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IN MEMORIAM: Kenneth W. Edmonds, Carolina Times Publisher, 66, Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Kenneth brought the newspaper into the age of digital technology and ushered in an era of a new relevance to the publication with the inclusion of national wire service stories, and the incorporation of color photography within the pages of The Carolina Times. Though he made these improvements, Edmonds was always mindful of a statement his mother once made, “I’m trying to work my way out of a job.” She made that comment in the hopes that someday the playing field for all Americans, economically as well as socially, could be leveled.

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Kenneth William Edmonds, Editor-Publisher of The Carolina Times, died on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the age of 66.

Special to the NNPA Newswire, by the North Carolina Black Publishers Association (NCBPA)

DURHAM, NC — Kenneth William Edmonds, Editor-Publisher of The Carolina Times, died on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the age of 66. Edmonds succeeded his mother, Ms. Vivian Edmonds, in 2002, and carried on the legacy of his grandfather, Louis Austin.

Kenneth attended the local public schools in the Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems, where he excelled in basketball and, after the ninth grade, attended prep school at Laurinburg Institute and majored in journalism at East Carolina University.

He began working for The Carolina Times in his youth, at age 4 or 5, as he assisted his grandfather by serving as “Keeper of the Keys.” He remarked that his grandfather would misplace his keys around the house, the office, the post office, and other places that he frequented. Kenneth’s first job was to keep up with them as they moved around Durham. He saw firsthand through the life, work and sacrifices that Louis and Stella Vivian Walker Austin faced as they sought to bring about a more equitable and just community in Durham.

Kenneth held numerous positions at the paper, including selling newspapers outside the office and later in the neighborhoods, which gave him keen insights into the lives of those featured weekly in “The Times.” He progressed at the paper, and his first writing assignment was writing obituaries and, eventually editorials. His photography also graced the newspaper, and, eventually, he began laying out the paper and exploring the business side of the profession.

The Carolina Times was founded as The Standard Advertiser in 1921 by Charles Arrant, who died in 1922. In 1927 Louis E. Austin, originally from Enfield, NC, purchased the paper and renamed it The Carolina Times. Austin transformed the paper into the most important voice for Black North Carolinians during the 1930s. Mr. Austin edited and published The Carolina Times from 1927 until his death in 1971.

He was succeeded as publisher by his daughter, Mrs. Vivian Edmonds. She carried on the tradition of publicizing racial inequities and fighting for racial equality in North Carolina and throughout the United States. Austin’s grandson, Kenneth Edmonds, became Editor-Publisher at his mother’s retirement and continued the legacy of printing “The Truth Unbridled,” which is the newspaper’s motto.

Kenneth brought the newspaper into the age of digital technology and ushered in an era of a new relevance to the publication with the inclusion of national wire service stories, and the incorporation of color photography within the pages of The Carolina Times. Though he made these improvements, Edmonds was always mindful of a statement his mother once made, “I’m trying to work my way out of a job.” She made that comment in the hopes that someday the playing field for all Americans, economically as well as socially, could be leveled.

Her son took up that banner and continued printing weekly to not only point out the need for continued African American progress but chronicle the Durham Black community’s continued movement in that direction.

The Carolina Times, under Mr. Edmonds, continued its membership in the National Newspaper Publishers Association, as well as the North Carolina Black Publishers Association. Even though his responsibilities at “The Times” were pressing, he still accepted the position of Treasurer of the North Carolina Black Publishers Association, a position he handled admirably at the time of his death.

He was also a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and enjoyed fellowship with St. Joseph’s African Methodist Episcopal Church since his childhood.

Born on Dec. 5, 1953 to the late educator, Woodrow “Woody” W. Edmonds, and educator and editor, Vivian L. Austin Edmonds, Kenneth leaves to cherish his memories his loving and devoted son, Christian Edwards, and cousins, Bernard Austin and Vivian Austin.

“Although considered soft spoken by some, Kenneth William Edmonds, had a way of making a point that got the attention of everyone in the room. His carefully thought out points were a significant voice in the direction for Black Newspapers in North Carolina,” said Paul R. Jervay, Jr., NCBPA Media Services Specialist, who often conversed with Edmonds regarding issues, as well as advertising concerns from around the state.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association offered the following comment, “At the age of 14 in 1962, I started to drive my parents’ car in Oxford, N. C. and in that same year, Mr. Louis Austin, the distinguished publisher of The Carolina Times Newspaper in Durham, N. C. gave me my first job as a weekly writer and researcher on the civil rights issues impacting Black Americans across the state of N. C. The Austin family, like the Jervay family, was the heartbeat of the courageous Black Press freedom-fighting publishers. Kenneth Edmonds, the grandson of Louis Austin, carried on the family tradition of being a bold steadfast advocate of the empowerment of Black American families and communities as the third-generation publisher of The Carolina Times. Our responsibility today is to respectfully mourn the passing of Kenneth Edmonds, but also we must use this moment to rededicate our support for the continuation of The Carolina Times in Durham and to strengthen the Black Press across America.”

“It is difficult to sum up the life, legacy and work of Kenneth W. Edmonds. However, we are comforted by the exemplary life of this servant leader, who leaves behind a legacy of excellence that can never be undone. He will be genuinely missed, but his spirit will live on today and forever,” concluded NCBPA President, Mary Alice Jervay Thatch.

Funeral arrangements for Kenneth Edmonds are under the direction of Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor and are incomplete at press time.

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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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