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Empowering, uplifting and uniting Black America

Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. | 3/31/2014, 12:24 p.m.

The issue of how to effectively respond to the issue of HIV/AIDS was addressed by The Black Pulpit and Black Press panel discussion moderated by Rev. Walter Silva Thompson Jr., pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, Jamaica, N.Y.

Panelists were: Rev. Kendrick E. Curry, senior pastor of Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; Rev. Lewis Brogdon, director of Black Church Studies Program at Louisville Seminary; Rev. Yvonne Cooper, associate minister of Allen Chapel AME Church, Washington, D.C.; and Pastor Frances “Toni” Draper, Freedom Temple AME Zion Church, Baltimore, Md. We agreed that the Black Church and the Black Press must collaborate more closely.

Another critical area of focus was to empower our families and communities to end the senseless gun violence that is destroying the lives of our young people. One of the highlights of Black Press Week was presenting the NNPA “Newsmakers of the Year” awards to Ron Davis and Lucy McBath, parents of slain Florida teen Jordan Davis; and to Cleopatra and Nathaniel Pendleton, parents of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendelton. Being in the presence of these parents who have lost their children to gun violence served a real-time imperative that challenged all of us to do more on this critical issue.

We also went to a special White House briefing on President Barack Obama’s new initiative on “Creating and Expanding Opportunity for Boys and Young Men of Color” titled “My Brother’s Keeper.”

The week concluded at the National Press Club with an outstanding luncheon panel discussion led by our NNPA News Service Editor-in-Chief George E. Curry. The topic was “Access to Economic Opportunity” and the panel members were Maggie Anderson, co-author of Our Black Year; Bill Spriggs, chairman of Department of Economics at Howard University and Valerie Ralston Wilson, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute.

I was again inspired by the renewed call for a national grassroots activism campaign to regain control of the dollars that flow in and quickly out of our community.

Benjamin F. Chavis Jr is president of Education Online Services Corporation and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and can be reached for lectures and other consultations.