*SAVE THE DATE* Friday, April 17th

“An Evening of Outreach & Understanding”

 Image result for special education pictures

A Panel Discussion

Friday, April 17th
New Rochelle United Methodist Church
1200 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10804

RSVP by April 10th

 “Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money

CNBC Reporting February 17th


More Money Please! Record Amount of PE Funds Hit Market

Investors have more private equity funds than ever to choose from, but their money is likely to flow to a small group of huge managers.

An all-time high of 2,209 private equity funds is seeking $811 billion from investors, according to Palico, an online private equity marketplace. The previous record was 2,043 funds seeking $787 billion in February 2014. The record for the amount sought is $884 billion at the beginning of 2009, when 1,590 funds were in the market.

The largest PE funds raising money today, according to Palico listings, are: Blackstone Capital Partners VII (seeking $16 billion); Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII ($13 billion); Oaktree Opportunities Fund X ($10 billion); TPG Partners VII ($10 billion); Lexington Capital Partners VIII ($8 billion); Riverstone Global Energy and Power Fund VI ($7.5 billion).

After several years of high returns flowing back to investors, pensions, family offices and others are hungry for more. About $61 billion in capital has been committed to private equity funds through the first half of the first quarter of 2015, 73 percent more than the amount raised in the same period last year, according to Palico.

Money may be coming in, but not everyone is getting it. (My emphasis)

“The paradox … is that while investors are investing large amounts, they are investing with fewer managers, leaving those in the most competitive and crowded sectors fighting for commitments,” said Palico founder and CEO Antoine Drean.

North American PE funds are attracting the most capital.

PE managers focusing on the U.S. and Canada have 835 funds raising money today, 37.8 percent of the market, according to Palico. U.S. and Canadian-focused managers account for a much larger 58.9 percent of the capital raised so far in 2015, an indication of the popularity of investing in the region and the large size of the funds from it.

European funds are second, with 27.3 percent of funds in the market and 22.6 percent of capital raised. Asia-Pacific is third, with 437 funds seeking capital, about 19.8 percent of the global total.

Source: Palico

The most common fund strategy offered is venture capital, which invests smaller amounts of money in promising, early stage businesses. Second are buyout funds, the best-known style of PE investing where companies are bought entirely and then theoretically improved to be resold or taken public at a profit. Third are so-called real asset funds, those focused on ownership of tangible things like housing, fossil fuels, metals and infrastructure.

Palico notes that the high degree of commitments to the strategy reflects rising demand for energy-focused funds given the rapid decline in oil prices. Existing energy PE funds were hit with losses last year, but managers including Carlyle Group and Blackstone Group see major opportunity in the relatively low cost of companies, and many of whom may need financial assistance.

“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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“An Evening of Outreach & Understanding”

Paul Robeson - Speak of Me As I Am

Friday, February 20th  6:00pm

New Rochelle United Methodist Church

1200 North Avenue

New Rochelle, NY 10804



RSVP by February 18th


“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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The Truth About Lynching Plus Race Matters Everywhere


The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) today released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, which documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date.

Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation. Lynchings were violent and public events that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. This was not “frontier justice” carried out by a few marginalized vigilantes or extremists. Instead, many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity. Not a single white person was convicted of murder for lynching a black person in America during this period.

The report explores the ways in which lynching profoundly impacted race relations in this country and shaped the contemporary geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans. Most importantly, lynching reinforced a narrative of racial difference and a legacy of racial inequality that is readily apparent in our criminal justice system today. Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive sentencing, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were shaped by the terror era.

No prominent public memorial or monument commemorates the thousands of African Americans who were lynched in America. Lynching in America argues that is a powerful statement about our failure to value the black lives lost in this brutal campaign of racial violence. Research on mass violence, trauma, and transitional justice underscores the urgent need to engage in public conversations about racial history that begin a process of truth and reconciliation in this country.

“We cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted during the era of racial terrorism until we tell the truth about it,” said EJI Director Bryan Stevenson. “The geographic, political, economic, and social consequences of decades of terror lynchings can still be seen in many communities today and the damage created by lynching needs to be confronted and discussed. Only then can we meaningfully address the contemporary problems that are lynching’s legacy.”


Woody Deant’s 15-year-old mugshot was used by North Miami Beach Police as target practice.

While anchoring the coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris a few weeks ago, CNN’s Chris Cuomo made a revealing gaffe: “Three hostage-takers dead, [including] the two brothers who were taken out…and the African-American man who’d been pictured as a suspect in a separate shooting yesterday.” “Not American,” Anderson Cooper corrected. “The man of Africandescent.”

Amedy Coulibaly, the man in question, was in fact French. He was born and bred in France, if at the conceptual distance of the miserable banlieues to which the French have confined so many of their darker-skinned residents. While it is true in some general sense that Coulibaly was “African-descended,” that literally whitewashes the degree to which his murderousness seems to have erupted against a very particular colonial backdrop. Coulibaly’s parents were born in Mali (although the press widely referred to his background as “Senegalese”). His wife, Hayat Boumeddiene (seen by many in the United States as “white”), and his co-conspirators, the Kouachi brothers (honestly, I was waiting for someone to call them “Hispanic”), were all of Algerian descent. Coulibaly and the Kouachis spent some of their childhood in French orphanages or foster care. Therefore, it is probably a little bit useful to wonder if the attractions of ISIS for disaffected French youth lie not in perverse teachings about Islam alone, but in the blowback from France’s failed policies of racial and ethnic integration and the scars of its wars in Africa.

But Cuomo’s disturbing mistake reflected not just his own provincialism, but how sloppily race is thought of, both here and abroad. Many conservative bloggers labeled his slip as “political correctness,” musing that if Cuomo had just called Coulibaly “black,” he’d have somehow been “right” and thereby captured his essential being. Meanwhile, Brian Carey of Downtrend.com—“Because that’s the direction of our freedoms”—ended his commentary on this note: “The beautiful white actress Charlize Theron is from South Africa but now lives in the United States. Technically, she’s African-American.” The malleable stereotyping of Coulibaly reflects an uneasy vision of “blacks” (as well as “Africans”) as noncitizens of any nation—and always the same wherever they are. We are so fond of using the broad brush when it comes to anyone with dark skin. Yet it’s also a world where, “technically,” African-Americans include Charlize Theron, because we are so committed to exactitude when it comes to “the beautiful white actress.”

Furthermore, racialized American policing strategies are increasingly global exports. In France, debates rage about whether to adopt a version of the USA Patriot Act. Technologies of surveillance now deploy algorithms based on American demographic taxonomies that are deeply contentious. Rudolph Giuliani, Bernard Kerik, William Bratton and Ray Kelly have made millions traveling the globe to dispense advice about controlling unruly populations, from London to Mexico City. The European Union surely has its own problems with race and immigration, but I fear they won’t be improved by having the morning lineup of Fox News as its security advisers.

In fact, one glimmer of hope in this messy moment was the pushback after Fox News’s “terrorism experts,” Steven Emerson and Nolan Peterson, asserted that the entire city of Birmingham, plus large parts of Paris and London, were “totally Muslim,” including “no-go” zones where even the police dare not visit. British Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson an “idiot.” The mayor of Paris threatened to sue.

In many parts of the world, the Charlie Hebdo massacre has led to thoughtful discussions about freedom of expression, the power of caricature and the provocations of symbolic language. But we Americans tend to use the concept of freedom of expression as an excuse to say anything at all, no matter how false or threatening, even as we clamp down thoughtlessly (and mercilessly) when it suits us.

So, on the one hand, we have Pennsylvania’s recent “revictimization” law, which allows the prior restraint of speech if it might cause victims of personal-injury crimes to experience “continuing effects,” including temporary “mental anguish.” On the other hand, some have used the First Amendment to defend the actions of the North Miami Beach Police Department, whose sharpshooters were discovered using photos of black arrestees for target practice. A National Guardswoman visiting the range recognized her brother among the images; fifteen years ago, he’d been arrested for drag-racing. His photo had two bullet holes—one in the forehead, the other in the eye. The department responded that it has to train officers with pictures of real faces—and that it’s useful if they share similar characteristics. After a bit of reflection, the department apologized and added that the officers also take aim at mug shots of Anglos and Hispanics. Online commentary bubbled about whether it was a big deal or nothing at all. It was just a bunch of images, like the Danish cartoons! Don’t be so politically correct! No actual humans were harmed in the making of these bull’s-eyes.

What perverse iconography. How does this not break the heart, those head shots of real black men—whatever they have done—posed for figurative execution? In a very moving response, a largely white group of local clergy flooded the police with their own photos, launching a Twitter campaign, #UseMeInstead. The tag #BlackLivesMatter has resonance, from Ferguson to France, precisely because it has an ironic edge: lives designated as “black” too often don’t seem to matter at all. I hope that the simple, eloquent appeal of #UseMeInstead becomes an invitation to think about who is included or excluded in the deadly yet pliable ways that we mark the boundaries of citizenship and statelessness, of friend and foe, of human and other, of the unremittingly feared and the eternally forgiven.

P.S.  I just think British Prime Minister David Cameron’s “idiot” response is classic!!!

“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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Why Justice Consists of Killing Just Us

“Whether it’s protest, negotiation, boycott or voter revolt (the latter two of which we rarely, if ever, use), watching Black advocacy is like watching re-runs of Sanford and Son; you know what’s about to come next – and what the line is going to be when Redd Foxx grabs his chest . . .  .Okay, this is where they march in. Now, they’re about to holler and scream, and give long speeches, watch’em. Here is where they put the community mothers up to cry, sigh, ain’t it sad? Now this is the part where they march out singing ‘we shall overcome,’ then they’ll go home and be quiet until the next time we get caught violating them or their interests. But the response will be the same.”  Anthony Asadullah Samad, BlackCommentator.com

Context Matters in New Rochelle Police Video

In the last 48 hours, a video has circulated that seems to show a New Rochelle Police Officer drawing his firearm and using profanity to order a group of teenagers to halt a snowball fight.

The video has gone viral, prompting inquiries from just about every New York media outlet and, more importantly, generating real concern and anger among many residents.  It’s easy to understand why; if a Police Officer really did draw a gun on teens horsing around in the snow, it would be a true outrage.

But that’s not what happened.  The video completely lacks context, and this is a case in which context changes everything.  Here’s the real story:

On Friday afternoon, the PD received a 911 call describing a group of teenagers walking through the area, one of whom was reportedly pulling out a gun from his waistband.  Two officers responded to the call and, finding a group that matched the description, approached on foot.  As they neared, the suspect reached for his waist, prompting the officers to draw their weapons.  Then the suspect ran.  One officer pursued (the suspect got away in the chase, and his whereabouts are still under investigation,) while the other officer stayed on the scene and ordered the remainder of the group on the ground, then patted them down.  It is that last bit that is captured on video.  All members of the group were released shortly thereafter.

What looks at first like a dramatic example of Police overreach turns out instead to be a reasonable response to a fast-moving, unpredictable, and potentially very dangerous situation.

The entire incident is still being reviewed closely by the PD, and I would rarely offer a comment of this kind about any specific law enforcement action, but I think the widespread attention that this video has received – and the mistaken impression it has created – warrants this post.  There’s a saying that a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its running shoes on.  In the age of the Internet, even that is an understatement.

There are a couple of lessons here.

First, all of us need to be better about waiting for facts before rushing to judgment.  Pictures tell a good story, it’s just not always the whole story, and sometimes what happens outside the frame is just as important as what happens inside.  So while it’s okay to be upset about a video like this one — I was upset when I first saw it — the right response is to ask serious questions, not jump to conclusions.

Second, the degree to which the video struck a nerve illustrates the persistent and difficult issues of trust that still exist between the Police and portions of many communities.  I think both the NRPD and local leaders here should be proud of addressing this challenge more effectively in New Rochelle than in most places, but it’s a mission that requires ongoing commitment and, when appropriate, openness to constructive criticism and change.

As I’ve written before, bias sweeps broadly across our society, but is not necessarily present in every specific event or encounter.  Automatically denying the existence of bias anywhere is wrong and dangerous.  Automatically assuming the existence of bias everywhere is equally wrong and dangerous.  We’ve got to find a middle way of open eyes, open ears, and open minds.

“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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Economic Outcomes

Kulture Kritic

Poverty’s Devastating Effect On Education As The Great Equalizer

April V. Taylor

January 24, 2015

One of the major foundational aspects of the American Dream being accessible to all, no matter what their circumstances are, is the idea that education is the great equalizer.   However, the equalizing effect of education is more myth than reality based on several statistics that reveal that poverty negates the equalizing impact of education.  The achievement gap between the poor and non-poor is twice as large as the racial achievement gap between Black and white students. This gap contributes significantly to the stagnation of upward mobility with the cognitive performance of students from pre-k through college showing substantial stratification based on poverty status. Poverty has a profound effect on life outcomes, and the recent revelation that the majority of students in public schools in the United States live at or below the poverty level implies that the real crisis in the American education system is not about unqualified teachers but rather the extreme concentration of poverty. The fact that 51 percent of public school students live in poverty indicates that the US is no longer a middle class society;  the US ranks second highest in child poverty among the world’s 35 “richest” countries; this has major implications on the educational future and evaporation of the American Dream for a new generation of Americans.

For those who question this assertion, take into account the fact that Finland, the highest scoring country in the world in terms of education, has less than 4 percent of its students living in poverty. To make this relevant to how poverty is affecting students in the United States, consider the fact that, according to the Huffington Post, US schools with fewer than 25 percent of students living in poverty perform as well as Finland, and students at schools where fewer than 10 percent of the population lives in poverty, they outperform Finland.

It is also important to consider how race and income intersect to negatively impact education outcomes. Black and Hispanic students are already 2 years behind grade level when they reach 4th grade. By the time these same students reach 12th grade, they are 4 grade levels behind. In terms of higher education, less than 30 percent of students in the bottom quarter of incomes access higher education, and of those who do, less than half complete a college degree.

The impact of these factors on upward mobility means that despite increased access to education, upward mobility has remained largely stagnant over the last 20 years, and the gap between high and low income families consistently continues to expand. Combine these factors with the fact that American schools are  embarrassingly segregated along racial and economic lines, with 38 percent of Black students attending schools where minorities make up 90 to 100 percent of the student population.  Forty – three percent of Hispanics attend schools with the same intense racial segregation.

To say that poverty is dealing a crushing blow to educational achievement is perhaps an understatement. Educational policy and practices must evolve to meet the needs of students.  Some of the things experts recommend are increasing awareness about the incidence of poverty and the consequences of poverty,  equitably funding schools, increasing access to preschool education, and reducing racial and economic segregation and isolation.

Financial Juneteenth


Published On January 26, 2015 | By maria Financial News, Latest posts

Reported by Ashley Naples

Nielsen, an American global information and measurement company, partnered with Essence for its 2014 African American Consumer report which provides extensive research about African-American spending and culture.

Despite the negative stereotypes about Black America’s inability to unite economically, the study shows African-Americans are more likely to support or purchase products and services that are represented or owned by people of the same ethnicity. Forty-four percent of Black survey participants said they are more likely to purchase or support products that are owned or supported by African-Americans or other diverse groups, and 43 percent are more likely to patronize a business if it is a minority-owned entity.

This is a step in the right direction towards the next wave of the Civil Rights movement which social commentators, scholars, and activists such as Dr. Boyce Watkins, Ryan Mack, and many others believe will be a financial one. Since the report shows that Black-owned businesses have grown over 60% between 2002-2007, this creates a diverse marketplace in Black America and strong potential to truly create generational wealth.

Debunking yet another negative stereotype about the Black family, the report shows that African-Americans are adopting healthier habits including greater participation in exercise and athletics, eating healthier organic foods, and cutting back on riskier habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.

The report also reveals that 87 percent of those surveyed for the study feel ethnic recognition is important, compared to 59 percent of the general population. One area in which Black Americans are most connected is the Black church. According to the study, 56 percent of African-Americans say they attend church regularly and depend on it for community news, support services, trusted leadership, and to mobilize for community activism.

When it comes to finances, there’s still some work to be done in this area. Only 29 percent of African-Americans between the ages of 18-54, with a household income of $50,000 or more, are retirement conscious. By comparison, 40 percent of the general market is retirement conscious. Also, 49 percent of African-Americans surveyed said they are in control of their debt, while 55 percent of the general market reported being in control of their debt.

“Signed…An Educated Brother!”

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COLORLINES: News for Action

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing.  And the best of things never dies.”  Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption

9 Charts That Force the Question, Does Black Life Matter?  by Kai Wright, Erin Zipper  Wednesday, January 7 2015  www.colorlines.com

Inequity shows up in our lives in all kinds of places, but rarely can it been seen as starkly as when it presents itself in our bodies. Public health long ago established the relationship between poverty and illness. Today’s researchers are also closing in on the link between poor health and racism. The accumulated stressors of racial injustice appear to literally wear our bodies down. Perhaps no set of public health data makes this point more plainly than the statistical trends for life expectancy.

So for our final installment of Life Cycles of Inequity: A Series on Black Men, we’ve pulled together the data that, arguably, represents the sum of our previous six installments: Being a black person in the United States will take years off of your life. As the chart below shows, we have the shortest lifespan, on average, of any racial or ethnic group in the country.

(It’s worth reiterating here that we present data on Asian-Americans with the huge caveat that it is often misleading. Many data sets clump together Asian immigrant populations that have widely varying economic, civic and cultural characteristics.)


Nowhere is the racial gap in life and death more profound than in our nation’s capital. White Americans live longer in Washington, D.C., than anywhere else in the country; they beat both the average lifespan for white people nationwide and the overall national average by more than five years. Black people, meanwhile, die younger in D.C. than anywhere else in the country. On average, black infants born in D.C. in 2010 will have seven fewer years of life than the average person in the U.S.


It’s notable that everybody in the U.S. is living a lot longer these days—and that this overall improvement is driven considerably by the lengthening lifespans of black people. Between 1970 and 2010, life expectancy for black Americans grew by 17 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with particularly sharp progress since the mid-1990s. I have lived without knowing the brutality of Jim Crow that was commonplace for my parents and grandparents and as a result, at least in part, I am likely to live much longer than them.


Still, life itself is both raced and gendered in the U.S. As a rule, women live longer than men, and black people die younger than everyone else. Which means, when measured by the blunt calculus of mortality, there is no human life more tenuous and fleeting in this country than that of a black man.


We know what’s killing black men so early. Research shows five factors are most responsible for the gap in lifespan between black and white men. Heart disease and cancer lead the way. In Washington, D.C., and other parts of the South, HIV/AIDS remains a leading cause of black death as well. All of these conditions are far less fatal when diagnosed and treated early, rather than when they are caught only after someone gets sick.


If heart disease and cancer separate the longevity of black and white men, it’s homicide that separates the lives of black men and women.

As the chart below shows, the lifespans of black men and women are eroded by largely the same factors, with the notable exception of homicide among men. This fact, of course, has long stirred strong emotions both inside and outside of the black community. It’s not useful to consider so-called black-on-black crime; all violent crime in the U.S. remains as starkly segregated as every other part of life. But it may be worth considering the ongoing debate about policing in black neighborhoods. Criminologists who are critical of broken windows policing note that it has been a poor tool for solving homicides—the rate of solved murders has plummeted since the 1960s—and one of the key drivers of violence is a cycle of retribution, fueled by the failure to arrest shooters.


All of this grim data about mortality begs the question, Why? Sure, we know what factors are shaving years off of black lives. But why the racial disparity in death from those conditions? There are many causes, but we can surely look back to that long-established tenet of public health I mentioned at the outset: poverty and illness are often seen side by side, and black people remain strikingly poor compared to the rest of the nation.


There’s also ample research showing that black people have less access to health care than the average American, and that we are less likely to get quality care even when we do visit a healthcare provider. Again, there are many reasons for this: the rate of uninsured; the chaos of poverty that makes preventive health challenging, even when you’re insured; care providers who make assumptions about their black patients that lead to inadequate or inappropriate treatment. The list goes on. But what’s clear is that black people are far less likely to have a health provider than white Americans or the nation overall.


And all of this begs another question, too: Do black lives matter? On this, recent months have brought good news. In cities all over the world, huge numbers of people are standing up and declaring, simply, yes. Perhaps speaking it will be the first step toward making it so.


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