All Articles Tagged "Washington"
And so, it begins.
This morning, Barack Obama was sworn in to his second term as President of the United States of America as he took the Presidential Oath. He was joined by wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha in the Blue Room at the White House for the private ceremony. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over the quick swearing in.
After the ceremony, President Obama was overheard thanking his family and turned to reporters to say, “I did it!”
Vice President Joe Biden took his oath much earlier Sunday morning at the Naval Observatory.
The private ceremony is actually written into the Constitution and must take place on January 20th. The public ceremony – the big “shindig” we’re all anticipating – will be held Monday and, according to People, should attract more than 800,000 people.
Both President Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr’s bibles will be used during Monday’s public Inauguration. Singer Beyonce will be singing the National Anthem.
The weekend’s festivities have been bursting at the seams. It appears everyone is having a “ball,” including the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball which will take place Sunday night. On Saturday night, First Lady Obama and the girls hung out at the Kids Inaugural Concert, where there were performances by Katy Perry, and Usher. Finally, the now infamous “Grits and Biscuits” party took place on Friday evening to blowout and, as usual, sellout numbers.
We look forward to hearing more about Monday’s festivities…and seeing all the photos!
Will you be attending any Inauguration 2013 functions?
It’s one thing to be discriminated against by someone of a different race, but it’s a shame when black people have to endure racism from one of their own. That’s the accusation nine black employees of the Tukwila School District in Washington have brought against their black superintendent, Ethelda Burke.
An attorney for the staff members, which range from vice principals, to teachers, and dispatchers, filed a complaint of racial discrimination against Ethelda, and even included anecdotes about her behavior. One group of female staffers at Showalter Middle School said the superintendent once referred to them as slaves.
“I couldn’t believe my ears she would refer to professional African American women as slaves,” teacher Sandra Goins, said.
Driver trainer and district dispatcher Doc Fells had his own story.
“She said to me you have to stop being a big, black man scaring our white drivers, and it numbed me.”
J.D. Hill, athletic director and head of transportation, also shared a disturbing nickname the superintendent gave him.
“When I walked into her office she said ‘Hey, J-Dark, how are you doing?’ J-Dark was my name for Ethelda, my pet name for a month, in a professional environment.”
Despite the glaring inappropriateness of the superintendent’s behavior, the staff members said they had a difficult time coming forward and filing their complaint.
“For me, I feel a sense of betrayal,” said Marva Harris, a school security officer who Ethelda called a slave. “That I’m betraying her, because she’s a black woman.”
Bus driver Ritchie Coleman feels the same.”If she wasn’t a person of color, me personally, I would have gone after her long before now,” he said.
Joan Mell, the attorney representing the employees, has written a letter asking the board to immediately suspend the superintendent. So far, the district, the superintendent, and the board have all declined to comment on the situation.
What do you think is the appropriate action for Ethelda Burke? Have you ever had a situation where another black person was racially discriminatory toward you?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Female inmates in Oregon and Washington are getting a second chance with LIFE–the Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs course.
Started four years ago by the international development organization, Mercy Corps Northwest, the program is giving these women the skills they need to succeed after their release.
The seven month course teaches students how to set goals and take care of themselves while also equipping them with business training.
Graduates of the program have been able to open up courier companies, cosmetology businesses and sell crafts at farmers markets. One graduate now runs her own auto repair shop.
NPR reports that while Mercy Corps Northwest is not yet able to provide official statistics on the program’s success, only three of about 100 of LIFE’s graduates have reoffended.
The graduates express feelings of gratitude and happiness with what they say are “invaluable skills,” as they work hard to grow their businesses.
By equipping the former inmates with entrepreneurial skills, Doug Cooper, the assistant director of Mercy Corps Northwest, says that the correctional facilities can accomplish what they should be about, rehabilitation.
By J. Smith
The best high school reunion ever went down in Washington, D.C. last week as 20 classmates from the country’s first black high school celebrated their 75th reunion. Graduates from Dunbar High School’s class of 1936 gathered in the nation’s capitol, not only to relive the good ol’ days, but to make sure there would be good days for the next generations to someday relive as well.
The annual event has morphed from just a gathering of friends and family to a fundraising event to help raise scholarship money for Dunbar students who will be going to college. They also, of course, celebrate the accomplishments of former classmates.
“Dunbar High School began back in 1870 in the basement of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church. The school employed black teachers during a time when most schools would not. ‘It was a very renowned high school because well-educated teachers,’ said Yvonne M. Simkins, a ’36 graduate. Historians say Dunbar students excelled due to the high standards set by principals and teachers. One of Dunbar’s earliest principals was the first black graduate of Harvard University,” The Root reports.
That’s pretty awesome. Much respect to them for keeping the history of the institution alive and for doing their part to make sure other students have the same opportunity to excel as they did.
(Washington Examiner) — Newly elected D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has called on the city’s top law enforcement officer to investigate allegations by former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown that Gray gave him a high-paying job in exchange for Brown’s support during the election. Gray vehemently denied the charges, but did concede he has made some big mistakes early in his tenure.
“We have made missteps,” Gray said. “We have taken steps to address those missteps.” The step taken Sunday was to ask D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan to get to the bottom of the charges so, Gray said, he can get on with the city’s business. As for Brown’s charges, the mayor said he only promised Brown an interview for a job, something that was promised to hundreds of people seeking employment. “I am not in the business of giving out jobs,” Gray said. “I can’t even imagine engaging in such reprehensible behavior. … There was no quid pro quo.”
When we hear the word “Washington” we may think of our nation’s capital, the monument or our first president Georgie Porgie, but now we may have to see the name and word in a different light. The 2000 census found that of the people with the Washington surname, a whooping 90 percent were black. Which beat out any other surname, including the Williams’ and the Johnsons’. There’s a reason for this:
The story of how Washington became the “blackest name” begins with slavery and takes a sharp turn after the Civil War, when all blacks were allowed the dignity of a surname.
Even before Emancipation, many enslaved black people chose their own surnames to establish their identities. Afterward, some historians theorize, large numbers of blacks chose the name Washington in the process of asserting their freedom.
You can read the full article written by black journalist Jesse Washington over at the Grio.
(Washington Examiner) — In the last century, Maryland and Virginia residents have had to share their congressmen with more and more people as the states’ populations have jumped but their number of U.S. representatives has not. And with the national population shifts, neither state appears to be in line for more U.S. representatives, although Maryland’s population grew 9 percent and Virginia’s 13 percent in the past 10 years.
The most important news happening in Washington this month is not the White House/Republican compromise—which will include a two-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes; no, the biggest and perhaps overlooked story is the apparent about-face the president has done in terms of his agenda. It’s clear that he has been moving away from the far-left politician he once claimed to be, to a centralist president who values compromise over principles.
There is nothing wrong with compromise if bipartisanship really exists between the left and the right. But how many acts of real bipartisanship have we seen over the last couple of years?
The answer? Zero.
According to Dana Milbank, a writer for the Washington Post, Obama’s recent compromise and follow up press conference, in which he attacked members of his own party, “delivered to disgruntled liberals a message summed up by Vice President Biden in a private session with lawmakers on Wednesday: Take it or leave it.”
This idea that politics have run amuck and neglected reasonable and rational thoughts in the halls of Congress is only partly correct. The far right, also known as conservative Republicans, have been pushing their doctrine of ‘my way or the highway” on the minority party.
However, the far left really can’t find fault with anyone but themselves since they have been relatively absent from political debates.
Of course, there are far-left leaning democrats and independents such as Bernie Sanders, who is probably the only member of Congress that can be accurately called a socialist. But overall, far left ideas, as well as far-left Congress members, are few and far between.
Though it’s been argued that the health care reform act attempted to push a far-left, socialist agenda, most of us knew from jump that the bill would be more “pragmatic” than idealistic. The same can be said for other measures such as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the war in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and housing foreclosures, which all seem to have been guided by a moderate rationale than liberal.
There are roughly twice as many self-identified conservatives in America than liberals, and around 35 percent of all Americans view their political leanings as centrist, which means that having a far-left agenda in Congress would almost guarantee defeat by a more moderate-leaning candidate come election time.
The reality is that there is no such thing in Washington as bipartisanship, no more than there is the far left. This is not to say that there will be no compromising, but the negotiation will only happen between the center, or moderate agenda, and the far right, since a left-leaning agenda rarely makes it to the House floor.
Think about it: if the far left had any control over the Democratic Party, wouldn’t there have been more reception of far left ideas such as free education through graduate school, free childcare and other benefits for working parents, and real socialized health services—not the watered down, insurance industry-backed healthcare system we have now?
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Washington City Paper) — Tuesday morning marked a starchy celebration on Irving Street NW in Columbia Heights: The grand opening of IHOP’s 1,500th location, complete with a dancing pancake, free short stacks of pancakes, and a Washington Monument shaped out of…you get the picture. Inside, IHOP execs visiting from California for the occasion congregated in the back room, while D.C. politicians wore royal blue IHOP cardigans and were presented with commemorative spatulas before digging into their complimentary breakfast. It’s only fitting that IHOP should be fêting the locals. The owners are, after all, benefiting from $46.9 million in tax increment financing the city earmarked to build the DCUSA shopping complex in 2006. Developer Grid Properties agreed to set aside 15,000 square feet for small, local, minority-owned businesses, which would get an approximately 30 percent discount on rent in those spaces.
(AP) — Voters in the nation’s capital have essentially fired mayor Adrien Fenty after one term. Some say Fenty, a backer of education reform, had become out of touch. Fenty lost the city’s Democratic primary to District of Columbia Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who runs unopposed in November.