Why Gentrification is Especially Bad for New Orleans

And how that is terrible for Louisiana

By Jeff Thomas

Gentrification threatens tourism in New Orleans more than shootings on Bourbon Street. 

As the primary economic engine of not just New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana, tourism is normally politically protected at all costs.  The recent decision by voters to delay suddenly-sharply-rising property taxes is a step in the right direction, but much more is urgently needed lest New Orleans tourism morphs into a regional, rather than an international, draw.

Make no mistake about it:  New Orleans tourism, though unspoken, is largely Afrocentric.  In fact, the culture of the African American community is the key ingredient in our tourism gumbo.  People come to The Bowl for music, food, architecture and joie de vivre.  None of these exist without the contributions of African Americans.  Gentrification threatens this reality.

Olympians 2nd Line Crew

Cultural Erosion

Local leaders have tried unsuccessfully to convince national leaders that coastal erosion in Louisiana is a threat to national interests.  The loss of seafood production and the threat to oil and gas interests are brushed aside in Washington, D.C., as trivial, replaceable assets the national economy can easily absorb. But as gentrification pushes less-resourced people from inner-city neighborhoods, the future of the city we all love is seriously imperiled. Unlike Louisiana’s relative unimportance nationally, New Orleans’ success is critical to Louisiana. 

Every time a newcomer displaces a native, the whole Jenga structure becomes less stable.

From a distance, all might seem good when a more-resource rich transplant migrates in to town. Nevertheless, one need only look behind the mask of in-migration statistics to understand the precariousness of the impending doom.  Political strategy and long-term planning are essential to prevent catastrophic cultural erosion.  The destruction of our city’s cultural foundations – think second line clubs and brass bands – of tourist dollars can be prevented with smart legislation, based on sound and fair economic principles.

 Other cities, with far less important and influential cultural communities, have enacted safeguards to protect their own cultural assets.  A look at Seattle provides a glimpse of how we can protect our tourism industry, our city and our state.  That city has developed an Equitable Development Framework  which guides how the city prioritizes its work; shapes its budgets, policies, programs and investments; and structures the implementation of targeted strategies and equitable development projects by using clear objectives for reducing disparities and achieving equitable outcomes for marginalized populations.

Equity Drivers

  • Advance economic opportunity. Promote economic opportunities for marginalized populations and enhance community cultural anchors. Provide access to quality education, training and living-wage career paths.
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement. Enact policies and programs that allow marginalized populations, businesses and community organizations to stay in their neighborhoods.
  • Build on local cultural assets. Respect local community character, cultural diversity and values. Preserve and strengthen cultural communities and build the capacity of their leaders, organizations and coalitions to enjoy greater self-determination.
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity. Prioritize investment in effective and affordable transportation which supports transit-dependent communities.
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods. Create neighborhoods that enhance community health through access to public amenities; provide healthy, affordable and culturally-relevant food; and safe environments for everyone.
  • Enable equitable access to all neighborhoods. Leverage private developments to fill gaps in amenities; expand the supply and variety of housing and employment choices; and create equitable access to neighborhoods which offer high access to opportunity.

The consequences of doing nothing are potentially calamitous.  As horrific and petrifying as a shooting on Bourbon Street is, the long-term effects of cultural erosion caused by gentrification are not offset by increased property tax collection. In fact, cultural erosion forebodes doom as the New Orleans which tourists seek out, no longer exists. Instead, NOLA will become more like Savannah: Nice place, but it’s no New Orleans. Without a protected and empowered black community in The Bowl, we might not be here no more.


A Savannah Trolley vs a New Orleans Street Car

15 thoughts on “Why Gentrification is Especially Bad for New Orleans

  • February 10, 2019 at 9:52 pm
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    How can you stop property values from rising naturally?

    Reply
    • February 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm
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      The consensus answer is that you can’t, and that a community can only apply bandaids, such as special tax exemptions based on age or income, or provide “incentives” for the inclusion of affordable units in new multi-family structures. Such fatalism is based on the mistaken notion that it’s all a function of supply and demand. But this consensus is wrong, for much of this generated by speculation, external investment syndicates, investment oligopolies, and also by the prevailing ethos that everyone deserves a right to strike it rich with real estate investments, no matter how passive the investment might be.
      What we need is a shelter first approach, property taxes that include both homestead exemptions not connected to state government and circuit breakers tied to several tiers of income. Adopting a Georgist approach, such as that in Fairhope, AL, where land is leased, not owned, and where increased land “value” accrues to the community and not private investors, is also a useful option.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 7:20 am
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    Why are you pimping my city with this nonsensical approach? You’ve lost economic support from business and you think Seattle has the answers? Seattle is struggling to incorporate cultural diversity that New Orleans successfully addressed during my generation. Long ago, neighborhood differences were resolved and the city was holding onto its economic base through the business community’s input. It was a win-win for a community with a good educational system that was having trouble competing nationally. Business took on the challenge, despite waning port support. Tourism is built on more cultural diversity than you’re recognizing and cities need an economic base without prostituting their populations. Check your history regarding transportation, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and citizen self-determination built into community goals. Beware a society built on “bread and circus”.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 4:12 pm
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    Rising property values, in many instances, have NO value at all! Particu;larly for those indigenous people who plan on staying in New Orleans. In fact, there is an adverse affect: increased property taxes and insurance premiums, forcing people out of their homes. Something must be done to grandfather in the indigenous people who have been fixtures in this community.

    Reply
  • February 11, 2019 at 7:12 pm
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    And let’s decide not to call it “gentrification,” which makes it sound like good folks are simply taking the place of not-so-good folks. It’s displacement.

    Reply
    • February 13, 2019 at 11:57 am
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      TADA !! YOU NAILED IT ! and many will sell out their city and people and follow a
      pied piper who Beguiles politicians,,, Because there special color is “green”.
      Natural Cultural Progression with time is what works, but when others come along
      with charlatan illusions they scheme with their schemes to get your family stuff and
      send you packing and then sell it under another scheme allowed by politicians with lots
      of word schemes and before you know it, Your under a bridge covered with a refrigerator
      box.

      Reply
  • February 12, 2019 at 2:02 pm
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    Bro.Jeff ” 504″ Thomas, your assessment & critique on the Gentrification impacting New Orleans is extremely well researched & articulated ! From my perspective many of the new arrivals are primarily interested in gobbling up the existing housings is because when compared to housing cost are fairly inexpensive comparing the housing markets these new comers came from cities where the housing cost are much more expensive! Thus displaced many Black Families, who are really the cultural creators…we are the driving engines of New Orleans cultural scene! Our cultural contributions is reason why people come from the four corners of the earth to observe, participate in this unique experience. Which does exist any where else in the country! When you travel around the country you see different cities trying to duplicate aspects of New Orleans African based cultural contributions to this city!!!

    Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 10:16 am
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    New Orleans the De Facto “Sharecropper”?

    LBRC- New Orleans, majority Black, is a 2019 Louisiana Sharecropper! Tax Base? 

    1. What is a Sharecropper? https://www​.vocabulary.com/- A sharecropper is a tenant farmer (Citizen), someone who works land that’s rented from its owner. The word sharecropper, an American invention from the 1880s, comes from the fact that these farmers would share their crops in return for the use of the land./end/ *Addendum- The above aforementioned is a “Politically Correct” and “Sanitized” version of one of the most despicable and racist Southern Practices ever perpetuated on newly freed Black enslaved peoples! We know the story and are obligated to tell real stories and pass them on thru generations, especially to miseducated Black Youth!

    2. “Keep this Real”. The Black NOLA Political Class controls very little and is willing to do even less! Their betrayals with respect to the indigenous Black population, NOLA’s so- called Bourgeois Class and “Old Heads” have “Trickled Down” everything except results! If what they deliver was a smell test, a Skunk would complain and flee!!!

    3. The Case as Sharecropping? NOLA’s schools are funded via mills and MFP Tax Dollars. De Facto? Who administers and controls tax dollars? What is the “Product” aka results?

    a. There are over 26k so- called “Opportunity Youth” in NOLA and growing? Who are these adolescents/teenagers, 99.999% Black! Opportunity Youth are the precipitate of the NOLA RSD. What is the RSD/Recovery School Dist.? The RSD was formed during Hurricane Katrina while hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes. The RSD fired over 7000 Black Teachers, Support Staff en masse and replaced them with TFA/Teach For America primarily. Since, the RSD amended school passing standards and turned students into commodities aka “Experimental Corporate Pawns” aka so- called Stakeholders! So- called “Big Negro Legislators” served as ‘Massa’s “Tips of Spears”  

    b. Newly elected Mayor Cantrell says- “Hold up, wait a minute”! What happened to our lost “Penny”? Why is it ‘Dat we only receive 7% of 100% of what we we generate? Parishes adjacent, contiguous, incongruous with Orleans are the beneficiaries of Tax Dollars generated in “Majority Black” Orleans? yada…, 

    4. Majority Black New Orleans is a 2019 De Facto Neo “Share Cropper”!

    a. The Tourist Industry is flush with cash! Who Benefits? Is it the underpaid Service Industry indigenous population? Now LOL! Who controls the Blue Ribbon Boards and Commissions? 

    b. Everybody ‘luvs The Saints Team! Who controls The SuperDome Commission? It’s Chair is from which Parish? Hint, hint- Was Tim Coulon? 

    5. Drive around NOLA. Where do you see resources invested? Hint? Stevie Wonder couldn’t believe ‘Dat in 2019, all these Negro Politicos deliver what return on Taxes? 

    6. In 2019, NOLA is an 1800’s version of “Sharecropping 2.0”! 

    a. Black Sharecroppers worked the land, no less De Facto Slaves. What’s different in 2019?

    b. Sharecroppers invested labor and time and were  accessed loans and fees plus ‘Massa’s  “Miscellaneous” concocted fees. What’s different in 2019?

    c. NOLA’s infrastructure is crumbling as fast as a “Slave Hut” after the KKK heard an uppity Negro lived there!

    7. This is not “GasLighting” NOLA! You are a 2019 Sharecropper!!! Respectfully, your Negro Politicos are proven overseers and this is what you elect! Hotep aka Peace Out…

    Reply
  • March 25, 2019 at 11:02 am
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    LBRC- Did you miss “Natural Selection” in High School? The “De Facto” 2019 Jim Crow Era? The Skinny?

    1. “Natural Selection”, despicable education outcomes in Prison Pipeline Schools, 13th Amendment Prison Slaves and yada…?

    a. Reproduction is Sexual and Asexual! Males and Females generally produce sexually. The roles of males and females are as distinct as their sexes in The Animal Kingdom.  3rd Grade Science says? Natural Selection- “It’s The Decider” and “Final Arbiter” about Gene Polls ‘Dat will survive! 

    b. “Natural Selection” chooses the best DNA, Darwin, worthy of survival! Who’s more fit?

    2. In 2019, “Education is Paramount”! In this “Highly Technical Age”- Shucking, Jiving and The Raw Hustle is as outdated as Wooden Catapults! Mothers raising boys minus the input of males, mean what to Natural Selection (Anecdotally, always exceptions)? Are Thieves, Burglars, Robbers, Murderers and your common criminals defying Natural Selection Processes? Can they reproduce “Asexually”? In prison?

    3. The Dominant Society has control of the penal system, initially to end! Darwin talked about “The Stupidity of Species” while examining “Mating Practices”! He said, “Natural Selection” selects out for “Stupid” even via DNA. He mentioned a Species called the “F#*^tard. This Species rolled down mountains and slammed into the Genitalia of male mates, eventually becoming extinct.- 

    a. A term for Darwin’s theory, which is a nice way of saying, that a Dutch Fokken was too stupid to live. 

    1. The main process behind evolution, as stated by Charles Darwin. also known as “Survival of the Fittest”. Those with superior traits are likely to pass their genes to the next generation. 

    b.. This is how life on Earth has progressed for eons, driven by instincts encoded into the DNA of all living things. 

    4. In Racist, Jim Crow Societies, man seeks to intervene via “Unnatural Selection” in defiance of natural DNA Encoding. Despite these unnatural procedures and complicit “institutions”, Black Achievement seemingly invisible in Dominant Culture and mainstream media has not been vanquished. Despite disparities in households monetary/other, Institutional Racism, Genocide and on, a significant population of Blacks “Still Rise”- not your common thieves, murderers, burglars or Criminal Class, no matter perception media fosters! Despite police slaughters in 2019, “All” are not conquered yet!

    5. Scientist commonly embrace rational aspects of Natural Selection data driven.

    6. A Spiritual Twist?

    a. “A Fool and his money shall soon part”!/Proverbs. A Fool and his life as well! Who regards Prison Life as living? A 13th Amendment Slave?

    b. Who justifies stealing, murdering, ignorance, Poor Educations? A Fool? Those unwilling to learn despises those who can and do? Hint: Legitimate access to survive portends sustainability! In a system designed to destroy you, play into it? Stupid DNA?

    7. Extrapolation: a. Natural Selection will “Select Out for Fools” via DNA b. The 13th Amendment, Racism and The Prison Industrial Complex will “Separate Out” for Thieves, Murderers, indecency, Common Criminals (Unfortunately, some of whom are innocent)! Scientifically/Spiritually, Fools grow into extinct! Fools move to extinction via  unnatural interventions too! Enlightened Blacks must avoid Fools, lest their DNA become extinct! Grandma- “There is a lid for every pot”! Some lids are warped! Choose well! Peace…

    Reply
  • June 1, 2019 at 7:46 am
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    What is “Black Bottom”?

    LBRC- NOLA is on The Way to Detroit’s “Black Bottom”! Black Bottom? How did you get there NOLA? Go here>>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iSVgOCiT93Y

    1. The Chrysler Freeway did to “Black Detroit Wall Street” what civilian and police bombs did to “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa. Note: The so- called “Native American” Racist Community, a mixed breed of Caucasion, led the charge. (Damaged Negroes to this day proudly proclaim “their” ancestry! Go figure).

    2. In NOLA, the I- 10 Freeway again demonstrated this Racist Paradigm. How does this happen in a majority Negro City with Negro Politicians manning critical positions? 1 Word- The Negro Politico ‘Stuntin “Coon”! In 2019, Past is Present! 

    3. Think The NOLA “ENTERGY MONOPLY” again! How in the Dickens does ENTERGY have more clout than voters and get 11%? How did “The Circle Food Store”, once in a chain of “NOLA’s Black Entrepaneur Class”, get handed on a platter for pennies on the dollar without Negro Politicos knowing? Advertised!!! Councilperson is?  Further- 

    a. What could have been done and what  “Urban Funding” and support could’ve been invoked to save this history? Where was the effort by your Political Cons? Now think Pyrtania uptown! NOLA Negro voters are not only “Echo Chambers” for outside moneyed interest, but they vote against their best interest no less than #45’s Racist Base, less than 45%, but control the “Senate” and De Facto your Cowardly Lion and easily intimated “House”! All rhetoric “No” action! “Saber Rattling” Infinitum! 

    b. How disrespectful, clueless and void of Black Economic History sell- out Negro Politicos, totally unresponsive to those who elected them? When have you seen these shams touring the district accessing needs? You get Facebook and worthless emails aka “Propaganda”, plus Negro Echo Chambers who get off on feeling important because “Coons” return their calls, sometimes, to stroke their poor self esteem!

    4. How does a 40% Black Youth unemployment rate persist (No Legacy Funding to Address!) in a city where “Negro” profits are akin to Sharecroppers? chief tells NOE to wait while the Caucasion Controlled Business Dist. and Racist French Quarter (Killed Levon and arrest children of Negro Police Officers) is flush with protection! When the next Katrina hits? What you’ll get from Politicos are Football Coma Analogies! “Where’s The Beef” for the unemployed, who you know lack funds to eventually return, so poorly educated, their chances of surviving outside of ‘Ignant NOLA is zero to under? More than likely under a bridge! 

    5. Just visit NOLA and look! Negro Politicos bend over for Filthy Lucre, then brag about membership to “Majority Caucasion Control Groupings” and so- called Professional Interest! This impresses the ‘Simps!

    6. Like Detroit, Chicago and nearly every Negro Majority population, control is Filthy Lucre! Your politicos sell you out and they worship entities “Gentrify” where Negroes once thrived! Negro politicos “control” Zoning! Voting/non voting ‘Simps are clueless!  

    7. Here’s the “Ultimate” test-

    a. Once most Negro Politicos assume office? Does where Negroes live thrive or diminish? NOE in NOLA once thrived! What happened when Negro Coons took charge? They tax, Proposition (Single Ballot Issue) for The Zoo and City Park Golf Ranges plus assume debts and “Fees” (Taxpayer Funds)! Negroes  are pounded harder than ever with fees, less population! Lots of cages at the Zoo, maybe…? 

    b. How is stupidity fixed? Gifted young “Blacks” are on the horizon! It’ll take some time!

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 8:31 am
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    Who is “Determining” What’s Gold in NOLA?

    LBRC- Reading The Advocate, Wed. July 3/ (Anderson and Vargas), Goes to The Heart of Why NOE and the NOLA Citywide Majority Population has “NO” Advocate/Pun intended, for their “Golden” Existance!!! 

    Re: Writers Vargas and Anderson are “Advocating”, but for Who and What? 

    1. Your Government and so- called NOLA Mainstream Media is Upside Down! How so? Who is challenging this? Where is the Push Back, especially Politicos who control “Your” “Tax Dollars” and monies generated via “Fees”? 

    a. NOE, New Orleans East, is New Orleans’ “Largest” Land Mass. It could exist on its own as a “Major” Louisiana City! Why do “Elected” Representatives sit on their duff and allow New Orleans Advocate writers, to “Designate” what’s “Golden” in NOLA? 

    b. NOE hardly gets returns on its “Decades” of investments in “Tax Dollars” and “Fees”? When asked on WBOK Radio about “Sub Stations” commensurate with The NOE Land Mass, Chief said, “I wish I had the resources” aka “WAIT”! Whose advocating for NOE? Is this all about “Brainless Voting” in NOE? We just ‘Sayin…, WTF aka Who’s Thinking For…?

    2. To the heart of the (C)rap? Citizen Tax Payers are “Standing Tax Payers”, non “Transient”! Lots of “Foreign Dialets” manning Quarter Profits! #45 says this is a “Warped” Paridigm, right? Citizens paved “Streets” and gifted “Amendities” to the French Quarters, including “Buck Dancers, Taps, and 2nd Lines! Track and Cease Citizen Taxes to any French Quarter business or infrastructures to include but not limited to streets, police, garbage Subsidity, ad valorem taxes and yada…! Let’s see autonomy with respect to extricating “Public Dollars” entirely from The Quarter!

    a. Citizen dupes are so accustomed to “Brainlessly” accepting “Ruling Minority Business Narratives”, they never or hardly ever reject hidden “Agendas driving non “Critical Thinkers” (Most not all, as always a Standing 7- 10% are never Silent and “Consistently Challenge “The Status Quo” and their “Lemmings)! Most sit on their duffs and say nothing “Publically”, especially your Politicos! 

    b. What happens when the “Minority Ruling Moneyed Class” in NOLA controls and set priorities, as effective as “Propaganda”, Lemmings and their ilk follow and promote issues against their own! Who doesn’t promote their own interest other than one who is “Void” of “Self Worth”! Sounds familiar? Who “Hates” their own worth? “Are You Gold”? Advocate writers say, “The French Quarter” is where the “Gold” is? Read it “You” decide!

    3. Where is the “Push Back” from those claiming to “Represent” NOE interest, who determine how “Measures” of “Public Dollars” are spent and where? 

    4. An “Alternative” Newsflash?

    a. Sure, The Quarter assesses additional fees for garbage and Police, however- These amount to “Subsidizes” with respect to “Public Dollar” input! Take Garbage- They get “more” pick ups, garbage generated by for “Profit Businesses”! They have additional resources via “Profits”! Which “Population” generates the “Profits” and “Control” who gets in The Quarter to do business? Major Riley, any questions? 

    5. Thought Experiment?  Tire Companies are “For Profit” and generate the same? 

    a. Why are citizens compelled to pay an “Additional” fee to “Dispose of” what Tire Companies Generated “For Profit”? Toxic Rubber Products infused with poison! WTF, Whose the fool? Thank your Politicos! “You” wonder why they ignore you and rip off your “Tax” Dollars like bullies rip off lunch money on Elementary School Yards? 

    b. The “TAPFEODAF” paridigm? Throw a party for ’em or declare a Festival! They just can’t wait to “Buck Dance”, right? This is how “They” cope, right? Majority NOLA is where the Gold is mined, just like De Beers generated Diamonds in South Africa while  the indigenous population dwelled in “Shanties”! You are “African”- American NOE! Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli! 
    Solution? “Advocate” for “You”!!!
    Peace Out…

    Reply
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  • July 16, 2019 at 4:53 pm
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    New Orleans culture is a mixture of influences from all the people that have settled it. It’s not a black culture and blacks are not it’s culture creators, but are culture contributors just as the whites that have settled the area since 1718 and beyond. Without the white element, New Orleans culture wouldn’t exist as it does as it’s a mixed, multicultural culture. It’s not a black culture.

    Whites brought Mardi Gras and it’s parades, king cakes and masquerade balls, distinct architecture, drinking culture, the Fleur de lis symbol we all flaunt, the crawfish boils we attend, several different food dishes and culinary influences, the very Catholicism that the Saints football team took their name from and that of which the celebration of Mardi Gras was spawned from and much more. And it was not just the whites of French and Spanish ancestry in colonial Louisiana also, but later waves of other whites such as incoming southerners at the beginning of US statehood, German, Irish and Italian immigrants during the 1800’s. I mean we wouldn’t have muffulettas, baked macaroni and stuffed peppers without the Italians. Two brothers of Cajun ancestry (Martin brothers) invented the Poboy! The Irish even impacted the New Orleans dialect…earl for oil, berl for boil etc…yeah, that’s from the Irish.

    Remember, New Orleans was still majority white before 1980 and it’s only been recent that an incoming wave of blacks from outside of greater New Orleans combined with the small 31% black population of the city replaced most of the local whites who fled to the suburbs to create a majority black city, since 1980. So the white cultural influence in New Orleans culture is present because of this history and is great, do not discount it because local whites have dwindled to small numbers, mainly uptown, mid city and Lakeview.

    New Orleans is always changing and evolving. There were no poboys and muffulettas or jazz and second lines in 1750. New Orleans is always evolving and will continue to do so with the new white residents moving into the city, they will add to the culture just as those before them, white or black. New Orleans culture is multicultural, it’s not white or black. It’s a mixture and belongs to all in the greater New Orleans area, including its suburbs. The culture of New Orleans and it’s suburbs has not finished evolving and will continue no matter how bad some want to freeze it in time.

    Reply

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by Love Dr. Rob

Will you become stuck with stupid?

She started off saying she didn’t know how much longer she could keep doing this. At the same time, she also said she did not want to start over. ”How many times does a woman have to keep starting over before a man gets it right”? She asked. And I replied she doesn’t have to start over at all, she can stay stuck with stupid. Is anyone in your relationship stuck with stupid?

We all have things we need and want in and from a relationship. The problem is we believe we are supposed to be in a relationship with someone before we know if they can give it to us. That’s like hiring somebody for a job before you know if they are even qualified for the position. Few of us if any complete the interview process before saying you’re hired. 

As this happens in so many cases you end up with someone who just can’t get right. It doesn’t matter how many times you show them, they just don’t get it. Here you keep investing time and energy into training and retraining and they still don’t get it. Despite all your efforts, they seem incapable of learning what you need from them, yet you refuse to let them go. So they have no incentive to learn it because they still have the position and all the benefits that come with it. 

Relationships Require Maturity

Hopefully, a light bulb just went off, but just in case you missed it. If a man or woman is receiving everything they want without having to give anything in return, most will never give anything. When you find yourself in this situation you have to make a decision. Do I continue to invest in my time and my love in someone who can’t give me what I need? Or do I cut my losses and start over?

In most cases, it feels like a lose-lose situation. At least you know what you have in them, and if you leave the next one might be worse. But the most important question you can ask yourself is how long can you stay without getting what you need?  Because now neither one of you is making sure your needs are met. 

Don’t be Stuck with Stupid

Now I’m not telling you that you should leave. If you like it, I love it. For some people, it is better to be unhappy in a relationship than be happy alone. Remember some times even a good person can be unable to love you, even though you love the hell out of them. Once you realize that it is up to you, you have to choose your happiness. If you choose to stay in a relationship where you’re not getting what you need, there will be a day when someone will see y’all together and say look they are still with stupid and you won’t be able to tell which one of you they are talking about

How to do it

by Troy Henry

BACKGROUND

Upon arrival in America, Black Americans were enslaved for several hundred years.  And the impact of this systematic and institutional practice still has a multi-generational impact on many Black Americans today.  The enslavement and de-humanization of the Africans brought to America for economic and white lifestyle purposes is truly the original sin of this country.  Our government made numerous promises of reparation (40 acres and a mule). Yet real efforts to compensate African Americans have been paltry to non-existent.  Black communities today continue to reflect inhumane conditions that are the repercussion of approximately 400 years of pain and suffering. 

A nation of people does not just snap out of this type of institutional racism.  It takes time and proactive efforts to truly attempt to right the wrongs of this sin.  Historically, oppressors have compensated their victims.  The people of Germany compensated the Jews for the Holocaust.  America compensated the Japanese people as a result of the WWII internment.  However, the White American community has never fully addressed the most heinous of all punishments inflicted on a people that are largely responsible for building this great country.

Reparations For Slavery

PERSPECTIVES

There has been much written recently about the need for reparations for Black Americans, and most of these articles have been thoughtful and “on point”. I would like for you to reference several outstanding articles that prompted me to write this body of work.  Each has a unique perspective and discussion regarding the need and benefits of reparations.

The link below is a CNBC article profiling the need and growing support for reparations.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/slavery-reparations-cost-us-government-10-to-12-trillion.html

The link below provides the perspective of the wealthiest Black American (Robert Smith Jr) regarding reparations.

The link below  gives you the perspective of one of America’s great entrepreneurs (Bob Johnson) regarding reparations.

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/35888-black-billionaire-johnson-every-black-american-should-get-a-350k-reparations-check#disqus_thread

The article below attempts to establish the value necessary to properly compensate Black Americans reparations.

While each of these articles and many more do an outstanding job of justifying the necessity for Black American reparations, none of them fully address the high-level implementation of such a program.  The remainder of this article will discuss a practical approach to funding the program and the benefits associated with it.

RELATED: WE NEED MORE THAN SYMBOLIC CHANGE

FUNDING SOURCE

Today, the current US stock market including NYSE, NASDAQ and OTC markets have a value of approximately $37 Trillion.  This figure captures the current market value for all publicly traded enterprises.  The Federal Government has approximately $300T in assets under management in the form of property and other assets.  While it is impossible to trace each asset and company to the act of slavery or any derivative activities, many of these enterprises (public and private) were directly or indirectly the beneficiaries of this heinous systemic sin of slavery.

My approach for reparations for each individual Black American, would target any individual with a gross income of $500,000 annual income or less based on your most recent tax return.  Neither I (small business owner), Rob Smith (Vista Equity CEO), LeBron James (NBA great) or many others Black Americans would participate in this program, because they have successfully and permanently overcome the scars of slavery.  Also, individuals who immigrated to the US after 1990 would also be excluded from the program even though their ancestors may have experienced slavery, it was not in the USA and therefore would not qualify.  Based on the above qualifiers approximately 5 million out of the 45 million Black Americans would not qualify.  Based on the numbers above, a reparations payment of $10Trillion would pay to create a one-time payment of $250,000 to every Black American born before 1/1/2021 or whatever date is appropriate.

Reparations Now or No?

Is Money Available?

So how do we generate $10T without crippling the entire US economy?   Answer: Every publicly traded company would pay a 15% one-time tax on the market value of their company.  Since most companies would not have that amount of funds on hand, its payment could be made in the form of additional shares of contributed stock to the fund.  While this would cause an immediate dilution of share value, it does not put any company at a competitive disadvantage since their competitor would be subject to the exact same tax and repercussions.  As a result, over time the market will respond to this tax much like it has done to the Corona Virus.  This would generate approximately $6T for the reparations fund.

The 2nd source of funds would be the federal government.  The Federal government has the ability to issue one-time payment funds like what was done for the Corona Virus.  In addition, the federal government has un-used and under-utilized property that could be contributed to the reparations fund.  While some of this land may be less desirable, it would represent value to the fund and could be monetized if necessary.  This federal contribution would represent an approximately $4T contribution to the fund.

The reparations funds would be managed on the behalf of the Black American recipients by 10 Black-owned securities firms ($1T each), thereby making them significant players in the financial community with the power and ability to train future financial leaders of America.  The financial management firms would commit to a minimum 6% annual rate of return to remain in the program.

PARTICIPATION

Each of the 40 Million Black American qualified recipients would have the option to take the cash as a non-taxable lump sum of money or as a cash dividend (non-taxable) from the fund.  Any recipient of the funds must agree not to receive any other federal government subsidies such as: food stamps, Section 8 housing voucher, etc.  Also, this would assist the federal government in reducing its entitlements budget.  For Black Americans stuck in the entitlement system, these funds represent access to self-sufficiency and self-determination.

The impact on the Black community would be immediate and extremely positive.  Allow me to give you an example of the fund’s effect.

Example 1:

Assumption: family of 4, husband and wife with 2 kids (3 & 5years old)

Recipient qualifies for $250,000 times 4 family members equals $1M

Recipient chooses to leave the funds with the fund manager and receives a 6% annual dividend equal to $60,000.

In addition to their normal income, the family has $60K non-taxable income to pay for a better school, home, or new business

Example 2

Assumption:  Single individual (age 25)

Recipient qualifies for $250,000

Recipient chooses to payoff $50,000 in debt and purchases a home without a mortgage for $200,000.

The recipient can now continue their life debt free.

Use of the proceeds can have a myriad of potential positive and negative examples, One essential element to this program will be that anyone choosing to take their funds out of the program must enroll in a financial management course to aid them in the best course of action for using these funds. Only after a person successfully completes the course will funds be distributed.

BENEFITS of REPARATIONS

There are a significant number of benefits to this reparation program that can transform our country and attempt to make up for the nations original sin.  The US budget would be less burdened with entitlement programs due to the program, thereby allowing the government to increase funding for roads, public education, and other priorities.  America would be a more educated nation since more and better educational opportunities will emerge.  There will be more innovation due to an increase in entrepreneurship because lack of capital cripples many small businesses.  Crime will be reduced since the economic conditions for many of our fellow Black Americans will have improved significantly. 

SUMMARY

Reparations will benefit all of America and truly compensate our most deserving citizens.  Also, reparations will diminish numerous social ills that plague portions of America today.  Most Importantly, reparations will fairly compensate Black Americas while evenly distributing this one-time economic pain.  This reparation program will help balance our nation’s budget.  Reparations will begin to truly level the playing field for all Americans.

by Kenneth Cooper

Governor and Mayor Differ on best practices

Thursday 9/10

Governor John Bel Edwards has just concluded an unnecessary and premature press conference where he announced that the state will be moving to Phase 3 on Friday. When pressed for details on how that would be implemented, the governor offers no relevant response. Oh I don’t have any details, he basically says. I’m just here to throw the mayor of New Orleans under the bus. Details, he says, will be available tomorrow.

Later that same day, Mayor Cantrell steps to the podium to address a Phase 3 hungry press and population. She does so aware businesses are failing, and citizens are becoming restless. Despite the governor’s vaguely announced path forward, there’s hope that this time the Mayor won’t have the city lag behind in moving from one phase to the next. There’s hope that this time the city and state will proceed in lock-step. Yet, as the mayor begins to speak into the microphone, she deflects.

Mayor Cantrell Says “Phase Twooo!”

A huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward for Orleans Parish schools is announced. Pre-K – 4th grade students are returning to in-person classes. Boom! Hallelujah! Drop the confetti. Hand out the party hats. DJ, cue the Casanova. Waiter, pass the drinks around.  Not so fast. This huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward is met with a total of zero questions. No follow ups on when will middle school and high school students return to in person classes, no questions on any protocols put in place, no questions on the data that led to this decision, nothing. Instead, the press asks the mayor a different question: Is New Orleans moving to Phase 3 or what? Answer: No.

RELATED: Should We Really Be Sending Our Kids to School

Mayor Cantrell is not happy

New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. The city won’t consider moving out of Phase 2 until there’s more information from the governor. Next question: Well what about high school football then? The LHSSA says we can go hut-hut, so will the lights be turned on at Pan-Am and Tad Gormley stadiums? Shall we polish up the pig skin? Exasperated, the mayor calls a timeout. Again, she says, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. We will remain in Phase 2. Phase 2 means Phase 2 and all the restrictions that fall under it (under Phase 2 there are no contact sports in Orleans Parish. This is widely understood).  

It was then that Travers Mackel, famed local reporter, realizes that he hasn’t obtained his quota of gotcha quotes. He feigns confusion. So to be clear, he says, yes or no, are we not playing football in Orleans Parish? The mayor turns ten shades of purple, steps closer to the mic, then address him directly. Afterwards, the cleanup crew arrives as the place is emptying. They only have one question for Mr. Mackel, what do you want us to do with your old a$$hole?

Friday 9/11

The knives come out. They come out in the form of a resolution. Hey, if Orleans Parish won’t provide high school athletes with a space to run around, tackle each other, exchange spit, and sweat, while possibly exposing themselves to a contagious and potentially deadly virus, then Jefferson Parish sure will. Later, Mayor Cantrell stands at the podium again, fresh from crawling under one bus only to find herself thrown under another. First question: Mayor Cantrell, this resolution to allow Orleans Parish schools to play football in Jefferson Parish, what are you going to do about it? Obvious answer: prayer. The mayor restrains all fury and provides a proper southern response: for those schools that decide to go that route, God bless’em.

St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette was an unstoppable force against John Curtis

The resolution was a clear slap in the face, a move to undermine the mayor while allowing Jefferson Parish to collect some extra side money via rental fees the schools will have to pay to use the facilities.

An addendum: Is the mayor being overly cautious? Probably. Do we need her to be? Yes. New Orleans is different from other cities or parishes in the state. There’s nobody sitting around talking about, Man I can’t wait to book my next flight to Ruston or Alexandria. But for New Orleans, there are lots of tourists just waiting to invade the Quarter, the city’s progression from one phase to the next being the determining factor whether their tickets get booked or not. And with that comes more exposure to the Coronavirus, and potentially more setbacks for business, schools, and our general way of life. So the mayor’s like, Pardon me if I’m not in a rush to put our progress in jeopardy. But if you run a business you don’t want to hear that.

You’re dying out here. There’s only so many employees you can lay off or fire before you have to put up the going out of business sign. It’s a tightrope, an unprecedented one we’re all walking. Stay tuned for the next update. Until then, just so you know, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet, and Phase 2 means Phase 2. Get it? No more questions asked.  

From our Friends at Safety.com

by Mary Blowers

Teens, we know you might be struggling during this pandemic. Your social lives and your education have been upended, and we know that coping with those changes can be difficult. If you’re staying up to date on COVID-19 news, you know that certain groups are more at risk during this pandemic than others. You may not personally be high risk, but you likely know or love someone who is over the age of 60 and/or has preexisting conditions.  Surveys have shown that many adolescents have rising anxiety over the health of your family members, which can make any of your normal stressors even worse. 

In this strange time of social distancing, your anxiety is at an all time high, while your level of support may be at an all time low. We know you are stuck at home without your usual social groups and routines, so we want to offer some non-traditional support options so that you and your family can feel safe from the outside world. Luckily, there are considerable online resources on everything from home security to emotional support to addiction management that can help you to feel more at ease. Take a look at the list of mental health resources that we’ve compiled below, and then keep scrolling for support on issues related to cyberbullying, substance abuse, smartphone addiction, and more.

Mental health resources

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has become so wide-spread that you likely know someone who has been a victim – maybe you personally have had to face those online attacks. Unfortunately, now that everyone is online so much more, there may be even more instances of cyberbullying. Dr. Sameer Hinduja said that certain groups may be more prone to fall victim to online bullying during this pandemic: “It is also very possible that xenophobic or racist cyberbullying may go up,” she said, referencing parent complaints that their Asian children are being targeted. With this increased potential for harassment and without teachers and school staff to intervene, you may need to take advantage of online resources to keep your friends and yourself safe from cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying resources

Substance Abuse Addiction

Among teens, abusing substances as a way to cope with your isolation and anxiety is not uncommon. Since there are no legal recreational substances for teenagers, those who are utilizing illicit substances are doing it in secret, which is even more dangerous. Due to your age, you are already at a higher risk for mental illness and depression, and social isolation and pandemic worries make those concerns even worse. It’s understandable that you are looking for distraction or comfort during this time, but misused substances pose serious dangers to your health. If you or a friend have found yourself in this situation, please seek out one of these resources.

Substance abuse resources

Smartphone and Device Addiction

Drugs and alcohol are the first things that come to mind when you think of addiction, but your phones and devices can also be extremely habit-forming. As you find yourself at home and alone more now than ever, you are likely to become even more wrapped up in your phones and devices. While it may seem like a harmless outlet, there is actually considerable evidence that smartphone addiction and social media are negatively affecting mental health, making device-addicted teens more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as sleeplessness and impulsive behavior. In fact, between the years of between 2011 and 2015, there was a spike of major depressive episodes among teens increasing by 50 percent within those few years. San Diego State University Professor Jean Twenge says that smartphone use has replaced time that teens would normally spend socializing in person or sleeping. 

While you are stuck at home, you are likely increasing your screen time, and since school is remote and online for many of you, you may find yourself using devices over 7 hours a day. Teens are becoming hyper-connected to their devices even though many realize that they are online too often. Smartphone and device addiction can cause chemical disruptions in the brain, meaning that this type of addiction could be associated with damaged cognitive and emotional processing. If you or your friends are finding it impossible to disconnect, look into the resources below.

Smartphone addiction resources

RELATED : BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER THE SHUTDOWN

Social Distance Activities

Alright, we’ve talked about how this pandemic is causing increases in mental health issues, cyberbullying and addictions, but now we want to share some alternative outlets to keep your mind off all the stressors. Exercise can be a major help when it comes to staying physically and mentally healthy. In fact, research suggests that elevated levels of aerobic activity and strength training can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Of course, exercising is more difficult to do in isolation with limited equipment, so you may need some additional resources to help you get started. If workout programs aren’t your favorite pastime, check out our list of other game and activity resources below.

Work-out resources

Games or activity resources

RELATED: THE WHINY LITTLE RICH KIDS

Meditation and Disconnecting

In addition to physical activity, meditation and self-reflection can be essential for keeping your mind healthy. The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health says that studies have investigated meditation benefits for different conditions. Taking time to meditate may be exactly what you need to disconnect from social media and find peace in your mind and home. If you are interested in meditation, but don’t know where to start, we have a list of resources to help you get started.

Meditation resources

Conclusion

There are a myriad of mental and emotional obstacles that you as teenagers must navigate in near isolation during the pandemic. You may feel lonely without your usual school and social environments, which can make it especially difficult to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Since you are spending more time online than ever, you are at greater risk of cyberbullying and developing smartphone addiction. You may also be more sedentary than usual, not exercising or taking care of your physical health. Luckily, there are online resources, apps, communities and people out there that can help. Use our safety guide and reference links above to find the specific support you need, and most importantly, please remember that you are not alone in your struggles with the pandemic.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SAFETY.COM

STFU: If You Don’t Answer the Census

by CC Campbell Rock

It’s that time again. Once in a decade, U.S. residents are asked to answer the Census. It’s common knowledge, particularly in the African-American community, that there is a matrix of fear about answering the federal head count. In 2020, however red flags are popping up that indicate it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted and answer the Census.

One red flag was last week’s ruling by a federal judge that put a temporary halt to the Trump Administration’s effort to end the Census count prematurely on September 30, instead of October 31, 2020.

 U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California issued the restraining order in favor of challengers led by the National Urban League, who filed an emergency request as part of a federal lawsuit. The order is expected to remain in effect until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17 for the plaintiffs’ request for a court order that would require counting to continue through the end of October.

This is not the first time the Trump Administration tried to finagle with the Census count. Last July, a New York judge permanently blocked Trump’s effort to target immigrants by putting a citizenship question on the Census form.

Trump Effect

RELATED: How the President is Suppressing the 2020 Census

It is abundantly clear, that Trump’s maneuvers are designed to stop the flow of federal funding to the states, which fund programs that help all of us.

Billions of federal dollars are allocated each year for programs and services based on Census-derived .  Here are a few:

Maternal and child health programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),WIC, Social Service Block Grant, Foster Care (Title IV-E),Head Start/Early Head Start, Federal Pell Grants. School Nutrition, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (LA-CHIP), Homeland Security , FEMA, Highway Planning & Construction, Crime Victim Assistance. Community Facilities Loans/Grants. Section 8 Housing Program, Special Education (IDEA funds), after school programs, classroom technology, free and reduced-price school lunches, affordable housing, etc.

Those critical programs get less funding when citizens are not counted. And police, firefighters, infrastructure improvements, and essential city services are also underfunded. Without proper funding, a city can’t increase the quality of life for its residents.

Additionally, redistricting is also based on Census data. Not answering the Census opens the door to structural racism in elective offices.

In Louisiana, legislators used Census data to  gerrymander state and federal districts to keep themselves in power and to suppress the vote of people of color. This is the primary reason why out of Louisiana’s six U.S. congressional seats only one is held by an African-American- New Orleans’ U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.

Related: Trump and Fake Facts About Black Unemployment

Effect on New Orleans

New Orleans lost one Congressional seat due to an under-count in the 2000 Census. East Baton Rouge Parish, which is predominately African-American, has been gerrymandered such that they can’t elect a person of color to represent them, even if they wanted to. Conservative Republicans dominate the Louisiana legislature because of the census under-count.

After assessing the current Census count in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Administration issued an Emergency Update. The city of New Orleans is behind in its Census Count. To date, only 56.6 percent of residents have answered the Census.

“This is an emergency now,” says Arthur Walton, the director of Intergovernmental Relations and chair of the Mayor’s Complete Count Committee, who explained that COVID-19 has made getting an accurate count difficult. “The city had a slate of cultural activities planned,” to inspire citizens to answer the Census but the events were cancelled in lieu of the state’s safer at home program that was designed to contain the virus.

The City of New Orleans’ NOLA Counts: Be in That Number Campaign enlisted the help of celebrities, elected officials, and others to encourage citizens to stand up and be counted including:

Watch these important videos

 Big Freedia

Demario Davis New Orleans Saints Linebacker

Oliver Thomas

Mayor Cantrell with Head Start Kids Census PSA

Elroy James

Mama Jamilah (Ashe’ Cultural Center)

ONLINE ACCESS

People are still going door to door as Census workers did in the past. But Walton, the “Census quarterback,” says “For the first time people can do the Census online using their home computers, cell phones, or house phones. It only takes 10 minutes to answer the nine-question form.

Regarding people’s aversion to answering the Census, Walton says, “The president is not going to have your address.” Records are sealed for 77 years. And Census workers take an oath not to disclose personal information.  “Amazon asks for more information than the Census,” he says jokingly.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph, his father and his mother, Mary, had to journey to Bethlehem to answer the Census. Joseph was going to his father’s house to be counted. “The Census is in the Bible, Luke, Chapter 2,”  Walton continues.

Most importantly, New Orleans needs an accurate count to receive its fair share. The feds will disperse $1.8 trillion to states based on Census data. Answering the Census is more important than ever. As a result of COVID-19, cities and states have had to spend money they didn’t anticipate. City budgets now have gaping holes with the possibility of layoffs in the near future.

Department of Labor Statistics

FUNDS DIRECTLY HELP LOCALS

“During this pandemic, we need every dollar we’re entitled to,” Walton affirms. Offering an example of how the feds distributes taxpayer dollars, Walton adds, “For the CARES ACT, if you were a city of 500,000 or more you received between $1.5 and $1.8 billion directly. If you aren’t, you’re getting your money from the state. In our case, the majority red legislature appropriated money to New Orleans.”

You know the importance of each one of us standing up and being counted. Census funds provide better streets and essential services. Your descendants benefit too. The Census documents your existence. This becomes a primary source of data for descendants who want to trace their roots and family tree. African-Americans can trace their ancestry back to at least 1890, when the first American Census was taken.

The Census is a tool for Blacks to assert their constitutional rights. Intentional under-counts continues to deny Black representation in public office, Answering Census in 2020 is the remedy.

The three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. The three-fifths clause remained in force until the post-Civil War 13th Amendment freed all enslaved people in the United States, the 14th amendment gave them full citizenship, and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote.

“I’m encouraging the community to share cell phones, tablets, and laptops with their neighbors, friends, and family members to help them fill out the Census,” Walton says. “You might be sitting on your couch right now and you can fill the Census out while you’re sitting there.  Do it now.”

by Love Dr. Rob

In the beginning neither one of them wanted anything. The agreement was it was just going to be sex nothing else. They both knew what they were signing up for from the start. I mean what could possibly go wrong?

Over time just sex turned into pillow talk. From simple conversation after to spending time and doing things together what was supposed to be casual sex had become something different. At least that was the case in one person’s eyes. For they were past the just sex – it’s looking more like a relationship. 

One day she asked the question, “what are we?” He replied, “we are friends”. She felt a way about that, because at that point that were doing way more than friend stuff. Time had past, and she thought they were growing into more. She was pissed to say the least. 

If It Ain’t His Fault, Then Whose is It?

The next thing she asked was, “when do you think it was going to be more”?  He simply answered, “you already know what it was.”  They ended up falling out, and let her tell it he played her. He had wasted her time and used her up. The truth is he hadn’t done anything wrong. 

The moral to the story is be real with yourself about what you want. Don’t settle for one thing knowing you want more. Or if you feel as though your needs and wants are changing, let the other person know. If they aren’t where you are, then it is up to you whether you stay or you leave. Just remember if that person is honest with you, they are no longer responsible for what you accept or expect. If you sign up for it and end up disappointed it ain’t his fault. 

We talked to a top doctor to get his strategies.

by Kelly Glass

Darrell Gray II, MD, MPH

Colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer in American men, and Black men have a more than 20 percent higher risk than white men. And there’s recently been a spike in colon cancer in young men. Fortunately, there is plenty all of us can do to try to prevent it. This is what gastroenterologist Darrell M. Gray II, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center does to reduce his risk.

Go easy on alcohol

When I’m at a social function, I carry a carbonated beverage with me. Alcohol, especially for men, is linked with a higher risk of colon cancer. People who have two drinks a day or more raise their risk as much as one and a half times that of people who don’t drink at all. The occasional glass of red wine is enough for me.

Watch the red meat

I generally aim to avoid red meat, since it’s been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. While, if we’re being honest, nothing exactly matches the taste and texture of a nice steak, a fresh, well-seasoned, cooked-just-right piece of fish takes up as much space on the plate and can be just as, if not more, satisfying to me.

Get moving to reduce colon cancer risk

Between meetings, procedures, patients, and research, you might catch me doing pushups in my office. Maintaining a consistent workout routine is challenging with my schedule, but I fit it in between appointments or by cycling or walking with my wife and three kids. Even adding moderate activity to a sedentary life can reduce colon-cancer risk by up to 24 percent.

Know your family history

I have a friend who says that “family secrets kill families.” Find out about your family’s medical history. With colorectal cancer, knowing if someone had it—and when—can change when you should get screened. Usually we recommend starting at age 45. But if an immediate family member was diagnosed, you might need a colonoscopy at age 40 or earlier.

Manage your stress

Stress can make everything else I do harder. So when I’m moving through my many commitments, I’m also focusing on my breathing. If stress arises, I acknowledge the cause and then I slowly and thoughtfully inhale and exhale. It helps me recenter. I’ve seen stress cause people to smoke, drink alcohol, eat excessively, or be sedentary—and all those things can increase the risk of colon cancer.

A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Men’s Health, with the title “Doctor’s Guide to Colon Cancer.”

Coping with mixed feelings about returning to school.

Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

by Elissa R. Gross, Psy.D.

Kids have mixed feelings about returning to school this fall; both excited and apprehensive. While most look forward to seeing their friends, being less “cooped up” and enjoying more social interaction, many also feel scared, nervous and reluctant. And it’s important for parents to be aware of this.

There is still so much uncertainty surrounding what to expect with changing schedules, including rotating in and out of school and having a “hybrid” of in-person classes and online work.  For many, returning to school may be especially hard after getting comfortable being at home. Others worry about having to wear masks all day and being physically distanced from friends and teachers.

In order to best help our kids and teens prepare for the return to the classroom, we must first understand both our own and our children’s feelings about the transition back to school.  With this awareness, we as parents can do several things to support our kids during this difficult time.

The following are some recommendations to help parents understand and better cope with their own feelings about their children’s return to school. 

1. Accept that there is no “right” answer.

2. Acknowledge that we cannot control what will happen once our kids go back to school.

3. Some of the worries children and teens may be experiencing:

4. Once parents understand their own, and their children’s, concerns about returning to school this fall, the following are some ways that parents can support their kids and teens with the transition:

BLACK AMERICANS’ KICK THE 21ST CENTURY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT INTO HIGH GEAR

by CC Campbell-Rock


Pictured: (Standing l. to r.) Matthew Ahmann, Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; Rabbi Joachim Prinz; John Lewis, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Protestant minister Eugene Carson Blake; Floyd McKissick, leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); and labor union leader Walter Reuther; (Sitting l. to r.) Whitney Young, Executive Director of the National Urban League; Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; A. Philip Randolph, labor union leader who conceptualized the march; Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.; and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader Roy Wilkins. Photo Courtesy of U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.


Thousands converged on the U.S. Capitol on August 28, 2020 to recommit to the calls for justice made on August 28, 1963. In 1963 was  the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech.

More than a half-century later, the demands are the same with an added caveat: Speakers called for an end to the killing of unarmed black men, women, and children. Remember the 1955 mob lynching murder of Emmitt Till. That horror galvanized the modern civil rights movement.

The theme of the 2020 Commitment March was “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” The protest to the killing of George Floyd by police, who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and forty-seconds. Floyd’s family demanded justice at the Lincoln Memorial. Representatives of more than 20 unarmed blacks killed by police were present.

Victims of Police Violence and Systemic Racism

Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain,  Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Antwon Rose, Terrence Crutcher, Atatiana Jefferson, Jemel Roberson, Joel Acevedo, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown, David Jones, Emanuel Lee, Sandra Bland, and more.

Also present was the family of Jacob Blake, the unarmed black man who was shot seven times in the back at point blank range by a Milwaukee cop. 

Organized by Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and Martin Luther King, III, the son of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., elected officials, union leaders, church leaders, civil rights leaders and families of slain victims demanded justice but also legislation to protect black lives and to finally deliver equality.

From Protest to Legislation

The move from protest marching and demonstrations to a focus on legislation signals the beginning of a new strategy in the 21st Century Justice Movement. Black leaders have always brought political pressure on whites, who at one point, held all the elected offices. What is different today is that more black and brown people are holding elective positions. And now multigeneration, multicultural groups are in the streets protesting. Now people of color and whites know that the only way to secure justice is at the ballot box. Only then can lobbying for change at local, state, and federal legislators be successful.

Speakers at the Commitment March made several demands-

Martin Luther King III Speaks

We’re marching to overcome the triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence. COVID-19  has laid bare the economic inequality. And voter purges, discriminatory practices, felons not able to vote. Now we have to risk our lives to cast our votes in lines during a pandemic. We need to be able to do what President Trump does, vote by mail.  We need to vote like our lives, liberty, and future depends on it because they do. There is a knee on the neck of democracy…the simple challenge before us is that everyone can cast a ballot,” Martin Luther King, III told the crowd.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, III

Dad said, ‘Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ He challenged us to become drum majors for justice. If you’re looking for a savior, get up and find a mirror. We must demand the U.S. Senate stop blocking the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act…Raise the minimum wage, demilitarize the police, get into good trouble, Non-violence doesn’t mean passivity.”

Rev Al Sharpton

According to Reverend Al Sharpton, “We want this country to know, your brutality and bigotry can’t rob us of our dreams, we are the dream keepers, which is why we come today, black, white, all religions and sexual orientations, you may have killed the dreamer but you can’t kill the dream, we are going to make this dream come true.

“We all should leave her committed to keeping this dream alive. Everyone who wants to help on election day, be poll watchers, sign up, early voting starts in two weeks. We have to have foot soldiers to protect our vote, but we are not going to submit anymore, you’re going to get your knee off of our necks. Enough is enough….no justice, no peace,”

Talib McMillan

Talib McMillan, a policy advisor for the National Action Network, said, “We find ourselves here in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. We’re not here to negotiate or ask for justice, we are here to demand justice…it’s time for legislation to invest in education, mental health services, in communities and in HBCUS. We don’t just deserve a quarter of the dollar but the whole dollar…we’ve come to let the teller at the bank know this check better not bounce…we come to cash a check to demand justice.”

“We’ve come back to say today that our fight for racial justice is not negotiable. Purging our system of systemic racism and our right to vote is not negotiable, defending our right to a living wage, not negotiable; equitable funding for our school children, supplying rural areas with broadband is not negotiable, a fair Census, eliminating the structural shameful disparate impact of COVID-19, not negotiable; police reform, mental health services, homeless services, deaths of our black people are not negotiable. We’re here to make demands, George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed, pass the Heroes Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and HR 40,” advised Marc H. Morial, NUL President and former mayor of New Orleans.

“Yes, it is possible to write budgets that address the needs of black lives,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley told the gathering.  

Two days before the Commitment March, the Milwaukee Bucks walked out of the NBA playoffs, determined to demonstrate against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, their home base.

Professional Sports Teams Protest

They were followed by the rest of the NBA teams, the WNBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, and several NFL teams cancelled practices. The athletes did more than just walk away from their scheduled games. The Milwaukee Bucks team managers and coaches called the state’s Governor Tony Evers and the Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and issued a demand for police reform legislation.

After several meetings, the NBA and the NBAPA (National Basketball Players Association) followed announced an “action” agenda and a slate of demands. The NBA and NBAPA agreed to form a social justice coalition to interface with governors and elected officials in their respective states. Hey plan to come up with legislation that leads to meaningful police and criminal justice reform. Players want to  convert facilities owned by the teams into polling places for the 2020 general election.  The NBA will work with networks to run an ad campaign in each playoff game to promote voting.

In an interview on AM Joy Show on MSNBC , Martin L. King, III said “We’ve got to change the direction of the U.S. Senate and the presidency. We have to vote but there is another strategy we can use, economic withdrawal.” King reminded us his father and the other civil rights leaders used economic boycott against the Montgomery Bus Company.

“Blacks spend $1.4 trillion annually. If black people used that power, politicians would come talk to us. And, instead of just marching, we need young people to run and get elected to offices at the local, state, and federal levels.”