By Nicole C. Lee NNPA Columnist, former Haiti resident I write this column with a broken heart. The evening of January 12th, I received a message from a friend that read, “Earthquake. Very bad. Many deaths.” That statement remains true and will remain true for weeks and months to come. It didn’t have to be this way. Haiti has been the victim of bad U.S. policies, indifference and outright hostility for centuries. Purchasing Louisiana for 3 cents an acre following the Haitian revolution of 1804, the U.S. still joined the Europeans in an economic blockade. This embargo lasted until Haiti agreed to compensate France for its loss of land and slave labor. In essence paying for their freedom, it took Haiti over 100 years to pay the French. This little known historical fact set the stage for Haiti’s continued impoverishment and victimization by internal and external elites.
It’s been described as “The world’s Katrina.” The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that completely devastated and uprooted the Black island nation of Haiti, leaving an estimated 100,000 dead and millions more homeless, injured and in despair. Government officials are predicting that the death toll could eventually rise to half a million, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters ever. Already reeling from a string of recent national setbacks, including political upheavals and an overwhelming series of hurricanes in 2008, one of the poorest nations in the Western hemisphere now has to deal with this tragedy.
By Pharoh Martin NNPA In March, many of the estimated 145 million households who receive the Census Bureau’s shortened questionnaire for the nation’s decennial headcount may be full of raised eyebrows when they get to question 9, which asks about a person’s race. Beside the designation for respondents who self-identify as Black and African-American is the word “Negro,” an antiquated term that is considered regressive to many in the African-American community, especially today with the country being led by a Black president.
By Pharoh Martin NNPA Every year, an estimated 100,000 people pour into Washington, D.C. and make their way to see the striking “Spirit of Freedom” sculpture and the etched names of over 209,000 African-Americans who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. And yet, the associated museum where tourists learn about the story of how these heroic souls turned the tide of the war is the size of a very small one bedroom apartment. “It’s not so much that we don’t have much on display,” said Dr. Frank Smith, founder and director of the African American Civil War Memorial at 1200 U Street. “It’s that we have such a small space that they can’t enjoy it the way they would like it.”
NNPA The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week held that Washington State's law denying the vote to people with felony convictions is racially discriminatory and violates the Voting Rights Act (VRA). "This landmark ruling recognizes that racial discrimination in Washington's criminal justice system has infected the State's political process," said John Payton, LDF director-counsel in a statement "The result is that Black, Latino and Native America persons convicted of felonies in Washington are disproportionately denied the right to vote."