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September 2013

NSU Rector Provides a Statement to Alumni and Friends

BY THOMAS N. CHEWNING As you may be aware,

Norfolk State University has been facing several operational and academic challenges that must be quickly and proactively addressed. On August 23, 2013, the majority of the Board of Visitors determined a change in leadership was required to meet these challenges and, therefore, voted to end Dr. Tony Atwater’s tenure as president. Dr. Atwater will remain employed at Norfolk State as a tenured faculty member.

Care Crisis

FROM PAGE 14 Also, half or more of African

Americans and Latinos said they worry about becoming a burden on their families, in contrast to just over one in three whites. And almost half of blacks surveyed were concerned that they may leave debts to family related to long-term care, compared to just over one in four Hispanics and whites.

The prospect of ending up in a

nursing home proved somewhat more troubling for African Americans (57 percent) than for Hispanics (44 percent) and whites (40 percent).

Thomas N. Chewning, Rector, Norfolk State University Board of Visitors

We also appointed Norfolk

State’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sandra DeLoatch as acting president. Dr. DeLoatch is a Norfolk State administrator who has exceptionally served the University for 40 years. The Board of Visitors expects to announce that an interim president has been named within the next few weeks.

Please be assured that the Board of Visitors is committed to conducting an

50 Years Later FROM PAGE 1

and Klan violence unleashed against peaceful black protesters. Racial segregation was considered immoral and indefensible, and the civil rights leaders were hailed as martyrs and heroes in the fight for justice.

As America unraveled in the

1960s in the anarchy of urban riots, campus takeovers, and anti-war street battles, the civil rights movement and its leaders fell apart, too. Many of them fell victim to their own success and failure. When they broke down the racially restricted doors of corporations, government agencies, and universities, it was middle-class blacks, not the poor, who rushed headlong through them. As King embraced the rhetoric of the militant anti-war movement, he became a political pariah shunned by the White House, as well as mainstream white and black leaders.

King's murder in 1968 was a

turning point for race relations in America. The self-destruction from within and political sabotage from outside of black organizations left the black poor organizationally fragmented and politically rudderless. The black poor, lacking competitive technical skills and professional training, and shunned by many middle-class black leaders, became expendable jail and street and cemetery fodder. Some turned to gangs, guns and drugs to survive.

A Pew study specifically released

to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on everything from the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white perceptions

Edward L. Hamm, Jr. Former Rector, Norfolk State University Board of Visitors

exhaustive and transparent presidential search process for the right person to advance the University in the region and in the nation. Norfolk State is your beloved alma mater, and we pledge to be good stewards of your trust and support.

Atwater for his numerous community endeavors and for working to raise the profile of Norfolk State University in Hampton Roads.

of the workings of the criminal justice system.

A half century later, the task

of redeeming King’s dream means confronting the crises of family breakdown, the rash of shamefully failing public schools, racial profiling, urban police violence, the obscene racial disparities in the prison and criminal justice system, and HIV/ AIDS. These are beguiling problems that sledgehammer the black poor and these are the problems that King and the civil rights movement of his day only had begun to recognize and address. Civil rights leaders today also have to confront something else that King did not have to face. King had the sympathy and goodwill of millions of whites, politicians, and business leaders in the peak years of the civil rights movement. Much of that goodwill has vanished in the belief that blacks have attained full equality.

Then there’s the reality that race

matters in America can no longer be framed exclusively in black and white. Latinos and Asians have become major players in the fight for political and economic empowerment and figure big in the political strategies of Democratic and Republican presidential contenders. Today’s civil rights leaders will have to figure out ways to balance the competing and sometimes contradictory needs of these and other ethnic groups and patch them into a workable coalition for change.

It's grossly unfair to expect today’s

civil rights leaders to be the charismatic, aggressive champions of, and martyrs for, civil rights that King was. Or to think that 50 years later, another March on Washington can solve the seemingly intractable problems of the black poor. The times and circumstances have changed too much for that. Still, civil rights leaders can draw strength from King's courage, vision and dedication and fight the hardest they can against racial and economic injustices that have hardly disappeared. This is still a significant step toward redeeming King’s dream.

Promising Solutions However, there is promise for

innovative approaches to solving these issues: Americans across the political spectrum show majority support for public policy solutions to transform the nation’s system of long-term care. More than three-quarters of Americans support tax breaks to encourage saving for long-term care expenses; just over

Lastly, the University thanks Dr. MLK Today FROM PAGE 3

Connecting the Dots From Age to Justice

Here are only some of the kind of

factual dots I believe King could not have avoided connecting now:

• One-third of Americans

65-plus are “economically insecure— lacking the resources needed to meet basic food, housing, and medical needs,” according to a 2012 United States of Aging survey by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today.

• More than half of Americans

worry that their savings and income will not be sufficient to last them for the rest of their lives, according to a 2013 follow-up of the same poll released last month.

• Almost six in 10 African

Americans and nearly half of Latinos are concerned they won’t be able to pay for a nursing home or other long-term care, compared to 41 percent of whites, found a new national poll by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and SCAN Foundation.

• Despite calls to cut Social

Security, about half of older Latinos, African Americans and Asians relied on Social Security for almost all of their income in 2008, compared to one in three whites, according to UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research.

• Jobs for older workers? In spite of the Roberts court having made

The Hampton Roads Messenger 15

half support a government-adminis- tered long-term care insurance program similar to Medicare.

Solutions on how to effectively

plan for future care are not partisan concerns but universal ones, with affordable and accessible services for older adults a priority for all.

The new poll reflects a serious

gap in knowledge and awareness that leaves individuals and their families struggling to fend for themselves when it comes to paying for these services.

However, what this poll also

shows is that people support a better model, a toolbox that offers a suite of services with viable options for individuals to stay in their homes and communities whenever possible.

The timing for this poll is critical

as our window for action is short. Americans are clearly asking for solutions and mechanisms to begin to prepare for their future care needs so that we all can age with dignity, choice, and independence.

it tougher to prove age discrimination in 2009, federal age bias claims have climbed to 25,000 a year, with many more filed at the state level.

Alive and Tweeting? Were King alive and kicking

today, I’d like to think he’d not only be among the fast-growing ranks of elders going online and social networking, but he’d be taking on the Digital Divide as a serious economic divide—and health--issue for impoverished seniors.

For instance, in July AARP’s

Public Policy Institute released an issue paper showing that U.S. Internet providers are resisting efforts for them to bring high-speed connections to lower-income and rural areas. But so-called broadband connections could enable more seniors to live independently, staying more healthy, safe and out of nursing homes. That’s because new technology makes it possible for elders to reduce their isolation from family, and even to see their doctors by video and get medical tests at home.

In spite of these potentially

life- and budget-saving technologies, though, the AARP report says major commercial Internet providers “have convinced 19 state legislatures to prevent or discourage cities or towns from owning or operating high-speed Internet networks” that might help seniors and their families, but cut into their market share.

Martin Luther King at 84? You

wouldn’t want to miss his Twitter feeds to be found-where else?—@ StillDreaming.

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