50 years later, the plague of substandard lifestyle prevails

 

Dr Martin Luther King Jr whose "I Have a Dream" speech and March on Washington were honored by President Barack Obama on the 50th anniversary.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr whose “I Have a Dream” speech and March on Washington were honored by President Barack Obama on the 50th anniversary.

By Carmen Glover

As the sea of faces gazed across the Washington Mall on Saturday, August 24 and Wednesday, August 28 in the two marches held to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington, many eyes were transfixed on the myriad of speakers. Those at the podium eloquently described the urgent issues that need to be addressed in this era:more quality jobs, better educational options, equitable pay, quality housing, affordable health care, elimination of stop and frisk, gun violence, voter suppression and Stand Your Ground laws.

President Barack Obama speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in celebration of Dr King's "I  Have a Dream" speech.

President Barack Obama speaks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in celebration of Dr King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“We need jobs,” said the Revered Al Sharpton, whose National Action Network, in conjunction with Martin Luther King III, organized Saturday’s march.  “Yes we will raise the minimum wage because you cannot survive on $7.25,” said NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.

Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the crowd.

Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the crowd.

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Myrlie Evers-Williams.

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Myrlie Evers-Williams.

Nine-year-old Asean Johnson, who hails from President Barack Obama’s home state of Chicago, was the youngest speaker on Saturday. Johnson said he was marching for “better schools, peace and no racism in the world.” Fifty years prior, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, at 23, was the youngest speaker and today is the only person alive who spoke at the March of 1963.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis makes a point.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis makes a point.

 

Georgia Rep. John Lewis waves to the crowd.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis waves to the crowd while standing next to the historic bell, a remnant from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr King with a younger John Lewis in 1963.

Dr King with a younger John Lewis in 1963.

“I am not going to stand down and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us,” Lewis stated passionately as he invoked the painful memories that litter the nation’s history of the struggles blacks experienced in their battle to vote. Attorney General Eric Holder elicited the most applause when he said: “The struggle most go on. The quest must, and will, go on until every eligible African- American exercises his or her right to vote.” Adding her voice to the theme of voting rights, Myrlie Evers-Williams was resolute: “We must be sure that nothing is taken away from us,” she said.

Christine King Farris, Dr King's sister, addresses the crowd.

Christine King Farris, Dr King’s sister, addresses the crowd.

Yet despite the various social, economic and judicial issues that continue to plague African-Americans, there have been some significant areas of progress. Many people went to the polls in 2008 and again in 2012 to elect and re-elect President Obama, while still being uncertain that their votes would matter. Obama steadfastly rises above a Congress that has repeatedly articulated being invested wholeheartedly in diminishing his achievements.

Reverend Al Sharpton shares a moment with Martin Luther King III.

Reverend Al Sharpton shares a moment with Martin Luther King III.

Congress has held the country’s jobs bill and economic agenda hostage, prompting the African-American community and supporters of fairness to become even more energized to ensure Obama’s success. Many who marched on Washington, whether 50 years ago or this week, could never before envision a president who is half black and half white. Many at the marches could not envision the inroads that  African-Americans have made by graduating from high school in larger numbers, earning college degrees, embracing political careers and impacting society in the many areas that they have.

Anthony Billups, his sister Mylene Marlin ans his mother Darlene Marlin hold their signs at the march.

Anthony Billups, his sister Mylene Marlin and his mother, Darlene Marlin, hold their signs at the march.

But, like Attorney Holder stated, “the struggle must go on.” In the same way that the younger generation went out in droves to elect the president, so too have they re-energized the civil rights movement. The youth have marched and led protests, such as the actions being taken by the Dream Defenders in Florida as they agitate to end Stand Your Ground laws. Students from all over the county converged on Washington to make their voices heard. Howard University students, in particular, were front and center.

Anthony Billups, a graduate of Northeastern and Arizona State Universities, with undergraduate and master’s degrees in Math, marched on Saturday with his family, who reside in New York’s Staten Island community. “I attended both inaugurations of the current president and I wanted to be a part of this historic march as well,” he said.  Billups’ 12-year-old sister, Mylene Marlin, was excited to participate in the march and proudly displayed her sign which read “I am empowered,” while their mother looked on.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both addressed the crowd.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both addressed the crowd.

So when President Obama addressed the crowd on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, people of all colors and backgrounds listened intently. President Obama reflected on the March of 1963 by describing the “courage” that it took and the need for continued “vigilance” to keep the fight going.

“Change does not come from Washington, it comes to Washington,” Obama said, adding: “In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.” In the same way that young people marched in 1963, President Obama called on the youth today to become active in the effort to ensure that “all people get a fair shot.” Making the connection between disenchanted youth and the damaging impact on society, President Obama said “the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth.” He called on the “imagination and hunger of purpose of the young,” as critical ingredients for a revitalized call to action. “We now have a choice: we can continue down the same path of we can have the courage to change,” he said.

Myrllie Evers-Williams speaks to the gathering.

Myrllie Evers-Williams speaks to the gathering.

President Obama celebrated the achievements that have been made in the country since the first March on Washington but he emphasized the areas that still need fixing. “Black unemployment remains twice as high as whites,” he said, and he cited economic equality as “our great unfinished business” from 1963, which makes “upward mobility harder.” A plethora of speakers united to make the commemoration memorable and when Dr King’s family rang the bell at 3:00 PM in honor of his memory, the act was symbolic because the bell came from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where in 1963, shortly after the March on Washington, four black girls were killed in a bombing initiated by a white supremacist. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter added an important context to the day, especially since on the day of the 1963 March; the president chose to avoid the event.

Media icon Oprah WInfrey shares her thoughts.

Media icon Oprah Winfrey shares her thoughts.

Among the notables in attendance to hear President Obama’s speech and add their thoughts were: Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx, Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador Andrew Young, Christine King Farris who is Dr King’s 85-year-old sister, Dr King’s surviving children and grandchild and many of the speakers from Saturday’s march.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd as they leave the event.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd as they leave the event.

The legacy of Dr King’s lifelong activism and the brilliance of his oratorical skills will live on but like President Obama stated, change takes courage. It remains to be seen how many will heed that call and demonstrate the courage that is needed to address the substandard lifestyle that prevails in many minority communities today.  –OnPointPress.net

 

 

Actress hosts, media pioneer honored, at Jamaica’s independence ball

 

(l-R) Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie, Alison Lyle, Paulette Willoughby (JICFI Chair) pose with  Hionorees Bobby Clarke, Heather Foster, Ray Goulbourne and Consul General Herman G. LaMont.

(l-R) Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie, Alison Lyle, Paulette Willoughby, chair of JICFI, pose with honorees Robert “Bobby” Clarke, Heather Foster, Ray Goulbourne and Consul General Herman G. LaMont. –Roland Hyde Photo.

By Carmen Glover

The American ballroom at New York’s Hilton Hotel exploded in a kaleidoscope of black, green and gold, Jamaica’s vibrant national colors, as a diverse group of guests celebrated the country’s 51 years of independence.

The festive event took place on Saturday, August 17, 2013 and featured actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, a proud Jamaican national, as mistress of ceremonies. Ralph wore one of the country’s folk costumes during one of her many wardrobe changes, eliciting nostalgic gasps. Media pioneer  and CEO  of Irie Jam Media Robert “Bobby” Clarke, joined Heather J. Foster, associate director of public engagement at the White House and Ray Goulbourne, executive vice president of broadcast media sales at BET, as professionals whose career achievements were honored at the event.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, her mother and Christine Steel of Fly Jamaica in Jamaican folk costumes.--Roland Hyde Photo

Sheryl Lee Ralph, her mother and Christine Steel of Fly Jamaica in Jamaican folk costumes.–Roland Hyde Photo

The function began with a cocktail reception and silent auction, which included items such as a painting of sprint star Usain Bolt.

Jamaica's Ambassador to the USA Professor Stephen Vasciannie addresses the gathering.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the USA Professor Stephen Vasciannie addresses the gathering. –Roland Hyde Photo.

In the night’s opening remarks, Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Herman G. LaMont, said: “We plan to work hard together and play together,” as he encouraged the attendees to have a good time.  He was followed by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America Professor Stephen Vasciannie, who said that Jamaicans “must double our efforts to maintain good relations with the USA.” Ambassador Vasciannie decried the large numbers of Jamaicans being deported and urged the guests to “encourage those Jamaicans who are inclined to stay in the United States to live within the confines of the law.” His remarks were greeted with strong applause.

Jamaica's Consul General to New York Herman LaMont addresses the guests.

Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Herman LaMont addresses the guests.-Roland Hyde Photo.

During a lull in the festivities, Ralph brought her mother and cousin on stage to showcase her mother’s clothing designs. She then led the audience in a sing-a- long of the nation’s folk songs including “Evening Time,” “Long Time Gal” and “Day Oh,” which entertainer Harry Belafonte made famous.

Guests at the event listen intently.

Guests at the event listen intently.–Roland Hyde Photo.

While eyeing the ballroom floor longingly in a desire to dance, the audience had to be coaxed by Ralph to applaud the honorees with more energy. “Being able to be the ambassador for the Jamaican people at the White House is very special,” said Foster in accepting her award. Clarke thanked his family, executive team and listeners. “Irie Jam has been around for 20 years and what we do is a labor of love,” he said. Meanwhile, Goulbourne thanked his friends and family, spoke of being a “son of Jamaican soil” and stated that “usually I’m not the one who gets the awards.”

L-R: Bobby Clarke of Irie Jam Media poses with members of his team, Syntyche Dawkins, Michael Williams and Louis Grant. Roland Hyde Photo.

L-R: Robert “Bobby” Clarke of Irie Jam Media poses with members of his team, Syntyche Dawkins, Michael Williams and Louis Grant. Roland Hyde Photo.

The mood of the guests seemed upbeat, despite some lulls in the event. Overall, the guests interacted with each other and socialized in a manner that demonstrated pride in Jamaica’s fifty first birthday and agreement with the recipients selected for the night’s awards. Music was provided by Fab Five Band.—OnPointPress.net

 

Respected, beloved, Jamaican diplomat prepares to return home

Jamaica's High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

Jamaica’s High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

 

By Carmen Glover

There is an adage that underpins most successful careers: If you do what you love, you will always succeed. For Lincoln Downer, a Jamaican diplomat with a vast repertoire of foreign relations experience, that adage holds true. Downer has dedicated his life to serving the Jamaican community as a diplomat, accepting assignments across the globe and adroitly making spectacular contributions while simultaneously strengthening his legacy and sterling reputation. As his latest assignment in England comes to a close, Downer is focused on returning to his native Jamaica, eager to explore the new adventures that await him in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being "The High Commissioner's Consort" with the audience.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being “The High Commissioner’s Consort” with the audience.

“I started my diplomatic career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs years ago,” Downer stated in a recent telephone interview from England. He served as a protocol officer for three years in that ministry, processing documents for senior government officials as they prepared for meetings overseas. In that capacity, he also translated documents that were necessary to enhance the preparation process for those officials. “I have always enjoyed using my skills to make a meaningful impact and effect change, no matter what the assignment,” he said.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

 

Mr Downer stands with Mrs P. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

Mr Downer stands with Mrs. Pancy. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

Those who have worked with him agree. “Lincoln Downer may be referred to as the ultimate protocol expert,” said Deputy Director of Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Mr. Ephieum Allen. “His contribution to matters relating to Jamaica’s immigration, citizenship and passport has been integral to the vision of the government of Jamaica.”

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

For the past five years, Downer has worked at the Jamaican High Commission in London, England, in the role of Minister Counsellor for Diaspora and Consular Affairs. “My primary functions for the past five years have been to engage the Jamaican community, provide resources and services, build on relationships and manage the operations of the consular portion of the High Commission,” he said, reflecting on his achievements in the position. “I think I would say my proudest achievements in this post  are completely revamping the consular operations by implementing procedures that resulted in greater transparency and accountability as well as improving the relationships and access for the local Jamaican community so that the consular operations are not as mysterious.”

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

Intrinsic to Downer’s success in the tapestry of his diplomatic career has been a humble, authentic personality that has allowed him to win and maintain the trust and admiration of the constituents that he serves as well as his peers and superiors. His affable nature, caring interactions and willingness to lend a helping hand, offer a word of prayer or simply share a word of encouragement has won him acclaim, love, support and respect. None of which he takes for granted.

 

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey, chair of Jamaicans Inspired Nathaniel presents gift

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey and  Nathaniel Peat, chair of Jamaicans Inspired. present gift to Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer.


“From the outside looking in, it’s not easy to understand some of the opportunities I have been fortunate to experience,” he said, reminiscing on his assignment immediately before he assumed his current post. “When I worked at the Jamaican Consulate in New York as a vice consul from 1998-2001, it never crossed my mind that I would return there as acting consul general from 2007-2008 before coming to England,” he stated, adding, “that is why it is so important to get along with people from all walks of life because you never know where you will end up.”

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council,  Huddersfield, England.

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council, Huddersfield, England.

Downer earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in 1995 and a certificate of translation in Spanish and English in 1997. But for Downer, who prides himself on learning as much as possible to effectively serve in his various posts, education is an ongoing process. Inspired to keep his skills sharp and evolving, he earned a diploma from the International Organization on Migration in Argentina in 2005 on inter-American migration, followed in 2007 with certification in the performance management training system.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London, Reading, England.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London and Reading, England.

“I look forward to returning to Jamaica to see what lies in store for me,” said Downer, whose time in England ends this weekend.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

The real measure of achievement for professionals who are committed to their craft is the regard with which they are viewed in the community that they serve. For Downer, who has been enjoying a month-long farewell tour replete with receptions, gifts, hugs and embraces, the measure of his impact is felt profoundly among an audience who view him with mixed emotions: torn that he is moving on, while being comforted by the knowledge that wherever he goes next, his steps are ordered and he will be in the right place at the right time.—OnPointPress.net

Oakland groups prepare students for school

 

Oakland families participate in back to school event.

Oakland families participate in back to school event.

By LaNiece Jones

Oakland, CA:  Oakland’s City Hall hosted the sixth annual “Attend and Achieve Back to School Event,” this past Saturday, August 17.  The event was organized by a partnership including Oakland Natives Giveback (“ONGB”), office of Assembly member Rob Bonta, office of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and other community-based organizations. More than 900 residents attended the event, which highlighted the importance of regular school attendance.

Oakland children enjoy back to school festivities.

Oakland children enjoy back to school festivities.

“A cohesive effort from across the City of Oakland is needed to reach our ambitious goals for student achievement,” said Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee. “That effort begins by ensuring that students are in class on the first day of school and every day thereafter, prepared to learn and equipped with the tools and support required to do so.” Attendees received school supplies and participated in enrichment workshops covering topics such as academic success tools, school planning tips and community resources.

Oakland students enjoy activities at the event.

Oakland students enjoy activities at the event.

“Events like the ONGB Back-to-School Rally provide a festive, yet instructive, environment that emphasizes the importance of regular attendance and aligns community partners around the common goal of providing the conditions necessary for high student performance and success in college, career and life,” Yee said.

Assembly member Rob Bonta emphasized the need for balanced portrayals to strengthen the community. “With all that is going on in our community and in the media, it is important that we wrap our arms around our children and show them and the entire community that we care,” he said. “These children will be some of the most talented in our state and it’s so important that we foster that talent and encourage each of them to pursue the positive paths and lives they deserve.”

Oakland community comes together in back to school effort.

Oakland community comes together in back to school effort.

ONGB’s focus has always been to relieve some of the burden parents experience by helping to ensure children have positive experiences around education.

“Back-to-school time is filled with precious memories from my childhood. I recall when my mom would come home from work with a bag full of school supplies and a brand new backpack for me. My face would light up,” said Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt, co-founder of ONGB. “Having my supplies prior to the first day of school gave me the confidence I needed to feel prepared.  Every child should experience that excitement and confidence on the first day and beyond.”

For more information on Oakland Natives Giveback, visitwww.oaklandnatives.org.

–OnPointPress.net

 

Olympic icons, track and field prowess, celebrated by NYC reunion group

Olympic track and field icon Dr John Carols, whose shared black power protest with Tommie Smith, poses with women from the PAL and Atoms Track Club.

Olympic track and field icon Dr John Carlos (far right), who, at 1968 Summer Olympics shared in black  power protest with Tommie Smith, poses with women from the Police Athletic League (PAL) Women’s Track Team and Atoms Track Club at the New York City Metro Area Track Reunion.-Hayden Celestin Photo.

 

 

By Carmen Glover

On Saturday, August 17, 2013, stalwarts of track and field came together at Brooklyn’s Garden 54, a unique East Flatbush, Brooklyn, locale, to celebrate an impressive era in the sport of track and field. The inaugural event, organized by the New York City Metro Area Track Reunion, featured stellar names in the sport, including Dr John Carlos, who in 1968 was a third place bronze medalist in the Summer Olympics in Mexico City and participated in the iconic black power protest with fellow athlete Tommie Smith; Dr Seymour “Mac” Goldstein, a chiropractor who is viewed as a pioneer in treating sports related injuries by utilizing cutting edge chiropractic techniques; Fred Thompson, founder of the Atoms Track Club and founder of the Colgate Women’s Games; Vincent Matthews, a graduate of Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York, who is better known for winning a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics in Munich when he placed first in the 400 meters dash and Lorna Forde, Barbadian Olympian who ran for the Atoms Track Club and still competes today.

Fed Thompson (seated, founder of the Atoms Track Club and founder of Colgate Women's Games,  gets a hug from Olympic icon Dr John Carlos.

Fred Thompson (seated), founder of the Atoms Track Club and founder of Colgate Women’s Games, gets a hug from Olympic icon Dr John Carlos.-Hayden Celestin Photo.

“For the first event it went extremely well. People came from New York and those who had relocated to as far as Los Angeles came,” said Jared McCallister, senior production editor at the New York Daily News, who ran track in the city for Boys High School, now renamed Boys and Girls High School. “The event was organized to reunite track athletes who participated in the New York tri-state area and ran track in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.”

Dr Seymour "Mac" Goldstein, chiropractor pioneer who successfully treats athletes for more than 50 years, stands with Olympian Vincent Matthews.

Dr Seymour “Mac” Goldstein, chiropractor pioneer who successfully treats athletes for more than 50 years, stands with Olympian Vincent Matthews.-Hayden Celestin Photo.

McCallister, who wrote about the event as the date approached, generating much needed publicity, said it was empowering to have the opportunity to relive his experiences as a track athlete and to interact with his peers, coaches and other prominent public and Catholic school track professionals who contributed significantly to the sport.  The event coincided with the culmination of the World Games in Moscow, where Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won three separate events. The New York City Metro Track Reunion is relevant as a tangible connection to the feats of track and field athletes in the tri-state area that can serve to inspire current athletes to strive for spectacular achievements in the future.

NYC Metro Area Track Reunion logo.

NYC Metro Area Track Reunion logo.

Among the attendees were members of the Police Athletic League (PAL) Women’s Track Team, the Atoms Track Club and Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams. The organizers of the event hope to expand the scope of the reunion activities to include initiatives that can further enhance the performance of local aspiring track and field stars.–OnPointPress.net.

Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph set to host Jamaica’s independence ball

Jamaica-born entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Jamaican-born entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph.

By Andrea Daley

New York: On Saturday, August 17, actress, singer and activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph, who has flown the flag of Jamaica high for decades, will serve as mistress of ceremonies at Jamaica’s 51st anniversary of independence ball. The event will be held at the New York Hilton Hotel. This marquee event is the highlight of social activities in the Jamaican community and serves to bring together supporters of Jamaica who lead the charge to expand the channels of financial contribution to the island.

“I was so excited when I got the invitation to host the Jamaica Independence Ball in New York,” Ralph said. “I remember so clearly, Jamaica’s first independence. My brother Stanley and I were chosen from a group of children in Mandeville to participate in a dance and song to perform for Princess Margaret when she came to visit the island. I will never forget that Independence Day as long as I live”

Ralph’s love and support for Jamaica is unquestioned. She currently serves as the spokeswoman for the country’s national HIV response program, a role she relishes. Ralph is the founder of the Diva Foundation, (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed), a non-profit organization created in memory of the many friends she has lost to HIV/AIDS. This international effort focuses on raising awareness and funding on behalf of millions worldwide who suffer from the disease. Ralph has given back to Jamaica through the arts as well.  One such standout is the Jamerican Film & Music Film Festival, which she successfully organized for a number of years, attracting the influential and powerful in the entertainment industry to the shores of Jamaica. The festival is credited with producing five SHOWTIME filmmaker finalists over its five-year tenure.

“I love celebrating the independence of our great island nation. I’m also looking forward to the fact that my mom, Ivy Ralph, OD, has whipped up another gorgeous gown for me to wear for the evening. I love the fact that Jamaica has a prime minister who represents a strong figure for the rest of the world,” Ralph stated. “I love the fact that we are battling with things like human rights and as difficult as it is we are trying to bring it to the forefront of our society. I just love the fact that we’re a small nation trying to make the best of it and move forward in a positive light. I guess I’ve said all of that to say, I love Jamaica. I really love Jamaica.”

The 21-year-old annual ball has received strong support from the community. Several prominent business enterprises with Jamaicans in positions of leadership are sponsors of this year’s ball. For more information, visit http://www.jicfi.org.–OnPointPress.net.

 

Should Kobe Bryant be asked the PED question?

By  Charles Glover Jr.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Athletes across the sports globe have been riddled with accusations and revelations of Performance Enhancing Drug use this summer. Top-named athletes in Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Track and Field have been caught using PEDs at what seems like a heightened rate, sparking debate amongst sports columnists, analysts, and fans about which athletes they can actually believe have achieved success without cheating.

The debate has been further amplified due to sports media publicly questioning athletes who have been phenomenal performers without positive tests or acknowledged links to PED use. In baseball, Los Angeles Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols is in the midst of filing legal action against former St. Louis radio host Jack Clark’s unfounded accusation that a former trainer admitted to injecting Pujols with PEDs.

Olympic Champion Usain Bolt

Olympic Champion Usain Bolt

Track and Field superstar and fastest man in the world Usain Bolt responded to news of several track stars testing positive for banned substances by asserting: “I am confident in myself and my team, the people I work with.  And I know I am clean.”  Female track star Lolo Jones was asked to submit to a drug test at her birthday party.

Current NFL MVP Adrian Peterson

Current NFL MVP Adrian Peterson

While some athletes have responded with stern comments about PED use, NFL’s current MVP Adrian Peterson has taken a different approach. In a recent interview with USA Today Sports, Peterson remarked, “When you know you don’t do it,…It’s a compliment. I don’t get mad about it at all.”

 

CDavis

Baltimore Orioles First Baseman Chris Davis

These athletes were asked about the authenticity of their performances due to the growing number of their peers busted after achieving marvelous feats in sports. In this era, many athletes have been found guilty of using banned substances, after achieving near iconic status for prolonged excellence in their sport. Sports media has a responsibility to the public they serve to ask those top athletes, whose performances marvel the masses, if they are accomplishing these feats naturally. Most athletes nowadays are beyond receiving the benefit of the doubt regardless of their public reception. Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis recently responded to questions about his current break-out season by stating, “It’s extremely frustrating that people would just assume I was on something because I’m having success.”

KBryant

Kobe Bryant moments after he ruptured his Achilles tendon

Sports media has taken the necessary steps to avoid being duped by remarkable performances by athletes. While they have started questioning just about everyone, a particular superstar, Kobe Bryant, has escaped major questions about the possibility of him using PEDs.  Kobe Bryant stated recently that he is ahead of schedule in recovery from his ruptured Achilles tendon, heading into his 18th season in the NBA. Two summers ago, Bryant underwent an innovative procedure on his right knee in Germany after dealing with right knee pain throughout the previous season. Bryant’s physical response to the procedure has helped him to a boost of nearly 3 points per game. Also, he has added 5 minutes per game since the trip to Germany. In the wake of numerous superstars getting caught using PEDs, doesn’t it make sense that mega-stars across all sports be asked about possible PED use? Isn’t it time for the question to be posed to someone who enjoys iconic status in the NBA, someone like Kobe Bryant, for instance? —OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado.

 

De Blasio tells Weiner to leave NYC’s mayoral race

 
Democratic mayoral candidates participate in first debate for the city's top job.

Democratic mayoral candidates participate in first debate for the city’s top job.

By Carmen Glover

New York: All five Democratic mayoral candidates in New York City participated in the first debate in the election cycle during a session which aired on WABC Channel 7 at 7:00 pm last night. Bill Ritter did his best to keep the debate flowing smoothly despite the attempts by a wayward Anthony Weiner to dominate the show by repeating his view that his “independence” makes him the best choice for the electorate. Weiner touted his independence in response to most of the questions posed, including the sexting scandal that has overshadowed his mayoral bid. While some of the candidates refused to share their views about Weiner’s presence in the race, Pubic Advocate Bill de Blasio had no such qualms.

“Anthony Weiner should step aside for the good of the city,” he said firmly. City Controller John Liu shook off a tentative, unsteady start to make a few noteworthy points about his campaign’s platform but it seemed as if Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was the most polished and credible candidate in the race. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave the same stock answer for almost every question, while former City Controller William Thompson seemed knowledgeable and passionate.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner are combative during the debate.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner are combative during the debate.

The debate covered the usual topics: Immigration, the economy, the educational system, stop and frisk, a topic for which they were all prepared. “Too many people are being stopped who did nothing wrong,” said Weiner, while Liu called for “community policing.” Thompson did not mince words on the issue. “We have to make sure our city is safe but we don’t have to sacrifice our constitutional rights to get it done,” he said. De Blasio suggested having “an independent inspector general and a new police commissioner.” All of the male candidates said that if elected, they would find a new police commissioner but Quinn was staunch in her support of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, praising his achievements.  Williams praised Kelly modestly before delivering one of the harshest assessments on the commissioner’s role in the stop and frisk debacle plaguing the city. “Ray Kelly has done good things for the city of New York,” Williams said, “but he’s also become the face of an abusive stop and frisk policy that targets Blacks and Latinos in the city of New York.’

All of the candidates decried the abysmal statewide test scores of public school students who took tests in the spring in preparation for the Common Core standards. According to results released recently, a mere third of the students passed the tests.  Although Quinn said schools should be “closed when necessary,” the men all advocated giving schools additional resources to excel as a better alternative. “Give schools additional support,” Thompson said. “I support a moratorium on closing schools” de Blasio stated. It was on the issue of jobs that all five candidates seemed to be most animated. “Let big companies pay their fair share and give small businesses a tax break to spur economic development,” Liu suggested. Agreeing, de Blasio said “Take sustainability away from big companies and provide it to CUNY for job training.” Williams agreed with job training while Quinn boated about her “record or results.”  The debate was co-sponsored by the Daily News, WABC/Channel 7, the League of Women Voters and Noticias 41 Univision.  –OnPointPress.net

 

 

 

 

NABJ13 in Orlando was a mixture of fun, networking and information

 

OnPointPress.net Editorial Director Carmen Glover interacts with CNN Anchor Don Lemon at the  Awards Gala.

OnPointPress.net Editorial Director Carmen Glover interacts with CNN Anchor Don Lemon at the Awards Gala.

By Carmen Glover

For years I have mulled over the idea of attending the NABJ Convention and Career Fair but something always came up, pushing the thought into the deep recesses of my mind. But this year was different and I am very happy that I decided to attend the convention in Orlando, Florida from July 31, to August 4, 2013. During the opening night ceremony, New York’s Chapter won professional chapter of the year and Syracuse University won student chapter of the year. Afterwards, we enjoyed a spectacular presentation and block party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, replete with tasty dishes, lively music and a special Disney show.

OnPointPress Editorial Director Carmen Glover is flanked by Billy Blanks Jr and his wife Sharon after winning raffle.

OnPointPress Editorial Director Carmen Glover is flanked by Billy Blanks Jr and his wife Sharon after winning raffle.

The next morning, I staggered out of bed to participate in the workout session led by Billy Blanks Jr. and his wife Sharon. However, after surviving the grueling hour-long exercise routine, I nearly fainted from shock when I won a raffle held for workout participants. I also enjoyed a delicious mango/pineapple smoothie, courtesy of the McDonald’s booth. Later in the week, I stopped by the Healthy Pavilion to have my Body Mass Index (BMI) read and get dietary tips.

Throughout the four-day convention and career fair, I attended various seminars, met new friends, re-connected with longtime colleagues and had a good time. Among the most compelling sessions were “Conversation with Civil Rights Legend Simeon Booker”; Prudential’s “Cultivating Personal Wealth” moderated by Sharon Epperson of CNBC and featuring panelists such as Ivory Johnson, founder of Delancey Wealth Management, LLC, Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post and LaToya Smith of Black Enterprise; “Talking Heads 2.0” featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill of ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie, Arianne Thompson of USA Today and moderated by entertainment reporter Kelley Carter;  “Ethics in Media,” moderated by Randall Pinkston and featuring Trayvon Martin’s parents, “The “Branding of You,” moderated by former NABJ President Will Sutton and featuring Herb Lowe of Marquette University and Paula Madison of Madison Media Management LLC and “A Look at the Future of Magazines,” moderated by Yanick Rice Lamb of Howard University, with panelists including Vanessa Bush, editor-in-chief of Essence, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, senior editor of Ebony and Keith Reed, senior editor of ESPN the Magazine/Treasurer NABJ.

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs of Ebony, Vanessa Bush of Essence and Keith Reed of ESPN The Magazine discuss the future of magazines.

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs of Ebony, Vanessa Bush of Essence and Keith Reed of ESPN The Magazine discuss the future of magazines.

I especially enjoyed the Awards Gala and the Sunday Gospel Brunch because both events made it easy for attendees to interact, and had great hosts: Don Lemon of CNN and Cari Champion of ESPN for the former and Syan Roberts of WESH-TV and Rod Carter of WFLA-TV for the latter.  It was also interesting observing folks swarming around singer Tyrese at the screening of the upcoming movie Black Nativity. The screening of the film, 12 Years a Slave was poignant while subsequent discussion with its stars Alfre Woodard, Lupita Nyong’o and the film’s director, Steve McQueen, was enlightening. During the Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam at the House of Blues, Hugh Douglas had unflattering words for his Numbers Never Lie co-host Michael Smith.

Bob Butler was voted the new NABJ President at the event.

Bob Butler was voted the new NABJ President at the event.

Bob Butler, who participated in the workout session, became the newest NABJ President, in an election that had an alarmingly low participation rate of less that 45% of the overall membership. Tv One’s Roland Martin was named journalist of the year and Gregory L. Moore of the Denver Post received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Disney’s Carmen J. Smith accepted Dr. Shelley Stewart’s Community Service Award on his behalf. Several of the moderators listed in the journal were no shows at the convention but the events went on smoothly. I left the convention loving the world of journalism even more, while being concerned by the changes looming on the horizon for print journalism. See you in Boston next year!  –OnPointPress.net.