Friday, February 29, 2008

Never Forget the Price Paid

By Dawn Campbell

I received this message in my inbox the other day. Its message: simple, yet powerful. A message too powerful not to share with others. As Black History Month fades into a memory, it is important not to forget the struggle.

Never forget the price paid for where you stand today.

This was once our resume.

None of us has had to experience the pain of separation or live with the disgrace and humiliation that comes with not being free. When you cast your vote for who will run our country, never forget your history and keep this bill of sale in mind. When we allow ourselves to forget our not so distant past, then we are destined to repeat these actions in our future.

Stand for those who came before us and those who could not stand up for themselves. VOTE!

Acknowledgement: Thank you Chris for sharing this powerful message.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drake University Production Helps to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

By Dawn Campbell

“I Love VM!” read one of the buttons used as tickets at the production of The Vagina Monologues at Drake University this past weekend. Another button looked like a delicate orchid flower, but upon closer observation, one would realize the design depicted the female anatomy the monologues are named after.

Beth Younger, professor at Drake University said, “I believe that The Vagina Monologues are important, even crucial, to getting the word out about domestic violence because the voices of women in the production are very real.”

As in years past, the Drake production sold out. To the delight of those involved, 80 percent of the proceeds were donated to Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa (also known simply as Monsoon). The remaining 20 percent will go to the V-Day campaign to help Hurricane Katrina survivors. Approximately, $3,000 was raised.

Monsoon’s mission is to inspire and support sustainable community action for ending violence against women in the Asian communities of Iowa.

Monsoon, led by executive director Mira binti Yusef, has made great strides across the state in partnering with local and state domestic violence, sexual assault and related organizations as their services relate to Asian Pacific Islander (API) citizens.

“Monsoon is very grateful that we are receiving this year’s proceeds. The donation will assist the organization in its mission to end violence against women in the Asian communities in Iowa. In addition, being the recipient for this year’s production helped in exposing Monsoon to the public and, hopefully to the women and their families from the Asian communities that a resource exists specific in the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. And we hope to participate in the 2009 VM Drake University production to bring more women of color faces and voices,” stated Yusef.

Giving women a voice is very important in the fight against domestic violence. Younger said, “These (referring to The Vagina Monologues) voices are impossible to ignore, or at least hard to ignore, and they make the issue a personal one and not just a statistical or social one. If one listens to the voices of the women one cannot help but be moved, angered, saddened and perhaps infuriated. Violence against women has become so expected and even tolerated in our culture that we need something to make us hear these voices. I think the Vagina Monologues do an amazing job of asking us to listen--it is up to us to do the rest.”

This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the V-Day campaign. According to, “V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.” The monies raised by this global campaign aids in educating people about violence against women and the efforts to end it.

Photo cutline: L to R: Monsoon Board President Boursy Quang
and Executive Director Mira binti Yusef and Board Member Alma Reed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Give It Up For the Big Girls

I am a beautiful person, all 194 pounds of me. I am beautiful person because I am happy with how I look. There are so many big women like me that are so ashamed of their size and displeased with their appearance. We all know that the reason that most women are displeased with their size is because of the social norm that people are beautiful that are skinny. Is that true to you? I don't know about you, but when I was 120 pounds I was no more beautiful than I am at 197 pounds. How is it that especially black women want to compare their bodies to white women? We are so different. If our body shape was to be compared -- all of the black women in America probably would be overweight. I am a healthy 194 pounds and have no health risks. I don't have high blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid problems. I am healthy and thick. All I'm saying is appreciate your body and love what God has given you. If you are not meant to be a size 7 or 9 then don't be dismayed. You don't want a man that wants something you can't give them anyways. Don't hate on the skinny sistas but love the big sistas. There is nothing wrong with being a thick sista, as long as you're healthy, everything is good. Remember you are as beautiful as you believe you are. Show show the people in the world that we are big proud beautiful black women. I wouldn't change me for the world.


Sometime, last night, the ONE MILLIONTH DONOR signed onto Barack Obama's campaign.


One million people who have said, I believe in this campaign.

This is the core of why I believe Obama should reject public financing. Why should he take something that will handicap him? He doesn't take lobbyist or PAC money. So, let the donors decide their funding level of his campaign.

If you'd like to join one million others:

Now Why You Wanna Go and Say That?

By Coy Bundy

Michelle Obama's comment on Monday in Milwaukee
"Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

Reading today on the Presidential candidates I came across a statement made by Michelle Obama. It was quoted in Yahoo that Republican John McCain's wife made a statement that seemed to sarcastically remark about Democrat Obama's wife's statement. The statement was "Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." That statement to me actually wasn't as bad as they are trying to make it out to be. It is a very truthful and honest statement. Her statement however was not in any ways implying to me that she was not proud to be an American but happy to see fellow Americans do something for their country that is out of the norm. I, in no way, can tell you why this statement was made by Mrs. Obama but I can tell you why the statement was made by Mrs. McCain.

Mrs. McCain's statement was "I don't think we have any comment on that." Mrs. McCain added, "I just wanted to make the statement that I have, and always will be, proud of my country." Looking at this statement took me off the whole major reason for me looking at the Presidential race. It made me aware that people can twist and innocent statement around to better their own campaign. I have a question for Mrs. McCain: Were you proud of your country when you saw how our Government responded to Katrina? All of the black people that died and all the young women that were raped. All the sadness that surrounded New Orleans, LA. Were you proud then? It is an understatement to say that some Republicans are only focused on the dollar bill. How can you be so oblivious as to question what Mrs. Obama meant by that statement? We all do not live in mansions or in Bell Aire and we don't drive Escalades and Bentley’s. We actually see the real world right out of our front door. So next time a Republican candidate's wife wants to throw stones and an editor wants to put it out there, seriously think about it first. Because if you don't know you better ask somebody.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What Do You Know About Being A Single Parent?

By Coy Bundy

What do you know about being a single parent? What do you really know about being a father? Is the fact that you gave sperm to make a baby that you think gives you the right to control every little piece of his life? Why? Why do you make it so hard for him to have a relationship with you? Are your partying, drinking and recreational drugs more important than this innocent life? So, I left you or you left me, either way we shouldn't leave him. I loved you when we were together and you loved me. Why can't we love this child the same? Why is it such a battle to come to one accord for his sake? Today we're fine and tomorrow we'll be fighting. You were the one that didn't stay or didn't try and fight to stay. Do you really know what it means to be a single parent? It is so much more than paying child support, it's so much more than giving him that one gift that he wants so bad, it's so much more than having the label -- Dad.

It's taking him to his basketball games, doctor's appointments, dental appointment and football practices. It's driving him to school when it's too cold for him to walk on his own. It's defending him in situations he cannot defend himself. It's wiping his tears and rubbing his head when he's sad. It's calming him down in the middle of a basketball game that he may get a tech for. It's explaining to him why he has to stand strong against all the prejudices in the world against a young black man. It's explaining to him why you're not there.

From the moment you whooped my ass in the car while I was carrying your child, I've been protecting him from the world. I protect him because I don't want him to get hurt. Even if it's from his own father hurting his feelings because he never showed up to pick him up. I was a little girl when we met and you were 20 years older than me. I didn't know anything about being a parent, my life had just begun and it was a hard one for him. But we succeeded without your help and will continue succeeding. And I ask again, what do you know about being a single parent?

--Coy Bundy is a single mother and college student from Des Moines and a guest contributor to Brown Iowa.Com.

Barack's Rock: Michelle Obama on the cover of Newsweek

Michelle Obama is the cover of Newsweek. If you'd like a peek at the article, go HERE.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Should Sen. Barack Obama attend Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union?

Hmmmm... What do y'all think?

Smiley: He’s ‘Catching Hell’ in Flap Over Refusal to Allow Michelle Obama to Sub for Barack

Date: Friday, February 15, 2008
By: Michael Cottman,

The role African-Americans will play in the 2008 presidential election and the mobilization of 2,000 volunteers to rebuild the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Katrina will be the focus of this year’s annual "State of the Black Union" symposium, hosted and presented by commentator Tavis Smiley in New Orleans.

Smiley will host a conversation with 24 noted politicians, educators, social scientists, business leaders and clergy, exploring the theme, "Reclaiming our Democracy, Deciding our Future," on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Ernest E. Morial Convention Center.
It’s the Obama-Smiley controversy that has generated recent discussion on black radio and on the Internet where some blacks have taken Smiley to task.

"I’m catching hell," Smiley acknowledged in an interview.

THEN.....from The Roland Report at
Why Obama should skip Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union

Sen. Barack Obama took a lot of heat last year from participants in Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union annual confab, which was held in Virginia. To be fair, he was a little busy that day...announcing HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!

...Tavis has announced that he will hold his State of the Black Union annual talkfest on Feb. 23 in New Orleans, La. This is a huge event attended by thousands each year; broadcast on C-SPAN; and attracts some of the nation's top black activists, politicians and intellectuals...

In his commentary, Smiley said he was going to snap on those who don't attend on Tuesday's show...Here is my analysis of the situation, and hopefully it will put this presidential campaign and the delicate task of navigating the waters of black politics in perspective.

1. Clinton MUST attend. She led Obama in all of 2007 among black voters by huge margins. But that trend has shifted -dramatically. At best, she's polling at 25% among African Americans. Her acceptance is critical because she needs to capture 30% to 40% of the black to really stop Obama.

The perceived racial slights toward Obama by Clinton campaign surrogates, as well as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has done significant damage in the black community. His attempts to explain the comments haven't mollified African Americans. Her appearance at the event can help her restore her standing among a vital Democratic constituency, which she will need to turn out en masse if she wins the nomination.

Also, her campaign doesn't have the cash Obama has. She needs any free media. And if Obama shows up, that means all the national media will be there, and the stage is set for her. Tavis said on the air that he would push for the candidates to debate the issues. She's called for more; Obama has only accepted two.

Smart politics on her part, and if I were advising her, no doubt I would tell her to attend.

2. Obama must look forward, not in the past. The Louisiana primary, which he won handily, was on Saturday. Why go back to Louisiana for an event on Feb. 23? That is not to dismiss the needs of people along the Gulf Coast. But the only way he can truly help them is if he wins the nomination and the White House.

Obama needs to be solely focused on Texas and Ohio. Those two mega-states offer a huge bounty of delegates, and he needs to win a large state to move ahead of Clinton. She polls strongly in both states, and they are a huge part of her winning strategy; so much of her time will be spent there in the coming weeks.

All his time must be on the ground. In Texas, he must blanket South Texas because of the Hispanic influence. He didn't do well among Hispanics in California, and he must change that.

There is some hope (no pun intended). When former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk ran in 2002 for the U.S. Senate, he took 74 percent of South Texas. Yes, an Hispanic was running for governor, but that bodes well for Obama. In Ohio, he must do well among blue collar Democrats. Clinton has owned these low- to middle-income voters, and Obama must score well among them.

If Tavis wanted to have an impact, he should have held his event before Louisiana or before the Mississippi primary. As the saying goes, bad planning on your part doesn't constitute a sense of urgency on mine.

3. He can't be defined again as the black candidate. Some will say he must avoid black folks to be more palatable to whites and Hispanics. I disagree. But you can't deny the reality that he's running for president of the United States and not president of Black America. The week of the South Carolina was all about race, and he knows that is not a winning discussion because of this nation's history. His campaign successfully beat back that issue since South Carolina, winning nearly all-white states like Utah, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, and Nebraska.

Obama is looking to have mass appeal, and showing up in New Orleans at a State of the Black Union event doesn't help him at all in a close race.

4. Send Michelle Obama. What is the purpose of surrogates if you can't make it somewhere? His wife is perfectly suited for this event, and that frees him up to go elsewhere. Plus, he's his top surrogate, and having a female counter your female opponent isn't a bad matchup.

Ask any campaign manager and they will tell you that when it comes to politics, especially in a close race, every minute matters. Candidates are on the phone lines campaigning, trying to raise money, and secure endorsements.

Spending the day with Tavis and his panelists is vital for Clinton. For Obama, time spent courting Latinos in Texas is more important.

African Americans are asking a lot of Obama, the best chance blacks have ever had of one of their own capturing the White House. I often hear folks say they want to know if he is going to back "their" issues. It is no different than how white women are feeling about Clinton. These are indeed historic firsts.

By the way, when people say that black issues are being ignored in the campaign, they are wrong.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation's most prestigious think tank devoted to African American issues, released a survey showing that the top issues to blacks are the war in Iraq; healthcare; jobs and the economy; and education.

Sounds to me like the candidates have spent a lot of time on those issues, although they could always do more.

As an aside, when I asked my radio listeners on WVON in Chicago if Obama should skip the event, we got 29 calls in two hours, and only two said he should go. And this is a crowd that is normally in agreement with Smiley.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Worried about SuperDelegates Hijacking Democracy?

Then click on the following links:

Democracy for America -Voters Decide

Superdelegate Transparency Project

Here is what we're up against - from The Boston Globe

Clinton is determined to "take the Democratic nomination even if she does not win the popular vote" with a plan to "persuade enough superdelegates to vote for her at the convention." Clinton "will not concede the race to Obama if he wins a greater number of pledged delegates by the end of the primary season, and will count on the 796 elected officials and party bigwigs to put her over the top, if necessary, said Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama on Cover of Ebony- In Our Lifetime

Barack Obama is on the cover of the March 2008 Issue of Ebony.

The title on the cover is:

- Are we really witnessing the election of the nation's First Black President?

It's not a bad article, and the one thing I appreciate is that they list a number of Obama's ' Black Circle' (take that Andrew Young).



I thought a some more about that headline.


Three simple words that convey so much in them.

I've written elsewhere that, as this campaign has gone on, I've been collecting stories and especially pictures. The ones that bring me to tears sometimes, are the ones of our elders and the ones of our youth.

I wondered elsewhere, just who was this vote for Obama FOR? Is this vote for him for US? Or is it for our past and our future? For those who have lived and seen things we never did, and for those yet to come. I came to the conclusion that Barack Obama is for my 80 year-old mother and my not-yet-born great-niece.

Both my parents were closing in on 50 when I was born (46 &48). The world of their childhoods and early adulthoods had changed dramatically, and the world I was born into wasn't theirs. My parents were born in the Jim Crow South: Mama- Mississippi, Daddy -Tennessee.

If my father hadn't of come North, he would have been 43 years old before he would have experienced freely ' full citizenship' in this country, and that was AFTER he had put his life on the line for his country.

In Our Lifetime.

I think about my parents and what they experienced, and how they fought so that I wouldn't have to experience it. How so clearly, they see Obama as what they fought FOR, as well as a gift to those yet to come.

I think about my great-niece, soon to join the family in May. Half African-American, Half Mexican-American, she will enter into a world not remotely like the one of her great-grandmother. She will grow up in a world where the blending of America is her life, and will think nothing of it. She will literally BE the ' diversity' that is bandied about so frequently. Most of all, it's possible, she will sit, in that 8th grade history class, years from now, bored out of her mind, as the teacher drones on about President Obama. But, more importantly, sitting in that class, bored with her, will be other Black, White, Hispanic, Asian boys and girls.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Clean Sweep for Obama Today

Senator Barack Obama has won:
Washington Caucus
Nebraska Caucus
Louisiana Primary
U.S. Virgin Islands Caucus

Washington Caucus Results
Obama - 67%
Clinton- 31%

Nebraska Caucus Results
Obama - 68%
Clinton- 32%

Louisiana Primary
Obama - 57%
Clinton- 36%

U.S. Virgin Islands Caucus
Obama - 90%
Clinton - 8%

Delegate totals from the states- from DailyKos:



66 delegates
23 Obama
15 Hillary
18 still unassigned

Obama's projections was for a 31-25 take in Louisiana.


24 delegates
16 Obama
8 Hillary
2 still unassigned

Obama's projection was for a 15-9 take in Nebraska, so he got an extra delegate.


78 delegates
52 Obama
26 Hillary

I shifted from CNN projections to that of the Washington State Democratic Party chair's estimate. The number is tentative until confirmed. Obama's projection was for a 49-29 take in Washington, which would mean an extra three delegates from what he expected.

US Virgin Islands

3 delegates
3 Obama
0 Hillary
0 still unassigned

Obama's projection was for a 2-1 take in the USVI, so these results would mean an extra delegate from what they hoped to get.

All in all, a nice night for Senator Obama. Wins in the Pacific Northwest, The Deep South, and The Heartland Middle.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Officers Reach out to Asian Community to Learn Cultural Differences

By Dawn Campbell

* Asians represent an image of peacefulness which makes many conclude this community is not in need of law enforcement assistance.
* According to the 2006 Census, there are approximately 45,647 Asian Pacific Islanders in Iowa.
* 70 to 80 percent of Vietnamese bear the names of Nguyen, Le, Phan or Tran.

These are just three of the interesting facts that Des Moines Police Officers, Polk County Sheriffs and officers from surrounding communities will learn from Asian community leaders during training at the Des Moines Regional Police Academy.

Due to cultural differences, Des Moines Police Department officials felt this training was important for officers. It is understood in law enforcement that Asians do not contact police due to a belief that police in the United State act like police back in their homeland. In Asia, some police are corrupt. Police are often viewed by some as the law breakers in the Asian societies.

“It is excellent to have this training,” stated Mira Yusef, executive director of Monsoon, United Asian Women of Iowa. “It is a beginning. . . and it’s important to have collaborations.”

This training is especially important to Yusef. Monsoon is an organization which focuses on domestic and sexual violence. Officers learned that some Asian women feel isolated due to language barriers, the fear of retaliation from their families and embarrassment. Yusef explained that domestic violence is not limited to Asian womens' spouses; it can also be received from the womens' extended family.

Vinh Nguyen, a Vietnamese community leader, provided officers an historical perspective of his community. He told officers of the four types of Vietnamese who make up this community. There is the first generation of immigrants which came to Iowa in approximately 1975. Secondly, there are the "boat people." This particular group of people escaped Vietnam in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s by boat. Nguyen personally belongs to this group, he said. Then there are AmerAsians. This particular group of individuals was allowed in the country because one of their parents happened to be an American G.I. Lastly, there is a group called South Vietnamese. These individuals spent time in concentration camps and were allowed into the states as part of an embargo agreement with the United States, he said.

One crucial piece of information officers learned was the role of community in Asian cultures. Lang Deng and Swallow Yan from The Chinese Association of Iowa explained drug use, alcoholism and domestic violence are managed by those in the community. It was reiterated that police are feared because of a concern that they have negative motives when interacting with citizens, he said.

Officers were left with one last thought prior to the end of training. Senior Police Officer Doua Lor, who is also the Asian Resource Officer, advised officers not to be offended if Asians, especially elders, do not look officers in the eye while holding conversations.

East Village Neighborhood Based Service Delivery Sergeant Misti Allison stated her opinion of the training. “I think it helps us a lot when responding to a call to assist them to know their beliefs and how they feel. I also thought it was good when Doua (Lor) talked about how they will not look you right in the eye when talking to you but that it is not disrespectful that is just how they are taught.”

Lor, who coordinated the training, continually looks for ways to bridge the gap between law enforcement and Asian communities. After officer training, Lor will turn his attention to organizing the Asian Citizens Police Academy. This program will teach the Asian community about the organizational structure and services provided by the police department.

Top photo: Vinh Nguyen, a Vietnamese community leader discussing the Vietnamese community.

Group Photo: Front Row - L to R: Leng Dang (Chinese), Senior Police Officer Doua Lor (Hmong), Alta Sissocco (Filipino), Lori Baccam (Tai Dam), Mira Yusef (Filipino), Alma Reed (Filipino) and Public Information Officer Vince Valdez

Back Row L to R: Don Phommachakr (Lao), Vinh Nguyen (Vietnamese), and Swallow Yan (Chinese)

*The group the community leaders represented is in parentheses.