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Opinion

Student is the first African-American valedictorian in her school’s history

Student is the first African-American valedictorian in her school’s history
A high school student in Queens, N.Y. now has the distinction of being her school’s first African-American valedictorian. The story is making national news, even though there are many trailblazers of a similar sort around the nation. But without regard to the context within which the story is being released, her achievement is nothing short of remarkable.
 
According to reporter Mona Rivera, Shanelle Davis is a senior at Benjamin Cardozo High School in the Bayside area.
 
“It’s an incredible honor. It’s still surreal to me,” she said.

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Yes, mentoring works: It’s why I graduated from college

Yes, mentoring works: It’s why I graduated from college
 
My name is Sakinah Muhammad. I graduated from Temple University in May, as a criminal justice major with a minor in psychology. My next step is working for Houston Teach for America Corps while I attend graduate school at St. Thomas University. So much of where I am now is because of what I learned, and the support I received, from the mentor I was assigned through a nonprofit that is dedicated to preparing kids like me to succeed in college.
 
We hear a lot about mentoring from the adults who use it to give back, but I want to talk about it from the perspective of a younger person—someone whose education and life were changed over the past eight years by a great organization and a committed adult.

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HIV testing and the role of the Black Church

HIV testing and the role of the Black Church
With the backdrop of National HIV Testing Day (June 27th) – the Black Church must step up and remind our congregations of what’s at stake.
The numbers don’t lie: African Americans experience the most severe burden of this terrible disease, making up 12 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 44 percent of new HIV infections.
 
Our young people are tragically often the most affected: according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 25 percent of new HIV infections are among adolescents and young adults ages 13-24. Many are these youth are unaware of their status and are not being treated, which places themselves and others at risk. The CDC estimates that overall as many as one in six Americans infected with HIV do not even know it.

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Mississippi? ‘I’ll go as far as Memphis’

Mississippi? ‘I’ll go as far as Memphis’
The 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer is being commemorated this week in Mississippi and it provides the perfect backdrop to reflect on the transformation of not only Mississippi, then the deadliest state in the nation, but the entire region.
 
As I have written in the space before, there was a popular joke about Mississippi making the rounds during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.  Supposedly, a Chicago seminary student was awakened at 3 a.m. by a voice imploring him: “Go to Mississippi! Go to Mississippi!! Go to Mississippi!!!” The seminary student said, “Lord, you said that you will be with me always, even until the end of the earth. If I go to Mississippi, will you go with me?” The heavenly voice replied, “I’ll go as far as Memphis.”

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Blacks need more racists

Blacks need more racists
A few weeks ago, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) made a stunning announcement that caused a lot of consternation in the Black community.
UNCF had accepted a $ 25 million contribution from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation.
 
Under normal circumstances, David and Charles Koch – the brothers who control the two entities – would be applauded for their generosity.  But some blacks have labeled the Koch brothers as racist simply because they are white, conservative, and libertarians who believe in smaller government, lower taxes and ballot integrity.

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Black men and white women leapfrog over black women

Black men and white women leapfrog over black women
Beginning in 1945, as a black male child, I spent my early years in a small southern town where everything was “black” and “white.”  As a black child, I stood on the oppressed side of the fence as I experienced the injustices imposed upon black folk by a culture of white supremacy.  But, as a male child, I stood on the oppressor’s side of the fence as I witnessed the injustices imposed upon women by a culture of male privilege.
 
While I chaffed under the oppression to which I was subjected as a black person, I was indifferent to the oppression suffered by women – an oppression that was particularly harsh on black women.  I grew up in a world where I felt wronged by a culture that asserted that I had less value and “had a place” on the lower rungs of society as a black person.  But I saw no injustice in a culture that asserted that women were on a lower rung than that upon which the men were placed.  This was true, even though I knew that the place allocated to women had fewer benefits than those allocated to men.

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Anti-effeminacy in the black community

Anti-effeminacy in the black community
Words like sissy and f** can often be heard in the black community to describe a man who falls outside the comparatively restrictive confounds of black male masculinity.  However, why black men in particular focus on masculinity more than their other racial counterparts is often misunderstood. Two theories seek to explain the culture of anti-effeminacy in the black community. 
 
Sexism is something that pervades our country and society.  With the average woman making about four to seven percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department, less than her male counterparts when accounting for differences in total hours worked, job position, and total unpaid hours leave taken during the year.

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