Community Voices remembers Phyllis (Ash) Seabolt, the first African American secondary teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools. Editor Sonya Bernard-Hollins had the opportunity to interview Seabolt for a special edition of KPS’ Excelsior in 2012.
When a young Phyllis Ash left her hometown of Dowagiac, Michigan to become a student at Western State Teacher’s College, she entered a new world. In this world, she was one of a few African Americans who sought a better future through education with the goal to educate others. In her quest, she was met with discrimination in housing and in class.
In 1946, during her last year in college, racism glared straight into her eyes. There were less than a dozen African Americans who attended the teacher’s college; all had to live off campus and could not eat in the cafeteria. Her dean offered to give her an “A” in a class if she were to forgo living on campus to complete it (a requirement for the class).
She left the office in tears and ran straight into a white classmate. When she told of her dilemma, the classmate marched back into the dean’s office with Ash.(*Read the full story at: https://issuu.com/communityvoices/docs/april_excelsior
A visitation service for Seabolt will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 20 at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park Street in Kalamazoo, followed by the memorial service, 11-12 pm. A luncheon at the church will follow services and the burial ceremony will be held at Mt. Ever-Rest Cemetery in Kalamazoo at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Phyllis E. Seabolt Scholarship Endowment in the College of Education, Western Michigan University or to the Stewart Family Reunion Education Scholarship Fund.
(See full obituary at: MLive Obituaries)
SEABOLT, Phyllis E. Kalamazoo, MICH. A devoted wife, mother, sister, educator and community activist, Phyllis Eloyce (Ash) Seabolt died peacefully at her residence at Woodside Assisted Living on Friday, July 13th. Phyllis, the oldest of four children of Carl Emerson and Gladys Irene (Stewart) Ash, was born May 10, 1925 and grew up in Dowagiac, MI.
Phyllis’ parents set a wonderful example of fine character, high expectations, strong faith and civic involvement that she and her siblings all aspired to emulate. She was a studious high schooler, vice president of the junior class, member of the Camp Fire Girls Club, the home economics club and glee club. When she completed high school in 1943, Phyllis attended Western Michigan College where she majored in education to become a “Home Economics” teacher.
At Western she continued her involvement in social justice events in the Kalamazoo community and on campus where she served as a class officer in her junior year. When Phyllis graduated in 1947, African Americans had not been allowed to teach at the secondary level in Kalamazoo. Dr. Loy Norrix, who was then the Superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools, challenged the segregated practice and assigned Phyllis to teach at Vine Street School that merged with Washington Middle School to become South Junior High School. Phyllis taught at South for 21 years. In 1970, she returned to Western but by this time Western had become a University and she was now a faculty member.
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Songwriter and R&B artist Teena Marie left the world
on Sunday, December 26th and now Jazz pianist, composer, and
broadcaster Billy Taylor passed on Tuesday, December 28, 2010. To say we are losing our music greats is an
Both 54 year old Mary Christine Brockert (aka Teena
Marie) and 89 year old Billy Taylor had illustrious careers in the music
business. Dr. Taylor ventured into the
broadcasting business having engaged with the Sutton family to form Inner City
Broadcasting nearly 40 years ago. The broadcasting
enterprise later obtained WLIB/WBLIS in New York.
it’s purported that Teena Marie died in her California home of natural causes
after being discovered by her daughter, Alia Rose, it will take 6 weeks before
an autopsy determines the exact cause of death.
According to reports, Billy Taylor’s daughter Kim Taylor-Thompson issued
a statement that her father died of heart failure.
Born in Greenville, SC, Billy’s
family moved to Washington, DC, when Billy was 5 years old. Billy’s love for music led him to Virginia
State College where he earned a B.S. in music.
He went on to earn a Masters from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst
where he also obtained a Ph.D. in Music Education.
Billy Taylor began his career in 1944, playing the piano with the Ben Webster
Quartet. He performed at the jazz club Birdland,
later forming his own trio. Also, an educator, Taylor served as a Duke
Ellington Fellow at Yale. Throughout his lengthy career, he composed over 350
songs, creating works that encompassed the worlds of dance, theatre and
symphony orchestra. Billy was an
Artistic Advisor of Jazz at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was
appointed to the National Council of the Arts.
He was also affiliated with Mary Lou Williams’ Women in Jazz
often on National Public Radio, Taylor received an Emmy award, a Grammy, a
National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, 2 Peabody Awards and a
United States National Medal of Arts Award.
“I knew Billy. We
had mutual friends,” said saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood. “I have always had admiration for him because
he was a great musician and human being.
His greatness did not bias or prejudice him. He always remained an elegant man and
down-to-earth individual. John Coltrane
had the same quality. Both were
modest. Billy accomplished a great deal
during his lifetime. He was an
intelligent man who was a musical pioneer with a musical style uniquely his
own. I believe at one time he even
served as a music analyst for one of the major television networks. Billy was a
winner who overcame hurdles and even went on to obtain a doctorate in
music. He received several honors and
awards and wherever he traveled in the world he was regarded with high
esteem. People like Charlie Parker,
Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and numerous other musicians held Billy in great
regard. In fact, Billy’s life is a
testimony to his art. He held over 23
honorary degrees. He also was a Grammy
winning jazz pianist and classy man who enjoyed life. This is evidenced by his music and by the
many friends Billy had in his life” said Lonnie who is also known as the Prince
Taylor was noted for “I Wish I Knew How It Would
Feel to Be Free” which gained popularity during the Civil Rights Movement
of the 1950-60s.
is survived by his wife, Theodora and daughter, Kim Taylor-Thompson.
in Santa Monica, California, Mary Christine Brockert (akaTeena Marie) grew up
in the predominately African American community of Oakland, California, where
she was exposed to the music of Motown. In
fact, in 1976, Marie signed with Motown Records where she worked with a number
of different producers. She came to the
attention of Rick James and eventually recorded “Wild and Peaceful.” The album gave Marie her first R&B hit
entitled “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love.”
A song she sang as a duet with Rick James, with whom she had a sometimes
turbulent romantic relationship.
In fact, so soulful was Teena’s
voice that until she appeared with James on the television program Soul Train most fans and radio jocks
assumed Teena was African American. Although
Teena’s ethnicity was a mixed bag of Portuguese, Italian, Irish and Native
American, Teena is once quoted as saying: “Overall my race hasn’t been a problem. I’m a
black artist with white skin. At the end of the day, you have to sing what’s in
your own soul.”
Also known as
Lady T and the Ivory Queen of Soul, Marie released an album entitled “Lady T.” She began to write songs and in 1980, released
“Irons in the Fire” which she also produced.
Her single: “I Need Your Lovin” made it to the top 40. A protégée of Rick James, Marie sang a duet
“Fire and Desire,” with James during the 2004 BET Awards which proved to be
their last TV engagement together. Rick James died later that year of what the
coroner claimed was a heart attack that might have been brought on by his abuse
of drugs. It was determined there were 9 different drugs found in the
singer/producer’s system when an autopsy was performed.
Stax Records commented: “The Concord Music Group family
and millions of fans around the world lost a great artist and friend on Sunday
when soul music icon Teena Marie died at the age of 54. An internationally
renowned singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and performer,
Teena Marie, released her thirteenth and final album, CONGO SQUARE on June 9,
2009, for legendary soul music label Stax Records. The critically acclaimed
collection was a personal milestone for the iconic, Grammy nominated soul music
star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient as it marked
her 30th year in the industry she loved. Teena Marie left a sensational musical
legacy. Making her debut in 1979, her
sublime musical eclecticism took soul music in new directions, swiftly earning
her a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists. Throughout her groundbreaking
accomplishments, Teena remained humble, unpretentious and refreshingly
down-to-earth. Her talent was matched
only by her kindness of spirit. She
collaborated with musical giants throughout her career and they reciprocated
with the kind of love and respect that indicated she was truly one of
“The enduring influence of Teena’s inspirational,
trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant
song-writing, showmanship and high energy passion which laid the ground work
for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul,” stated Concord Music
Group chief label officer, Gene Rumsey.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed
music in indelible ways. Our deepest
sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
John Quincy Adams, editor of
the Western Appeal, c.1892.
The Western Appeal was one of the most successful African American newspapers of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. At the height of its popularity, it was published in six separate editions in cities across the United States, including St. Paul.
The Western Appeal was first published on June 5, 1885, in St. Paul. African American newspapers were common at the time, but few of them lasted longer than a year, since they were started for cultural purposes more than commercial ones. There had been many previous African American newspapers in St. Paul, including one printed in 1876 also named the Western Appeal. It had no affiliation with the paper established in 1885.
The 1885 Western Appeal was started by Samuel E. Hardy and John T. Burgett with Frederick Douglass Parker, who also served as the newspaper’s first editor. It was a weekly paper, with an edition each Friday containing news, editorials, advertisements, and a literary page. Subscription rates were affordable, only two dollars a year, but the paper was already struggling financially by the end of 1886.
In December 1886, Parker resigned as editor and a new management team took over. Prominent St. Paul businessmen Thomas H. Lyles and James Kidd Hilyard led the team and put their own money into the paper to save it. In February 1887, the team reorganized under the name Northwestern Printing Company. It provided job order printing services in addition to publishing the Western Appeal, which kept the paper afloat financially over the long term.
Lyles and Hilyard initially convinced Parker to return to the Western Appeal as editor. But by January 1887, Parker had resigned again to take another position. Lyles and Hilyard then promoted associate editor John Quincy Adams to editor. Adams had been editor of a similar newspaper, the Bulletin, in Louisville, Kentucky. He had moved to St. Paul in 1886 at the request of Lyles and Hilyard to work at the Western Appeal. With his promotion, Adams became the driving force behind the newspaper.
Adams was an influential writer and a staunch Republican, and like other editors of his day, he expressed his opinions through his paper’s editorial page. The Western Appeal even received funding directly from the Republican Party, another common practice for newspapers of the time.
In January 1888, Adams opened a regional office for the paper in Chicago. His brother, Cyrus Field Adams, ran it. This brought the Western Appeal to even more readers. Other regional offices followed: Louisville in August 1888, St. Louis in April 1889, Dallas in August 1892, and Washington, D.C. in March 1901. Each Saturday, each of these offices published an edition of the newspaper. Each edition had the same national news, feature articles, and editorials, but carried its own local and social news. The word “Western” was dropped from the paper’s name in 1889, to reflect its national reach. By this time, Adams owned the Appeal outright and supervised both its business and editorial sides.
Like other papers of its time, the Appeal served as a community organizer. It was a place for African Americans to express their frustrations, find common ground, and call for action. After 1900, with the growth of African American civil rights organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Urban League, the influence and importance of newspapers like the Appeal began to decline.
As the twentieth century progressed, the Appeal slowly got smaller and closed its regional offices. Its last regional office, Chicago, closed in 1913. The Appeal continued publication in St. Paul, and Adams remained its editor until his death on September 3, 1922. Adams’s son, John Jr., took over the Appeal and hired a young graduate student, Roy Wilkins, as editor in April 1923. The newspaper struggled, however, and it was sold to a competitor, the Northwestern Bulletin, later that year. The two papers merged and published as the Northwestern Bulletin–Appeal for several years, until that company went out of business.
For more information on this topic, check out the original entry on MNopedia.
By Glenn Ellis
(Trice Edney Wire) – More and more, we are all hearing about friends, family, and even celebrities who are “victims” of autoimmune diseases – especially Lupus.
The ultimate autoimmune disease – systemic lupus erythematosus (or Lupus)- is more common in blacks than non- black persons but many other autoimmune diseases do not show any racial preferences.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease driven by inflammation in which the immune system indiscriminately attacks “self-tissues” throughout the body.
Parts of the body frequently affected by lupus include the skin, kidneys, heart and vascular system, nervous system, connective tissues, musculoskeletal system, and other organ systems.
Your immune system is the network of cells and tissues throughout your body that work together to defend you from invasion and infection.
The more primitive innate (or inborn) immune system activates white blood cells to destroy invaders. The innate system alerts the body to danger when it senses the presence of parts that are often found in many viruses or bacteria. The acquired (or adaptive) immune system develops as a person grows. It “remembers” different invaders so that it can fight them better if they come back. When the immune system is working properly, foreign invaders (antigens) provoke the body to produce proteins called antibodies and specific types of white blood cells that help in defense. The antibodies attach to the invaders so that they can be recognized and destroyed.
Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells.
Normally the immune system’s white blood cells help protect the body from harmful substances, called antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, and blood or tissues from another person or species. The immune system produces antibodies that destroy these harmful substances.
What causes the immune system to no longer tell the difference between healthy body tissues and antigens is unknown. One theory is that some microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses) or drugs may trigger some of these changes, especially in people who have genes that make them more likely to get autoimmune disorders.
These diseases tend to run in families. Women – particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women – have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting diagnosed can be frustrating and stressful. In many people, the first symptoms are being tired, muscle aches and low fever.
The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when they all but disappear. The diseases do not usually go away, but symptoms can be treated.
Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body, including the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels.
The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain, and swelling. How an autoimmune disease affects you depends on what part of the body is targeted. If the disease affects the joints, as in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, you might have joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function. If it affects the thyroid, as in Graves’ disease and thyroiditis, it might cause tiredness, weight gain, and muscle aches. If it attacks the skin, as it does in scleroderma/systemic sclerosis, vitiligo, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), it can cause rashes, blisters, and color changes.
Diagnosing lupus can be difficult. It may take months or even years for doctors to piece together the symptoms to diagnose this complex disease accurately. Making a correct diagnosis of lupus requires knowledge and awareness on the part of the doctor and good communication on the part of the patient. Giving the doctor a complete, accurate medical history (for example, what health problems you have had and for how long) is critical to the process of diagnosis. This information, along with a physical examination and the results of laboratory tests, helps the doctor consider other diseases that may mimic lupus, or determine if you truly have the disease. Reaching a diagnosis may take time as new symptoms appear.
Most autoimmune diseases are chronic, but many can be controlled with treatment. Symptoms of autoimmune disorders can come and go. When symptoms get worse, it is called a flare-up.
If you or someone you love is living with an autoimmune disorder, it’s important to get all the facts on the condition. Though researchers don’t know exactly what causes autoimmunity, much has been learned about the risk factors involved..
Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.
Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible! The information included in this column is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.
Glenn Ellis, is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist.
California teenager Jahi McMath, who suffered catastrophic brain injury as a result of a routine tonsil surgery, died on June 22, 2018.
Her death came after four years of her family fighting in court to continue her care in California. Eventually, they moved her to a facility in New Jersey, a state that accommodates religious views that don’t recognize brain death.
Much of the popular discussion in the case centered on the family’s refusal to accept the diagnosis of brain death. However, as a philosopher who writes on bioethics and race, I believe an underappreciated aspect of the discussion was the role of race – both in how the medical personnel dealt with the family and how the family interpreted their interactions with the medical establishment.
The surgery and outcome
On Dec. 9, 2013, the 13-year-old McMath entered Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California, for what should have been a routine tonsillectomy. The young girl was, according to her mother’s account, frightened that something would go wrong. Her mother reassured McMath that she would be okay.
McMath’s post-surgical complications began about an hour after her surgery. A nurse provided a bin to catch the blood that McMath had begun spitting up. Although the nurses indicated to the family that some post-surgical bleeding was normal, two hours later, McMath’s blood filled two plastic bins and the bandages packing her nose were saturated with blood. Her hospital gown was also covered in blood.
According to the family, four and a half hours passed before a physician saw her, despite the family’s repeated pleas for intervention. The hospital has maintained that they can not discuss Jahi’s case in detail because of privacy laws. Bleeding complications, though rare, can occur after tonsillectomy because tonsils are near arteries.
As a result of the immense blood loss, McMath’s heart stopped and her brain was deprived of oxygen. Three days later, on Dec. 12, 2013, the medical staff at Children’s Hospital declared McMath brain dead. Hospital personnel encouraged the family to withdraw life support and donate her organs.
McMath’s family refused to accept the diagnosis, and a court battle to keep McMath on life support ensued.
Philosopher Jeffrey P. Bishop, who holds the chair of health care ethics at Saint Louis University, writing in Harvard Divinity School bulletin noted the ethical oddities of the case. In California, once two physicians confirm brain death, the patient is legally dead. The body is then technically released to the coroner before being released to the family so that they can make arrangements. In the case of McMath, she was still in the hospital and on a ventilator when these procedures kicked in.
From the beginning, the case was tangled up with all sorts of questions regarding the nature and diagnosis of brain death. Although there are long-established criteria, how brain death is determined in practice can vary. These differences in practices can contribute to confusion, particularly among the lay public, about brain death.
Her family rejected the brain death diagnosis alleging the hospital had a conflict of interest and simply wanted McMath’s organs.
Revisiting a history of medical racism
Rather than dismiss the family’s concerns as paranoid or ignorant, it is important to understand the historical realities faced by Black patients in their encounters with the U.S. medical system.
There is a long historical record of using African-Americans for medical experimentation. For example, medical experimentation performed by J. Marion Sims, “the father of modern gynecology,” highlights the medical establishment’s disregard for Black people.
Sims, who began conducting his gynecological experiments in the 1840s, is credited with developing a surgical procedure to repair vesicovaginal fistula, a hole that develops between the vaginal wall and the bladder, resulting in incontinence. However, Sims achieved his success by experimenting on enslaved women, often without anesthesia.
Sims wasn’t the only one. During the 19th century, medical schools used both enslaved and free Black people, often without their consent, to teach their White medical students anatomy, disease progression and diagnosis. This practice continued after slavery.
Additionally, the graves of African-Americans were robbed and their bodies disinterred so that medical students could use Black bodies as cadavers. Aware of these practices, African-American communities were deeply suspicious of local medical schools and unsure whether the medical personnel were actually “treating” them or merely “experimenting” on them.
Few examples of the abuse of African-Americans in medical experimentation loom larger than the Tuskegee syphilis experiment – a 40-year-long study of disease progression of syphilis in 600 men in the Tuskegee, Alabama, area that began in 1932. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service.
None of the 399 men who had syphilis were ever told of their diagnosis. Nor were these men or their partners treated with penicillin once penicillin became the standard treatment for syphilis in 1945. In 1997, President Bill Clinton issued a formal apology on behalf of the U.S. government to the eight remaining survivors of the Tuskegee experiment.
One presidential apology, however, could not erase the sense of mistrust that many African-Americans feel toward health care institutions.
And the medical injustice continues: There are wide gaps in outcomes between whites and African-Americans in a variety of diseases. For example, the American Cancer Society reports that, of all the racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., African-Americans, are more likely to die from most cancers.
Lower quality of care?
African-Americans also report lower quality of health care and greater dissatisfaction with the care they receive. In addtion, they are significantly more likely to report experiencing racial discrimination and negative attitudes by health care personnel than non-Hispanic whites.
Medical mistrust and the resulting dissatisfaction have been connected to patient anxiety, as well as lower engagement in health care decision-making between patient and provider.
This mistrust makes African-Americans less likely to use the health care system. Along with other factors, such as limited insurance status and greater geographic distance from health care providers, it contributes to disparate health outcomes.
It is against this backdrop that one must understand the McMath family’s skepticism regarding both her treatment and diagnosis.
McMath’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, told The New Yorker,
“No one was listening to us, and I can’t prove it, but I really feel in my heart: if Jahi was a little white girl, I feel we would have gotten a little more help and attention.”
Sadly, Winkfield is not alone in her suspicions.
It is possible that the ultimate outcome might still have been tragic. Even with the most attentive care, McMath might have died. However, the family feeling that the medical team did not do all that they could have done for their loved one, and that this, for them, was a function of race, needlessly inflicted additional injury.
Growing up, Mikaili and Khari Robertson often felt different from other kids.
They kept gallon-size water jugs sitting by their desks at school, couldn’t play outside if it got too hot or too cold, and sometimes had to miss school because of bouts of extreme pain. It was all part of living with sickle cell anemia, a disease in which odd-shaped red blood cells make it difficult for oxygen to move through the body.
“It was hard not having someone understand why you can’t do certain things,” said Khari, now 20, who would avoid talking about the disease with other students.
Now college students, the brothers, with the help of their parents, who all live in Ellicott City, Md., are trying to ease the isolation of other families with the disease.
Through an organization their parents started, the Maryland Sickle Cell Disease Association, the Robertsons are helping families better understand the disease, navigate available services and connect with others living with sickle cell.
Derek and Shantá Robertson started the organization 12 years ago because of their own experiences having two of three sons with sickle cell. In recent years, they have seen big strides come from their work, including their first convention focused on the disease this past spring and legislation to better serve children with sickle cell while they are at school or school functions.
“What we were trying to do was be proactive,” said Derek Robertson. “We had good health care and family and community support. We wanted to bring that to others.”
People with sickle cell produce blood cells that are rigid, sticky and shaped like sickles, or crescent moons. The cells tend to form clumps and get stuck in tiny blood vessels, making it difficult for oxygen to move through the body.
When parts of the body don’t get enough oxygen, it can lead to sudden bouts of pain that can last from a few hours to days at a time. The pain can be minor or people can experience pain so severe it limits daily activities.
There’s no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia. But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.
Extreme temperature changes can trigger a crisis. That means avoiding a cold pool. Physical trauma, such as getting hit suddenly, and overexertion can also leave a child bent over in pain, which means many don’t play football or other sports.
Mikaili and Khari said their parents were strong advocates and made sure they took precautions to prevent an episode. That is why they were frequently seen with large bottles of water to keep the blood flowing. Staying hydrated can help prevent a sickle cell crisis.
“Khari and I were both fortunate to have a lot of great care, and our parents were really on top of things,” said Mikaili, 18. “When it came down to managing our disease, it was all about getting ahead of things and taking precautions to try and avoid sickle cell episodes.”
Their parents also made sure teachers and school nurses knew to take it seriously when their sons said they were feeling pain. They let administrators know that sometimes their sons might have to miss a lot of school. And they told them to be aware that they drink a lot so may have to use the bathroom often.
“We have heard anecdotal stories about kids not allowed to use the bathroom and they use the bathroom on themselves,” Derek Robertson said. “You have to make sure they have adequate bathroom breaks.”
Through their foundation, the Robertsons helped get legislation passed in the most recent General Assembly session that makes public schools follow a formal plan on managing a student’s sickle cell disease. The Maryland Department of Health will now develop guidelines for schools to follow.
Dr. Sophie Lanzkron, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who runs a lab focused on sickle cell research, supported the legislation.
“We want kids to be able to go to school and feel supported,” said Lanzkron, who created a registry of sickle cell patients to improve research.
Khari Robertson said he liked that the organization linked him to other young people living with sickle cell. He had mild symptoms so he tried to mask his disease from others as much as possible. He also refused to let it slow his life down. But when he tried out for the basketball team, he discovered severe bone scarring in his leg, a symptom of sickle cell.
“That really opened up my eyes to why I can’t do certain things,” he said.
Khari and his brother now encourage other youths to accept the disease and know they can still have fulfilled lives. Khari plays college baseball.
Dr. Jason Fixler, a pediatric hematologist who treats sickle cell patients at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai, said the disease doesn’t get a lot of attention or funding for research in part because it affects such a small number of people — just 100,000 in the United States. There is also a stigma attached to the disease for older people because one of the main treatments is narcotics. Taking painkillers is frowned upon because of the opioid crisis.
Others have argued that a racial component may play a role in the lack of attention to sickle cell disease. One in 365 African American babies is born with the disease and 1 in 13 carries the trait that could enable them to pass it on to their children. It also tends to affect a poorer population.
Any attention that organizations such as the Maryland Sickle Cell Disease Association can bring to the disease is good, said Fixler, who visits churches to talk about the disease.
“Parents can hear about other people who have children with the disease and share solutions and experiences,” he said. “I think that is helpful.”
That is one of the things the Robertson family hopes to achieve with its organization: connecting people.
“It is harder when one person is advocating for their child,” Khari Robertson said. “When they have a team around them, it is easier to get what they need.”
Nikia Vaughan met the Robertsons at a national convention on the disease. Her 6-year-old daughter and husband both live with sickle cell.
Vaughan, who lives in Baltimore, was worried about giving her daughter the drug hydroxyurea to treat the disease. Many sickle cell patients use it, but Vaughan had been given misinformation that it could cause children to develop leukemia. The Robertsons assured her that their sons took the drug safely.
“They had children with the disease,” she said. “They were able to teach me many things and dispel some myths. I call Derek and Shantá all the time. They are like family.”
— Baltimore Sun
London Breed made history this morning by becoming the first black woman to be sworn in as the mayor of San Francisco in front of a cheering crowd of 1,000 well-wishers.
She succeeds Mayor Ed Lee, whose unexpected death in December prompted a special June election to serve the remainder of his term – an election Breed won by defeating former state Senator Mark Leno.
Before that, Breed served as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for three years.
Historic moment: California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, swears in London Breed as San Francisco’s new mayor Wednesday
Trailblazer: The 43-year-old Breed becomes the city’s first African American female mayor
Big challenges ahead: Breed inherits a San Francisco battling homelessness, open drug use and unbearably high housing costs
The 43-year-old politician grew up in public housing a few blocks from City Hall, where on Wednesday California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, administered the oath of office in an outdoor public ceremony.
Breed, 43, says the city has failed to address its chronic homeless problem and an affordable housing shortage that has forced many longtime residents to leave.
She says she is committed to building more housing and to address the mental health issues of those living on city streets.
Breed is the second woman to become mayor of San Francisco in 168 years. The first was current Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow Democrat, who welcomed Breed to the exclusive club in a video message.
The other 45th: Head of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP said the 45th president of the US has a lot to learn from San Francisco’s 45th mayor
Breed was cheered on by a 1,000-strong crowd that gathered outside City Hall for the outdoor inauguration ceremony
Breed is the 45th mayor of the city.
Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, blasted President Donald Trump at Breed’s inauguration.
Brown noted that the city’s 45th mayor has a lot to show the 45th president of the United States about leading with courage and compassion.
He said Trump could take a lesson from San Francisco on how to ‘love each other and not take our children away from their parents.’
At least 1,000 people are attending the outdoor inauguration. They cheered the reverend’s remarks. Brown shared the invocation with Rabbi Beth Singer.
Breed’s relatives were among the first in line for her inauguration. Her cousin Jeanette Dupas-Walker roused two grandchildren early Wednesday to see Breedtake the oath of office.
She says ‘it brings tears of joy’ when she thinks about Breed’s accomplishments.
Breed watches dragon dancers perform before she is sworn in as San Francisco’s new mayor Wednesday
Breed succeeds Mayor Ed Lee (left) who died in December. She won a special election in June by defeating former state Senator Mark Leno (right)
Exclusive club: She is the second woman to be elected mayor in the history of San Francisco, after US Senator Dianne Feinstein (right)
Role model: Breed is pictured posing up with former President Barack Obama
Breed’s former colleagues on the Board of Supervisors toasted her at their final meeting Tuesday.
Breed thanked her colleagues for their dedication and promised to work with them no matter their disagreements.
‘You can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to do what you want them to do,’ she said.
‘And what I noticed about this board, and what made me so proud to be a part of it is, we stand our ground, we do what we think is best and we try to fight for the people we represent.’
Breed is a Democrat, as is just about everybody else in public office in San Francisco. She is considered part of the more business-friendly faction of the party.
San Francisco, with a population of 870,000, is about 6 per cent black – one of the smallest percentages among major U.S. cities – and those numbers are dwindling.
Breed must run again in November 2019 if she wants a full four-year term.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
Who is London Breed? San Francisco’s first African-American woman to become mayor revealed
London Breed made history on Wednesday by becoming the first black woman to be sworn in as a mayor of San Francisco
London Breed has claimed San Francisco’s top job after narrowly defeating former State Senator Mark Leno in the fight to become mayor of the California city.
The San Francisco Supervisor was victorious against her opponent, who was seeking to become the first openly gay man in the position and led the ballot by 2,177 votes in the 250,000 tally, with only 6,700 left to count.
This comes after Stacey Abrams won the historic nomination for Governor of Georgia and could become the first black female governor the US has ever had. But who is London Breed?
Born London Nicole Breed on August 11, 1974 in the Western Addition, an impoverished neighbourhood in San Francisco, she was raised by her grandmother in Plaza East public housing.
After a childhood of struggle, Breed graduated from high school and went on to earn a degree from the University of California, Davis and a masters in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
Her career kicked off after she worked as an intern for the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services for Mayor Willie Brown, San Francisco’s first African-American mayor and she has strong policies on housing to this day.
As the executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex, London was able to raise over $2.5 million to renovate the complex, which included an art gallery, theatre space and a recording studio.
Breed then became District 5 supervisor and was elected President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, defeating David Campos. In 2016, she announced her reelection bid and said that her priorities were affordable housing as well as environmental health and public transport.
After the death of Mayor Ed Lee, London Breed became the acting mayor by virtue of her role as President of the Board of Supervisors. In 2018, Mark Farrell was selected to serve in the interim until the election.
During a time in which African-Americans are becoming increasingly scarce in the US city, London Breed was declared the winner of the race to become mayor of San Francisco.
After eight days of counting, Breed built up a lead in the 250,000 ballots that were tallied and won by 2,177 votes, with only 6,700 left to count.
After her win, London revealed that her election sends a message to San Francisco’s youth, especially to those, like herself, are growing up poor.
‘No matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do. Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life,’ Breed said.
She is the second woman to be elected mayor in the history of San Francisco, after US Senator Dianne Feinstein. Breed has vowed to represent all of the city and lead the parts that are economically thriving but mired in homelessness and unaffordable homes.
London also said that she would get rid of the homeless tent camps within a year of taking office, before she will need to run in November 2019 after completing Ed Lee’s term, which ends in early 2020.
The city has an unusual ranked choice voting system that allows voter to pick their top three candidates for mayor. This means that as votes are being counted, second-place and third-place choices are also tallied.
Ahead of the election, Mark Leno and Jane Kim asked supporters to pick the other as their second choice in order to block London Breed from winning entirely, saying that she represented what had made San Francisco so inequitable, despite all being Democrats.
This portrayal as a lackey for big business affected Breed and she said: ‘I ask people to not attribute what I’ve done — my success and how hard I’ve worked — to not reduce that or attribute that to someone else,’ Breed told the AP in a pre-election interview.
At City Hall, she paid homage to her late grandmother and said she probably had a hand in her win. ‘She took care of the community, she took care of me even on days when I didn’t deserve it, and so being here in her honor means so much,’ she said.
London Breed practices her speech before being sworn in as San Francisco’s new mayor outside City Hall on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in San Francisco. Breed becomes the city’s first African American female mayor and she inherits a San Francisco battling homelessness, open drug use and unbearably high housing costs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
London Breed practices her speech before being sworn in as San Francisco’s new mayor outside City Hall on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in San Francisco. Breed becomes the city’s first African American female mayor and she inherits a San Francisco battling homelessness, open drug use and unbearably high housing costs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
AMONG THE 45th president’s many achievements has been his role as muse to a new literary genre: the redneck safari. Putting aside the numbers suggesting that Donald Trump’s victory was delivered by people who lived in the suburbs and were, on average, wealthier than those who voted for his opponent, scores of amateur anthropologists travelled to dilapidated parts of rural America with two questions in mind: who are these people? And why would they vote for that man?
There have been far fewer attempts made to treat Democrats as a foreign tribe, to eat their food and understand their folkways. Sociologists have written about the civil-rights movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement and the decline of unions, says Amy Binder, a sociologist at the University of California, San Diego and author of a study of conservative students on campus. But not about liberals or Democrats as groups. That may be because they seem so unexotic to the people who do this kind of work. Americans with postgraduate degrees overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Academics are even more predictable in their allegiances. To see what is in front of one’s nose, George Orwell wrote, needs a constant struggle.
Any attempt to write a “Hillbilly Elegy” about liberal America quickly runs up against the problem that it is easier to generalise about Republican voters because the groups that make up the party are bigger and have more in common with each other, in terms of ideology and identity. Heavily Democratic areas include, for instance, white, wealthy, liberal Santa Monica in California—a land of electric scooters, poké restaurants and dogs with their own Instagram pages—and the more socially conservative, African-American heart of the Mississippi delta, one of the most concentrated areas of rural poverty in the country. Native American reservations lean Democratic, as do Hispanics in rural California, middle-class black professionals in suburban Atlanta and white college professors in Iowa. No single place can capture this variety. It is a good thing that the Democratic Party appeals to such a diverse bunch; it also makes it considerably harder to define who or what the party stands for.
New York’s 15th congressional district is the safest Democratic seat in the House of Representatives, according to the Cook Political Report, which analyses elections. That makes it to Democrats what rural Alabama is to Republicans. Hillary Clinton received 94% of the vote in this part of the Bronx, a result that was a few points down on Barack Obama’s practically Belarusian score of 97% four years earlier. NY-15 is urban but shares some of the characteristics of the Mississippi delta. Median household income is less than $30,000—half the nationwide number. The district contains pockets of concentrated poverty where half the residents spend at least 50% of their income on rent (the federal government considers anything over 30% to be untenable). Housing advocates report families doubling up, with several households in a space designed for one. Numbers from New York’s public schools corroborate this: 80,000 children educated by the city report having no fixed abode.
Because NY-15 is only a short subway ride away from the Guggenheim museum and some of the city’s most expensive housing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, property developers have been eyeing it up. An effort to rebrand the South Bronx, a name which still suggests bonfires in the streets to New Yorkers over 40, as SoBro or the Piano District, has alarmed many who live there. “This is ground zero for the conflict within the Democratic coalition between professionals and poor minorities,” says Ritchie Torres, a city councilman whose ward overlaps with the 15th congressional district. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in June in the 14th district next door, advocating a brand of democratic socialism that aims to take power away from the rich Democrats who dwell in lower Manhattan. Ms Ocasio-Cortez also argues for abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which is charged with rounding up and deporting undocumented migrants—a position gaining popularity on the left of the party.
Bring up politics on the streets of the Bronx and you will be met with shrugs. Around Prospect Avenue, however, where public housing built in an eccentric neo-Tudor style nestles alongside Dominican bakeries, and stout women stand on the pavement selling books about God’s grace, most people have an opinion on the president. The owner of a long-standing soul-food joint brought up Mr Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un only an hour after a White House announcement on the subject.
Unlike upscale white Democrats, people in NY-15 do not often talk about themselves as liberals (used here in the American sense, which implies left-wing, rather than in the classical sense, which implies an enthusiasm for limited government). They also use different words when describing the president. College-educated Democrats say he is a racist; non-whites without a college degree more often say they find him disrespectful. This is not the only difference in how the liberal half and the non-liberal half of Democrats talk about politics. Those who describe themselves as liberals, who are more likely to be white and wealthier, are much more hostile to Mr Trump than other Democrats are. The Pew Research Centre reports that 99% of what it calls “solid liberals” disapprove of the president, a figure that drops to just 60% for “devout and diverse” Democrats, who tend to be non-white, poor and religious.
Liberal and non-liberal Democrats also have different ideas about the relationship between success and luck. There is a big difference in this between well-off members of each party. Wealthy Republicans are more likely to believe that, with hard work, anyone can become a millionaire, according to Pew. By contrast, three-quarters of upscale liberals say that hard work and determination do not guarantee success for most people. But there is also a difference here between rich, liberal Democrats and poor, non-liberal ones. On average, the less fortunate a Democrat is in dollar terms, the more likely he or she is to believe in the American dream. Wealthier Democrats tend not to believe that the dream exists.
Self-described liberals look much more favourably on government regulation than other Democrats do. They are also more internationally minded, embracing free trade and rejecting the notion that America should pay less attention to the world beyond its borders and concentrate on what is happening at home. They also have a set of feelings about the flag, about Muslims, immigrants, atheists and gay people that are not always shared by the half of all Democrats who do not describe themselves as liberal.
Rank-and-file Democrats share their enthusiasm for active government but are less united on cultural issues, where a sizeable minority hold on to the traditional values downplayed or even rejected by most party leaders, writes Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University. For example, in 2016 half of all white Democrats believed that to be truly American it is important to have been born in America, according to the American National Election Studies survey, a view more commonly associated with the president’s supporters.
The flowering of Democratic political activism that is taking place under Mr Trump is largely confined to the party’s liberal side. Half the “solid liberals” identified by the Pew Research Centre have given money to a political candidate or organisation in the past year. Jonathan Haidt’s work on political intuitions helps explain how the president enrages them. Mr Haidt argues that political reasoning is like riding an elephant. The jockey, who represents reason, may think he is in charge, but he sits on top of a more powerful beast, moral intuition, that goes where it will.
There is some complementary overlap here with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on fast and slow systems of thinking. Feelings about politics usually engage the fast, judgmental system rather than the slow, deliberative one. This is why, for voters, feelings about faith or the flag often overwhelm more deliberate thoughts about policies towards the deficit or single-payer health care. Republican elites have an emotional advantage here that is hard for Democrats to match, since they more often lean towards the view that politics is about policies.
Mr Haidt divides political morality into pairs of opposing instincts: loyalty and betrayal, authority and subversion, liberty and oppression, sanctity and degradation, care and harm, fairness and cheating. He and his colleagues devised an online morality test at YourMorals.Org based on these pairs that has been taken by more than 375,000 people. (Other studies have also found links between apolitical activities and either liberal or conservative thoughts. One of the weirder ones is between cleanliness and conservatism: people who have recently washed their hands are more likely to express conservative views.) Unlike conservatives, whose feelings seem spread evenly across all the positive values tested at YourMorals.Org, liberals focus overwhelmingly on just two of them: care and fairness. When the president calls countries “shitholes”, gang members “animals” or undocumented migrants “rapists”, the care and fairness alarms in the mind of a typical liberal light up.
Eiko Browning, a doctor in Denver, fits the description of the newly mobilised liberal. She volunteered for the Obama campaign while at university but did not do anything for the Clinton campaign in 2016. She now protests outside her congressman’s office near her home every Tuesday at midday. Some of these protests have been creative. At one point Dr Browning bought five dozen Easter eggs, labelled them with the names of what she calls “Russian collaborators” and hid them near the congressman’s office. “I got a call from his staff to say Easter eggs were not an appropriate form of communication.” Dr Browning has also started to give money to Democratic candidates: “Anybody who is any good gets $45 from me in honour of the 45th president,” she says.
“This will not look like a far-left reinvention of Tea Partiers…It will look like retired librarians rolling their eyes at the present state of affairs, and then taking charge.”
Tanya Luken, a chartered accountant who lives in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona is another first-time activist. Before Mr Trump won, she describes herself as “a good voter”. “There was one primary I didn’t vote in and I felt guilty for two months. But I’m Catholic so that comes with the territory.” She strains to be fair to the other side: “I know and respect a lot of Republicans, especially in Arizona. My closest friend is a conservative Republican. The things that I think are the worst about the president—those people don’t support them.” She also cares deeply about fairness as it applies to strangers: the tax bill signed by the president offended her idea of social justice. Activism has its frustrations. “We’re so busy accommodating everyone’s feelings that we don’t get anything done. I go to forums and we have to spend 45 minutes talking about our feelings,” she says. Nevertheless, politics has become so important to Ms Luken that she says she will leave the country if Mr Trump is re-elected in 2020.
A third and final specimen of the newly energised liberal is Stephanie Brook Chavez, who works in commercial insurance. Ms Chavez’s sense of fairness has also been stomped on by the president and his supporters. “My mind is boggled by what conservatives allow with this administration. I’m convinced with Obama that they just hated the black man. Look at what they used to say about him playing too much golf!” Ms Chavez, who moved to Colorado from Texas, has fallen out with old friends over politics. Discussions on Facebook that had nothing to do with the subject would turn ugly if she shared something political. Some called her a “libtard” or a “jezebel”.
All three of these women are members of Indivisible, one of many political organisations that sprang up as part of the self-styled resistance to Mr Trump. The group is dominated by what Dr Browning calls “a lot of suburban, pissed-off, educated women”. Theda Skocpol, a political scientist at Harvard, and Lara Putnam, a historian at the University of Pittsburgh, have done fieldwork on this group. “The metropolitan advocates to whom the national media turn to explain the ‘newly energised grassroots’ at times exaggerate the left-progressive focus of the activists under way and overestimate their own importance in co-ordinating it,” they write. “This will not look like a far-left reinvention of Tea Partiers or a continuation of Bernie 2016. It will look like retired librarians rolling their eyes at the present state of affairs, and then taking charge.”
They belong not just to the liberal half of the party, but to a particularly well-informed subset of the most educated, switched-on part. And even they are not particularly left-wing. “Most Americans are indifferent to or mystified by liberalism and conservatism as political ideas,” argue Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe in a recent book on the ideological innocence of American voters. Given this, it is far from obvious that the answer to the Democratic Party’s problem is to become ever more liberal. Democrats must find some other way to increase the size of their coalition, and many of them think that other thing has something to do with race.