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from information to understanding

vol. 6 no. 18

1 22 april 22 -28 | 2013 www.| minorityreporter .net april - 28 2013

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ WellsFargoSurvey:African-Americans Optimistic About Their Financial Future $$$$$$$$$

also inside
Theologian Says Black Church Must Change their Position on Same Sex Marriage
pg 10

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In This Issue:


from information to understanding

vol. 6 no. 18

1 22 april 22 -28 | 2013 www.| minorityreporter .net april - 28 2013

Backus St. Help make Rochester sparkle at Clean Sweep! More than 25,000 volunteers have demonstrated their pride in Rochester by working alongside City crews to clean and beautify just about every street in the city. In addition to removing litter and debris, volunteers do such things as planting flowers, pruning trees and performing other neighborhood beautification projects. Contact: 311 to register; (585) 428-5990 if outside the city 428-7620 for additional information May 2 Max At The Gallery Tapas Night Time: 5:00pm8:00pm Locatio: Vanden Brul Pavilion Every Thursday night, youre invited to visit the Gallery (half price admission from 5 to 9 pm), listen to live music, and enjoy wine, beer and tapas plates for purchase. No reservation necessary! 5 Rochester Southwest CROP Walk 2013 Time: 1:30pm Location: Carlson Commons, 70 Coretta Scott Crossing Funds raised from pledges will go locally to Southwest Ecumenical Ministries (SWEM) to support Foodlinks Backpack Program that supplies weekly supplemental food to children at two city schools. It will also go internationally to development programs in partnership with Church World Services and other NGOs in their fight against hunger. To walk or to sponsor a walker, call St. Stephens church at 328-0856, or go to 11 Creative Workshop Spring Childrens Show May 11June 8 in the Lucy Burne Gallery (Creative Workshop) This exhibition of works by children studying at the Gallerys Creative Workshop is offered in conjunction with the MAG Centennial. Admission is free during Workshop hours. Call 585-2768959 for more information. 12,19,24,27 Flower City Days at the Public Market Join us for Flower City Days at the Rochester Public Markets. Also 6/2 and 6/9

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25 Cliffords 50th Birthday Party Time: 9:00 AM 3:30 PM Location: ABC Head Start - 1772 Clifford Avenue We are having a Birthday Party for Clifford. Come dance, play games and enjoy cake and ice cream with Clifford; the Big Red Dog. You may enter a drawing to win a fun basket for your child. Also, your child can get his or her picture taken with Clifford and purchase books at the Book Fair.

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also inside
Theologian says Black Church Must Change their Position on same sex Marriage
pg 10


Dave McCleary Pauline McCleary Gary McLendon Catie Fiscus Lisa Dumas Delani Weaver

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PG 8 - 10

Wells Fargo Survey: AfricanAmericans Optimistic About Their Financial Future


PG 5 - 6

Nine-County Report Card Shows Region in Trouble Samuel Noel Appointed Board Chair of African-American Leadership Developmental Program Uni-Pixel Rises as it Enters Deal with Kodak

26 Stand Against Racism Event Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm Location: 1872 Cafe - 401 West Main Street Spiritus Christi Anti-Racism Coalition (SPARC) with the 1872 Cafe Race and Our Lives: Whistle Blowers in the Workplace Keynote Speaker: Myra Brown, followed by panel and discussion For info: 585-325-1180 27 Clean Sweep 2013 - Northwest; Edgerton Park Time: 8:30am-1:00pm Location: Meet at Edgerton Park 41

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Minority Reporter, Inc. is a family of publications and other media formats committed to fostering self awareness, building community and empowering people of color to reach their greatest potential. Further, Minority Reporter, Inc. seeks to present a balanced view of relevant issues, utilizing its resources to build bridges among diverse populations; taking them from information to understanding. Minority Reporter reserves the right to edit or reject content submitted. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Minority Reporter does not assume responsibility concerning advertisers, their positions, practices, services or products; nor does the publication of advertisements constitute or imply endorsement. Minority Reporter invites news and story suggestions from readers. Deadline for all copy is Tuesday at noon. Call 585-301-4199 or email

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5 | april 22 -28 | 2013

Nine-County Report Card Shows Region in Trouble
Over 200 people from government, business, nonprofit and education sectors from the region attended the announcement of the 2013 Community Report Card by ACT Rochester Thursday morning at the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Hosted by the Rochester Area Community Foundation, ACT laid out an actual report card for how well nine counties in the region is faring in education, health, housing and six other areas compared to New York State. The grades would show a continuation of highs and lows, with room for improved performance. These counties include Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. The report shares with the community how we really are doing. The report is very accurate; there is no embellishments or scale sliding, Ann M. Johnson, ACT Rochester Director said. Charts, graphs and series of indicators within each topic area, when viewed together provide an overview of the progress and problem spots. We know the city has problems but there are so many different indicators as reasons why that its challenging to know exactly what they are as a whole, said Johnson. The areas where our region is in worse shape than the state, by 10 percent or more, are the arts, community engagement, financial self-sufficiency, and public safety. The longer-term deteriorating trends are disconcerting for three of these four categories, with the exception of public safety. Our regional unemployment rates generally have been lower than the U.S. In the past 10 years there have been three years when the region and U.S. were tied. Until 2013, the region exceeded the U.S. This is very concerning, Johnson said. It begs the question, what are doing? What are we going to do? The child poverty rate in Monroe County has gone from 19 percent to 21 percent, which is now higher than the New York state rate of 20 percent. Thats horrifying. Johnson said there are race disparities that are mind blowing. Were a segregated community. People of color are not doing well. A lot of people have left the city. We dont have a clear understanding why and because of that theres no way to decide what to do. We always talk about Rochester being an affordable place to live. Our research shows that it is for certain people. But minorities are owning less homes, Johnson said. Typically, youre supposed to spend 30 percent of your income on rent. We have found that whites in the city spend 34 percent of their income on rent. African Americans spend 51 percent, Hispanics spend 55 percent and Asians 55 percent. How are you ever able to save to buy a home when youre paying this much in rent? When asked about an A, B, C, D, or F grade for the city, Johnson said, Again, theres no one reason why these trends are happening and because of that theres no way to make decision of how to fix it. If there was a grade scale, there is no grade because if youre looking at things in total, you may create more problems because you miss the details of the all the different situations that created that picture. ACT Rochester has promoted three components; learn, connect, and act. Last year, ACT Rochester focused on educating the region about its data We had a great crowd, it was really

Ann M. Johnson ACT Rochester Directo successful. This is 2nd annual report card, Johnson said. ACT Rochester has several partners including the Facing Race, Embracing Equity Initiative, YWCAs Racial Justice Committee and Stand Against Racism Subcommittee, and Unite Rochester. For more on the regional and Monroe County Community Report Card and detailed Trend Snapshots, visit

Samuel Noel Appointed Board Chair of African American Leadership Development Program
Samuel Noel has been appointed to Board Chair of the African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP), a program of the United Way with a focus on recognizing, training and endorsing the appointment of African Americans in policy-making positions at community organizations in the Rochester area. The program is geared toward training black leaders to have an impact in the community, Noel said. (Im going to be) dealing with the issues that we have. There are critical aspects of the community that need attention, like education, economic empowerment and health. Noel, a 2009 graduate of the program, was elected as his class representative. He was subsequently appointed to the board in 2010. Noel is originally from Jamaica, but has lived in Rochester for the past twenty years. He holds an MBA and is a personal banker with Xceed Financial Credit Union. He is also adjunct professor at Monroe Community College. Noel also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Family Center. In 2011, Noel served as the AALDP representative to the United Way Campaign Cabinet lead by retired Kodak executive, Essie Calhoun. My vision is for us to be purpose driven in our leadership so at the end of the day were making a true impact and reaching our goals, Noel said. To have individuals inspired, trained and prepared to intentionally fulfill our mission and vision for the program in helping impact the community with the ultimate of improving the quality of life of individuals in the communitya more deliberate focus on that endto make a difference. AALDP is now accepting applications for the 2013 Program with a deadline of May 10, 2013. Details and the application can be found at https://


Birth Date: December, 1996 enjoys shopping, dressing in style and looking sharp! He takes pride in his neatly groomed appearance. Martavious is a capable youth who is not consistently challenging himself to function to the best of his ability. Martavious favorite pastimes include playing cards and football. He aspires to a career in graphic design and wants to attend college so that he can pursue this dream. Martavious needs the structure and guidance offered by a supportive and accepting adoptive family.
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6 | april 22 -28 | 2013

Uni-Pixel rises as it enters deal with Kodak

NEW YORK (AP) - Shares of UniPixel climbed to a multi-year high on Wednesday as it announced a manufacturing and supply deal with Eastman Kodak. THE SPARK: On Tuesday Uni-Pixel Inc. and Eastman Kodak Co. announced an agreement to produce touch sensors based on Uni-Pixels UniBoss multi-touch sensor film. The deal calls for the companies to open a new manufacturing plant within Kodaks corporate campus in Rochester, N.Y., later this year to make touch screen sensors. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. THE ANALYSIS: Cody Acree of Williams Financial Group boosted Uni-Pixels price target to $60 from $40. In a client note, the analyst said that the deal with Kodak should allow Uni-Pixel to scale much faster to substantial volumes. Acree also said that UniPixel will probably have an easier time convincing the industrys biggest original equipment manufacturers to use UniBoss if its built by a company with the capacity and film/printing expertise of Kodak. The analyst kept a Buy rating. A representative for Uni-Pixel did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


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$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ WellsFargoSurvey:African-Americans Optimistic About Their Financial Future $$$$$$$$$

by delani weaver
( African-American investors report high levels of confidence in their financial future, along with optimism about the political and economic future of the country, according to a recent Wells Fargo nationwide survey. Despite proactive planning and intentional cuts in spending, African American investors remain focused on day-to-day living expenses, with a large majority concerned about having enough money to retire. Three in five (60 percent) African-American investors express confidence in their own financial future, slightly higher than the national response (52 percent), while half (52 percent) report they are better off now than they were three years ago, same as the general population. The optimism and confidence articulated by African American investors is encouraging, particularly as those surveyed are feeling financially better off than they were three years ago, said Jeff Cosby, financial advisor and vice-president, Investment Officer in the Bloomington, Minn. office of Wells Fargo Advisors, Wells Fargo. Where we see the biggest opportunity is helping people really consider how they are approaching saving and planning for retirement. It is important for financial advisors to help investors think through long-term strategies for investment planning, while also providing guidance on common concerns like how to balance paying off debt while continuing to save for retirement. While African-American investors have made progress in retirement planning and preparation, most are concerned about having enough money to retire. African American investors are taking necessary steps toward preparing for retirement, as 45 percent of those surveyed have cut back on their spending to put away money for retirement (compared to 36 percent of the national population), and two in five (40 percent) non-retired African-American investors have a retirement savings plan in place (similar to the national population, 42 percent). Among non-retired AfricanAmericans, having a plan is most prevalent among those earning over $100,000 annually (68 percent earning more than $100,000 have a plan vs. 35 percent of those earning less than $100,000.). Compared to the US overall, African American investors are less likely to consider themselves financially comfortable (38 percent vs. 51 percent overall). More than a third (36 percent) of non-retired African American investors surveyed report that their biggest financial concern is paying their monthly bills; saving for retirement ranks second at 22 percent, followed by healthcare costs at 15 percent. Three in five African-American investors are more focused on debt reduction (59 percent) than

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saving for retirement. And just over half (52 percent) of those surveyed are concerned they wont have enough saved for retirement (similar to all adults). African-American investors less than 50 years old are particularly concerned (64 percent, vs. 39 percent of those ages 50 and over). Just over a third (36 percent) of AfricanAmerican investors are confident in knowing where to invest in todays market (similar to the national population, 31 percent). All investors - regardless of age or level of savings - should be focused on planning for retirement, and turning plans into actual saving and investing, said Cosby. Many African American investors, much like the general population of overall investors, find investing in todays economy daunting. Its important to seek advice from a trusted professional to help navigate the ups and downs of the market, with an eye on long-term financial goals. It can be scary, but with all the resources and tools available, it can be done. Living in multi-generational households also has a significant impact on AfricanAmerican investors savings, as a number of respondents are caring for their own children, as well as aging parents or

grandparents. One in five (20 percent) African-American investors surveyed report living in three-generational households. Three in four (77percent) African-American adults surveyed who live in three-generational households are concerned they will not save enough to support themselves in retirement, compared to just 46 percent of those outside of multi-generational households. Almost three quarters of AfricanAmerican investors (73 percent) are optimistic about the political direction of the country, significantly higher than the general population (43 percent), while four in five (83 percent) feel the U.S. economy will improve in the next two years (compared to 47 percent of the general population). Seventy-two percent of those surveyed expect their local economy to improve in the next two years (compared to 45 percent of the overall adult population), and nearly three in four see improvements in their local housing market (71 percent, vs. 54 percent nationally). As part of Wells Fargos proactive outreach to the segment, the company is focused on providing financial education for African American consumers to empower them to achieve financial success. Wells Fargo has developed a comprehensive

financial education platform that offers guidance on financial topics that resonate with the segment. Through relationships with national and community organizations and media outlets nationwide, Wells Fargo uses print, digital and workshop formats to deliver financial solutions to a broad range of audiences. An additional Wells Fargo resource is My Financial Guide, an online resource consisting of articles, videos and tools aimed at helping consumers become more confident and knowledgeable in money management. These survey findings are based on an online survey conducted November 9 - December 3, 2012 among adults nationwide (N=1,105) and African American adults (N=500). Qualified respondents were non-students, ages 2575, who are the primary or joint financial decision-maker in the household with household investable assets of at least $10,000. Survey results are weighted to reflect Census data for gender, age, race/ethnicity, region and household income to ensure representativeness. Assuming no sample bias, the maximum margin of error for the National sample is 2.9 percent and 4.4 percent for AfricanAmerican adults.

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FEATURE STORY Theologian Says Black Church Must Change

their Position on Same Sex Marriage

By Delani Weaver
A minister specializing in gender and sexuality issues related to pastoral ministry and the church spoke last week at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS). Theologian Reverend Doctor Horace L. Griffin lectured at the divinity school as a part of their week-long series entitled Challenges of the 21st Century. His lecture, titled Reruns in Color: God, the Bible, Civil Rights and Marriage Equality looked at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Christian Experience. (I wanted to) pick up on some of the political climate with some of the black pastors who came out against President Obama last year when he gave his Christian support for marriage equality, Griffin said. In his lecture, Griffin examined arguments of conservative white Christians opposing civil rights on race relations against African Americans based bible scripture and how it relates to the issue of the LGBT community being treated unequally in the African American church. Going back to certain parts of the bible, Genesis ninth chapter and of course slavery before segregation support, Griffin said. What I was able to do is look at, in a number of cases, the same language thats being used today to oppose anther group based on sexual orientation. Those arguments were used with scripture to say this group should not have the same rights as the majority. Griffin says that one problem with the black church is that it preaches that Jesus said we should love everyone and treat everyone the same but the church appears to have a double standard when it comes to the LGBT community. I look at the paradox. You have African American heterosexuals who disagreed with that use of the bible by whites, (who were discriminated against based on their ethnicity) in saying we dont see that God sees us as less than because of our difference, even though you might have that theology. African American gays and lesbians and gays and lesbians in general are saying we are people of faith, we believe in God, were Christian and you are using the scripture to make our lives miserable, he said. Griffin said the teachings of the bible are being used against the LGBT community. African Americans, as a minority group of Christians opposed the use of bible scriptures by white racists, eventually turned the culture around. He said his challenge is getting the black church to rethink their ideals when it comes to the LGBT community wanting same sex marriages. He believes that the amount of churches that have previously refused to perform same sex marriages is slowly decreasing. Its happening on a small scale. There are a few black churches that have begun to perform marriages for gay and lesbian couples. As more black gays and lesbians come out, as more heterosexuals experience their (gays and lesbians) Christian witness and see that this text (the bible) does not reflect the reality and this was written in time where there was not an understanding. I think people will say wow, this relationship provides the same kind of nurture, care, love, respect that we would see in a good heterosexual relationship. Theres no reason to deny them, he said. Griffin is an Episcopal Church priest, African American and a gay. He said in his book he shares some of his story of growing up in a Baptist church and the criticism he received. Its through my pain and suffering that I write and my love for the black church to make it better as well as this society. On the religious level, as I read the gospel, as I understand God, as I understand Jesus Christ, that message is inconsistent with the message of love and treating other as you want to be treated, he said. Griffin said its more of an educational disconnect. African American heterosexuals need to be educated on the LGBT community through social settings. Once that happens, African American heterosexuals will understand that the LGBT community are not different and can live Christian lives with the same Christian values as heterosexuals. Southern, Bible states have appeared to be of the most opposition when it comes to the rights of the LGBT community. Griffin said that opinions and ideas are in two categories; generational and regional. Growing up in Atlanta, Griffin said he understands. Well first, lets talk about generational. Studies show that younger heterosexuals, conservatives as well as liberals, really have a different attitude generally on the issue. I mean its astounding. So we know thats going to change because thats the future. We are on this trajectory that is more openness with younger people. The other is region, he noted. When you look at states that have passed marriage equality and that have other legislation for lesbian and gay Americans, no states have passed in the south; marriage equality. Most of the resistance comes from the Bible belt states, not surprising. I do think there are a few cities in the south, like Atlanta, New Orleans, where you have a more cosmopolitan feel and more openness. Miami would be another place. But I do think its going to be a challenge because there is a particular biblical view thats conservative that was very similar to oppositional integration. Griffin said his lecture was setup to get people to think and to consider. He said hes raising the argument. But in part, I believe it was the moral thing, the right thing to do, that you treat everybody the same and that you do not discriminate against anyone based on difference. That is not justified. I would put those who use religion and do terrible things in the name of God, I see as an abuse of religion, he said. Other theologians who lectured at the week-long event included Dr. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, Dr. Quentin Schultze and Dr. Mark Braverman.

Theologian Reverend Doctor Horace L. Griffin Facebook: search Minority reporter

11 | april 22 -28 | 2013

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12 | april 22 -28 | 2013

Boston bombs said to be made from pressure cookers

By Jay Lindsay and Eillen Sullivan BOSTON (AP) The bombs that ripped through the crowd at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 170, were fashioned out of pressure cookers and packed with shards of metal, nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum carnage, a person briefed on the investigation said Tuesday. The details on the apparently crude but deadly explosives emerged as investigators appealed to the public for amateur video and photos that might yield clues. The chief FBI agent in Boston vowed we will go to the ends of the Earth to find those responsible. A person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on said the explosives were put in 6-liter kitchen pressure cookers, hidden in black duffel bags and left on the ground. They were packed with shrapnel, the person said. The person said law enforcement officials have some of the bomb components but do not yet know what was used to set off the explosives. A doctor treating the wounded appeared to corroborate the persons account, saying one of the victims was maimed by what looked like ball bearings or BBs. Doctors also said they removed a host of sharp objects from the victims, including nails that were sticking out of one little girls body. At the White House, meanwhile, President Barack Obama said that the bombings were an act of terrorism but that investigators do not know if they were carried out by an international organization, a domestic group or a malevolent individual. He added: The American people refuse to be terrorized. Across the U.S., from Washington to Los Angeles, police stepped up security, monitoring landmarks, government buildings, transit hubs and sporting events. Security was especially tight in Boston, with bomb-sniffing dogs checking Amtrak passengers luggage at South Station and transit police patrolling with rifles. They can give me a cavity search right now and Id be perfectly happy, said Daniel Wood, a video producer from New York City who was waiting for a train. Similar pressure-cooker explosives have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a July 2010 intelligence report by the FBI and Homeland Security. Also, one of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a pressure cooker, the report said. Placed carefully, such devices provide little or no indication of an impending attack, the report said. The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the 2010 attempt in Times Square, has denied any role in the Boston Marathon attack. The two bombs blew up about 10 seconds and around 100 yards apart Monday near the finish line of the 26.2mile race, tearing off limbs, knocking people off their feet and leaving the streets stained with blood and strewn with broken glass. The dead included an 8-year-old boy. We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated, said Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., who had just finished the race when he heard the explosions. Federal investigators said no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings, which took place at the worlds best-known distance race, held every year on one of Bostons biggest holidays, Patriots Day. We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime, and we will do everything we


can to bring them to justice, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston. He said investigators had received voluminous tips and were interviewing witnesses and analyzing the crime scene. Gov. Deval Patrick said that contrary to earlier reports, no unexploded bombs were found. FBI agents searched an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere overnight, and investigators were seen leaving with brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag. But it was unclear whether the tenant had anything to do with the attack. A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details of the investigation said the man had been tackled by a bystander, then police, as he ran from the scene of the explosions. But the official said it is possible the man was simply running away to protect himself from the blast, as many others did. At a news conference, police and federal agents repeatedly appealed for any video, audio and photos taken by marathon spectators, even images that

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people might not think are significant. There has to be hundreds, if not thousands, of photos and videos that might help investigators, state police Col. Timothy Alben said. Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said investigators also gathered a large number of surveillance tapes from businesses in the area and intend to go through the videos frame by frame. This is probably one of the most photographed areas in the country yesterday, he said. At least 17 people were critically injured, police said. At least eight children were being treated at hospitals. In addition to losing limbs, victims suffered broken bones, shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums. Dr. Stephen Epstein of the emergency medicine department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said he saw an X-ray of one victims leg that had what appears to be small, uniform, round objects throughout it similar in the appearance to BBs. Eight-year-old Martin Richard was among the dead, said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a family friend. The boys mother, Denise, and 6-year-old sister, Jane, were badly injured. His brother and father were also watching the race but were not hurt. A candle burned on the stoop of the

13 | april 22 -28 | 2013

familys single-family home in the citys Dorchester section Tuesday, and the word Peace was written in chalk on the front walk. Neighbor Betty Delorey said Martin loved to climb neighborhood trees and hop the fence outside his home. About 23,000 runners participated in this years Boston Marathon. Nearly two-thirds of them had crossed the finish line by the time the bombs exploded, but thousands more were still completing the course. The attack may have been timed for maximum bloodshed: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the friends and relatives clustered around to cheer them on. Davis, the police commissioner, said authorities had received no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen at the race. On Tuesday, he said that two security sweeps of the route had been conducted beforehand. Patriots Day commemorates the opening shots of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775. Richard Barrett, the former U.N. coordinator for an al-Qaida and Taliban monitoring team who has also worked for British intelligence, said the relatively small size of the devices

in Boston and the timing of the blasts suggest a domestic attack rather than an al-Qaida-inspired one. This happened on Patriots Day it is also the day Americans are supposed to have their taxes in and Boston is quite a symbolic city, said Barrett, now senior director at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies.

------------Eileen Sullivan contributed to this story from Washington. Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay, Denise Lavoie, Steve LeBlanc, Bridget Murphy, Rodrique Ngowi and Meghan Barr in Boston; Julie Pace and Lara Jakes in Washington; Paisley Dodds in London and Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee also contributed.

14 | april 22 -28 | 2013

STRAIGHTno chaser

Recognizing everyone is not the political animal I am, I still felt the need to bring this public service announcement to you, in hopes that many, if not all of my readers, will understand the importance of a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Harry Bronson, Assemblyman David Gantt and others. turn away from our political system, exasperated and with their hands in the air, saying, Thats why I dont get involved in the political process. Honestly, we need more of the community involved, not less. Its not uncommon for them to not come to the table and voice their opinions or concerns on the front end of an issue. Too many sit back and complain after the fact. Too many allow the train to leave the station without them. It is easy to become a Monday-morning quarterback, professing how they would have played the game. But, the key is participation before the end of the game. The reality is that the current system is not working because it is a pay to play system that can have better outcomes for those with political access than those without. Political access, in this case, can be defined by how long your dollars are. Our democracy is at stake here and both Harry Bronson and David Gantt recognize this by supporting the campaign for Fair Elections. Fair Elections advocates argue that the only way to guarantee that Albany politicians work for the people is by creating a system of publicly financed elections. By establishing a small donor matching system, advocates say that candidates for office will no longer have to rely solely on corporate fundraising and instead could raise funds from ordinary voters, thereby amplifying their voices and reducing the influence of big money in politics. Other proposed reforms would lower N.Y.s high contribution limits and create stronger rules for the disclosure of campaign contributions. These reforms would curb the influence of individual wealthy donors and create more transparency in campaign finance. The public financing proposal is hotly contested among state lawmakers. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his strong support for public financing on a March 11 conference call with Fair Elections supporters, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver declared his support at an April 4 rally in New York City as well.

The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of Minority Reporter.

Fair Election Train Leaving The Station, Get on Board!

Still, Senate Republicans, led by Dean Skelos of Long Island, N.Y., oppose public financing because they argue that state funds could be spent elsewhere. But the Fair Elections campaign is gaining momentum nonetheless, as many New Yorkers have come to question lawmakers commitment to real democratic principles, especially one person, one vote. In 2012, Republicans in the states Senate undertook the once-in-a-decade process of restricting, and drew district boundaries that many good government groups said were clearly gerrymandered. Advocates of racial justice cried foul as well, saying that communities of color were broken up and marginalized to protect the all-white incumbents of Senate Republicans. These same groups support Fair Elections as a means to counteract voter suppression among communities of color. The NAACP is a campaign partner of Fair Elections and sees public financing as a way to ensure that people of color are heard in Albany, despite attempts at disenfranchisement. On the March 11 conference call with Fair Elections advocates, NAACP President Ben Jealous said the same wealthy interests who think that money should have the primary vote in our society also engage in voter suppression, and that suppressing voting rights is the flipside of buying an election. If we truly want a system where we have a voice, we need to level the playing field. Our voice should be worth as much as a CEO campaign contributor. Assemblyman David Gantt and Harry Bronson have the right idea supporting this. Lets get on board. We have to make sure Sen. Robach and Gov. Cuomo go all the way in supporting Fair Elections. Lets get on board by calling or writing and letting our voices be heard, collectively.
---------------------------------Gloria Winston Al-Sarag is a Community Activist, Writer, Communicator, Political Activist. She is a native Rochesterian and has been involved with numerous community orgainzations in Rochester. Contact Gloria at:


Certain advocates are building a grassroots movement by holding dozens of house parties across the state to build momentum and ensure Fair Elections practice becomes law in June. Assemblyman Harry Bronson of Rochester attended one on Thursday night, saying that he supports Fair Elections because the existing system forces lawmakers to spend too much time fundraising...from large-dollar contributors. According to Bronson, public financing would enable him to spend more time talking to ordinary voters instead of dealing with the wealthy donor class. This new grassroots movement is definitely growing throughout New York State to transform Albanys broken campaign finance system. So, for those folks who have a desire to get involved in the community politically, this is an opportunity to do so. Attending the meetings will give you first-hand knowledge of the issue, and apprise you of what you can do to impact the outcome of this important bill being passed. Fair Elections for New York is an organization seeking a transformative package of reforms that advocates say will restore N.Y.s democratic integrity and reduce corruption. This cant be said enough, especially since the media has been full of reports regarding the various elected officials being escorted by law enforcement this month. And, what is appalling is that this hurts those elected officials who are trying to do the right thing. It also hurts the people of the community who

from the BOYCE BLOG

CNNs Lack of Diversity Shows in the Dark-Skinned Males Comment

When you use a looselydefined term such as darkskinned male to describe the suspect of one of the most notorious crimes in American history, you should fully expect that people are going to become angry with you. So, when CNNs John King went there, all Hades broke loose in the blink of an dr. boyce watkins eye. A series of prominent figures and organizations went on full alert, from Rev. Al Sharpton to the National Association of Black Journalists. King was not only called out for using the term, he was also called out for using faulty information. This kind of irresponsible use of language and imagery is nothing new in the Boston area. Back in 1990, a man by the name of Charles Stuart shot and killed his pregnant wife, then falsely claimed that a black man did it. This led to a massive manhunt throughout the city, where black men were being stopped, searched, abused and apprehended for no good reason. This reign of police terror remains as a scar on Bostons ugly racial history, and this situation certainly didnt help. King seemed to try to be thoughtful and careful when he shared his false description. But thats like a surgeon politely informing his patient that he is about to amputate the wrong leg. I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things, he said. I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this is a darkskinned male. He said that there had been a further description given, but he was refraining from sharing it with viewers. We cant entirely blame King for using skin color as part of the description, since it does reduce the potential pool of suspects. But what we can blame him for is the use of poorly-researched information and not being more specific. If the suspect had indeed been a dark-skinned male, it might have made more sense for King to wait until an image was released, instead of seeking to be the first man on television to give any kind of information to the public. I suspect that King hardly understands the kind of danger every dark-skinned male in the state of Massachusetts would be dealing with as a result of his seemingly innocent little sentence. As a case-in-point, a lot of bald black men were stopped and harassed in California when Christopher Dorner went on the run from the LAPD a few weeks ago. I am bald and black (and sometimes angry), so my life would have been in danger had I been in the path of the police. An old women had her truck, and her body, riddled with bullets because her vehicle was similar to Dorners. The point is that, when police are on a wide-eyed manhunt for a dangerous suspect, they dont always give you a chance to raise your arms and identify yourself. In some cases, your relatives end up identifying your body and receiving a half-hearted apology from the authorities. What I love the most about Kings embarrassing gaffe is that it highlights the renewed commitment

15 | april 22 -28 | 2013


It appears that there are those in the Rochester City School District that are at it again. They do not want the young people of the district to be challenged to reach a higher educational standard. When are the people of the city of Rochester going to stop allowing the people in power to set such a low bar for their children to get over? Folks tend to think that the standard of living that is enjoyed by Americans today can be sustained as the world surpasses us in these core curriculums that is wishful, foolish thinking. While our young people can master Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, the iPhone, Xbox, and PlayStation, young folks in Germany, Japan, China, Sweden, are mastering math and science! It is time that educators in our country not only recognize the fact that we are lagging behind but do something about reversing the trend. This test is a step in the direction of reversing the trend. The issue that is being raised concerning these tests is that they are going to be harder than what students have been used to in the past and the expectation is that, on average, students across the state will score lower. In our politically correct society where we want everyone that plays to get a trophy regardless of the fact that they came in last, the potential that our young people may not do well this year on this new test is unfair. It is time that we say enough to those that are sucking the life out of our society through their ideals that there are no losers and everyone is entitled to a prize. The fact of life is that there are winners and there are losers. We, as a country, need to more rigorously challenge our young people to do well so that, as a country, we will not be counted amongst the losers.

The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of Minority Reporter.

Lets Embrace a Higher Educational Standard

There are those in the city of Rochester (and elsewhere across the state) that are telling their children to refuse to take the test that will be administered this week or next. That is ludicrous! The state has mentioned that this years test will be used as a baseline to help assess where our young people are and provide insight as to what needs to be improved. How can reasonable people argue against that? No one wants to do bad on a test, however, as I tell my children, when they do bad on a test, do not blame the teacher or the test, look at what mistakes were made so that the next time they will not make that mistake again. This is fundamental to the learning process. This test is not going to scar these young folks for life but will help them know where they stand against the people they will ultimately be competing against in the global marketplace. We must embrace a higher standard because in the global marketplace there is no room for political correctness, there are winners and there are losers. America always has been and I pray always will be a winner. However, we must keep pushing the envelope further and challenging our young folks greater. They are resilient and I know they will rise to the challenge.


Now, I do not agree that a teacher needs to just teach to a test and I also realize that there is more to ones life than how they do on a test. However, rebelling at New York States demand for children to pass a harder statewide test is a step in the wrong direction. There are not many things that politicians in New York get right, however, demanding that our young people master a harder competency test is a good idea. There was an initiative that was passed in 2010 that demanded that young people in the 3rd to 8th grades in New York be subject to what is known as the core competency tests. The objective of these tests are to help ensure that young people in the New York educational system are prepared for interacting at a high level in the global marketplace. Considering that the Untied States has consistently scored lower than many countries of the world in math and science this test is a good idea.

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CNNs Lack of Diversity...
to whiteness embraced by CNN over the last few months. The network got rid of several prominent black analysts recently (namely Soledad OBrien and Roland Martin, among others) and most of their new hires were white guys. I can say that, as a man whos appeared on CNN too many times to count, most of the producers Ive worked with have also been white. While keeping their own folks around them might make the mostly white male CNN executives most comfortable, this lack of diversity creates an environment where there is no one around to say, maybe we shouldnt say that on the air. If you refuse to have a management structure that reflects the diversity of your target demographic, you are always at risk of looking stupid. This embarrassment to CNN could have been easily avoided, but of course they arent listening to me. ------------------------Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, Black American Money.


16 | april 22 -28 | 2013


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