Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy

Articles

Vol. 17, Annual

A Seat at the Table: Place-Based Urban Policy and Community Engagement
Public participation has been defined as "the practice of consulting and involving members of the public in the agenda-setting, decision-making, and policy-forming activities of organizations or institutions responsible for policy development" (Rowe...
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Acknowledging Black Male Privilege
It's a strange sensation to discover that you--a Black man in America, with all of the connotations that label brings with it--are privileged. This realization is as profound and disturbing as when you first discovered that you grew up in a system...
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Actuating Equity: Historical and Contemporary Analyses of African American Access to Selective Higher Education from Sweatt to the Top 10 Percent Law
The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) opened its doors on September 15, 1883, under the premise that admission be equally accessible regardless of gender or religion (University of Texas 1975). Yet, the incipient notion of equality at UT-Austin...
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Identity and Public Policy: Redefining the Concept of Racial Democracy in Brazil
In Brazil, the notion that raced-based inequalities have crippled the social, economic, and political progress of Afro-Brazilians is one that is quickly denied by those who are committed to Gilberto Freyre's concept of racial democracy. However, when...
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Opportunity beyond Affirmative Action: How Low-Income and Working-Class Black Male Achievers Access Highly Selective, High-Cost Colleges and Universities
Published research on college access, particularly at highly selective and high-cost private postsecondary institutions, focuses primarily on barriers for underrepresented student populations. Higher-education scholars and policy makers have been especially...
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Political Cynicism and the Black Vote
African American political behavior is an understudied dimension of the American electorate. In some ways, Black voting behavior and voting frequency parallel mainstream trends, but there are notable differences. These differences are due largely to...
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U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: A Public Address by Condoleezza Rice
Audience What's the benefit to the United States of having responsible sovereign states in Africa? RICE The benefit of responsible sovereignty first and foremost is to Africans because those are countries that can deliver on food for their...
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Vol. 16, Summer

Editor's Remarks
The election of President Barack Obama embodies the significant progress made by African American people in the United States since emancipation. Nonetheless, some African Americans are still impoverished and living in disadvantaged rural and urban...
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The Political Implication of Social Capital
INTRODUCTION Politicians do not live in a vacuum. Their lives span more than their political commitments, affiliations, and even careers. The line between personal and political life is particularly thin for local elected officials. While U.S. congressmen...
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Reawakening Baptist Town
HISTORY OF BAPTIST TOWN Located just east of downtown Greenwood, Mississippi, the community of Baptist Town derives its name from the Baptist churches that reside within its borders--particularly McKinney Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Baptist...
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Finding Plan B: Critical Remedy Construction for School Districts Operating under Education Equity Consent Decrees Post Seattle and Louisville
BACKGROUND ON THE SEATTLE AND LOUISVILLE CASES The Seattle and Louisville cases, specifically Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No.11 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, (2) were heard jointly before...
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Exposure to Community Violence and Social Capital: African American Students in the Critical Transition to High School
INTRODUCTION Previous research has linked exposure to community violence with a range of negative outcomes for minority youth in poor, urban communities (Bell and Jenkins 1993; U.S. Office of the Surgeon General 2001; Bowen and Bowen 1999). The...
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Rethinking Prisoner Reentry in Harlem
THE NEW YORK STORY New York has historically played a central role in the national debate about crime in America. The 1973 Rockefeller Drug Laws, which passed amid growing concern about rising crime and drug use, were among the harshest drug sentencing...
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Social Capital and Political Advocacy for African American Health
INTRODUCTION Social capital, or the concept that social relationships can create a form of capital, has been foundational to successful strategies for bettering communities all across the world. In fact, Robert Putnam, a leading authority in social...
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Race, Identity, and Politics: An Interview with South Carolina State Representative Bakari Sellers
HJAAP Why did you choose to pursue a career in public service? SELLERS I ran for public office because I wanted to be a voice for positive change in my community and in South Carolina. In my campaign, we were able to build hope and excitement,...
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On Giving: An Interview with Charles Woodson
HJAAP Choosing a charity to donate to is not a simple decision. What motivated you to donate $2 million to the University of Michigan hospital? WOODSON What motivated me most to donate is life. You see, you are either growing or you are dying....
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Vol. 15, Summer

Editor's Note
Every now and then, there comes a time in history when a generation is granted the opportunity to dramatically change the way the world operates. From the days of the Revolutionary War when young men left their families to fight alongside their fathers...
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"I-35 Divide" Conundrum: Can a True Community-University Partnership Grant Austin's Gifted/Talented K-12 African American Males Access to College?
INTRODUCTION "There is a crisis in America's schools," stated former Lambuth University President Fred Zuker in Ebony's "Young, Gifted and Black" article (Robinson-English 2006). Zuker did the unthinkable when he awarded a $60,000 four-year scholarship...
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A Community-Driven and Evidence-Based Approach to Health Policy Development: Reducing Cancer Disparities in Arkansas
********** Cancer health disparities continue to plague minority and underserved communities despite scientific advances in cancer care (American Cancer Society 2004). At the root of this problem are two persistent factors. First, evidence-based...
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Effective Policies for Promoting Early Behavioral Development
********** Before a child enters kindergarten he or she is expected to have a combination of intellectual skills, motivational qualities, and social-emotional skills. According to a National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) study,...
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The Cradle to Prison Pipeline: America's New Apartheid
Incarceration is becoming the new American apartheid, and poor children of color are the fodder. It is time to sound a loud alarm about this threat to American unity and community, act to stop the growing criminalization of children at younger and...
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The State of Race Relations in the United States and the Effects on Environmental Justice: A Conversation with Julian Agyeman
HJAAP Our first question concerns your perspective on race relations in the United States from an environmental framework, as compared with your work in either Great Britain or the Soviet Union or other countries. The United States has a unique...
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Good Is Not Enough: And Other Unwritten Rules for Minority Professionals
In describing the key to success in the corporate world, Kenneth Chenault, a renowned economist and CEO of American Express, suggested success in business derives from understanding the following maxim: "its not the strongest, most intelligent who...
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The Future of Fatherhood and Families in African American Communities
THE UNANSWERED CALL In the fall of 1998, a historic conference, sponsored by the Morehouse Research Institute at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, almost succeeded in placing the issue of father absence on the national agenda. Morehouse is...
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Vol. 14, Summer

Editor's Note
For the first time in decades, the U.S. election in November promises to be particularly historic and undeniably pivotal. Regardless, the simple act of electing the 44th president of the United States, whoever that may be, will not extinguish the...
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Prospective Black Presidential Candidates: Can They Win?
INTRODUCTION There are few empirical studies focusing on the public's perceptions of hypothetical Black presidential candidates (Sigelman and Welch 1984), and none examining their viability: whether or not a Black candidate can win. (1) In part,...
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Unions, Organizing Cities, and a 21st-Century Labor Movement: Implications for African Americans
There are two noteworthy facts regarding the state of labor unions today that, at first glance, may seem unrelated. First, since the mid-20th century the percentage of workers represented by labor unions has dropped significantly, from slightly...
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Determining the Current Status of the Environmental Justice Movement: Analysis of Revolutionary Actions
INTRODUCTION In America there are communities where drinking water is contaminated by poisons, expectant mothers struggle to carry their babies to term, and children become sick from playing in their backyards. Chemical dumpsites and industrial...
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From "Block the Vote" to "Protect the Vote": Historically Black Student Voting Suppression and Disenfranchisement in Texas
INTRODUCTION Voting, arguably the most important and precious right in a democratic society, is an essential one that every citizen has, and, if eligible, should not be denied under any circumstances. Despite that fact, our country's history...
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Protest Politics and the Jena Generation: Lessons for 21st-Century Black Leaders
INTRODUCTION This essay lays the foundation for a paradigm shift in Black leadership practice by exposing the limitations of protest politics and its major tactic, the mass march. If we are to achieve real power as a community of African people...
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You Must Set Forth at Dawn-The Presidential Race of Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice's Legacy, and China: A Conversation with Juan Williams
Juan Williams is a senior correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR). He is also a political analyst for the Fox News Channel and a panelist on Fox News Sunday. He is the author of Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of...
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Taking Leadership in the Green Economy: A Conversation with Van Jones
Van Jones is working to combine solutions to America's two biggest problems: social inequality and environmental destruction. Jones is the cofounder of the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Named for an unsung civil rights heroine,...
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Vol. 13, Summer

Editor's Remarks
"Our separate struggles are really one. A struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity."--Martin Luther King, Jr., in a telegram to Cesar Chavez The 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were pivotal decades in the histories of the African American and...
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Burdening the Right to Vote: Assessing the Impact of Mandatory Photo Identification Requirements on Minority Voting Strength
INTRODUCTION Perhaps no issue threatens the fragile status of the voting rights of African American and Latino voters more than recent efforts to adopt mandatory nationalized voter identification requirements. Linking the right to vote to the presentation...
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Increasing Organ Donations: An Urgent Need in African American and Latino Communities
Advancements made in biomedicine and surgical techniques since the 1960s have greatly improved the success of organ and tissue transplantation. Survival rates have risen dramatically due to improvements in surgery and the development of immuno-suppressive...
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Immigrant and African American Relations: Parallel Struggles That Should Unite
The nationwide marches for immigrants' rights in the spring of 2006 brought to the surface tensions between immigrant and African American communities. In the media buzz about divisions between the two groups, a common theme was a sense on the part...
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Latino Anti-Black Violence in Los Angeles: Not "Made in the USA"
A version of this piece was originally featured as an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on 7 January 2007 as "Roots of Latino/Black Anger; Longtime Prejudices, Not Economic Rivalry, Fuel Tensions." The acrimonious relationship between Latinos and African...
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Continued Abandonment in Dixie: No More Policy as Usual
Poverty and hopelessness have been common occurrences for African Americans in the Southern region since their arrival at the ports of the South. With the devastation imposed by Hurricane Katrina, the economic plight of many African Americans in the...
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Political Coalitions across the United States: An Interview with Kenneth J. Cooper
HJAAP How would you characterize the political relationship between African Americans and Latinos in the United States today? COOPER It is uneven and mixed. It depends on whether you are talking about national politics in Washington, at a...
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African American-Latino Relations in Los Angeles: An Interview with Earl Ofari Hutchinson
HJAAP How would you characterize the relationship between the African American and Latino communities in Southern California? HUTCHINSON When you look at Black/Latino relations, it is really a mixed bag. On the surface, many people have focused...
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African American-Latino Relations in Houston: An Interview with Tatcho Mindiola, Jr
HJAAP One of the arguments that you make within Black-Brown Relations and Stereotypes is that in Houston, there are a lot of negative stereotypes that African American and Latino communities have of each other. What would you say are the most damaging...
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Neither Enemies nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos
"While the stigma of blackness is similar throughout the hemisphere, the experience of blackness is heterogeneous depending on historical and cultural characteristics as well as the demographic of each country" (16). The essays included in Anani Dzidzienyo...
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Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America
In Winning the Race, John McWhorter argues that modern Black ills are not due to racism but a more damaging cultural shift that occurred from 1960 to 1970. According to McWhorter, race matters, but culture matters just as much, if not more. A cultural...
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Vol. 12, Summer

Editor's Note
In the months since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, the reverberations of the storm have established "Katrina" as a metaphor for race- and class-based distinctions that we face as a nation. We are all well aware of the destruction, the...
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Southern Women's Voices from the Gulf Coast States on Hurricane Katrina
ABSTRACT This essay is a compilation of ten interviews with women ranging in age from twenty to seventy. The women are from New Orleans, Gulfport, and Biloxi. The ethnicity of the women are African American, Caucasian American, Austrian-born Caucasian,...
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From Despair to Hope: Rebuilding the Health Care Infrastructure of New Orleans after the Storm
ABSTRACT The wide-scale devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina exposed what may be one of our nation's least talked about and most poorly addressed shortcomings: that we are a country of "haves" and "have nots." It is no secret...
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Reimagining and Recreating Health Care Systems along the Gulf Coast
ABSTRACT I use the metaphor of water to argue for reimaging and recreating health care systems along the Gulf Coast that were destroyed or severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Rather than merely treating the symptoms of an ineffective system,...
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Right of Return Means Access to the Ballot, Access to Neighborhoods, and Access to Economic Opportunity
ABSTRACT Over one million people were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; they are residents of three of the poorest states in the nation? Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. New Orleans represents a microcosm of right-of-return issues for...
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Principles and Strategies for Reconstruction: Models of African American Community-Based Cooperative Economic Development
ABSTRACT Community-based, cooperatively owned enterprises are characterized by greater community input and participation in the planning, development, and governance of commercially viable, socially responsible businesses that generate jobs, income,...
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Remarks on Katrina
Today I want to elaborate upon the Katrina Bill of Rights, which the National Urban League began to elucidate in the days immediately after the hurricane. I believe that all of us--businesswomen and day laborers, shrimp boat captains and city dwellers,...
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Agency, Equity, and Environmental Justice: An Interview with James Hoyte
James Hoyte is Assistant to the President and Lecturer on Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University. From 1983 to 1988, Hoyte served as Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs with responsibility for the planning and management...
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The Plight of the Education Systems-Post Hurricane Katrina: An Interview with Dr. Brenda Mitchell and Dr. Linda Stelly
Dr. Brenda Mitchell is president of the United Teachers of New Orleans. She was raised in the city of New Orleans and has called New Orleans her home for over fifty years. She is a graduate of the New Orleans public schools. Dr. Mitchell received her...
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The Displacement of Black Families and Communities: San Francisco as a Case Study in Political Response: An Interview with N'Tanya Lee
N'Tanya Lee is the Executive Director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth in San Francisco, California. Lee began working for social justice as a Black, thirteen-year-old, free-lunch kid fighting against Ronald Reagan's "ketchup is a vegetable"...
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Vol. 11, Summer

Editors' Note
It is difficult to ignore the escalating rate of HIV/AIDS within the African American community. Regional statistics for infection rates among African Americans rival those in other countries whose national identities have become indistinguishable...
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Black Men on the "Down-Low" and the HIV Epidemic: The Need for Research and Intervention Strategies
ABSTRACT HIV remains a critical health issue in the Black community. Black men who have sex with men and women (BMSM/W)--also known as men on the "down-low" (or "DL")--are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and have recently become the focus...
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HIV/AIDS: Leadership Challenges in Africa and in the African Diaspora
ABSTRACT The HIV/AIDS pandemic has confirmed the unmistakable: leadership in a public health crisis is crucial. Millions of lives and trillions of dollars are at stake. In Africa and the African Diaspora, the epidemic has disproportionately disastrous...
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HIV/AIDS in the African American Community: The Legacy of Urban Abandonment
ABSTRACT In this paper, we argue that a disproportionate concentration of HIV/AIDS cases in many African American communities signals a significant collapse in the social structure of those affected communities. Specifically, the open, extensive...
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Unprotected: HIV Prison Policy and the Deadly Politics of Denial
ABSTRACT HIV/AIDS is reaching epidemic proportions in U.S. prisons and in prison populations worldwide. The United States trails Canada, Australia, and much of Europe in responding to the crisis. What is more disturbing is that the United States...
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The Politics of HIV Prevention and Black Women
ABSTRACT Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, the burden of the disease has been steadily shifting from White males, predominantly in the gay community, to Black females. Because the root causes of the HIV/AIDS epidemic...
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Power, Politics, and HIV/AIDS: An Interview with Cathy J. Cohen
Cathy J. Cohen, Ph.D., is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. She is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics...
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Restoring Our Faith: HIV/AIDS and Black Faith Communities an Interview with Pernessa Seele
Pernessa Seele is founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead. Ms. Seele is recognized around the world for her work as a pioneer in mobilizing and educating Black churches to become engaged in the fight against AIDS. She also serves as an advisor to the...
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Saving Ourselves: African American Women and the HIV/AIDS Crisis
ABSTRACT The HIV/AIDS epidemic may be the most formidable threat the African American community has ever faced. AIDS has become the leading cause of death among African Americans aged 25 to 44--the prime child-bearing and wage-earning years (KFF...
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The Lost Generation: A Documentary Film Review of A Closer Walk (2004)
Directed by Robert Bilheimer The haunting beauty of A Closer Walk, Robert Bilheimer's stunning documentary film about AIDS, creeps under the audience's skin from the first frame. As Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye" begins, the camera follows...
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Vol. 10, Summer

Editors' Note
On the eve of the 2004 presidential elections, African Americans have yet another opportunity to influence public debate. African American priorities and the national agenda seem inextricably linked as both strive to address the same issues--two and...
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Fighting for a "Right to Vote" Constitutional Amendment
This position paper was presented by U.S. Representative Jackson (D-IL) at the Claim Democracy Conference on November 22, 2003, at American University in Washington, D.C. The conference was organized by the Center for Voting and Democracy. Jackson...
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The New Southern Political Landscape, the Black Vote, and Election Reform: Which Will Be Key to Victory in 2004?
Many political strategists have written off the South for the 2004 presidential election; they list 17 battleground states (only one of them Southern) with the perceived power to decide the ultimate outcome of the election in November. Others predict...
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Remembering Roosevelt: Reflections on Race and the Republican Party
The author compares George W. Bush's presidency to Theodore Roosevelt's presidency to illustrate the growing racial divide among African Americans and the Republican Party. Democrats, sensing that victory was within their reach, waged a spirited...
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Overcoming Poverty, Racism, and Inequality through Asset Accumulation
The difference in the asset holdings of black and white Americans is startling. When people control assets, they have a sense of ownership, power, and hope for the future that profoundly affects the way they conduct their lives. Recommendations to...
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The 1990's Economic Boom: Another Period of Missed Opportunity
This essay shares lessons I have learned and challenges that I have experienced over the last ten years during my work to improve the economic status of all Americans, but particularly African Americans. The essay describes the serious implications...
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Building Bridges across the Atlantic: An Interview with Zambian Ambassador Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika
Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika became ambassador of Zambia to the United States on February 26, 2003. Previously, Ambassador Mbikusita-Lewanika served as an ambassador and special envoy to the Zambian president (2001-02), and a member of Parliament...
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Africare and the HIV/AIDS Strategy for Africa
Currently, HIV/AIDS is decimating African societies, especially in Southern Africa, tearing apart the extended family system, eliminating skilled workers and creating millions of orphans. In 2003, AIDS killed an estimated 2.3 million Africans, while...
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Health Challenges Facing the Nation
Providing health insurance coverage for the over 43 million uninsured Americans remains a major challenge for the nation. A substantial body of research shows that there is a strong relationship between health insurance coverage and access to medical...
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Sentinel Disparity in Health Care: A Uniquely Unacceptable Phenomenon
The quality and reform of health care is a prominent component of national discussions in the year leading to the 2004 presidential election. Many issues such as Medicare reform, prescription drug benefits for the elderly, and improved access for uninsured...
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The Politics of Education
This reflection identifies education as the primary domestic priority for both major political parties. Her commentary opens our conversation about education with an important question: How do you fundamentally change public education in a way that...
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Anticipating Success: Removing the Barriers to Educational Equity and Equality
In this article, Dr. Mary Hatwood Futrell addresses challenges America faces regarding ensuring equity and quality of education for all children, especially children from minority or low-income families. She discusses the implications of changing demographics...
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No Parent Left Behind: Evaluating Programs and Policies to Increase Parental Involvement
Section 1118 of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is intended to provide opportunities for inclusion of those historically disadvantaged groups of parents. This article discusses recent legislative trends in parent involvement policies; the need...
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Urban Blues: The Candidates' Failure to Address the Plight of American Cities
America's cities were once key to would-be presidential candidates' campaign strategies. During the 2004 primary season, however, cities were not on the candidates' radar screens. Whether because of indifference to the plight of cities and their residents...
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Redefining Devolution
In his essay, Morial argues that devolution of resources and responsibilities to non-profits and local governments is the most efficient way to implement federal policies. The closest unit of government to our nation's citizens, municipal governments...
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