Archive for November, 2011

The Faces Of The Missing

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , on November 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Black Men In Staff

Black Men In supports the mission of Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAM FI).  The organization has been established as a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety.

Founded in 2008 by a veteran law-enforcement official and public relations specialist, BAM FI will create public awareness campaigns for public safety and provide parents and loved ones of missing persons with a forum for spreading the word of their disappearance, with pictures and profiles of missing individuals. BAM FI will use a variety of media, including print, television, and the internet, to help locate missing persons of color for this severely underserved population.

BAM FI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Please watch the following video and learn more about the faces of the missing.

For additional information, please visit

Has The “Cain Train” Jumped The Tracks?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , on November 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Black Men In Staff

Two months ago the Herman “Cain Train” was like a political roller coaster gaining momentum for his race to the White House.  Cain was at the top of the polls and one of the top Republican presidential candidates.  Cain also had strong support from the Tea Party movement.  That was then.

Over the past 4 weeks, Herman Cain has had to defend himself against allegations of sexual harassment and having a 13-year extramarital affair.  Not to mention trying to manage a strained relationship with some members of the black community.

Many black voters took issue with Cain because he publicly rejects institutional racism as a major issue for black people and they believed he was being used by the GOP to garner black votes for the Republican party.

Yesterday Herman Cain appeared with Wolf Blitzer on CNN to preempt the accusations of a 13-year extramarital affair with Ginger White and dismiss them as false.  Cain admitted that he knew Ms. White, referred to her as an acquaintance and claimed he was trying to help her financially.  When asked directly  whether he had had sex or an affair with the woman, Cain responded unequivocally, “No.”

In a videotaped interview with an Atlanta TV FOX affiliate, White says of the affiair, “It was pretty simple.”  “It wasn’t complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

One day after the affair allegations became public, Herman Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block confirmed to ABC News that the candidate told his senior staff this morning he’s reassessing whether to stay in the race.

Cain’s deputy campaign manager, Linda Hansen, told ABC News that on November 29, 2011, “Mr. Cain told staff simply that, just as every time significant events occur, a reassessment is prudent.”

“A good businessman looks at the entire landscape before making decisions,” Hansen said. “He is, and has been, committed to promoting the issues and solutions that will make this nation stronger.  Nothing about that has changed.”

Is the Herman Cain run for presidency over?

What do you think?

10 Wealthiest Black People in the World

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Natalie Dawson

Billionaires and millionaires aren’t always white or oil barons.  African Americans can also throw down when it comes to wealth.  To prove it, we have listed ten of the wealthiest black people in the world below listed by current estimated worth.

  1. Aliko Dangote – Never heard of him?  Most Americans haven’t.  He is a businessman based in Nigeria and head man for The Dangote Group, which was founded in 1977 as a small firm.  Since then, it has substantially grown and earned Dangote himself an estimated worth of $13.8 billion.
  2. Mike Adenuga – He runs Conoil Producing, the first Nigerian company to strike oil in significant quantities during the early 1990s.  He is also the owner of the second largest mobile company in the country.  A true success story, he made his first million at age 26 by selling lace and soft drinks and is now worth $4.3 billion.
  3. Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe – He is another African and another billionaire.  His company is called African Rainbow Minerals and deals in gold, platinum, and other precious metals.  From South Africa, he was born royalty and became the first black partner in a local law firm in 1994.  His estimated worth is $3.28 billion.
  4. Oprah Winfrey – Her own show and now her own network took this small town reporter’s dreams to places girls of her generation never thought they could go.  By investing in herself and her own show, Oprah was able to create a wealth of $2.7 billion.
  5. Michael Jackson – His estimated worth is sketchy.  Although he made hundreds of millions of dollars from album sales alone, Jackson had a notorious spending habit that was also in the hundreds of millions.  However, he did purchase the rights to many Beatles songs, which are estimated to be worth between $500 million and one billion.  After his death, sales of his own music also spiked into the hundreds of millions.
  6. Jim Ovia – His nickname is “the godfather of Nigerian banking.”  He founded the Zenith Banking Group in 1990, and it became one of the largest financial services provider on the continent.  He also founded a mobile company and is estimated to be worth $775 million.
  7. Robert Johnson – If not for the recession, he would be higher on the list with over one billion dollars in net worth.  However, the founder of the BET network still enjoys a net worth of $550 million.
  8. Michael Jordan – The “air man” is most known for being one of the best players in NBA history.  It also didn’t hurt that his brand of clothing and especially shoes are still a top seller.  Between the endorsements, investments, and more, he is worth $525 million.
  9. Tiger Woods – As with Robert Johnson, if it wasn’t for his divorce and lost proceeds from a scandal, he would be farther up the list.  However, with an annual salary of $85 million, golfing legend Tiger Woods is still worth $500 million and is the youngest person on the list.
  10. Bill Cosby – Proving that you can make money by telling a simple, family oriented story is the legendary Bill Cosby.  Critics believed his show wouldn’t make it past year one when the comedian debuted it in 1984.  Over 25 years later, he is worth $450 million and rising.

Natalie Dawson owns the site Masters Degree. She enjoys writing articles about everything in the education field.

Cain Says He Will Be The GOP Nominee Because He Can Deliver The Black Vote

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Men, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on November 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Cain is trying to make inroads in Iowa with a new campaign mailer. (Jim Cole – AP)

Herman Cain claimed he will be the last man standing at the end of the campaign because he can deliver the black vote. Yep, you read that correctly.  The former “Big Baller and Shot Caller” of Godfather’s Pizza made that case to Iowans earlier this week.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Cain campaign circulated a mailer that argues that he “will be the 2012 GOP nominee because he’s a descendant of slaves who can garner a large share of the black vote, he didn’t inherit a dime, he has traveled the globe for years, and he’s a believer in Jesus Christ.”

In the mailer Cain says, “I can lead the Republican party to victory by garnering a large share of the black vote, something that has not been done since Dwight Eisenhower garnered 41 percent of the black vote in 1956.”

Cain and his campaign have tried to make the comparison in a number of creative ways that he is the “real” black man in the race.  What is Herman Cain’s connection with the black community?  What does the public record show?

  • Cain said entitlements given to black don’t help the black community
  • Cain says that welfare is statistically like a disease that is passed from generation to generation, that it promotes single mothers, that it promotes a culture of helplessness and government dependency
  • Cain contends that racism no longer hinders the progress of black individuals who are willing to work and pay a price for success
  • Cain has been quoted as saying, “Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that vitriol simply because I am running for the nomination as a conservative.”

Some say Herman Cain is delusional.  Others say he is being used by his own party.  And yet, there are some who believe he can win the race for The White House!

So what do you think?  Can Herman Cain deliver the black vote to the GOP and win the 2012 Presidential election?


Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Ramey Commentaries with tags , , on November 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson



In the fall of 2011, it was reported that a one well-to-do school corporation were the target of a police investigation. The police had discovered that a school-based gang was busily recruiting members for a larger, local gang.

Both gangs were involved in burglaries, car break-ins and other thefts.

Of course, parents were the last to know about the police probe.

The existence of school-based gangs may be new to parents, but they continue to grow rapidly. The cops know that they are there. Schools officials know that they are there. The students know that they are there–and eagerly join AND participate.

The ONLY people who seem to be left out of the loop…are parents.

In far too many cases; what’s done IN the school house, STAYS in the school house. Once more, the taxpayer is being asked to ‘foot the bill’ for those school officials who maintain the mantra that ‘all is well’.


Back in the mid-2000s, federal authorities estimated that there were some 800,000 gang members in America. In 2009 the number swelled to slightly more than 1 million. Now, a scant two years later, federal authorities issued a new study, reporting that there are some 1.5 million gang members in the USA. Two things clearly seen; 1) The programs which have been touted to fight gang activity since 2002 have NOT been working, and; 2) Our public schools are turning out to be safe havens for gang activity.

Forget the fake social flags about school house bullying and poor self-esteem. Gangs–and their recruiters–are on the march, leaving teachers, students, and administrators either caught in the grip of deliberate ignorance…or willful silence. The ‘basic’ attitude of many school officials, in my view? “Gangs are not a school problem until ‘good students’ get hurt, or, the children of school employees (often enrolled in so-called ‘better schools’) become gang targets.”

Parents are not the only ones left on the outside. Many local churches–some of them great helpers of public schools–are being left behind. The subject of religion has become blurred in the school house to administrators, but not to gang members. While Christian students who bring their Bibles to school or have prayer over their lunches are held to be troublemakers by some schools, many Modern Street Gangs have adopted a religi-criminal mode of communications. Students ‘rep’ their favorite gangs with relative ease–and scant comment–by wearing gang symbols appearing to be harmless religious icons such as crosses, crucifixes and prayer beads in plain sight on school grounds.


Those who follow the teen scene are familiar with ‘the hoodie’; an article of street wear. Little more than a sweatshirt topped off with a hood, it has become useful in masking the identity of gang members–or others. They started to ‘catch on’ in the early 2000s as teens had adopted them as ‘the’ main choice of street wear. More than a few school corporations around the country banned hoodies as being “…disruptive to the education process…”. Many of these same school corporations later backtracked on their bans. Why? Simple economics and internal pressure.

Athletic departments and PE teachers saw hoodies as a means of; 1) keeping their student athletes warm with an article of low-priced clothing, and; 2) having something that student athletes could use to inspire ‘school pride’ via incorporation of the school athletic logo. The ‘use’ of the hoodie eventually slipped into the schools via student athletes–even though it was officially ‘banned’ by school administrators. Soon hoodies started to turn up in a variety of school colors courtesy of eager vendors. Thus, a clear item of street culture–which was officially banned–was quietly ushered into the school house because officials saw it as an economic fix. The hoodie could be ‘useful’ IF students bought them FROM vendors of the school districts’ choice!


Let me state this again. What was once ‘banned’ was ‘unbanned’ because it became a ready revenue source for the schools. Of course, gang members and recruiters were overjoyed. They could ‘rep’ their gang in trendy school colors and be LEGAL.

Public schools have not always been overtly ‘money hungry’. Tax revenue provided by the public ‘used’ to be enough to satisfy many school corporations. Many schools lived within their means. It seemed rare to hear that school budgets ran tight. It seemed even more rare for schools to go to the voters and request more tax revenue.

This has changed. Over the last ten years or so, school corporations have gotten greedy. Every new innovation; every new consultant’s dream just had to be ‘inserted’ into the classroom. In the mind of ‘professional educators’, the ends may not jive with the means…as long as we can count on using public money to pay for it. Furthermore, school corporations could ‘double dip’ by insisting that parents provide ‘extra’ items for schools, as in parents needed to ‘provide’ two reams of copy paper per each of their students for each semester.

When do parents see ‘cash back’ from schools? Hardly ever. Should schools ‘save’ money on an innovation, the public never seems to get a refund.

Remember the ‘Channel One’ innovation from back in the nineties? Local school corporations were to receive ‘free’ televisions and video equipment ‘in exchange for’ five to seven minutes a day access to students ‘before’ they began their studies. Before the Channel One experiment, students were limited to the outside television influences they could receive during the school day. After Channel One arrived, it seemed that schools–especially at the secondary level–couldn’t live without the use of the television in the classroom.

Let’s fast forward a few years. Now we have name brand vending & snack machines placed in many schools; name brand franchises being allowed to provide their foods in the lunch line (or have a mini-restaurant on the school campus), endless PTA/PTU fundraising drives, and students drilled to compete as young pitchmen in order to ‘win prizes’ for themselves and their schools.

These days, the 3 Rs may be interpreted: ‘Raise Revenue Regularly’.


During my tenure as a probation officer, one certain word was kept in the forefront of every case heard by the juvenile court. That word was ‘confidentiality’. There were internal rules and external rules of confidentiality existed to protect the rights of those on probation. In short, while a juvenile had committed a very real crime, they were still held to be a juvenile. They–and their parents–were entitled to having their cases kept confidential; information was not to be released to the general public. Because of the uplifting of the hip-hop/criminal ‘gangsta’ lifestyle in society, many teens have opted to ‘brag’ about their being on probation to their friends, teachers and schools. The reason for the bragging is two fold: 1) To impress their friends, and; 2) To attempt to intimidate their teachers and school staff.

Some school corporations–in co-operation with their local juvenile courts–have tried to bring back some confidentiality standards by allowing for the placement of probation officers in the school setting. Unfortunately, this innovation didn’t last. School-based probation officers soon became bogged down in the school house machinery they were sent to be above. Many of them have been used by schools as extra baby sitters or social workers for all students of their respective school, leaving them of little use to their own clients or courts.


The bottom line for parents? In keeping your OWN teens and children safe, it is up to YOU to educate yourself as to gang activity in your school. Remember the saying: “What’s done in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” Your local school house has the same, basic attitude towards the safety of your children. While there is a never ending shortage of programs for the prevention of bullying to teaching the joys of homosexuality and lesbianism, basic training programs for administrators and teachers to learn how to spot and stop gang activity are often ignored–even though they are plentiful.

The safety of your children rests with Y-O-U!

Schools operate on a stair step approach to discipline. Modern gangbangers are very familiar with not only school rules in the rule book, they are also familiar with them in actual practice. Just as a ex-con knows the prison system, juveniles who are involved with gang activity know how their own schools and teachers functions. Gang recruiters know that as long as they operate ‘just under the radar’, they won’t encounter much resistance from parents or the schools.

Parents have to get ‘wise’ as to the school world their children exist within.

It begins with asking questions and doing your homework.

Let me give you just a few things to look for in your teens backpack, room, notebooks or school locker. These items–and others–are identifiers of possible gang activity of your child, or some of his/her friends:




Tattoos [Including New UV Tats] Eyebrows Shaved In Patterns

Hairstyles Hair/Head Symbols/Shavings Hand Signals/Signs

Nose Rings Earrings Rosary Beads/Cloths ‘Mean Mugging’

Markings In Webs Of Hand/On Knuckles Religious Art Facial Markings Nail Polish

Speaking Unusual Languages/Slang/Symbols Sores On Hands



Hoodies NFL NBA College MLB Sportswear & Hats

Scarves Doo Rags Hankies Jewelry Ringtones ’Special’ Songs

Notebooks With Gang Signs & Symbols Excessive Use Of School/Uniform Wear Colors IF Gang Colors Weapons Books On Advanced Subjects

C.D.s MP3s Ipods Alcohol Cell Cams Drugs Mouthwash Inhalants

Excessive Cash Burglary/Break-in/Lockpicks Advanced Computer Websites

Custom Gang Clothing with Street Names Notes/Codes/Gang Symbols On Journals/Non-school related paperwork



Articles on Specific Gangs Disciplinary Problems At School Gang Websites

Active On Probation/Parole Gang You Tube/Twitter Lists

Late Night Calls Visits/Hanging Out With Older Teens/Troublemakers/J.D.s

Strange Odors/Smells ‘Bragging’ About Friends With Juvenile Records

Spending More Time Out Of Home/Away From Home

A wise parent will do a quick ‘head to toe’ check of their child before they leave in the morning, and when they come home in the evening. If enough of these items are found, it is likely that your teen has been recruited by a gang–or is already involved. Don’t get hung up on which gang your teen may representing. They are ALL dangerous, as Modern Street Gangs are quick to change their ‘look’ inside of six to nine months.


Their hope is keeping the upright off balance and ignorant to their existence.


Parents, when you see these items turn up; WISE UP and turn up the heat as to where your teen may have gotten them.

Don’t wait until you see on the TV news, or read in the paper that the school of your child is the target of a police investigation.

By then, it may be too late.

MIKE RAMEY is the Lead Instructor of THE GANG LINE, Indianapolis, Indiana. RAMEY is a Certified Street Gang Specialist and does workshops for law enforcement or non-law enforcement agencies. He can be contacted at his Email ©2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

The Bridge: The Giving of Thanks

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on November 22, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.’ –Malcolm X

The above quote from Malcolm X is in reference to the celebration of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock in what they would call New England, ultimately creating the Mayflower Compact and laying the foundation for the United States.

Malcolm used this particular reference, because he understood clearly that the hopes and dreams represented by the metaphor the Plymouth Rock landing represented had an opposing representation for Africans in the New World.

For the Pilgrims, the Plymouth Rock landing represented hopes and dreams of freedom and life filled with prosperity.

For the Africans, the Plymouth Rock landing represented the crushing of hopes and dreams, with nightmares of bondage and death and a legacy of struggle.

When America created the Thanksgiving holiday, it should have specifically called for giving thanks to the Native Americans who were killed and robbed and the African descendants who were enslaved and killed.

In the celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Africans across the world should be paid a debt of thanks at the very least by every race of people in existence.

Specifically, Europeans and their descendants owe us for being the currency and unpaid workforce for the creation of the new nation.

Let’s identify some of those who owe us a debt of gratitude:

First up would be the Italians and the Spaniards, as represented early on by one Christopher Columbus. Columbus, an Italian, was commissioned by the Queen of Spain to find a sailing route to India. The idiot got lost, landed in the Americas and called the people there Indians.

The idiot’s story was romanticized and over the years, we learned in school that he “discovered” America. But what the schools didn’t focus on was that his bumbling in the new land created a storm of brutality against the Native Americans who were robbed of their land and the Africans who were forced into servitude while Europeans poured in to steal the land and the service of the slaves.

Thanks Chris!

To add even more to the gratitude the Italians owe Africans, they were the illegal merchants of pain who dumped Horse in the Black neighborhoods and ran the numbers operations before and after states made their own version of numbers, called The Lottery.

But they were hardly the only ones to prey off of the misery of the African descendant.

Middle Easterners came into our communities in the Sixties after the riots and took over everything the Negroes left behind on their way to integration, wherever that was. They often displaced Jewish businesses as well.

When the Middle Easterners either moved on or moved over, the Koreans came behind them.

But of course the biggest debtors of all are the descendants of Great Britain and other Western European nations, who owned us and treated us like cattle. They made the most money off of us and used us to finance and build a nation that they still don’t want us to share fully in.

Whites in America have taken everything from our inventions to our music, from our style of dress to our manner of speaking and even our hairstyles and skin tone.

Even the two political parties in America used us for political gain. The Republican Party used us to win a war that was ripping the nation apart and after less than one century, abandoned concern for us.

Currently, the Democratic Party tells us just enough sweet convincing lies to lull us into thinking that they are better for us than the party of our original loyalty, but until we become more politically savvy, neither party has to do more than make empty overtures to a few of us.

The first African American President may be a Democrat, but only time will tell if this is a true sign of lasting appreciation, or a temporary relationship based on use and abuse.

My point is that American has made promises unfulfilled and has made attempts to take back promises delivered. Yet, the African descendant is expected to give thanks for the founding of a nation with which we have had a very strange relationship.

Now, of course, much like many other holidays, Thanksgiving has taken on its own meaning for scores of Americans, including African descendants.

Many of us focus on giving thanks for the things in our lives we are grateful for, as opposed to celebrating the brutal founding of a nation that has mistreated us from its very founding.

I won’t be sending up any thanks for the dirty pirates who ransacked this land from the Native Americans; nor for them stealing my people from Africa and using us to build a nation for free and then disrespecting us during and after nation-building, treating us far less than human.

But I will give thanks for being alive and for being filled with hopes and dreams.

Those thanks will go to my God and not to America.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running throughout 2011. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


I’m Not Disappointed By President Barack Obama

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Men, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on November 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

On October 8, 2011, Democrats Abroad France held an event titled “Voices for Obama” at the Nikki Diana Marquandt Gallery in Paris. One of the speakers was the American author Jake Lamar. This clip is a shortened version of his talk.

What do you think?

Office of Public Engagement African American Outreach Update

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on November 19, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Last Wednesday, the White House hosted more than 150 civic, academic, faith and local leaders from throughout the United States for the African-American Policy in Action Leadership Conference. Among those in attendance were Martin Luther King III, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, NAACP Chair Roslyn Brock, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, former Essence magazine editor Susan Taylor, and prominent African-American minister Rev. Freddie Haynes. Participants heard from cabinet and senior administration officials on a wide range of issues, such as the economy, job creation, healthcare, and healthcare reform.

President Obama speaks at the African American Policy Conference, held at the White House on November 9, 2011.

The White House also released a report entitled, “The President’s Agenda and the African-American Community.” The report highlights how the Obama Administration has reformed investments to reward work, improve education and increase college access and affordability, keep Americans in their homes, increase access to health care, and invest in small businesses have made a significant impact in African American Communities.

President Obama dropped in for a surprise visit. In his remarks, the President asked for leaders to listen to the dialogue and engage with leadership around issues related to African American communities. President Obama urged everyone to, “participate here in a spirit of persistence, determination and unity,” in order to “emerge from these difficult economic times stronger than we were before.”

Public Engagement Highlights

Veterans Day 2011
Veterans Day is a time for all Americans to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. Ensuring that our nation’s veterans get the access opportunities they have earned is a top priority for President Obama, as well as for government agencies like White House Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Transportation. President Obama’s announcement of executive actions to help middle class families in this difficult economy included new initiatives to get Veterans back to work.

Leading veteran services organizations joined President Obama last week to announce their support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, two provisions in the American Jobs Act. The President also announced a series of executive actions that will provide new resources for veterans and  help them translate military experience to the private sector job market: These initiatives include a Veterans Gold Card through the Department of Labor, which will provide the intensive and follow-up services veterans need to succeed in today’s job market, and the creation of a veterans job bank designed to put veterans in contact with companies that need their skills and are eager to hire them.

President Obama Signed Proclamation Designating Fort Monroe a National Monument
President Obama signed a Proclamation to designate Fort Monroe a National Monument under the Antiquities Act this week. Until recently, Fort Monroe was the third-oldest Army post in continuous active service, and is integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military. This announcement is part of a series of executive actions to put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy. According to an economic analysis commissioned by the Fort Monroe Authority in 2009, the implementation of the Fort Monroe Reuse Plan will help create nearly 3,000 jobs in Virginia.

We The People
Our Constitution guarantees your right to petition our government.  Now, with We the People, we’re offering a new way to submit an online petition on a range of issues — and get an official response. We the People on is a tool that provides you with a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it is sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.

Blog Highlights

First Lady Michelle Obama on Making a Difference in Cities with Food Deserts
For too many American families, serving healthy food as part of a regular diet isn’t actually an option. That’s because, in many communities across the country, there is no place to purchase any groceries, much less fresh fruits and vegetables. These neighborhoods are known as food deserts, and in recent years, as economic difficulties caused grocery stores to shut their doors or consolidate locations, they have been proliferating. Eliminating these food deserts and making sure parents in every part of the country have access to fresh produce and healthy choices is a primary goal of Let’s Move!

Keeping First Responders on the Job
Tyrone Booth and Jesse Carpenter are police officers in Flint, Michigan — where Vice President Biden visited earlier this month. Because of budget cuts, they’ve seen their department shrink since the start of the recession. In fact, at various times in recent years, each has been laid off from the force. Both are keenly aware of the ways in which these reductions have put public safety at risk. Keeping Americans safe is a top priority for President Obama, which is why the American Jobs Act will provide $5 billion to help states and local communities keep first responders on the job.

White House Champions of Change Program

The Champions of Change series is designed for people to look into their communities and nominate everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or their fellow citizens. That is why we are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

In honor of Veterans Day, the White House recognized six individuals as Champions of Change who are committed to helping veterans and military families. These individuals represent organizations and businesses who are working to improve the lives of veterans and military families by providing vital services or jobs to veterans. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Joining Forces officials which focused on how these individuals were able to provide such critical services and jobs to our veterans and military veterans. Take a moment to learn more about Champions of Change or nominate a Champion in your own community.

Get Updates

For more information about how the White House is working with the African American community, visit where you can access the latest blog posts, videos, and schedule updates.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

Heather Foster
Associate Director of African American Affairs

The Genius of Leon Huff

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Feature Interviews, Music and Video Releases with tags , , on November 15, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Leon Huff was born on April 8, 1942 in the New Jersey city of Camden. Huff began playing the piano at age five, which later led to his becoming an accompanist for the junior choir of the 10th Street Baptist Church in Camden. Later, he could frequently be found performing on street corners with “doo wop” groups. He enjoyed minor early success with a group known as The Dynaflows, who after becoming The Lavenders, enjoyed a regional hit with their recording of “The Slide.”

In the late ’50s, Huff became a commuter between Philadelphia and New York City. He became a well-known figure on the recording studio scene in Manhattan and got to know a host of major league songwriter/producers such as Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and Phil Spector.

Taking his cue from these acknowledged stars of their craft (Barry, Greenwich, Leiber and Stoller are all Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductees), Huff began concentrating on his songwriting skills. His first recording as a writer was the number one hit, “The Boy from New York City,” by the Ad Libs.

Later, he wrote the hit song, “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” recorded by Patty and the Emblems. At about the same time, already recognized in New York for his playing, he became active again in Philadelphia as well, as session man, songwriter and neophyte producer.

Already tasting significant success, Huff also found himself in the same building as Kenny Gamble. In 1965, a series of chance meetings in the elevator resulted in a decision to try working together and the two soon formed a production company which later resulted in such hits as “Expressway to Your Heart,” and “Cowboys to Girls,” and later brought the pair into the orbits of such prominent hitmakers as Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Butler, Nancy Wilson, Joe Simon and Archie Bell and the Drells.

In 1971, the team of Gamble and Huff formed Philadelphia International Records, a company that would have tremendous impact on the course of pop music-around the world in the years to come. Signed to a distribution deal by CBS Records, the company turned out hit after hit after hit, writing and producing such entries as “Back Stabbers” by the O’Jays; “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul; “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” and “The Love I Lost,” both by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes; and “Love Train” and “For the Love of Money,” by The O’Jays.

Huff is the proud owner of more than 300 gold and platinum records, has been nominated for a number of Grammy Awards and has received numerous Philadelphia and Camden area civic awards.

His latest project on the brink of being released is an album entitled Groovy People. With over 15 years in the making Leon Huff is finally ready to share it with the world. The album consist of remakes of some old time favorites songs such as Hey There Lonely Girl originally sung by Eddie Holman. And also The Way You Do The Things You originally sung by The Temptations. Also featured on the album Mr. Huff’s latest group R&B sensation Ju-Taun as well as new ballads that you are guaranteed to enjoy.

If you would like more information on Leon Huff visit or contact Double XXposure at 212-629-9404 or email at 

Calling All Fathers: Sober, Responsible & Spiritually Guided – You Are Needed!!

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Fatherhood, Sports News with tags , , , , on November 15, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By David Miller

The deviance at Penn State should be another glaring example that we no longer live in a child-friendly society. Anytime there are people more concerned about a football coach than the hearts and minds of children, it sends a clear message about the state of our society.

Now more than ever, we need fathers to make their children a priority! Children with disengaged parents are far more likely to become victims of abuse.

The issue at Penn State should be a wake-up call to all parents. It is time that we realize that we are 100% responsible for education and salvation of our children. All too often, we want to send our sons to programs when as parents we must do more. For the last few days, my emotions have ranged from angry to empty. These kinds of things are happening to our sons on our watch.

Formula for building your own “Village” to protect your son:

1. Be flexible but firm.

2. Realize that raising a healthy child is possible regardless of your situation.

3. Create rituals in your house that promote success.

4. Make sure your home is your child’s first classroom (Turn the damn television off!).

5. Make sure your children have access to plenty of books as literacy is critically important! Be sure to have your son read books written by black and brown people to help your son understand his history and culture.

6. Carefully surround your children around sober, responsible father figures (if their father is not engaged in ther life).

7. Special Note to Single Moms: Don’t be so desperate to find men to connect with your son that you miss obvious warning signs!

8. Connect with other responsible adults and parents to help you with the journey of parenting and raising successful and productive boys.

9. Always be careful who you leave your children with.– This includes family!

10. Wake up! No one is coming to save us. You have to secure and protect your own family!

David Miller is Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Urban Leadership Institute, a social enterprise based in Baltimore.

Miller is also the Co-Founder of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, an effort to support single mothers who are raising male children.

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