Wednesday, January 30, 2008

10th Annual City Wide Youth Revival This Sunday in Des Moines

10th Annual City Wide Youth Revival

The event is sponsored by the Congress of Christian Education

Sun. Feb. 3 at 3:30 p.m. and Mon. Feb. 4 through Thurs. Feb. 7 at
7:00 pm nightly






Rev. Carolyn King, President Emeritus & Rev. William J. Cannon – Congress Revival Co-Chairs and Diedra Thomas Conley, Congress President; Renee Thomas Burkett, and Sharon Hanna, Congress Vice Presidents; Rev. Alex Hanna, Congress Dean; Tia Wright, Congress Secretary

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'll Make Me a World in Iowa 2008

By Dana Boone

Iowa's big-scale celebration of African-American culture had it all Saturday -- Morris Chestnut. Enjoy photos from the event, which was held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines. All eyes were on Chesnut who took the stage to cheers and camera flashes with the festival's executive director, Betty Andrews.

Adrienne Jennings,center in black, of Ankeny and friends enjoy music while waiting for Chesnut to take the stage.

Onlookers await Chestnut.

Taylor English, 13, Shireena Taylor, 15 and Alex Franklin, 16, all of Des Moines, said they enjoy attending the festival each year.

Edward Young Jr., Enterprise Manager of the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa sits amid books on black history.

The Iowa Bystander Newspaper.

Deborah Mobley, owner of Perfect Choice Hair & Beauty Supply located at Wakonda on Fleur in Des Moines spoke with potential customers at the festival.

Activist Veola Perry and Miss Black Iowa 2008 Evette Fantroy told festival-goers about the pageant, which is accepting applicants for the 2009 pageant. For more information visit the web site at

The Metro Youth Program of Rock Island, Ill., chillin' before performing.

Friday's I'll Make Me a World in Iowa Gala


Malcolm Goodwin, president and CEO of Promise IT Solutions, Inc., and BrownIowa contributor, Dawn Campbell

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nightclub Dress Code Policies Attacked by Iowa Legislator

Iowa nightclubs wouldn't be able to bar admittance to patrons based on what brand of clothing they wear if a bill proposed by Rep. Wayne Ford (D-Des Moines) becomes law. Read the entire story at Iowa Independent.

So what do YOU think about it? Post a comment by clicking below on comments.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

African-American Business Association Holds Seminar at I'll Make Me a World in Iowa

By Dawn Campbell

African-Americans from all over the state will converge on Des Moines for I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa to celebrate the kick off of Black History Month. This year, the 10th anniversary of the event, entrepreneurs will have a chance to hear African-American business owners share their stories of success and struggle.

The African-American Business Association of Des Moines (AABA) is sponsoring a business seminar that will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Polk County Convention Center.

Two speakers will be featured during the program. At 11:00 a.m. Isaiah McGee, owner of McGee Strategies, LLC., will present “Building Professional Relationships that Create Opportunities.” McGee Strategies is a consulting, training and coaching firm.

Following McGee, Ted Williams, AABA member and past president, will present “Tips, Strategies and Answers Regarding Small Business Workplace/Workforce Issues and Challenges.” The Williams Group is a human resource management consulting firm.

AABA members and business owners will share their business history and answer questions during a panel discussion at 12:15 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Here are the panelists:

Debra Carr, Institute for Social and Economic Development
Malcolm Goodwin, Promise IT Solutions, Inc.
Larry Hawkins, Custom Paper Supply
Isaiah McGee, McGee Strategies LLC
Ted Williams, The Williams Group

Learn more at AABA, which is an affiliate of The Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Get "PHAT" this Saturday at I'll Make Me a World in Iowa

By Dana Boone


Many African-American women are familiar with the acronym, which stands for pretty, hot and tempting.

But organizers of this Saturday's I'll Make Me a World in Iowa festival want the acronym to become much more meaningful -- Promoting Heart health Awareness Together. Heart disease and stroke are top killers of blacks, according to the American Heart Association.

"There is kind of a crisis in the African-American community when it comes to health," said Betty Andrews, the festival's executive director.

That's why the festival -- Iowa's big-scale celebration of black culture -- is collaborating with the association, Iowa Public Television and the John R. Grubb Community YMCA on a health fair called "Fat to PHAT." The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines.

Andrews is hoping the health fair's catchy name and free soul food cookbook will draw black women and empower them to take better care of their families' health.

"We chose that term because it resonates within the African-American community," Andrews said. "Now we are also using it as a term for taking care of your health and your heart health."

The health fair includes free diabetes and blood pressure screenings. Nutrition and meal planning information will be available, along with information about the warning signs of stroke and heart attacks, she said.

"We're mothers, wives and sisters, and we sometimes forget that we are responsible for treating our body as a temple," Andrews said.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, according to the association. Nationally, the risk of stroke for blacks is twice that of all other ethnic groups, and high blood pressure affects nearly half of all blacks, according to the association. Blacks also are more likely to have diabetes and to be overweight and obese, which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Shannon Rudolph, cultural health director for the association, will help festival-goers on Saturday learn more about stroke warning signs.

"Having a stroke is a scary thought," Rudolph said. "No one wants to think they're having a stroke."

Stroke warning signs include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking; dizziness and sudden and severe headache, according to the association.

The treatment for stroke approved by the U.S. FDA is called tPA, which is a clot-buster that is administered within three hours of the onset of symptoms, Rudolph said.

"Unfortunately, a large segment of our population doesn't get there in time," said Rudolph.

That's why increasing awareness about strokes and heart health is so important, she said. She'll urge health fair participants to sign a stroke pledge, which states they'll become familiar with the risk factors and warning signs. It's also important that they teach their family members since strokes can affect people of all ages, Rudolph said.

This year's headliners on Saturday include actor Morris Chestnut, best known for his movie roles in "The Best Man," "Boyz n the Hood" and "Perfect Holiday," and the gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Dana Boone

It's easy for most Americans to conjure up the image of Martin Luther King Jr., saying "I have a dream." But, nearly 40 years after the death of the civil rights icon, many know little beyond that famous line.

That saddens Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., who discussed King's legacy with a crowd of 300 people at the state's 19th annual King celebration organized by the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans.

"I get the feeling sometimes that as his era recedes ever further in history, that people understand less and less of who he was and how he fought not simply for African-Americans rights, but also for human rights, also against unjust war and also for racial, political and economic justice," said Pitts.

Gov. Chet Culver gave opening remarks. Violinist Daniel Davis wowed the crowd. Ambreyana Jones, 16, who attends East High School, moved the crowd with her a capella song. Passionate speeches from three Iowans who were honored for their civic work inspired the audience during the 90-minute celebration Monday at the State Historical Building. Burlington community activist Mary Stinson and teacher Ruth Ann Gaines of Des Moines each received King Lifetime Achievement awards. State Rep. Wayne Ford of Des Moines received the commission's newly created Pinnacle Award for his civic work.

Pitts recalled the recent controversy between presidential rivals Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama who clashed over remarks about King. Pitts called their argument "silly" but said it was good because it caused people to consider King's legacy.

"Without Dr. King and the moral crusade he led for 13 years, it would be impossible for us to conceive of a Barack Obama," Pitts said to applause. ". . . it would at least be a lot more difficult to conceive of a Hillary Clinton."

Even so, the nation worships a "cardboard cutout" of King and few people know much about the Nobel Prize winner beyond a few quotes, he said.

King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, led the civil rights movement during the 1950s and `60s. He preached nonviolent protest and led marches and sit-ins to secure equal rights for blacks. His "I Have a Dream" speech was heard by hundreds of thousands during a historic rally in Washington, D.C., in 1963. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968 and his birthday became a national holiday in 1983.

Today's struggles show "that we never did reach the promised land of which Martin Luther King spoke of on the last night of his life," Pitts said.

Racial inequities didn't end with the civil rights movement, Pitts said, pointing to recent studies about racial profiling, black farmers being denied loans and unequal criminal sentences. But, it's imperative that "we return to the man who got us this far," he said.

"To drop the cardboard cutout," Pitts said. "To exchange the image for the inspiration. To understand what he did and how he did it so that we can take the lesson of his example and use it to change our lives in the here and now."

Pitts took the audience on a history lesson. He talked about "separate but equal," Jim Crow laws and described how it must have felt for blacks in a world that had deemed them "inferior."

He described the brutal lynchings of blacks who were hung in trees, their skin peeled back from their "living face" and who were burned alive. A person in the audience gasped, "Lord, have mercy" when Pitts described how pieces of their bodies were used as souvenirs.

Others in the audience were similarly affected. Cousins Johnneisha Long, 11, and Takieyah Wells, 14, of Des Moines, had the day off from school and attended the event with several family members.

"I didn't know that all of that happened -- that they got burned, after the lynchings," said Johnneisha. "It was really informing. I learned a lot."

Takieyah agreed.

"How they treated us," she said sighing. "Some of the stuff I already knew because my mom and dad taught me, but some stuff I didn't really know."

Pitts reminded the audience to consider King's life and think about its relevancy to the daunting problems of today.

"Non-cooperation with evil is as much obligation as cooperation with good,'" Pitts said quoting King.

"There is upon us a debt of honor," Pitts added.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

State of Iowa's Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Renowned civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., will be remembered Monday during the state of Iowa's 19th annual King celebration.

The event, which is called "Honor the life: Martin Luther King," is expected to draw about 300 people and was organized by the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans. The celebration will held from 10: 45 a.m. to noon at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust St., in Des Moines.

"King is our blazing American example," said Abraham Funchess, the commission's division administrator. "His practical politics benefited the politically oppressed and the disposed."

Other events across the state and nation will honor the civil rights icon during Monday's federal holiday.

Featured speaker at the commission's event is Leonard Pitts Jr., a 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald. Gov. Chet Culver is scheduled to give the opening address. Daniel Lee Davis, a classically trained violinist, also will perform. A question-and-answer session with Pitts will follow the celebration.

Three Iowans will be honored at the celebration. State Rep. Wayne Ford of Des Moines will receive the commission's newly created Pinnacle Award. Mary Stinson, of Burlington, and nationally-renowned teacher Ruth Ann Gaines, of Des Moines, will receive King Lifetime Achievement awards.

The commission created the Pinnacle Award to celebrate Iowans who are "innovators," Funchess said.

"This is award is for people who are doing serious things to improve the plight of black folks," he said. "To remind people that this is what King was truly about."

King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, led the civil rights movement during the 1950s and `60s. He preached nonviolent protest and led marches and sit-ins to secure equal rights for blacks. His "I Have a Dream" speech was heard by hundreds of thousands during a historic rally in Washington, D.C., in 1963. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968 and his birthday became a national holiday in 1983.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Business Owner Goodwin Promises Best to Clients, Climbs Ladder of Success

By Dawn Campbell

As president and chief executive officer of Promise IT Solutions, Inc., Malcolm Goodwin is attracting more attention than he did as linebacker and co-captain of the 1992 Iowa State University football team when they beat Nebraska. Goodwin is featured in this week’s Des Moines Business Record as a business owner who understands his client’s needs and the information technology consulting industry.

Goodwin started his business in March 2007 out of his home and now boasts a revenue of a half million dollars. Revenue may increase in the future, but that is not what drives the passion for successful business deals; it’s “identically meeting” client’s needs. Servicing the customer and insuring they have the best customer service is a core value for Promise IT Solutions.

Serving others is deeply ingrained in Goodwin’s work ethic. Community service will be a requirement of all Promise IT Solutions employees. Goodwin personally serves on the board of directors for the Minority Enterprise Construction Council as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters. He currently holds the position of board president for both organizations.

The Business Record article describes Goodwin’s business plan for Promise IT Solutions and gives a brief glimpse at the business venture he is also working on at this time. The article can be reached at the Business Record.

You can personally hear Goodwin share his story of success at I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa. He is a panelist for the African American Business Association’s business seminar, which will be January 26 at the Polk County Convention Center. Presentation begins at 11:00 a.m.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wake Up, My Brothers and Sisters...

By the lowest rung of the social ladder

I do not understand why Black people have to speak to each other in such a manner that can kill the spirit of others or the mean spirit is embraced as a way of life and the condition lives on.

It is my most sincere prayer that we as Black people treat each other with respect and dignity. To love and help each other without the air of "I am greater than you" because I have a high position, more money, greater status or more education.

Is it not clear that we are all in the same boat together regardless of our station in life?

Why is it that we do not support each other in business with the exception of hair care and church affiliations? I am still in grief that Top Value Grocery Store went out of business.

What is the driving force that other races can come to this country and prosper while we as a race continue to be consumers and support the wealth and community development of others while we continue to dwindle into deeper poverty?

What respect can we expect from society if collectively act as non-producers?

Where are the great thinkers in our Black community from all levels that see the conditions that not only affect the adults but our children as well?

Can we organize a meeting of the minds to develop solutions to our problems?

Instead, we react to a problem and then allow it to fizzle out with no more follow up to continue the move forward until the next blow up?

I am only one voice from the lower rung of the social/economical ladder who can see the demise our people are bound for destruction.

I only want to help solve problems and not blame anyone; this is counter productive and will only lead to more division.

- Editor's note: "The Lowest Rung of the Social Ladder" is pseudonym for Des Moines resident Genie Bundy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What the King Holiday Means

Martin Luther King Jr., Holiday, Jan. 21, 2008

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example -- the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.

- Read the entire passage by the late Coretta Scott King at the The King Center, Atlanta, G.A.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Free Help to Quit Smoking from the Iowa Department of Public Health

By Dana Boone

African-American smokers -- who tend to “suffer more” than other ethnic groups from the harmful effects of smoking -- could benefit from a new state program that provides free nicotine patches and gum.

The Iowa Department of Public Health began offering the nicotine patches and gum through the state's "Quitline" at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-784-8669. The free, confidential program is for Iowa smokers 18 and older who want to end their dependence on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The nicotine patches and gum help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, health officials said.

"We know that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by smoking," said Bonnie Mapes, director of the department's Division of Tobacco Use and Prevention and Control. "As adults, African-Americans have a higher smoking rate, and they tend to suffer more from smoking effects."

Thousands of Iowans this month have flooded the state's smoking cessation hot line with calls since it began offering free nicotine patches and gum, state health officials said. The hot line has received 2,560 calls since Jan. 1.

To receive a two-week supply of the nicotine patches and gum, participants must agree to take a brief health assessment and accept two follow-up calls from trained phone coaches. Participants also can sign up for ongoing support through eight additional calls from phone coaches.

Mapes stressed the importance of the ongoing phone coaching and support.

"The reason we want them to do that is that telephone coaching doubles a person's chances of quitting," she said.

Smoking can cause many diseases, including heart and lung disease and cancer, and is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, Mapes said. The biggest killer of smokers is heart disease, she added, since smoking increases blood pressure and burdens the heart.

"As soon as you stop smoking," she said, "the burden goes away."

Two diseases that pose a greater risk for blacks -- diabetes and high blood pressure -- are worsened by smoking, Mapes said. According to Families USA, a health advocacy group, blacks are twice as likely as whites to have diabetes.

Many longtime smokers believe they won’t reap health benefits if they quit, Mapes said.

"That isn't true at all," she said. "Don't think that just because you've smoked for 30 years that it's too late. There are immediate and long-term benefits to quitting no matter how long you've smoked."

People who quit also realize a financial benefit, she said. The average smoker goes through a pack of cigarettes a day at a cost of nearly $5 a pack, she said.

"It's a huge monetary impact not just for the smoker, but for their family," she said. "That's the price of a gallon of milk. It's an impact on the nutrition of the family."

The state's most recent adult tobacco survey, conducted in 2006, found that smoking is on the decline among Iowans who participated in random computer-assisted telephone interviews:

* 18 percent of Iowans smoked cigarettes in 2006, down from 23 percent in 2002.
* 34 percent of Iowans aged 18 to 24 smoked cigarettes.
* 72 percent of smokers surveyed in 2006 wanted to quit smoking.

Data from the health department also show that in 2006 slightly more men smoked than women, 23 percent and 19 percent, respectively; and 21 percent of whites smoked, compared with 28 percent of other ethnic groups, which were not disaggregated in the report.

"It's a drug addition," Mapes said. "It's not some habit. It isn't a matter of choice. Ask any smoker and they'll tell you that. The vast majority of them recognize that. . . . It’s not that they don’t want to quit."

Iowa smokers who qualify for the Medicaid program are eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of free nicotine patches and gum, but must first get a referral from their health care provider before calling the hot line to sign up, Mapes said.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that of the 2,560 callers during the program's first week, 2,151 requested the nicotine patches and gum, and 1,323 agreed to the telephone coaching.

"We're encouraging people to sign up for both," she said.

The program likely will run through 2011 as long as money is available, McCormick said. Smokers can take advantage of the program once a year, he said.
Iowa's "QUIT-NOW' smoking cessation hot line:

Dial 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-784-8669 to sign up for the state's free, confidential program, which offers nicotine patches and gum. The kits are shipped to participants within 24 hours.
The telephone line is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. English-and Spanish-speaking counselors are available.
Beginning Monday, the hot line's hours will extend from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire Democratic Primary Results

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won New Hampshire's Democratic primary with 39 percent of the vote, followed closely by Sen. Barack Obama with 37 percent. For entire results visit CNN.

Festival With A Focus - 10th Annual I'll Make Me a World In Iowa

By Dana Boone

The state's largest African-American festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary this month, with an expected crowd of nearly 20,000 people.

The two-day I`ll Make Me a World in Iowa festival will be held on Jan. 25-26 at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines.

This year's headliners for Celebration Day on Jan. 26 include actor Morris Chestnut, best known for his movie roles in "The Best Man," "Boyz n the Hood" and "Perfect Holiday," and the gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7.

"When we say Morris Chestnut, that's a first-name recognition," said Betty Andrews, the festival's executive director and president and CEO of Betty Andrews Media. "His name needs no introduction. We know who he is. We're definitely excited."

Securing high-profile celebrities is a unique part of the festival, Andrews said. It's an affirmation for blacks, who make up just 2.5 percent of the state's population with 73,086 people, that the state can draw such well-known entertainers, she said.

"African-Americans in Iowa sometimes feel like we're not part of the national community, but having these celebrities be accessible to our community just lets us know it could happen here like it happens in Atlanta or California or New York," Andrews said. "We do things and we do them well and we can be proud that we have made our world in Iowa."

The festival began following a 1999 PBS miniseries "I'll Make Me a World." Iowa's festival is designed to highlight black history, culture and the contributions blacks have made to Iowa.

Pam Williams is instructor of the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Corps, which will perform at the festival on Jan. 26. She said some of her female instructors know that Chesnut is coming and they're looking forward to seeing him.

"I know the younger women are excited he's coming," Williams said.

Last Sunday, Williams said she saw Trin-i-tee 5:7 perform on BET, a cable network that reaches an estimated 87 million households.

"They're geared toward young people with a gospel message," she said.

Part of the festival's allure is people-watching, "soul food" sampling and live performances in Iowa's big-scale celebration of black culture. Vendors will sell art and other items. Puppet shows, rides and other attractions will keep children engaged, Andrews said. A health fair called "Fat to PHAT" will include free health assessments and will promote heart-health awareness. A new Iowa Events and Info Line will debut next week, Andrews said. The telephone line will contain updates on the festival, a community calendar, community information, health tips and short stories about influential figures in black history, such as inventor George Washington Carver. The phone number has not yet been released.

"Even though it's in the winter, we try to make sure that people get that it's a festival," Andrews said.

But, it's a festival with a focus, she added.

"We wanted to make sure that people understand that we have played an invaluable role in the history of America," Andrews said. "We use ingenuity. We're overcomers. We have that 'soul food' mentality. We were able to take nothing and make it into something . . . we took scraps and made it into delicacies."

The first day of the festival is Education Day, which emphasizes black history to more than 1,200 middle and high school students from across the state, Andrews said. Students form teams and study for a month for the Black History Game Show, which is the highlight of Education Day. Educational workshops are also held during the event.

"A lot has been said about the lack of African-American history being taught in schools," said Andrews. "We wanted to make sure we sent the message that we have this great celebration, but African-Americans are not only about singing and dancing. That's a big part of our culture and we're proud of it and everything, but we're also about the great inventors we have in our community. We're about achievers and pacesetters."

Iowa performers continue to dominate the festival. This year's performers include Waterloo singer Effie Burt, the Gateway Dance Theatre and the Isiserettes, among dozens of others.

Williams said the members of the drill team get "treated like celebrities" at the festival. A video of the group's 2007 performances will also be shown, she said.

"I think it's a great event," she said. "We look forward to it."

Williams said a fight that broke out among teens during a previous festival emphasizes the need for parents to accompany their children to the event.

"Kids under a certain age need to be accompanied by an adult and not just dropped off to be there all day," Williams said. "People need to bring their kids and share what's there."

In 1999, organizers planned for 300 people, but 1,000 showed up. About 10,000 people attended the event in 2006 and attendance grew to about 15,000 in 2007, Andrews said. Past headliners have included Victoria Rowell, Blair Underwood, Hill Harper, Lynn Whitfield, GregAlan Williams, Bev Smith and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, among others.

Hundreds of volunteers helped organize the festival, which Andrews said she hopes will excite this year's festival-goers.

"It's going to be a grand experience," Andrews said.


"I'll Make Me a World in Iowa" schedule

Jan. 25

- Education Day features the Black History Game Show competition from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Polk County Convention Complex, 501 Grand Ave. More than 1,200 students from across the state participated in 2006.

- The Grand Gala: Embracing Excellence will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at HyVee Hall, Iowa Events Center, 730 Third St. Tickets for the formal event are $50 per person.

- Honorees include the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP, Stacey Walker and the late Jimmie Porter.

"We didn't want to let his passing and accomplishments go by unnoticed," Andrews said of Porter.

Jan. 26:

- The Celebration Day festival, featuring headliners Morris Chesnut and Trin-i-tee 5:7, runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Polk County Convention Complex.

For more information call (515) 288-7171. Photo is of Betty Andrews.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr., events

Here are a few upcoming King events:
  • The Black Ministerial Alliance of Des Moines will hold its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Breakfast at 9 a.m. Jan. 12 at Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church, 1338 9th St in Des Moines. Rev. Bobby Young is pastor and vice-president of the alliance. Guest speaker is Rev. Curtis De Vance, pastor of Burns United Methodist Church. A $10 donation is requested.
  • The NAACP’s Youth Council will host its 4th annual King Legacy Program at 6 p.m. Jan. 12 at King of Kings Baptist Church, 619 S.E. 15th St. The speaker is Quinnetta Claytor, a sophomore at the University of Iowa. The event also includes the Maple Street Baptist Church Youth Choir, a preview of the 2008 ACT-SO competition and the Roosevelt High School Step Team.
  • The alliance and the Des Moines branch of the NAACP will hold a King community celebration service at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Union Missionary Baptist Church, 1200 McCormick St. Rev. Henry Thomas is pastor. Guest speaker is Rev. Keith Ratliff, Sr., pastor of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church, president of the Iowa Nebraska NAACP and a national board member of the NAACP.
For more information about the alliance and events contact Rev. Irvin Lewis, Sr., president of the alliance at (515) 669-5890.

African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa

Edgar Hicks, a nationally-known expert on current
issues in African American agriculture, will discuss the
state of the black farmer in America in light of the legacy
of George Washington Carver in his lecture, "The Black Farmer

Hicks is a grain consultant and risk management
consultant for the Rural Development Commission (RDC) in the
State of Nebraska. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m.
January 15 at the Council Bluffs Public Library. The event is
free and open to the public.

This program is a part of the African American Historical
Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa's year-long project,
"Iowa Roots, Global Impact: The Life and Legacy of George
Washington Carver." This project includes a major exhibition
at the museum, traveling exhibits, programs and more. This
project is supported by the Roy J. Carver Charitable
Trust; the State Historical Society, Inc.; Humanities
Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities; General
Mills; Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area; Pioneer;
among others.

For more information visit the museum's web site or call

Friday, January 4, 2008

Statistics about Barack Obama's Victory in Iowa

From Barack

Last night, Barack Obama made history in Iowa with a dramatic and decisive victory. He won by bringing an unprecedented number of voters into the process, including thousands of Republicans and Independents who registered as Democrats in order to support Obama.

The entrance polls show just how dominating Obama’s win was and dispel some myths about his candidacy:

Obama beat Clinton among women 35% to 30%

Obama beat Edwards among voters in union households 30%-24%

Obama beat Clinton and Edwards among voters of almost every income level (Obama and Clinton tied among voters who make $15-30,000)

As many voters age 17-29 as voters 65 and older participated last night -- in previous years senior participation has been 5-times greater than younger voters.

Obama beat Edwards and Clinton among voters who want change (51%-20%-19%)

Despite countless attacks and hundreds of thousands of dollars in negative mail, TV, and radio, Obama beat Clinton and Edwards (34%-30%-27%) among voters who say health care is the most important issue

Obama won among those who said the economy was the most important issue (36%-26%-26%)

Obama won over Clinton and Edwards (35%-26%-17%) among those who said Iraq was the most important issue

Won across the ideological spectrum – winning among liberals, moderates and conservatives

Won among high income and lower income voters among voters with household income below $50,000 (34%-32%-19%) and among those over $50,000 (41%-19%-28%)

Also won among the 82% of voters who said Pakistan was “very or somewhat important”

The voters looked at Barack Obama and found he was someone that they could support. Thank you, Iowa.

What Was Your Iowa Caucus Experience Like?

From Dana Boone:

Wow. I participated in the Iowa Caucuses last night for the first time. It was chaotic, exciting, tense -- and productive! The majority of my neighbors and I supported Democratic winner, Sen. Barack Obama. In the end, my good friend Dawn Campbell and I left Hiatt Middle School cheering and hi-fiving each other.

What was your caucus experience like? wants to hear from you... Post some comments!

Check Out the Iowa Voices

Check out the Iowa Voices in this story:

Blacks in Iowa, Fueled by Hope, Help Carry Obama to Victory - One Small Precinct at a Time

Date: Friday, January 04, 2008
By: Sherrel Wheeler Stewart,

“I don’t think the planners anticipated the numbers that turned out to caucus,” Abraham Funchess told Thursday was the first time the South Carolina native—turned Iowa resident had participated in the caucus...

“Barack crossed racial lines. He won our precinct, he’s leading Iowa,” said Charles Spencer, who participated in the caucus for the first time...

“This says a lot about Obama, and it says a lot to America,” Spencer told That precinct had a racial mix among the 377 who participated, Spencer said. About 15 of the participants were black.

At the predominately black precinct at Hiatt Middle School on the east side of Des Moines, Obama picked up six of the eight delegates, and Clinton received two, with 243 people participating, according to Dana Boone, who served as secretary for the precinct count.

“It was tense, but exciting,” Boone told shortly after the counting had concluded for the evening. Because of the large turnout, the crowd had to move from a small cafeteria to a larger space at the school, she said. “Blacks really showed up for Obama.”

Read the ENTIRE story at

Barack's Iowa Victory Speech

Thursday, January 3, 2008


94% Precincts reporting:

Barack Obama - 38%

A record 234,000 people participated in the Democratic Party Iowa Caucus.

I'm speechless at that number, and I thank everyone who came to be counted.


Obama's Victory Speech:

"They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.

But on this January night – at this defining moment in history – you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do; what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days; what America can do in this New Year. In schools and churches; small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come.

You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division and make it about addition – to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that’s how we’ll win in November, and that’s how we’ll finally meet the challenges we face.

The time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don’t own this government, we do; and we’re here to take it back.

The time has come for a President who’ll be honest about the choices and the challenges we face; who’ll listen to you even when we disagree; who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know. And New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, I will be that President for America."

The speech, as prepared for deliver, appears in full after the jump.

They said this day would never come.

They said our sights were set too high.

They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.

But on this January night – at this defining moment in history – you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do; what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days; what America can do in this New Year. In schools and churches; small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come.

You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division and make it about addition – to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that’s how we’ll win in November, and that’s how we’ll finally meet the challenges we face.

The time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don’t own this government, we do; and we’re here to take it back.

The time has come for a President who’ll be honest about the choices and the challenges we face; who’ll listen to you even when we disagree; who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know. And New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, I will be that President for America.

I’ll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American the same way I expanded health care in Illinois – by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done

I’ll be a President who ends the tax breaks for corporations who ship our jobs overseas and puts a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.

I’ll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.

And I’ll be a President who brings our troops home from Iraq; restores our moral standing; and understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes, but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

Tonight, we are one step closer to that vision of America because of what you did here in Iowa. And I’d like to take a minute to thank the organizers and precinct captains; the volunteers and staff who made this all possible.

I know you didn’t do this just for me. You did this because you believed deeply in the most American of ideas – that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.

I know this because while I may be standing here tonight, I’ll never forget that my journey began on the streets of Chicago doing what so many of you have done for this campaign and all the campaigns here in Iowa – organizing, and working, and fighting to make people’s lives just a little bit better.

I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep, little pay, and a lot of sacrifice. There are days of disappointment, but sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this – a night that, years from now, when we’ve made the changes we believe in; when more families can afford to see a doctor; when our children inherit a planet that’s a little cleaner and safer; when the world sees America differently, and America sees itself as a nation less divided and more united; you’ll be able look back with pride and say that this was the moment when it all began.

This was the moment when the improbable beat what Washington always said was inevitable.

This was the moment when we tore down barriers that have divided us for far too long – when we rallied people of all parties and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who’d never participated in politics a reason to stand up and do so.

This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up.

Years from now, you’ll look back and say that this was the moment – this was the place – where America remembered what it means to hope.

For many months, we’ve been teased and even derided for talking about hope.

But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shrinking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and work for it, and fight for it.

Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the young woman in Cedar rapids who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can’t afford health care for a sister who’s ill; a young woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance to live out her dreams.

Hope is what I heard in the voice of the New Hampshire woman who told me that she hasn’t been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq; who still goes to bed each night praying for a safe return.

Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an Empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause.

Hope is what led me here today – with a father from Kenya; a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. It is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.

That is what we started here in Iowa, and that is the message we now carry to New Hampshire and beyond; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that can change this country brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand – that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things; because we are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in tthis election, we are ready to believe again.

Blacks Appear Poised to Influence Iowa Caucuses

By Dana Boone

Many African-Americans across Iowa said determination and excitement is driving them to participate in tonight's Iowa Caucuses for the first time.

"Black people -- this is our opportunity to step up to the plate," said Melvin Hawkins, a 45-year-old DJ from Davenport and a first time caucus-goer.

Blacks in Des Moines, Waterloo and Davenport said they felt compelled to learn about a political process that is still somewhat mysterious to them -- and participate tonight -- because they feel strongly about presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"Everybody is pretty much pumped on the idea that we could possibly get a president like Obama," said Kenneth Foster, 35, a student mentor at Creative Visions in Des Moines and first-time caucus-goer.

Many black Iowans said the nation is in trouble with its lackluster economy, the war in Iraq, a bleak employment outlook and racial disparities in schools and prisons. It's more important than ever, they said, for blacks to help decide who will become president. And, the nation is watching.

"Things are bad right now, and I know if someone doesn't come in a make a difference right away, we're going to be in another sort of depression (era)," Foster said.

Many blacks said they have noticed an unusual increase this year in discussions among their friends and families about the problems affecting the country, the presidential candidates and how to caucus.

Hawkins, who expressed dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq and the way the country is being managed, said Obama has the "wow" factor.

"It seems like you've got more of a voice because he's on the same page as you, in the same age range as you," Hawkins said. "He's a person who will give the us a fresh start."

READ the entire story at Iowa Independent.

The Need to Stand Up and Be Heard

The following is from Iowa State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad especially for

We all have heard the quote "If not now when?" That itself should be one of our motivational rally points. We as Iowans must not be distracted from putting Senator Barack Obama on the road to the White House.

Iowa will make history on several fronts on January 3. The caucusgoes will set record numbers in turn out on January 3 at the Iowa caucus. Senator Barack Obama winning Iowa will send a message around the world that Americans are ready for a change. It will also send the message the we are tried of doing business as usual. Having Senator Obama as our President of the United States will send hope to the world that we are serious about the United in States. That his job will be to bring about Peace and Justice not only to the people in America but to the World.

He will accept the task at hand and from day one just with his election will change the outlook of other counties of America. You must look deep inside your souls and intellect and not be distract by falsehoods to act on what is best for this country.

The time is now, join me in my support of Senator Barack Obama.

God Bless & Keep the Vision.....
Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How the Caucuses Work

How the Iowa Caucuses Work

For those who this will be their 1st caucus…this is how it works

Tomorrow night both Democrats and Republicans will gather to conduct precinct caucuses. The caucuses include selection of delegates to represent the precinct at County conventions, discussion of the issues, and most importantly a decision on the Presidential Candidate Preference. The Democrats and Republicans conduct their caucuses differently.


Everyone can participate in the caucuses. Those that are not registered to vote can register that night at the caucus. Those that are 17 now but will be 18 by the Presidential Election can also participate in the caucuses. Once registered, those caucusing can do so at their precinct. One can find out which precinct is theirs by contacting the County election office. At 6:00 the doors open and at 6:30 the caucus is called to order, at 7 pm the preference groups are formed. The process generally lasts about an hour; caucuses are generally held at high schools or some other public building.

"Preference groups," are where participants' preferences for a candidate become public. All the supporters of Hillary Clinton will go to one corner, all the supporters of Barack Obama to another, etc. If a candidate doesn't have 15 percent of the total, his or her supporters must realign with another group. Once everyone is in a group with at least 15 percent, delegates to the county convention are apportioned based on the size of the preference group.

So, for example, if the precinct sends 10 delegates to the county convention, those 10 delegates are allocated based on the percentage of people in a preference group. So if Senator Obama has 60 percent and Senator Clinton has 40 percent, Senator Obama would get six delegates and Clinton would get four.

For more info visit

Obama reaches out to Black Iowans

Read this article in the New York Times about Obama's efforts to reach out to the small, but influential group of Black Iowans.

Waterloo African Americans on Presidential Race

The world is watching. Here's a story from the UK paper "The Guardian" on African-American caucus-goers in Waterloo.

Caucusing is NOT just for Caucasians!

A friend of color admitted to me that she didn’t know much about a caucus, and was under the impression that caucusing was only for Caucasians. She was mistaken.

Merriam Webster defines a caucus as:

a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy; also: a group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause

The Iowa Caucus is for all Iowans.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Barack: an old friend with a new vision for America

Hi Black & Brown Iowa:

Well, 2008 is finally here! I just wanted to send a shout out to you all as your prepare for your historic caucuses. MAKE HISTORY THIS WEEK!

FYI: I went to law school with Barack “back in the day.” From the first day I met him I was impressed … no I should say dazzled by his intellect, his sincerity, his acute sense of politics, his ability to connect with folks, and his commitment to issues impacting Black folks. As a former president of the Black Law Students Association at Harvard Law School, it has pained me to hear the fodder of some of our so-called leaders questioning Barack’s authenticity regarding race. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be further from the truth. The truth is that Barack is an amazing man, who also happens to be an amazing Black man, who can and should be the democratic nominee for President, and of course ultimately, the President of the United States!

Most recently, my work has revolved around children. As a mother, the author of 2 children’s books, a co-founder of a support group for African-American moms, and a senior officer of an action-oriented think tank focusing families, communities and democracy, I spend my days focusing on children. When I read, hear, or see something, it is always through this “motherhood” lens. This election is no exception. My support for Barack goes beyond old allegiances from friendships long ago. My support is also based on his stance on issues impacting American children and families, which are issues about which I care deeply, and upon which I believe our democracy rests.

Toward that end, I call your attention to an innovative and multi-faceted proposal put forth by Senator Obama which focuses on "Changing the Odds for Urban America." A dear friend of mine called this proposal “a creative and informed approach to the many issues arising from poverty that limit choices and suppress hope in so many urban areas in the United States.” Take a minute and review this proposal by simply clicking here:

Also, please read and comment on my blog, which is highlighted right now on the Covenant with Black America’s website about Giving Thanks for Our Covenant Children.

Happy New Year to you all,

Charisse Carney-Nunes
Author of Nappy and I Dream for You a World (the Children’s Companion to the Covenant with Black America)

Black Mobilization

Brown Iowa's Dana Boone's latest piece is Black Leaders Hope Mobilization Helps Make a Difference.

"The problems afflicting African-Americans in Iowa have received widespread attention this year, hastening into action black leaders and ordinary citizens.

"With the issues facing African-Americans, there is an urgency," said Gretchen Woods, youth adviser for the Des Moines Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "We really just don't have time to waste."

. . . The problems even inspired three high-profile black leaders in Des Moines -- two of whom are Iowa legislators -- to set aside their personal differences to work jointly for community betterment. . . .

Genie Bundy morphed from ordinary citizen into activist after learning about the disproportionate number of blacks in prison. Iowa tops the nation for imprisoning blacks at a rate 13.6 times that of whites, according to national study by The Sentencing Project. Bundy, a family support worker at Primary Health Care in Des Moines, organized three community forums this fall about the issue.

"I think that it has to take something like this to get the community truly riled up like dealing with the overrepresentation of blacks in the prison system," she said. "Our families are truly being destroyed by the black men being removed from the home."

. . . Funchess and others are urging blacks to participate in the caucuses, vote and make their concerns and wants known to state lawmakers in 2008."

Much more is in the Iowa Independent.