Spoken Word- Ode to My Father

Happy Father’s Day!

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Youngstown friends took different path

by Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator

Shortly after publishing my March column on the six young men involved in shooting into a house full of people in February, killing one, I received an email from Lamar Sykes, formerly of Youngstown.

Sykes has a financial-analyst position with the defense finance and accounting service, a Department of Defense agency in Cleveland.

He read the column and suggested I write about him and five of his friends who grew up on the mean streets of Youngstown. He thought their lives would be a positive contrast to the men charged in the shooting.

They chose to pursue lives devoted to education, hard work and trying to make themselves better.

The six — Sykes, Michael Gibson, Wilson Okello, Clarence Howell, Carrington Moore and Thomas Toney — grew up on the South Side. Howell has stayed in town; the other five have moved away for job reasons or to seek additional education.

They are all 24, single and have no children.

They attribute their success in no small part to their parents’ guidance, their longtime friendship and their faith in God.

Youngstown was a great proving ground for them. They have fond memories of the city, but they also saw many of their friends succumb to the city’s negative image and make bad choices.

They remain close and, says Sykes, their long-range goal is “formulating ideas in which we can collaborate on how to help the area’s youth overcome some of the obstacles they may face. Our intentions are to establish a nonprofit organization in the area.”

Continue reading

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Double yoke of oppression

Taken from modernghana.com

As the ‘Day of Solidarity’ commemorating the death of Martin Luther King Jr. came to a close earlier this week, I was reminded of one of his quotes;

“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.”

Lately there has been a considerable amount of attention towards the numerous struggles for freedom and justice throughout the Middle East and North Africa (yes Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are indeed in Africa) and rightfully so. We are witnessing an era of seemingly unprecedented events involving the grassroots mobilization and asserting of their human and civil rights.

The events that have unfolded throughout Libya have gripped the world’s attention. We are all on the edge of our seats tuning in and praying for our brothers and sisters dying every day fighting for freedom under the oppressive regime of Ghadafi. Every day we tune in and sympathize with the suffering of rebels throughout Libya fighting for justice and self-determination. Anti-Ghadafi rebels have become heroes and freedom fighters, and in their struggle the world (NATO) has taken notice and come to their aid.

It’s equally amusing and disturbing which humanitarian efforts the West decides to intervene in on the behalf of human rights, to be clear: NATO intervention in Libya is about economics (oil), not protecting human rights. If it was about human rights violations we’d be addressing atrocities by both sides; rebels and Ghadafi. Continue reading

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Gbagbo negotiating surrender

Reuters news agency, quoting internal U.N. documents that its correspondent has seen, reports that Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo has surrendered and asked for U.N. protection.

According to CNN – After days of heavy fighting, forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo laid down their arms today and the self-declared president was negotiating the terms of his surrender, his foreign minister said.

Calm was reported this afternoon in Abidjan, the West African nation’s largest city and the center of the battle between Gbagbo’s military and those loyal to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, who is recognized internationally as the legitimate president.

“We must now do what we can do to have lasting peace…”

 said Alcide Djedje, the foreign minister, who participated in talks at the French ambassador’s residence in Abidjan.

Words cant explain how ecstatic I am right now! Finally a healing and rebuilding process can begin in Cote D’Ivoire!#AfricanDemocracy

For news coverage concerning Laurent Gbagbo’s surrender negoitations see link to CNN video below:

[http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2011/04/05/bpr.ivory.coast.un.rep.choi.cnn]

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