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The Wakanda One Village Project: African Union Ambassador Promotes Diaspora Homecomings

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao knows that the world has long mistreated and neglected Africans – particularly the African woman. “We are the original people and we have every reason to stand up in the tallest mountains to proclaim who we are,” the ambassador says unapologetically.NNPA NEWSWIRE —

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As she entered her office in Northwest Washington, D.C., African Union (AU) Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, struck observers as an image of grace. With the colors of her beloved Africa draped around her neck, her purple dress perfectly exuded royalty — though likely not intended.

The Ambassador’s words are unchoreographed, seasoned with salt and a charm that clearly communicates that she should never be thought of as someone whose opinions are easily swayed.

Far from it.

Dr. Chihombori-Quao knows that the world has long mistreated and neglected Africans – particularly the African woman. “We are the original people and we have every reason to stand up in the tallest mountains to proclaim who we are,” the ambassador says unapologetically.

“We are beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated, highly adaptable and totally indestructible people – the Africans,” she said. “Any other race that would have gone through what we’ve been subjected to would have been extinct and that’s the truth,” she said, never having to raise her voice because the conviction in which she speaks is loud and unmistakably clear.

“Also, as black women, we are the only ones who could reproduce ourselves,” the Ambassador said in a room that contained a few men and just one other woman.

The men in the room, which included this reporter, could only agree.

“We could mate with anyone and produce a black child,” she said.

“Normally, that’s what you see with dominant species. It’s a fact they may not like to hear, but ours is the dominate gene. That’s why I say when I speak people may get offended, but I come from a place of truth and fact.”

The place that Dr. Chihombori-Quao “comes from” has many in the diaspora excited about the future – a future that could finally see Africa return to its former glory.

Married to the highly-respected physician Dr. Nii Saban Quao, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao grew up in a small village in Chivhu, Zimbabwe.

She completed her undergraduate education at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and later matriculated at Meharry Medical College where she earned degrees in general chemistry, a master’s degree in organic chemistry and a Doctor of Medicine.

After practicing medicine for 25 years, she’s actively been involved in numerous AU programs and projects and served as chair of the African Union-Diaspora Health Initiative, where she helped mobilize health professionals in the diaspora to assist in addressing the health care needs of the African continent.

Since accepting the AU Ambassador position, Her Excellency has earned praise as a leader whose brought renewed energy and new ideas to the AU Mission.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, H.E. Dr. Chihombori-Quao also received an achievement award from the late civil rights champion Nelson Mandela.

“How do you transition from being a medical doctor to a diplomat? It took me about six months to finally process it and eventually say, well maybe this is something I can do,” she said.

“It’s a man’s world and I didn’t know if I could deal with that, but after much back and forth, I had a conversation with the chair of the African Union and she told me that she felt a medical doctor would make a good diplomat.”

The former Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the continent, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is also a medical doctor.

H.E. Dr. Chihombori-Quao continued:

“It might surprise you that quite often patients come to you and need help, but they may not be truthful. They may say they have a headache, but the real problem is an abusive husband. A belly ache might be… mental.

“You try to reach out and find out what’s going on at home and in their life. I can honestly say I find myself in many situations where being an experienced doctor comes through in this job.”

Still, among the defining circumstances that led to Her Excellency accepting the Ambassador’s position is her love of Africa and her desire to turn things around on the continent. “It became increasingly apparent how we feel as Africans doesn’t matter. We are disrespected and we really needed a voice,” she said.

“That’s what this mission is all about – being a voice for all Africans on the continent. Once I realized that, I decided I would stay on the job. I needed to be here.”

Surprisingly, the Ambassador said she’s received virtually no push back. “It’s easy for us as our point of view as Africans is that we are in the right. We are coming from the point of righteousness. There’s no other way to slice it; it is what it is,” she said.

H.E. Dr. Chihombori-Quao is among those leading the push to undo what occurred at the Berlin Conference 134 years ago when the various European powers salaciously explored, divided, conquered and exploited the entire African continent.

Known as “The Scramble for Africa,” thirteen European countries and the United States met in Berlin and made rules that divided Africa in 53 separate nations.

“They were haphazardly going into Africa to grab whatever they could … [they said] let’s organize so we could effectively loot them,” H.E. Dr. Chihombori-Quao said. “That strategy is still in place, unabated with nobody challenging it. It’s just accepted,” she said.

Her Excellency said Africans must stop accepting crumbs off the table and get a seat at the top of the table itself.

Although it’s estimated that $50 billion leaves Africa each year because of corruption, Dr. Chihombori-Quao notes that France still extracts a colonial tax of $500 billion annually from francophone African countries.

“If we talk corruption, we need to talk about it from A to Z. Let’s talk about all of this,” she said. “The former colonizers are still very active in Africa. You can look at Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany… they are still very present in Africa, yet we don’t talk about it.”

However, if this Ambassador has her way – and there’s little doubt that she can succeed – things will change.

A major part of that change is a new “Wakanda” project launched by Her Excellency that’s expected to raise $5 billion in development funding over the next year or so. “The Wakanda One Village Project,” will be funded by Africans throughout the diaspora who will be its sole owners.

It will consist of five African Centers of Excellence in each of the five regions of the continent, which will serve as nerve centers for development delivering state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hotels, industrial homes, shopping centers and other amenities.

“We are going to build the Africa that we want so those [throughout the diaspora] who say I cannot go home because home is not what I am used to will make it what they want,” Dr. Chihombori-Quao said.

PART II in this series will cover the Wakanda One Village Project.

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COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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