Monday, April 9, 2012

Bill Cosby Blames Gun Accessibility For Death Of Trayvon Martin, NJ Mural Causes Controversy

Famed comedian Bill Cosby weighed in on the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and he put the blame squarely on the easy accessibility of guns: “We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby told the Washington Post. “Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself. The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations. When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody."
Protesters are gearing up for the announcement whether the U.S. Justice Department will prosecute shooter and former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman for the Feb. 28 shooting—the decision whether Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Governor Rick Scott, will bring this matter before the grand jury is expected to come on April 10. Martin supporters are using social media to encourage people to wear a hoodie on April 10 as a sign of solidarity.
Some already have been: current and former college students from Florida State University, University of Florida, Tallahassee Community College and FAMU, calling themselves the "Dream Defenders," have marched 40 miles over the last three days to protest the death: "This is the catalyst to give young people the motivation to act," said Stephen Green, a sophomore at Morehouse College in Atlanta. "We are the ones with the energy to keep this going."
Closer to home, there was a Harlem Hoodie March this week, featuring students from the Democracy Prep Charter High School. "Because of the way you dress, some police officers think you are a hoodlum," junior Christopher Franco told DNAInfo. "They think you are the next drug dealer. Trayvon Martin is in the same position we are. It could have been any one of us."
Inspired by these protests, Baltimore preacher Rev. Jamal Bryant spearheaded a mass voter-registration drive coinciding with packed crowds for Easter Sunday: 50,000 black congregations nationwide hope to register 1 million voters today. "You can't just show up and shout and make noise. You have to do it with the vote," said Rev. Willie Barnes, pastor of Macedonia Baptist. "You can't change the system until you change the people who are running it."
Things aren't so unified everywhere: a new street mural in Elmwood Park, NJ, has caused much controversy. Lawrence Langerlaan, 71, is one of the people who object to the mural that features a faceless black man wearing a hoodie, with the message "We Got You Trayvon." "Had the hooded character not been there, and the kid's name up, I might not have objected," Langerlaan told WPIX. "It kind of makes us feel like drugs, gangs and that kind of thing. This is a nice quiet neighborhood."
"We didn't draw his head being blown off. We didn't put bullet holes on the wall. We didn't depict gun violence. And there's certainly no gang affiliation here," responded Carmelo Sigona, one of the five artists responsible for it. Building owner John Quinn supports the piece though: "I want them to use this as a canvas to bring other issues to the public."
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Positive Thought for the Week

"Change is the engine of the empowered life; if you are not willing to tap into the wellspring of your existence, to accept change, you will never move beyond your present shores."

-Author unknown

Did You Know?

Between the 1970's and 1999 the rate of suicide among black males climbed from 7.9 per 100,000 in 1970 to 10.9in 1997, compared to a modest increase in the rate for all blacks during the same period. Furthermore, since the 1970's, the rate of increase in suicides among black males in their twenties has been alarmingly steady. Source: Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans, Dr. Alvin Pouissant and Amy Alexander

Don't Believe the Hype!

Hype: Teenage pregnancy is a runaway problem in the African American community.

Fact: African Americans ages 15 to 19 experienced the steepest decline in birth rates—42 percent—from 118 per 1,000 women in 1991 to 68 in 2002. Among African Americans ages 15 to 17, birth rates dropped by 52 percent between 1991 and 2002.
Source: Advocates for Youth

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend. With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena. Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide. In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors. The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice. Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.” Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations.

An Interview with Rev. James David Manning

This interview was conducted by W. Eric Croomes on Friday, October 31, 2008 regarding Manning's comments on Senator Barack Obama.

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About the Editor

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Arlington, Texas, United States
W. Eric Croomes is a writer and playwright based in Irving, Texas and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Eric is a graduate of Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts in religion and sociology and is founder and executive director of Millennium Men of Color, a non-profit black male advocacy group. In 2002, Eric self-published Dance in the Dark, Poetic Reflections on Love and Culture, a collection of his original poems and essays on love and relationship in the African-American tradition. Three to Eight, a play examining the hours when most teens become pregnant and most juvenile crime is committed, was Eric’s first theatrical release and debuted at the 2004 Black N Blues one act play festival at the African-American museum in Dallas. Brotha2Brotha, Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out, a spiritual primer for men of color, was released in September, 2006. Eric’s next book, Thoughts in Black and Male, is slated for release in spring 2008. COMING SOON: THEVILLAGEREPORT.NET Visit Eric at

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The Village Report with W. Eric Croomes is a registered trademark of The Apple Tree Group. All content authored by W. Eric Croomes is Copyrighted 2008.

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine
and I didn't say 1958!