How do we heal?

CHARLOTTE, NC – Monday night, following the first day of jury selection for the Randal Kerrick trial, area citizens gathered for a “How do we heal” panel discussion at Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church in uptown Charlotte. Kerrick is on trial for killing Jonathan Ferrell, an un-armed Black male bleeding as the result of an automobile accident in 2013. Kerrick was one of three Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers responding to a 919 call, and the only one to fire his weapon dispensing 10 or more bullets into Ferrell causing his death.

The discussion hosting two panels; Advocacy and policy, was organized by SAFE Coalition NC, and was sponsored by Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP, ACLU of NC, and Little Rock AME Zion Church. Willie Ratchford, Executive Director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee served as moderator.

Panelists representing advocacy were: Willie Ferrell, brother of Jonathan Ferrell; Georgia Ferrell, mother of Jonathan Ferrell; Minister Corine Mack, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch NAACP President; and Marcelle Vielot, Millennial Organizer/Highlander Fellow.

Open to all, the first question was: How do we use activism and advocacy to heal ourselves given the situation we are addressing today?

* Corine Mack started by saying we can’t heal others until we heal ourselves. We all have to look in the mirror. “Let me make it clear she said, Black folk did not create racism, White’s did.” It is important for us and our good White friends to have honest real conversations. For so many years we have been politically incorrect. Timeout for that. We’ve got to stop killing our boys whether it’s at the hands of the police department or, Black on Black Crime. Marcelle Vielot responded, “It’s incredibly important that we begin the process of becoming comfortable with working together. Most of us are church folk, but we don’t even speak like we used to. If we are really trying to break down the barriers we have to knock on doors and talk to people. Organizing is not sexy – you get sweaty, you stink – but we’ve got to do it. We have to take time to really grind it out and make an intentional effort. Genuinely working it out, not just kicking people out. The easy road has gotten us to a place we can’t even talk to each other.

* QUESTION – Mrs. Ferrell, What is the role of faith moving forward with this community as we deal with this process? Faith moving forward means first we have to forgive. If I don’t forgive hate builds up. I love God first of all, I loved my son. I want peace I love peace, but I must fight on behalf of my son. Faith is first being a lover of God.

* Willie shard that most people are lacking faith and belief. We have to have these conversations because this is not just affecting Blacks, these situations ae touching the lower and middle class. People of faith must start sharing our testimonies.

* QUESTION: The next question was direct to Cornie Mack – Who holds who accountable? “I hold myself accountable,” she said. The bottom line is when you know somebody is incorrect – check them. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.” Love corrects. If you’re wrong, I’m going to check you. I am not going to allow this city to be another Baltimore or another Ferguson. Charlotte has been facets and faces. If at the end of the day, you have a problem with me, come have a conversation. We’ve got to step out in faith. God knows what’s going to happen – it’s predestined. God’s waiting on us to do our part.

* Marcelle: How do we hold one another accountable? I think Speaking truth to power” is one of the most fundamental things. We cannot be afraid to talk to those we have elected to political positions. The community had trusted them to get out there and work for us. Let them know, it is your duty to fight – and it is our duty to win. There are people in elected positions who aren’t doing anything. “Shout out to all politicians that are in this room!,” she said.

* Willie noted, one person can’t raise a child – it takes a village to raise a child. However, most parents have seen their child do wrong, but take up for them anyway. Any adult should be able to put a child in their place without having problems from their parents. “Social media is killing us. It’s the best and worst thing that could happen to the lower and middle class. I don’t want to see you fight unless you’re being paid to fight – like boxing or wrestling. Street fighting is the most ignorant thing ever – just to get likes. We must make ourselves look better on social media,” he said.

* AUDIENCE QUESTION – How should one respond when doing the right thing and still being targeted by authority figures? There is something called White privilege – We keep hearing and saying, “All Lives Matter.” It’s clear that Black lives don’t matter. When systemically Blacks have been oppressed beyond slavery. In the areas of education, lack of jobs for African Americans, etc. There are two blocks separating Grier Heights and Randolph Road. We’re in a city that’s number 3, when all the money is going to uptown Charlotte. People are talking about how goon uptown Charlotte is when afterschool programs are being cut. Blacks have been systemically oppressed. For those that think they have arrived, when the cop stops you see where you arrive. “I always pray, but, prayer without works is dead,” Mack said. We have to get to doing the work. I love charlotte, but there’s a spirit of covertness – where people like to steal your ideas. And an insidious lying spirit – where people will look you in your face and lie, while doing everything they can to tear down what you’re doing. “We as a people have a responsibility – one to another to make sure all lives matter. Mississippi and Alabama are doing better than Charlotte.

* AUDIENCE QUESTION: Tommie Robinson asked why we are always blaming ourselves for any condition that ever happens. Marcelle spoke to that saying, “I think that is a really profound statement– “no one wants to feel powerless – when you realize boot-strapping is alive. We do have power. There are things that are working. Blaming ourselves is a system of White supremacy. Look at Re-construction 4 years are so after slavery we were in the Senate – then systems have been put in place to keep us from excelling in education, family, and more. We have to open up. Charlotte is a sleeping giant that is starting to wake up, she concluded.

* Final question, each “Blessed are those that keep it short for they shall” How do we heal? Open your heart to love, Corine. Honesty – Marcelle. Faith, prayer and belief – Willie. Faith, prayer, belief and a trinity – Georgia Ferrell.

Panelists representing policy and legislation were: Civil Rights Attorney, Christopher Chestnut; Rep. John R. King, SC State House District 49, Sara Preston, Executive Director ACLU of NC, and Rep. Rodney Moore, NC State House Rep. District 99.

First question was: How do you use policy and legislation to heal our community. From Rock Hill, Rep. King has served in the House of Representatives for 8 years- After sharing, he cleared the slate saying, “I’m not one of those that does not do anything. He looked at what problems are, and then looked across the aisle and realized that to get anything passed you have to work with the Republicans. If I put forth legislation it’s never heard. If it’s good, they take the Black legislation and put their names on it. As Black legislators we have to understand the dynamics of our state and work within those parameters to get things passed. It’s not that I’m selling out. I work to get things done for my community. Rep. Moore, whose been in office for five years, noted that SC legislators must be better than NC. He too talked to the problem of getting things passed. Upon taking his seat, he was informed by a seated legislator that the only thing you’re going to be able to say is “No.” Moore noted that he will never sell out his core principles, but works to get thing done for his constituency. He spoke to the murder incidents around the country were – we put a common since legislation together for people who have no regard to profiling – it’s wrong. Moore closed by saying, “Trust and believe we will continue to fight for our constituents, and particularly for those in our communities.” Atty. Chestnut said when candidates come to your church and speaks prior to election; ask them, “What does this look like for my community? And hold them accountable. When they don’t work – don’t re-elect them. Also have to look at the criminal justice department. We have to begin to demand. Private schools are good; just pay your own tuition. Let’s do a comparison for 30 years for dope, but worried that we can’t 3 years for murder. Vote locally you must vote consistently. Government transparency has always been an issue for ACLU; therefore they are looking at policy and trying to get those policies changed.

King said, first, we should not allow anyone to define who our leader is. The people you have elected must be held accountable, or don’t elect them all the time. Leaders must take responsibility.

Question 2 was for all panelists: Who in Charlotte has the ability to call the community together and the community would come and work together. The answer Ratchford got in a previous setting was, “That person does not exist in Charlotte. Therefore, “Who do we look to for leadership?” Moore said, “The community looks to itself.” It does not matter who brings this forth, but the mission must be done.

Prior to the discussion, I had an opportunity to ask several attendees why they came. Tommie Robinson, a resident of the Eastern part of North Carolina replied, “Rep. Rodney Moore asked me to come to hear what’s going on. I didn’t come to hear a guilty plea. I want to wait for the judicial process to be finished because I don’t know what it will reveal. And, I hope everyone waits before beginning to protest.”

The true common denominators for the evening were; we must and can heal, however, we must work and have the committed support of a new set of lawmakers.

Myth of the ‘Absent’ Black Dad Refuted

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Contrary to the myth, though Black men are more likely to live apart from their children than Whites, they are more involved in the lives of their children than Whites and Hispanics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
The report covers a sample of sample of 10,403 men aged 15–44 years from 2006-2010.

It is true that Black dads are more likely to live apart from their children; the Pew Research Center reports that 44 percent do. However, Pew also found that 67 percent of Black fathers who don’t live with their children see them at least once a month, compared to 69 percent of White dads and 32 percent of Latino dads who don’t live with their children.

Among fathers who resided with their kids, African American dads were more involved in their children’s lives.

In the survey, fathers rated how often they performed certain activities with any or all of their children over the previous four weeks. Black fathers were most likely to bathe, dress, diaper, or help their children use the toilet on a daily basis. This was true for 70 percent of Black dads who lived with their children, compared with 60 percent of White dads and 45 percent of Latino dads.
Although few fathers outside the home could say they did this every day (across race), but Black dads were the top hygiene helpers (12 percent, compared to 6 percent for Whites and 7 percent for Latinos).

According to a similar report from the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of all Black fathers read to their children at least several times per week. Black dads in the CDC survey who didn’t live with their children were more than twice as likely as their White counterparts to host story time every day.

These same “absent” Black dads were significantly the most likely to talk to their school-age children about their day – more than 50 percent reported having done so several times per week or more, compared to 34 percent of absent White dads and 23 percent of absent Latino fathers.

But critics from President Obama on the left to Fox News on the right have been unstinting in their criticism of Black males absent from the home. However, their criticism invariably overlooks the extent of their involvement revealed by the CDC report.

As recently as last week, President Obama defended what some consider his talking down to Black audiences.

At a panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, Obama said: “It’s true that if I’m giving a commencement at Morehouse [College] that I will have a conversation with young Black men about taking responsibility as fathers that I probably will not have with the women of Barnard. And I make no apologies for that. And the reason is because I am a Black man who grew up without a father and I know the cost that I paid for that.”

According to CDC, Black patriarchs are the likeliest of all men to be stay-at-home dads (13 percent of Black dads who live with their children are), while 29 percent of Black fathers are single heads of their households.

Black marriage (or a lack thereof) is closely related to the absent Black father story, and it too brings its own misconceptions. It is true that Black families are least likely of all races to be led by a married couple; Pew data asserts that 72 percent of Black fathers have a child or children out of wedlock, and only 36 percent are married to the mother of their children. Cohabitation, co-parenting, single parenting, and blended or extended families have always been more common in the Black community than among other races.
But in the CDC study, cohabiting and single fathers of all races either outperformed or held their own in raising their children when compared to married fathers. The data suggests that cohabitation or co-parenting isn’t necessarily a weaker family structure, nor does it necessarily result in poor paternal involvement.

“While more than one-quarter (27 percent) of fathers are living apart from their children 18 or younger, there is a huge variation in the type of involvement that these – non-co-resident fathers have with their children,” a 2011 Pew report reads.

“On one end of the spectrum; almost one- fifth (18 percent) report only occasional contacts with their children, and no visits in over a year, and at the other end of the spectrum are the 14 percent of fathers who live apart from their children but report still seeing them several times a week, and talking with or emailing them several times a week, as well.”

The percentage of kids living apart from their fathers has more than doubled in the past 50 years, according to Pew, but absent no longer means uninvolved. And in some cases, absent Black fathers are the most involved of all.

Even Obama has sounded a note of optimism, saying at Georgetown: “And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence, I think my daughters are better off. And that is not something that — for me to have that conversation does not negate my conversation about the need for early childhood education, or the need for job training, or the need for greater investment in infrastructure, or jobs in low-income communities.”


Head Coach Andre Springs and his miraculous precision of hard work and dedication has named him the 2015 CIAA Men’s Golf Coach of the Year.

Since returning back to Livingstone College in 2010 to start the Golf program back up from a 19 year nonexistent state, Springs brought home the Championship trophy this year.

Springs has directed the Blue Bears to a successful campaign, highlighted by their CIAA Championship this year, along with other first place finishes throughout the season.

Springs was also named Livingstone College’s Coach of the Year in 2010, and later appointed Athletic Director in 2012 by President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr.

This is his second stint at Livingstone, as he served as the men’s golf coach from 1979-1988 when his teams won six CIAA Golf Championships and one National Championship. He received Coach of the Year for the CIAA in 1986 and 1987 for Golf.

The 1988-1989 Livingstone Men’s Golf team was the most successful in school history, going 37-1 over four years. Coach Springs and the team were inducted into the Livingstone Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

A native of Charlotte, NC, Springs earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Fayetteville State University (FSU) in 1979, where he received a golf scholarship.

He played on four CIAA Championship Teams from 1975-1979 and was later inducted into the FSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

Under Springs’ guidance, two of his players were named to the 2015 All-Tournament team this season, and three were named to the 2015 All-CIAA Team.

Coach Springs is joined in receiving awards with Jaime Kent, who received the 2015 CIAA Senior Women Administrator of the Year award.

Kent who is also the head trainer for Livingstone College works extensively for the athletic program, while doing it with “Excellence.”

Kent, who is a native of Asheville, NC graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise and Sports Science. She later received her Masters of Science degree in Education from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

Kent has been a part of the Blue Bear family since August 2008, and continues to be a big asset to the athletic program in many ways than one.

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