The 2018 Primary Election is upon us. Tuesday May 12, 2018 is the date. Polls open at 7am and close at 8pm. You’re going to vote, right?
In primary elections registered Republicans vote for Republican candidates and registered Democrats will vote Democrat candidates. Independents are unable to vote in the primary.
The most notable race is between incumbent, Congressman (R) Tom Marino and his challenger Doug McLinko of Bradford county. What makes this race so interesting is the 60 Minutes/Washington Post exposé of the legislation that Marino sponsored that made DEA investigations of large drug pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers more difficult to pursue. The large companies allegedly oversold medications and fueled the Opioid epidemic. At one point Marino was being considered to be Trump’s drug czar but he withdrew his name citing personal reasons. And due to the successful legal challenges in court against gerrymandering, Marino’s old 10th Congressional District has been changed to the new 12th Congressional District. Will the Republicans re-elect Marino? (If you live in Williamsport you now live in the new 12th district.)
In other news, Congressman (R) Lou Barletta is running for US Senator. His challenger is Jim Christiana.
On the Democrat side, Senator (D) Bob Casey and Governor (D) Tom Wolf are up for re-election and are running unopposed in the primary.
Two Democrats, Marc Friedenburg and Judy Hershel, are jockeying for Marino’s seat come November.
And newcomer Airneezer Paige is running for State Representative, 83rd District seat. She lives in South Williamsport and is very active in community affairs and has hosted the radio show, Community Connections on WXPI Radio 88.9 FM.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, for Young Black Males (for ages 15 through 34) -United States, in 2014 is homicide.
The number 1 ranked cause of death for black men by age (2014):
15-19….Homicide – 48.6%
20-24….Homicide – 47.7%
25-34….Homicide – 31.9%
Homicide drops down to third place for ages 35-44…12.9%
Homicide drops down to seventh place for ages 45-54…3.3%
Homicide is not even listed as leading cause of death for black males aged 55 and above (Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke are the top three leading causes of death for black men after age 55.)
Based on this information it can be assumed high rates of homicide is connected to early manhood among black men and boys. By their mid-thirties homicide rates drop precipitously.
Homicide is not the Leading Cause of Death of White Men at any age.
Written during a cold November, AAPN publisher, Richard James had some thoughts about LOVE. Thirty days worth…
Day 1 – What is LOVE? My answer: Sacrifice for the joy of the other.
Day 2 – What is LOVE? The strengthening and encouragement for the other to reach their highest potential.
Day 2 – What is LOVE? An understanding of mutual respect. An deep appreciation for the other.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? The knowing that the other will be there for you when you are no longer attractive or when you are sick or when you are penniless.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? It is irrational trust in the other. It is the risk of being hurt. It is the lowering of your defenses.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? Perhaps love is hard to define. And I am no expert, that’s for sure. But I am pretty sure what LOVE is not: selfish manipulation, oppressive control tactics and exploitation. LOVE is none of these things.
LOVE is never abusive or deceptive.
And I doubt seriously that LOVE is violent. Violence comes from anger and anger comes from fear. And FEAR is not LOVE.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? When Mother Theresa went to Calcutta India for the first time, the story goes, she was a young woman. She saw a woman dying in the gutter. She stopped the car that she traveling in, got out and held the woman in her arms. The woman gave a smile of gratitude then she died. that was an act of love.
Unfortunately, some people never know LOVE.
Day 4 – What is LOVE? It is recognizing our own faults, limitations, dysfunctional behaviors and correcting them for the betterment of the relationship, the other’s growth and for the self.
Day 5 – What is LOVE? Love is a healing thing. Don’t confuse the NEED to be loved with LOVE. The hunger for love can bring disastrous results. Our craving to be loved short circuits our judgement and renders common sense useless.
LOVE builds us up, not tear us down.
Day 6 – What is LOVE? Sometimes it is a non-verbal expression like a smile, a gentle touch, or a wave goodbye. Sometimes it is implicit rather than explicit. Recognizing it requires great skill and wisdom.
Day 7 – What is LOVE? People used to say, “Love is not having to say you’re sorry.” I disagree. We are all imperfect human beings who are prone to make mistakes. We are likely to hurt the ones we love. LOVE is the deep remorse for causing pain in the other and the resultant healing of the relationship through forgiveness.
Day 7 – What is LOVE? It is when someone does something special for you, because you are in their life. In other words… If you were not present, nowhere to be found, the other would miss you. They recognize the gift of life and how fragile it is. They value every precious moment when you are with them. Because one day the inevitable separation will occur.
Day 8 – What is LOVE? “Love is like a beautiful butterfly resting in the palm of your hand. Appreciate it, admire it, cherish it but don’t try to hold on to it. Controlling it will only destroy its beauty, will only crush it.”
Day 9 – What is LOVE? It’s gently nagging the other to take care of themselves. It is nudging them to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. It is reminding them that they are not alone in this world and that they have friends that care about them.
Day 10 – What is LOVE? Time is probably our most precious possession. Each of us have an unknown, finite amount. How we use our time is our choice. Choosing spend time with a friend is a great gift of LOVE.
Day 11 – What is LOVE? It is telling the other the TRUTH when they don’t want to hear it. But truth telling is tricky business. Truth can be used to hurt or heal someone. We must examine our motives before speaking our inner thoughts. Some truths are best left unsaid. Speak the truth with LOVE. (You might lose a friend but you could save a life.) The TV reality show INTERVENTION comes to mind. Relatives and friends eventually refuse to support dysfunctional behavior and they reveal their true feelings for the sake of the one at risk.
It is a painful process but not hurtful.
Day 12 – What is LOVE? Love is wanting to be with the other even when it is impractical.
Day 13 – What is LOVE? A co-worker told me of her hardships in the taking care of her husband who was bed-ridden. She couldn’t afford a nursing home. She took a part-time job at the bookstore where we both worked to pay the bills. One day she said, “Richard, how does a 110 lb. woman lift a 180 lb. man? By attitude!” She said a nursing home manager had gave her some advice, “If you don’t think of it as a problem – it won’t be.”
Day 14 – What is LOVE? It crosses all boundaries. It does not respect social conventions. It turns up in the most unlikely of places. It is not logical. It cannot be bound or restricted. It survives even DEATH.
Day 15 – What is LOVE? It is the unifying characteristic of music. (See the video by Playing for Change, Higher Ground.
Day 16 – What is LOVE? It is the caring for the other. It is caring for each other. It is NOT using the other for our own selfish interests.
Pedophilia is the opposite of LOVE. Sexual child abuse is an illness, perhaps an evil. The sexual gratification of children by an adult creates deep psychological and emotional scars that could last the entire lifetime of the victim.
Sexual abuse destroys trust, creates anxiety, sexual confusion and feelings of shame and guilt. The child almost always believes that she/he was at fault.
Why does this happen? Who knows. But it is my guess that the offender, the perpetrator, the defiler was/is so consumed with his own pain that he didn’t care about the others he hurt.
Statistic: 1-in-four women have been sexually abused when they were children. (1-in-6 for men) Quite often the abuser is a close friend or family member.
How do we stop the epidemic? I have few suggestions;
1. LOVE the survivors of sexual abuse. Appreciate their courage of living beyond the trauma.
2. Scrutinize all who work or interact with children. This sounds harsh but pedophiles will hide themselves among those who are close to children.
3. Report sexual abuse to police.
4. Now’s here’s the kicker… No doubt you agreed with the first suggestion, “Love the survivor of sexual abuse.” But what if the survivor was also an abuser? Sexual abuse is like a contagious disease. It can spread like a virus.
Can we love the abuser? Can we love thine enemy?
If you can LOVE the lowest of the low, then you truly know what LOVE is. Loving is not easy.
Day 17 – What is LOVE? It is the warm feeling you feel when you know – without a doubt – that you are loved. It is the comfort of knowing that others value you. And you don’t have to do anything to earn their love. This allows you to face the world’s problems with confidence, because you know that someone has your back.
Day18 – What is LOVE? Does love cross species lines? Watch the YouTube clip, then you decide.
Day 19 – What is LOVE? It is doing something nice for somebody else. Just a little something to make that person’s life a little bit easier. It is doing something to show appreciation and affection without expecting anything in return.
Day 20 – What is LOVE? It is fond anticipation of enjoying each other’s company during a holiday like thanksgiving.
Day 21 – What is LOVE? It is discipline. It is the “going the extra mile” for the other. It is doing something you don’t want to do, but you will do it because it will benefit the other. Example: Good parents sacrifice themselves for their children in order for their children to grow up healthy. This self discipline is very difficult and can require tremendous personal effort.
Day 22 – What is LOVE? It is said to be an enduring flame that is never extinguished. I suppose this is true. But for some, it is more like a flickering candle in a strong wind. It might not go out but its light is erratic.
Day 23 – What is LOVE? Whatever it is, it is often complicated.
Day 24 – What is LOVE? It is being grateful that the other is in your life. It is appreciation. It is saying “thank you” in a thousand ways. It is the inward smile you get when you know that you are loved.
Day 24 – What is LOVE? Enjoying family on Thanksgiving Day.
Day 25 – What is LOVE? The “love of self” creates high self-esteem. Self respect enables individuals to endure the “troubles of life”. It is the road less traveled. Most people conform. They cower in the darkness of common wisdom. Most people disregard their sense of integrity or self worth to gain the benefits of this material world.
The person that LOVES him/herself is courageous. They have high standards. They compromise only in the interest of all involved. They won’t sell out for personal gain.
Self love is not egotism. Self love is not narcissism. Dr. Martin Luther King said it this way, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” A healthy love of self lift others up. Standing up straight when the winds of change and uncertainty swirl around you, sets an example for others.
Self love is valuing yourself when others won’t.
Day 26 – What is LOVE? Endurance. Persistence. Perseverance. Most of us have had individuals in our lives that truly cared for us, especially when we were the most vulnerable – when we were children. Usually, but not always, these persons were our parents. Sometimes another member of the family like an aunt or a grandmother took the role of nurturer or provider. In extraordinary cases, it might have been a friend or an acquaintance. For them, the sufferings that they had to endure was a “Labor of LOVE”.
Day 27 – What is LOVE? Well, how about this one… love your body? Think about it, its the only one you got. Some consider the body to be a temple. It is irresponsible to treat it badly. Do this: bend over and touch your toes. If you can’t, you are out of shape. Of course there may be medical reasons why a person could do such a simple task, but for most Americans it is due to a lack of exercise. Keeping your body healthy is a form of self love. (Simple stretching exercises, done slowly over a consistent period of time will loosen tight muscles. Limber up.)
Abusing your body speaks to larger psychological and emotional problems. Please get the help you need. Illegal drug use, excessive eating and drinking (or dieting), smoking, and overworking are signs of deeper issues.
Day 28 – What is LOVE? It is the ability to let go and let live. Life is full of separations. People zip in and out of our lives all the time. Most, we will never see again. As we approach the ending of another year, take a moment to remember old friends. Wish them well. (See photo above)
“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
And for those who are still in your life, appreciate their presence.
And if you’re lucky to experience a homecoming, a reuniting, a reconnection with an old friend or relative… cherish the moment. (Like a soldier returning from war. Bring the troops home.)
Day 29 – What is LOVE? Common courtesy. It is treating the other the way you would want to be treated. It is an acknowledgement of universal equality.
We all have hopes, fears, desires, secrets, past mistakes that we must deal with everyday. No one is exempt. No one is perfect. We all have feelings. We all are vulnerable.
Understanding the other’s point of view is huge first step toward peaceful co-existence. Being civil in an uncivilized world requires the courage to be a non-conformist. Loving can be a revolutionary action. The golden rule can be considered a manifesto of LOVE. Treating each other with respect and dignity, is a radical idea.
After India, Nigeria will have the fastest growing population on the planet. In fact, Nigeria is likely to over take the United States in terms of population numbers. The continent of Africa is growing, and is ripe for economic development or invasion and exploitation…again.
Globally, fertility rates have been dropping, but Africa’s birth rate far exceeds the rest of the world. And Europe’s birth rate has basically flat lined. The infertility of highly developed countries means a higher average of older populations – persons living past their prime productive years.
This could signal a shift of world power centers. Instead of New York, Washington DC, London, and Moscow, we could see Lagos, CapeTown and Addis Ababa as the prime centers of the world’s wealth and global politics by 2050.
Be on the lookout for major shifts in the investment strategies in Africa. President’s Trump’s shit hole nations are about to take center stage.
A dozen years ago in Williamsport Pennsylvania, the downtown area was languishing. With barely any foot traffic, store fronts were empty and For Lease signs were everywhere. The downtown was on the verge of becoming a ghost town.
But a group of citizens, community leaders, merchants and elected officials embarked on a downtown improvement campaign which included a First Friday celebration of the arts and artisans. Artists were encouraged to sell their wares on the sidewalks of the main drag, Fourth Street. Eventually, the crowds from neighboring communities came to the urban center of Williamsport. First Fridays became a successful effort to revive center city.
Khalil Baines, his family and Krystal Richardson of the Peace in the Port organization intends to duplicate that success by establishing a First Saturday event in the downtown business district. But, his idea has a twist. He wants to memorialize the victims of violence and to promote peaceful living in Williamsport… i.e. Peace in the Port.
Baines sent out a statement regarding the first First Saturday of 2018: “Peace in the Port is all about community, we’re tired of seeing more negativity than positiv in our hometown and feel we can change this and want change together. With peace and love for diversity and a common goal- to treat one another as you would like to be treated. On May 5th we want City officials , Police, Firefighters, neighbors , friends, workers , farmers , students, youth\ elders and everyone from Williamsport come together to network connections. To talk about goals we can make and communicate with one another. Come up with a plan of action on what we want to see within our city. So if you believe we can do this please join us May 5th and be apart of something big Peace in your hometown The Port God Bless”
African-American Perspective Newsletter publisher, Richard James, has been keeping track of the gun violence in Williamsport, a small city of roughly 29,000 people. He supports Mr. Baines’ Peace in the Port’s objectives. Visit the Peace in the Port movement Facebook page.
The other form of violence is illegal drug addiction and the Heroin/Opioid epidemic. The Lycoming County Coroner announced that there were 38 overdose deaths in 2017. (Statement from the Lycoming County Coroner’s Office, December 2017: “So far this year we have investigated 38 drug deaths here in Lycoming County for 2017 and 98 deaths in the past 3 years. Over 4,880 addicted persons died in PA in 2016 and the numbers will be much higher in 2017. We need to continue to push the addicted towards treatment and continue prevention efforts to save lives.
Have a Merry Christmas and Safe Happy New Year!!”
Gun violence and opioid overdoses are destroying the lives of our young people. Mr. Baines and his Peace in the Port crew wants to change that. Come out and enjoy First Saturday.
“Litter is hard to see, we have become desensitized to its presence.” By posting the numerous photos, James hoped to dislodge the social blindness from the public’s daily life experience. “I had to raise the awareness.” James said.
But, sharing photos of fast food containers, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, old tires, beer cans and plastic bags was not enough. Action was needed.
Richard James created a film of him picking up litter on the River Walk in Williamsport and he showed it to the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, an organization dedicated to restoring community connections to the Susquehanna River. That got the ball rolling.
He also notified Williamsport City Council of his plans to promote a city-wide cleanup during the week just prior to Earth Day – April 15 through to April 22, 2018. Here is the transcript of his presentation at a City Council meeting on March 29, 2018:
Hello, Good evening. My name is Richard James, I live at 610 West Fourth Street.
I am starting a… organizing event to clean up Williamsport. A couple of days ago, I was on the River Walk and I was walking and I saw a lot of trash. And so, I decided to pick it up. Then a week later I came back and… the section near the Maynard Street Bridge… it was filled with litter again. So that’s when I recognized that just one person… is futile. We are going to need the whole city to engage in this effort. Earth Day is coming up in April. It is going to be on a Sunday. And the Newberry people will be holding their annual cleanup on Saturday the 21st. So, then that’s when I got the bright idea that we make this city-wide and have the whole city engaged! Twenty-nine thousand people picking up litter! I know that is a bit ambitious but it can be done. I mean except for those folks that are physically unable. And we can get a jump on all this litter.
I have been documenting it for the last couple of days and posting it on Facebook. And you won’t believe the amount of trash that is out there. Especially if you are in a car it is hard to see. If you are walking it is a little bit easier, like you’re on the ground and you start to see the bottles, the trash, the cigarette butts, all kinds of stuff. You would not believe it.
I am asking for a community wide, community based effort and I am inviting everybody in this room to come out and pick up some litter. I decided it would be great to have it as a week long event. And it would be designed for individuals and groups and businesses to pick their best times, a convenient time for them to do the work. So from April 15th to the 22nd we are asking people to come out and clean up their yards, clean up their blocks, clean up their neighborhoods from one end of the city to the other.
I am working with the Newberry people, I also talked with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership and we are negotiating on how we are going to clean up the River Walk and I have talked to the Adult Probation Office. Maybe we can get some people that serve their community service to help in that regard.
And so, at this point, this is just a FYI and I hope to be talking to some members of City Council in the next couple of weeks, public safety, and some other issues to round it out. Thank you.
If you wish to join Mr. James and his friends in the city wide cleanup, he offers a few guidelines:
It looks like litter comes from 3 primary sources. People droppings, unsecure truck loads, and improper trash handling. People tossing trash from their cars is a big problem. Governments quite frankly can’t keep up. Lycoming County and the state wants to keep track of the amount of litter collected.
Carry two bags with you; one for biodegradable material and one for recyclables. (Biodegradable is any thing organic. Tree leaves, etc. Recyclables are cardboard, paper, plastics.)
Be safe. Pay attention to the traffic at all times. Don’t risk your life trying to reach a piece of litter. Be sure to wear work gloves or garden gloves.
You might need a rake and a shovel, but in most cases, the litter just needs to be picked up.
Avoid trespassing. Pick up litter that is clearly in public spaces. (this is a good opportunity to get to know your neighbors! Say hello.)
Take a photo of your work and your team! Post the photos to social media using the hashtag #WilliamsportCleanUp
Have some fun. Enjoy the day. Meet new people. Be sure to tell your friends. We want this effort to grow into a movement of civic responsibility. We’re already making plans for next year’s Earth Day week!
Here’s a message from Corey Ellison of Susquehanna Greenway Partnership Richard James regarding his promotion of the event, “… ask for them to track their # of volunteers, # of hours they participated in the cleanup, how far/# of blocks or miles they cleaned up, and if possible to weigh their collected litter. To weigh the litter, a simple bathroom scale with plastic wrap over it would work. This would help us to show a collective impact of the whole week, and would help to set benchmarks to support a larger effort next year. They are welcome to send that information to SGP for processing.”
Jewel Johnson, owner of Jewel’s Signature Cookin’ Restaurant at 247 Campbell street in Williamsport is a black woman that has known her share of struggle, but she continues to persevere.
She hails from a business-minded family, so it made perfect sense for her to open her own business. She said, “I am like a robot! I am passionate about my business.”
She also said that she likes to help people. She wants to give back to the community. She has plans to offer free meals to the top 20 honor roll high school students to appreciate their academic excellence.
A well travelled friend told her, “Jewel, I have been too many restaurants, but nobody can touch your food.” She is very proud to receive that compliment. She said she offers “no less than the best”.
Only the best ingredients goes into her recipes which was handed to her from her mother. Her family comes from Alabama via Chester Pennsylvania. The cuisine is a soulful, southern style cooking.
The atmosphere of Jewel’s Signature Cooking is cozy and comfortable. Sometimes cool Jazz or R&B can heard emanating from the kitchen. “I like to groove to my sounds when I am cooking!” she said.
The restaurant is only open 3 days a week. Jewel said that she has tried other times and days of operation but for right now, Thursday, Friday and Saturday works best. Hours are from 9am to 8pm. On street parking.
There are still a few challenges that Jewel must face. Recently, her landlord passed away which throws an extra bit uncertainty into the success of the 2-year old business. But Jewel is confident and defiant, “I am holding on! You make it the best you can!”
Jewel also offers a catering service for any event. (She bragged, “I can do any event. I served 750 people once!”) She also wants to expand her business to serve Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) customers. “I am always thinking about my business.” Jewel said.
It was Rev. Jesse Jackson who gave Coretta Scott King the bad news… But he lied. He did not tell her the truth regarding the severity of the gun shot wound that felled her husband, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jackson was trying to protect her, to ease her pain. The damage was much worst. The bullet smashed his jaw, and traveled downward into his spinal column. Dr. King was dead.
Fifty years later, African-American Perspective Newsletter publisher Richard James recalls that night… April 4, 1968. “I was in the United States Air Force, stationed at newly computerized radar site in Maine. The commanding officer switched on the TV and asked all the radar operators to abandon their scopes to watch tragic history unfold. My co-workers and I saw the filmed announcement by Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General of the US, brother of slain President Kennedy, tell a crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed. I was paralyzed with sadness but I dared not to cry openly. King, the man with the eloquent voice was gone. Taken away. I was sad. The anger would come later.”
Racial turmoil erupted in the country’s urban centers. The death of a man that promoted non-violent resistance, ironically stirred people to massive random acts of violence. At that time, we did not know that RFK would also be killed by a gunman later that year. Nineteen sixty-eight was a hell of a year.
In honor of Dr. King, let’s do quick review of his life: