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RED HATS FLOOD THE HYATT
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NABJ descends on Philadelphia The city of brotherly love will host the 2011 NABJ Convention and Career Fair.
Red Hats celebrate their sisterhood this week during international convention.
Join the celebration and share your memories on YouTube with the tag “nabj35”.
National Association of Black Journalists Convention National Association of Black Journalists Convention
www.nabjconvention.org www.nabjconvention.org º º Wednesday, July 28,2010 Saturday, July 31, 2010
Californians Divided Over Marijuana
Cash-strapped state could benefit
By BRITTNEY FENNELL AND NATELEGE WHALEY
As California’s state budget goes up in smoke, voters on both sides are split on whether to make it legal to smoke up (or roll up) marijuana to help bring revenue to the state. Prop 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, will appear on California’s November ballot and would allow cities and counties to adopt ordinances that would authorize cultivating, transporting and selling marijuana.
The idea is to tax the revenues to help bring more money to the cashstrapped state, which has around a $20 billion deficit for the 2010 fiscal year, according to reports. Supporters of the measure said it could bring in at least $1 billion a year if passed. But many Californians remain divided on the bill. Some fear it will put more drugs on the street while others see it as a way to stymie crime, develop a taxable industry and create jobs. “This is a multimillion dollar market where we don’t know where the money goes,” said Priscilla Pyrk, 25, and the owner of the Herbrary, a San Diego dispensary. “By taxing it and regulating it, the money could be used for teachers and after-school programs. “The current war on drugs has
Marijuana, continued on page 5
Diversity at Union-Tribune in Question
By WESLEY LOWERY
Stafﬁng at the San Diego Union-Tribune has been severely reduced recently through layoffs and buyouts, which some say has crippled newsroom diversity. The Union-Tribune has lost half of its newsroom over the past few years, staffers said. The paper laid off 35 staffers in June, the most recent of seven rounds of layoffs.
Union-Tribune staffers say the lost jobs have hurt newsroom diversity efforts. “I think there is a ways to go in terms of making it a more diverse newsroom,” said Dana Littleﬁeld, a staff writer with the paper and who serves as vice president of NABJ’s San Diego chapter. “Several people who were laid off were minority journal-
Recent layoffs hit a numerous blacks
ists. I don’t think there is any newspaper that can afford those kinds of losses.” The paper came under ﬁre earlier this summer when nationally syndicated Hispanic columnist Ruben Navarrette was laid off. In response to backlash following Navarrette’s layoff, Union-Tribune Editor Jeff
Light met with the National Hispanic Media Coalition on Wednesday to discuss the creation of a “Latino advisory committee.” Light acknowledged that the Union-Tribune struggles with keeping diversity in the newsroom, but said numbers are no worse now than they were prior to the layoffs. Light did not provide numbers. “I don’t think we have a terriﬁcally di-
Diversity, continued on page 9
2 • THE MONITOR
Saturday, July 31 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
New Era Brings New Media
By NATELEGÉ WHALEY
Sophia Adem Howard University Stacie Bailey North Carolina A&T State University Briana Barner Bennett College Taylar Barrington Florida A&M University Courtney Bessicks Morgan State University Cyntra Brown Elon University Eric Burse University of Southern California Breana Copeland Moore College of Art and Design Letrell Crittenden University of Illinois U-C Bliss Davis Bowling Green State University Brittney Fennell Hampton University Tameka Flowers La Salle University Chelsea Fuller West Virginia University Adele Hampton University of Maryland Kenneth Hawkins North Carolina A&T State University LaMar Holliday Eastern Illinois University Monique Johnson The University of Western Ontario John Ketchum Central Michigan University Marshall Latimore Tennessee State University Wesley Lowery Ohio University LaPorsha Lowry North Carolina A&T State University Corinne Lyons Wayne State University Bryant Maddrick Temple University Leontyne Mason Florida A & M University Dexter Mullins North Carolina A&T State University Brittany Noble Arkansas State University Brandon Radcliffe West Virginia University Natelegé Whaley Howard University Dallas Wright Northwestern University
Journalists urged their peers Thursday to embrace new technology and arm themselves with new skills to produce stories that reach various digital platforms such as iPads and smart phones. Media experts who specialize in what was described as “new era” journalism talked to journalists about how news organizations are working to create products that cater to consumers who own devices such as smart phones, iPads, Kindles and other products. “It’s no longer the day when print is just print, radio is radio, and broadcast is broadcast,” said Yasmin Namini, senior vice president of The New York Times. Namini, who sat on a panel with two other media insiders, said as audiences move from traditional to digital media to obtain information, journalists must create for a multiplatform experience. The panelists said the devices make it more convenient for readers and viewers to retrieve news.
Nicole Yivas of Norfolk, Va., attends the Visual Task Force’s multimedia session Thursday at the 2010 NABJ Convention in San Diego.
They added that media companies have developed products for devices such as Apple’s new iPad and Amazon’s Kindle as audiences have moved away from traditional products such as newspapers, magazines and television. Application demonstrations were shown for NBC News, The New York Times and Condé Nast, who have already jumped on the movement. Vicki Burns, vice pres-
ident at NBC News said viewers no longer look to local evening news for information because they have found more engagement in digital platforms. She also said more colleges were teaching students about news on digital platforms. “Viewers want to be at the center of the news experience. People want to be connected with their community,” Burns said. Also discussed was that publications will soon
charge for their applications. This will bring in more money for news organizations. Journalists who attended said they plan to learn about the technology so they don’t get thrown off the new trend in the industry. Autumn Black, a journalist from New York who attended the event, said she learned journalists still have a lot to ﬁgure out when it comes to new media.
“It’s about pulling together our resources, being creative and grabbing at this new frontier,” Black said. Sharif Durhams, a reporter from Milwaukee who also attended, said journalists must be willing to give audiences what they want, how they want it. “As journalists, it’s our job to learn how people want their news and deliver it that way,” Durhams said.
Michael Steele cancels his appearance
By WESLEY LOWERY
“The color of online: where do we fit in?” The workshop focused on helping journalists of color understand that they too have a place in the emerging arena of online journalism. Melonyce McAfee, of Slate.com and David Wilson of The Grio. com, were among the panelists. They offered the following: •Create your own projects and do not wait for the mainstream to extend an invitation. •Never give up on the idea that you can create change in the newsroom, and be the change you want to see.
-Compiled by Dexter Mullins, nabjconvention.org
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele backed out of his scheduled appearance at NABJ’s 35th annual convention in San Diego because of food poisoning. “It’s unfortunate,” said Drew Berry, NABJ’s interim exec-
utive director. Berry added that Steele did not inform organizers until about 11 a.m. Friday. Steele, the ﬁrst black chairman of the Republican Party, had agreed to have a conversation with NABJ Secretary Roland Martin in a session titled “Life, Liberty and Legacy.”
T O D AY ’ S H I G H L I G H T S
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 5K/ Walk Run NABJ Gospel Brunch Registration and Welcome Center Healthy NABJ Pavillion Career Fair and Exhibition 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Workshop Session V 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 10:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. Task Force Meetings Visual Task Force Photo Auction NABJ Up Front Salute to Excellence Gala Philadelphia 2011 Kick-Off
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Cyber Cafe Lounge
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
More UNITY May Fill Budget Holes
By DEXTER MULLINS and WESLEY LOWERY
THE MONITOR •
Where’s the Money Go?
UNITY currently uses the following formula to split the money generated from the joint convention:
Hampered by the economy, NABJ and the three other minority journalists groups are considering joining forces more regularly in order to survive. Members of UNITY: Journalists of Color — which is a partnership between the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, and the Asian American Journalists Association — are mulling a plan to increase its number of “joint conventions.” Since its inception, UNITY has held conventions in Atlanta, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. All four organizations have seen year-end balances in the red over the past four years; some hope increasing the number of joint conferences will aid the organizations financially. Under this new structure, the alliance would continue to meet every four years for the UNITY convention, but the proposed joint conferences would occur every other year. UNITY President Barbara Ciara, said UNITY alliance partners have had “informal discussions” about the possibility of having two organizations hold joint conventions in the same city. “To protect the cultural identity of each organization, it would be the equivalent of having two separate conventions in the same city sharing some expenses and one exhibit hall,” Ciara said. This would also allow
20% 40% 40%
Funds directly to UNITY Funds evenly split among four partner organizations Funds split based on registration
Source: Regional Director Charles Robinson
Cyntra Brown / nabjconvention.org CYNTRA BROWN/NABJCONVENTION.ORG
the organizations to negotiate joint hotel agreements and avoid incurring fees for not filling predetermined hotel blocks. UNITY conventions tend to make more money for the organizations than individual conventions. NABJ Treasurer Greg Lee said Tuesday that revenue from on-site registration goes directly to UNITY. Since most of NABJ’s members have a tendency to register late or on-site, NABJ loses revenue from not being able to collect those registration fees. Lee also highlighted other organizations’ willingness to work with NABJ, since they have the largest amount of members and the greatest potential for filling room block commitments. Joining forces to host a convention was first proposed in 2008. UNITY founders Will Sutton and Juan Gonzalez wrote an open letter asking the organizations to increase the number of joint meetings. Sutton and Gonzalez suggested holding joint confer-
More frequent joint conferences could positively a ect the su ering nances of the four member organizations of UNITY: Journalists of Color.
ences every two years. The idea was rejected. “The resistance to that idea is natural, as natural as the resistance to UNITY in the first place,” said Rafael Omeda, former president of UNITY and NAHJ. “We all have our individual associations, they all have very proud legacies.” Financial hardships have reopened discussions of increasing the frequency of UNITY conventions; however, that could be a high hurdle to clear. Some organizations have already signed contracts for future conventions, making it difficult to coordinate hotel registration. All four organizations have plans to attend the 2012 UNITY convention in Las Vegas. Some NABJ members believe increasing the number of joint conventions is necessary to keep the organization financially viable in the future. “I don’t want NABJ to lose its identity, but we’re at a point -- realistically and financially -- that we need our conventions to be successful,” said Sherlon Christie, a sports reporter at the Asbury Park Press and an NABJ member. Region II director Charles Robinson said he isn’t necessarily ready to jump into a new UNITY alliance right away. Robinson wants NABJ to examine more closely the model of how the funds are divided up. “Now every two years UNITY members want to have a UNITY event,” Robinson said. “I’m not exactly thrilled with that. The bottom line is, how do we make it work and what is the roll of UNITY?”
Board Won’t Reveal Info on New Leader More Dues?
By DEXTER MULLINS and WESLEY LOWERY
The National Association of Black Journalists is scheduled to name its next executive director Aug. 13, passing the torch to the person who will be charged with guiding the organization from financial despair to prosperity. The board of directors reported Tuesday that it extend-
ed an offer to its top candidate last week while in Washington, D.C. The board says it will not release information about the candidate or the offer until the official announcement of who the new executive director will be. If the candidate accepts, he or she will bring an end to NABJ’s search to fill the position that Karen Wynn-Freeman resigned from in March.
Under Negotiation: Executive Director
With a deadline extension, the search for a director is currently ongoing. This chart shows NABJ’s process of nding the new executive director.
Applications due Search extended Selection Announcement Preferred begin date of of top of executive new executive candidates director director Pending Pending
Deadline Completed Completed Completed
Source: NABJ O cial documents
Cyntra Brown / nabjconvention.org TAMEKA FLOWERS/NABJCONVENTION.ORG
After closing 2009 with a deficit of $338,901, NABJ officials are doing a lot of belttightening as the organization moves forward. Some officials have discussed raising membership fees and beefing up the board with businesssavvy individuals who are well-connected and bring in bigger donations. Read about what officials plan to do to address budget issues at nabjconvention.org.
Can you name the company?
This year, Across America
We partnered with the 2010 Census to increase awareness and participation. We pledged $120,000 to furnish 20 teen recreation “RAC Rooms” for Boys and Girls Clubs. We raised $249,500 for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. We will extend our hunger-relief efforts by developing a “Soup-to-Nuts” food collection campaign at our 3,000 stores. We awarded $60,000 in scholarships to our customers, their children and children of our coworkers. We gave $200,000 in grants to 35 Junior Achievement affiliates for financial literacy programs. We provided $25,000 in support of the Earthquake Relief Effort in Haiti. We supported 10 military bases with $175,000 in merchandise donations to their Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.
And now in San Diego…
We are pleased to provide computers, furnishings and TVs in support of the NABJ convention.
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
The MoniToR •
Marijuana advocacy group fights for medical users’ rights
By MoniQUe JohnSon
When Eugene Davidovich got out of the Navy, marijuana was the only thing that could calm him down. His hands shook and his body shivered frequently. “I was suffering from some serious conditions that prevented me from functioning from day to day. It pretty much took over my life,” he said. The 29-year-old San Diego resident knew it had something to do with the four years he spent in the military. All Davidovich and his doctor knew was that he had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder – and he wanted it to stop. He took anti-anxiety and depression medication but it didn’t help. Frustrated, he tried marijuana as alternative medicine and found that it worked.
“All those symptoms went away ... and no side-effects,” Davidovich said. He rented a commercial space and grew marijuana after he encountered trouble finding a dispensary. He also sold marijuana to medicinal users who suffered from ailments like himself. The moment that changed his life came not too long afterward. “I get a knock at the door at 7 a.m. as I’m getting dressed for work ... I answered and there was a team of narcotic detectives with guns drawn.” They raided his house as his wife and toddler watched. Although medicinal users of marijuana under California state law are allowed to possess, cultivate, and sell to other legal users, Davidovich was charged with four drug-related felonies. He was acquitted by a jury but he lost his job and his family. Davidovich is one of about
Eugene Davidovich, a legalized marijuana user who has been arrested for growing marijuana, stands outside the Wisdom Organic building recently in San Diego to get a prescription.
115 medicinal users of marijuana, who in the last six years encountered law enforcement due to their medicine. Despite the fact that these individuals were in compliance with the law, many have had their marijuana seized by police, been questioned, arrested and
charged, according to Americans for Safe Access (ASA). The ASA is a marijuana advocacy group that helps medicinal users who have had trouble with law enforcement. “I think it’s horrible. If these patients are truly legitimate... they shouldn’t be arrested,” said
Wendy Cogen, a medical assistant at a family clinic in Ventura, Calif. However, the San Diego County District Attorney’s office said they won’t prosecute any medicinal users of marijuana as
Advocates, on page 11
Cash-strapped state divided on legalization
Marijuana, continued from page 1
failed. Prop 19 is a positive.” Pyrk attended Oaksterdam University, an Oakland, Calif., school that specializes in educating people on how to grow marijuana. Students also learn how to sell cannabis to people with medical ailments for which the drug is used. With only months before voters go to the polls, many organizations publicly support Prop 19. The California chapter of the NAACP has been one of the most controversial supporters. The organization has received criticism from black leaders and churches since announcing its support in June. “People get into the system with a misdemeanor charge for marijuana, and on their second offense, they’re in the criminaljustice system,” said Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP chapter. Huffman, defends the organization’s backing and said legalizing marijuana will keep young African-Americans — the most likely to get arrested--out of the criminal-justice system. “African-Americans and Latinos are arrested two to one,” Huffman said. “Currently, 56 percent of the people in California want Prop 19 to pass, but that changes every day with the polls.” Huffman says that legalizing marijuana will be just like alcohol, and if you’re underage, you won’t be able to get it. “With legalizing marijuana we will be eliminating the underground community,” Huffman said. “It will keep the drug kingpins from smuggling it into our countries, and instead they’ll be trying to sell it to the big factories.” Huffman said that the African-American community needs to keep in mind that it is our young men and women who are being affected by marijuana. “We [the NAACP] are not advocating recreational use, we’re doing it so that it can be decriminalized and keep our kids out of jail,” she said. “They’re the main ones getting locked up.” Curbing crime Even with the major backing of the NAACP, and marijuana being a major industry in the state of California, all are not in favor of the passing of Prop 19. Aimee Hendle, community development coordinator of the San Diego-based Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth, said passing the bill will give the youth of California more access to marijuana. “It will only cause more problems and issues and we don’t need more drugs out on the street for the youth to get their hands on,” Hendle said. She also said the crime rates have escalated with those already allowed to sell marijuana. On the other hand, Mike Meno, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said marijuana being illegal has kept law enforcement away from solving bigger crimes such as murders and sexual assault crimes. “Marijuana is a nonviolent offense,” Meno said. “On an economic level, if marijuana would be legal, the state could make $1.4 billion in tax revenue.” Regulating dispensaries
Adela Falk, president of Wisdom Organics in San Diego, recently explains the services and support elements that the group offers to patients.
Meno said he believes legalizing marijuana would eliminate the criminal market such as drug cartels, because they are the only ones getting rich.
Contributing to the industry of marijuana are the hundreds of dispensaries and healing centers authorized to provide people with cannabis to treat different ailments. Alex Kreit, a law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, serves as chairperson of San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Task Force. Appointed by the city’s council, Kreit said the force addresses zoning issues surrounding the growing number of dispensaries in the city. “More and more dispensaries are opening and there’s no land use or zoning laws in place and some haven’t gone through proper background checks,” Kreit said. “Basically, no real ordinances exist to regulate them (dispensaries) receiving a permit to open.” Kreit said San Diego officials will likely allow recreational use for its residents if the November ballot initiative does not pass. “Right now, city officials are more focused on regulating the sale of marijuana within dispensaries,” Kreit said. Monique Johnson also contributed to this article.
6 • The MoniTor
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
The MoniTor •
Clockwise from left: Singer-songwriter N’dambi performs during NABJ After Dark in Redfield’s on Wednesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. An NABJ attendee takes part in a Visual Task Force Multimedia Session on Thursday. NABJ members mingle at the opening reception on the USS Midway on Wednesday. Josephine Cooper, 93, holds a picture of herself at 17 during a protest against Arizona’s immigration law in San Diego on Thursday. Hosea Chanchez and Wendy Raquel Robinson, actors on BET’s hit show The Game, make an appearance at the opening reception on the USS Midway.
Eric BursE/ naBjconvEntion.org
Eric BursE/ naBjconvEntion.org
Singers, stars mix in as NABJ members attend workshops – and report news
Nearly a half million children
live in foster care in the United States.
Many don’t need to be there.
In communities all across our nation, the commitment is growing to ensure that every child has a safe, strong and permanent family. Federal policy supports these success stories. But the federal system for funding child welfare does not. The time is now to bring funding in line with our national goals. Casey Family Programs has launched its new series of white papers analyzing how America can keep its promise of hope for all children. Read the papers now at www.casey.org We cannot miss this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many children and families.
Visit Casey at Booth 309 for resources and to learn more.
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
experience the Philly Love
By BriTTAnY FenneLL nabjconvention.org
The MoniTor •
Philadelphia will be the host city of the 2011 NABJ Convention and Career Fair. The last time Philadelphia hosted the NABJ convention was in 1995, and a convention hasn’t been held in a Northeast city since. The host hotel and convention will be at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, which is also attached to the convention center. The convention itself will take place in the convention center and not in the hotel. “It’s fabulous,” said Sarah Glover, president of the Philadelphia chapter. “Philly folks are excited.” Glover said Philly is a great place and is easily accessible by train, plane, or car. It’s a hip city with a broad mix of people, she said. “It’s not lacking in culture,” Glover stated. “It’s an affordable city to travel to, and in terms of food, it’s very affordable.” Johann Calhoun, the
chapter ’s Vice PresidentPrint, said the chapter is planning a reception on Friday to introduce the city and chapter. Calhoun said the city is hip and rich in black history. “Philly is also a strong news town with strong suburban newspapers in Bucks County and Montgomery County,” said Calhoun. “You have options with the newspapers, but also a way to stay (in Philadelphia).” Glover expects for attendance at next year ’s convention in Philadelphia to double or even triple. About 1,500 people attended this year ’s convention, officials said. “Many of our members are from the Northeast, and Philly is very drivable,” she said. “We have sponsors and organizations that are ecstatic, and a significant amount of corporate clients. People at this y e a r ’ s c o n v e n t i o n a re already asking me when they can book rooms.” The 2011 convention will be held from Aug. 3-7.
Philadelphia welcomes NABJ Convention and Career Fair with open arms in Summer of 2011.
recent Layoffs hit Minority Journalists
Diversity, from page 1
-verse newsroom here, and we (haven’t) made any progress in all of this upheaval,” he said. “We’re still in the midst of restaffing a number of areas, but the ethnic profile will come out pretty much unchanged.” Still, some current and former staff members of the Union-Tribune said the paper has struggled to recruit, hire and retain minorities throughout its history. “When I first arrived back in 1999, there was a huge push for diversity in the newsroom,” said Jerry McCormick, the president of NABJ’s San Diego chapter. “Sadly, I don’t think the U-T did as good of a job of hiring and keeping minorities. I remember the few times I helped to recruit people, they never got calls back or even
Minority numbers are low at newspapers across the country. The workforce has declined due to buyouts and layo s despite peak employment of 7,400 non-white journalists in 2007.
Minority sta at papers across the country 13.5%
“I remember the few times I helped to recruit people, they never got calls back or even flown out for interviews.” -McCormick
flown out for interviews.” McCormick spent 10 years as a copy editor and freelance reporter for the paper. In May 2009, McCormick was one of 192 people laid off by the Union-Tribune. He now works as an associate producer for the local NBC affiliate. “I think one of the most stunning examples was when an African-American candidate had a degree from Harvard and had done freelancing for various national magazines, and he didn’t even get a call back,” McCormick said. “That was very disheartening for me because here’s someone who is clearly good but didn’t warrant an interview.” Light said there are no formal guidelines when it comes to minority recruitment, noting the volatile nature of jobs in the Union-Tribune newsroom has pushed hiring to the back burner. “I suspect it has been years since anyone thought of
declined 12.6% in 2009 from 6,300 to
SOURCE: American Society of Newspaper Editors NABJconvention.org
attracting or retaining anyone, so I don’t think we have a very strong infrastructure in place,” he said. “We have been hiring, but our approach hasn’t been any more programmatic than, ‘let’s be sure we have some diversity in our new hires.’ ” Karin Winner, who was editor from 1995 to 2009, could not be reached for comment. Littlefield said there is still room for improvement, but thinks the Union-Tribune has started to round the corner when it comes to hiring minorities. “The paper has recently hired several associate reporters in recent months, and a few of them have been minorities,” said Littlefield. “I know there are a few of the editors who still see diversity as important and are looking for journalists of color to fill those roles.”
10 • The MoniTor
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
Damon Wayans held a book signing during the society’s international convention
red hatters Turn heads in San Diego
Photographs by Eric Burse/nabjconvention.org. Damon Wayans photo by Breana Copeland /nabjconvention.org.
Clockwise from above: Anne Justice and Charla Hannon, along with other San Diego area Red Hatters gathered on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, to ride the Harbor Seal. Vendors came from all over to see their specialty Red Hat items. Damon Wayans signs his book “Red Hat,” Friday, July 30, 2010 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. On Wednesday, July 28, 2010, A variety of Red Hat apparel and accessories were available at the Brims By The Bay Convention. Top: Iconic Red Hat favorite at Brims By The Bay Convention.
By CoUrTneY BeSSiCKS
While in Tucson, Ariz., years ago, Sue Ellen Cooper picked up a red fedora hat at a thrift shop, mainly because of its affordable price. A couple years later, Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning,” about an older woman dressed in all purple and wearing a red hat, inspired Cooper. She gave a red hat and a copy of the poem as a birthday gift to her friend Linda Murphy. Murphy was so in love with the idea of the poem and the hat, that Cooper repeated her gesture to other friends.
The women came up with the idea to go out for tea in purple dresses and wear their flashy red hats. They realized the whole ensemble was so wrong, but they saw the tea outing was a success. These events evolved into the Red Hat Society, which tells this tale as part of its history. Today, these women have brought their red embellished hats, purple boas, feathers and lace to San Diego, attending the group’s Brims by the Bay Convention at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, the same location of the 2010 NABJ Convention and Career Fair. The Red Hat Society is an organization specifically for
women 50 or older. Some of the women are unknown, little known or linked to well-known people, such as actor and comedian Damon Wayans’ mother who’s a Red Hatter and author of the book “Red Hat.” Wayans will join the group Friday for a signing of his book that is about a woman who was very bitter and unpleasant. After the loss of her husband, she is drowned in sadness and depression. She is then reintroduced to a life filled with happiness and freedom, thanks to the women of the “Red Hat Society.” His mother will also be in attendance.
The group, which has more than 30,000 chapters in all 50 states of the United States, and more than 25 chapters in foreign countries, is planning a variety of events while in the city, including cruises and parties. But the society’s fun and carefree idea is not only limited to women 50 or older. Pink Hatters are for women 50 or younger. Their ensemble includes wearing lavender colored clothes and pink hats. “My granddaughter joined in high school and brought along two of her friends. She is now 22,” stated Carol Klink, who has been a part of the Red Hat Society for seven years.
When Pink Hatters turn 50, they have a REDuation ceremony, where they receive their first red hat. Cooper ’s experience 12 years ago has evolved into an international community, and she is now the Queen Mother. In 2004, Sue Ellen made Fullerton, Calif.’s Top 25 Most Influential People List. Those who make that list have been actively involved with community service, improving education and making business efforts. Anyone who is interested in information about the organization can visit its website at www.redhatsociety.com.
Saturday, July 31, 2010 • www.nabjconvention.org
The MoniTor •
Advocates, from page 5
long as they’re not breaking any laws. “We do not target anyone just because they’re medical marijuana cardholders,” Deputy District Attorney Steven Walter said. “But if they’re hiding behind it to somehow violate the law, then that’s the kind of guy we’re looking at.” Davidovich asserts he wasn’t hiding behind any law. “Our basic policy is if we come across a situation or an individual and they’re either in possession, smoking or under the influence and they qualify as a patient, then no marijuana is ceased,” said San Diego Police Capt. Cesar Solis. If there are signs of illegal activity, the police will confiscate the marijuana without arresting the patient, he said. Starting 2010, the police department began tracking the amount of incidents where police went into homes or commercial
Conflicting conference events cause stir at morning meeting
By BriTTney Fennell
A 7:30 a.m. tee off at Torrey Pines Golf Course prevented three board members from attending the NABJ executive board’s business meeting Friday. Not being able to conduct business frustrated Cheryl Smith, the president of NABJ’s Dallas chapter, so she made a motion to prevent future board meetings from being held at the same time as other NABJ events. The motion passed, although it received some opposition. Friday’s conflict was the NABJ National Golf Tournament -- a fundraiser for NABJ Scholarships. The tournament, held at the popular San Diego golf course known for hosting PGA events, kept NABJ Secretary Roland Martin; Region II Director Charles Robinson; and Region III Director Ken Knight away from the board meeting. Reached after the golf tournament, Martin said he thought it
was a “silly motion.” Martin says that the commitment to Robinson has been in place long before the meeting was scheduled. “The real question is why did our planners schedule the business meeting at that time?” Board members thought it was a serious issue, however. “There is no reason in the world, not even fundraising, that this board meeting should conflict with anything else,” Cindy George, the Region V Director, said after the motion was approved. George, who was late to Friday’s meeting because she was speaking on a panel, said she thinks scheduling conflicts have been a big problem at this year’s convention. George said she remembers a time when board meetings did not conflict with other events. It should be that way, she said, because it will allow more NABJ members to attend board meetings, giving them “every opportunity in the world to ask all board members questions.”
Janet Johnson, an NABJ member who attended the meeting, said she was opposed to the change and thinks that if members want to attend board meetings they should have that option. “I understand the spirit behind (the motion), but I think this morning’s vote was emotional, and possibly short-sighted,” Johnson said. “I don’t think you can legislate participation. The country doesn’t shut down on election day.” Interim Executive Director Drew Berry shared those sentiments. “If people want to make the session, they should make the commitment to be there,” Berry said. Martin said they have tried every possible way of holding a business meeting. “I don’t know of a single thing we haven’t done to spur interest,” he said. “If folks choose not to attend, they don’t attend. I’ve been coming 19 out of 21 years and this has been an issue all of these years.”
spaces where marijuana was grown for medical use. So far, there were 20 encounters, Solis said. In nearly 50 percent of those encounters, police found legal “grow-ops,” but no seizures or arrests took place. Solis said in the past marijuana had been seized from legal users for the sake of investigation, but activists at an advocacy group said the motives of the police go beyond that. “They use these intimidation tactics until people are too afraid to grow for themselves,” Davidovich said. Activists like Davidovich said they’ll continue to fight against that culture until the sick who are dependent on marijuana can consume their medicine freely without the fear of being arrested. “That’s not how citizens of a free country should be feeling...we’re on the right side of morality,” Davidovich said.
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It’s also about helping people enrich the quality of life in their communities. That’s why we’re proud to support a wide range of organizations, schools and nonprofits that are opening doors and creating opportunities. Together, we can make a difference.
We understand. Something this good deserves all our support. As a sponsor of the National Association of Black Journalists Convention, FedEx is proud to deliver a show of support for the work of the NABJ.
Derica W. Rice
Executive Vice President, Global Services and Chief Financial Officer, Eli Lilly and Company
Started at Eli Lilly and Company in 1990 Salutatorian of his high school class, first in his family to attend college Holds degrees from Kettering University and Indiana University
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