Defining Black art in the age of Black Power

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What was the role of the African-American artist in the 1960s and 70s? A new exhibition at London’s Tate Modern explores the many answers to this complex question….

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Published By: DW World – Wednesday, 12 July

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NYT’s Alcindor Takes Hard Left Turn into ‘Environmental Justice,’ Climate Racism

Taking a left-wing angle on “climate change,” New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor swerved into radical racial ideas on black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Alcindor reported from Galveston, Texas, “In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Workplace Hazard.” The text itself had a more provocative racial activist tone, with unchallenged allegations of racism around Hurricane Katrina and the Trump administration, and a shout-out to Black Lives Matter:

Adolfo Guerra, a landscaper in this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, remembers panicking as his co-worker vomited and convulsed after hours of mowing lawns in stifling heat. Other workers rushed to cover him with ice, and the man recovered.

But for Mr. Guerra, 24, who spends nine hours a day six days a week doing yard work, the episode was a reminder of the dangers that exist for outdoor workers as the planet warms.

“I think about the climate every day,” Mr. Guerra said, “because every day we work, and every day it feels like it’s getting hotter.”

The photo caption: “Advocates are trying to bring the message of environmental justice to working class people like Mr. Guerra.”

And so much for the liberal Times’ concern for preserving blue-collar jobs:

But to Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who some call the “father of environmental justice,” the industrial revival that Mr. Trump has promised could come with some serious downsides for an already warming planet. Professor Bullard is trying to bring that message to working-class Americans like Mr. Guerra, and to environmental organizations that have, in his mind, been more focused on struggling animals than poor humans, who have been disproportionately harmed by increasing temperatures, worsening storms and rising sea levels.

“For too long, a lot of the climate change and global warming arguments have been looking at melting ice and polar bears and not at the human suffering side of it,” Professor Bullard said. “They are still pushing out the polar bear as the icon for climate change. The icon should be a kid who is suffering from the negative impacts of climate change and increased air pollution, or a family where rising water is endangering their lives.”

….

Residents of working-class communities in the Sun Belt often cannot afford to move or evacuate during weather disasters. They may work outside, and they may struggle to cover their air-conditioning bills. Pollution in their communities leads to health problems that are compounded by the refusal of most Sun Belt state governments to expand Medicaid access under the Affordable Care Act.

….

Mr. Guerra, who said he could not afford health care and feared this summer could lead to more spells of sickness, is hoping he can get a new job once he finishes the industrial mechanic program at College of the Mainland. Until then, he plans to use the $115 a day he makes mowing lawns to pay for school and rent. Mr. Guerra also hopes President Trump will reconsider his environmental policies.

Alcindor even let Bullard make some radical jabs at the environmental movement from the left:

Professor Bullard and others in his field have hosted conferences on climate change and environmentalism at historically black colleges and have taken groups of black students to climate meetings to educate them on the intersection of race, income and the environment

“I’ve been doing this work for 40 years and I have seen change; 25 or 30 years ago, many of the white organizations that were doing environmental work, they had no black members, no black staff and no black people on the board,” he said. “They had no contact with black communities and communities of color, and that has changed a bit.”

Alcindor briefly admitted the science was “dicey” — but why hesitate when there is change to be made:

When people like Professor Bullard talk of a warming climate producing more frequent and stronger storms, Ms. Little shudders. Attributing Ike’s power to a warming climate is scientifically dicey, but to her the warnings of climate scientists ring true.

“Climate change is my life,” Ms. Little said.

Bullard even flagged Hurricane Katrina as part of global warming, despite the lack of evidence (major hurricanes which struck the U.S. have actually been down in the last decade, and made it a racial issue. Racist hurricanes, anyone?

Alcindor just rolled with it, posing no challenging questions to the extremist allegations, and even hinting at racism herself on the part of the Trump adminisration:

Professor Bullard said that part of his mission was getting people to understand the particular danger that storms like Ike can pose for working-class people. “We are bringing in the Black Lives Matter folks and talking climate justice and the black lives that were lost in New Orleans because of climate change and because of who was left behind on roof tops,” he said, referring to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “Racism left them behind on rooftops.”

And race is beginning to infuse the response to Mr. Trump’s environmental policies. When the president began transforming the Environmental Protection Agency, Mustafa Ali, who is African-American, resigned after more than two decades there.

The inconvenient fact that minorities may disproportionately lose blue-collar fossil fuel jobs in the name of fighting “climate change”? Not mentioned in the Times:

The unleashing of the fossil energy sector that Mr. Trump has championed could have repercussions more immediate than the global climate. In Houston, predominantly African-American neighborhoods like Sunnyside and Pleasantville have been dealing with pollution from the energy sector for years

Lack of regulation was the culprit in Houston:

The Parras family has spent much of its time in Manchester, a community in Houston that is one of the most polluted places in the country. Because of Houston’s liberal land-use laws, the community is ringed by an oil refinery, a chemical plant, a car-crushing yard, a wastewater treatment plant and an interstate. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency found toxic levels of seven carcinogenic air pollutants in the neighborhood.

Alcindor let an ambitious Democratic politicians liken environmental justice to the Civil Rights movement:

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“You can’t have freedom and justice in this country if you can’t breathe your air, if you can’t open your window because of the toxic smells,” Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said. “It may not be a billy club that is hitting you or a dog that is tearing your skin — those images from the Civil Rights movement — but it is violence to the body.”

Three years later, Ferguson slowly moves from spotlight while under watchful eye of feds

FERGUSON • The mayor of this north St. Louis County suburb would like for the questions to go away. But three years later, they persist.

“How are things in Ferguson?”

“Has it settled down?”

James Knowles III typically gives an answer befitting a good ambassador to a city thrust into the international spotlight after a white police officer fatally shot a black teen and set off months of protests and violence.

Knowles is sick of fielding questions about riots and burning buildings. He talks about a city moving forward. A city working “to make streets safer, build relationships between law enforcement and community, create jobs. … We know what we need to do.”

What he does not say is that things are back to how they once were.

“I always have to be careful with the term ‘back to normal’ because some are sensitive to that and don’t think it’s a good thing,” Knowles said. And not realistic, he concedes.

Gone are the white police chief and the white city manager, replaced by African-American men, moves that reflect the makeup of a city where more than two-thirds of its residents are black. The seven-member council, including the mayor, now has three African-American members, compared to one on Aug. 9, 2014, when Michael Brown was killed.

“I’m the only one that is still here from that,” said Knowles, who is white, referring to top city leadership. He was re-elected in April, winning nearly 57 percent of the vote. He ran against an African-American council member who had been elected two years earlier.

“Some people have made me the villain and say, ‘As long as the mayor is there, nothing is going to change,’” Knowles said. But he sees it differently.

His election to a third term, he says, demonstrates that “I’ve worked to keep what’s right going and to make necessary changes.”

Many of those changes, focused on improving police department hiring and training and court reform, came as a result of a Justice Department investigation and led to the city signing a consent decree with the federal government to make adjustments or face legal action.

City leaders say they continue to work with the federal government in honoring the agreement. An order four months ago from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Justice Department officials review consent decrees nationwide to ensure they do not interfere with the goals of President Donald Trump’s administration to promote officer morale and safety has had no bearing on efforts in Ferguson.

“Those particular statements by the attorney general were merely diversionary to issues they were dealing with in Washington — i.e. Russia and things of that nature,” said Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell, a lawyer and head of the criminal justice department at St. Louis Community College’s Florissant Valley campus.

“There has been no change in approach on the Justice Department side and certainly not on ours,” said Bell, an African-American elected in 2015.

A Justice Department lawyer in late June told the federal judge overseeing the consent decree that “we believe we are all working together in good faith.” That includes putting in place the tools to better recruit and retain a diverse and well-trained police force as well as setting guidelines for police use of force.

‘We can fix it’

Joshura Davis, a Ferguson business owner, agrees that the city is progressing, but not quickly enough.

His insurance office sits on West Florissant Avenue, and he and his wife, Lisa, attended the opening last month of a new job training center across the street, on the site where a QuikTrip once stood.

The convenience store burned to the ground during the unrest that followed Brown’s killing and was commonly referred to as ground zero as protests and violence continued.

Davis said he and his wife “had a front row seat to everything that happened.” After the violence that included the burning of at least two dozen buildings, small-business owners in that part of town formed the Ferguson-Dellwood West Florissant Business Association, which Davis heads. He has 45 businesses on his email list.

Davis said it was important to create a united front “to let St. Louis know we are here for the long haul and all-in to develop this side of Ferguson that was really devastated.”

Davis said he and other business owners in that part of town were asked to join the more established Ferguson Special Business District, in place since 1987. But the needs of his part of town are unique, he said. The businesses have to dig out from perceptions of danger and destruction, forever linked to one of the country’s largest news events.

Today, businesses in the corridor continue to struggle. Davis, who runs Best Insurance Agency and Always Love and Care, an in-home health care service, said business is down 50 percent since before August 2014 — something he hears from others in his association.

After the Brown shooting, Davis was among 55 business owners who received a grant from a partnership between the Regional Business Council and North County Inc. to help stay afloat. He received $2,500.

“That was just to keep the offices open. There were no grace periods to pay rent or utilities,” he said. Davis also won about $4,000 in a competition on how to best market a business. He used the money to build a website.

During a panel discussion at the National Urban League conference in downtown St. Louis last month, Davis made an emotional plea to corporate and elected leaders on the stage and in the audience.

“We do not have five, 10, 15, 20 years to rebuild West Florissant Avenue. We don’t have that kind of time,” Davis told the crowd at a session titled “Ferguson: From Anger to Action.” It was moderated by Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene Corp., which opened a $25 million service center in Ferguson last year, and Michael McMillan, head of the local Urban League chapter.

“We have enough resources in St. Louis to fix it,” Davis said. “We broke it. We can fix it.”

Davis said later that he knew he would have a captive audience and wanted to go on record that challenges are real and the clock is ticking.

He said he is heartened by the new Ferguson Community Empowerment Center, a partnership of the Urban League and Salvation Army.

“It is really huge,” Davis said. “Before the empowerment center, every day 34,000 cars would pass by and see the ground zero site and all those vacant lots. Those were visions of the past. The empowerment site is a solid vision of the future that lets people see that someone is interested, someone is committed and the community is coming together.”

Knowles said the city is seeing more businesses open and city leaders are working to hire a Texas firm to attract more national retailers to Ferguson.

A ‘Ferguson’ near you

At a hearing in June before U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry, Ferguson’s city attorney, Apollo Carey, said that since the death of Brown, the city had waived $1.8 million in fines, dismissed or dropped about 39,000 municipal court cases and signed up 1,381 people to perform community service instead of paying fines.

It was a required status report outlined in the city’s consent decree.

While that sort of progress is getting generally good reviews, some residents who spoke at the hearing said more community input is needed in the reform process.

And in April, two months before the status hearing, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway released the results of a review of the city’s municipal court system. She said the audit took more than a year to conduct because the city continued “putting up roadblocks” and failed to produce some court documents that appeared to have been lost. She said the information she was able to review was “in disarray” and included moldy records.

Ferguson City Manager De’Carlon Seewood said in response that more than a dozen significant changes have been made to the court system since 2015, including the exit of the lead court clerk and the firing of another employee.

As the city continues its reform efforts alongside the federal government, a nonprofit has taken up the task of addressing the findings of the Ferguson Commission. The 16-member commission was appointed in November 2014 by then Gov. Jay Nixon to offer specific recommendations for “making the St. Louis region a stronger, fairer place for everyone to live.”

The nonprofit, Forward Through Ferguson, has before it the 189 “calls to action” recommended by the Ferguson Commission, which officially completed its work in December 2015. The commission labeled 47 of its recommendations as “signature priority” items.

They include creating civilian review boards at the municipal and county levels; consolidating law enforcement agencies, municipal courts and police training centers; and eliminating incarceration for minor offenses.

Forward Through Ferguson, in partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, created a report that was made public at the Urban League’s national conference. It serves as a history lesson, of sorts, for what happened in Ferguson.

“While the Ferguson Commission and many of the efforts connected to it arose in response to a specific situation, what happened in Ferguson didn’t create that situation,” reads the report.

“It revealed difficult truths that had been the reality for many people for many decades. Deep truths that were present and manifested almost 100 years ago in the East St. Louis race riots that sparked the creation of the Urban League affiliate in St. Louis. The underlying issues that led to these situations exist today, to varying degrees, in every metropolitan area in America.”

The Rev. Traci Blackmon, a member of the Ferguson Commission, was on the Urban League panel where Davis made his plea. She told the crowd that when she speaks around the country, the message is clear: “There is a Ferguson somewhere near you.”

Knowles had a rocky relationship with the Ferguson Commission from the get-go. When Nixon announced the commission two months after Brown was killed, Knowles showed up late to the news conference, saying he had not been invited and complained that city leaders had not been briefed about the governor’s announcement beforehand.

Last week, Knowles said he had no contact with the commission and still has issues with calling it the Ferguson Commission when the problems it outlined in its report are systemic nationwide. And “I haven’t heard much” about the work Forward Through Ferguson has been doing, he said.

Knowles said his priorities are leading the city and breaking down misconceptions, including those that come from tour groups expecting to see “a bombed-out Baghdad.”

“We’ve been remarkably resilient and shown what a community can do to rebuild and come together,” Knowles said. “We’re taking this small municipality and building a model police department — I should say rebuilding — a model police department. I feel quite confident that Ferguson is in a good place.”

August Events to Recognize Health Disparities in African American Community

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(SACRAMENTO) – Yes2Kollege Educational Resources, Inc.’s African American Women’s Health Legacy (AAWHL) Program asks for the community’s support this August in celebration of its California Senate Resolution and Sacramento County Proclamation recognizing health disparities in the Sacramento County African American community.

AAWL has set events and activities throughout the month of August and invite members of the community to participate.

On Friday, August 4 at 10:00 a.m., join the monthly, first Friday, Sister Circle Breakfast Meet Up at the Black-owned Stagecoach Restaurant, located at 4365 Florin Road, for discussions about women’s health, careers, and families.

On Saturday, August 5, bring the family to the fourth annual educational and tasteful visit to Ron Kelley’s U-pick Farm from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hear messages about the importance of growing your own vegetables and eating healthy. There will also be a farmers market, taste testing, cookout and farm tour. Farm is located at 1120 Scribner Road. Cost per person is $7.

On Saturday, August 12, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.) AAWHL joins UC Davis medical school students for their 17th Annual Ulezi Family Health Fair at the Oak Park Community Center, located at 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
AAWHL partners with Health Net and other community partners for “The Sugars” Getting Real About African Americans and Diabetes Health Summit,” on Saturday, August 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Event features guest speaker Dr. Rodney Hood, a national authority on health disparities, medical history and racism in medical care. Bring the family for health screenings, and panel discussions at the Dr. Ephraim Williams Family Life Center, located at 4036 14th Avenue.
Enjoy a family movie night viewing the documentary “Soul Food Junkies” on Thursday, August 24 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the beautiful lawn of The Brickhouse Gallery & Art Complex, located at 2837 36th Street (at Broadway). Film explores a history of the foods African Americans love to eat and how that legacy forms the food habits handed down generation to generation.

On Saturday, August 26, join AAWHL and the UC Davis Health Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing for the Second Annual “Preserve Our Legacy: Advancing African Americans In Nursing Conference” at the UC Davis School of Medicine, 4610 X Street. The conference is set to run 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) and features the African American rich legacy of nursing, a presentation on future nursing technology career opportunities, a presentation on stress finding from the perspective of Black women, pediatric health and health screenings and vendors.

For more information, contact Toni Colley Perry at (916) 519-9189 or Sharon Chandler at (916) 230-1631.

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California Greenworks to Honor Assemblywoman Autumn Burke with the Environmental Pioneer Award

The environmental organization California Greenworks will hold a reception in Culver City to honor Autumn Burke, Meghan Sahli-Wells.

Autumn Burke & Meghan Sahli-Wells

Autumn Burke & Meghan Sahli-Wells

LOS ANGELESAug. 7, 2017PRLog — Assembly Member Autumn Burke will be honored with the Environmental Pioneer Award for her work to protect California natural resources. Ms. Burke is the only African American woman who has led the charge to help protect California air and place measures to reduce climate change for all Californian’s.

“As an African American led nonprofit, we want to come together and honor her as the first honoree of this award which recognizes women in the environment who are making an impact to protect and conserve our natural resources,” says Mike Meador, Founder/CEO of California Greenworks.

California Greenworks will also be presenting former Culver City Mayor, now city council member Meghan Sahli-Wells, for her efforts to make Culver City a green city. The award she will be receiving is the Environmental Champion Award.  Following the awards presentation, swag bags will be given to guests.  The event will begin at 6 PM, August 11, 2017 at the historic Culver Hotel 9400 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232.

 In 2017, Autumn. R. Burke introduced a landmark bill to End Child Poverty in California and has made expanding health care access and economic opportunity the centerpiece of her legislative career. During her first term, she became well- known as a champion for reproductive rights, environmental justice and health care. Burke authored bills that established Transformative Climate Communities to help struggling neighborhoods, ease access to maternal health care, and create more accountability and transparency across government levels. Burke has also secured $900 million in funding for career technical education programs and advocated for new investments in affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. She has authored AB 151 which would strengthen California’s ‘Cap and Trade’ program to continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions that significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. Burke is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, Legislative Environmental Caucus, and the Legislative Women’s Caucus.  She represents the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, and Gardena, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, and Del Rey, and the communities of Del Aire, West Athens, Lennox, Westmont, and Marina del Rey.

Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City Councilwoman and former major, has championed initiatives to improve the lives of children, and has led efforts to address climate change, active transportation, affordable housing, homeless services, government transparency, health and environmental impacts of oil drilling. She is the Chair of the Council’s Sustainability Sub-Committee, and serves on the City Council/School Board Liaison Committee and Oil Drilling Sub-Committee. In addition to her City Council duties, she is on the national board of Local Progress. At the same time, she’s a Board Director of the Westside Cities Council of Governments and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest metropolitan planning association. She also served on the Board of Directors of the highly successful Metro Expo Line Construction Authority during the build-out between Culver City and Santa Monica. Prior to being elected to the City Council in 2012, Sahli-Wells led many community initiatives and held multiple community leadership roles. Notably, she co-founded what is now known as Bike Culver City and Transition Culver City, part of the international Transition Network.

The mission of California Greenworks (http://www.californiagreenworks.org/) is to provide environmental programs to urban schools, revitalize urban open space, and advocate for green economic development.   California Greenworks is a non-profit organization chartered to promote environmental protection to urban watersheds, community revitalization, and economic development throughout southern California urban communities.  The organization’s motto, “Greening Communities one Neighborhood at a Time,” reflects their efforts to help grow environmental outreach and educational programs that improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

For more information on the event, or for press wishing to cover it, contact: Mike Meador mmeador@californiagreenworks.org

Poverty Tough To Shake In Mississippi Delta

Otibehia Allen is a single mother who lives in a rented mobile home in the same isolated, poor community where she grew up among the cotton and soybean fields of the Mississippi Delta.

During a summer that feels like a sauna, the trailer’s air conditioner has conked out. Some nights, Allen and her five children find cooler accommodations with friends and relatives. Other nights, they sleep in the trailer with box fans circulating the stuffy air.

Allen works 30 hours a week as a data entry clerk and transportation dispatcher for a medical clinic, pulling in barely over minimum wage. She doesn’t own a car, and public transportation is not widely available. To get from home in Jonestown to work or even to go grocery shopping about 13 miles (21 kilometers) away in Clarksdale, Allen often pays people for a ride — sometimes $20 a pop.

“It’s not easy raising five children alone,” Allen said, fighting back tears. “No, you didn’t ask me to have them, true. So, I chose to. So that means I’m responsible for these people.”

Image: Otibehia Allen Image: Otibehia Allen

Otibehia Allen prepares dinner for her children in their rented mobile home in the isolated, low-income community of Jonestown, Mississippi. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Persistent poverty shapes daily existence in this expanse of agricultural flatland that gave birth to the blues. Jobs are scarce. Schools struggle for funding. Tens of thousands of families receive government food aid and health insurance.

Fifty years ago, Democratic Sens. Robert F. Kennedy of New York and Joe Clark of Pennsylvania toured the Delta and saw ramshackle houses and starving children.

Related: Four African-American Mothers File Lawsuit Against Mississippi for Education Equality

Curtis Wilkie was a young reporter covering the senators’ tour for a Delta newspaper, the Clarksdale Press Register.

At one stop, Wilkie recalled, “There was a little infant in a dirty diaper crawling around on the floor and eating rice — grains of rice that were on the floor that were dirty. … Kennedy knelt by the child and didn’t say a word, was stroking the little child’s cheeks and his forehead.”

Image: Otibehia Allen Image: Otibehia Allen

Otibehia Allen, a single mother of five, peers outside her rented mobile home. She works 30 hours a week at barely over minimum wage. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Mississippi’s congressional delegation in 1967, led by Democratic Sens. James Eastland and John Stennis and Rep. Jamie Whitten, resisted federal funding for food programs and for Head Start, a preschool program that many conservatives saw as a threat to the state’s white, segregationist power structure because it educated poor black children.

Wilkie said the trip had an enormous impact on Kennedy, whose eyes welled with tears at the sight of the child: “No question that once he got back to Washington, he became a more passionate advocate for rural people.”

Kennedy ran for president in 1968. Moments after winning the California primary, he was assassinated.

Mississippi’s second-term Republican governor, Phil Bryant, was born to a blue-collar family in the Delta in 1954. He frequently says he doesn’t want people to be dependent on government. Under his tenure, Mississippi’s been one of 19 states rejecting expansion of Medicaid, the federal and state health insurance program for the poor, under the health care law signed by former President Barack Obama.

Image: Marian Wright Edelman Image: Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, a national group that advocates for social services for the poor, listens to locals discuss the limited employment opportunities and how the Jonestown, Miss. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Bryant, who supports President Donald Trump, says job creation is the best way to combat poverty. Since he became governor, Mississippi has offered incentives to attract two tire manufacturing plants — one is open, the other being built. Neither is in the Delta.

Although opportunities have improved in the past 50 years, the Delta remains one of the most deprived regions in the U.S. The national poverty rate is about 15 percent; it’s 22 percent for Mississippi. In most Delta counties, it’s 30 to 40 percent.

Kennedy and Clark were accompanied to the Delta in 1967 by Marian Wright, a young civil rights lawyer working in Mississippi. In 1973, after she married and added to her name, Marian Wright Edelman founded Children’s Defense Fund, a national group that advocates for social services for the poor.

Related: OpEd: A Fight for Civil and Labor Rights: Union Vote Looms at Nissan

Edelman recently returned to Mississippi to examine how poverty continues shaping lives of people like Allen, the 32-year-old single mother. Both Edelman and Allen said they worry the Trump administration will cut social services that help the poor.

In Allen’s two-bedroom trailer, her boys sleep in one room, her girls in another while she stays on the couch. She buys groceries in bulk because it’s cheaper, and she knows how far she can stretch a family pack of chicken from the Piggly Wiggly.

Image: Otibehia Allen Image: Otibehia Allen

Allen, cries as she recalls the lack of opportunity, limited health care and child poverty, her five children face daily while addressing a forum on food and health insecurity in Jonestown, Miss. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Allen’s children, 9 to 14, are covered by Medicaid. She got a raise a few months ago — 40 cents an hour, just enough to make her lose her own Medicaid coverage. Her back and arms are in constant pain, but she won’t see a doctor.

“I don’t want to make a bill that I can’t pay,” Allen said.

Dr. Barbara Ricks, a 49-year-old pediatrician, grew up poor in the Delta. Her family received food stamps; she attended Head Start and paid for college with scholarships and jobs.

She has practiced medicine since 1999 in Greenville, one of the larger Delta cities — population 31,500.

Ricks said about 95 percent of her patients are on Medicaid, some from small, rural communities 40 or 50 miles away because there are few clinics closer to home. She said patients from financially stable households generally are in better health than those living in poverty, who often deal with stress, obesity and diabetes.

Image: Barbara Ricks Image: Barbara Ricks

Dr. Barbara Ricks, a Greenville, Miss., pediatrician who grew up poor in the Delta poses for a photo. Her family received food stamps; she attended Head Start and paid for college with scholarships and jobs. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Concealing names to protect privacy, she said one of her patients is an 11-year-old boy with asthma who lives with his grandmother because his mom, single and unemployed, is overwhelmed raising his five younger siblings. He’s been hospitalized because his grandmother, who also cares for an adult relative, leaves him “minimally supervised” and misses regular asthma treatments, the doctor said.

Ricks said another patient is an infant whose mother is a 15-year-old student. Though the mother intends to go to college, she sometimes misses days or weeks of class to care for her baby.

Related: National Urban League: Black America ‘Strong and Resilient’ but Vigilance Required

“Poverty is a social problem, but it’s also a medical problem,” Ricks said. “These kids have so many things working against them. And, although poor outcomes are expected, we should not accept it.”

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Hispanic and African American News Media Fact Sheet

MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA

News media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States – blacks and Hispanics – have been a consistent part of the American news landscape. However, many black-oriented newspapers – some more than a century old – have seen a slow decline in circulation in recent years, mirroring the overall decline in newspaper circulation. Both print and television Hispanic media, on the other hand, have enjoyed relative strength over the last decade, but that growth has now slowed. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about Hispanic- and black-oriented news outlets below.

Audience

As the two largest Spanish-language television networks in the U.S., Univision and Telemundo are key providers of news for Spanish speakers. While viewership for some shows on these networks was roughly flat or even increased in 2016, viewership for each network’s largest news program decreased at least slightly. For Univision, the largest viewership among its five national news programs went to their flagship nightly news broadcast, Noticiero Univision, whose combined average viewership was 1.8 million in 2016, though the program’s viewership has been declining since a peak of 2.1 million in 2013. For Telemundo, the largest viewership among its three national news programs was for the 4 p.m. daily newsmagazine Al Rojo Vivo, which attracted an average viewership of 1 million in 2016. This was down 10% from 2015.

Univision and Telemundo network news viewership by program

Program 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Univision: Al Punto 778,000 826,000 802,000 684,000 789,000
Univision: Aquí y Ahora 1,798,000 1,931,000 1,655,000 1,611,000 1,610,000
Univision: Noticiero Univision 1,852,000 2,053,000 1,899,000 1,857,000 1,792,000
Univision: Noticiero Univision: Edición Nocturna 1,583,000 1,541,000 1,396,000 1,273,000 1,182,000
Univision: Primer Impacto 1,518,000 1,617,000 1,436,000 1,487,000 1,482,000
Telemundo: Al Rojo Vivo 1,009,000 1,121,000 1,120,000 1,005,000
Telemundo: Enfoque 155,000 181,000 168,000 202,000
Telemundo: Noticiero Telemundo 771,000 854,000 949,000 962,000

Pew Research Center

Both Univision and Telemundo have local affiliate stations that also carry their own original news programming. Average viewership for Univision affiliates’ news programming declined across all timeslots in 2016, with late night news viewership down 9%, early evening news down 4% and morning news down 3%. By comparison, combined average viewership for Telemundo affiliates’ early evening and late night news remained about stable, while Telemundo’s morning news viewership – with the smallest reach of all its news timeslots – grew 15%. Overall, though, Univision’s local news broadcasts still attract more viewers than Telemundo’s local news.

Univision and Telemundo local affiliates viewership, by time slot

2013 2014 2015 2016
Univision: morning news 212,000 215,000 187,000 181,000
Univision: early evening news 1,654,000 1,616,000 1,540,000 1,478,000
Univision: late night news 1,871,000 1,777,000 1,584,000 1,434,000
Telemundo: morning news 25,000 60,000 82,000 94,000
Telemundo: early evening news 585,000 731,000 729,000 721,000
Telemundo: late night news 597,000 679,000 920,000 910,000

Pew Research Center

In 2016, circulation declined by at least 11% for each of the three daily Hispanic newspapers for which there is 2016 data. For the top 20 Hispanic weekly and semiweekly newspapers, average per-paper circulation declined 5%, to about 92,000.

  • Hispanic newspapers with daily circulation
  • Hispanic newspapers with weekly/semiweekly circulation
El Nuevo Heraldo (Brownsville, Texas) El Nuevo Herald (Miami) La Opinión (Los Angeles) El Diario la Prensa (New York)
2014 3,368 50,859 64,260 32,150
2015 4,351 44,944 49,953 29,339
2016 3,839 40,134 37,998

Pew Research Center

Year Average circulation
2013 100,525
2014 107,685
2015 96,957
2016 92,189

Pew Research Center

Black-oriented newspapers are a long-standing minority news sector in the U.S. The black press trade association (National Newspaper Publishers Association) currently lists around 150 members on its website, but few of these papers have regularly audited circulation figures, making it difficult to acquire audience figures for the sector as a whole. There are, however, some black-oriented newspapers – most of which are weekly or semiweekly – with recent circulation data available through the main audit bureaus that can serve as indicators. Among these, the data show that African American newspapers with a substantial amount of paid circulation either lost circulation or held steady from 2015 to 2016. For a number of mostly free-distribution newspapers, circulation results were more mixed. (For newspapers with paid circulation in this analysis, at least 25% of each paper’s circulation is paid; for the free newspapers, less than 1% of each paper’s circulation is paid.)

(Pew Research Center is not aware of any directory of black-oriented news radio or television stations, though the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters represents African-American owned radio and TV stations in the US.)

  • African American newspapers with paid circulation
  • African American newspapers with free circulation
Michigan Chronicle Chicago Defender Philadelphia Tribune New York Amsterdam News New Pittsburgh Courier Baltimore Afro-American Washington Afro-American Combined Baltimore and Washington Afro-American
2006 26,674 13,175 3,997 11,224 11,557
2007 25,214 9,996 13,380 4,001 8,775 9,749
2008 25,292 16,207 11,958 4,123 9,971 10,853
2009 24,944 11,158 12,543 17,477 4,721 7,244 6,592
2010 21,761 8,603 14,177 9,750 4,226 6,923 7,211
2011 21,034 8,396 14,955 12,607 3,997 7,394 11,858
2012 20,978 7,737 13,320 14,042 3,480 6,840 6,007
2013 21,702 6,741 13,745 13,588 3,063 5,595 7,172
2014 20,201 5,477 19,265 10,470 2,591 5,146 5,948
2015 20,082 10,888 15,138 8,298 2,280 10,315
2016 22,231 11,882 9,114 7,843 2,231

Pew Research Center

Year St. Louis American Richmond Free Press Houston Defender The Atlanta Voice The Dallas Weekly
2010 33,455 4,825
2011 33,378 4,794
2012 64,137 33,006 5,570
2013 67,851 32,939 21,399 25,898 5,345
2014 67,956 33,021 23,979 27,225 5,003
2015 66,848 31,673 26,972 26,665 4,968
2016 66,500 31,328 31,022 24,363

Pew Research Center

Economics

Univision’s total revenue grew by 6% to $3 billion in 2016. (Telemundo’s revenue is not available for analysis, as its parent company, Comcast, does not provide network-specific revenue.)

Univision revenue

Year Total revenue
2014 $2,911,400,000
2015 $2,858,400,000
2016 $3,042,000,000

Pew Research Center

While audience data is not available for Spanish-language news radio, revenue for Spanish news radio stations has remained steady. Average station revenue for Spanish-language news stations that are listed in the BIA/Kelsey database declined 1% to $1.3 million.

Average revenue for Spanish news radio stations

 Year Station revenue
2009 $1,355,556
2010 $1,491,667
2011 $1,445,833
2012 $1,420,833
2013 $1,398,611
2014 $1,306,944
2015 $1,266,667
2016 $1,251,389

Pew Research Center

There is no revenue data available for black-oriented newspapers, which are mostly privately held, and no database that the Center is aware of that separates out black-oriented TV or radio news stations from all English-speaking news outlets.

Newsroom investment

The portion of local TV newsroom staff who are black has remained at about 10% since 1995, according to a survey of non-Hispanic TV stations from RTDNA. The percentage of African American television news directors is smaller, at 5.5%; in 1995, just 2% of local TV news directors were African American. Hispanics, who made up 4% of the TV news workforce in 1995, now make up 9% of both the TV news workforce and TV news directors.

  • TV news workforce
  • TV news directors
Year African American Hispanic
1995 10.1% 4.2%
2000 11.0% 7.0%
2005 10.3% 8.7%
2010 11.5% 5.8%
2015 10.8% 8.2%
2016 11.1% 8.9%

Pew Research Center

Year African American Hispanic
1995 1.6 3.8
2000 3.0 9.0
2005 3.9 5.8
2010 3.3 6.6
2015 4.3 6.0
2016 5.5 8.8

Pew Research Center

Find out more

This fact sheet was compiled by Elisa Shearer, who is a research analyst focusing on journalism research at Pew Research Center.

Read the methodology.

Find more in-depth explorations of Hispanic and African American news media by following the link below.

Blacks more likely to follow up on digital news than whites March 2, 2017
Social media preferences vary by race and ethnicity Feb. 3, 2015
As news business takes a hit, the number of black journalists declines Aug. 1, 2014
As the New York Times’ first black executive editor, Dean Baquet is in a distinct minority May 28, 2014
A Growing Share of Latinos Get Their News in English July 23, 2013