Tag Archives: black

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.”

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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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5 takeways from ‘The FAB FIVE’ documentary

Five college freshmen ignited a basketball revolution. If you’re a sports fan I’m sure you’ve heard or seen some sort of sound bite or conversation around the new “FAB FIVE” documentary. The two-hour film aired on March 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and depicts the story of Jalen Rose and his other Fab Five teammates, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Called by some “the greatest class ever recruited,” the five freshmen not only electrified the game, but also brought new style with their baggy shorts, black socks and ‘trash’ talk.

“The Fab Five” relives the recruitment process that got all five of them to Ann Arbor, the cultural impact they made, the two runs to NCAA title game, the Webber “timeout” in the 1993 championship and the scandal that eventually tarnished their accomplishments. Among other things. Finally catching the film, weekend before last, I found myself watching it 3 times in one day. I found it that powerful and thought-provoking. Below are 5 things I took away from the FAB FIVE documentary.

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Encouraging notes on fear…

Below is a note I sent to a dear brother of mine some time ago, as they did for me upon reading them again, I hope to someone they will serve some purpose.

“Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival.” -Hannah Arendt

Fear is omnipresent
everyone is afraid,
but how you respond to that fear is the question.
We survive or perish based on our responses to fear.
Own your fear, and become stronger and the better for it

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