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Angela Rye campaigns for Sawyer with intensity, strong language

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Rye is spending several days in Memphis this week to raise funds and support for Sawyer, the first-term representative for District 7 on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners and the leader of the #TakeEmDown901 campaign waged to remove Confederate-saluting memorials from city parks.

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By New Tri-State Defender

Memphis mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer has enlisted the help of Angela Rye, CNN commentator, national political strategist and activist, who says, “I don’t support campaigns, fundraisers or endorsements unless I really feel it.”

Rye is spending several days in Memphis this week to raise funds and support for Sawyer, the first-term representative for District 7 on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners and the leader of the #TakeEmDown901 campaign waged to remove Confederate-saluting memorials from city parks.

Angela Rye, Tami Sawyer. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

On Saturday (August 10), Sawyer and Rye will canvass campaign support at Williams Park at 3888 Auburn Rd. in Whitehaven, starting at 10 a.m.

Rye addressed a group of influencers during a fundraising luncheon at 115 Huling Ave. in Downtown Memphis on Thursday. She arrived as news broke of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in Mississippi separating immigrant children from their parents.

Rye observed that Africans also attempt to cross the southern border seeking asylum and that one would think, as a people, we would never want to see that happen again as it occurred with enslaved Africans.

“As I often say, racism is a bipartisan problem or a non-partisan problem,” said Rye.

“You all, because you are here, are not the apathetic ones, but you all who have apathetic ones in your families, in your congregations, in your friend circles, in your Links chapters, are passively watching a racist govern this city of Memphis. … You’re passively watching a Dixiecrat reign in 2019.”

The term Dixiecrat harkened back to a segregation-embracing political party known as the States’ Rights Democratic Party, which promoted racial segregation during its brief run.

During her visit to Memphis in February 2018, Rye spoke during the “I Am A Man” March 50-year anniversary commemoration and questioned the city’s progress under Mayor Jim Strickland.

“Memphis, this is not what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind when he envisioned the promise land,” Rye declared in her 2018 address, citing the city’s high child poverty rates and crime data.

She was aware that in 2017 Strickland’s administration maintained a “blacklist,” which included social activists who had protested racial profiling, along with names of some former City of Memphis employees. After a surge of concern from the community, including the American Civil Liberties Union, names of activists were removed. Lawsuits soon followed.

“This is not a game for Tami,” Rye said at the luncheon. “Allowing your current major to govern when you have the type of power and the type of numbers you have in Memphis is unconscionable. …

“I challenge you to do something different at this new beginning,” Rye said, referring to a time of jubilee mentioned in the bible that takes place every 50 years.

“You have the opportunity to turn the tide, to shift the paradigm so that the rest of Black America understands the importance of its power. … Challenge your peers to not just go vote, but to act like you have the political power that your ancestors fought for you to have.”

With the floor open for questions, Sawyer said she’s been asked why she’s still in the race given the challenge of raising campaign funds, the presence of an incumbent mayor, the candidacy of a former mayor and the fact that she is relatively new to the political arena.

Tami Sawyer (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

Her response mirrored her campaign slogan. “We can’t wait,” she said, referencing economic data as she asserted that four more years of the current administration could restrict the city from broadly overcoming systemic inequities.

In a published statement, Steven Reid, campaign consultant for Strickland, noted Rye’s “hateful and divisive rhetoric,” adding that it didn’t “deserve a response.”

Later, Sawyer reflected on the day in a social media post that included this:

“Thank you to my special guest Angela Rye for challenging us to see the power we hold to make real and necessary change and to not standby silently while those in power ignore the majority of us. We all know the statistics & the realities, but how long are we going to wait to do something about it, Memphis? Black and brown communities are in crisis and we have to be able to talk about that and take action with courage and urgency.”

Newly registered voter Allyson Smith, 18, and Jade Thornton, 26, were among those who came out to support Sawyer, Teach for America’s managing director of External Affairs.

“She (Sawyer) reflects my interests, so taking my step in voting is a step for awareness,” said Smith, who will attend Howard University in the fall and vote for the first time in the Municipal Elections on Oct. 3.

Thornton, a former charter-school teacher, now works as a charter system community engagement expert. Asked how she would inspire those young women to vote who don’t seem motivated to do so, Thornton said, “I say to them, ‘When you see more than 50 percent of our children living in poverty, you’ve got to step up for the children.’”

Pastor Gregory Stokes of Greater Paradise Baptist Church was among the men in support of Sawyer at the luncheon.

“I have eight sisters, so I’ve been around strong women all of my life,” Stokes said. “Sawyer’s plans for crime reduction and prison reform provide hope, and I want to see real change, not only in Downtown and Midtown, but in Orange Mound, Boxtown, Smokey City and Klondike.

“If we’re our brother’s keeper, let’s share the wealth so that money will go into these communities also.”

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Entertainment and Culture Editor

The documentary She Had A Dream by Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari premieres on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series tonight at 8 p.m. EST on WORLD CHANNEL. Season 14 of the acclaimed documentary series captures Black artists and activists shaping and reclaiming culture, advocating for change and mobilizing for brighter futures. She Had A Dream offers an intimate portrayal of one young Black Tunisian woman’s quest for political office and her fight against racism and oppression in a society that often seeks to overlook both.

The documentary follows Ghofrane, a 20-something Black woman from Tunisia as she walks the path of self-discovery of young adulthood while running for political office in a homeland where many still view her as an outsider.

Watch the trailer below:

A dedicated, charismatic activist and a modern, free-speaking woman, Ghofrane in many ways is the embodiment of contemporary Tunisian political hopes still alive years after the Arab Spring. She Had A Dream follows Ghofrane as she works to conquer her own self-doubts while attempting to persuade close friends and complete strangers to vote for her. As audiences follow her campaign, they also follow the dichotomies of her life as a woman striving for a role in politics in the Arab world and as a Black person in a country where racism is prevalent, yet often denied.

“The 14th season of AfroPoP shines a light on the collective power, strength and resilience of Black people and movements around the world,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, AfroPoP executive producer. “Viewers will see artists use their platforms to push for progress and human rights and see ‘ordinary’ people do the remarkable in the interest of justice.”

Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.

She Had A Dream airs on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel and begins streaming on worldchannel.org at the same time.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is presented by Black Public Media and WORLD Channel. For more information, visit worldchannel.org or blackpublicmedia.org.

This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BBC Africa is reporting Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is facing a water shortage because of changing weather patterns and aging water facilities. The article reports, “Residents in informal communities like Kibra pay private vendors for water, meaning they now control the supply and access to water in the community.” The privatization of water access has led to an increase in the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for water.

“Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena. Check out the 2018 ANEW documentary short below:

The water crisis and the sexual exploitation of girls and women as a result of the water crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

To read more about this crisis, visit BBC Africa‘s series of articles and videos on Kenya’s water crisis and the Water Integrity Network’s (WIN) study on sextortion.

This news brief was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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#WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright

THE AFRO — Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Maya Pottiger, Word in Black

It’s no surprise that we’re living through difficult times. After two years, we’re still in a global pandemic, which has predominantly impacted people of color. In addition, Book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and partisan political fights target everything from Black youths’ sexuality, to history, to health.

And we’re seeing the effects.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.

For a variety of reasons — ongoing stigma, lack of insurance, most accessible — Black students often rely on the mental health services offered at school.Outside of a mental health-specific practice, Black students were nearly 600 times as likely to get mental health help in an academic setting compared to other options, according to 2020 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In fact, mental health services in schools have been steadily gaining popularity among students since 2009, before dropping slightly in 2020 when the school year was interrupted, according to the SAMHSA report. As a result, the rate of students receiving mental health care through school decreased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

So how are schools changing the way they address and prioritize mental health — and the specific needs of Black students — since 2020?

The Renewed Focus on Mental Health

For school-aged people, the majority of their time is spent in a school building — about eight hours per day, 10 months out of the year. To help address mental health during academic hours, schools are trying to focus on social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. This includes teaching kids how to be in touch with their emotions and protect against adverse mental health outcomes.

But it’s been difficult.

Though there’s been more conversation, the implementation is challenging, says Dr. Kizzy Albritton, an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There was already a shortage of school-based mental health professionals before the pandemic, which has now been exacerbated, as have mental health issues. In addition, though schools clearly recognize the importance of mental health, they aren’t always provided adequate resources.

“Unless there are more resources funneled into the school system, we’re going to see a continued catch-up issue across the board,” Albritton says. “And, unfortunately, our Black students are going to continue to suffer the most.”

In a survey of high school principals and students, Education Week Research Center found discrepancies in how principals and students viewed a school’s mental health services. While 86 percent of the principals said their schools provided services, only about 66 percent of students agreed. The survey did point out it’s possible the school offers these services and students aren’t aware. The survey also found Black and Latinx students were less likely than their peers to say their schools offered services.

Dr. Celeste Malone, the president-elect of the National Association for School Psychologists and a Howard University associate professor, says she hasn’t previously seen this degree of attention to mental health in schools.

“I see that a lot in my role for a school psychology graduate program: the outreach and people contacting me with openings where they didn’t exist previously,” Malone says. “With this increased push in funding to hire more, that’s definitely a very, very positive movement.”

Mental Health Is Not One Size Fits All

Just like with many aspects of health, Black youths need different mental health support from their peers of other races. They need a counselor who understands their lived experiences, like microaggressions and other forms of discrimination or racism, without the student having to explain.

For example, in order to best address the specific mental health needs of Black students, districts need to provide information breaking down mental health stigmas; focus on hiring Black counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals; and fund anti-racist and trauma-informed mental health practices, according to the Center for American Progress.

While she hears a lot of talk, Albritton says she isn’t seeing widespread evidence of these solutions in practice.

“There needs to be a willingness, first of all, to understand that our Black students, their needs look a lot different,” Albritton says. School officials need to understand where Black students are coming from — that their families and households experience systemic and structural racism, which are known to trigger anxiety and depression. The effects of the racial wealth gap also play a role, from the neighborhood kids are living in, to the schools they can attend to the impacts on their health. Students might be bringing worries about these challenges to school, which could be reflected in their behavior. This is why, Albritton says, it’s crucial to also work with students’ families.

The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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