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After the Storm

By Deven D. Anderson, Senior Program Associate for Youth & Young Adult Initiatives on 04/25/2011 @ 12:00 PM

On Saturday, April 16th a catastrophic storm surged through the campus of Shaw University in Raleigh, NC. University officials reported that a tornado touched directly over a section of campus known as the “Quad” between 4 and 4:30 p.m. “While I knew that the situation was adverse during the evening, daylight has revealed that it will be impossible for us to safely conduct classes and return business as usual” announced Dr. Irma McClaurin, President of Shaw University through a press release on Sunday, April 17th.

The devastation not only impacted the campus of Shaw University but also extended into the local underserved communities; predominantly black and Latino families. What the sunlight revealed was a devastated campus with severe damage to their student center’s roof, uprooted trees, and structural damages to dormitories without any injuries to report. Consequently, forcing the school administration to officially close campus at noon on April 17th with the classes suspended and students sent home graded on the work that was completed to date. Shaw University a Baptist-affiliated school, is the oldest HBCU in the South and also the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), where Ella Baker with the support of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference invited student organizers from across the country during Easter Weekend of 1960 for a youth leadership conference.

On Thursday, April 21st the University hosted a “Cleanup Day” that brought students, alumni, and the community to together. The spirit of self resilience and determination has long sustained Shaw University and the entire HBCU community. As I reflected on the storm my mind wondered how often times disasters like this one – be it large or small – often expose an underlying chronic issue. This storm not only damaged a university but also sheds some light on the often-told story of the current conditions of HBCUs. During these economically hard and uncertain times in states across America; state budget cuts not only weaken safety nets but they also weaken the viability of many of these institutions both private and public. Oft times the request for funding for infrastructure repairs are ignored or underfunded. The threats against the HBCU community are happening not only on the state level but also on the Federal level as well.

The student populations of many of these institutions make up a majority of the electorate in local municipalities and in districts for both county and state legislatures - and yes even Congressional. The sustainability of our beloved institutions must come with our increased ability to become civically and political engaged on all levels of government. As we uplift our brothers and sisters at Shaw University during this enduring time of rebuilding it is also important for us to begin to become the new visionaries of these institutions with new determination of empowering our HBCU community.

To support the rebuilding of Shaw University tax deductible contributions may be sent to:

Shaw University
Disaster Relief Fund Mechanics and Farmers Bank
13 E. Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

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More federal budget cuts leads to a smaller safety net for the future

By on 04/13/2011 @ 03:32 PM

Deven D. Anderson – Senior Program Associate for Youth & Young Adult Initiatives.

Last week the world of social media was abuzz with young Americans sharing their thoughts, fears, and concerns over a partial government shutdown. (Last time there was a government shutdown there was no Twitter or Facebook and many of us were in Elementary school.) However, late Friday night a deal was struck between the GOP and Democrats to extend the financing of the government for an additional week which averted the looming shutdown. In press releases by both parties each side claimed victory in the aftermath of the deal. GOP emphasized the dramatic cuts that they won in the six month spending bill while the Democrats celebrated the preservation of favored programs to include Head Start, Pell Grants and scientific and medical research programs.

Yet a closer look to what is actually in the spending bill will tell a different story; one that will affect low income communities, women, and youth of color. One of the most talked about by lines during the budget standoff was that concerning of federal funds received by Planned Parenthood – the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. While many were fighting for maintaining the funding of Planned Parenthood however the 11th hour deal proposed cuts include $600 million cut to Community Health Centers which will stunt the growth of new health centers. Other proposed cuts include:

  • Elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) which would have allowed the creation of qualified nonprofit health issuers to offer health plans to individual and small group markets.
  • Elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s Free Choice Voucher programs provides the opportunity for employers to offer “vouchers” their employees who earn less than 400% federal poverty level to use their employer’s health insurance contribution for exchange plans, which can be more affordable and offer a better value for the worker.
  • $504 million cut from The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program which support low-income women and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing foods to supplement diets.
  • Elimination of summer pell grants. According to Angus Johnston blogger for studentactivism.net in a recent post said “as course offerings are being scaled back at campuses across the country, ending aid for summer classes will make it even more difficult for low-income students to complete their degree requirements in a reasonable time.”
  • $390 million cut to the low-income heating assistance (LIHEAP) which assists low income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs. $942 million to Community Development Funds that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

Outside of the proposed cuts also include “riders” specifically for the District of Columbia which will limit local funds for abortions for low-income women and also institutes the DC Opportunity Scholarship program which will expand private school vouchers which has been considered a long time divisive issue.

The budget crisis has re-introduced the catch phrase of “deficit reduction” which translates to a smaller safety net for Americans young and old during these uncertain times of economic challenges. This afternoon, President Barack Obama will address the deficit and budget in the wake of new talks on the expected vote on raising the debt-ceiling. Republicans have already stated that any deals will include steep spending cuts in order to win their support on raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

There is still a chance that most of the proposed cuts will not be included in the final bill which is expected to be introducing on the House floor this week. Each of us has an opportunity to lend our voices in this deficit reduction debate that will have a large impact on our local communities. Will you join us? For more information on how to become involve with BlackYouthVote! please contact us at 202-772-3171 or blackyouthvote@ncbcp.org

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Update Talking Points From White House on Healthcare

By on 10/09/2009 @ 02:09 PM

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Black Youth Vote HealthCare Reform Letter to Speaker

By on 09/29/2009 @ 11:38 AM

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

September 23, 2009
Dear Madame Speaker:

We are writing on behalf of millions of Black youth across America who will be affected by health care reform. Comprehensive reform must take place and must address the many concerns of Black youth, one of the most underinsured and uninsured groups in the country according to the 2000 Census. According to additional information released, Black youth end up in emergency rooms and clinics at an alarming rate, essentially putting a heavier toll on the healthcare system and aids in rising costs. As the U.S. House of Representatives continues to craft health care legislation, we hope that you will consider the impact reform measures will have on Black youth.

Along with many other youth groups in our strong network, we applaud efforts to provide universal coverage, contain costs through caps on deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays, reform the insurance industry by ending discriminatory practices (especially pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination) and other abuses, provide better employer-based coverage, and focus on preventative care. There are a number of additional provisions that are critical to earning the support of younger Americans:

  • Allow young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until the age of 26. This provision is not currently included in the House bill and it must be added. This could provide coverage for one out of every three uninsured young Americans.
  • For those who are not claimed as dependents, older than 25, or uncovered by their employers, there must be a competitive insurance exchange – including a public option – that provides quality coverage options and keeps down the cost of individual plans.
  • Make coverage more affordable for young people by lowering the cap on the percentage of income individuals would pay for premiums. Affordability is the greatest barrier to obtaining coverage, and it must be addressed in a more robust way.
  • End barriers to coverage for Black youth with pre-existing medical conditions.

Thank you Speaker Pelosi for your diligence and leadership on healthcare reform. Black youth are in desperate need of reform and we are counting on you to deliver on the promise of reform and a better future for Black youth in America.

Sincerely,

William Kellibrew IV
National Coordinator

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Test William

By on 08/18/2009 @ 04:06 PM

This is a test of the non-emergency blog system.

Testing this system will allow us to know what is not working.

Hello

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Black Youth Makes Medical Breakthrough

By on 08/13/2009 @ 02:49 PM

By BET.com and staff


Tony Hansberry II, a 14-year-old, African-American high school freshman, has developed a surgical stitching technique that can ease post-surgery complications and lessen the chance of errors among physicians, Black America Web reports.

Tony Hansberry has been working with Bruce Nappi, the administrative director at the University of Florida's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research, on a new technique for sewing up hysterectomy patients.

"I've always had a passion for medicine," he told reporter Jackie Jones in a recent interview. "The project I did was, basically, the comparison of novel laparoscopic instruments in doing a hysterectomy repair.”

The youth presented his findings in April at a medical conference at the University of Florida before an audience of doctors and board-certified surgeons.

"I just want to help people and be respected, knowing that I can save lives," said Hansberry, who attends Darnell-Cookman, a special medical magnet school that allows him to take advanced classes in medicine. He hopes to become a neurosurgeon some day.

One of his teachers at Darnell-Cookman, Angela Tenbroeck said, "He's an outstanding young man, and I'm proud to have him representing us."

Hansberry was an intern at the University of Florida's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville when he came up with the concept. At the time, he was responding to a challenge to improve on an “endo-stitch” procedure used in hysterectomies.

“It took me a day or two to come up with the concept,” Hansberry said. His discovery earned him second place at the regional science fair in February 2009.

Tony's mom is a nurse and his dad pastors an African Methodist Episcopal church.

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Violence Rips Through North Carolina and Massachusetts

By William Kellibrew on 03/31/2009 @ 06:37 PM

VIOLENCE SURVIVORS UNITE TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF THE CARTHAGE, NORTH CAROLINA NURSING HOME MASSACRE AND THE BRUTAL MURDERS IN MILTON, MASSACHUSETTS

The William Kellibrew Foundation and ROOT Inc. (Reaching Out to Others Together), on behalf of all victims of crime nation-wide, would like to send condolences to the people of Carthage, North Carolina and Milton, Massachusetts.

The gruesome killing of eight innocent victims in this North Carolina nursing home is incomprehensible. The brutal murder of a five-year-old child and a seventeen-year-old makes plain the notion that no one is immune to violence.

William Kellibrew, IV, National Coordinator for Black Youth Vote for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation said, “These senseless acts of violence take a toll on our community, but with resolve, we can work to ensure that victims receive adequate attention to get through these tough times.”

Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr., MS, founder and CEO of ROOT Inc, an organization committed to helping communities take a proactive approach to reducing gun violence, stated, "Deplorable assaults on our safety are taking place far too often in America. We must work steadfastly to ensure the eventual cessation of these preventable, unspeakable crimes."

These are immensely challenging atrocities having overwhelming ramifications that will resonate through devastated communities. Violence can occur in homes, businesses and even religious institutions.

A stronger more steadfast commitment to the prevention of crime through parole regulations, offender rehabilitation and violence prevention education is critical to bringing an end to the senseless violence that plagues all Americans and citizens around the world. We stand in unity and in full support of the people of Carthage and Milton; but specifically for the family members who lost loved ones in Carthage and the grieving family that will bury three of its closest members in Milton.

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