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February 21, 2009 - February 27, 2009, February 28, 2009 - March 6, 2009, The Baltimore The Baltimore Afro-American Afro-American A9 A
Young, Black and Green Tavis Smiley Hosts
Continued from A1
Power Shift ’09—a African American to head a Coalition. “We are at a critical
‘Accountability’ Forum
conference organized by the major environmental group point in our nation’s history.
Energy Action Coalition— in the United States, said We have the chance to work
will have twice as many there is a need to “reactivate with our new leadership to
TV host, author adds Baltimore to 10-city tour
participants as the 2007 event, activism” in this country build a new green economy
organizers say. and the way to do that is and address our climate crisis
Even more exciting, by involving all people— with the passage of bold
said Dominique Hazzard, a including the poor and people climate and energy policies.
Wellesley College freshman of color—and by training a We won’t allow this moment
who is organizing students new crop of activists. to pass us by.”
at her alma mater, Oxon “The people of my Hazzard said the Obama
Hill High School in Prince generation have left the youth presidency has “invigorated”
George’s County, is the a mess to fix and we have the green movement. The
increased participation among to prepare them to meet that president has made renewable
historically Black colleges challenge,” said Ringo. energy production, carbon
and high schools. The four-day event aims emissions reduction, energy
Twelve to 15 HBCUs will to do that with a series of conservation and green jobs
participate, including Coppin seminars, workshops and key elements of his economic
and Morgan State universities legislative briefs at which and environmental policy.
in Baltimore, and Howard attendees will be trained to That’s a sea change from the
University in the District. become activists. They also Bush years, she said.
And about 1,300 people of will hear from experts like “For eight years under
color are registered, up from James Hansen, a NASA President Bush, we were Courtesy Photo
200 participants two years In this file photo,Tavis Smiley speaks to participants at a forum.
ago.
“Traditionally, the
environmental movement has
“…the fight for a clean
By Alan King non-profit organizations, Kerry ran,” he said. “When
AFRO Staff Writer community leaders and Obama started running,
been perceived as something
for upper- or middle-class
environment is a
individual citizens to move people didn’t want me to
Barely four months toward effecting change. raise those issues…because
Whites…we’ve traditionally
been left out of the continuation of the Civil Rights
since taking somewhat Bringing the message they wanted the brother to
of a beating during the of accountability, Smiley get elected by any means
movement,” Hazzard said.
presidential elections said he hopes that African necessary.
Kari Fulton, 23, a recent
Movement…”
for calling on then-Sen. Americans are more “The irony of it now, is
Howard University graduate
Barack Obama to be held receptive than they were in that every time President
and national campaign
accountable for his actions, the months leading up to the Obama speaks, he uses the
director for the Environmental scientist and world-renowned banging on the gates and
TV host and bestselling election last year. word ‘accountability,’”
Justice and Climate Change climatologist and Van Jones, no one was listening,”
author Tavis Smiley will During the presidential Smiley added. “That’s the
Initiative, agreed. “This founder of Green for All at the Hazzard said. “[But] Obama
host a town hall meeting primaries, Smiley had taken message I was preaching
movement also, belongs Ella Baker Center for Human believes in climate change
next week in Baltimore. on then-Sen. Barack Obama last year.”
to us, as young African Rights in California; as well and he believes that humans
The topic? in a series of commentaries Supported by facts,
Americans. It is critical for as lawmakers such as Speaker contribute towards climate
Accountability. that began as the Democrat statistics and real-life
us to be involved in this fight of the House Nancy Pelosi change and can do something
Smiley’s “Accountable” from Illinois emerged as the stories, Accountable
for a better future and to (D-Calif.), Reps. Donna about it.”
forum, sponsored by United party’s frontrunner for the examines hard-hitting
participate in shaping the new Christensen (D-V.I.) and Ringo agreed that the time
Healthcare, is part of a 10- presidential nomination in truths about issues the
green economy. The future of Ed Markey, who chairs the seems ripe for meaningful
city tour in support of his early January. country faces while issuing
Black history depends on us Select Committee on Energy climate policy.
new book, Accountable: Days after Obama’s win a call to action to elected
taking advantage of these new Independence and Global “For the first time in
Making America As Good in the Iowa caucus, Smiley officials, community
opportunities.” Warming. history the planets are lined
As Its Promise. The book is had warned on radio’s leaders, corporations and the
Hazzard said the fight Entertainment will be up,” he said. “We have a
co-authored with Stephanie “The Tom Joyner Morning American people.
for a clean environment is provided by The Roots and Congress, White House and
Robinson. Show”: “Don’t fall so madly “How do we help
a continuation of the Civil Santigold. And Howard a people who understand
The forum will be held in love [with Obama] that make President Obama
Rights Movement because too University student Amal the importance of the
March 5 at Enoch Pratt Free you surrender your power to a great president?”
often African Americans and Bennett-Judge, 21, will environment, green jobs
Library on Cathedral Street, hold people accountable.” Smiley asked. Referring
other people of color are the produce “Verde,” an eco- and energy independence
from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The commentary brought to a predecessor that
ones who suffer most from friendly fashion show and how that affects our
“We’re going to walk a firestorm of protest that Obama’s often compared
pollution and environmental featuring high-fashion looks economy.”
through the entire book. included critical phone calls to, he added, “There’s no
degradation as seen in the culled from vintage and The voice that this
We’re going to give people a and e-mails to Smiley, who Abraham Lincoln if there
number of high asthma rates Goodwill stores and clothing administration has given
sense of what’s in the book, replied two days later on the is no Frederick Douglass.
and virulent forms of cancer from urban wear designer to young people—a
and how to use the book,” Joyner show that he stood This book is about how
among poor, often Black and Broccoli City. process begun during the
Smiley told the AFRO in a by his criticism. “It’s all we become the Frederick
Brown, communities. The conference will presidential campaign—and
telephone interview. about accountability,” he Douglass to help him
“Just like civil rights, this culminate in what organizers the possibilities for change
Accountable -- which said at the time. become a better president
is really a social justice issue bill as “the largest lobby day has engendered a sense
completes the trilogy begun This week, Smiley told by helping him push these
at its heart,” she said. “I’m in history,” during which the of hope among young
in 2006 with the Covenant the AFRO that his treatment agenda items that he said
not really concerned with young activists will meet with environmental activists,
with Black America of Obama was no different he wanted to be held
how climate change affects lawmakers and congregate on Fulton said.
–revisits each of the ten than it has been for past accountable to.”
trees and polar bears. What the Capitol’s West Lawn. “Obama brings fresh
covenants discussed in the Democratic presidential Smiley concluded, “This
I’m really concerned about is The gathering reflects, light…he’s broken the glass
first book, and features “A candidates. book is the yardstick to help
how the bad consequences of in part, a newfound sense of ceiling for us,” she said,
Framework for Assessment” “I did it when [Michael] measure whether or not
climate change affect people.” political power among the later adding, “Two thousand
that outlines solutions Dukakis ran, when [Bill] we’re making the kind of
During the weekend, there nation’s youth who, during nine definitely will be a year
offered to political leaders, Clinton ran, when [Al] progress that we need to be
will be panels and workshops the presidential campaigns, when green truly is the new
policymakers, corporations, Gore ran, when [John] making.”
that highlight issues that coalesced around an agenda black.”
impact the Black community, to dramatically reduce carbon
including restoring the Gulf emissions, create millions
Coast, environmental justice, of green jobs and move the
climate change and “eco- nation towards 100 percent
Sustaining a Business
equity.” clean energy.
Fulton said, “This is our “The youth of America
Continued from A4
The summit kicked off Maryland Public Television’s the “Men of Influence
opportunity to be investors in turned out in record numbers
with an evening reception Charles Robinson. Luncheon,” where AFRO
a brand new green industry. to elect a new president and
more than ever, it is critical that included the presentation The summit opened Publisher John “Jake” Oliver
During the industrial Congress in the last election.
for small, minority, and of the diversity trailblazer the following day with was among the honorees
revolution, there were Jim We’re here now to take our
women-owned businesses to awards and a business town the “Women of Influence for the summit’s lifetime
Crow and segregation laws rightful seat at the political
understand the new rules for hall meeting moderated by Breakfast.” It also included achievement award.
that really stopped us from table,” said Jessy Tolkan,
business in 2009,” he said,
being investors and leaders in director of Power Shift and
“and the tactics and strategies
that movement.” organizer of Energy Action
required for success.”
Hazzard added, “We want
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Jerome Ringo, the national
on the Pages of the AFRO
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president of the Apollo
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