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NNPA Makes Plans for the Future During Informal Gathering in Houston

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Though it was not an official board of directors meeting, the two-day planning session and retreat in Houston included NNPA executive board members: NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards; First Vice Chair Janis Ware; Second Vice Chair Fran Farrer; Treasurer Brenda Andrews; and Secretary Jackie Hampton.

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The informal gathering, which included all who comprise the NNPA executive committee, helped to jumpstart what’s sure to be a banner year in 2020, the 80th anniversary of the storied organization.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

An informal gathering of National Newspaper Publishers Association board members and publishers has galvanized the 79-year-old organization and has served to renew its commitment as the voice of Black America.

Though it was not an official board of directors meeting, the two-day planning session and retreat in Houston included NNPA executive board members: NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards; First Vice Chair Janis Ware; Second Vice Chair Fran Farrer; Treasurer Brenda Andrews; and Secretary Jackie Hampton.

NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., also attended the gathering and Sonya Ware of Blue Beagle Consulting served as the facilitator.

“We have a lot of talented publishers in this organization who are very knowledgeable,” said Richards, who in June won election as chair by an overwhelming vote of the publishers.

“The tranquil location provided a peaceful environment. It was an opportunity that allowed my thoughts and energy to focus on the future of NNPA, especially at a time when the newspaper industry is evolving and transforming,” said Ware, the publisher of the Atlanta Voice newspaper.

“Change is inevitable, and the NNPA must adapt to the change to propel ourselves into the future. The African American newspapers have captured the history of our communities. And, the people we serve in a positive light will reflect our contributions to the world and will speak to the powerful legacy of our people,” said Ware, adding, “I am excited about the future of our newspapers and the future of the National Newspaper Association. The new leadership has adopted a position of inclusiveness and expansion of our members, providing an opportunity for growth,” she continued.

Farrer, the publisher, and editor of The County News in Statesville, N.C., called the informal gathering “awesome,” adding that she is excited to be with the new team, which has a clear vision for the future.

“The new team will increase visibility and the comfortability of all our member publishers,” Farrar said. “We made great plans, and we did teamwork. There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team,’ and that was very obvious with this new team,” she said.

Farrar senses a “new Black Press of America.”

“I think everyone at NNPA will be proud to call themselves members and I see new publishers who will want to join. I am so proud to be a member of this board,” she said.

Andrews, the publisher of the New Journal & Guide in Norfolk, Va., said she believes the new administration has begun a bonding process that’s necessary in creating a strong team for the NNPA membership.

“Rather than a retreat, I would call our two-day gathering an advance,” Andrews said.

“By that I mean the energy and synergy in the room suggested that those present were on board to work together in moving the organization forward and excited about the direction given by Board Chair Karen Carter Richards,” she said.

“I am so happy to share that the Board of Director’s informal retreat exceeded my hopes and expectations,” said Hampton, the publisher of the Mississippi Link in Jackson.

“I am leaving Houston energized, ignited and ready to do my part in fulfilling the mission of the association and the needs of member publishers throughout the nation,” Hampton said.

“Regardless of our various backgrounds, size of the market, or size of publication, we are more alike than we are different because our needs are practically the same. This board, with the assistance of an excellent facilitator, connected in a way that convinced me we can reach new and greater heights of success,” Hampton said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the right leadership is in place and we will work side by side as we allow our CEO, Dr. Ben Chavis and his staff carry out the needs of the officers and members of NNPA,” she said.

For Richards, who publishes the Houston Forward Times, the gathering is just a foregleam of good things to come for the NNPA.

She said the informal gathering, which included all who comprise the NNPA executive committee, helped to jumpstart what’s sure to be a banner year in 2020, the 80th anniversary of the storied organization.

“It was insightful, reaffirming, marvelous, and encouraging. Everyone was energized and grateful,” Richards said.

“There’s going to be a rebranding of the NNPA. After so much that we’ve been through to this point, we want us to all be of one accord and come together and identify, understand, and come up with solutions to address the needs of the member publishers,” Richards said.

“The mission is to elevate the NNPA. This is what has to be done because we are the original Black Press of America,” she said.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re going to have fun doing it.”

The NNPA “is now especially blessed with an outstanding, competent, and well-experienced executive board leadership team led by NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards,” said Chavis.

“The two-day informal board retreat in Houston was a celebration of our new leadership and revived spirit to sustain the present and future transformative legacy of the publishing excellence of the Black Press of America via print, digital, and social media,” Chavis said.

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NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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Children’s Defense Fund: State of America’s Children Reveals that 71 Percent of Children of Color Live in Poverty

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Part One of an ongoing series on this impactful and informative report.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The child population in America is the most diverse in history, but children remain the poorest age group in the country with youth of color suffering the highest poverty rates.

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Dr. Wilson’s remarks come as the Marian Wright Edelman founded nonprofit released “The State of America’s Children 2021.”

The comprehensive report is eye-opening.

It highlights how children remain the poorest age group in America, with children of color and young children suffering the highest poverty rates. For instance, of the more than 10.5 million poverty-stricken children in America in 2019, approximately 71 percent were those of color.

The stunning exposé revealed that income and wealth inequality are growing and harming children in low-income, Black and Brown families.

While the share of all wealth held by the top one percent of Americans grew from 30 percent to 37 percent, the share held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33 percent to 23 percent between 1989 and 2019.

Today, a member of the top 10 percent of income earners makes about 39 times as much as the average earner in the bottom 90 percent.

The median family income of White households with children ($95,700) was more than double that of Black ($43,900), and Hispanic households with children ($52,300).

Further, the report noted that the lack of affordable housing and federal rental assistance leaves millions of children homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More than 1.5 million children enrolled in public schools experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year, and 74 percent of unhoused students during the 2017-2018 school year were living temporarily with family or friends.

Millions of children live in food-insecure households, lacking reliable access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, and more than 1 in 7 children – 10.7 million – were food insecure, meaning they lived in households where not everyone had enough to eat.

Black and Hispanic children were twice as likely to live in food-insecure households as White children.

The report further found that America’s schools have continued to slip backwards into patterns of deep racial and socioeconomic segregation, perpetuating achievement gaps.

For instance, during the 2017-2018 public school year, 19 percent of Black, 21 percent of Hispanic, and more than 26 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native school students did not graduate on time compared with only 11 percent of White students.

More than 77 percent of Hispanic and more than 79 percent of Black fourth and eighth grade public school students were not proficient in reading or math in 2019, compared with less than 60 percent of White students.

“We find that in the course of the last year, we’ve come to the point where our conversations about child well-being and our dialogue and reckoning around racial justice has really met a point of intersection, and so we must consider child well-being in every conversation about racial justice and quite frankly you can only sustainably speak of racial justice if we’re talking about the state of our children,” Dr. Wilson observed.

Some more of the startling statistics found in the report include:

  • A White public school student is suspended every six seconds, while students of color and non-White students are suspended every two seconds.
  • Conditions leading to a person dropping out of high school occur with white students every 19 seconds, while it occurs every nine seconds for non-White and students of color.
  • A White child is arrested every 1 minute and 12 seconds, while students of color and non-whites are arrested every 45 seconds.
  • A White student in public school is corporally punished every two minutes, while students of color and non-Whites face such action every 49 seconds.

Dr. Wilson asserted that federal spending “reflects the nation’s skewed priorities.”

In the report, he notes that children are not receiving the investment they need to thrive, and despite making up such a large portion of the population, less than 7.5 percent of federal spending went towards children in fiscal year 2020.

Despite Congress raising statutory caps on discretionary spending in fiscal years 2018 to 2020, children did not receive their fair share of those increases and children’s share of total federal spending has continued to decline.

“Children continue to be the poorest segment of the population,” Dr. Wilson demanded. “We are headed into a dark place as it relates to poverty and inequity on the American landscape because our children become the canary in the coal mine.”

Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children.

The $1.9 trillion plan not only contained $1,400 checks for individuals, it includes monthly allowances and other elements to help reduce child poverty.

The President’s plan expands home visitation programs that help at-risk parents from pregnancy through early childhood and is presents universal access to top-notch pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds.

“The American Rescue Plan carried significant and powerful anti-poverty messages that will have remarkable benefits on the lives of children in America over the course of the next two years,” Dr. Wilson declared.

“The Children’s Defense Fund was quick to applaud the efforts of the President. We have worked with partners, including leading a child poverty coalition, to advance the ideas of that investment,” he continued.

“Most notably, the expansion of the child tax credit which has the impact of reducing poverty, lifting more than 50 percent of African American children out of poverty, 81 percent of Indigenous children, 45 percent of Hispanic children. It’s not only good policy, but it’s specifically good policy for Black and Brown children.”

Click here to view the full report.

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