NBCBLK28: Simone Manuel: Breaking Myths and Making History

When she was younger, Olympic gold-medal swimmer Simone Manuel found inspiration in Venus and Serena Williams. The beaded, braided tennis phenoms were Black and excellent, inspiring children the world over with their total domination of a sport usually seen as reserved for white people.

Fast forward to now. Kids the world over are still finding inspiration in the Williams sisters. And Manuel.

Said the Olympian: “I think it’s pretty cool that someone else can see me and realize, ‘hey, this is something I can try, this is something I can be good at,’ just to not set limitations on some of the goals they may have.”

Judith Browne Dianis is ‘Stepping to the Front’ in the Fight For Racial Justice

Since its beginning in 1999, Judith Browne Dianis has been a part of Advancement Project, a multi-racial, non-profit civil rights organization that works through innovative strategies and community alliances.

Last year she was named executive director, which she says is an exciting opportunity to truly make her mark. “We can dream big and figure out how to make those big dreams come true,” Browne Dianis said.

President Obama Is Nobody’s N-word, Despite Trump’s Putin Dog Whistle

PHILADELPHIA – Since the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama’s opponents have tried to make him something he is not: an angry black man and/or some foreign “other” not entitled to claim the American story as his own.

President Obama, with his Democratic National Convention speech on Wednesday night, answered back. He both endorsed Hillary Clinton and defended America—and himself—against all the insult thrown in Cleveland by Republicans last week.

Again, he thwarted Republican nominee Donald Trump, who had commandeered all the headlines with his latest outrage, all with the simple act of repeating America’s founding principles and reminding listeners of its promise and triumphs in the face of challenges.

“That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it, we embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own,” Obama said.

My White Husband Loves Guns, Our Black Son Does Not

My husband likes guns – a lot. He collects a variety of pistols, rifles and shotguns and likes to shoot targets at the range and, occasionally, skeet.

When a clever squirrel figures out how to raid his fenced-in garden, he has been known to pick up the air rifle to scare it off. He once bought a pistol for me to carry in my car when I would return home very late from my copy editing job in Tucson, Ariz., where getting a gun was as easy as going to a shop and telling the clerk you weren’t a dangerous criminal. But once we moved back East, I was fine with keeping my distance.

Though guns are not an interest I share, his hobby never did more than amuse me—because you know how it is with married couples: compromise. He doesn’t join me on every theater outing, either. But the first time he took our young son to the range to enjoy the gun experience, I stopped smiling.

Will ‘Campaign Trail Obama’ Energize Black Women for Hillary?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In his two successful presidential campaigns, President Barack Obama enjoyed the unequivocal support of black women—even those not named Michelle.

African-American women had the highest voter turnout rate than any other group in 2008 and 2012, and thus an outsized say in the result—and not just by flexing their influence at the ballot box.

Many African-American women did the tough work of registering voters,canvassing neighbors and relatives and making sure not to miss the beauty salons and barbershops, and those supporters included celebrities such as Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, who made the rounds in Charlotte in 2012.

To win in 2016, the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton cannot just rely on the gaffes of her apparent opponent Donald Trump. She needs to energize the Obama electorate, and, while the young people on that list flirted with her primary competition Bernie Sanders and have not historically been the most reliable voters, African-American women have already shown their historical dependability.

Ali Stood for Principle Despite Costs, a Lesson for Today’s Politicians

They were gone in an hour. All 15,000 tickets to Friday’s public memorial service for Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., were gone that quickly. Lines stretched around the block, with the crowd shouting “Ali” when the box office opened on Wednesday, a tribute to the spirit of a man whose boxing career was finished before some in the line were born.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), in introducing a resolution this week honoring the life and legacy of Ali, called him “a great American” and “a true champion for humanity,” whose “talents transcended the ring into the global community where he selflessly put the interests of helping others above his own.” Butterfield’s resolution said Ali “stood on principle to end racism and bigotry.”

Principled is not what anyone would call the words and actions this week from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a recently declared supporter of Donald Trump, to lead the Republican Party presidential ticket in November. Ryan called Trump’s based-on-ethnicity attack on an American judge of Mexican descent hearing a case against Trump University the “textbook definition of a racist comment.” Then he said he is still in Trump’s corner.

 

Was the Obama-Wilmore Duo Too Black for the Room?

In Hollywood, filmmakers often complain that projects with characters of color hit a wall when it comes to finding funding. “Can’t the hero have a white friend?” ask the suits in the front offices of major studios. I thought of that as I watched two African-American men – President Barack Obama and comedian Larry Wilmore – take center stage at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner without a white friend, unless you count Joe Biden.

Report: Challenges, Opportunities and the Legacy of Shirley Chisholm

It is fitting that a report on the status of black women in American politics was released in celebration of the life and legacy of Shirley Chisholm on what would have been the late congresswoman’s 91st birthday.

Chisholm, who died in 2005, was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968. Her barrier-breaking campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1972 contest paved the way for both President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

“Voices. Votes. Leadership. The Status of Black Women in American Politics,”released on Monday by Higher Heights in partnership with the Center for American Women and Politics and Political Parity, discusses both the challenges and opportunities for black women to use their considerable political power to expand their political representation.

Convention CEO Leah Daughtry Makes History, Represents Generations

The Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, the Chief Executive Officer of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, has a hard act to follow — her own.

She already has plans to make next July’s Philadelphia gathering “the most diverse and the most forward-looking convention that we’ve had in recent history,” she told NBCBLK in a recent conversation. “We’ve got so much technology at our disposal, so many cutting-edge things that are on the horizon that really reflect the way the way people live and work and play in the 21st century.”

Daughtry had history on her side her first time as convention CEO in Denver in 2008, when Barack Obama was nominated to lead the presidential ticket. She understands the challenge ahead.

Bernie Sanders & Cornel West Go To South Carolina. Were Black Voters Listening?

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Can Bernie Sanders, the surging candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, break through Hillary Clinton’s Southern firewall by making inroads with black voters? With a little help and a hearty warm up from African-American academic and activist Cornel West during a South Carolina swing, Sanders must hope so.