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House Passes Four Financial Services Bills Including Waters/McHenry Flood Insurance Extension

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Unfortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program is currently set to expire on May 31. My bill, which I have coauthored with Ranking Member McHenry, would extend the program to September 30 because we recognize that the NFIP is critical to ensuring access to flood insurance coverage across this country. And, this extension will afford the Ranking Member and I time to complete our work on a long-term bipartisan compromise.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed four bills that were offered by House Financial Services Committee Members, including H.R. 2578, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, to extend the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) authorization to September 30, 2019. The authorization is due to expire on May 31. See the Chairwoman’s floor statement below.

As Prepared for Delivery

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 2578, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019. Since the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) multi-year authorization expired on September 30, 2017, ideological differences have led Congress to pass ten short-term extensions and even allowed the program to briefly lapse twice during government shutdowns.

“Unfortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program is currently set to expire on May 31. My bill, which I have coauthored with Ranking Member McHenry, would extend the program to September 30 because we recognize that the NFIP is critical to ensuring access to flood insurance coverage across this country. And, this extension will afford the Ranking Member and I time to complete our work on a long-term bipartisan compromise.

“Mr. Speaker, the NFIP is much more than just an insurance program. The NFIP plays an important role in disaster preparedness and resiliency by providing flood maps, setting standards for floodplain management, and investing in mitigation for our homes, businesses, and infrastructure. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, everyone is at risk of flooding. That means that this is not just a coastal issue—we all have an interest in ensuring a strong National Flood Insurance Program.

“We need a long-term reauthorization to provide certainty to homeowners and businesses, and we also need critical reforms to the program. First and foremost, we must do more to address unaffordable premium costs for low-income households, address the program’s debt, which is unfairly burdening policyholders with millions of dollars in interest, and lower costs and fees on policyholders.

“Secondly, we need to invest more heavily in mapping, floodplain management, and mitigation, which will save taxpayer dollars in the long run by helping to reduce the damage that occurs when floods hit.

“Finally, Superstorm Sandy exposed numerous issues related to claims processing, including findings of outright fraud. Going forward, we must work to ensure that we have safeguards in place and mechanisms for greater accountability and oversight to ensure that claims are handled fairly and efficiently to provide relief for policyholders.

“Mr. Speaker, passing H.R. 2578 is not just a stop-gap measure to kick the can down the road. I have every confidence that with this extension, Democrats and Republicans will finally break the cycle of haphazard extensions. I intend to work in a bipartisan manner with Mr. McHenry to provide a long-term reauthorization to restore stability and confidence in the market. Through a thoughtful, bipartisan process, Congress can provide real relief to families, communities, and businesses.

“In addition to H.R. 2578, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the following bills, offered by House Financial Services Committee Members, on a voice vote.”

  • R.389, the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act, bipartisan legislation that establishes a rewards program to incentivize individuals to notify the U.S. government of assets in U.S. financial institutions that are linked to foreign corruption, allowing authorities to recover and return these assets and prevent further enabling foreign corruption and terrorist financing. Rewards are paid with funds taken from the recovered stolen assets.

This bill was introduced by Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC).

  • R.1060, the Building Up Independent Lives and Dreams Act (BUILD Act), bipartisan legislation that allows nonprofit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, offering mortgage loans for charitable purposes to use certain alternative forms to satisfy disclosure requirements.

This bill was introduced by Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).

  • R.1037, the Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act, legislation that requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report to Congress semiannually on a list of the licenses issued to financial institutions to provide services to countries and persons subject to certain U.S. sanctions.

This bill was introduced by Congressman Denver Riggleman (R-VA).

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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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