Friday, April 4, marks the 46th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on a balcony in Memphis. Black America and people of goodwill in the nation and the world were stricken by grief, frustration and anger at the murder of this great man of justice and peace. Indeed, rebellions erupted in urban centers across the nation by people who could not fathom how an apostle of non-violence could be struck down so viciously and violently. It was clear that America was at yet another crossroad in the quest to achieve racial, economic and social justice.
Despite constant death threats, Dr. King never flinched in his determination that this nation should be made to live up to its creed. The night before he was murdered, he reluctantly mounted the podium at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis and seemed to have a premonition of his impending demise. Yet, he proclaimed that he was not afraid dying.
In the most memorable part of his oration he took the audience to the "mountaintop" with him and declared that he had "seen the promised land." Sensing that his life would be cut short he said, "I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."
Despite the stubborn persistence of racial disparities in health, there is cause for black women to celebrate.
"Overall, our life expectancy continues to rise, while teenaged pregnancy rates have dropped dramatically. And most recently, the rate of HIV infection among black women has fallen tremendously, down over 20 percent in just two years' time," says a new report, "Black Women in the United States, 2014: Progress and Challenges," presented by the Black Women's Roundtable, a division of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
But not all of the news about black women is good.
WASHINGTON – After intense internal fighting, court battles and competing board of directors that have characterized Sacramento, Calif. Kevin Johnson's term as president of the National Conference of Black Mayors since last May, his first month in office, a judge has ruled decidedly in Johnson's favor, effectively firing Executive Director Vanessa R. Williams and nullifying all actions of the rump board challenging Johnson's right to remain in office.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher S. Brasher issued his ruling in Atlanta last week.
"We're gratified that the court has validated the election of our leadership and vindicated our efforts to take the necessary steps to restore accountability and fiscal integrity to this venerable and critical organization," Johnson said in a statement. "Now we can move forward by taking the actions that will address any outstanding problems we have in order to ensure that the NCBM will benefit current and future mayors and their constituents."
In some ways, it may be a Pyrrhic victory for Johnson. He is limited to one term, which expires in May. Johnson is also vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is a leading candidate to become president of the group in June.
In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA is warning drivers to avoid any activities that divert attention from the primary driving task.
"While we've made substantial progress in the past few years by raising awareness about risky driving behaviors, the simple fact is that distraction continues to be a significant contributing factor to deaths and injuries on our roadways," said AAA Traffic Safety manager, John Pecchio. "We all should take personal responsibility for focusing on driving rather than on dangerous distractions."
Distractions are responsible for vehicle crashes leading to more than 3,000 deaths and 387,000 injuries in 2011, according to the most recent data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Throughout April, the City of Memphis will host a 30 Day Car-Free Challenge encouraging residents to park their cars at home and get around the city using any number of alternative transportation options.
Any Memphis resident can register to take part in the challenge, for any amount of time. Commitments to being car-free can range from one day to 30 days, depending on an individual's ability and resources. Prize drawings will be made each week from the pool of residents registered in the challenge.
"We know that an increasing number of residents are choosing to live in Memphis and get to the store, to work, to school, and to other places without a car." said Mayor A C Wharton Jr.
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