Thursday, 18 August 2011

Maxine Waters: Why isn't Obama in black communities?

WASHINGTON -- A prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus ripped President Obama's bus tour for ignoring suffering African-American communities as it rolls through pastoral -- and mostly white -- heartland towns.
"We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community. We don't know that," fumed Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) Tuesday evening at a jobs forum in Detroit, which is suffering a 12.5 percent unemployment rate, double Iowa's 6 percent.
"We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is," she continued.

A new Gallup poll put Obama's approval rating for handling the economy at a dismal 26 percent, the lowest of his presidency. A whopping 71 percent of those polled gave his performance a thumbs down.
Waters' frustration came as Republicans zinged Obama for conducting his jobs tour aboard a Canadian-built bus, as The Post revealed yesterday in an exclusive story.
Obama's bus tour has taken him through rural hamlets in Minnesota, Iowa and western Illinois, with picture-perfect photo ops in front of bales of hay and river parks -- but no hard-hit urban areas, as black unemployment holds at a crushing 16 percent nationally.
Henry County, Ill., where Obama spoke yesterday, has a black population of just 2.2 percent.
The black population of Winneshiek County, Iowa, where the president made an earlier stop, is a tiny 0.6 percent.
The criticism, although coming from a lawmaker under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, points to Obama's political bind -- he needs to reconnect with disaffected independent voters in Middle America.
But Obama also can't ignore base voters who supported him in 2008 and often rely on government help.
It's the latest headache on Obama's bus tour.
As The Post reported, the outer shells for each of two shiny black buses, which cost a total of $2.2 million, were manufactured in Canada by Quebec-based Prevost.

Waters, speaking at a freewheeling forum at Detroit's Wayne County Community College, suggested members of the CBC don't pressure Mr. Obama because their constituents are proud to have an African-American president, adding that "if we go after the president too hard, you're going after us."

"The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too," she went on to say. "We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired. We're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community. We don't know that."

The unemployment rate for African-Americans as of July was 15.9 percent, and it's significantly higher in Detroit. Waters told her audience Tuesday that when you "unleash us and you tell us you're ready to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation."

After Waters told the audience members of congress will act "when you tell us it's all right" to have a conversation with the president about these issues, an audience-member yelled, "it's all right!" After she said she wanted to give the president "every opportunity" to show what his plan is, someone yelled, how long?

Boston University Identifies Contributors To High Breast Cancer Incidence In African-American Women

African American women have higher rates of a type of breast cancer that isn't dependent for growth on the hormones estrogen or progesterone. They also have a higher rate of childbearing than do white American women.

A new study finds there is likely a link between those two facts -- that bearing a baby to term raises the risk for this type of cancer, called estrogen or progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer.

The study also finds that black women who breastfeed their babies can lower their odds of developing this cancer back down again.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, followed a group of 47,000 African American women from 1996 through 2009. Researchers had participants fill out, every two years, a detailed questionnaire assessing a wide range of factors that affect a woman's risk for breast cancer -- including weight, age at which they began menstruating, pregnancies and age of first childbearing, birth control or hormone-replacement use, physical activity and alcohol consumption.

What they found was that African American women who had given birth to more children were more likely to develop estrogen or progesterone-negative cancer than their peers who had not given birth or who had given birth to only one child. But when a woman with two or more childbirths breastfed her babies, that risk declined considerably.

Their study, based on the ongoing Black Women's Health Study, which has followed 59,000 African American women since 1995, found that giving birth to two or more children was associated with a 50 percent increase in the incidence of estrogen and progesterone receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancers, but only among women who had not breastfed.

ER- and PR-negative results mean that the growth of the cancer is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and therefore does not respond to hormonal therapy (such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors). It's the type of cancer "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts was diagnosed with back in 2007 and accounts for 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers -- more than one out of every 10 -- according to

Over the study's 14 year follow-up, 318 women developed ER-/PR- breast cancers, while 457 developed breast cancers with estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER and PR positive).

What was also striking, was that having two or more children was associated with a decreased risk for ER and PR positive breast cancer, a form that is more common among white women. Breast feeding had no influence on that association.

"Our results, taken together with recent results from studies of triple negative and basal-like breast cancer, suggest that breastfeeding can reduce risk of developing aggressive, difficult-to-treat breast cancers," explained lead author Julie Palmer, ScD, MPH, a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center and a professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health,.

African World Festival highlights

While packing the diverse history and culture of the African Diaspora into a three-day event is nearly impossible, organizers of the annual African World Festival handle the challenge with creative aplomb.
Held at Detroit's Hart Plaza, the three-day 29th annual festival offers music, vendors, ethnic food and more.
The event isn't just an opportunity to have a good time; it also exposes people to the flavors of the African world, brings communities together and puts a spotlight on Detroit's cultural richness, says festival director Njia Kai.
It's also an opportunity to learn more about the festival's presenter, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Kai says.
"It's important for people to be aware of the museum and recognize that it has (grown) and continues to grow, presenting new and exciting educational and entertaining exhibits and special events," Kai says.
The cultural attraction draws more than 300,000 people annually, many of them out-of-towners.
"I have gotten calls from people in Canada, Hawaii, inquiring about the festival," Kai says.
"People will set their vacation time for the third week of August. They expect Detroit to be a mecca for African-American culture and we aim to please."
New this year is the expansion of activities that will ensure that the young will not be restless. Instead of holding children's activities on Saturday and Sunday only, the festival will open the Watoto Village on Friday for the Watoto Celebration for families. Watoto means children in Swahili.
The celebration will include performances by folk singer Ella Jenkins, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
The festival also will be a place for personal discovery.
African plans to roll into town with its We Are Africa 2011 Road Tour where visitors can learn how to pinpoint their ancestry and about the ancestries of local personalities, including Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson and poet jessica Care moore.
Things will take a fashionable turn during the "Detroit Rocks the Runway" fashion design competition on Saturday. The event's special guest judge will be Detroit's own Naima Mora, who won cycle 4 of "America's Next Top Model."
And be sure to warm up your muscles because you will find it hard not to groove with a festival musical lineup that includes performances by headliner Roy Ayers on Friday.
The jazz-funk master is known for classics such as "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" and "Running Away."
Saturday, check out "Black Women Rock!" Presented by moore, the event will bring together black female rock 'n' soul singers, musicians, poets and performance artists.
The African World Festival also will celebrate the lives of music icons Bob Marley, Gil Scott-Heron and Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Kuti's life is chronicled in the touring Broadway musical "Fela!," which will be at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in February.
Through the collaborative efforts of Music Hall and the Wright museum, festival-goers can explore a multimedia Kuti exhibit at Hart Plaza during the festival.
There will be a special exhibit unveiling Friday, from 5-7 p.m., with Kuti album cover artist Lemi Ghariokwu in attendance.

The Man, the Movement, the Music," a visual and aural exhibit honoring Afro-pop musician and activist Fela Kuti, will be unveiled Friday. Lemi Ghariokwu, the designer of album covers for artists like Kuti and Bob Marley, will speak during the ceremony. 5-7 p.m. Friday.

• A Parade of Nations will depart from Woodward at I-75 and proceed to Hart Plaza. 11 a.m. Saturday, with Hart Plaza arrival at noon.

• Naima Mora, the Detroiter who won "America's Next Top Model" in 2005, will be a guest judge for the "Detroit Rocks the Runway" fashion design competition, which will merge hip-hop with traditional African textiles and design. 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Detroit poet-musician Jessica Care Moore will host "Black Women Rock!," a gathering of musicians, singers, poets, spoken-word and performance artists. 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

•'s "We Are Africa 2011 Road Tour" will be on site throughout the weekend, offering information and more about using DNA to trace ancestry. There will be presentations and other events, along with test kits for purchase. More info at .

• Third New Hope Baptist Church will present "Sermon on the River." Noon Sunday.

• The Motown Summer Blast Gospel Explosion will showcase one of the city's most potent musical genres. 2 p.m. Sunday.

• Multifaceted vocalist Rachelle Ferrell will perform on the event's main stage. 7 p.m. Sunday.