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         BROTHERS WANTED                                   SISTERS WANTED 


The Ministry of Spiritual Development  
The mission of the N.O.I. as a whole and of each of its parts is the spiritual development of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America and our people throughout the world. The mission of the N.O.I. is the resurrection spiritually of a dead people and the entire focus and meaning of its work is to bring about this resurrection as quickly as possible. This is the purpose that gives meaning to all other activities engaged in and is the criterion by which we expect to be judged by Allah and His Messenger, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. As such, the spiritual dimension must be present in all and excluded from none. (copied from AtonementCommission.com).  
For more information, call Student Minister Marcus Muhammad (269) 861-6504 e-mail: muhammadmarcus1@gmail.com     
  

    Black, blue and the U.S. racial divide

    By Starla Muhammad -Managing Editor- | Last updated: Jul 19, 2016 - 12:45:21 PM

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    Police killings, race hatred, protests and ever increasing tension, division are ripping the United States apart. The president and leaders want to talk but words are not enough.

    divided-america_07-26-2016.jpg
    A protester shouts at police officers dressed in riot gear as marchers take to the streets to protest against the recent fatal shootings of black men by police, July 8, in Phoenix. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

    The opportunity for the country’s first Black president to jumpstart a substantive, no-holds barred dialogue about race,  law enforcement and police interactions with Black and Brown communities has apparently flamed out, leaving little hope for real change as the 2016 presidential election now looms on the horizon.

    In the aftermath of the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile on the outskirts of St. Paul, Minn., both at the hands of police, the acquittal by a judge of a fourth police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, the decision not to charge officers in connection with the deaths of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, Black critics of President Barack Obama’s responses to these tragedies say he has failed to use his “bully pulpit” to adequately confront these issues.


    divided-america_07-26-2016b.jpg
    Chicago protestors demand justice.
    “Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies.

    Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration it’s been a question of ‘I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.’ But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality,” wrote Dr. Cornel West, a leading Black intellectual and activist, in the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

    But what if anything can or will change under Democratic President Hillary Clinton or Republican President Donald Trump?

    “This November, we need change. Yet we are tied in a choice between Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster. … I have deep empathy for brothers and sisters who are shot in the police force. I also have profound empathy for people of color who are shot by the police. I have always believed deliberate killing to be a crime against humanity,” said Dr. West, who teaches at Princeton University. Dr. West and others pointed to the fact that Mr. Obama attended the July 12 memorial services for five Dallas police officers, that officials said were slain by Micah Xavier Johnson versus the telephone calls he placed to family members of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile as an example of  inequity in the value and importance of Black lives.
    Dr. West blasted Mr. Obama for not going to Baton Rouge or Minneapolis, opting instead to go to Dallas.

    “You can’t do that. His fundamental concern was to speak to the police, that was his priority. When he references the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s to speak to the police,” said Dr. West.
     “Obama has power right now to enact the recommendations made after Ferguson. Better training, independent civilian oversight boards, body cameras. But he has not used executive orders to push any of these changes through,” he added.
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    Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, author, consultant and commentator, posed a  direct question toward the president. “When are policemen going to go to jail for the murder of Black people? When is that going to become a priority because the bottom line is there is no incentive for change to happen until that starts to occur,” she said.

    In what was billed as a “national conversation” on race and policing, an Obama town hall meeting was met with tepid enthusiasm and biting criticism by those who called it a farce in the waning months of his presidency.

    Dr. Jones-DeWeever tuned in for the July 14 program that aired on ABC, simulcast on other networks and online and moderated by David Muir of World News Tonight and Jemele Hill of ESPN but came away “exceedingly disappointed.”

    “I left that experience believing more than ever that in many respects, to many people in this country the lives of Black people don’t matter at all,” said Dr. Jones-DeWeever, calling it a one hour police public relations and propaganda campaign.

    Erica Garner, eldest daughter of Eric Garner who died at the hands of police resulting from an illegal chokehold,  expressed frustration with the town hall. She accused the network of silencing her.
    “I need all of you to know that this #ABC town hall that will air at 8p.m. is a sham. They shut out ALL real and hard questions,” Ms. Garner posted on Twitter.

    Law enforcement, politicians and family members of those that have died in police custody and family of officers slain in the line of duty participated in the town hall. It followed the fatal shootings and the wounding of police officers in Dallas.

    Critics said the continuing focus on how Black people should respond and interact with police instead of police accountability is steering possible solutions in the wrong direction.

    The program completely glossed over the responsibility and accountability by police in their duties to protect and serve communities, explained Dr. Jones-DeWeever, who is also the mother of two sons, ages 20 and 13.

    “Even if you look at the loss of life in the Dallas situation just generally speaking, to equate the danger that the police face as it relates to that, as well as what we know is going on in this country particularly around Black and Brown communities with the police, it’s a false equivalency,” she continued.

    Even with recent police killings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to reports, there have been 66 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty this year, 31 by gunfire compared to 531 people shot and killed by police, 211 of those victims being Black and Latino.

    From 2009 to 2015 under President Obama’s administration there were 62 police fatalities, lower than 101 under Ronald Reagan, 90 under George H.W. Bush, 81 under Bill Clinton, and 72 under George H. Bush.

    Claude “Paradise” Gray of the legendary hip hop group X-Clan said until honest conversations are had, the problem will continue. “Everyone in the media was focused on ‘stop snitching’ but yet the mother of stop snitching is the ‘blue wall of silence,’ ” he explained, referring to the hesitancy or outright failure of police officers to report one another for wrongdoing and illegal activities. 

    Damon Jones, New York representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, said Black police organizations like the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and National Black Police Association have roles in fighting for change on the local, state and federal levels. However Black men and women in blue can’t look at membership in these groups as just an opportunity to get promoted, he said. These groups must be used as catalysts for real change, Mr. Jones said.

    Mr. Jones said his group considers itself Black law enforcement activists and includes Black law enforcement professionals like police, sheriffs, marshals, correction and probation officers and includes civilians with a national membership of around 400 people. The group is very outspoken about the role and responsibility of police, especially their functionality in Black communities. Mr. Jones has 27 years’ experience working in the Westchester County Department of Corrections in New York.

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    Black Lives Matter protest in San Francisco, July 9. Photo: MGN Online
    In the last few months of Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Jones said although he loves his “brother” he is not optimistic anything will change. The narrative must change from police brutality to police criminality, explained Mr. Jones.

    “When a police officer or law enforcement officer violates their policies and procedures and violates their training, it is a crime and the president and local, state and federal elected officials have not gotten to that point where they recognize that,” he said.

    A lot of what needs to change needs to be done at the local level agreed Dr. Jones-DeWeever but one of the things Mr. Obama can enact before he leaves office is an Executive Order that withholds funding if certain directives are not followed. There is nothing in the recommendations in Mr. Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force report that talks about police accountability, she said.
    Under a Trump presidency, Dr. DeWeever predicts nothing would change and would more than likely get worse saying the Republican leader projects and encourages a culture of violence.

    Under a Clinton regime she thinks the presumptive Democratic nominee “would be better” than Mr. Trump but is not sure how aggressive the former first lady would be in addressing and implementing real change—especially given her support of the infamous 1994 Crime Bill signed into law by her husband. The bill ushered in a new era of Black mass incarceration.

    During her address to the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati on July 18, Mrs. Clinton spoke on the need for police and criminal justice reform and acknowledged the fear many Blacks have of police.

    “I would like to point out to the president and to everyone else, what did we do to become the bad guy? We weren’t the ones that kidnapped anybody, brought them to a foreign land, forced them to work as slaves for hundreds of years and then came up with Jim Crow and Black Codes and Slave Codes and all kinds of laws to criminalize us after slavery so that we would continue to be in the Prison Industrial Complex because of the 13th Amendment,” said Mr. Gray.

    “What did we do to become this bad guy that there’s no fear that we should be shot on sight?”

    For additional analysis and commentary shared by Jones Dr. Jones-DeWeever, Mr. Gray and Mr. Jones, on this issue visit simplystarla.blogspot.com.

From The Final Call Newspaper

    Raw racial wounds exposed in Dallas shootings and videotaped killings

    By Richard B. Muhammad and Jihad Hassan Muhammad | Last updated: Jul 12, 2016 - 11:55:25 AM

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    dallas-shootings_07-19-2016a.jpg
    DALLAS—The raw racial wounds that go to America’s core were exposed with the back-to-back shootings of two Black men captured on video and the killings of five police officers in what authorities called a revenge attack for the failure to stop the killings of Black people.


    While the family members of alleged cop killer Micah Xavier Johnson apologized for what police officials said he did, which was allegedly kill officers from a sniper position following a Black Lives Matter march, and expressed sorrow over his death, the nation’s racial divide was more than clear.
    His mother said her son was a different person, “a hermit,” after serving in the U.S. military.

    “Delphine Johnson, the gunman’s mother, said she watched her son transform from a fun-loving extrovert into a ‘hermit’ after his military service, which spanned roughly six years and included a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. While the parents couldn’t recall their son mentioning any particular incident that may have been traumatic during his time as a U.S. Army reservist, they agreed something had changed,” reported The Blaze, an online publication associated with conservative Glenn Beck.
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    Protesters in downtown Dallas evacuate during a sniper attack.

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    Police in downtown Dallas tell civilians to ‘get back’ during a sniper attack on July 7. Photos: MGN Online

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    Police check a car early, July 8, in Dallas. A sniper opened fire on police officers in Dallas July 7; some of the officers were killed. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

    “He loved his country,” his mother said. “He wanted to protect his country.”

    “The military was not what Micah thought it would be,” Ms. Johnson said during an excerpt of the interview that was available online. The full interview was scheduled to air at a later date. “He was very disappointed, very disappointed. But it may be that the ideal that he thought of our government, what he thought the military represented, it just didn’t live up to his expectations.”

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    Alleged Dallas Police shooting suspect, Micah Xavier Johnson
    According to the former soldier’s father, his son began to study Black history and learn more about his history. “The family members said Johnson never showed any outward signs of hatred for White people or any other racial groups. Johnson’s stepmother, Donna, is White. What he did hate was ‘injustice,’ Delphine Johnson said,” according to The Blaze.


    Police said the former U.S. serviceman wanted to kill White people, especially White police officers, and did. The fatal shootings followed the videotaped deaths of Alton Sterling, shot to death by an officer in Baton Rouge, La., while selling CDs and Philando Castile, shot in the chest during a traffic stop with his girlfriend Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds telling the story of what happened outside Minneapolis, Minn., over Facebook Live. As blood seeped from her boyfriend’s chest, her little girl tried to comfort the distraught mother from the backseat of the car.

    It appears that Micah Xavier Johnson’s mind could no longer process the thought of more of his people dying, adding to an already long list of those who have lost their lives at the hands of police officers.

    With this in mind authorities believe Micah Johnson targeted White officers from a downtown Dallas parking garage, killing five officers and injuring seven people the evening of July 7. According to the Dallas Police Department, Mr. Johnson was killed by a robot bomb as negotiations with him became unproductive.

    dallas-shootings_07-19-2016e.jpg
    Dallas Police Chief David Brown (L) and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (R).
    “The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter, he said he was upset about the recent police shootings, the suspect said he was upset at White people, the suspect said he wanted to kill White people, especially White officers,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said of Micah Johnson, as he read slowly and somberly from his prepared statement to the media assembled at Dallas City Hall on the morning of July 8. Chief Brown added that Mr. Johnson said he was not affiliated with any groups and that he acted alone.


    One of the persons named early on as a suspect was Niecee Cornute. She was presumed to have been the female suspect that Mayor Mike Rawlings declined to describe to media outlets. She said she was detained and questioned for close to five hours without being allowed to have outside contact. She spoke exclusively to The Final Call.                     
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    Moments before the gunman (L) guns down a Dallas Police Officer (R).

    “I and my comrades went to rally for the brothers who had been killed by the police on Thursday, July 7.  I heard the shooting start and began to take my phone out and record it. At that time police saw me and told me put my hands up and get on the ground, saying I fit a description of a suspect who was a light-skinned Black female with camouflage pants on, and they took me down to headquarters as what they called a witness, illegally detaining me there,” said Ms. Cornute. 

    As a community organizer and revolutionary Cornute said while the shootings had nothing to do with her, Black people have a right to exist. It is crazy to think people would not be angry with 260 killings of Black people by the police this year with little to no punishment or indictments, she said.

    The supposed last words of Mr. Johnson caused others to try to look deeper into the mind of a man that America’s savage racism and murder of Black people seemingly affected and enraged.
    The militarily-trained Johnson was a former U.S. Army reservist honorably discharged in 2015. High school classmates remembered him as a “fun-loving, goofy guy,” according to the Wall St. Journal.
    A few people who knew Mr. Johnson and who shared similar views about the need for Black liberation told The Final Call, “he was a regular dude, a good dude, a real dude who would joke with you but was serious about the rise of his people.” They spoke with the newspaper on condition of anonymity. They gave interviews around the same time as public statements were made by the Johnson family.

    They attended community events together, discussed the plight of Black people and were concerned about the deaths of Blacks at the hands of police officers—with virtually no one held accountable.
    “I think that he believed that this was his Nat Turner moment and that he saw no other way,” concluded one of the men in the interview with The Final Call. Nat Turner was a slave who led a bloody revolt in Southampton, Va., in 1831. It struck terror in the hearts of Whites across the South and a brutal, bloody backlash against slaves.

    The man said he never had any discussion with Mr. Johnson about armed struggle or racial retaliation. But the actions attributed to Mr. Johnson by the authorities led the man to believe that Mr. Johnson might have acted against police.

    Though they knew nothing prior to the attacks, they were not surprised the Dallas shootings happened. With the number of Black people killed by White officers and the continued deaths of Blacks without any charges, convictions or punishment of officers, it should not be surprising that an armed response came from a Black man, they said.

    While Chief Brown touted what he called policing reforms, others said Dallas still has its own problems with policing and racism. “The same city (Dallas) didn’t let Martin Luther King in in ’66; the same city that murdered Tobias Mackey and Xavier Collins in 2010 and had to pay $900,000, these are the conditions that created Micah, we cannot forget such conditions that created him,” said grassroots organizer Yafeuh Balogun of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club.

    Dallas remained tense after the shootings, with a lockdown of police headquarters and President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush scheduled to speak in Texas as The Final Call went to press. The president roundly and loudly condemned the killings of the police officers. He also expressed concern about police shootings.

    Across the country demonstrators took to streets after the Dallas shootings and just before it: In Minneapolis, St. Paul and Atlanta, hundreds of protesters shut down highways. In London, a large group of protesters brought the streets of the city to a standstill, forcing traffic to other routes for hours. Demonstrators gathered in Los Angeles some 2,000 strong and Chicago protestors July 11 took to downtown streets to disrupt traffic and trade. Days earlier they protested at the popular Taste of Chicago downtown tourist event.

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    Fruit of Islam Jaami Muhammad with rapper The Game and his call for a unity rally in front of LAPD headquarters July 8. Photo: Charlene Muhammad
    In Los Angeles, rappers The Game and Snoop Dogg rallied July 8 with more than 100 men, primarily Black and Latino, including street organization members, outside LAPD headquarters, before meeting with Chief Charlie Beck. Hip hop guru Russell Simmons said in a Facebook video that he wanted to work with Snoop, The Game, Kam and the Nation of Islam to develop the 10,000 Fearless that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan called for to end violence and make Black communities decent places to live.


    The Nation of Islam and Fruit of Islam Capt. Dennis Muhammad in Columbus, Ohio and founder of The Peacekeepers can help with this effort, he said. They can help protect the community from crime and from bad cops, Mr. Simmons added July 9. Mr. Simmons also plans to speak to Black law enforcement executives in working to get police sensitized and under control.

    “I think we are going to get between the guns and the gangs, and the guns between the police and the people and we are going to need strong Black men to do that,” said Mr. Simmons.

    “I want to thank Minister Louis Farrakhan, for putting the spirit in me to do what I am supposed to be doing,” added Snoop Dogg.

    Meanwhile in Dallas, those once called suspects have been let go but found it hard to return to a normal life. Some early media coverage blasted their names and pictures to the general public—with little explanation and no exoneration.

    Ms. Cornute said despite her and others being wrongly identified, her work must continue. “I heard one of the other so-called suspects was recently ambushed by a group of White supremacists because, like me, his face has been blasted all over the internet and the media,” she said.

    “It has been very reckless the way White America has handled this news story this is why I am talking to The Final Call,” said Ms. Cornute. “I will defend myself as a member of the Black Women’s Defense League.”

    It may be popular to distance between activists and “revolutionary violence,” she continued. Yet everything else has been tried and “they continue to perpetrate evil and murder on our community. We will stay on the path of African liberation working against White Supremacy economically, physically, mentally, politically, and spiritually, I believe they are all imperative to gain our liberation,” said Ms. Cornute.

    “Are we processing that none of the people were really engaged in an activity that even justified having a police encounter of the type that would lead to your death?” asked Dr. Ava Muhammad, an attorney and student national spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

    Change will come when people follow the divine guidance and instructions of Minister Farrakhan.
    “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan warned Black people during the Justice or Else! tour that we are under chastisement as a people … because as a people we have rejected God’s plan for our salvation,” she stated. That plan, according to the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad is divinely-ordered separation, in fulfillment of biblical and Quranic scripture.

    “That plan is a complete separation. That plan is for us to go for self, and he did not leave us without very precise, very specific, very clear guidance as to how to execute that plan,” said Atty. Muhammad.

    She recalled Min. Farrakhan’s call for 10,000 fearless Black men and women to go to work to make their neighborhoods decent, safe places to live. “That is the beginning of the separation process, of going for self. It begins with coming together in small clusters and enclaves as every other group of people on earth does in what we call neighborhoods,” Dr. Muhammad told The Final Call. Those actions naturally produce stores, schools, places of worship, businesses, she said.
    (Charlene Muhammad contributed to this report.)
    The battle for equity continuesBy Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent- | Last updated: May 16, 2016 - 12:21:32 PM

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    Urban League report examines gains, losses for a people in the valley of decision
    state-of-black-america_05-24-2016a.jpg
    (L-R) Ruby Bridges first day of school Photo: Youtube.com, Dorothty Counts taunted by White students Photo: cmhbs.org, Young Black Lives Matter protesters Photo: J.A. Salaam, Young minimum wage protesters Photo: Nationofchange.org, Modern Slave poster Photo: Facebook/F.A.M. (FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT); In 1965 the call by Blacks was for jobs, housing and justice. Photo: Wikipedia.com

    The condition of Blacks in America has not changed much in 40 years points out the 2016 State of Black America (SOBA) report released by the National Urban League (NUL).

    The similarities are disheartening, said Marc Morial, president of the non-profit organization that advocates Black economic advancement, parity, political power and civil rights.
    “We’re trying to highlight this 40 year lens … We’re also trying to highlight the fact that these disparities that exist are still significant and required the nation’s attention,” Mr. Morial told reporters during a May 12 teleconference.
    Locked out then and now
    This year, the National Urban League released its 40th edition of the seminal report May 17 during its Legislative Policy Conference, and from the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
    “Locked Out:  Education, Jobs and Justice,” includes a retrospective of Black life in America since Vernon Jordan, Jr., then executive director, published the first State of Black America report in 1976.  

    While clusters of improvements can be noted across the board for Blacks and Whites, unfortunately the findings tell a clear story that significant disparities remain and have not been resolved by any gains, particularly in income and employment.

    Schools in 1976 had been legally desegregated for 22 years.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was 12 years old.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 had been in place 11 years, and the economy was one year into economic recovery from the recession that lasted from November 1973 to March 1975, the document reports.
                        
    state-of-black-america_05-24-2016b.jpg

    Blacks were nearly twice as likely as Whites to be unemployed; the median Black household had only 59 cents for every dollar of income in the median White household; and Blacks were three times more likely to live in poverty than Whites.

    While racial disparities continued to persist more than a decade after several pieces of landmark equal rights legislation passed, there has been some progress, SOBA researchers found.

    “Between 1963 and 1976, Blacks experienced tremendous gains in school enrollment and educational attainment.  In 1963, only one-quarter of Black adults had completed high school.  By 1976, that number had grown to 43.8 percent,” SOBA said. 

    There were more than twice as many Black 18-24 year olds enrolled in college in 1976 than in 1963; the standard of living for Black Americans had also risen over that 13-year period; and despite the fact that the Black poverty rate was three times more than for Whites in 1963 and 1976, the rates for both groups had fallen significantly over that time (down 21.6 and 6.2 percentage points for Blacks and Whites, respectively). 

    In addition by 1976, the Black-White income gap had closed six percentage points (from 53 percent in 1963), and the homeownership gap had closed 10 percentage points (from 55 percent in 1963 to 65 percent in 1976).

    “Very importantly, of the 40 year comparison, what jumped out at me was the idea that the Black homeownership rate in 2016 is the same as it was in 1976,” stated Mr. Morial.

    Bad to better?
    “If I could wave a magic wand and write the headline of what I’m about to say to you … the headline would read simply ‘The state of economics in Black America is still bad, but with positive signs of improvement,’ ” said George Fraser, CEO of FraserNet Inc., which works to increase entrepreneurship, wealth and creating jobs for Blacks. Its mission is to make Black people the number one employers of Black people.

    Black poverty worsened, certainly compared to anything within the last 50 years, he said.  “It is so bad, because Black homeownership has not recovered from the 250,000 homes we lost going to 2008 economic crises.  And we know that home-ownership is the cornerstone for the inter-generation of transfer of wealth,” Mr. Fraser told The Final Call.

    He said conditions are also still bad, because Blacks’ inter-generation transfer of wealth to children has not improved due to poor insurance protective practices, and Blacks still are not recycling their dollars.  There is too much frivolous spending, he said.

    Mr. Fraser cited consciousness shifting from jobs to equity and ownership as signs of improvement.  The Black mantra is shifting from that of their forefathers and ancestors, get a good education and get a good job, to get a good education and create a job, he said.

    “Create a job for yourself.  Create a job for your children, and if God gives you the power and the glory to, create working jobs for our people.”
    state-of-black-america_05-24-2016c.jpg


    Main Street Marshall Plan

    The State of Black America 2016 also emphasizes the National Urban League’s “Mainstream Marshall Plan:  From Poverty to Prosperity,” which envisions a trillion dollar, 5-year initiative to invest in distressed communities.

    In part it would help curb poverty levels for both Black and White America, which it indicates also have not budged, given a point or two, since 1976.  The top three recommendations center on universal early childhood education, increasing the federal living wage to $15 per hour indexed to inflation and developing a plan to fund comprehensive urban infrastructure.

    “We’re talking. We’re highlighting the challenges, and then, we’re proposing some solutions,” Mr. Morial said.

    The plan also recommends developing a new Main Street small- and micro-business financing plan focusing on minority-and-women-owned businesses; expanding homeownership strategies; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; and targeted re-entry workforce training programs administered through community-based organizations.

    One recommendation law-makers could accomplish right away is to expand the youth employment program, Mr. Morial insisted.

    “I believe that the Black community has been resilient, strong, withstood the ravages of the recession, however, that the work ahead to confront the deep and difficult economic problems are not going to be easy,” Mr. Morial stated.

    He acknowledged the first Black president has been constrained by the legislative branch.
    Some 300 Urban Leaguers delivered its report to members of Congress, and to members of President Obama’s administration. 

    “We want people to see what the numbers say, but we also want them to focus on some of the solutions,” Mr. Morial said.  

    Low priority
    “Closing the racial economic gap has not been a priority for anybody,” said Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist, author, and former president of Bennett College for Women.

    She said while people have been interested in seeing, they have not been interested in closing that gap.  “In order to do that, that requires us to target the disadvantaged, which would be unemployed African-Americans, and this president, despite all of his good intentions, has simply not done that,” Dr. Malveaux told The Final Call.

    She said just letting the rising tide lift all the loads might render people better off collectively, but not from a community perspective.
                        
    state-of-black-america_05-24-2016d.jpg
    Today, many say the call is still for jobs, housing and justice. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

    “That’s the bottom line, no one has seen the material condition of African-American people be a priority matter in terms of their platforms, and that has been true of every president … call the roll of Jimmy Carter, of Ronald Reagan, of Bill Clinton, of Bush 1 of Bush 2,” Dr. Malveaux continued.

    When the above have simply said ‘let’s improve the macro-economic situation,’ the improvement was fine but failed to close gaps, she explained.

    As she reiterates in her new book, “Are We Better Off:  Race, Obama and Public Policy,” Dr. Malveaux said Blacks just don’t ask for what they need.  “You will not get fed in your mother’s house if you do not bring your plate to the table.  And we do not bring our plate to the table.  We assumed that in this Obama presidency, he knew what we needed,” she stated.

    The problem is Blacks did not ask him, nor did they push him on their needs, so he did what he did, according to Dr. Malveaux.  She said Blacks tried to play nice and tried to make sure no one criticized him.

    “I’m not blaming him at all, but I’m just saying a squeaky wheel will get the grease … Latinos are criticizing him. The LBGT criticizes him … but we’re the only ones who want to hold our power back, and by holding our power back, what we’re saying is we’re unwilling to engage this president in what he needs to do for our community,” said. Dr. Malveaux.

    More recommendations for solutions SOBA offered were to double the Pell Grant program to make college more affordable, expand financial literacy and homebuyer education and counseling; expand the low-income housing voucher “Section 8” program and establish Green Empowerment Zones in neighborhoods with high unemployment.

    In addition, making affordable high-speed broadband and technology available to all, and increased federal funding to local school districts to help eliminate resource equity gaps are proposed.
    “We have to challenge these candidates on what their agenda is, and we have to change the conversation from asking them what their agenda is to a conversation that says can you support our agenda,”  said Marc Morial.

    Equality Index
    In the 1960s and 1970s, poverty rates declined, then pushed forward after that, according to the SOBA report.  Mr. Morial said that stemmed from former Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s lost war on poverty, as well as former Pres. Ronald Reagan’s dramatic cuts in domestic programs, in safety net programs, the early 1980s recession in the Northeast and Midwest and late 80s recession in the Sun Belt due to the decline of oil. 

    In addition, minimum wage increases have been sporadic and have not kept the pace with inflation over the last 40 years and have been dramatic in the last 10 years, he explained.

    “Poverty in America should not be understood as ‘unemployment in America.’  A lot of poverty in America is working people who earn money but they don’t earn sufficient money to pay their bills,” Mr. Morial said.

    He added, “We have to confront that we’ve been going through a period of 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, 60 years after Brown v. Board.  We have to confront this remaining set of issues, which really are around economic inequality, racial economic inequality, and that’s what we have to focus on in the future.”

    SOBA’s effort includes this year’s Equality Index, which gives a snapshot of inequalities people face in their hometowns.  Researchers looked at employment and income equality for Blacks and Whites, Hispanics and Whites in 70 metropolitan areas.

    The Black-White Index indicates Black America stands at 72.2 percent of where Whites stand in various socio-economic categories compared to a revised 2015 index of 72.0 percent. 

    The report indicates an increase in the education index stemmed from improvements in college attainment and enrollment.  The increase in the economics index came primarily through progress in closing the digital divide as well as lower denial rates for Blacks seeking mortgage and home improvement loans. 

    The unemployment and homeownership gaps remained unchanged from the previous year, and improvements in the social justice index resulted from a decline in the Black incarceration rate, while the incarceration rate for Whites following an arrest grew by more than the rate for Blacks.

    Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development)—Expanding Economic Opportunity, identified raising the minimum wage to $15 and homeownership as some paths out of poverty and some of the disparities highlighted by SOBA.

    He noted that the 1967 Freedom Budget advocated by strong civil rights advocates like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael), the NAACP and Urban League aimed to really advance Black freedom. 

    “Obviously, those things weren’t implemented and that I think is a root of much of the challenges we face today, but part of that was to raise the minimum wage and the number that they had would have been about $14 in today’s dollars,” he said.

    “It’s interesting that they were calling for a minimum wage all the way back to 1967, which we haven’t hit.  So I do think the $15 minimum wage is an important step forward particularly when you look at currently $7.25 is the federal minimum wage.  So clearly that is an important step,” Mr. Asante-Muhammad told The Final Call.

    Homeownership is essential, he said, because while Blacks are clearly never going to get to 100 percent home ownership rate of Whites, it is at least the number one asset and source of wealth for all Americans.

    Blacks need what has been offered to make Whites majority homeowners, Mr. Asante-Muhammad recommended. That has been massive investment into home ownership, government programs—oftentimes the GI Bill—that allowed people with very little income to put up a down payment and have affordable mortgage payments.

    He argued, “Some people will try to push forth this idea that people should put more in stocks and less in homes, but everyone has to live somewhere.  So if your housing cost can be an asset versus renting, or your housing cost is just a deficit that you spend every month and you get no return and some people will teach you home ownership say you only get on average one percent return or two percent return but one percent is a much better return than no return at all … which is the other option?”

    Put the Muslim Program Before Congress
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    The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan did as advised by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and has taken the Nation of Islam patriarch’s Muslim Program to the steps of the Congress of the United States. Photo: NOI.org/TheTime
    In his unprecedented 52-week series, “The Time and What Must Be Done,” and again during his keynote address at the historic 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March—Justice or Else! gathering, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan did as advised by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He took the Nation of Islam patriarch’s Muslim Program to the steps of the Congress of the United States. The solution for Blacks in America lies in guidance laid out by Mr. Muhammad, teaches Min. Farrakhan, his National Representative.


    “Your program—the one I have given you which is carried in the first part of this chapter—should be put before Congress.  The Civil Rights Bill and integration will not stand and can never bring independence to you and your people, no matter who is President.  The wisest and surest way to success is to unite behind me. I assure you that, with the help of Allah, you will accomplish your goals—money, good homes, and friendships in all walks of life,” said Min. Farrakhan, quoting from Mr. Muhammad’s seminal book, Message To The Blackman in America in the chapter titled “Program and Position.” “Ultimately we are going to be such a troublesome species of property that the Congress itself is going to have to rule on something like this,” the Minister continued. 

    Minister Farrakhan pointed out during his October 10, 2015 address on the steps of the Nation’s Capital in Washington, D.C., “The Muslim Program, which appeared in The Muhammad Speaks newspaper and appears inside The Final Call, it is not just for Muslims. It calls for justice regardless of creed, class or color.”

    In its over 85 year history in America, the Nation of Islam has taught that Black people must unite, pool their resources, purchase land and stop “begging” from the government or others what they can and must do for themselves. “Politics without economics is symbol without substance,” Min. Farrakhan has repeatedly pointed out.