Tuesday, February 26, 2013





            An investigation by Durham Police Internal Affairs found that a former Durham police officer “…used more force than necessary” when he repeatedly punched a 25-year-old female US Navy veteran in the face and head, leaving her with a broken nose, black eye and other injuries. The victim, Stephanie Dickerson, filed a complaint against the officer, Brian Schnee, who subsequently left the force. The Durham District Attorneys Office dropped charges against Dickerson. No word on whether she will now sue Schnee and the department.

            The Southeast Raleigh Assembly, Inc., in association with the Raleigh Business and Technology Center, is sponsoring the workshop, “ Everything You Wanted to Know About Computers, But Were Afraid to Ask,” March 20th,  5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center, 900 South Wilmington Street. Contact David Brown at 919-747-8421or at david.brown@southeastraleigh.org

            The Board of Education will meet beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, to interview seven candidates for the vacant District 9 seat. The interviews, which will be held in the Board Room at WCPSS Central Services in Cary, will be open to the public. The appointee to the District 9 seat would serve the remainder of former board member Debra Goldman’s term, which expires in November 2013. The board is scheduled conduct interviews from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Board members will vote on the new District 9 representative following the interview process.


            [GREENSBORO] Despite Republican governors in at least six other states accepting it, NC Gov. Pat McCrory was expected at press time Wednesday to sign a bill stopping the expansion of Medicaid to an estimated 500,000 poor North Carolinians. Both the Republican-led state House and Senate ratified the measure, saying that even though the federal government covers 100 percent of the costs for the first three year, and 90 percent thereafter, they don’t trust the feds to keep their words. Medicaid supporters counter that the federal money belongs to North Carolina, so taxpayers are effectively paying the health care costs of people in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and other states that are in the program.

            [RALEIGH] County commissioners told state lawmakers this week that they should take over ownership and management of public school properties and buildings in their areas from local school boards because they could run them more efficiently, and give the school boards more time to improve education. What started in Wake County as a local issue may, as a result, become a statewide mandate if proposed legislation goes through. The school boards counter that they have good track records and experience in purchasing and maintaining school properties, and charge that this is just a “power grab” on the part of Republican-led commission boards because the GOP is in the majority in the General Assembly.

            [CHARLOTTE] The 2013 CIAA Basketball Tournament is underway at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Twelve historically black NCAA Division II colleges and universities compete in both men’s and women’s play for the championship, and the right to go on to compete with other schools across the nation for the NCA Division II championship.  New CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter says even though the tournament pumps $50 million into the local economy, the conference is running a $200,000 deficit because “half the people who come to town for the festivities aren’t attending the games.” There has been controversy recently about how much local black businesses have benefitted in the past eight years from the CIAA tournament.

By Cash Michaels

            When it comes to the sanctity of the black vote in North Carolina and throughout the nation, this is proving to be an extraordinary week in history, with far-reaching implications.
            On Monday and Tuesday, a three-judge panel heard arguments pertaining to the two redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-led NC General Assembly in 2010 that Democratic and progressive critics charge illegally “stacks and packs” the state’s Democrat-leaning black voters in certain “minority-majority” districts, taking them from predominately white swing voting districts, thus guaranteeing overall GOP dominance until 2020.
            Republicans counter that their maps are not only legal, but passed muster with the US Justice Dept., which is required under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) to pre-clear all redistricting maps to ensure that the boundaries are constitutional, another argument that loomed large elsewhere this week.
            Those redistricting arguments ended Tuesday, with a decision from the special judicial panel as to whether to proceed to trial or issue a ruling forthcoming.
If the panel agrees with the Democrats, the GOP-led Legislature has to redraw the voting districts in a manner that still maintains a certain number of black majority districts, but more fairly distributes black voters – the majority of whom tend to vote Democrat – among other districts as well so that white Democrats are able to compete against white Republican challengers.
            Meanwhile, on Wednesday, demonstrators from North Carolina, led by the NCNAACP, Alabama and other southern states convened outside of the US Supreme Court as justices heard arguments about the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
            The VRA of 1965 was landmark legislation which outlawed widespread racial discriminatory barriers like poll taxes and literacy tests throughout the South that were designed “…to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color,” according to the 15th Amendment.
            The law, which has been renewed four times since its passage, mandated that the federal government monitor those states and counties which had a history of racial discrimination when it came to voting
            As indicated earlier, Section 5 of the VRA, which was renewed for 25 years in 2006 by then Pres. George W. Bush, specifically mandates that the nine states, and the seven states that have counties or townships it covers, pre-clear any changes to local election laws or processes.
            VRA-5 covers forty of North Carolina’s one hundred counties. Many of the state’s major counties, including Wake, Durham, New Hanover and Mecklenburg, are not covered, though Wake was until 1967.
            On Wednesday, the High Court heard arguments in Shelby County v Holder.
Shelby County, Alabama, which is covered by the VRA due to a past history of voting discrimination from before the 1960s, filed suit against the US Justice Dept. in 2010, claiming that VRA-5 is unconstitutional because the county has long ago ceased the racist voting practices it was still being held accountable for. They point to the election, and re-election of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama.
            Two lower federal courts sided with the Justice Dept., however, thus upholding VRA-5’s constitutionality.
            Pro-VRA-5 supporters say that while there has been social progress since the 1960’s, there is clear evidence in recent years of new barriers to voting rights, specifically the more than 30 states who have passed photo voter identification laws, which many critics add up to nothing more than an effort to suppress Democrat-leaning groups like African-Americans and college students.
            The challenge to Section 5 of the VRA has far-reaching implications for the law’s ability to protect voters in covered areas throughout the country, and in jurisdictions in the South in particular,” says Scott Simpson, spokesman for The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights. “For voters in southern states covered by Section 5, these protections have been vital for generations and are still crucial today.
            Advocates for Section 5 fear that given the ideological balance on the US Supreme Court, there could be trouble.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, has already made it clear that he feels the days when affirmative action and other racial fairness practices are needed are long over, and there’s little question that conservative colleagues justices Anton Scalia and Clarence Thomas agree with him.
            Roberts just needs two other justices to agree with him, and VRA-5 could be out the window.
            North Carolina is keeping a keen eye on which way the High Court falls because it has had its own VRA-5 challenges. Indeed the federal courts have ruled five times on findings of voter discrimination in the Tar Heel state.
            In July 2002, the 2001 redistricting plan for the Harnett County Board of Education and Board of Commissioners were found in violation of the VRA.
            In June 2007, the courts objected to the slicing of Fayetteville’s nine-member districts to six, in addition to the City Council’s redistricting plans, as denying black residents their constitutional right to due representation.
            In August 2009, the federal courts ruled against a lawsuit filed by white citizens in Kinston who wanted to change municipal elections there from partisan to nonpartisan. The Justice Dept. opposed the change, saying that it would deny black voters their right to know who was Democrat and who was Republican.
            And most recently, in April 2012, the Pitt County School District got a thumbs down when it tried to change their method of elections from twelve single-member districts to just seven.
            In other states, specifically Texas and South Carolina, VRA-5 has been successfully used by the Justice Dept. to stop voter ID laws there because they weren’t pre-cleared, and posed a real threat of voter suppression.
            Overall, the VRA has rejected over 1,000 proposed discriminatory voting changes between 1982 and 2006, says VRA advocates, and it is still needed.
            Those districts, like Wake County, that can prove that they have indeed buried past racist practices have an option, under the VRA, to opt out of Section 5. The problem is many never applied to do so, an argument made before the high Court to defend maintaining VRA-5.
            Advocates believe if the Supreme Court rules against VRA-5, in addition to the NC courts upholding the Republican redistricting maps, then the voting rights of blacks and other communities of color will be seriously hampered.
            If the Supreme Court strikes Section 5 down, millions of voters will be at risk of having their rights infringed upon by those determined to block access to the ballot,” says national NAACP Pres. Benjamin Todd Jealous. “We can't let that happen.”

By Cash Michaels

            NO OSCAR CLASS – Boy, ABC TV must really be hard up for ratings, given that monstrosity of an Oscar’s telecast we saw last Sunday.
            I understand the need to keep a good audience, and pull in a younger audience so that the Academy Awards replenishes a profitable demographic that is getting older all the time.
            I get that.
            But when you get someone like Seth McFarlane, creator of the irreverent Fox cartoon series Family Guy, and director of the raunchy flick Ted (the R-rated story of an oversexed teddy bear), to host what is supposed to be a classy family program (they don’t bleep those Best Picture film clips for nothing), you’re asking for trouble.
            And trouble is exactly what showed up Sunday night.
            McFarlane’s jokes, for the most part, were crude, sexist and racist.
            Granted, there’s an audience for that, as the ratings for the show proved.  The problem is it send a message to the billion people watching around the world that what American entertainment can no longer do with craft and imagination, it will more than make up for in crass, racist, sexist garbage.
            What’s more disturbing is that this year’s program really had some stellar moments. Seeing the all-but-forgotten great singer Shirley Bassey belt out “Goldfinger” to a standing ovation was priceless. Barbara Streisand reminded us what class and craft is all about with her tribute to late composer Marvin Hamlisch. Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry was arguably the best dressed attendee to the Oscar ceremony, and comported herself accordingly. British singer Adele reminded us that there is still a market for performers who can actually sing intelligently. Director Ang Lee was beyond humble in accepting his Best Director award for the extraordinary “Life of Pi” (which I still have to see, but hear is so great, my wife gave me the book for Christmas).
            And actor Daniel Day-Lewis’ acceptance of his Best Actor award for “Lincoln” was the epitome of class and humor.
            All of the above tells us that Hollywood’s greatest commodity is not just the high quality of films it produces when it really wants to, but leading the world in what craft and professionalism is all about.
            That’s why who is chosen to host the Academy Awards every years is a big deal. The person must be skilled enough to push the envelope, yet skillfully land on the right side of our sensibilities. Make us comfortable hearing the dirty joke because the way it was delivered wasn’t dirty at all.
            Bob Hope was a master at that. So was Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg when they hosted. Even Chris Rock, as radical as his comedy is in comparison to a Hope or Crystal, knew where to draw the line.
            Seth McFarlane is the product of a younger, yet angrier generation that really hasn’t paid its dues, but because they’ve made gobs of money for someone, ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences throws them a bone and says, “Let’s see what you can do.”
            I don’t know who will be chosen to host next year (McFarlane says count him out), but I hope ABC and the Academy choose someone we’re not ashamed of. McFarlane is a talented guy for what he does.
            But what he does deserves to be nowhere near the Academy Awards, and under normal circumstances, never would be.
            MICHELLE FULL THROTTLE – Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, is on a full throttle media blitz to promote the third anniversary of her national “Let Move” children’s health campaign.
 Last week she appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s show dancing up a storm with the now famous “Evolution of Mom Dancing” video which is simply hilarious.
Then on Sunday, Mrs. Obama made a surprise appearance on the Academy Awards telecast to announce the Best Picture Award for “Argo.”
She’s also taped a healthy eating video with Big Bird from Sesame Street in the White House Kitchen; appeared on “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts this week (by the way, welcome back Robin); and taped a session with Dr. Oz.
Top black national radio hosts like Tom Joyner, Doug Banks, B. Smith and Michael Baisden interviewed the First Lady this week.
And she has enlisted the aid to top national magazines and media companies to help promote healthy recipes.
Plus, today the First Lady is scheduled to announce a new initiative to promote putting
According to the White House, “Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives.  Since then parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.”
The White House continued, “Thanks to these efforts, families now have access to more information to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved.  More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home. And the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states.”
So we salute the First Lady. She always has made us proud, and she continues to do so. Apparently the Republicans don’t like all of this activity. BUMP ‘EM is what I say. I’m with Michelle Obama. Anyone else with me?
RAPE NO MORE - Local film professor and filmmaker Joseph Brandon Johnson will depart between the dates of March 23rd through March 31st to shoot the first part of an influential groundbreaking documentary about a group of individuals seeking to confront the pressing issue of rape in South Africa.  Utilizing “active art” in the form of flash mobs with spoken word through the voices at-risk young men, the filmmaker and fellow artists seek to affect social awareness and change.
According to Prof. Johnson, “1 in 4 men in South Africa has committed the act of rape.  Of admitted rapists, over 70 percent stated that they had committed the act before they turned 20.  This project will be an artistic intervention in that we will utilize the performances of these young boys not just to alter their exterior environment but their internal social orientation as well.”
            The mantra of the documentary is as follows: Before they were rapists, before they were victims, before they were silent, they were children.  Let’s start there and work our way forward.  It’s not just a documentary...it’s a movement.
            If you would like more information about this topic, or would like to help the project, please contact Prof. Joseph Johnson at336-624-9815, or email him at johnsonjoeb@mac.com.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


NNPA OP-ED FOR THE CAROLINIANhttp://www.nnpa.org/news/commentary/summoning-strength-through-struggle-by-wayne-moore/ - PLEASE ADD TO EDITOR'S NOTE THAT MOORE IS A SHAW UNIVERSITY ALUM.



By Cash Michaels

            By any measure, Charlotte is known as the city where business is done.
            The banking capital of the Southeast, the Queen City prides itself to be “Atlanta-lite” – a black-run city that knows how to build business. And with last year’s Democratic National Convention putting Charlotte on the world map as a major destination location, there is no question that the city will be heard from again for years to come.
            But if an article in the Charlotte Observer is any indication, when the nation’s premier black college sporting event, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Basketball Tournament, returns for its eighth year Feb. 26th to March 2nd, while the swanky hotels and restaurants in Charlotte’s flashy downtown will roll in black gold, local African-American businesses will, once again, see little, if any benefit at all.
            “If the [CIAA] moved its annual…basketball tournament from Charlotte, what evidence would remain in the black business community – aside from some party pictures – that we had ever hosted the popular event?” is the way Glenn Burkins, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and former business editor for The Charlotte Observer, began his Feb. 20th article titled, “Black Business and the CIAA” on his Qcitymetro.com website and in the Observer.
            In his story, Burkins said he put that question to local city and business leaders, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
            Foxx is African-American.
            They spoke of the tournament’s obvious impact on the city as a whole, but when pressed to give even one example of how it had helped black business owners, the conversations stalled,” Burkins wrote.
            He went on to note how, after Charlotte had won the rights to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, city and business leaders, led by Mayor Foxx, determined that the event deserved a “legacy” approach, meaning that it should have a lasting economic imprint on the city for many years after, similar to what the Olympic games do for a host city.
            “An online business directory was built. Business workshops were organized. Even a special business liaison was hired. But eight years after Charlotte first hosted the CIAA, where is that same focus?” Burkin asks.
            The CIAA Tournament came to Charlotte after leaving Raleigh in 2005, and ironically, African-Americans in the Triangle, which at that time boasted of three of the 12 CIAA historically black member colleges and universities, voiced the same concerns. Even more troubling is that black business leaders in Winston-Salem – the city which hosted the popular tourney for many years until the tens of thousands of fans and black college alums grew bigger than the city’s facilities could hold – say the same thing.
            The CIAA games did little for the local black business bottomline.
            Burkin writes that over the eight years the CIAA has drawn thousands of black visitors to the city, local black businesses have continuously questioned how the black collegiate Division II sports conference “seeks and awards” contracts. The carpet is always rolled out for major corporate sponsors like Ford Motor co. and Coca-Cola Bottling Co., but when it comes to some of the 20,000 local Charlotte black businesses, many of whom lack access to much needed capital, getting a slice of the pie, the going is rough.
            Burkin confirmed to The Carolinian via phone interview Wednesday that few officials he spoke with, including Mayor Foxx, could give him a straight answer on why local black businesses get the brushoff from the CIAA.
            And new CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter was not made available for Burkin to interview.
            But most stunning was a response Burkin got from Mike Butts, the executive director of Visit Charlotte, the sales and marketing arm of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA). Butts also chairs the CIAA Host Committee.
            “Butts…said the issue of economic empowerment [of local black businesses] never comes up during any of the meetings he’s attended,” Burkin writes. “That admission might be less appalling if an estimated 180,000 people – nearly all of them black – didn’t flock to Charlotte each year to attend CIAA events, if the CRVA didn’t give $1 million a year (about $500,000 of that in tax dollars) to the CIAA, and if the annual tournament didn’t pump tens of millions of dollars into the city’s economy, most of it going to uptown hotels and bars.”
            It was former CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry who brought the CIAA Tourney to Charlotte from Raleigh years ago.
            Kerry, 63, abruptly resigned in November 2011, is credited with the tremendous of the CIAA from the time he took the reigns in 1988. Allegations of improperly funneling money to an employee of the CRVA dogged him in his final years, according to published reports.
            In 2014, the CIAA will entertain bids for its next host city, and is likely to attract suitors from Atlanta, Ga. and Pennsylvania. But the question is, now that it has new leadership, will the black collegiate conference continue to turn its back on the black business community no matter where it’s located, or will it support the community that historically has always supported it?

                                                      GOV. PAT MCCRORY

By Cash Michaels

            Accusing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led NC General Assembly of creating “health care apartheid,” the president of the NCNAACP, in an open letter issued the morning after Gov. McCrory’s first State of the State address Monday evening, urged the new governor not to sign a controversial Senate bill which stops the expansion of Medicaid to 500,000 more poor people in the state.
            Republican supporters of the bill say the state’s Medicaid program is a mess and inefficient, with a recent state audit showing cost overruns in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
            McCrory agrees, saying that once the bill gets to his desk, he’ll sign it.
            But critics of the measure, which includes many on the medical industry, say the problems with the state’s Medicare system can be fixed. With the federal government paying the full cost for the first three years, and 90 percent of the costs annually thereafter, plus an estimated 23,000 jobs and boost to North Carolina that could result, critics are dumbfounded that McCrory and the Republicans would be willing to pass up the opportunity.
            They add that the conservative zeal to cripple Pres. Obama’s health care reform act is the true reason why Republicans oppose the Medicaid expansion.
            To sacrifice the needs of the poor for the sake of partisan politics is unfair, many say.
             On behalf of millions of poor and working people in North Carolina, we reject your apparent eagerness to deny 500,000 low income North Carolina people access to health care they need now,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, wrote in his Feb. 18th missive. “You are creating two health care systems:  One for the Haves.  One for the Have Nots.”
Barber continued, “When you reject Medicaid expansion, you create disparate impacts on African Americans, other minorities, the poor, and the disabled.  In a time when many have not recovered from the Recession, when many families are in desperate need of a social safety net, you turn your back on them--infants, young people, and the elderly.  You do this aware that African Americans, Latinos and other people of color have a much lower insured rate than white North Carolinians.  The rate is 7.7% lower for African Americans, 19.4% for Latinos and 4.6% lower for Asian Americans.”
Rev. Barber and other progressives are apparently going to be kept quite busy with criticism in the coming weeks, if not years that the Republicans are in power.
Gov. McCrory’s signing of the unemployment bill that drastically cut jobless benefits Tuesday made nationwide news. Under the measure, as of July 1st, weekly benefits are cut from $535.00 a week for 170,000 long-term unemployed North Carolinians, to just $350.00 per week, and the number of weeks would be put a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks.
McCrory and the Republicans say the law is needed to begin repaying over $2 billion the state owes the federal government. But critics say the poor and unemployed will suffer as a result.
Hundreds of thousands of jobless workers thrown out of work through no fault of their own will face deepening poverty as a result of this decision,” said Jeff Shaw, Communications Director for the NC Justice Center.
No state has ever cut unemployment benefits this sharply, this quickly. No state has ever turned down hundreds of millions in federal benefits the way this bill does. North Carolina’s legislature and Governor chose to permanently cut benefits, reduce employers' contributions over time, and reject $700 million in federal extended benefits,” Shaw added. 

There are bills introduced that would also bring back payday lending, which critics note clearly exploits the poor, eliminating the estate tax for the wealthy, and raising the sales tax on food and services, which would disproportionately hurt the poor.
“The plans already on the table tell us that legislators are planning to rely on the sales tax to support their income tax reductions or eliminations,” says Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Budget and Tax Center in Raleigh. “As such, these plans would shift the tax load to hardworking North Carolinians while providing tax cuts to the wealthy. Over time, this approach would also erode the state’s ability to fulfill the Governor’s commitment to support schools and infrastructure.” 
For those in the progressive community, emboldened to do battle with the Republican agenda, there is no question that the social clock is being turned back.
In N.C.'s rural areas, community hospitals provide care to those who cannot afford it,” wrote NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber in his open letter to GOP leadership. “But because of your rejection of Medicaid expansion, many of the rural community hospitals may have to shut their doors, eliminating the care to those who need it most.  By expanding Medicaid, North Carolina would qualify for significant federal funds which would allow for these community hospitals to continue to provide needed medical care and provide for improved health care to young people, seniors and disabled citizens who need health care the most.”
“Please do as so many people in our great state have called on you to do,” Rev. Barber continued.  “Please govern for the good of the whole, not just the rich few.”


            [RALEIGH] Ten years ago, the then Democrat-led NC General Assembly outlawed payday lending in the state because poor people and military families were being charged outrageous interest rates on short-term loans. Now that the Republicans have taken over both houses of the Legislature, a bill has been introduced by Senates Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca to re-establish payday lending in North Carolina. Action NC, a grassroots social advocacy group, has mounted an email campaign to oppose the bill.

            [RALEIGH]  With the Republican-led NC General Assembly passing bills to cut unemployment and stop the expansion of Medicaid, in addition to proposals to raise the sales tax and bring back payday lending, state Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller blasted both GOP lawmakers and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, claiming that, “This is a war on the poor, and a war on the hardworking taxpayers of this state.” Wondering whether McCrory, a moderate, ever intends to confront the conservatives in his party, Voller added, “The question becomes at what point does Gov. McCrory stand up to this radical reactionary legislature.”

            [RALEIGH] When it comes to the top ten best American cities for small businesses, Raleigh and Durham are considered among that number. According to the Business Journal, based on government data, the Capital City is number 4 with 24.91 per 1,000 people, and the Bull City is sixth among the top ten, with 22.56 small businesses for every 1,000 people. Salt Lake City, Utah is fifth. Denver, Col. is third, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is second, and the number small business city is Austin, Texas, with 23.3 per every 1,000.


            McPherson and Jacobson, the search firm hired by the Wake County Board of Education in January, is seeking input from Wake County parents, students and system personnel and other community stakeholders on the qualities they would like to see in the next superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. The firm’s work will include developing a recruitment timeline, meeting with stakeholder groups, soliciting public input to create a profile of the district and recruiting candidates whose qualifications and attributes match that profile.
            Please visit http://www.wcpss.net/superintendent-search/ to fill out the survey, and for more information and updates.

            Oberlin Cemetery, established in 1873, if not earlier, as a graveyard for slaves, was officially designated an historic city landmark by the Raleigh City Council Tuesday. Located at 1014 Oberlin Road, it is one of the few surviving landmarks of Oberlin Village, one of the largest freedmen’s conclaves in Wake County after the Civil War. At least 600 graves are contained in the cemetery, with various monuments displaying the artistic work of the period.

            Voices Into Action is hosting a free community workshop for Southeast Raleigh residents on Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church’s Johnson Building, to talk about ideas for programs or projects that would create opportunities for a healthier community. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and transportation and childcare is available upon request by contacting Kathryn at 919-513-2703 or info@voicesinto action.org.

By Cash Michaels

RESPECT, SHAQ AND CHARLES, RESPECT – It must be real difficult being a has-been professional sports figure. The glory days are gone. The body just isn’t what it used to be. Heck, the mind probably isn’t as sharp either.
None of the above are meant to be derogatory. They are facts of life for all of us, regardless of our particular vocation in life, no matter what you did well in your prime. With few exceptions, as the years go on, all of us slowly, but certainly surely, begin to lose some of that which made us one of the best in what we did.
Professional athletes are the dramatic example of this. Because they performed in front of all of us, and brought us to our collective feet with heart-stopping displays of physical prowess that most of us have only dreamed of, we bestow upon them great honor, and respect.
Just last week, we celebrated the 50th birthday of Michael Jordan, and we did so because all of us agree that despite the turkey of a team he now owns, his time winning championships with the North Carolina Tar Heels, and then the Chicago Bulls, puts MJ in a class by himself.
He will always deserve our respect, if not our awe.
Indeed, anyone who makes it to the pros of any sport deserves our respect, because their unique abilities separated them from millions of others to the very top. That doesn’t mean they will ever reach greatness. Indeed, the majority of pro players never do. But the fact that they contributed to a legitimate team in professional sports, assuming that they were giving maximum effort, is worthy of note, and again, respect.
That’s why I couldn’t believe my ears while watching TNT Network’s coverage of the NBA ALL-Star Weekend from Houston, Texas last Saturday night. Specifically, former NBA superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, as part of the broadcast team, were remarking on the poor performances by various NBA entrants in the ever-popular slam-dunk contest.
Now, I will be the first to admit that this year’s competition was the poorest I’ve seen in years in terms of ability and imagination. Gone are the days of monster dunks by folks like Jordan, Dr. J and other masters of the power display.
This year, virtually everyone who competed had to push themselves beyond two or three tries just to finally get a dunk that would at least wake up the crowd, let alone go in the basket.
It was boring. Not because these guys didn’t try. They just weren’t that good.
But that doesn’t mean any of them deserved the treatment they got on-air from Shaq and “Sir Charles.”
Both blowhards talked of the slam-dunk competitors as nobodies, literally. Indeed, they both bragged on-air that they didn’t know who these guys were (with the exception of last year’s contest winner Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz).
It’s one thing to have some moron basketball announcer act that way. But when veterans of the game treat their colleagues – young professionals like they once were – like they just walked off the street for a tryout, that is a profound disrespect.
I’m not saying the dunkers’ lack of skill shouldn’t have been noted. That’s what basketball analysts do – tell us the what’s and why’s of what we’re seeing with sugarcoating it.
But when you start laughing on-air about the fact that none of the contestants have made enough of a superstar status yet for you to even know their names, that’s hitting below the belt. The majority of NBA basketball players aren’t known to the general public unless someone specifically follows a particular team.
Now if better-known stars like LeBron, and D-Wade and Kobe decide that they are too established to be competing in a slam-dunk contest watched by millions of people, then that’s their prerogative. But then who does that leave left? Lesser known NBA players ready to shine. So it’s natural that we wouldn’t know all of their names, but do former stars have to slam that in their faces?
So Shaq and Charles, as legends of the game, I personally expect more class from you guys. Do your jobs as basketball analysts, yes. Tell us what somebody does right and does wrong, certainly. Tell us what is actually happening in a game, or, if you can, what is supposed to happen next.
But don’t sit there on your 50-year-old faces and disrespect any NBA player as a nobody. That could change in a heartbeat, in one game.
Just ask Jeremy Lin.
‘nuff said.
FOREST GETS AN APOLOGY – Earlier this week, the owner of a New York City delicatessen apologized to Oscar winning actor Forest Whitaker for an ugly incident that occurred last week.
Whitaker, an African-American, reportedly was frisked by a deli employee while there. When the employee realized Whitaker was clean, he asked him not to call the cops because he didn’t want to lose his job, so Whitaker didn’t, but the story got out, and the deli caught all kinds of hell and bad publicity.
The deli owner says now that the employee no longer works there, not because he was fired, but because he’s so embarrassed, he doesn’t want to come back. The owner assures all that the former employee is really a decent guy.
Well exactly how decent would he have been if it wasn’t a famous actor he was rousting, but Leroy Whitaker, or Hasan Whitaker, or “Homeboy” Whitaker?
Couple this with a widely reported story this week about an African-American nurse suing the hospital she used to work at because it acceded to the request of a white patient not to allow any black nurses to look after his white newborn; or the story of a white man slapping a crying black toddler on a plane, and you have to ask yourself if the world is growing even more crazy, or do racists just don’t give a damn any longer?
Well, at least Forest got his apology. Thank GOD for Academy Award winning black actors.
PRINCE MICHAEL GETS A JOB – So Michael Jackson’s son, Prince Michael, has gotten a job as a special correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight.” I honestly don’t know what to think about this. I’m not against it (and quite frankly don’t have the right to be), but I’m not necessarily excited about it either.
Clearly the young man has gotten the gig not because he has some great journalistic background. And when Prince Michael gets interview assignments, I have the funniest feeling the celebrities he speaks with will be more star-struck with him than he will be with them.
So clearly this is a gimmick by ET to not only hold onto its audience, but perhaps build up some younger viewers.
Let’s give Prince Michael, 16, at least a year to learn the job, and see if he sticks with it. Who knows, if Chelsea Clinton and one of Pres. Bush’s daughters can work for NBC News, then why not give one of Michael’s kids a shot?
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

NCCU'S NEW CHANCELLOR - Debra Saunders-White was named the new chancellor of North Carolina Central University Feb. 8th by the UNC Board of Governors. Her tenure begins June 1st. [Photo courtesy of the Campus Echo].


Monday, February 11, 2013


NCCU'S NEW CHANCELLOR - Debra Saunders-White was named the new chancellor of North Carolina Central University last week by the UNC Board of Governors. Her tenure begins June 1st. Saunders-White currently serves in the US Dept. of Education. Before that, she was the vice chancellor for Information Technology Systems at UNC - Wilmington, and a systems designer for highwer education at IBM. Saunders-White succeeds interim Chancellor Charles Becton, and former Chancellor Charlie Nelms. [Photo courtesy of the Campus Echo].

SUSPECTS CHARGED IN HADIYA'S MURDER - Chicago Police have now charged two males, ages 18 and 20, with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton, the young honors student who performed with her school in the inauguration parade for Pres. Obama. Police say the suspects mistakenly thought Hadiya and her friends were members of a rival gang. First Lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya's funeral last weekend, and the parents were guests of the president Tuesday during the State of the Union address. Pres. Obama will be in Chicago Friday to talk about gun violence. [File photo]

By Cash Michaels

            When President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday evening in Washington, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown was right there in the Congressional gallery as a guest of Fourth District Congressman David Price.
            Only twelve days into her permanent position (she had served as interim chief since last October when Harry Dolan retired), Chief Deck-Brown was there not only to hear the president’s address, but also meet some of the Washington powerbrokers who could help her get the resources she needs to better protect the citizens of Raleigh.
            That has been Deck-Brown’s job as a law enforcement officer ever since the African-American woman joined the Raleigh Police Dept. – the only police agency she’s ever worked for – in 1987, when Fred Heinemann was leading the department.
            The Franklin County worked hard to learn under Heinemann, who introduced community policing to Raleigh; then Chief Mitch Brown, her brother-in-law; Chief Jane Perlov, the department’s first female chief of police, and finally Deck-Brown’s immediate predecessor, Chief Dolan.
            From all of them, Deck-Brown says, she learned how to bring the community and police department closer together for better communication, interaction, and ultimately better public safety.
            I’ve had the opportunity to [be] mentored by some very great leaders,” Chief Brown told The Carolinian in an interview last week. “Each one of them brought a different concept and a different vision to the police department, but the one thing that resonated with all of them was fairness, and seeing the humanity in our community, and wanting to make a difference.”
            Chief Deck-Brown graduated from East Carolina University prior to joining the Raleigh PD. She served as a patrol officer, crime prevention officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, deputy chief, interim chief, and now chief. When Raleigh City Manager J. Russell Allen began a national search to replace the retiring Dolan, rank-and-file police officers with the department made it known loud and clear that Deck-Brown had their solid support, especially when she got rid of an evaluation test many thought was unfair and unnecessary.
            Mgr. Allen told The Carolinian that when he measured Deck-Brown’s experience and accomplishments against other candidates were considered some of the best nationally, he was convinced she could do the job, especially since she already knew the department, and had 25 years already invested.
            “She was the best choice,” Allen said.
            Building on the strong foundation of her predecessors, and moving forward to lower crime, improve public safety, and keep pace with whatever homeland security measures are required to partner with the state and federal government against terrorism, are just some of the many policing challenges Chief Deck-Brown agrees she faces.
            But also building an even better relationship with the community, and especially young people, so that they see a police officer as someone to run to, and from, is also a high priority for this new leader, she says.
            Protecting the citizens of Raleigh, a city that has demonstrably grown in size and population since Deck-Brown first walked a beat, is a tall order. But the first black woman in the history of the Capital city to lead its police department says she’s ready for it.
            “We have to be very smart about how we use our personnel and our equipment, to better serve the community,” Chief Deck-Brown says.

An estimated 15,000 marchers and rallyers descended on the NC Legislative Building Saturday for last Saturday's Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Assembly [photo by Eric Preston]

As Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, reads a prayer, Dr. Benjamin Chavis and NCNAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber listen before the march to the NC Legislature at Saturday's HK on J 7 event [photo courtesy of Curmilus Butch Dancy II]

By Cash Michaels

            As far as the eye could see – from the NC Legislative Building on Jones Street, all the way down through the block-long plaza to the state Capital – an estimated 15,000 marchers, at least a third of which were high school and college students from across the state, joined the throngs for the Seventh Annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J)– The People’s Assembly last Saturday.
            But unlike previous years, members of the black, white, Latino, gay, labor and activists communities came with more of a mission than ever before, alarmed by the quick actions of the first Republican majority NC General Assembly in recent history to stop Medicaid expansion, cut unemployment benefits and do precious little to address the state’s historic poverty levels.
            It was by far the largest, most diverse, most well-organized People's Assembly the NAACP has ever organized …,” said attorney Al McSurely, NCNAACP Communications chairman, who went on to call it, “…the largest civil and human rights rally on record ever in Raleigh.”
            Led by HK on J convener, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, Saturday’s massive assembly forcefully addressed the key issues of economic sustainability and ending poverty; healthcare for all; voting rights, immigration; fairness in the criminal justice system, and educational equality, among others.
            Joined by National NAACP Board Chairwoman Roslyn Brock, NAACP Board member Carolyn Coleman, and Wilmington Ten leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Rev. Barber blasted Republican lawmakers for voting to refuse federal money to expand Medicaid to over 500,000 more poor in the state (Gov. Pat McCrory has subsequently agreed with the Legislature); voting to firing all appointees to state boards, commissions, and even 12 special judges, in an effort to replace them all with Republicans; reducing unemployment benefits from $535.00 to $350.00 per week, in addition to shortening the payment period from 12-20 weeks and expanding the wait period for benefits to begin from one to two weeks; floating tax reform that would eliminate the state personal and corporate income tax in favor of raising the sales tax, which would severely burden the poor when buying food and other essentials; and pursue establishing a photo voter ID law, even though, by state Board of Elections estimates, at least 600,000 primarily Democratic voters in state do not have any form of official identification.
            Barber also warned of Republican plans to make “right to work” part of the NC Constitution.
            The NC NAACP president warned that even though the GOP has super majorities in both the state House and Senate, that will not stop the over 100 members organizations of the HK on J Coalition statewide from speaking out, and opposing what they see as regressive policies that could hurt the poor, perpetuate further economic injustice, and turn back the clock on civil rights.
            “The just must live by faith, and know who we are,” Rev. Barber said, referring to why, no matter what critics and haters say to derail the movement, the diverse HK on J Coalition must stand strong together.
            NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn Brock, noting that 2013 holds many 100th and 50th anniversaries of significant civil rights events like the 1963 March on Washington and hundredth birthday of the late civil right icon Rosa Parks. She also marked the Feb. 12th 104th anniversary of the birth of the national NAACP, saying that Black America must continue to lead the fight for equal and civil rights.
            “HK on J,” Brock called out, “We are here, and we will not be silent!”
            Ben Chavis, who once again thank former Gov. Beverly Perdue “for her act of courage” for granting pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten before she left office December 31st, said he was contemplating “coming home” to his native North Carolina from Florida, so that he could engage in the struggle here once again.
            ‘I’m glad to see this day coming back to North Carolina,” Dr. Chavis said, adding that the many young people there were “the future of the movement.”
“We need HK on J. We need freedom, justice and equality.”
            Calling them “dinosaurs in the Legislature,” Chavis also remarked that regressive Republican lawmakers should be “cleaned out” and retired to the state museum across the street from the Legislature with the other “relics” there.

By Cash Michaels

            There’s been much criticism about the Wake County School Board authorizing the hiring of a legislative lobbyist to fight efforts by the Wake County Commission Board to own school properties and change school district elections, but Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton says there really isn’t much choice.
            “It’s a power grab,” Sutton told The Carolinian in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I think it’s a blatant overreach by the county commissioners, and really just steps outside the realm of their authority.”
            Indeed none of the Democratic majority on the Wake School Board were pleased with word that the Wake Commissioners had placed their “power grab” of school board authority and elections on their 2013 State Legislative Agenda. Beyond just taking over ownership of school properties, Republican commissioners want
their GOP colleagues in the General Assembly to change Wake School Board elections from nine separate district elections, to 5 district elections, and four at-large elections, meaning that Wake voters beyond their various districts could elect four of the nine district members.
            The Republicans hope that adopting this electoral change would immediately give them a chance to topple the Democratic majority on the school board, which will currently remain in power for at least the next three years.
            Sutton says the move is clearly political, and does nothing but ramp up the tensions between the boards at a time when they should be working together to put a school construction bond before the voters by next fall.
            “It’s pure politics and…they’re just doing it simply because they can,” Sutton says, adding that there isn’t much that can be done to stop them beyond the resistance, namely a legislative lobbyist, that the school board exhibits.
            Wake Commissioner Tony Gurley has blasted Sutton for now spending $100,000 in taxpayer money just to hire the lobbyist. The Wake School Board chairman replies, “If they had just left us alone, left the business of the school board to us, and took care of the business of the county commissioners, they wouldn’t have to worry about spending any taxpayer dollars on lobbying.”
            Sutton says the question of who should own school system buildings and properties has actually been around for years. It is only now, because the NC General Assembly finally has Republican majorities in both houses, that the Republican-led Wake commissioners decided now was the time to move on the issue.
            Because school boards in North Carolina don’t have the power of taxation, they have to get their funding from their local county commission boards. In many cases, school boards have to get their commission boards to sign off on bond referendums to fund new school construction.
            Wake Commission Chairman Joe Bryan says because they fund the schools, the Commission Board should own the school buildings and properties. He and other Republican members say it is more efficient, and ultimately saves the taxpayers money.
            The Democratic majority on the Wake School Board says school construction involves a lot more than just owning the properties. Intense planning goes into what schools must be built where to serve what areas, in addition to assigning students accordingly. The school system staff and board, not the Wake commissioners, are best suited to handle that, Sutton and company say.
            The issue has ramifications beyond Wake, however.
            The Republican-led New Hanover County Board of Education is watching the tension in Wake County very closely because it fears its Commission Board, and other Commission Board across the state, may ultimately want to do the same thing if the NC General Assembly signs off on the Wake Commission Board’s request.
            They also fear Wake Commissioners legislative request to help fund charter schools in their area, saying that will just take further funding away from the public school system overall.
            “…[S]hort-sighted and ill-conceived,” wrote NHC School Board member Derrick Hickey in a recent blog.
Other issues are keeping Chairman Sutton’s school board plate full. Filling Debra Goldman’s District 9 seat until this November is one of the newest agenda items the board must attend to.
 Goldman, who left the board two weeks ago, came on the board with the Republican takeover in December 2009. Despite her many controversies, Sutton says Goldman was a “hardworking board member” who came for her constituency, and paid attention to detail.
Retooling the new student assignment policy in time for the 2014 school year was the subject of an extensive board committee meeting last week.  Board members discussed how to reconstitute the plan so that stability, proximity, student achievement and diversity are important components.
Chairman Sutton says the one thing he feels the school system could do better this time is have the need for student diversity better reflected beyond just student assignment and the magnet school program. In fact, he says, he’s like to see a system Office of Diversity, similar to what Guilford County Public Schools, so that that standard is properly maintained in all areas, including procurement and recruitment.
“Diversity has to be part of your organizational culture,” Sutton says, ‘Not just a piece here or a piece there.”
In 2010, the then Republican-led Wake School Board gutted diversity out of the system’s Policy 6200 in its drive towards establishing neighborhood schools. Discussions are now underway to have it reinstituted.
Regarding school security, Sutton says a new task force, co-chaired by Wake Sheriff Donnie Harrison and former Raleigh Police Captain Al White, is in the process of identifying members to serve.
Once up and running, the task force will review safety plans, emergency and threat preparedness throughout the school system, and make recommendations to the board in 90 to 120 days. The need for the panel arose after the school shooting massacre of 26 people – 20 of which were first-graders – last December at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Wake high schools and middle schools already have armed school resource officers in them, generally either off-duty Wake Sheriff’s deputies or Raleigh Police officers. But some groups have expressed concern about putting more officers in schools, particularly elementary campuses that are currently unguarded, making them “armed camps.”
Sutton says that certainly isn’t his intention, only the safety of all students. He assures that the task force will have diverse interests on it.
Recently the school board hired a search firm to move forward with the selection of Wake’s next permanent school superintendent. Board members are scheduled to sit down with the firm to express what attributes they want in the candidates.
Sutton says he’s heard nothing from the Civil Rights Division of the US Dept. of Education regarding the racial bias complaint filed by the NCNAACP against the Republican-led school board.
As for the complaint filed by the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association to AdvancED against the board’s Democratic majority in retaliation for the firing last September of former Supt. Anthony Tata, Sutton says the system is still at “warn” status regarding its accreditation of system high schools, and it has one more report to file regarding issues it was directed to address.
Published reports indicated that in a January letter, AdvancED said while progress had been made, it felt more needed to be done for the school boards Democrat and Republican members to get along. It also wanted to monitor how the superintendent search was going, and how the new student assignment policy would be implemented.

            [ATLANTA, GA.] It’s not the complete exoneration he sought, but John McNeil is finally released from a Georgia prison after seven years. The Wilson, NC native had been sentenced to life after he fatally shot a contractor who was attacking him with a weapon outside of his home in 2005. A witness and a police officer deemed the shooting self-defense, but a year after the incident, prosecutors convicted McNeil of first-degree murder. On Tuesday, a Cobb County, Ga. judge, saying that mistakes were made in the first trial, re-sentenced McNeil to 20 years in prison, but gave him seven years credit for time served, and placed him on 13 years probation. To get the deal, McNeil had to enter a plea of involuntary manslaughter. “I just want to breathe freedom,” McNeil told reporters, accompanied by NcNAACP President Rev. William Barber, as he left prison.
            The release was bittersweet. Last week, McNeil’s devoted wife, Anita, succumbed to cancer after a long struggle. Her funeral was last weekend. Rev. Barber, who presided over the funeral, said she fought valiantly for the freedom of her husband.

            [RALEIGH] Gov. Pat McCrory, after ducking the issue for a week, finally admitted to reporters that the hiring of Dianna Lightfoot, a Tea Party activist whose disparaging tweets and Facebook postings forced her to resign last week as the head of the state’s pre-kindergarten program, and the failure to properly vet her beforehand, was the work of new NC Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. “Mistakes were made,” McCrory said, referring to the controversial hire he says he had no input in. Lightfoot had a online paper trail of controversial statements, from calling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a “butch,” to referring to gay people as “bigots.” She even called Pres. Obama’s healthcare act “enslavement.” Lightfoot was forced to resign two days before she was to take office. Ironically, Lightfoot was once opposed to publicly funded early childhood programs.

            [RALEIGH] After waffling on the issue, Gov. Pat McCrory this week joined with Republican legislative leaders in calling for no expansion of Medicaid, saying that “it would be foolish” to put more poor people in the state program if the system is broken. A state audit found at least $1 billion in cost overruns, something Republicans say must be fixed first. They also don’t trust the federal government’s assurance that it would pay for the additional 500,000 patients for the next three years, and then pick up 90 percent of the costs thereafter. Critics say by rejecting expansion, not only are more poor people denied vital health care services, but the state stands to lose new federal money and at least 23,000 jobs that would come with it. State GOP lawmakers voted this week to stop Medicaid expansion.


            Duke University officials have suspended a campus fraternity that was accused of holding a racist party that stereotyped Asian people. Duke officials say they don’t know how long Kappa Sigma fraternity will be suspended, and they hasten to add that the suspension has to do with other issues that were being investigated, not the party. The national fraternity also suspended the Duke chapter last week, and Asian students held a protest on campus against the party. The chapter president has since apologized by letter in the student newspaper.

            A federal district court judge, who previously expressed dismay twice with a fraud settlement federal prosecutors pushed in the WakeMed Medicaid fraud case, has now changed his mind, and signed off on the agreement. Judge Terrence Boyle did the about face last Friday, in effect deferring prosecution of hospital officials for two years for the admitted fraudulent billing for overnight stays that never happened. WakeMed, in turn, will pay an $8 million fine, and agree to fix its billing system.  If it meets all requirements, charges will be dismissed. Judge Boyle originally wanted prosecutions, but agreed that doing so would shut WakeMed services to underprivileged patients.

            The first rabies case of 2013 has been reported for Durham County. A dead raccoon found on the front lawn of a home on Strawberry Lane on Jan. 29th has tested positive for rabies, Durham Animal Services Division reports. The raccoon was apparently killed by a dog, officials say. Pet owners are advised to make sure their dogs and cats are properly vaccinated and up-to-date.

CASH IN THE APPLE for 2-13-13
By Cash Michaels

            HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KALA – On February 14th, 2003, ten years ago today, my second precious daughter was born, KaLa. And we could tell from the very beginning that she was going to be very special.
And now, ten years later, there is no question we were correct.
            KaLa is an excellent student in school, and always has been. And she is a very creative person, especially with her drawings, and arts and crafts. But she is also developing into a very fine writer and researcher, and KaLa’s grasp of facts and details at her young age is quite impressive, and in my totally biased opinion, will take her far.
            But the thing that most impresses me about my youngest one is her heart, which she expresses every day through her singing. This child lovingly sings out loud and strong every day, and has even begun writing her own songs.
            Perhaps my most favorite activity with my KaLa is sharing some of the music and movies from the past, introducing her Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, showing her videos of some of the old classic performers, and also some of the best in classic black music.
            To hear her, days later, seek out these songs and artists on her own, and sing along with them, is really a joy (though I must confess, KaLa found, “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” on her own.
            So from your proud mother, Markita; older sister Tiffany; and me, Happy Tenth Birthday KaLa. We love you, and encourage you to keep learning, growing, and praying. Always practice those three, and you can’t go wrong.
            MY FILMS AT 2013 HAYTI HERITAGE FILM FESTIVAL – I missed entering last year, but I’m back this weekend as an entrant in the 2013 Hayti Heritage Film Festival at Durham’s Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville Street in the St. Joseph’s Historic Performance Hall.
            The festival starts today, Feb. 14th, and ends Sunday, Feb. 17th.
            This fine event, for almost 20 years, has featured some of the most informative and inspiring independent black filmmaking in the nation, and this year, I’m honored not to just have one, or two, but THREE of my films shown.
            And the best part about that is all three are being shown back-to-back-to-back, starting at 1 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 17th.
            At 1 p.m. the first of my films shown will be the documentary about the NCNAACP’s “Truth and Hope Poverty Tour,” which takes us across the state to hear from people living in extraordinary conditions of poverty. It is powerful, factual and relevant, and deserves to be seen by every North Carolinian.
            Indeed, every American.
            The next is a mini-documentary titled, “Pogo Joe: Fighting the Game,” about “Pogo Joe” Caldwell, a former NBA and ABA basketball All-Star, and the only player who could stop “Dr. J” Julius Erving. Joe, who is now in his 80’s, once played for the old Carolina Cougars basketball team in the 1970s, and was permanently kicked out of professional basketball because he stood up to the powers that be who wanted to cheat him, and treat him like a slave. There was even a CBS “60 Minutes” story about it.
            This is also a powerful piece that teaches an important part of black sports history that can’t be ignored. Even if you’re not into sports, the story alone is worth seeing.
            And finally, my last mini-doc, “Carolyn Coleman: Portrait of a Leader.” This was a tribute film I did in honor of Ms. Coleman, who currently serves as a Guilford County commissioner, and also a member of the national NAACP Board of Directors. Ms. Coleman has a long and distinguished history in the civil rights movement, particularly here in North Carolina.
            This short film is both dramatic and inspirational. After you do see it, there will be no question that Ms. Coleman is a woman of history.
            I am immensely proud of all of these films, produced by my company, CashWorks HD Productions, and I’m very pleased that they are all being shown during the 1 p.m. hour this Sunday at the Hayti Heritage Festival. And yes, I’ll be there to talk about them with anyone who wants to hear about them.
            I don’t know if any of them will win anything, but that’s not the reason why I made them. I made them to indeed, inform and inspire. Capturing the essence of our collective humanity is what I believe a good filmmaker does. That’s what I try to do.
            So attend the Hayti Heritage Film Festival in Durham, starting tonight at 6 p.m. with the opening reception. But make sure that you attend everyday you can, and especially this Sunday.
            For more information and the daily schedule, go to http://www.hayti.org/hayti-heritage-film-festival.html, or call 919-683-1709, ext 21.
SAD FOOLISHNESS – As you know by now, last Saturday’s Historic Thousands on Jones Street – the People’s Assembly march and rally at the NC Legislative Building was a smashing success. Organizers estimate at least 15,000 demonstrators of all walks of life took part, and heard progressive messages against turning the clock back here in North Carolina.
I was there to see it for myself, and it was a great day of pride and activism.
But not everybody in our community sees it that way, or appreciates what the NCNAACP is doing, or the tremendous courage that its diligent leader, Rev. Dr. William Barber, has to get it done.
Indeed there are some who look to tear him and the NCNAACP down BECAUSE they are so visible and outspoken.
Earlier this week, I had someone whose talent I greatly admire write to me, challenging what the NCNAACP does, and why. This person, who I shall not name because that would be grossly unfair, has written me in the past with negative, and clearly unfounded accusations against Rev. Barber specifically, which I diligently and forcefully refuted because I know Rev. Barber very well.
Few people on this planet have my complete trust. Indeed few have earned it. William Barber is certainly one that has. I’ve seen his work up close. Indeed I’ve worked with him, and he with me when I’ve called for assistance on an issue, like the successful Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project.
I’ve seen this leader care, and cry, and sacrifice for the least of us. I’ve seen him bare the burden of cruel, racist threats…even as recent as last week.
And I’ve seen him to be true to his word, and then some, which is all that any of us could ask of one another.
William Barber is all of this, and a man of GOD as well.
So outside of his own family or the people who’ve worked closest with him, no one can tell me about NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber.
But whether it’s jealously, callousness, or just pure hate, this person who wrote me again this week, believes Barber and company to be at the least, misguided, and at the most, corrupt. So we had a running debate for a day or two.
Because this column is running long already, I’ll spare you the highlights of that debate now, and save it for next week. But needless to say, there are those around us who don’t get, and I’m sorry say, probably never will.
But we MUST keep pushin’ on for what we KNOW is that brighter day for ALL of our citizens, and I have every intention of doing so.
No matter who doesn’t like it!
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.