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Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation

Houston, TX — The Honey Brown Hope Foundation, a nationally recognized, award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit that has served youth and their families for over two decades, announced today that it is thankful this holiday season for recently being recognized for its civil rights

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Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- Back in September I wrote an article entitled, Voter Suppression: Creating Black Wealth.  The impetus for that article was a commentary written by Earl G. Graves, Sr., Publisher of Black Enterprise. 

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Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

loyalty to employers

Employees who work at small, locally owned businesses have the highest level of loyalty to their employers — and for rural workers, size and ownership of their company figure even more into their commitment than job satisfaction does

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The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- For more than a year leading up to the recently completed General Elections, I’ve written about Voter Suppression, gerrymandering, the Black vote and voters.  

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Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Abuse in the Workplace

There is no significant difference in the prevalence of verbal abuse in the workplace between men and women, according to a systematic review of the literature conducted by researchers at the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal

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The Decision to Handle Rejection

The Decision to Handle Rejection

Rev. Manson B. Johnson

The Big Idea: Endurance is the key to achieving challenging goals in life.“Man’s rejection can be God’s direction.  God sometimes uses the rejection of hateful people to move us to a new place or assignment–where we wouldn’t have thought of going on our own.  

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Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Print Subscription

 Greater Diversity News (GDN) is a statewide publication with national reach and relevance.  We are a chosen news source for underrepresented and underserved communities in North Carolina.  

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Supporting Leadership that Promotes Racial Justice

Written by Deborah Meehan on 01 October 2010.

Leadership Learning CommunityOakland made the headlines again this summer when a jury delivered a verdict of involuntary manslaughter in the trial of Johannes Mehserle.  Mehserle, a BART police officer, was on trial for shooting Oscar Grant, a young, African American in 2009. 

Oscar Grant’s shooting and death were captured on a cell phone video and posted on YouTube.   Oscar Grant was shot in the back while he was defensively held face down by other BART police officers with his hands handcuffed behind his back.  Mehserle asserted that he accidentally pulled and fired his pistol instead of a taser gun.  It is possible with this verdict that Mesherle will be given probation and no jail time when he is sentenced on November 3rd 2010.

Months in advance of the verdict, a number of youth organizations in Oakland began organizing to provide opportunities for young people to gather and talk about how this could happen and what could be done so that it doesn’t happen again.  This is a leadership question and makes the findings of a report just released on Leadership and Race particularly relevant.  Why? The report, How to Develop and Support Leaderships that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that the focus on the individual has permeated the ways in which we think about leadership with some serious costs to our efforts to change the realities of people like Oscar Grant who have been denied many life opportunities because of their race.

The dominant culture in the U.S. promotes the idea that as individuals we all have equal opportunities and are individually responsible for our achievements or failures.  In the case of this shooting, a bias towards focusing on the individual would look to understand the killing of Oscar Grant as the product of individual behaviors isolating this experience to the behavior of the BART police officer.  Depending on what one believes of this event, one implication could be better weapons training or prejudice reduction.  Of course these are important, but changing individual behaviors will not make life safer for people of color when historically, the criminal justice system that supports racial profiling and disparities in sentencing fails to deal effectively with brutality and killings by police. For instance, one of every three black males born today can except to go to prison in his lifetime. (2006, The Covenant with Black America)

The report recommends that to help promote racial justice, organizations and individuals need to adopt leadership development approaches that explain how a system of culture, policy and structures produce and perpetuate differences in access to life opportunities.  These leadership approaches should provide the analysis, tools and resources that will help young people and communities change the system that put a young man like Oscar Grant at risk and then failed to deliver justice in his killing.

The efforts led by youth organizations in Oakland , including Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), Youth Uprising, and Youth Radio, in preparation for the verdict represent a positive example of the type of leadership approaches that contribute to racial justice.  But these efforts were largely overlooked by the media, which was more interested in covering the anticipated riot that, in fact, never happened.

The youth organizations understood that if Mehserle was not convicted of murder, it would be important for young people to have multiple opportunities and venues for making meaning of what happened and to talk openly about their feelings. The Philanthropic Initiative on Racial Equity and mosaic, in their report, “Changing the Rules of the Game: Youth Development and Structural Racism” also link the meaning-making process to leadership development, explaining that the work of youth development organizations is to help youth analyze and comprehend the world around them at a critical stage in their development. As young people better understand how their lives and opportunities are influenced by racism, they can become a collective voice and advocate for themselves. This is what we saw take place in Oakland.