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Monthly Archives: October 2012

CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending October 26th, 2012

POLICE FROM JAMAICA MOVING TO CAYMANS—10/21/12
The Cayman Islands is the focus of considerable attention from former Jamaican police officers who go there for higher pay and better work conditions. Camille Solomon, human resources officer at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, said that the agency implemented a major recruitment effort in 2012 to fill 50 positions, and 36 of these were taken by former members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Robert Scotland, chief inspector with the Caymans force, said that the Jamaicans have adapted well to the British police model followed in the Caymans.

PROTESTS AGAINST PANAMA LAND LAW CONTINUE, BUT WITHOUT VIOLENCE—10/22/12
Protesters opposing efforts in Panama to sell state-owned property in a duty-free zone of the Panama Canal marched through Colon, Panama, one day after violent protests led to a death and a number of injuries. There was no violence in the latest protest, as heavily armed police patrolled the city in response to the activity of the previous day. A 10-year-old child was shot and killed as people opposed legislation allowing export-import businesses to purchase land they currently lease in the duty-free zone.

AGRICULTURAL LAWS IN CUBA MODIFIED—10/23/12
Cuba plans to make changes to the rules governing the handover of fallow land to independent farmers. The new regulations will go into effect on December 21, 2012, and represent the latest in a number of economic reforms implemented by President Raul Castro. Under the new rules, individual farmers may lease up to 165 acres, an increase from the current 98 acres, and can built homes on the land. Building had been prohibited under the previous rules.

MARIA BELLO HONORED IN HAITI FOR WOMEN’S ADVOCACY—10/24/12
Michel Martelly, president of Haiti, has honored Maria Bello for her work as an advocate for the nation’s women. Bellow, an actress, was named a goodwill ambassador for women during a ceremony at the National Palace. At the event, she discussed how a group of women organized themselves at a displacement camp after the earthquake in 2010. Bello is the co-founder of the group We Advance, a grassroots women’s organization.

CLINTONS VISIT HAITI FOR OPENING OF INDUSTRIAL PARK—10/25/12
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Haiti, leading a delegation of foreign investors and a number of celebrities to promote a new industrial park in the country. The park is the centerpiece of the United States’ efforts to help Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake. Also in the delegation were actor and activist Sean Penn, actor Ben Stiller, designer Donna Karan, and Richard Branson, the British business leader. The $300 million industrial facility is meant to provide thousands of jobs in northern Haiti.

BAHAMAS POUNDED BY HURRICANE SANDY—10/26/12
Hurricane Sandy traveled through the Bahamas after leaving 21 individuals dead as it made its way across the Caribbean. Power was out, roads were flooded, and islands were completely cut off in the storm. Authorities reported no deaths in the Bahamas due to the storm, however. Twenty shelters were opened on the main island as people recognized the seriousness of the storm.

TROPICAL STORM BECOMES HURRICANE—10/24/12
Tropical Storm Sandy was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as weather conditions continued to worsen in the Caribbean. It is the tenth hurricane of the 2012 season. Its center is currently located 50 miles to the south of Jamaica and is expected to pass directly over the city of Kingston, bringing heavy rains and winds.

PRIME MINISTER RETURNS FROM CANADA TO DEAL WITH TROPICAL STORM—10/24/12
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, cut short her official visit to Canada to deal with the potential impacts of Tropical Storm Sandy, which is expected to make a direct hit on the island as a hurricane. Simpson Miller and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper were scheduled to discuss trade, investment and development during a five-day visit until the storm became a threat to Jamaica.

JAMAICANS SHOULD CONSULT PROFESSIONALS ABOUT SYMPTOMS OF DENGUE—10/25/12
Government authorities in Jamaica have advised residents to seek care if they have symptoms of dengue fever. The 2012 outbreak of the illness in Jamaica is already four times as large as that of 2011. According to Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasses, the director of emergency, disaster management and special services in Jamaica, said anyone experiencing dengue symptoms should immediately go to the nearest health facility. As of October 13, 2012, there were 1,710 suspected cases of dengue reported on the island.

JAMAICA HIT BY HURRICANE SANDY, TWO DEAD—10/26/12
The winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy pummeled Jamaican shantytowns, brought down power lines, and stranded tourists as it traveled across the island on its way to Cuba and potentially Florida and the Bahamas. The death toll from the storm was at least two: an elderly man in Jamaica and a woman in Haiti. Several crocodiles were caught in the rushing waters caused by the storm in southern Jamaica and were flooded out of their homes in the mangrove thickets. One crocodile made its home in the front yard of a family in Portmore.

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CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending October 26th, 2012

SMALL, MID-SIZED BUSINESSES TO USE TECHNOLOGY—10/23/12
Julian Robinson, Jamaica’s Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has urged those involved with micro, small, and mid-sized businesses to use more technology to advance their operations. According to Robinson, for small enterprises to succeed, they must include technology. He made his remarks at the opening ceremony of the Computerized Job Estimation Tool workshop held in New Kingston.

CARICOM GROUP OFFERS YOUTH TRAINING IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP—10/24/12
In response to a rising unemployment rate in Guyana, authorities have recognized the need to help and support the aspirations and efforts of students who want to start businesses. The unemployment rate among youth is a major problem throughout the world. The International Labor Organization found that 70 million young people are currently looking for work; these individuals, aged 18 to 29, represent almost 40 percent of all the unemployed people in the world. The long-term solution to the problem is to change the education system so that it is more accessible and relevant to young people.

SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP—10/25/12
A five-day technology workshop sponsored by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is designed to provide entrepreneurs at small and mid-sized organizations with the skills they need to expand their businesses. The workshop is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency through the Caribbean Development Bank. About 35 small and medium-sized contractors and artisans are scheduled to participate.

BAMBOO PROMOTED AS SOURCE OF ENERGY—10/26/12
Gladstone Rose, Jamaican standards official, believes that Jamaican bamboo can be used in the production of energy. Charcoal made from local bamboo was first produced in October 2012 at Glengoffe in an experiment that was highly successful. According to Rose, chairman of the Bamboo Industry Advisory Committee at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, there was a high yield of bamboo charcoal to bamboo culm used. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plans in the world and can grow 100 centimeters in 24 hours, depending on soil and other conditions. It represents a viable alternative to timber.

 

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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending October 26th, 2012

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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CHINESE TO BE TAUGHT IN JAMAICA’S HIGH SCHOOLS—10/20/12
Campion College and Ardenne High School in the Corporate Area are the first institutions in Jamaica to teach Mandarin, the chief language spoken in China. About 30 students at Ardenne and 150 at Campion are taking Mandarin classes from teachers at the University of the West Indies. Mona, Confucius Institute. Gordon Shirley, principal of UWI Mona, believes this is an exciting opportunity for the students at these schools.

LLEWELLYN REVIEWS DRUG CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST JAMAICANS—10/21/12
Paula Llewellyn, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), is reviewing a case that involves five Jamaican men facing drug charges. The charges stem from the alleged discovery of about 7,000 pounds of ganja on their boat. Zacia Mayne, attorney for the five men, believes that a jurisdiction issue is involved with the charges brought by Jamaican authorities against them. Mayne said Jamaica has no jurisdiction to bring the men to trial because there were not held in Jamaica.

JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER DISCUSSES “REPUBLIC” IN CANADA—10/22/12
During a visit to Canada, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said that the country is considering becoming a republic and removing the British Queen as its head of state. The Prime Minister is making an official visit to Canada and is meeting that nation’s head, Stephen Harper, whose government promotes links with royalty. Simpson Miller said it was time for Jamaica to determine its own form of government, but that Jamaicans will always respect and honor the Queen.

JAMAICAN READIES ITSELF FOR TROPICAL STORM SANDY—10/23/12
Jamaicans stocked up on supplies in anticipation of Tropical Storm Sandy, which is expected to arrive on the island with hurricane force, heavy rains, and high winds. According to the United States National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Sandy was becoming stronger as it moved over the warm waters of the Caribbean. Bands of heavy rains ahead of the storm already drenched portions of Jamaica and caused concerns across the island.

TROPICAL STORM BECOMES HURRICANE—10/24/12
Tropical Storm Sandy was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as weather conditions continued to worsen in the Caribbean. It is the tenth hurricane of the 2012 season. Its center is currently located 50 miles to the south of Jamaica and is expected to pass directly over the city of Kingston, bringing heavy rains and winds.

PRIME MINISTER RETURNS FROM CANADA TO DEAL WITH TROPICAL STORM—10/24/12
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, cut short her official visit to Canada to deal with the potential impacts of Tropical Storm Sandy, which is expected to make a direct hit on the island as a hurricane. Simpson Miller and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper were scheduled to discuss trade, investment and development during a five-day visit until the storm became a threat to Jamaica.

JAMAICANS SHOULD CONSULT PROFESSIONALS ABOUT SYMPTOMS OF DENGUE—10/25/12
Government authorities in Jamaica have advised residents to seek care if they have symptoms of dengue fever. The 2012 outbreak of the illness in Jamaica is already four times as large as that of 2011. According to Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasses, the director of emergency, disaster management and special services in Jamaica, said anyone experiencing dengue symptoms should immediately go to the nearest health facility. As of October 13, 2012, there were 1,710 suspected cases of dengue reported on the island.

JAMAICA HIT BY HURRICANE SANDY, TWO DEAD—10/26/12
The winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy pummeled Jamaican shantytowns, brought down power lines, and stranded tourists as it traveled across the island on its way to Cuba and potentially Florida and the Bahamas. The death toll from the storm was at least two: an elderly man in Jamaica and a woman in Haiti. Several crocodiles were caught in the rushing waters caused by the storm in southern Jamaica and were flooded out of their homes in the mangrove thickets. One crocodile made its home in the front yard of a family in Portmore.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN IDENTIFIED AS SUSPECT IN MASS WISCONSIN SHOOTING—10/21/12
Radcliffe Haughton, 45, was identified as the only suspect in a mass shooting at a spa in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Jamaican was found dead at the scene of what has been called a self-inflicted gunshot. According to Daniel Tushaus, police chief of Brookfield, Wisconsin, at least three other people were dead and four injured in the shootings. Haughton was from Kingston.

JAMAICA’S HIGH COMMISSIONER MAKES SUCCESSFUL VISIT TO SCOTLAND—10/22/12
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom paid a two-day visit to Scotland with the goal of forging stronger social and business ties in advance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Glasgow. Aloun Ndombet-Assamba headed a team that included Laurence Jones, head of the UK and European offices of JAMPRO, and Elizabeth Fox, the regional director of the Jamaica Tourist Board. The team was invited to Scotland and met with business and political leaders in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

JAMAICAN FARMERS TO RECEIVE AID FROM CANADA, SAYS HARPER—10/24/12
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that his country plans to help the agricultural sector of Jamaica. Harper made his remarks during a press conference held to welcome Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaican Prime Minister, on her first official visit to the country. Harper made the announcement in response to concerns about the fragility of Jamaica’s economy and acknowledgement by Simpson Miller that agriculture is a sector that has the potential to make a great contribution to the nation’s economic growth.

CARIBBEAN-AMERICANS ENCOURAGED TO ASK FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS—10/25/12
The United States authorities are encouraging Caribbean-Americans who live overseas to request absentee ballots so they can vote in the November 6, 2012 presidential election. These individuals were given the right to vote by Congress in 1975. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 currently governs the procedures. Those living overseas must register to vote and ask for a ballot from their local voting authorities in the areas in which they lived in the U.S. The recently enacted MOVE Act requires these people to make a new request for a ballot every year.

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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POLICE FROM JAMAICA MOVING TO CAYMANS—10/21/12

PROTESTS AGAINST PANAMA LAND LAW CONTINUE, BUT WITHOUT VIOLENCE—10/22/12

AGRICULTURAL LAWS IN CUBA MODIFIED—10/23/12

MARIA BELLO HONORED IN HAITI FOR WOMEN’S ADVOCACY—10/24/12

CLINTONS VISIT HAITI FOR OPENING OF INDUSTRIAL PARK—10/25/12

BAHAMAS POUNDED BY HURRICANE SANDY—10/26/12

 

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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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CARIBBEAN PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY HOLDS STAKEHOLDER MEETING—10/23/12
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) held its first stakeholder meeting to increase awareness concerning the most significant healthcare needs in the regions and to find ways to collaborate to find the best solutions. The topics addressed at the meeting included communicable diseases, environmental health, and nutrition. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Health Minister and organization chair, said the meeting marked the first step in changing the health environment in the Caribbean region.

JAMAICA IMPORTS OF LUMBER TOTAL $3 BILLION PER YEAR—10/24/12
Jamaica imports about $3 billion worth of lumber every year in spite of being known as the “land of wood and water.” At least one local lumber producer, Dalkeith Hanna, has called for Jamaicans to invest more in planting trees that can be used for lumber. Hanna, head of Croydon in the Mountains, a 132-acre farm in St. James, noted that investors should not be dissuaded by the 20 years required for trees to mature. This is a much shorter period of time than the 60 years required by some of the trees used for lumber that Jamaica imports.

JAMAICA PLANS TO REDUCE BUREAUCRACY TO LURE CANADIAN INVESTORS—10/26/12
The government of Jamaica plans to cut the bureaucracy associated with starting new businesses on the island in a bid to lure more investments from Canada. Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, promised less red tape during a speech delivered by Jamaica’s foreign affairs minister at a conference on doing business in Jamaica. The speech was part of Simpson Miller’s first official trip to Canada. but she was unable to give it herself because she returned home to deal with the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The island’s government has created a national competitiveness council to improve the business environment in Jamaica.

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CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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SMALL, MID-SIZED BUSINESSES TO USE TECHNOLOGY—10/23/12

CARICOM GROUP OFFERS YOUTH TRAINING IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP—10/24/12

SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP—10/25/12

BAMBOO PROMOTED AS SOURCE OF ENERGY—10/26/12

 

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ENTERTAINMENT
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DOWNSOUND RECORDS TOUTS REASON FOR SUCCESSES—10/20/12
Sean Edwards, known as “Contractor,” has been credited with being a key influence in the recent success of Downsound Records, both internationally and locally. Edwards, a marketing guru, has managed to provide successful advertising efforts to the label that was largely unknown before he came on board. He has had charge of Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, and others. He recently started a promotional and marketing tour of the United Kingdom, appearing on Reggae Showcase and Ben TV’s Lifestyle Show to promote the projects of Downsound Records.

SEAGA LAUNCHES 100-SONG COLLECTION THAT CHARTS MUSICAL HISTORY—10/23/12
VP Records has collaborated with Edward Seaga, former Jamaican Prime Minister, to introduce the Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music CD set. Seaga, a record producer, chose the songs, which represent 100 of the most successful reggae classic. He believes reggae is a powerful and creative force that led to the development of dancehall, dub, hip-hop, and rap.

AUTHORS EMBRACE CARIBBEAN CULTURE AT BOOK LAUNCH IN CANADA—10/25/12
In “Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today,” author H. Nigel Thomas, has collected works by West Indian fiction writers and poets who living in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the Caribbean. Thomas was a teacher in St. Vincent before moving to Montreal, Canada, where he was a high school and elementary teacher. He says his anthology, which includes about 30 authors, is useful in reintroducing the writers to a new audience and prompt greater interest in Caribbean culture.

CHAIRMAN OF JAMPRO WANTS MORE INVESTMENT IN HERITAGE SITES—10/26/12
Milton Samuda, chairman of JAMPRO, is urging a greater interest in protecting and supporting local heritage sites in Jamaica. He made his remarks on a visit to Croydon in the Mountains Plantation. This 132-acre farm is the birthplace of Sam Sharpe, a national hero. Samuda believes the first investment should be in the Jamaica people and that protecting heritage sites provides people with a sense of who they are and encourages national pride.

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SPORTS
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REGGAE BOYZ WIN RESUSCITATES WOMEN’S PROGRAM—10/22/12
The victory of the Reggae Boyz over Antigua and Barbuda allowed them to advance to the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, and it also renewed interest in the women’s program. This program has little financial support and was suspended by the Jamaica Football Federation in 2002, following a reduction in government funding of 65 percent. The success of the Reggae Boyz means the soccer program obtains necessary resources, which then filter into other programs.

MORE COACHES, TRAINING FOR JAMAICA SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING—10/24/12
Charlotte Davis, a synchronized swimming coaching clinician from the United States, is calling for more coaches and more training, so that Jamaica can be successful at the international level of this sport. Davis provided her assessment of the Jamaican program during a two-week visit, in which she also judged the Jamaica International Synchronized Swimming Championship matches. For the program to progress, Davis said there needs to be an increase in the number of coaches. Jamaican wants to send athletes to the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada.

15TH GOAL MADE BY MORRISSEY IN FINLAND—10/25/12
Jamaican Steven Morrissey became the most prolific scorer during overseas domestic competition in the 2012 season when he scored his 15th goal as his team lost 2 to 1 in the Finland Premier Division. Morrissey, 26, leads in scoring 42 percent of the team’s points and scored seven of his goals in the first half hour of competition.

COMMONWEALTH SPORTS AWARD GIVEN TO CUNNINGHAM—10/26/12
Alphanso Cunningham was recognized as the Most Outstanding Male Athlete with Disability at the Commonwealth Sports Awards ceremony in Trinidad and Tobago. Cunningham won gold in the F52/53 javelin competition at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012. He also won gold medals in javelin in 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2010.

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JAMAICAN JOBS
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DIRECTOR

NURSE

LABORATORY TECHNICIAN – PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY

LIBRARIAN

CHAIR – IN WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Visit JAMAICAN JOBS.

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Caribbean Americans Voting is Your Power

 

I voted

Voting is a fundamental piece of the puzzle of democracy.  One person, one vote.  Collectively, each of these votes could transform a community, a state, a country, and quite possibly, the world.  Despite all attempts to curtail this sacred right across America,  no one can take away your right to vote.  Simply, if you are a US citizen, 18 years old (not a convicted felon), you can vote with picture ID in most states.   It is your responsibility to confirm your requirements to vote in your state and to exercise your right.

In  Florida, for many eligible counties in Florida, you can request, receive and vote with your absentee ballot in one trip to your local Supervisor of Elections office.  In other words, you need not have to wait until the early voting period or on Election Day.  Simply, all you have to do is head to your closest Supervisor of Elections office with a current, valid photo ID. When you’re there, request your absentee ballot in person, and then complete and return your ballot right there on the spot! Easy as 1-2-3.  Most importantly, don’t forget to sign your ballot envelope.

In addition, you also have the option to take advantage of early voting hours which begin on Saturday, October 27th, and ends on Saturday, November 3rd.  Early Voting will also be available Sunday, October 28.

Alternatively, you may also choose to vote by mail (absentee voting).  As of the date of this article, more than 400,000 Floridians chose to vote by mail.  Any registered Florida voter can vote by mail.  In order to take advantage of this convenient option, you must submit your request to your Supervisor of Elections to have a ballot mailed to you no later than 5:00 p.m. local time on October 31st.  Upon receipt of your ballot, you may take your time to conduct your research and complete your ballot, but your voted ballot must be received by your Supervisor of Elections no later than 7:00 p.m. local time on Election Day, November 6th.  This year, your absentee ballot is self-addressed with the appropriate postage.  After mailing your absentee ballot, you may contact your Supervisor of Elections to confirm receipt and processing or you may check your status online.  If you decide to return in person, it is recommended to deliver directly to the office of Supervisor of Elections.

In the event you are compulsive about protecting your right to vote and deciding against voting absentee and decide to vote early or on the day of, be sure to bring a photo ID that includes your signature, like a driver’s license or state ID card. If your photo ID doesn’t have your signature, you can bring a second ID that does include your signature (for example: bring your student ID and your debit card).  The following photo IDs will be accepted:

  • Florida driver’s license
  • Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • United States passport
  • Debit or credit card
  • Military identification
  • Student identification
  • Retirement center identification
  • Neighborhood association identification
  • Public assistance identification

For more information, contact your local Supervisor of Elections. You can reach your supervisor through the state Division of Elections:  Florida’s Voter Assistance Hotline at 1-866-308-6739.   For your US citizen family residing abroad, please encourage them to request their absentee ballots at http://www.fvap.gov.  Their ballot request will be based on the state of their last residence.

We live in a democracy of the people, for the people and by the people. Your vote is your power.  Do not take it for granted.  It is recommended that you take advantage of the early voting options due to the length of the ballot and expected delays at the polls.  You have the options to exercise this right freely in voting tomorrow at your convenience, voting during early time period, voting absentee from home, or voting on Election Day. It is in your hands.

About the Author
Marlon A. Hill is a partner with the Miami law firm of delancyhill, P.A. and the immediate past Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board member for the Southern United States.

 

 

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Living in an Ethnically Homogenous Neighborhood Boosts Health of U.S. Minority Seniors

Mailman School Main Feature Graphic

Contact Us

Timothy S. Paul
212-305-2676

Email
tp2111@columbia.edu

Study finds lower rates of heart disease and cancer than for those living in more mixed areas

An African-American or Mexican-American senior living in a community where many neighbors share their background is less likely to have cancer or heart disease than their counterpart in a more mixed neighborhood.

Results of the new study by Kimberly Alvarez, a PhD student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Becca Levy, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology and Psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, appear in the American Journal of Public Health.

Counter to prevailing notions, researchers found that “living in the barrio or ethnically dense communities isn’t always bad for your health,” says Alvarez. “For older minority adults, it’s actually the reverse: living in an ethnically dense neighborhood is beneficial when it comes to heart disease and cancer,” adding that these are the two most common chronic conditions and causes of death among minority older adults.

The researchers used survey data to look at health outcomes of 2,367 Mexican-American and 2,790 African-Americans over age 65 living in communities with high percentages of African-Americans (New Haven, Conn., and north-central North Carolina) and Mexican-Americans (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas). Among African-Americans, those living in a county with an ethnic density of 50% or more (that is, where half or more of the population shared the same background) were 46% less likely to report doctor-diagnosed heart disease and 77% less likely to report cancer than those who lived in an ethnic density of less than 25%. Mexican Americans living in a county with an ethnic density of 50% or more were 33% and 62% less likely to report heart disease and cancer, respectively, than those who lived in an ethnic density of less than 25%. Ethnic density was significantly more protective for heart disease in African-Americans than Mexican-Americans; the association between ethnic density and cancer was equally strong for both groups.

Cultural factors could help to explain the phenomenon. “Communities with high ethnic density may be more likely to share values like respect for elders and have close-knit family structures,” says Dr. Levy. Earlier studies showed high levels of social support within communities of Hispanic immigrants. “These networks may facilitate better health behaviors and, in turn, better health outcomes,” adds Alvarez. “For example, information about free health clinics may be more freely exchanged in these communities.”

Past studies showed a health benefit of ethnic density for Hispanics, but the reverse for African-Americans; these results were in keeping with what is known as the Hispanic Paradox: that even with similar levels of socioeconomic status, Hispanics have comparable, or in some cases better, health outcomes than White Americans. Adding a wrinkle to this rule, Alvarez and Dr. Levy are the first to find a positive effect for ethnic-density among African-Americans. The difference, Alvarez explains, may owe to the fact that past studies have looked at African-American children and young adults rather than seniors and measured ethnic density in relation to whites rather than within subsets of other minority populations.

“Having this information is important given the rapidly growing population of older adult minorities,” says Alvarez.

Support for the study was provided by grants from the National Institute on Aging (R01AG032284), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL089314), and the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation (to Dr. Levy).

 
 

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Detective Work Authenticates Novel by Harlem Renaissance Writer Claude McKay

RTWT is currently reading Banana Bottom by McKay.

1941 portrait of Claude McKay taken by Carl Van Vechten from the archives of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
1941 portrait of Claude McKay taken by Carl Van Vechten from the archives of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

As an intern in Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library(RBML), Jean-Christophe Cloutier was used to the silence. But he could barely contain himself the day he stumbled on what appeared to be a previously unknown manuscript by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay in the archives of another writer.

“There was a kind of inner tremor of excitement but also of disbelief,” said Cloutier, a Ph.D. candidate in English literature. “The archive is such a quiet place it simply feels inappropriate to cry out or get agitated in any way. So it was a silent moment on the outside, but deafening with possibilities on the inside.”

Cloutier was cataloging the archives of publisher and writer Samuel Roth, who is perhaps best known for publishing unauthorized editions of James Joyce’s Ulysses and D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in America (and spending a year in prison on charges of distributing pornography). He was the appellant in Roth v. United States, a 1957 U.S. Supreme Court case that strengthened constitutional protection of obscene material.

The manuscript, which bears McKay’s name and is titled Amiable with Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem, was in a cheap black binder with a publisher’s note in Roth’s hand. Elsewhere in the archive Cloutier found papers related to a ghostwriting project that Roth wanted McKay to handle. Cloutier got in touch with English Professor Brent Edwards, whose 2003 book The Practice of Diasporacontains a chapter on McKay. The ghostwritten book, if it ever existed, has never surfaced, but correspondence between McKay and Roth suggested to Edwards that Cloutier was on to something big.

Jean-Christophe Cloutier was an intern in Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (Image credit: Lynn Saville)
Jean-Christophe Cloutier was an intern in Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Image credit: Lynn Saville

Both men read the manuscript in search of more clues. It quickly became clear that the subject matter matched McKay’s interests. The novel focuses on political activism in Harlem during the 1935-1936 Italian invasion of Ethiopia, a hot topic among African Americans for whom Ethiopia and its leader Emperor Haile Selassie were a source of black nationalist pride. The Jamaican-born McKay, whose 1928 novel Home to Harlem was the first bestseller by a black writer in the United States, often used the clash of cultures as a theme in his work.

There were other clues, too, such as frequent use of the term Aframerican, a signature McKay-ism for African American. And handwritten corrections in the text were consistent with those in other McKay texts.

Verification required piecing together information from various archives. Edwards and Cloutier combed through Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which handles McKay’s estate. There they found correspondence in which McKay refers to the novel.

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A search of Syracuse University’s archives of E.P. Dutton, the publisher of McKay’s Harlem: Negro Metropolis, revealed weekly advances of $25 to McKay for a novel that may have been called God’s Black Sheep, which resembles the unpublished manuscript’s subtitle. Cloutier and Edwards hypothesize that Dutton might have rejected McKay’s novel before it was submitted to Roth.

Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library offered the most concrete clue: a letter to McKay from socialist magazine editor, writer and Leon Trotsky translator Max Eastman, directly quoting lines from the book.

Cloutier was working in RBML as part of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation internship that trains graduate students in archival science. “A key piece of our strategy was bringing the skills and interests of talented graduate students to bear on a broad range of unprocessed material,” said Michael Ryan, director of the RBML—a plan that has clearly paid off.

For his part, Cloutier was not only thrilled with the discovery but also noted with satisfaction that the reappearance of the manuscript seems to explain archival letters that had, until now, only pointed to a mysterious McKay novel. “It’s only because we have this novel that all these letters have significance and meaning. It makes the whole history come alive,” he said.

Cloutier and Edwards, whose discovery of the McKay manuscript was recently featured on the front page of the New York Times Arts section are now working on an introduction to accompany the first edition of Amiable with Big Teeth, which will offer proof of the novel’s authenticity and explore McKay’s life at the time he was writing the book.

—by Nick Obourn

 
 

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African-American women embrace positive images offered by Facebook page communities

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Somewhere amid the basketball wives throwing bottles, acclaimed actresses portraying downtrodden maids, and the usual suspects gracing the covers of black lifestyle magazines lies the ambiguous representation of black women in the media. And while household names like EssenceJetHeart & Soul, and Ebony have worked for decades to counter questionable images with positive alternatives, Facebook pages have allowed for the immediate creation of new communities that empower black women with images and words in a mere click.

Facebook destinations like Orijin Culture provide black women with sumptuous fashion shots reflecting themselves that are far more glamorous than those found in average glossies. Healthy Black Women and Girls, with over 111,000 likes, promotes images of Black women participating in sport, exercise, and healthful living, while also helping page participants achieve their own health goals.

Then there are much smaller niche communities, such as DarkSkinned Women ❤, that address pressing issues such as color discrimination in an immediate and ongoing way that mainstream publications cannot match.

“The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice!,” said one female user on DarkSkinned Women ❤ when complementing a beautiful image of a woman with deep brown skin. DarkSkinned Women <3, like many popular community pages that appeal to African-American women, posts content consisting mostly of stunning imagery that reinforces self-esteem. It seems like a simple formula, but it’s making a big impact.

Could more black women be turning to relatively small Facebook groups, like Model TV Africa, for style and life advice as opposed to traditional media?

“I believe that spaces on the Internet where black women gather in cyberspace are indeed competing with traditional lifestyle magazines,” Noliwe Rooks, author of 2004′s Ladies’ Pages: African American Women’s Magazines and the Culture That Made Themtold theGrio.

An associate professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, Rooks has found that black women across generations are increasingly logging into their accounts in order to get the support, advice, nurturing and sense of community that was once fulfilled by magazines.

The creators of these hubs of black camaraderie noticed this opportunity to target African-Americans in an innovative way — and seized it. “I saw this new generation of social media sites as a way to reach people we’ve never been able to reach before,” Kumi Rauf, founder of I Love Being Black (ILBB), told theGrio.

While not specifically targeting women, ILBB is an interesting case study of where this social media development may go. With 6,122,061 likes to be exact as of publication time, I Love Being Black is the largest black-owned Facebook page in the world. Placed in a larger context, ILLB’s audience has more than twice the number of likes as the Facebook pages of BET, TV One, Essence, Tom Joyner, Black Voices, Black EnterpriseEbony, and Jet combined. This astronomical audience was gained in a mere four years since it launched in 2008. On any given day, ILBB showcases a plethora of affirming photographs and images, all of which feature a diverse array of locations and people from the African diaspora.

“We try to keep our news posts either positive or informative,” said Rauf. “This works well for us because it’s like a breath of fresh air to see this type of content in the news concerning black people.”

Yet, more impressive than the audience size is the audience engagement that specialized pages like ILBB, Vintage Black GlamourBlack Women with Real Black Hair and Black Women “Do” Workout! have been able to generate per post, in comparison to more reputable media brands. A page with less than 20,000 likes can often see up to ten percent of its base comment or like every post, which is considered to be a very high rate of social media engagement by professionals in the social media business.

“It’s not about the number of how many people like you,” socio-economic digital analyst, author and commentator Lauren DeLisa Coleman told theGrio about these pages’ influence. Coleman studies the impact of digital platforms as they intersect with cultural behavior and commercial endeavors. “These niche outlets have a different measure of success.”

Pointing to a “wonderful kind of confluence of events,” she attributes the burgeoning growth of these Facebook pages to what she calls “SmartPower:” the rise of a new mindset in which individuals are more self-determined, socially aware and are using digital platforms to change the sociopolitical dynamic between all of us.

“If I don’t see myself reflected, but I still have ideas, questions, and views, of course I’m going to start my own thing,” said Coleman, referring to this growing trend. “This is why we the see the advent of these pages.” For black women, who often comment that positive images of themselves are sorely lacking, the do-it-yourself model of media is a welcome balm for persistent negative representation.

Nichelle Gainer founded Vintage Black Glamour to provide a window on black history that is enticing as well as uplifting. “I like to post things that people have not seen, that they don’t know about and then they see it and go, ‘Oh, my God, where did that come from?,’” Gainer told NPR about her project in a recent interview.

Fans of Vintage Black Glamour showered her with compliments and gratitude for the existence of their community upon learning that NPR had spotlighted the page. A Facebook destination that exhibits rarely seen photos of black celebrities and achievers from decades past, Vintage Black Glamour exposes audiences to archival photographs of African-American celebrities like Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Stevie Wonder, and Langston Hughes that delight the Vintage Black Glamour subscribers, as well as images of lesser-known, yet equally glamorous individuals.

It’s quite impressive, and the ladies and gentlemen portrayed tend to look very stylish, coming from an era when people dressed up just to rehearse for a play. These photos are not something you are going to see in an everyday magazine — and her subscribers appreciate it.

“You do important work. We are grateful that you took the time, Nichelle,” wrote one audience member about the empowering nature of the photos.

“This depicts an era when black women knew how to carry themselves in a positive manner […] sometimes we forget these days,” read another comment. In this way, Vintage Black Glamour teaches style and beauty advice in a refreshing way, ironically by reviewing the past.

Vintage Black Glamour and other pages are able to focus only on the positive in part because their activity is not constrained by the business models limiting traditional media. Unlike their newsstand counterparts that are subject to a monthly or weekly publication cycle, Facebook pages like these churn out new content on a daily — sometimes, hourly — basis, allowing for these micro-media locales to provide an extensive offering of edify African-American pictures and facts. Additionally, because the creation of these pages require no capital or advertisers, the founders are not bound to any stipulations in terms of what type of content they can post.

This freedom of expression is drawing people to interact with these online brands — and with each other — in droves. It could only be a matter of time before these gathering points become major media forces.

“I think it’s wonderful that we have those forerunners,” said Coleman, “but now its time to add to that because we as a people are so diverse.”

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in African American News

 

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