Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Opening ReMARCs
Last week, I joined Rev. Al Sharpton along with other civil rights groups, retail executives and the Retail Council of New York State to unveil a newly-created "Customers' Bill of Rights" aimed at protecting customers from "shop-and-frisk" practices.

The bill of rights, which is in direct response to several incidences of alleged racial profiling at major New York retailers, includes key practices for retailers to follow and informs customers of what they can expect when they visit store locations.  Several national retailers have agreed to post the bill of rights in their stores by next week.

We initially gathered last month to discuss the issue of loss prevention and racial profiling during a retail forum that was attended by Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys and senior executives from Macy's, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. The bill of rights is the result of our subsequent task force meetings and is the first collective action to address this issue.

The statement at the heart of the bill of rights clearly articulates our position:  "Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated."

We know that this issue is not isolated to New York.  Moving forward, we remain committed to working with the retailers to make recommendations on the creation of high standard, best-in-industry store security protocols and cultural sensitivity efforts that can be adopted by retailers across the country.

To view a copy of the Customers' Bill of Rights, visit the Retail Council of New York State.
To Be Equal
“Our victory in defeating apartheid was your victory too. We know that our pride in regaining our dignity is shared by you. To you, and to all of the American people who supported the anti-apartheid struggle, we thank you from the bottom of our heart for your solidarity, and for having cared.” - Nelson Mandela, September 1998, New York City
What Mandela Meant to America
As the world mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela, America is especially indebted to the great leader for his inspiration and solidarity in our shared struggle for human freedom, equal opportunity and justice for all.

Nelson Mandela’s heroic struggle for a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa inspired freedom-loving people around the world but was especially intertwined with the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement in America.  African Americans felt a special relationship with Mandela, a man who, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., endured years of persecution and discrimination in pursuit of freedom and equal opportunity for his people.

Both Mandela and King were  unafraid to agitate for justice and equality, but each ultimately changed the course of history through the power of reconciliation and unity.  Though Dr. King was 11 years younger, Mandela often spoke of his admiration for America’s fallen civil rights champion.  In fact, in his 1993 Nobel Peace Prize speech, Mandela praised King, saying,  “It will not be presumptuous of us if we also add, among our predecessors, the name of another outstanding Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late African-American statesman and internationalist, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He, too, grappled with and died in the effort to make a contribution to the just solution of the same great issues of the day which we have had to face as South Africans.”
Partner Spotlight

On Sunday, December 15, 2013, African American organizations, churches and community members across the country led a “moment of remembrance” dedicated to Nelson Mandela, his life and his legacy through a number of special activities such as: a Minute of Silence; Liturgy; Youth Presentation/Recitation of Mandela quotes; Dance ministry performance/dedication; and other events.

It is impossible to think about Nelson Mandela without thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. While separated by great physical distance, the walk to freedom for Blacks in America and Blacks in South Africa was fueled by an inextricable spiritual connection personified in the lives of these two men who changed the world for the better.

As a freedom fighter and a unifier, Mandela reminded us, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, [we] can be that generation.” He understood that bitterness and hatred were poison to the soul. As President of South Africa, he modeled forgiveness and reconciliation in a way that left the world in awe. For his noble fight, his personification of forgiveness and his ongoing inspiration to create a better future, we pause in national unity to honor, salute and remember Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s life serves as an inspiration to people everywhere to continue the fight for freedom and equal opportunity. As we pause on Sunday, let us pledge to continue the unfinished business to which this great, yet humble, servant dedicated himself.
Washington Bureau
Mel Watt Confirmed to Lead FHFA

The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency by a vote of 57 to 41.

National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement applauding Rep. Watt's confirmation.

“We applaud the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).    With more than four decades of experience in housing and finance and a strong grasp of the issues confronting home owners and banks, we believe Rep. Watt is the right man at the right time to lead the FHFA and help it fulfill its mission to promote a strong and sustainable housing market.

“Rep. Watt has earned the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and from stakeholders in the finance and housing industry.  His integrity and focus on solutions will serve him well as he works to rebuild a still-fragile housing market and advance policies to help struggling home owners and those still hoping to achieve the American dream.”

Her Path to Success Begins Today
Your gift provides the tools for her to overcome economic challenges and realize her dreams.
Affiliate Newswire
Urban League Receives $150k
The Urban League of the Upstate (Greensville, SC)  announced on December 9th, it will be the receiving nearly $150,000 for education and employment programs in the second quarter of their fiscal year.

“With the season of giving being in full swing, we are happy to announce that the Greenville and Spartanburg communities are showing their increased support”, said Jil Littlejohn, President/CEO. The main core of the Urban League focuses on education and employment. Five of the agencies programs received funding from 3M, Hollingsworth, Jolley Foundation, Mary Black Foundation, Symmes Foundation and TD Bank, that will allow them to increase and expand capacity. 

Thanks to the Symmes Foundation we can continue to provide services in Greenville County at Berea High, Carolina High, Greenville High, Hillcrest High, JL Mann High, Mauldin High, Southside High, Wade Hampton High, and Woodmont High. 

A generous donation of $30,000 from the Mary Black Foundation in Spartanburg County school districts will allow the Urban League to increase capacity for Project Ready. JM Smith Foundation also supported the Spartanburg operations.

No comments: