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Ford Foundation’s new president: ‘This is not about our brand’

Favors ‘programs…informed by those affected whom we seek to empower’
Editor’s Note: In September, 2013, Darren Walker (DW) became the second African American and 10th president of the Ford Foundation, America’s second largest philanthropy organization with $500 million in annual giving. After a stint in international law and banking, Walker served as the COO of a nonprofit agency in New York before moving to the foundation world, first arriving at the Rockefeller Foundation before being tapped to fill a vice president slot at Ford in 2010. He was interviewed in his New York office by Khalil Abdullah, national reporter for New America Media (NAM). NAM: What excites you most about taking on the presidency of the Ford Foundation? DW: I have a chance to make a difference by leading a remarkable institution committed to social justice when the very notion of social justice is being contested. Continue Reading →

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The August strategy: Immigrant rights activism heats up

 

 

 

 

By Elena Shore

Contributing Writer

 

About 40 leaders of immigration reform advocacy organizations were arrested Thursday, August 1, on Capitol Hill. The group was there as part of a protest aimed at pressuring the House GOP into passing an immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship. Taking a page from young undocumented immigrants, or Dreamers, nine of whom were arrested along the Arizona border last week, the veteran activists blocked traffic along a street adjacent to the Capitol while chanting a slogan popular among Dreamers: “Undocumented, unafraid!”

The action came a day before Congress members leave Washington, D.C. for their August recess. It kicked off a series of demonstrations, town hall meetings and events that are being planned by immigrant rights advocates during the month of August. The goal, according to Angela Kelley, vice president of immigration policy for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress, is to use the August recess to gain so much momentum in support of immigration reform that “when they come back, there’s an air of inevitability” around settling the issue. Continue Reading →

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Fiscal cliff most threatening for Blacks, other communities of color

 
Effects would add more hurt to Great Recession’s impact 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Low- and moderate-income people will immediately be adversely affected if the country plunges over “the fiscal cliff” at the beginning of the year, predicts a former Obama administration member. Automatic tax hikes and spending cuts will take place unless Congress and the White House reach an agreement by December 31. Last week, on a New America Media-scheduled teleconference with reporters, including the MSR, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein said that “low-income people will feel [it] right away if we go over the fiscal cliff” on January 1.      

“Current conditions actually are very tough on low-income people,” said Bernstein. “Fifteen percent of the population are in poverty, and if you look at folk who are disproportionately low-income, African American poverty is closer to 28 percent [and] Hispanics at 25 percent. Continue Reading →

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Voter suppression laws cast chill on Black community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Khalil Abdullah

Contributing Writer

 

As voter suppression laws continue to be debated in states across the country, members of the African American press and voting rights advocates say the repercussions of that debate are already being felt. The most immediate metric, they note, will be whether voter turnout is reduced. For some observers, that is a likely prospect. “Talking about the guys who are not going to vote, four years ago, they took chances,” said Harold Meeks, publisher of the Tell Us USA News Network, an online news magazine with bureaus in several cities. “I owe $23,000 in child support, but I’m going out to vote for the Black man,” Meeks said, describing a hypothetical Detroit voter in 2008. “They’re not going to take those same chances again, particularly with these other voices saying that we’re going to scrutinize you,” he continued. Continue Reading →

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