1 www.cnyvision.

com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Without a Vision The People Perish
syracuse ny vol. 3 no. 49 february 21 - 27 2013
cover P6
Mayor announces voting
begins in bloomberg
state P7
is ny’s $7.25 per hour
civil rights leaders
applaud obama’s new
national P8
Bill Introduced—Again—to Honor
Harriet Tubman
and Underground
2 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
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{COVER P 6 - 7
• Bill introduced--again--to honor Harriet
Tubman and Underground Railroad
{local P 4
• Mayor announces voting begins in
Bloomberg Challenge
• Robinson Receives Lifetime
Achievement Award in Albany
• Is New York’s $7.25 per hour minimum
wage unlivable?
• SUNY Union, NY State reach tentative
contract deal
• Thousands of New Yorkers share $1.8B
in mortgage relief
• Civil rights leaders applaud Obama’s
new initiative
• Emmitt Till’s family is rightfully angry at
Lil’ Wayne’s blatant disrespect

By Dr. Boyce Watkins
• How well do you screen before you
By Danielle Frazer
In This Issue:
1 www.cnyvision.com| february 21 - 27 | 2013
Without a Vision The People Perish
syracuse ny vol. 3 no. 49 february 21 - 27 2013
cover P6
Mayor announces voting
begins in bloomberg
state P7
is ny’s $7.25 per hour
civil rights leaders
applaud obama’s new
national P8
Bill Introduced—Again—to Honor
Harriet Tubman
and Underground
without a vision
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3 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
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A decade before
Rosa Parks’ arrest
for refusing to
give up her seat
on a Montgomery,
Alabama bus, police
dragged Bayard
Rustn of a bus in
Tennessee for the
same act of protest.
When pressed about
why he was resistng
segregaton, Rustn
gestured to a young
white boy seated at
the front of the bus.
“If I sit in the back,”
Rustn said, “I am
depriving that child
of the knowledge
that there is injustce
here, which I believe
is his right to know.”
Bayard Rustn, an ofen unsung hero
of the civil rights movement, spent
his entre life exposing injustce in
our naton. Even before he served
as lead organizer of the 1963 March
on Washington where Dr. Martn
Luther King, Jr. declared his dream,
Rustn was labeled a Communist and
a radical by the government. When
he traveled to the segregated South
during the frst-ever Freedom Rides,
he experienced a barrage of racial
slurs and violence.
But in America, in the 1950s and 60s,
no label stuck to Bayard Rustn quite
like “homosexual.” As an openly gay
man, Rustn was atacked by everyone
- Congressmen and actvists, black
and white - simply for living openly.
Yet, at a tme when few others would,
Rustn proudly wore that label.
To Bayard Rustn, fghtng for his
equality as a black man, while leaving
his identty as a gay man unspoken,
would have been an unthinkable
betrayal. It was his frm belief that
silence about either identty meant he
accepted the system of discriminaton
that allowed hatred about both to
Long before it was easy or safe,
Rustn was motvated to live openly.
He could have hidden the fact that
he was gay. When confronted about
it, he could have lied - that’s what
everyone did in those days. But
Bayard Rustn was exceptonal. He
lived openly because to do otherwise
would be a missed opportunity in
exposing the injustce and intolerance
that he, along with other members
of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual,
and Transgender communites
Despite a lifetme lived in service
to justce and nonviolence, Rustn’s
legacy was marginalized by his
sexuality. His 1987New York Times
obituary demonstrated the evasive
language about LGBT people that
was all too common in the media just
a few short years ago. The obituary
skirted the topic of his being gay
and referred to his longtme partner
by euphemism only. Even today, his
name is not nearly as well known as
the other greats of the Civil Rights
As America contnues to celebrate
Black History Month and as we visit
the state of equality and justce
in America during this historic
anniversary year for the fght for
we should not forget trailblazers like
Rustn. Like Rustn’s, let us uplif the
stories of LGBT African-Americans
who felt and stll feel the burdens
of discriminaton -- those whose
very lives illustrate the insistent fact
that the fght to treat all people
equally is both this country’s greatest
accomplishment and its greatest
unfnished obligaton.
Today, the Natonal Associaton
for the Advancement of Colored
People, the naton’s oldest civil rights
organizaton, and the Human Rights
Campaign, the naton’s largest LGBT
civil rights organizaton, are proud to
work together toward equality. And
we’re proud that President Barack
Obama used his second inaugural
address to link the Civil Rights
movement and the LGBT Equality
movement just last month. But long
before a president like Barack Obama
was even possible, Bayard Rustn
was preaching an equal future. We
shouldn’t forget his sacrifce, and the
greatest tribute to his legacy would be
to fnish his work.
Benjamin Todd Jealous is president/
CEO of the NAACP and Chad
Grifn is president of the Human
Rights Council. This artcle - the
seventh of a 20-part series - is
writen in commemoraton of the
50th Anniversary of the Lawyers’
Commitee for Civil Rights Under
Law. The Lawyers’ Commitee is a
nonpartsan, nonproft organizaton,
formed in 1963 at the request of
President John F. Kennedy to enlist the
private bar’s leadership and resources
in combatng racial discriminaton and
the resultng inequality of opportunity
- work that contnues to be vital
today. For more informaton, please
visit www.lawyerscommitee.org.
The State of Equality and Justice in America:
“Bayard Rustin: An Unsung Hero for Equality”
chad griffin
4 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Mayor Announces Voting Begins in Bloomberg Challenge
The community can begin to vote
for Mayor Stephanie Miner in the
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors
Challenge Hufngton Post online Fan
Favorite competton as of yesterday,
according to city ofcials.
“This is an excitng opportunity for
our city and our idea to be featured
on a prominent natonal website
like Hufngton Post,” said Mayor
Miner. “Our remarkable concept, the
World Market Square, is designed to
provide refugees, immigrants, and
people throughout our community
new pathways to economic and civic
empowerment while simultaneously
creatng a platorm to transform our
Individuals can vote by visitng the
website www.hufngtonpost.com/
mayors-challenge, and votng runs
through March 6, 2013. The Fan Favorite
winner will be announced at the same
tme as the fve Mayors Challenge
winners. The Fan Favorite winner will
also receive a $50,000 Services Grant
to support implementaton, as well as
featured coverage on Hufngton Post,
including a monthly column by the
winning Mayor.
According to the Miner, the World
Market Square is planned to feature
“(1) a marketplace, showcasing
local goods with a global infuence,
and employing and empowering
neighborhood residents; (2) plaza for
community gatherings, celebratons
and recreaton; and (3) a resource
center that ofers and unites innovatve
business development programs,
workforce training, and other services
that help residents transiton from just
surviving to thriving.”
Mayors of U.S. cites with 30,000
residents or more were eligible to
compete in the Mayors Challenge with
ultmately 305 cites representng 45
states across the country.
Winners will be announced in spring
2013, with a total of $9 million going to
fve cites to jumpstart implementaton
of their ideas.
Education Department Announces New Measure for Test Security
State Educaton Department
Commissioner John King Jr. announced
the launch of a new website designed
to support the integrity of State
The new Test Security and Educator
Integrity website, at htp://www.
hi ghered. nysed. gov/tsei /osadb.
html, includes several components to
facilitate the receipt and handling of
test fraud allegatons involving state
tests, according to a State Educaton
Department press release.
“New York State administers more
than fve million student exams every
year,” King said. “The Board of Regents
has implemented reforms to make
sure every student graduates high
school college- and career-ready.
State tests help us measure how
well students are progressing toward
that goal, and how much more they
need to learn. We cannot let those
results be contaminated by fraud and
“We’re working to make sure SED
handles every allegaton efectvely
and efciently. The overwhelming
majority of educators in New York
State give tests honestly and fairly,”
he added. “We’ve changed our
process; we’re doing a much beter job
responding to these allegatons, and
the Test Security website is another
step in that directon.”
The Test Security website includes
an electronic “tpline” for reports of
testng-related misconduct involving
educators, and policies and guidance
for improving the security and integrity
of tests and test scores.
The new website is one of several steps
SED and the Board of Regents have
taken to enhance the security and
integrity of the state’s testng program
since 2010, the department stated.
According to the release, the
department of educaton has also put
a number of additonal test security
measures in place, including a recent
budget request for $500,000 for SED to
conduct additonal forensic measures,
including in-depth erasure analysis of
test results, to detect test fraud.
By Lisa Dumas
Common Council president Van
Robinson recently received the
Lifetme Achievement Award from
the New York State Associaton of
Black and Puerto Rican Legislators
at the organizaton’s 42nd Annual
Associaton Weekend, Feb. 17.
“The award is presented to an
individual who has spent a lifetme
acceptng responsibility for social,
politcal, and economic empowerment
within communites of color. In
essence, the recipient is a person who
has been an inspiraton for others and
a catalyst for change,” NYSABPRL said
in a statement.
“I feel elated and very humbled,” said
Roberts. “As I understand this is the
frst one of its kind given to someone
in upstate New York with the excepton
of someone 42 years ago.”
“It’s given me the inspiraton to move
forward and contnue with some of the
things I’ve done in the community,” he
According to the city of Syracuse
web site, Robinson has been actvely
involved in the Civil Rights Movement
on a natonal, state and local level for
several years. Additonally, in 1977 he
was instrumental in reactvatng the
local Syracuse/Onondaga Chapter of
the NAACP. Robinson served as the
local NAACP branch secretary, chair
of the politcal acton commitee, frst
vice president and was elected to six
terms (12 years) as branch president.
He was also previously appointed
by the president of the New York
State NAACP to NYS western region
director, where he was responsible
for the progress of NAACP branches
throughout upstate New York.
Robinson’s current community service
includes serving on boards for the
Salvaton Army, F.O.C.U.S. Greater
Syracuse, the Kidney Foundaton and
Hope for the Bereaved Inc., among
According to NYSABPRL, the
organizaton was founded by legislatve
caucus members as a non-politcal,
charitable organizaton, “to promote
the common good, social and general
welfare of the various people of the
Robinson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Albany
Van Robinson acceptng the Lifetme Achievement Award presented by
Assemblymember Sam Roberts on behalf of the New York State Associaton of
Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.
5 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Is New York’s $7.25 per hour minimum wage unlivable?
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Workers who
make low wages making hotel beds,
ringing up groceries, delivering pizza
and tending tables in New York say the
proposed hike in the state’s minimum
wage won’t erase all their fnancial
But it will help.
“The priority for that extra 20 dollars
month would be probably something
other than macaroni and cheese and
chicken all the tme,” said Myrna
Capaldi, a single mother in Kingston
who makes $8.59 an hour working
with Head Start families.
Lawmakers in Albany are considering
a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo
to increase the state minimum wage
from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour in July.
Assembly Democrats proposed
making it $9 an hour afer President
Barack Obama in his State of the Union
address this week proposed hiking the
federal minimum wage, also $7.25
an hour, to $9 in stages by the end of
Cuomo has described the current
minimum wage, which works out to
about $15,000 a year for full-tme
work, as “unlivable.” Many people
making the minimum or a litle above
it agree.
“It’s prety difcult to put bread on the
table and make sure I have enough gas
to get to work,” said Capaldi. “And to
pull up to the gas pump and the price
of gas has yet again gone up but your
hourly salary has not.”
About 5 percent of hourly wage
earners in New York state make the
minimum or below (like workers who
receive tps), according to federal
fgures. The proposed hike would
also directly afect workers making
more than minimum but less than
$8.75. Those 747,000 workers make
up 9 percent of the state’s work force,
according to an analysis by the labor-
backed Fiscal Policy Insttute.
Who are those workers?
Opponents of a wage hike note that
many are teens with part-tme jobs
stll living at home. But the FPI analysis
says more than eight in 10 of the
people making $8.75 or less in New
York are at least 20 years old. Most
are women and almost half these low-
wage earners work at least 35 hours a
In the Bronx — a borough with a
persistently high poverty rate — a
state-high 12.5 percent of workers
make $8.75 or less an hour, according
to the FPI analysis. A number of
largely rural upstate countes like
Montgomery, Steuben and Essex, also
had high rates.
Whether rural or urban, people on the
low end of the wage scale tell similar
stories of never having enough money
to keep up.
In Queens, Kassandra Guzman, an
18-year-old high school student, works
seven days a week and said she stll
has trouble saving for college afer
helping her parents pay their bills.
Capaldi, who is raising a teen makes a
lot of macaroni and shops at Goodwill
on Wednesdays, which are half-price
“It’s really hard, sometmes we don’t
even make rent untl two weeks afer
its due,” said 20-year-old Joselyn
Flower, who lives in the Ithaca area.
Flower is an $8-an hour hotel
housekeeper who went on maternity
leave afer she and her partner had a
daughter a month ago. He makes $8
an hour, too. They all live in a one-
bedroom apartment.
The extra $1.50 an hour for minimum
wage earners could gross an extra
$60 a week for full-tmers. How much
more people making slightly over
would reap depend on whether their
employer raises them to the new
“It wouldn’t buy much, but I would feel
the diference,” said Brandon Montes,
a senior at Fordham University who
holds down two lower-wage jobs.
“It’s expensive to live in New York and
every litle bit helps.”
Flower said: “It’s not going to make it
easy, but it certainly will make it a lot
less hard.”
Opponents of the hike, including some
business interests, say the increase
would actually hurt those lower-wage
workers who would get laid of by
employers unable to aford suddenly
higher payroll costs.
Economists have debated that point
for years. Opponents point to a
peer-reviewed study last year that
concluded New York’s minimum wage
increase from $5.15 to $6.75 over two
years beginning in 2004 coincided
with a roughly 20 percent drop in
employment for less-skilled, less-
educated 16- to 29-year-olds.
The evidence is mixed, said Mathew
Freedman, an assistant professor at
Cornell University’s Department of
Labor Economics. And if there are
negatve efects, he added, a hike in
the wage does not seem to be “as
vicious a job destroyer as some fear.”
SUNY union, NY state reach tentative contract deal
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Cuomo
administraton and the union
representng more than 35,000
employees of the State University of
New York say they have a tentatve
contract agreement.
The United University Professions
members have been without a contract
since 2011 and have not yet voted on
ratfying the new proposal.
It contains no wage increases for the
three years 2011-2013, and 2 percent
raises in 2014 and 2015. It also
increases health insurance premiums.
The contract announced Tuesday
covers employees on 29 university
campuses, both academic and
professional staf, and three public
The American Arbitraton Associaton
plans to conduct a ratfcaton vote by
mail this spring.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Thousands of
New York homeowners have goten
an estmated $1.8 billion in loan relief
from fve U.S. banks as part of the
natonal mortgage setlement over
foreclosure abuses.
So far, 21,535 New York homeowners
have received assistance, including
$1.2 billion in principal reductons and
refnancing that lowers interest rates
on their mortgages.
New York Atorney General Eric
Schneiderman (SHNEYE’-dur-muhn)
released the informaton Thursday just
before a monitor’s report was released
in Washington.
In 2012, Bank of America, JPMorgan
Chase, Wells Fargo, Citbank and Ally
Financial agreed to a $25 billion penalty
under a state-natonal setlement,
with at least $17 billion going directly
to borrowers.
Thousands of NYers share $1.8B in mortgage relief
6 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Several NY and Md Senators
have introduced a bill to
establish two Natonal Parks
to honor Harriet Ross Tubman
and the Underground Railroad.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer
and Kirsten Gillibrand, both
D-N.Y. and U.S. Senators Ben
Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski,
both D-Md, introduced Senate
Bill 247 to the 113th Congress.
The bill, if passed, would
authorize funding “as such
sums as necessary” to acquire
“land” or “interests in land” to
establish the Harriet Tubman
Natonal Historical and the
Harriet Tubman Underground
Railroad Natonal Park, one in
New York and one in Maryland.
A former slave, Harriet Tubman
was an abolitonist and
humanitarian who escaped
slavery and subsequently made
more than thirteen missions
to rescue more than 70 slaves
using a network of antslavery
actvists and safe houses
known as the Underground
This is the fourth tme the bill has
been presented. The legislaton
was originally introduced in
the 110th Congress and was
re-introduced in the 111 and
112th Congresses.
U.S. Congressman Dan Mafei
(D-N.Y.-24) plans to introduce a
companion bill in the House of
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md. -1) has
also introduced a companion
bill in the House, H.R. 213,
which he says is identcal to
legislaton (H.R. 4007) which
he introduced during the 112th
Bill Introduced—Again—to Honor
Harriet Tubman

“February is Black
History Month and it’s
most fitting that we
celebrate it by working
to honor the legacy
Harriet Tubman...”
Wax statue of Harriet
Tubman, Madame Tussauds in
Washington D.C.
and Underground
7 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md. -1) has
also introduced a companion bill
in the House, H.R. 213, which
he says is identcal to legislaton
(H.R. 4007) which he introduced
during the 112th Congress.
That legislaton encouraged
establishment of the two Natonal
Historical Parks to honor Tubman
but provided no additonal federal
funding for the project.
This year is partcularly signifcant
to the Tubman’s legacy because
March 10 is the 100th anniversary
of Tubman’s death, at the age of
93 in the Auburn, N.Y., rest home
that bears her name and that she
established specifcally for the
care of aging former slaves with
no family to support them.
“February is Black History Month
and it’s most ftng that we
celebrate it by working to honor
the legacy Harriet Tubman, a true
American patriot for whom liberty
and freedom were principles in
which she believed and risked her
life to achieve,” Cardin said. “Her
life was defned by helping others
achieve freedom, and these two
parks will make it possible for
Marylanders, New Yorkers and all
Americans to trace her life’s work
and remember her tremendous
contributon to our naton’s
history,” he said.
In Maryland, The Harriet Tubman
Underground Railroad Natonal
Historical Park would include
historically important landscapes
in Dorchester, Caroline and Talbot
countes that are evocatve of
Tubman’s life.
In New York, The Harriet Tubman
Natonal Historical Park would
include important historical
structures in Auburn, including
Tubman’s home, the Home for
the Aged that she established,
the African Methodist Episcopal
(AME) Zion Church and Fort Hill
Cemetery, where she is buried.
Last Wednesday, Senators
Schumer and Cardin held a
press conference in the Senate
Visitors Center of the U.S. Capitol
to encourage passage of the
legislaton. Others joining the
Senators in support of the bill
included Maryland Rep. Donna
Edwards, D-Md.-4, Mafei,
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio-11,
Hilary O. Shelton of the NAACP,
Allendra Letsome of the Natonal
Organizaton for Women, Marc
Morial of the Natonal Urban
League and Dr. Thelma Daley of
the Natonal Council of Negro
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questions call 585.475.6546
MARCH 25 4:30 P.M. RIT’s Gordon Field House
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Her life
was defined
by helping others
achieve freedom...
8 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
Civil Rights Leaders Applaud Obama’s New Initiatives
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Two Weeks
ago, a group of civil rights leaders, led
by Natonal Urban League President
Marc Morial, threw down the gauntlet,
strongly urging President Obama to
address the jobs crisis and economics
in America’s urban communites.
Gauging applause following Obama’s
Feb. 12 State of the Union address,
he is at least beginning to meet the
“We applaud President Obama for
making clear his focus on job creaton
and preparing our youth for success
in college, work and life as the keys
to economic prosperity for our
communites and country. We echo his
call for swif passage of the American
Jobs Act, which we believe will level
the playing feld for many Americans
who have yet to beneft from the
economic recovery,” said Morial in a
statement immediately following the
NAACP President Ben Jealous agreed.
“The President knocked it out of
the park,” he said in an interview.
“The President understands … that
persistent poverty and violence are
connected. This was a response to our
call for clear and real solutons to the
jobs crisis that’s been plaguing our
His frst State of the Union speech in
his second term, the president was
pressured by high expectatons. With
America’s gun violence suddenly
spreading from the inner cites into the
suburbs with a rash of mass shootngs,
his challenged was – in part – to speak
to them both with equal compassion.
However, an even greater challenge
was to address the clearly diferent
causes of the violence – one being the
economic crisis in Black communites
that the civil rights leaders have
“Tonight, let’s also recognize that
there are communites in this country
where no mater how hard you work,
it is virtually impossible to get ahead.
Factory towns decimated from years of
plants packing up. Inescapable pockets
of poverty, urban and rural, where
young adults are stll fghtng for their
frst job. America is not a place where
the chance of birth or circumstance
should decide our destny. And that’s
why we need to build new ladders of
opportunity into the middle class for
all who are willing to climb them,”
Obama said in the speech, marked by
repeated applause.
He contnued, “Let’s ofer incentves
to companies that hire Americans
who’ve got what it takes to fll that
job opening, but have been out of
work so long that no one will give
them a chance anymore. Let’s put
people back to work rebuilding vacant
homes in run-down neighborhoods.
And this year, my administraton
will begin to partner with 20 of the
hardest-hit towns in America to get
these communites back on their
feet. We’ll work with local leaders to
target resources at public safety, and
educaton, and housing.”
Most recently, Chicago has become
the central point of media atenton
on gun violence because of the killing
of 15-year-old Inaugural majorete,
Hadiya Pendleton, whose parents
were guests at the State of the Union.
They were guests of First Lady Michelle
Obama, who had atended Hadiya’s
funeral. Afer the speech, the President
also went to Chicago, speaking at Hyde
Park Career Academy near the site of
Hadiya’s murder.
“There’s no more important ingredient
for success, nothing that would be
more important for us reducing
violence than strong, stable families
-- which means we should do more
to promote marriage and encourage
fatherhood,” he said, in a deeply
personal address.
“Don’t get me wrong. As the son of a
single mom, who gave everything she
had to raise me with the help of my
grandparents, I turned out okay,” he
said. “So we’ve got single moms out
here, they’re heroic in what they’re
doing and we are so proud of them.
But at the same tme, I wish I had had a
father who was around and involved.”
In the speech that was punctuated
by light laughter and applause, the
President also underscored some of
proposals from the State of the Union
such as improvements on public
safety, educaton and housing as well
as raising the minimum wage to $9 an
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., who, the
week before the State of the Union,
called for President Obama to “Come
home,” said he is also pleased with the
headway the Obama administraton is
making in addressing urban crime and
“The point is that Chicago exposes the
complexites of the urban crisis, which
requires some plan for reconstructon
because it’s been so destroyed,” Rev.
Jackson said in an interview. “The issue
in Sandy Hook was guns in the hands
of a wild man and the gun culture
for sport. In Chicago, like Baltmore,
like Memphis, like New Orleans – it’s
drugs in, guns in, jobs out, houses
foreclosed, driving poverty and 40-
50 percent unemployment. That’s a
diferent combinaton.”
Jackson said he agrees with the
President’s ideas on background
checks and mental health checks
before the purchase of handguns.
But there’s much more need in Black
communites, he said.
“Urban America requires something
far more massive than the lack of
guns.” He proposes a “reconstructon
bank” with trillions of dollars to rebuild
communites. “You cannot bring the
communites back. You cannot revive
the communites on the banks that
destroyed them for greed and proft.
You need a reconstructon bank.”
Regardless of what the proposals are,
most will need to pass a biter and
divided Congress.
In that regard, U. S. Rep. Jim Clyburn
(D-S.C.) encouraged the partsanship
to end for the sake of a new beginning.
“Forty years ago, Dr. Martn Luther
King, Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial
and proclaimed ‘We refuse to believe
that there are insufcient funds in
the great vaults of opportunity of
this naton.’ Tonight President Obama
stood in the well of the U.S. House
of Representatves, and echoed Dr.
King’s sentment. He took up the
mantle of Dr. King in declaring, ‘It
is our unfnished task to make sure
that this government works on behalf
of the many, and not just the few;
that it encourages free enterprise,
rewards individual initatve, and
opens the doors of opportunity to
every child across this great naton of
ours,’” Clyburn said in a statement. “I
applaud his vision, and I look forward
to working with the President and
my colleagues in Congress to get our
country on a path of opportunity
through economic development, job
creaton and investng in educaton,
infrastructure and innovaton to move
our country forward. For too long,
we have been hearing why it can’t be
done. President Obama reminded us
tonight that it can be done, we just
have to have the politcal will to do it.”
9 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
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10 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
When a rapper says he’s gonna
“pop a pill” then “beat that
p*ssy like Emmet Till,” that’s
when we know that he might
have gone just a litle bit
too far. But that’s just what
happened this week, and the
Till family isn’t happy.
Lil Wayne and Future, two very
talented hip-hop artsts, have
decided to push the envelope
of disrespect by releasing a
song called “Karate Chop.” In the song, Lil Wayne
takes the liberty of turning the mutlated face of
Emmet Till into a weary s*x organ, ridiculing the
agony experienced by this young man many years
ago. The mater is made even sadder by the fact
that Till’s legacy was trampled by Lil Wayne, Future
and Universal Records right in the middle of Black
History Month.
This week, I spoke with Airickca Gordon Taylor,
spokesperson for the Till family and as you can
imagine, the family is outraged.
“I just couldn’t understand how he could compare
the gateway to life to the brutality and punishment
of death,” said Gordon Taylor.
For those of us who aren’t familiar with the legacy
of Emmet Till (apparently, Lil Wayne already is),
Till was a 15-year old boy who was beaten beyond
recogniton and murdered for whistling at a white
woman. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, made the
courageous decision to insist that her son be buried
with an open casket so that the country could see
how ugly the brutality of racial violence can become.
Mamie’s sacrifce sparked internatonal outrage
and served as part of the fuel which created the
foundaton for the civil rights movement.
Over 50 years later, we now have black rappers who
think it’s OK to compare this 15-year old boy’s face
to a v@gina. I doubt that Dr. King would consider
this to be progress.
Rev. Jesse Jackson and his associate, Bishop Tavis
Grant of the Rainbow/Push Coaliton have spoken
up on the mater, and I’ve promised to give them
my support. So far, neither Lil Wayne nor Future has
responded to the family’s call for them to stop the
release of the song, which is an astonishing show of
arrogance from both of their camps. I wonder if any
of the people signing of on the song even realized
that it’s now black history month? I doubt they
celebrate this sort of thing in the ofces of Universal
Records, since it’s easier to exploit an artst who is
both ignorant and uneducated: The scariest thing in
the world can be a conscientous, courageous and
intelligent black man, hence the decision to mass
promote black male ant-intellectualism.
Hip-hop music is one of the most powerful and
persuasive art forms in the history of the world,
and it is now being used to enslave the minds of
young black people so that they might become
food for the prison industrial complex. Lil Wayne’s
reference to Till is just the latest efort to dumb
down black America with messages that are nothing
short of disgustngly toxic. Don’t believe me? Go
analyze any one of a million songs you’ll hear on
the radio today: Not one song promotes a positve
lifestyle, and within 60 seconds, you’ll surely hear
a reference to at least one of the following – drug
use, alcoholism, violence, or s*xual irresponsibility.
Also, have you ever notced that commercialized
(corporate-funded) hip-hop is the ONLY genre of
music where nearly all of the messages are nearly
the same? Maybe this isn’t a coincidence.
Many potental black male father fgures have
been extracted from our community and sent to
the concentraton camps of the prison industrial
complex, given dozens of years in prison for
sometmes minor ofenses. All the while, their sons
grow up without fathers, and are taught by music
on the radio how to get high and drunk every day,
to kill other black men, and to disrespect the black
women who raised them (case-in-point: Lil Wayne’s
song, “Always strapped,” reminds black men to keep
their guns with them when they go to the club on
Friday nights. He’ll never be telling black kids to go
to the library). Lil Wayne’s music is a refecton of
this reality, as a man who is as brilliant as the great
Malcolm X has been convinced to use his powers
for evil rather than good. I would ask Wayne to say
something positve to his people, but the fact is that
in his mind, we are NOT his people.
The cultural norms that contnue to undermine who
we are as a community are deliberately designed to
keep us in a psychological prison from which many
of us choose not to escape. And for those of us who
rise above the madness, we ofen fnd ourselves and
our loved ones brutalized or killed by those who’ve
been turned into zombies. A good example is the
late Hadiya Pendleton, the young honor student who
was murdered just a block away from the home of
President Barack Obama. Hadiya didn’t die because
her mother was irresponsible: She died because
someone else’s child was failed by either society or
his own parents and ended up becoming a teenage
Bishop Grant, Rev Jesse Jackson and the Till family
aren’t just taking the fght to the artsts themselves,
they are taking it to the streets and the boardrooms.
Universal Records, the company that fnances and
sponsors the language being used in much of this
music, should be held accountable. I guarantee
that if I were releasing music which said that “I’m
going to beat that woman’s v*gina as if she were in a
n**i concentraton camp,” I wouldn’t be able to get
millions of dollars in fnancing to spread my message
around the world. Destructve hip-hop music is the
kind of disrespect that is designed uniquely for black
people only.
Some would say that the consumers are to blame
for this madness on the airwaves. They say that if
people stop demanding this kind of music, it will
simply go away. The problem is two-fold: 1) Many of
the people who purchase hip-hop music are white
people who care nothing about how the music
might afect the psyches of black youth, and 2) If you
force a product down the throat of consumers long
enough, they will eventually crave it in the same way
that an alcoholic comes to desire poison in his body.
White people buy hip-hop, but are not as readily
infuenced by its messages. They don’t see the
artsts as refectons of themselves, but instead
as connectons to the “authentc” black urban
“gangsta” experience. Black children, on the other
hand, don’t have nearly as many media role models
to choose from, and are ofen led to believe that
music is their way out of the gheto. Bad parentng
is not the only reason that many of our kids are led
astray, since many good parents see their words
drowned out by a world that teaches black children
to destroy themselves.
I’m not angry at Lil Wayne for making his music, much
of which is actually very good. Lil Wayne is brilliant,
creatve and powerful, like Malcolm Litle was before
he met the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Also like
Malcolm, Wayne was poisoned by a racist society,
and his music is merely a symptom of the mental
illness that America has built within him over the
last 30 years. Since he never met his own version of
Elijah Muhammad, Wayne has become convinced to
use his power to kill his community rather than lif
it up, and that is why he contnues to work for our
But no mater how we view the actons of Lil
Wayne himself, the botom line is that we must
love our kids more than we love this music. We
can support the value of artstc freedom while
simultaneously demanding that our hip-hop artsts
and their corporate overseers show some degree of
responsibility. We can’t just presume that anything
goes, especially when the music so blatantly spits on
the legacy of someone like Emmet Till.
In other words, some things are sacred and we should
crush the soul of anyone who dares to disrespect the
Civil Rights Movement in such a blatant and ignorant
way. We owe this much to litle Emmet and his
mother, who gave so much to us.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black
World Coaliton and author of the lecture series,
“Greatness is not an opton: Why we must teach our
children to fy.”
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not
necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of MRMG or CNY Vision
Emmett Till’s Family is Rightfully
Angry at Lil Wayne’s Blatant Disrespect
Leave us a comment! facebook.com/cnyvision
11 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
How well do you screen before you date?
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not
necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of MRMG or CNY Vision
Have you ever taken the tme
to evaluate just what type of
screening process you use
when deciding on whether or
not to enter into a relatonship?
Have you even thought about if
you have a screening process?
If you can’t say that you’ve
thought this over then you’re
playing a dangerous game with
your life, heart, mind, and soul.
A strong screening process can
save you a lot of heartache.
You will pick up on red fags early on that may make
you think twice about investng your tme in certain
relatonships. Let’s face it; a bad relatonship can
leave you with a broken heart, bad credit, and low
Let’s think in terms of hiring a candidate for a job.
Even before a person is invited to an interview
someone screens the applicants by reviewing their
resumes and cover leters. This is done to determine
if this person meets the basic requirements of the
Now why is it that we don’t put this much tme
and care into screening the men and women we’re
thinking about entering into a relatonship with. If
the job is a successful relatonship with you what are
some key things that you should be screening for?
We need to start paying atenton to red fags. You
should look at the candidate’s relatonship with their
family; specifcally their mother, father and siblings.
While no person’s family is perfect it is important to
have a clear understanding about the family dynamic
so you can make the decision if that dynamic is
something you’re comfortable entering in to.
Next ask why their last relatonship ended. What did
they learn (if anything) from their break up? We’ve
all had relatonships end. Yes, it may have been for
the best, but many tmes the breakup was just as
much our fault as it was the other person’s.
The residual damage from a breakup is one that will
be carried from one failed relatonship to the next
unless we take the tme to self-evaluate and heal
from past hurts. Another important queston is what
are their goals, both professional and spiritual? Do
their goals align with my goals? If you have children
you may ask yourself; would I let me daughter date
him? Would I want my son to be like him? These are
just a few examples.
Take a moment and write down at least 3 other
questons that you believe need to be answered
at the onset of a relatonship. By onset I mean
within the frst couple of dates. If these questons
go unanswered and you progress to a serious
relatonship when the answers do emerge you might
fnd yourself involved with a person completely
diferent than you thought. Next tme you are
beginning the screening processes refer back to this
list and know what your deal breaker answers are
ahead of tme.
What happens if our candidates are reluctant to
answer our questons? “COOL”. On to the next! You
should not wait to ask these questons. You are more
likely to get the truth at the onset of the relatonship;
by waitng the person knows you beter and knows
what you want this will result in them telling you
what you want to hear as opposed to being true
to who they really are. This will start to formulate
who this person is and then you get to decide if the
relatonship should progress.
Why are we so ready to hire and take in the frst
candidate that looks good in a suit or a dress? Really?
What happened to the second and third interview?
Why are we so quick to fll the positon? Is it because
we are scared to ask the hard questons! By not
asking these questons we are actually taking the
harder route.
We are setng ourselves and our candidate up for
failure. We would rather write our new candidate up,
place them on verbal warning, and then fre them.
We take the long route instead of spending tme
looking deep before we leap. If you have spent some
tme screening that candidate and your questons
have been answered then you can moved forward.
If not then keep interviewing other candidates. Even
if the positon has to remain open for a while. If you
have the right perspectve this could actually be fun.
I am giving you permission to have fun while you
interview candidates. Think of it as an adventure.
You get a chose based on what is revealed to you.
You don’t have to jump in head frst. Instead you
can use your head to make a ratonal decision. Stop
playing Russian roulete with your heart and make a
conscious decision to sharpen up your interviewing
e-z pass voting
Let your voice
be heard
Tell us what you think at:
12 www.cnyvision.com | february 21 - 27 | 2013
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