHuman Rights. “We arehere to call on legislators toput their money where theirmouths are. The future of thisnation depends on investmentswe make now, particularly inour young people.”
Continued from A1
By Shernay Williams
AFRO Staf Writer
A week after her gruesomemurder, several teddy bears,owers and cards lay strewnon the sidewalk before JhomaBlackwell’s home. A child’spencil drawing of what lookslike a girl and a large ower istaped to a porch wall.One man, who lives threedoors down from Blackwell,remembers her as a quiethomebody. “It’s scary. Younever know what’s going tohappen,” said Robert Cole.“You try to look out for eachother, but you never knowwhat some crazy person isgoing to do.”On March 29 Blackwell,18, was found dead in theupstairs bedroom of herRemington home, withmultiple stab wounds.Television news reports sayher father found the body,and neighbors heard shoutingcoming from the house earlierthat day. Soon after arrivingon the scene, police carriedBlackwell’s 2-year-old nieceout of the home.Ironically, BaltimoreMayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had planned acommunity walk to promotesafety in the area the day afterthe murder. During the march,Rawlings-Blake said sheunderstood the heartbreak of losing a loved one.“I can’t diminish what(the family) is feeling atall,” she told reporters. “I’mcommitted to working withthe police force, the detectivesto get to the bottom of whathappened.”Authorities remain tight-lipped about possible suspectsas the investigation continues.Police spokesman JeremySilbert said ofcials have nonew updates on the case, butsaid he doesn’t believe thekilling was a random act of violence.The
attempts tocontact Blackwell’s familywent unanswered April 4,but a woman who identiedherself as Blackwell’s eldestsister appeared in a ve-minute YouTube video shecalled an ofcial statement onbehalf of the family. She didnot mention her name, but thevideo was uploaded under theusername “sanctiedchild.”During the video, shemused on the “callousness”of the killing and pleaded foranyone with information inthe case to come forward.“The person or the personsresponsible for this horriccrime – to take someone’s lifein the manner that my sister’slife was taken – has got to bea troubled soul, has got to bea person who has experiencedimmense pain of their own,has got to be a person that’sbound by their own demons inorder to subject someone elseto experience the pain that(they) caused,” she said.Blackwell attended CoppinState University last fall withhopes of becoming a nurse,but a school spokeswomansaid Blackwell had notenrolled this semester.According to herFacebook prole, Blackwellgraduated from MergenthalerVocational-Technical HighSchool last year and had aboyfriend she’d dated sinceJuly 5, 2010.Nick Copeland, a Coppinstudent that befriended herduring an English class lastSeptember, shared fondmemories of his peer. “Shewas a mature, respectfulyoung woman,” he said ina Facebook message. “Wealways used to goof aroundin class…I don’t understandwhy someone would kill her.”The family held a publicviewing for Blackwell April6 and a funeral the followingday at Manna Bible BaptistChurch on Belvedere Avenue.She will be laid to rest atthe Interment Oak LawnCemetery in Dundalk.In the second half of theYouTube video, her sisteraddressed the murderer. “Youmay be pondering if you aregoing to get away with this…You may be even trying torationalize in your head thatshe deserved this for whateverreason and you may evenelude the authorities, but letme tell you something, youcan’t elude God.”
Family, Neighbors, Friends Mourn Remington Woman
Jhoma Blackwell, an18-year-old Remingtonwoman, was foundstabbed to death in herbedroom March 29.