FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: Prayer is Your Power

Pray

By Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew

This week, a friend informed me that she was following the ambulance to the hospital with her husband. Her husband was going through a major health crisis. She wasn’t the only one who reached out—a friend’s mother had unexplained pain and another friend contacted me about her friend’s son who was hospitalized with pneumonia. Each of them asked that I pray for them.

I consider it an honor to pray for others. Pray is powerful and I love that I have a group of friends who I can turn to that I call the “prayer warriors” that when I send a text to lift up the concerns and issues of others before God, they go into battle mode. Prayer is a weapon and I think many of us don’t understand it’s power until we need it. For many of us, it’s a routine, something that’s more about religion than it is about relationship.

We have gotten prayer twisted as some exchange solely for stuff. God is not a celestial Santa Claus dropping off gifts. Prayer is an opportunity to go before to God sincerely in relationship. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5–8)

Prayer is about faith. It is believing that God hears us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) I realize that my prayers are even more powerful when I am in relationship with others seeking God: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).

It’s dangerous when we see prayer as a way to manipulate God into doing what we want. There is nothing wrong with bringing your requests before God but it’s important to check our motivation and intention. It’s also important to know that just because God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way that we want does not mean that God doesn’t love us. It doesn’t mean that God does not hear us. It does not negate the omnipotence or goodness of God, either. We must believe that God is able. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

It’s easy to blame God when things don’t go the way we want them to—”the rain falls on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Terrible things happen to good people often. We live in an unjust world with people making decisions that are informed more by profit than people. We cannot take those principles into our relationship with God. We must believe that “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) …. God is concerned with our hearts, with people and cares for us even when things don’t go the way we’d like.

I can report that all of the individuals we prayed for had excellent results. God is good! Yet, I realize that this isn’t always the case. Prayer is powerful. God wants us to have this daily form of communication. 1 John 5:14, tells us: “And this is the boldness we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.” Don’t use prayer just when you need something. Just as all relationships require consistent communication for growth and results, the same is even more important in our relationship with God. Prayer is a powerful partnership with God that can move mountains when we believe!

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

OUR VOICES: Prayers for the Year Ahead

Pray

By Marian Wright Edelman

We pray and stand for children who need our voice.

We pray and stand for children blessed by parents who care and for children without a parent or anyone who cares at all.

We pray and stand for children filled with joy and for children whose days and nights are joyless.

We pray and stand for children with hope and for children without hope whose spirits have been dimmed and dashed.

We pray and stand for children high on play and study and laughter and for children high on opioids and cocaine.

We pray and stand for children for whom we pray every day and for children who have no one to pray them along life’s way.

We pray and stand for children who love to read and for children who can’t read at all, for children who learn with excitement and for children told by adults they cannot achieve.

We pray and stand for children who we expect and help to do well and for children whom no one believes in or helps succeed.

We pray for parents, grandparents, teachers, preachers, and political and community leaders that we will be a help and not a hindrance for children we call our own and for all the chidren God created who are part of our family too.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small babies die of cold quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small children suffer from hunger quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where toddlers and schoolchildren die from guns sold quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor, quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich and powerful nation which thinks security rests in missiles and bombs rather than in mothers and in babies.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation for not giving You sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.

O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in Your sight.

Help us to stand together to make America just and right for all Your children.

O God, help us recover our hope for our children’s sake.

Help us recover our courage for our children’s sake.

Help us to recover our discipline for our children’s sake.

Help us to recover our ability to work together for our children’s sake.

Help us to recover our values for our children’s sake.

Help us to recover a spirit of sacrifice for our children’s sake.

Help us to recover our faith in Thee for our children’s sake.

Dear God, thank you for the gift of a new year to serve You

help me to talk right
help me to walk right
help me to see right
help me to feel right
help me to do right

in Your sight.

Edelman is founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund.

I WAS JUST THINKING: Flowers BEFORE Dying

Photo: Pinterest

By Norma Adams-Wade

Are New Year’s resolutions still in order? Mine is a request and suggestion.

Could we, please, celebrate each other while we live? I’m weary of attending funerals of persons I thought I knew well. But after the praise comments begin, I learn more than I could ever have imagined about how great they were.

My request and suggestion: Let’s use our birthdays, literally, as our day of celebration – real celebration … like a Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony. You may have watched the December 4, 2022 CBS broadcast.

BIRTHDAY OR OBIT HONORS?

As it does each year, the Washington D. C. center presented a star-studded celebration applauding artistic achievers. This year, five artists — actor George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight, composer/conductor/educator Tania León, and the four-member rock band U2. Various other televised awards programs have variations of similar ideas – the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and even White House Presidential honors including the Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.

A Center press release quoted Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter as saying that many past honorees describe the Center honors as “ the pinnacle of awards because it recognizes…an artist’s cumulative body of work and influence over many decades.” I was just thinking… That pretty much describes the rebooted obit-turned-Birthday Flower Ceremony I envision for each person beginning this year.

Even the nonprofit The HistoryMakers[cq digital oral history archives has set a similar mold. Harvard-educated lawyer Julieanna Richardson of Chicago can be lauded for founding the archive 23 years ago as a tool by which researchers and students may learn about unheralded African-American achievers who have climbed heights, out of the spotlight, in their various careers.

There is a classic gospel song “Give Me My Flowers” sung by James Cleveland and others. Unfortunately, the lyrics author could not be substantiated; a message in itself about not valuing someone’s contribution that ultimately is lost in time. But here is the lyric’s poignant yet clearcut message.


Give me my flowers while I yet live
so that I can see the beauty that they bring.
Speak kind words to me while I can hear them.
So that I can hear the comfort that they bring.
Friends and loved ones may give me flowers
when I’m sick or on my sick bed.
But I’d rather have just one tulip right now
than a blanket full of roses when I’m dead.

LEGACIES LEFT IN 2022

As a reminder, here is a sampling of some the hundreds of noted individuals who left us in 2022, likely adorned with many flowers: Queen Elizabeth of great Britain; actors Sidney Poitier, Bob Saget and Angela Lansbury; American Indian Movement founder Clyde Bellecourt ; songstresses Loretta Lynn, Olivia Newton-John, and Naomi Judd; Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, Stat Trek’s Nichelle Nichols; sports stars Pelé and Bill Russell; Autherine Lucy Foster who was the first Black student at Alabama University, Pope Benedict XVI; trailblazing broadcasters Barbara Walters and Gloria Rojas; pastor of historian Abyssinian Baptist Church, Rev. Calvin O. Butts III; Dr. Donald Pinkel who developed a childhood leukemia cure, and Brent Renaud, an American journalist killed while reporting in Ukraine.

Then there are persons like the controversial Albert Woodfox. He was part of the three-man group Angola 3 and died this year of COVID-19 complications. He made his life memorable by doggedly surviving nearly 44 years in solitary confinement –said to be the longest solitary in U. S. history – at the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA. Prosecutors said he was a former Black Panther and convicted of the 1972 murder of corrections officer Brent Miller.

Woodfox reportedly made positive changes while in prison, properly counseled other prisoners during 1-hour daily release from his confined cell, and always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International investigated his many claims of inhumane treatment and finally orchestrated a deal and lesser charge. He was released in 2016 and died in August 2022 at age 75.

Under a Birthday Honor/obit reboot, what tributes do we give Woodfox? His distinction is surviving over more than four decades in solitary, while uselessly claiming inhumane treatment. No easy answers there.

FLOWER CEREMONY SCRIPT

Still, the Birthday Flower Ceremony script – pretty much the same as a funeral program — remains for the New Year. There’s an opening scripture, pray — if your faith allows it — and song. Then the tributes begin. The difference is that the person that you are lauding is sitting there very much alive in front of you, proudly grinning at the speaker instead of lying cold and unknowing in a casket.

The only tears are tears of gratitude and joy. After their comments, each speaking presents a beautiful bouquet, flower arrangement, or single rose to the birthday person. When all comments are done, the honoree gives remarks. Either a dinner or reception will follow with a photographer capturing the revelry.

So, that’s it. Let’s begin our New Year in this new way. Flowers BEFORE dying. Not “a blanket full of roses when I dead.”

Norma Adams-Wade, is a proud Dallas native, University of Texas at Austin journalism graduate and retired Dallas Morning News senior staff writer. She is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and was its first southwest regional director. She became The News’ first Black full-time reporter in 1974. norma_adams_wade@yahoo.com

MY TRUTH: Always a Blessing

Candace Wicks
Candace Wicks - then
Candace Wicks – then

Sometimes we see what others are going through. Sometimes we don’t.

When Candace Wicks retired from Dallas Independent School District, I stopped by to celebrate with her.

Shortly after I heard devastating news about her health. While I won’t repeat the diagnosis or the many declarations: I will say that prayers were needed because there were some challenging times ahead.

We’re talking about during pandemic times; however Candace was not diagnosed with the COVID 19 virus.

Still, protocols in place made it impossible to see her and discern the extent of her illness/injuries or pain/suffering.

Then someone said, “go to Facebook.”

Candace Wicks - now
Candace Wicks – now

And thanks to that social media platform information was shared and when she was able Candace would show up to share her testimony.

I was devastated. It was hard to watch because here was this vibrant, active, engaging and always loving woman who appeared near death.

It was too much.

When you take into consideration the constant challenges of living through the pandemic, life becomes even harder to deal with. It didn’t help that Candace was more than a casual acquaintance who I could scroll past with the flick of a thumb, giving a passing thought or maybe clicking the “like” icon.

In addition to being my sorority sister, Candace’s life has taken some of the same paths as mine. She’s HBCU taught, an educator and a community servant. She is committed, loyal and dependable while also being quite candid! Candace was full of life and so to see her bedridden made me reevaluate steps I was taking on this journey called “life.”

Fast forward to today. After several operations and amputations; you no longer see Candace from a hospital bed.

Which brings me to my truth!

That woman is phenomenal!

Candace is up and taking care of business. While she could still be bedridden or wallowing in self-pity sitting home waiting for those who visit the sick and shut-in; that is not Candace.

Because of her health, she faced many challenges.

Because of her faith, she has overcome many and is continuing to be a blessing to others! Sometimes I get tired.

Sometimes I wonder why.

Candace is an example of all things considered.

She wears a smile and carries herself with such grace, I am amazed.

As I face obstacles in life, I think of some of the dynamic women who have come into my life. I think of the woman who inhaled as I exhaled and whose blood flowed from her to me; my mother. And then I also think of all the women who came before me, enduring so much.

Candace is a living example of possibilities. Thinking of Candace brings a smile to my face and joy in my heart. Now don’t get me wrong. Full transparency – Candace can also be a D. W. A. – Straight Outta Dallas, but she is authentic and brings receipts!

She makes me proud as she continues to serve her church, sorority, community and several organizations she holds membership in. She holds leadership positions and it is easy to forget that her journey through life has changed and is more challenging than expected.

She is a shining example and we need more like her.

BIG MAMA SAID: YOU HAVE A DO-OVER!

big mama

Sitting on the back porch with my grandmother, Lucille “Big Mama” Allen as she filled her three sons and three daughters, 16 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren, 38 great-great grandchildren, seven great great-great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and bonus family members with customized “Big Mama” playbooks with her simple, Bible-based logic always gave us a do over moment.

Big Mama stood very proudly with her hands on hips stance, “God is a do-over God giving you A CHANCE FOR A DO-OVER BOYEE!” “Big Mama” left legacies spawned into lifetime lessons. When she identified an error, she would spin a story of knowledge, support and gratitude. Her most important this day was after she saw a visible mistake in her family, she would say, “DO IT OVER, God will be there.” She mandated Do-overs happen immediately! Big Mama would see something in me every time.

Her help with start with, “GOD stopped you with a DO OVER and OVER and OVER.” I learned when you have failed to complete the task that means you are back in SPIRITUAL SPECIAL-ED and you have to repeat the class! I now know for sure is Big Mama speaks to me from Heaven.

One really obvious way that God tries to get your attention is repetition. That is, when something jumps out at you repeatedly. God was preparing you/me for another journey, but you and I cannot see because God is already round the corner we are about to turn!

Today, I can say DO OVER also includes healthy living. In 2023 during the celebration of Martin Luther King’s holiday you have a DO OVER for your goals, resolutions and health. Biblical Flash! – God sends you what you ask for (Jeremiah 29:11) if you ask.

The biblical story of the Good Shepherd is a prime example of a Do-Over. The Good Shepherd said,” Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. Zacchaeus was a marker of Do-Over! Humility asks me to stand, before God and recognize who I really am, to accept that I am not God but a creature in need of God’s love and mercy! Amen.

Fishing was a common trade around the Sea of Galilee, Cuevas said, where Jesus carried out 85 percent of his ministry. It is great to have historical recall but even greater when we look to TODAY and apply, Encounter, Obey and abide in an EGO (Easing God Out) free Do-Over!

Many times, I have seen individuals cast their net then and not get their results and give up! Even in my Journalism Family, it has happened. It just recently happened to me when I revived a call being charged with things that were grossly untrue! We have given up good intention feedback, applied built-in default judgements and levied quick criticism of someone who fails is a clear sign that we did not let our E.G.O get out the way.

Eliminating a DO-OVER is a team building killer and it proves once again that choice is a divine teacher. To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring in a spiritual appetite than your selfish confidence in your own personal feelings, unhealed insight and limited experiences.

Here are my Big Mama talking points

  • Realize that although your initial effort may fail, yet God will never fail you. Develop perseverance and never give up! Just DO IT OVER!
  • The blessings of God are all over their lives — God’s do -overs are blessing our lives and we are in a good position for God to elevate us in the next DO-Over

Are you ready for your DO-OVER? Don’t forget to rest and breathe, drink water, and explore with your needs. Consider connecting with us at the Healthy Living Expo. Questions, email me at terryallenpr@gmail.com.

Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at terryallenpr@gmail.com

THE LAST WORD: MLK Holiday Reflects Our Resilience

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C.

It took 15 years, hundreds of protests, a song and a tour to make Dr. King’s birthday a holiday, and Stevie Wonder’s lyrics, first debuted in his 1980 album “Hotter Than July,” encouraged activists to keep pushing for the holiday after being repeatedly rebuffed.

The Conyers legislation passed the House of Representatives 338-90 with much opposition from conservative white Southerners (primarily Republicans) speciously claiming that the holiday cost too much money.

On the Senate side, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Ed Brooke (R-Mass.), passed 78-22. The process was far from smooth, though. Then-North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, a Republican, passed out binders full of scurrilous lies about Dr. King, describing him as a communist and worse. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was so out-raged that he described the information as “filth” and physically stomped on it.

Still, then-President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation in It has been 40 years since the bill was passed, and we ought to celebrate.

This legislation was only passed because of Black people’s resilience and persistence. These might be metaphoric for the struggle we must continue to wage.

One of the ways we continue to struggle is to ensure that everyone who sings “the Black Birthday song” realizes that the song is a tribute to Dr. King and was part of the struggle that was waged to make his birthday a national holiday. Many states refused to embrace the national King holiday.

Indeed, it was not until 2000, 17 years after the federal legislation passed, that all 50 states had some form of a King holiday. Arizona was the last, and they paid for their resistance.

The National Football League moved the 1995 Super Bowl from Phoenix to Los Angeles when Arizona refused to recognize the holiday. Several, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, boycotted the state and canceled events scheduled there.

Even today, several Southern states, including Alabama and Mississippi, attempt to weaken the meaning of the King holiday by naming it the King-Lee holiday, forcing those who celebrate the King holiday to also implicitly recognize the Confederate traitor, Jefferson Davis.

Utah described Jan. 15 as Human Rights Day rather than Dr. King’s birthday. It was not until 2000 that Utah became one of the last states to make Dr. King’s birthday a state holiday.

Why the resistance? Ignorance, arrogance, Caucasity, and racial hatred. And before anyone suggests that Caucasity isn’t a word that appears in Webster’s dictionary, you don’t need a dictionary to know that Caucasity is the racist behavior of some Caucasians.

In addition to attempting to chip away at the King’s legacy with their resistance to racial justice, Virginia had the audacity to couple the King birthday with those of Jefferson Davis AND Stonewall Jackson, another Confederate traitor. And Mississippi officially celebrates Confederate Heritage Month in April.

Other states recognize the month, but there is no official celebration, although four states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day at the end of April or early May.

Confederates and their descendants spend lots of time and energy propagating lies. They persistently believe they won the Civil War, although an honest history says otherwise.

They continue to chip away at the civil rights legacy, not just with words and Confederate holidays, but with the voter suppression that taints too many of our elections.

The response to the fiction they continue to spin is our resilience and persistence in the face of their warped fantasies.

We must continue to sing the “Black Birthday Song” joyously because joy is a form of resistance. But we must sign it in its historical context. Whether we are singing for Big Mama or a newborn baby, we must never sing Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” without thinking about speaking about Dr. King. The song is a tribute to our resilience and our history.

Thank you, Stevie Wonder, John Conyers, Edward Bush, Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Dorothy I. Height and many other activists for persistence in making Dr. King’s birthday a holiday and for gifting us with the Black birthday song, a constant reminder of Dr. King’s sacrifice and contribution.

Malveaux is an economist, author and dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: Casting Your Cares

Casting Your Cares

As a child, I remember growing up with so much love. We weren’t rich but I was secure in knowing I was provided for. As a teenager, things were challenging in our home. There were times we had abundance and other times when we struggled. When things were really hard, I remember feeling as if God abandoned me, abandoned us. It was so painful to go through such difficulty.

As an adult, those memories are with me. It’s easy to become fearful because there are situations that happen when I’m not in control. Life happens and there are things that come up that no matter how much I prepare, they don’t always turn out the way I want or even expect. As a child, I didn’t have much control and the expectation as an adult is that I can make things happen.

We are taught that we have control. There is a term called “locus of control”. “Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces (beyond their influence), have control over the outcome of events in their lives.” There are two types of loci of control—internal and external. “People who develop an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own success. Those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, like luck, determine their outcomes.”

The reality is that as much as we’d like to believe we have control no matter if it’s external or internal, we don’t always have the ability to manipulate the variables in our favor. It can be exhausting in trying to make things always happen. Many of us are burned out, filled with anxiety and worry, because we are trying so desperately to make things happen.

Maybe you are like me—in your life there were times of instability and as a result, your go to mode of operation is either to make things happen or to become overcome with frustration and caution. What I have learned to rely upon is that God is in control no matter what is going on or how I feel.

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us.” When times were rough as a child, I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. As an adult, I realize that even more. Life is hard. It’s important to know–that the God who made you and I–is there even when it doesn’t feel, look or seem like it. Don’t shut God out because things are not going your way. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

We live in a time that we are so driven by our needs and wants. We believe that we can just make things happen. The problem is that when we depend solely upon ourselves to do everything, the weight of the responsibilities can be overwhelming. It also means that we are edging God out (EGO) when we think we are in control.

Often, we make life more difficult because we choose to be the master of our destiny when we move God out. Jesus reminds us that there is a better way: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) To do this requires us to let go and let God.

Worry and anxiety happens, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Trust God instead of believing in the havoc and hopelessness that may appear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

OUR VOICES: Negative Impact on Small Minority-Owned Newspapers

Black Press of America celebrates 195 years
Black Press of America celebrates 195 years
The Black Press of America celebrates 195 years of being the voice for the voiceless and the trusted voice for African descendants everywhere.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

In September, lawmakers in Washington rushed through major legislation that would reward massive, legacy media corporations at the expense of smaller community-focused and minority-owned newspapers.

While the Journalism Competition Preservation Act (JCPA) is meant to protect publications like those in the National Newspaper Publishers Association, it would ultimately threaten our ability to inform our communities, line the pockets of massive media conglomerates and hedge funds, and lead to the proliferation of harmful misinformation. Good intentions sometimes have negative and counterproductive consequences.

The goal to foster quality, local journalism and journalist jobs is well-intentioned. Local news outlets provide Americans with important information about the political, economic and cultural issues that matter to them.

The news industry has reached an inflection point, and much work is still needed to secure a bright and sustainable future for minority-owned publications.

The top 25 media chains now own a third of all U.S. newspapers. Thousands of newspapers have been acquired by hedge funds and private equity firms like Alden Global Capital or by media behemoths like Gannett, Lee Enterprises and McClatchy. For these media companies, a local newspaper is an asset for profit — not a valuable source of local information.

Big media chains acquire newspapers, lay off journalists and staff, drive down wages and shutter publications forever — as they spend millions on executive salaries and stock buybacks.

Now, these same media companies and hedge funds are a step closer to receiving huge payouts — without any accountability or transparency to direct funds to local journalism and journalists. The JCPA would require tech platforms to carry and pay any eligible news publisher for “access” to content.

While this may, again, seem well-intentioned at first look, upon deeper inspection, the law defines “access” so broadly that it will require payment for simply crawling a website or sharing a link. Similarly, while a number of conglomerates are scoped into the bill, true independent or small newspapers are explicitly excluded from the legislation because the bill says that an eligible publisher must earn more than $100,000 per year.

Many African American and other BIPOC news outlets are independently owned. Furthermore, these news outlets have developed and grown their audiences because mainstream media publications excluded the perspectives of minority voices. The Black Press built our own news outlets to support our own voices. As a result, this legislation would only further reinforce harmful racial exclusion trends, rather than actually help smaller local publications like those in the NNPA.

Similarly, recent amendments to the bill requiring non-discrimination would require platforms to carry and pay for hate speech and objectionable content that could be harmful to BIPOC communities. If passed, the JCPA would boost misinformation and extremist content. News publications from either side of the aisle that support extremist views will not only receive money, but tech platforms will be required to carry them on their services. This will make it even harder for platforms to moderate harmful and false content. We know that communities like ours will suffer most.

Congress and the Senate should reject the current draft of the JCPA and go back to the drawing board on real solutions for America’s local news problems — solutions that benefit all Americans, instead of just giving handouts to the biggest media corporations in the nation.

Chavis is president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and executive producer/host of “The Chavis Chronicles” on PBS TV stations across the U.S. He can be reached at dr.bchavis@nnpa.org

QUIT PLAYIN: Chaos or Community, circa 2023!

MLJK
MLK'

Thankfully, I have not lost all of my senses. I’m still not talking with inanimate objects. This last week of watching the Republicans fumble the victory they won in November has been mind-blowing. However, as the old Black preacher used to say, I am still “clothed in my right mind!”

That being said, I must admit that ghosts and spirits are still within my purview. From time to time, I “conversate,” kick it and confer with the sages of history. If you follow me, you know Dr. Martin King exchanges ideas with me annually.

This interview is the 2023 version of our never-ending, woe-laden diatribes about these “Yet to be United States of America!

Me: Dr. King. As a monumental character in the history of America, what do you think of Critical Race Theory and those who would deny students to learn America’s actual past?

MLK: “A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present.”

Me: The Mis-Education of American history is a problem, and the whole worthless CRT debate points that out. How can we create a new America that lives up to its creed and beyond its misdeeds to characterize one of your sayings?

MLK: “The hard truth is that neither Negro nor white has yet done enough to expect the dawn of a new day. While much has been done, it has been accomplished by too few and on a scale too limited for the breadth of the goal.

Freedom is not won by a passive acceptance of suffering. Freedom is won by a struggle against suffering. By this measure, Negroes have not yet paid the full price for freedom. And whites have not yet faced the full cost of justice.”

Me: I know that you watch MSNBC regularly, and between Joy Reid and Rachel Maddow, I am sure that you recognize that Black Americans are still in turmoil. What is the most crucial issue that faces Black Folks?

MLK: “In short, the Negroes’ problem cannot be solved unless the whole of American society takes a new turn toward greater economic justice.”

Me: Economic Justice! That was blunt and to the point.

What do you see as an answer to the burgeoning gap between the haves and havenots? Ten years after you were assassinated, (1978) the top 0.1% owned seven percent of the nation’s wealth, and today they own 20%. Today the 50 wealthiest Americans own more than 165 million in the “bottom half ” of our society.

MLK: “The poor can stop being poor if the rich are willing to become even richer at a slower rate.” Furthermore, unless a “substantial sacrifice is made by the American people,” the nation can expect further deterioration of the cities, increased antagonisms between races and continued disorders in the streets.”

Me: Wow. Your prophetic words ring truer today than before. America is in a free fall. Can you offer a final and comprehensive prescriptive?

MLK: “Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice.

Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.”

Me: Dr. King, where do we go from here?

MLK: “In the days ahead, we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

Me: Thanks, Doctor King.

Your wisdom never grows old, and your counsel is never out-dated!

(All of Dr. King’s responses can be found in his last book, published in 1967, “Where do we go from here…Chaos or Community?”)

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.

MY TRUTH: Just Wait and See!

Coach Deion Sanders

Well, it’s about that time again. We are about to share who our Person of the Year is.

Coach Deion Sanders
Coach Deion Sanders

Some might argue that last year’s recipient should be this year’s recipient. And that is okay. We were proud to step out and call attention to the Life and Times of Coach Prime.

We felt then and still believe today that HBCUs, as well as predominantly white institutions (PWIs), and so many others benefited from the work that Deion Sanders did at Jackson State University.

He had the bully pulpit and he used it courageously to challenge systems that needed to be challenged and bring attention to injustices, inequities and blatant wrongs.

Of course he is going to have his critics, and so will we.

And life will go on.

As a history buff, I love being on the right side of history. In the long run, if HBCUs and PWIs have not learned anything from Coach Prime’s stint at JSU, well that proves even more that they need help and just weren’t ready for Prime Time and never will be if they don’t make some drastic changes.

As we move on to this year’s POTY, there was a clear choice because of a simple process called “Homework.” You might call it “research,” or “collecting receipts.”

You see, folks are good at talking about what others are doing or not doing or they focus on personalities over issues.

Which brings me to my truth.

We are selecting a Person of the Year for 2022.

Just looking locally I can call the names of several people we lost during 2022 and they were worthy of some type of recognition.

So many are now Black History. The books of their lives have been closed and no chapters will be added; except for those who lived a life that kept giving, that impacted others thus making their lives worthy of sharing for an eternity.

While the deceased have written their last chapters, others will be adding to those chapters because that is what happens when you build a legacy.

But what about YOU and ME?

Are we building legacies? I venture to say that our previous Persons will be remembered and talked about for generations to come and such will be the case with our next POTY

Meanwhile,we are still here.

Why?

We must ask that question.

Maybe the answer is, “it’s God’s Plan.”

Still you must ask yourself a question or two.

What chapters are we writing and who are we impacting?

Time and time again when someone dies, I have heard folks ask “why?” I’ve even heard some in their grief, say, ‘I wish it has been me.’”

Well, do you ever ask the question, “Why not me?”

And really consider an answer. Why did that good person who does so much for so many have to die?

Well, give it some thought and you might wake up the next morning with a new attitude about a lot of things, places, people; and more importantly, YOU!

And who knows? You might just be the next Person of the Year!

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