Veteran David Woodrow Bady, affectionately called “Gunny” was born on March 3, 1957 in Smithville, GA to the parentage of Mr. Turner Allen and Mrs. Postell Harvey Bady, who precede him in death.  He is the ninth of ten children born to his mother.  He attended the public schools of Lee County.  While in high school, he played basketball and football for the Mighty Trojans. He graduated from Lee County High School in the Class of 1975. In September 1975, Mr. Bady enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine, he received the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.  He received deployments to Paris Island, South Carolina; Okinawa, Japan; Augusta, GA; Glendale, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; Riverdale, GA, and Norfolk, Virginia.  He received numerous decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign ribbons:  which include the Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Marine Corps Recruiting Service Ribbon, Meritorious Mast, Letter of Appreciation, Rifle Marksmanship Badge, and Pistol Sharpshooter Badge.  While in the Marine Corps, he furthered his education by attending Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

………. After proudly serving this country for 21 years, Gunnery Sgt. Bady retired from the United States Marine Corps in 1996 and moved back to Smithville. He accepted a position at Cooper Tire in Albany, GA and retired from Cooper in 2008.

……….      At an early age, Mr. Bady realized that he would face numerous obstacles in life, therefore, he confessed Jesus Christ as his personal savior and joined the Green Grove Baptist Church and was baptized by the late Reverend Champ Waters.  After joining the church, he joined the choir, attended vacation bible school, and Sunday school on a regular basis.

………. On Sunday, March 6, 2016, at his earthly home, after being ministered to by his Pastor, several classmates, his wife, and sisters-in-law, he smiled and his soul left to be with his savior in his heavenly home. One sister, Ms. Mae Francis Rivers, five brothers, Matthew Rivers, Mr. Ed Rivers, Sr., Mr. Sammie Rivers, Sr., Mr. Paul Bady, Mr. Charles Bady precede him in death.

Left to treasure his memories are his LOVING and DEVOTED wife, Mrs. Ilean May Bady, one daughter, Mrs. Letitia Bady (Timothy) Johnson, one son, Mr. Brian Bady, all of Atlanta, GA; a step son, Mr. Christian May, Smithville, GA; two sisters, Mrs. Emma Kate (Andrew) Covin and Dr. Delphine Bady McGrady, all of Smithville, GA; one brother, Mr. Willie Roosevelt (Cheryl) Bady, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; seven sisters-in-law, Ms. Vera Rivers, Smithville, GA; Ms. Lula May, Norfolk, VA; Ms. Alice Glover, Jacksonville, FL; Mrs. Annie (Larry) Hodge, Smithville, GA; Mrs. Elizabeth (Ronnie) Marshall, Plains, GA; Mrs. Doris (Rev. Dwight) Perry, Dacula, GA; and Elder Pamela (Hiram) Grimes, Albany, GA; four brothers-in-law, Mr. Rufus (June) May, Taylors, SC; Mr. Lenwood (Melissa) May, Milledgeville, GA; Mr. Eddie (Veronica) May, Oxford, AL, and Mr. Charles T. (Tamara) May, Jr., Norfolk, VA; two aunts, Ms. Mary Walton and Mrs. Annie May Mack, Plains, GA; two devoted nephews, Mr. Don Rivers and Mr. Derrick Smith, Smithville, GA. Additional survivors include a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and his children’s mother, Ms. Beverly Ross Bady also survive.

Mr. Henry Will Woods

Henry Will Woods

Henry Will Woods

Mr. Henry Will Woods, age 55, passed on February 27, 2016 at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Americus, Georgia.

A wake service will be held from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Friday, March 4, 2016 at Oglethorpe Funeral Chapel, Inc., 607 Kaigler Street, Oglethorpe, Georgia.

The graveside  service will be conducted at 12:30 P.M., Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Eastview Cemetery, Ashby Street, Americus, Georgia.

Mr. Henry Will Woods was born November 24, 1960 in Americus, Georgia to the parentage of the late Mr. Eugene Woods and the late Mrs. Essie Mae Bivins Woods.  He graduated from Americus High School.  He joined the United States Army, where he served his country faithfully.  He pursued a truck driving for several years.  He later was an employee at Hickory Springs in Americus, Georgia.  He is preceded in death by his sisters, Ms. Regina Woods, Ms. Susie Woods,  Ms. Salathia Bivins, Ms. Mary Woods; a half sister, Ms. Minnie Ruth Tatum; one aunt, Ms. Rena Mae Bivins; and one nephew Mr. Tomas Rhymes.  Henry was a loving father, brother, grandfather, uncle, and friend to all.

On Saturday, February 27, 2016, Mr. Henry Will Woods departed this earthly life for an eternal life.   A precious one from us is gone; a voice we love is still.  A place is vacant in our hearts that can nevermore be filled.

He leaves to cherish his memories: a loving daughter, Angel Waters of Americus, Georgia; three loving and devoted sons, Narada Waters, Dextron Perkins and Rico Waters, all of Americus, Georgia; six caring and loving grandchildren; Zyquez Waters, Kristina Harris, Kaleb Waters, all of Americus, Georgia, Kierra Hill of Andersonville, Georgia, London Perkins of Roswell, Georgia and Ava Waters of Atlanta, Georgia; one sister, Mrs. Lillie Woods Lyles of Americus, Georgia; two brothers, Mr. Eugene (Ericka) Woods and Mr. Wilbert (Yvette) Woods of Miami, Florida; a devoted friend Deborah Waters, Robert Coley, and Henry Frank Warren of Americus, Georgia; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends also survive.

Susie Pope

Susie Pope

Susie Pope

Mrs. Susie Pope, age 67, 119 Bronco Drive, Americus, Georgia passed Sunday morning, February 14, 2016.

The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, February 20, 2016 at the Friendship Baptist Church, 411  Cotton Avenue, Americus, Georgia.  Bishop Melvin McCluster, pastor, will officiate.  Interment will follow in the Old Corinth Baptist Church Cemetery, Brown Small Road, Americus, Georgia.

Mrs. Susie Pope was born in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia February 21, 1948 to the late Arthur Gibson, Sr. and the late Ethel Dennard-Gibson.  She acquired her education in the Sumter County School system where she was a 1966 graduate of Sumter County High School.  For twenty-eight years, she was employed with Davidson Textron, and, in 2007, she retired as a inspector.  In 2009, she graduated from South Georgia Technical College with a degree in Business Administration.

Accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, she joined the band of Christian Believers at the Friendship Baptist Church where she was a dedicated member.

She was united in holy matrimony to her one and only love, Calvin Pope, and, to this union, they were blessed with two children and one grandson.  She loved her family with unconditional love.

Survivors include her beloved husband, Calvin Pope, Americus, Georgia; her beloved children, Daphne (Derrick) Mann and Calvin Kentrell Pope all of Americus, Georgia;  her darling grandson, Braxton Mann, Americus, Georgia; ten siblings, Katherine Gibson-Holder, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Abel (Arthur) Gibson-Lockhart, Summerset, New Jersey,  Lucille (Vernon) Gibson-Wright, St. Albans, New York, Ethel (Otis) Gibson-Harris, Leslie, Georgia,  Vivian (Howard) Gibson-Wright, New York, New York, Carolyn Gibson, Americus, Georgia, Thelma Gibson, Bonaire, Georgia, Janice (William) Gibson-Wallace, Americus, Georgia, Bobby (Bernice) Gibson,  Hartford, Connecticut and Arthur (Cassandra) Gibson, Jr., Americus, Georgia; mother-in-law, Doris L. Pope, Americus, Georgia; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Donald (Linda) Pope, Leonard (Emma) Pope, Sr., Harold Pope all of Americus, Georgia, Linda (James)  Larkins , Albany, Georgia and Nadine Pope, Americus, Georgia; aunts and uncles, Mary Foster, New Jersey, Lucious Dennard, New York and Mae Francis Baker, Jacksonville, Florida; and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, other relatives and beloved friends including the Friendship Baptist Church Family.

Ms. Kori Theresa Fortune

Ms. Kori Theresa Fortune

Ms. Kori Theresa Fortune

Graveside services for Ms. Kori Fortune age 29 of Americus, Georgia will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 11:00 A.M in the Eastview Cemetery in Americus, Georgia with Evangelist Sara Dice officiating.

                                          “A Time To Live”

Ms. Kori Theresa Fortune, the youngest daughter of Mrs. Deborah Finch-Fortune and Mr. Clarence Fortune, was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, on August 21, 1986. In 1992, Kori and her family relocated to Americus, Georgia to be near her grandmother, the late Mrs. Cora T. Finch. She attended the public schools of Americus, Sumter County, Georgia. Kori was a proud graduate of Americus High School Class of 2008.


                                                                “A Time To Die”

On Sunday, March 6, 2016, Kori peacefully transitioned to her Heavenly home. Waiting for Kori at her Heavenly home will be her great grandmother, Mrs. Flora Mae Reese: her grandmother, Mrs. Cora T. Reese-Finch; and her grandfather, Mr. Clarence Fortune, Sr.; all of whom had a hand in modeling her into our beautiful angel.


                                                         “A Time To Mourn”

She leaves to cherish her memories a devoted mother and caregiver, Mrs. Deborah Finch-Fortune of Americus, Georgia; her father, Mr. Clarence Fortune of Temple Hill, Maryland; a devoted sister, Mrs. Kenetra Fortune-Asberry (Jimmy), of Americus, Georgia; an uncle, Mr. Eric (Tracy) Finch, Sr., of Americus, Georgia; one aunt, Mrs. Cynthia Fortune-Dunnbar of Washington, DC;a great aunt, Mrs. Doroththy (Walter) Bridges of Americus, GA; her first cousins, Eric Finch, Jr. and Sage Finch of Americus, Georgia; her God Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mike and Mary Holloway, Mrs. Deloris (Alvin) Jackson of Americus, Georgia, Mrs. Mary Williams-Dunnum and Mrs. Mamie Gibson of Albany, Georgia; devoted cousins, The Dice / Reese Families of Americus and Atlanta, Georgia; devoted caregivers, Ms. Mary Bryant of Ideal, Georgia and Ms. Alice Stewart of Leslie, Georgia; her Special Olympic Coach, Mrs. Bertha Bruce of Plains, Georgia; and a host of other relatives and friends.   

Mrs. Beltha Mae Robinson

Mrs. Beltha Mae Robinson

Mrs. Beltha Mae Robinson

Mrs. Beltha Mae Robinson of Albany, Georgia formerly of Americus, Georgia died on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at Mt. Calvary Primitive Baptist Church in Andersonville, Georgia with Elder James Austin officiating. Burial will follow at the Mt. Mary Cemetery.

Mrs. Beltha Mae Robinson was born on November 11, 1929 in Andersonville, Georgia to the late Ola Banks and the late Jake Crittenden. At an early age she joined the Mt. Mary Primitive Baptist Church and later joined the Mt. Calvary Baptist Primitive Church.  She was married to the late Mr. Jim Robinson and this union was blessed with eleven children, one son, James Robinson preceded her in death. Mrs. Robinson died on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

She is survived by her ten children: Jimmy (Diane) Robinson of Miami, Florida, Cleve Robinson of Americus, Georgia, Hazel Robinson of Albany, Georgia, Debbie Robinson of Albany Georgia, Martha Robinson of Americus, Georgia, Joseph Robinson of Americus, Georgia, Patricia “Bo” Thomas of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Charles (Wilma) Robinson of Albany, Georgia, Johnny (Sadie) Robinson of Albany, Georgia and Kenneth (Vickie) Robinson of Jacksonville, Florida; four siblings: L.W. Banks, Shirley Banks, Pat Banks and June Banks all of Miami, Florida; several grandchildren, great grandchildren and other relatives and friends also survive.

Mrs. Sadie Michelle Thompson Robinson

Mrs. Sadie M. Robinson

Mrs. Sadie M. Robinson

Mrs. Sadie Michelle Thompson Robinson age 26 of Americus, Georgia died on Thursday, Feb 18 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. in the Chapel of West’s Mortuary.

Mrs. Sadie Michelle Thompson Robinson was born on June 18th 1989 in Americus Georgia to McArthur Thompson, Sr. & Zanda Thompson. Sadie attended the Americus City Schools: Cherokee, Staley Middle and Americus High. She was married to Johnny Robinson.

Left to cherish her memory is her husband Johnny Robinson; her parents: McArthur Thompson, Sr. & Zanda Thompson; her son, Johntavis Robinson; one brother, McArthur Thompson Jr.; two sisters: Vanessa Thompson and Alexis Thompson. Several other relatives and friends also survive.

Mrs. Gloria Jean Randolph Payne

Gloria Payne

Gloria Payne

Mrs. Gloria Jean Randolph Payne was born in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida on August 26, 1951 to the parentage of the late Mr. Leroy Randolph, Sr. and the late Mrs. Willie Lou Johnson Randolph. She was a Clinical Nurse Assistant. She is preceded in death by a brother, Mr. Leroy Randolph, Jr.

She leaves to cherish her memories: her husband of 27 years, Mr. Hilton Payne, Americus, GA: six sons, Mr. Curtis Solomon, Jr., Mr. Joseph  Solomon and fiancé Ms. Kemba Heard of Americus, GA, Mr. Ronald Solomon and fiancé Ms. Denise Simmons, Rochester, NY, Mr. Marcus  Barner and fiance Carla Solomon, Ellaville, GA, Mr. Hilton Payne, III, Americus, GA and Mr. Nicholas Payne, Baltimore, MD: two daughters, Mrs. Cynthia (Jerry) Campbell, Americus, GA and Ms. Carolyn Robinson, Baltimore, MD: three brothers, Mr. Lorenzo (Janet) Randolph, Mr. Bobby Randolph and Mr. Reginald Randolph all of Jacksonville, FL: two sisters, Ms. Leomia Edwards and Ms. Karen Randolph both of Jacksonville, FL: her brother & sisters-in-law, Mr. Bobby (Alice) Payne, Ms. Martha P. Barnum, Ms. Jeanette Payne and Ms. Annette Payne, Americus, GA: seventeen grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Mrs. Louise E. Finch

Louise Finch

Louise Finch

Mrs. Louise E. Finch was born in Sumter County, Georgia on January 24, 1936 to the parentage of the late Mr. Edwards and the late Mrs. Pearl Carter Edwards. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County, graduating from A.S. Staley High School Class of 1954. She also attended Albany State College. She was a member of the Friendship Baptist Church, where she served faithfully, singing in the choir until her health began to decline.

She was a member of the American Legion Post #558 Ladies Auxiliary for several years. She was employed by Diana Shop and Cato Fashions for a number of years. She is preceded in death by her husband, Mr. John T. Finch, Jr.

She leaves to cherish her memories, her devoted cousins and caregiver, Ms. Leola Carter, Mr. Willie Ben Carter, Sr. and Mr. Corey Carter all of Americus, GA; her nieces & nephews, Mrs. Tommie Foster, Mr. Austin Poole and Mrs. Evelyn Raines all of Americus, GA; and a host of great nieces & nephews, cousins other relatives and friends, including her devoted friends, Mrs. Fannie Butler, Mrs. Ella Gene Houser, Mrs. Ollie Simmons-Zeon, Mrs. Lola Sampson, Mr. Lewis Lowe and her classmates of 1954 A. S. Staley High School also survive.

Winnie Lois Carter Williams



Winnie Lois Carter Williams was born in Sumter County, Georgia on October 22, 1927 to the parentage of the late Mr. Calvin Carter and the late Mrs. Naomi Furlow Carter. She transitioned from the life to everlasting life at 10:50 p.m., February 26, 2016. Winnie was the last of the surviving siblings of Calvin and Naomi Furlow Carter. She is preceded in death by three sons,, Calvin Nathaniel, Thomas and Baby Boy Williams, two daughters, Mary Beatrice Ross and Carol Bell Jackson, three brothers, Curtis Carter, Calvin Carter and Gus Davis Carter.

Winnie was educated in the Americus City School System. She attended McKay Hill. Winnie was a faithful and dedicated employee of the Sumter Regional Hospital from 1961 to 1989 (28 years of service), she worked the housekeeping department retiring as Assistant Supervisor of the department.

Winnie joined Big Bethel Baptist Church in 1937. After her marriage she moved her membership to her late husband family church (Eastview Church of Christ). In 1968, she moved her membership back to Big Bethel with her children. She served faithfully at the church until she declined in health: as a usher, mission board, kitchen helper, voluntary with vacation bible school, dedicated Sunday school student, and she loved growing flowers and she provided fresh flowers for the sanctuary.

On January 8, 1944, Winnie Carter and Woodrow Williams (died July 10,1993) was united in Holy Matrimony. From this union ten children were born. Winnie leaves a legacy of love and precious memories to her beloved children: Delois Williams Harvey of Americus, GA, Jesse James (Delores) Williams, Bowie, Maryland, Eula Mae (James) Rouland, Snellville, GA, Kathy Loreen (Randy) Mays of Warner Robins, GA, Earl Dean (Sallie) Williams of Hinesville, GA; she also leaves a very dedicated and loving grandson, Thomas Williams, Jr., a great grandson, Jonathan Hurley and a granddaughter/caregiver, Twanda P.A. Williams; in addition, she leaves behind twenty grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Mr. Antonio Craig Sanchez



Mr. Antonio Craig Sanchez was born in Dougherty County, Georgia on February 17, 1993 to the parentage of Mr. Craig Sanchez and Mrs. Detrich Stewart Sanchez.

In addition to his parents, he leaves to cherish his memories, one sister, Ms. Vicario Sanchez, Albany, GA; his grandparents, Ms. Addie Stewart, Smithville, GA, Ms. Willie Bell Railey, Albany, GA and Mr. Barry Sanchez, Atlanta, GA; his great grandmother, Ms. Mamie Moses, Smithville, GA; his aunts & uncles, Mrs. Renee (Doug) Lloyd, Ms. Eugenia (Michael) Cheeks, Mrs. Kenosha (Willie) Coleman all of Leesburg, GA, Mrs. Gwyneth (Kenneth) Zachary, Decatur, GA, Mrs. Teresa (Calvin) Sancho, Tallahassee, FL, Ms. Cassandra Railey, Austell, GA, Mr. Ottis (Robin) Railey, Jacksonville, FL and Mr. Christopher (Verlisa) Railey, Albany, GA; and a host of cousins other relatives and friends also survive.




Deacon Paul Allen was born in Sumter County, Georgia on June 22, 1935 to the parentage of the late Mr. Solomon Allen and the late Mrs. Laura Scott-Allen. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. He worked as a farmer for several years and currently retired from Ole Wood Design. As a young man he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, he believed in giving God the praise. and joined the Daniel Grove Baptist Church. Later, he joined the Inspirational Church By Faith under the leadership of the late Bishop John T. Taylor and served as a junior deacon and later ordained to a full Deacon. A few years later, he moved his membership to the New Life Holiness Church, under Overseer Johnny R. Lundy and then the Universal Deliverance under the leadership of Bishop D. Berry. He is preceded in death by five siblings, one grandchild, three great grandchildren and Mr. Hoke “Buzzy” Smith, whom he worked for, for many years.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his devoted wife of 43 years, Missionary Annie Mae Allen, whom he loved dearly and called his foxy broad; one son, Mr. John Paul Allen, Americus, GA; five daughters, Mrs. JoAnn (William) Johnson, Killeen, TX, Mrs. Sandra (James) King, Mrs. Shirley (John) Martin, Mrs. Angela (Dewayne) Williams all of Americus, GA. Mrs. Erika (Tyrone) Davis, Plains, GA and Gloriele Barbary, Albany GA; three brothers, his twin, Mr. Silas (Mattie) Allen, Mr. James (Virginia) Allen, Americus, GA and Mr. Willie Allen, Atlanta, GA; four sisters, Ms. Laura Mae Queenie, Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Daisy Allen, Hartford, CT, Ms. Mildred Palmer, Mrs. Mary Ann (James) McKenzie of Americus, GA; seventeen grandchildren, Tanaisha Clark, Janay (Derrick) Bagby, Maurice (Daisy) Carter, Kenyatte (Torrey) Smith, Corderro Wiggins, Erika Wiggins, Malika Williams, Jarrius Cladd all of Americus, GA, Demarcus (Rita) Carter, Gordon, GA, Jameia (Rahsaan) Ruch, Suffolk, VA, Shanquia Campbell, Warner Robins, GA, Shanice (Lorenzo) Sanders, Jacksonville, NC, Chantavious Williams, Valdosta, GA, Aliyah Allen, Kierra Polk, Shanetta Davis, Shatesia Davis all of Plains, GA; sixteen great grandchildren; four god-children; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends, including devoted friends, the Drew, Johnson, Brown families and Ms. Harriett Smith also survive.




Ms. Martha Elizabeth Johnson was born May 3, 1942 to the parentage of the late Mr. Joseph Monts and the late Ms. Lillie Bell Johnson in Sumter County, GA. She was educated in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, she joined the Antioch Baptist Church where she served.  She was a homemaker and was known through out the family for providing excellent childcare to and for the family. She is preceded in death by a brother, James Johnson.

She leaves to mourn her passing, a loving and devoted son, Mr. Lynwood Johnson and his devoted friend, Ms. Lorna Wilbon, Americus, GA; two brothers, Mr. Joseph Johnson and Mr. Ray (Martha) Johnson of Americus, GA; four sisters, Ms. Marilyn Jackson, Americus, GA, Ms. Debra Green, Mrs. Belinda (Stan) Josey all of Americus, GA and Ms. Sharon Johnson, Macon, GA; a devoted friend, Mr. Carl Martin, and two loving friends, Ms. Betty Gatewood and Ms. Mattie Maddox, Americus, GA; her nieces and nephews, Angela Engram, Eddie Bernard Jackson, Edward Jackson, Barrington Johnson, Kerry Green, Alicia Buchanan, Teresa Degroat, Laquanda Draines, Travis Draines, Angelica Johnson, Marcus Johnson, Shantray Tyson and Shaquanda Billings; and a host of great nieces and grand nephews, cousins, including a devoted cousin, Ms. Ella Ruth Ferguson, Americus, GA other relatives and friends also survive.

4 Simple Steps for Starting a Business With Only $15K


Building a business costs money. And unfortunately, as the old saying goes, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees.’ I started my mobile gym franchise GYMGUYZ seven years ago with little capital myself. But in the process, I learned that it is possible to pursue business ownership with around $15,000. To go big places, you’ll always need more money. But you can start out with very little as long as you take care of some careful planning and are passionate about your company.

[Related: 5 Ways to Cut Small Business Expenses with Tech]

Have a Plan

From the very beginning, put everything down on paper. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a business. More importantly, a financial model allows you to understand what kind of budget you’re working with, where the funds are going and what is required to grow. In order to design a plan, think about key questions such as:

  • How will I differentiate myself from competitors?
  • How much will it cost to provide my product or service?
  • How much will I charge?
  • Where can I cut costs so I can still run at an optimal level?

Stay Focused

Some new entrepreneurs are all over the place. Starting a business takes passion, self-confidence and fortitude. Start thinking like a businessman. You will experience setbacks and times of frustration, especially in the early stages of lifting your idea off the ground. During these times, I encourage you to remember why you decided to go into business ownership in the first place and know that entrepreneurship is a journey of highs and lows.

Ask Your Network For Help

Growing your budget is important, and you can increase your spending through friends, family, the SBA and other lenders — but building relationships can help you get there faster.

At GYMGUYZ, we needed more vans. A new van is $35,000, which is money we didn’t have. I did my research and asked around. I asked experts, friends, acquaintances, you name it — and all this outreach led me to connect with a company that leased vehicles at a significantly lower cost, which helped me keep my overhead down. We didn’t have to put in too much upfront, and we got to keep more cash flow in our business. Don’t be afraid to explore new options, take different routes and ask those around you for help.

On the same note, asking friends or family for a loan is a great way to increase your cash flow and capital. But be smart about it. Have a plan outlining terms of the loan in writing so that both parties are in agreement. Know how much money you’re borrowing, how long it will take you to pay it back, and whether you feel comfortable with that.

The Small Business Association is also a great resource; use it to your benefit. The SBA has a variety of programs like 7(a) program to help small businesses find their footing in a growing economy.

Continue to Learn

Finally, it’s important to be connected in the industry. There are always people and resources you can turn to for answers. Never stop learning – there is always more information to know, use and retain. By building your glossary of terms, procedures and policies, you can ensure you’re dialed in and always understand what is going on. Pick up books, read the news, analyze competitors and stay on top.

But most importantly – never forget to stay humble.

Josh York is the Founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, an in-home mobile personal training company headquarted in Plainview, New York. Since its inception in 2008, Josh has been valued for his hands-on leadership style, growing the business and profitability to more than 1000 clients, 45 employees and a fleet of vans in less than 6 years.

Community redirects spending to support Black-owned business

Rebecca and Cepha Pollius Owners of Empress Beauty Supply with Malik Muhammad Photo: Malik Muhammad, Jr.

Rebecca and Cepha Pollius Owners of Empress Beauty Supply with Malik Muhammad Photo: Malik Muhammad, Jr.


WAXAHACHIE, Texas— Muslims of the Waxahachie Study Group of the Nation of Islam redirected customers of two Korean-owned beauty supply stores to spend their Black dollars at a nearby Black-owned beauty supply store as a way of redistributing the pain, a methodology Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Made known in 1968.

Malik Muhammad, Waxahachie Study Group Coordinator, inspired by the October 10 “Justice Or Else” gathering in Washington, D. C., began thinking on how to redistribute the pain in their city. The Believers felt that W. Pleasant Run Road, a street they call the main vein of the city, would be a good place to start since there were two Korean-owned beauty supply stores on that strip; one on the East end and one on the other end. The Black-owned business, Empress Beauty Supply Store, is located in between the two Korean-owned stores. A group of Muslims went to one store and another group went to the other store Nov. 14 and Nov. 21 to make sure those business consumers were aware of the Black-owned business that was located less than a mile away.

“We went out there already knowing our rights,” said Mr. Muhammad. “I had already spoken to my lawyer about code compliance. We knew that we were not violating any codes by speaking to the patrons about supporting their own.”

As a result, Rebecca Pollius, owner of Empress Beauty Supply said her revenue increased by 50 percent the first weekend and by 100 percent the second weekend. Muslims held “Up with Jesus, Down with Santa” signs as they informed everyone who pulled up to the store of the Black-owned beauty supply store that carried the same products the Korean-owned store.

Video footage showed the store owner and Jewish property managers calling the police and threatening to have the Muslims cars towed. However, upon arriving, the police officers informed them that the members of the Nation of Islam had not broken any laws and were well within their rights to continue what they were doing.

Mr. Muhammad asked the store owner how many White people walk through that door, after observing only Black people patronizing his store. Mr. Muhammad explained to him why they chose his business. “I’m here to let them [Black people] know they have an alternative to this store, so they can go and shop with their brother before they shop with you. That’s a right that they have,” he added.

Some patrons expressed feeling excited about supporting their own. “I pass Empress almost every day,” said Demetria Higgs. “I thought it was another store owned by Koreans. I had no idea it was Black-owned. I was actually excited to hear about the store and I will continue to support that business now that I know we are keeping our dollars with our own.”

When Brenda Jones pulled up and saw police, she initially thought something happened. “Then a welldressed brother asked me to ask him (police officer) what he was doing out there. When I asked, he said he wanted to inform me of a Blackowned beauty supply that was right up the road,” said Ms. Jones.

“I was happy to hear that because I was spending almost $100 in that store every time I went even though I had not always received the best treatment. Now, I will go that extra mile to put my money back into the community,” she said.

“I love my Black race,” said Dawn Brown. “When I found out it was a black woman who owned the beauty supply store they were sending me to, I wanted to support her.”

The Believers of the Waxahachie Study Group successfully redirected more than a 150 people to Empress Beauty Supply.

Federal Minimum Wage Slightly Rises In 14 U.S. States

min_wage_300x225_1BY PRESSTV.COM,

Fourteen U.S. states and several cities have decided to marginally increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour after six years passed without any increase.

According to a report published by the National Conference of State Legislatures on earlier this month, California and Massachusetts saw the highest increase, with minimum wages rising from $9 to $10.

Meanwhile, South Dakota had the smallest increase, a nickel, with the minimum wages per hour standing now at $8.55. People in Arkansas experienced the second smallest increase with their wages going up from $7.50 to $8.

Other states affected by the move include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The increases come following a series of “living wage” protests across many U.S. cities over low hourly wages.

In November of last year, thousands of protesters held demonstrations in 270 cities, demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers. Food service workers now constitute the largest group of minimum-wage earners in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the advocates of the decision argue a higher minimum wage would help poor people, the opponents assert that the move would have an impact on employment and company profits.

A federal minimum wage of up to $12 an hour, phased in over five years or so, “would not have a noticeable effect on employment,” said Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University and former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Mr. Krueger said that employers may cut jobs in response to an increase in a minimum wage, however, others may be able to fill job vacancies and reduce turnover, which would increase employment, but reduce profits. Over the past recent years, a large number of states and municipalities have acted independently in regard to wage floor policies.

Presently, 29 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and about two dozen cities and counties have put their minimum wage at levels higher than the federal minimum. (PressTV)

Jaden Smith Gets Honest About His Fashion Statements: “I Don’t See Man Clothes and Woman Clothes”

rs_634x845-160314122546-634-jaden-smith-2-mv-31416by MIKE VULPO,

If there’s one thing fans absolutely love about Jaden Smith, it’s the simple fact that he’s not afraid to dress to impress!

Whether modeling skirts for Louis Vuitton or wearing his Batman costume to prom, the 17-year-old has been known to turn a few heads.

But while covering the newest issue of British GQ Style, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s son is more than happy to explain his mindset when picking out his outfits.

“I feel like people are kind of confused about gender norms. I feel like people don’t really get it,” he confessed in the new issue. “I’m not saying that I get it, I’m just saying that I’ve never seen any distinction.”

He continued, “I don’t see man clothes and woman clothes, I just see scared people and comfortable people.”

Instead of focusing about fashion, Jaden insists that a bigger priority for him is building a utopia on Earth. Of course it’s quite the lofty goal, but the actor has a vision where people can focus less on bills to survive.

“I’m really working towards just fixing the whole planet Earth. I really just want to create a utopia on this planet,” he explained to the publication. “I really want to make it so that people don’t have to die to pay bills and just work to survive. So that they can work to actually live and do the things that they love to do.”

Perhaps sister Willow Smith could get on board with this big goal. After all, they share much more similarities than differences.

“I’d say it’s like full-on sibling brain connection. I’d say that she’s definitely the female version of me, one hundred per cent, in every single way,” he shared. “And I’d say I’m the male version of her.”

Read the full article once the spring/summer issue of British GQ Style goes on sale this Thursday.

How FarWill Empire’s Lyon Family Go to Regain Control of Their Company?

rs_560x415-160314144802-1024-empire-camilla-hakeem.jb.31416by JEAN BENTLEY

Lucious Lyon has lost control of theEmpire—but when the show returns on March 30 after its painfully long winter hiatus, he’ll do everything he can to get it back.

“The Lyons will do anything to get control of their company,” executive producer Brian Grazer teased to E! News’ Will Marfuggi on the red carpet at the show’s Paleyfest panel. “But it’s how it all goes down…”

We’ll pick up immediately where we left off at the end of the midseason finale, with poor Rhonda (Caitlin Doubleday) at the foot of the stairs. Lucious (Terrence Howard) is reeling from losing control of his company to the scheming secretly married Mimi (Marisa Tomei) and Camilla (Naomi Campbell), thanks to a sabotaging vote from youngest son Hakeem (Bryshere “Yazz” Grey).

As we saw in the trailer for the show’s return, it seems that Hakeem will find himself in charge of the music empire his father built—which does not leave dear old dad too happy. “It’s the battle of Lucious against his sons,” explains Yazz. “It’s not just against Hakeem, it’s against his sons. It’s intense. It’s the family. Without family, there’s no Empire.”

Star Gabourey Sidibe says her assistant character doesn’t really have a horse in the race. “Look, Becky’s still got a job down at the Empire,” she teases. “As long as Becky’s checks keep coming, none of this is any of her business!”

But she is excited for viewers to see something happen down the line: “While Lucious is making his moves and terrifying people all over the place—I can’t even wait!—somebody from his past is going to come back and for the first time you’re going to see Lucious scared,” Sidibe promises.

Press play on the video above to find out what else we can expect when Empirereturns to Fox for the second half of season two on March 30.

Tisha Campbell-Martin finally reveals what Tommy did for a living on ‘Martin’

cast-of-martinby ,

During the 1990s, one of the greatest television mysteries was what Tommy did for a living on the show Martin.

Tommy would always show up, nicely dressed and with cash in his pockets, and not even his best friends Martin and Cole knew what he did.

Tisha Campbell Wears Apology Letter From Childhood Rapist

Now, Tisha Campbell-Martin is spilling the beans on the decades-long mystery.

“Tommy really did have a job; I’ll give you a hint,” Campbell-Martin said. “The woman I was gonna fight, she was Martin’s teacher, Beverly Johnson; in that episode that’s the first time you hear about Tommy’s job.”

Lisa Raye Admits She Got Stacey Dash fired in new Promo

lisa-raye-stacey-dashby theGrio

Lisa Raye has admitted to getting Stacey Dash fired in a new promo for her show, an allegation she had previously denied.

“In Hollywood, I’ve learned to be a boss,” she said in the new teaser for Centric.

“I had to say to Stacey Dash, ‘If you don’t get your mother******* finger out of my face…’” she said, then continued, “So for our second season of ‘Single Ladies,’ there was a replacement.”

Previously, Raye had taken the high road talking about Dash, who used to play her best friend. In a previous interview, she said, “Believe me I wish things had worked out because I thought Stacey and I were great together. She was my age and we were working it. It was sex-symbol to sex-symbol. But she didn’t want to be there. I was disappointed about that. She had some issues. I’m not sure exactly what those issues were. In the end, she and VH1 made a decision.”

She added, “Yes, there was a disagreement over a scene. And it really wasn’t with me. It was with the director. I think it was about 2 or 3AM and we’d been shooting all damn day. Stacey tried to argue with the director about a line. And I’m like: ‘Girl, if you don’t say what the director wants you to say.’ It wasn’t that serious at first, but it went there.”

“It’s a bunch of women on the set. We might all be on our damn period at any given point. I just wanted us to move forward. Then the argument took on a life of its own. The show decided to use it for publicity. They just ran with it.”

8 Things ER Doctors Refuse to Have in Their Homes

By Lisa Lombardi,

Emergency room physicians see all kinds of grisly stuff, which made us wonder: What products do they consider so hazardous they ban them from their homes and yards? Here are the everyday items that scare these accident front-liners the most.


“We see a lot of serious trampoline injuries…upper-body fractures, broken femurs, neck injuries. That’s why most ER
doctors I work with won’t buy trampolines for their kids. They’re all trouble. There’s no good kind. Unfortunately parents get a false sense of reassurance; when there’s a net around something, they think their kids will be safe.”–Ferdinando Mirarchi, MD, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Button batteries

“Button batteries are increasingly common in car remotes and portable LED lights but they can be extremely dangerous to young kids. Toddlers like shiny objects and will ingest them. The danger is they can get stuck in the esophagus. When a coin gets stuck, it often passes on its own. But when a button battery gets stuck, the battery acid can eat through the wall of the esophagus, causing lifelong disability.”—David J. Mathison, MD, pediatric emergency
room physician and mid-Atlantic regional medical director, PM Pediatrics.

Swimming pools

“Unfortunately, every summer we see kids—even ones who can swim—accidentally fall into a pool and drown. For me, it is the fact that drowning occurs so fast, and often silently, that prevents me from ever wanting one at my house. All three of my children are swimmers, and we take them to pools, but I know that where I live I have left that risk behind.” —Dara Kass, MD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Power washers and extension ladders

“There are two items I don’t keep around: power washers and extension ladders. We often treat people who have fallen off of high ladders, which results in serious and extensive injuries (head trauma, collapsed lungs). The surprising thing I won’t own is a power washer. People end up with penetrating injuries or lacerations from their intense water stream. ” —Seth Podolsky, MD, vice chair of Cleveland Clinic Emergency Medicine Institute.


“I’m Libertarian enough to be conceptually pro-gun, but I’ve taken care of enough teenage suicides and accidental childhood deaths to not even let my kids go to houses where I know there’s a gun.”—Amy Baxter, MD, pediatric emergency physician at Scottish Rite Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta.

Ramen noodle soups

“Ramen noodles, or similar soups in styrofoam containers, get extremely hot when microwaved. It’s the most common cause of scald burns in toddlers and infants I see. Parents forget how hot these are when they’re on the counter, waiting to be pulled off by a handsy toddler.”—David J. Mathison, MD.

Old pain pills

“People hang onto leftover pills, especially narcotic painkillers because they’re getting harder to get scripts for. But you should always get rid of leftover medication. We’ve had more kids coming in with overdoses from hydrocodone
and oxycodone pain drugs [found in Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin]. Just one extendedrelease pill can kill a child.”—
Ferdinando Mirarchi, MD.

High chairs that pull up to the table

“I work at a pediatric and adult trauma center, but being a dad, most of my biggest issues are with child products. Over half of ER visits for children under 1 are due to falls. I wouldn’t get a high chair that pulls up to the table,  ecause I’ve seen way too many kids use their feet to push against the table and tip their chair over backward. Afall like this from 3 feet can cause a skull fracture.”– Brian Fort, MD, emergency medicine physician at Central DuPage Hospital.


You Won’t Believe How Much Processed Food Americans Eat

Plate setting and plates of Processed Foods

Plate setting and plates of Processed Foods

by Alice Park,

A study nails down how much of the food we eat includes ingredients that you don’t find in your own kitchen

The American diet isn’t exactly a shining example of the best way to eat, but most people probably don’t realize how much of our daily favorites include ingredients that you’d never find in an actual kitchen.

In a study published in the journalBMJ Open, scientists led by Carlos Monteiro at University of Sao Paolo found that nearly 60% of an American’s daily calories come from “ultraprocessed” food, which Monteiro and his colleagues defined as food that contains ingredients such as flavors, colors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers and other additives that you wouldn’t cook with at home. The study also pinpointed, for the first time, this type of processed food as the main source of added sugar in the U.S. diet. Meanwhile, the report shows, Americans get less than 1% of their daily calories from vegetables.

Nutritionists have long suspected that the increase in obesity, and its related health problems including diabetes and heart problems, are due to a spike in how many calories Americans eat on average, and that most of these calories likely came from sugar-laden foods and drinks like sodas, snacks, and baked goods. But by correlating the amount of energy people get from the calories they eat and the type of food these calories come from, Monteiro is the first to draw a strong line between the processed foods and added sugar consumption.

The study included information on what 9,317 people participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey said they ate in the past 24 hours. People who said they ate the most processed foods, which the surveys defined as soft drinks, salty snacks, cakes, pizza and frozen meals, also showed the highest intake of added sugars based on the sugar content of these foods. Nearly 90% of the average source of added sugars, in fact, came from processed foods. Overall, processed foods contained eight times more sugar than less processed foods such as breads, cheese and canned foods, and five times more sugar than unprocessed or minimally processed choices such as meats, fresh fruits or vegetables, grains and milk.

MORE: ‘Natural’ Food Labels Can Be Misleading, Advocates Say

Monteiro’s study may also explain why attempts to reduce the amount of calories people eat by offering diet or low calorie options of the same processed foods doesn’t work. “They are still unhealthy because they don’t provide the nutrients of real foods,” he says. And when sugars are taken out, artificial sweeteners often replace them, and studies show that those may actually make people eat more, since the calories heralded by the sweet taste never come.

MORE: How This Woman Gave Up Processed Food for a Year—On a $16,780 Salary

There is some hope hidden in the study results, however. The findings point to a possible way to lower sugar consumption — by reducing how much processed food people eat. In the survey, 7.5% of the people with the lowest processed food consumption actually met the federal dietary recommendations of eating no more than 10% of daily calories from sugar. So if people avoid processed foods, it’s possible to reach recommended nutritional requirements.

It’s not a new message, but these results add more support to that advice. “That means having more minimally processed foods, more fresh dishes and meals that you prepare yourself,” says Monteiro.

Brief Measure Helpful For Insomnia Complaints

young man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia and sleep disorder thinking about his problem


LAS VEGAS – For patients who present with complaints of insomnia, consider using the principles of the Brief Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia tool as your frontline approach.

“It’s a pragmatic approach to treating insomnia complaints but also provides a useful foundation for the behavioral management of sleep disorders generally, when combined with other pharmacologic approaches,” Dr. Charles F. Reynolds III said at the annual psychopharmacology update held by the Nevada Psychiatric Association. “It involves relatively little time on the part of the clinician to apply.”

The BBTI also educates the patient about practices that can be harmful to sleep, including alcohol, caffeine, worries, a poor sleep environment, or using the bed for things other than sleep or sex. “You can go a long way toward helping people with sleep-wake problems if they’re well educated about these issues, and if they keep a diary so that they can engage in self-monitoring,” Dr. Reynolds said.Part of the Brief Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia (BBTI), which was developed by Dr. Daniel J. Buysse and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh (Arch Intern Med. 2011;171[10]:887-95 and Behav Sleep Med. 2012;10[4]:266-79), involves education about lifestyle choices and practices that can be helpful to sleep, such as physical activity, stability of daily routines, treating medical problems that can interfere with sleep, having a comfortable sleep environment, and keeping the bed only for sleep and sexual intimacy.

He went on to note that the principles of the BBTI are grounded within an understanding of the physiological factors that regulate sleep. “One factor that controls sleep is how long you’ve been awake, the so-called homeostatic drive to sleep,” said Dr. Reynolds, Endowed Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. “Another factor is the biological clock, the circadian rhythms deep within the brain stem that govern the timing of sleep onset and offset. These two physiological processes provide the basis for the behavioral prescriptions that we make in brief behavioral treatment for insomnia.”

The four steps of the BBTI involve the following:

Reduce time in bed. This doesn’t mean decreasing the amount of sleep per se, but rather the amount of wakefulness that can occur during a night. “By reducing time in bed we’re trying to increase the homeostatic drive to sleep,” said Dr. Reynolds, also director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Aging Institute. “Being awake longer leads to quicker, deeper, more solid sleep.”

Get up at the same time every day of the week. This practice “provides a kind of circadian anchor to the brain’s sleep wave rhythms, and reinforces those rhythms, and hence the efficiency of sleep,” he explained. “Even if you’ve slept poorly, getting up at the same time helps you to sleep better the next night.”

Don’t go to bed unless sleepy. This strategy helps to increase sleep drive by keeping you awake longer. “Going to bed when you’re not sleepy can lead to frustration and gives your brain the wrong message,” he said. “The principles of stimulus control and temporal control are at the behavioral root of BBTI prescriptions.”

Don’t stay in bed unless asleep. “We are teaching patients how to associate lying in bed with sleeping, and not with worrying or other activities that may lead to frustration or hyperarousal,” he said.

Studies have demonstrated that BBTI produces improvement in 70%-80% of patients. “It is a briefer, less complicated approach than traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia,” Dr. Reynolds said. “BBTI also provides a wonderful behavioral foundation for intelligent evidence-based pharmacotherapy for common sleep disorders.”

If it’s determined that pharmacologic treatment for insomnia is indicated, Dr. Reynolds cautioned that the margin of safety for benzodiazepines such as temazepam is wide. Contraindications include obstructive sleep apnea, substance abuse disorders, and advanced liver disease. Side effects may include daytime sedation, anterograde amnesia, sleepwalking, sleep-related eating disorder, respiratory depression, and in some cases, rebound insomnia.

“In my practice, I tend to use shorter-acting agents often as an augmentation pharmacotherapy,” he said. “For example, if I’m treating an older adult with depression, I may use an antidepressant as the primary pharmacotherapy and then add a low-dose benzodiazepine to help keep them more comfortable and help them sleep better during the initial phases of treatment.”

Studies of the orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant have shown improved sleep time, falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and sleeping more throughout the night. However, “there are some possibilities for daytime hangover,” Dr. Reynolds said. “I’m also not clear on how well suvorexant’s effects on breathing during sleep have been evaluated. In my view, that remains a somewhat open question.”

The two most widely used sedating antidepressants for insomnia problems include doxepin and trazodone. “They can be particularly helpful in patients with co-occurring depression,” he said. Doxepin in low doses is approved for sleep maintenance insomnia.

Ramelteon is the first melatonin receptor agonist approved for the treatment of insomnia. Contraindications include a history of angioedema with concurrent use of fluvoxamine.

“In general, I recommend to my colleagues not to use sedative antipsychotics like quetiapine or olanzapine, particularly in the context of elderly with dementing disorders and sleep-wake disturbances,” he said.

Dr. Reynolds reported having no relevant financial conflicts.

Elevated cardiovascular risks linked to hidradenitis suppurativa


The inflammatory skin disease hidradenitis suppurativa is associated with significantly increased risks of adverse cardiovascular outcomes such as ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality, according to results of a population-based study.

A population-based cohort study of 5,964 patients with hidradenitis suppurativa showed that, after adjusting for confounders such as age, sex, smoking, and other comorbidities, hidradenitis suppurativa was associated with a 57% greater risk of myocardial infarction, 33% greater risk of ischemic stroke, 53% increase in major adverse cardiovascular events, and 35% increase in all cause mortality over a mean 7.1 years of follow-up.

The study, published online Feb. 17 in JAMA Dermatology, also showed a significant increase in cardiovascular-associated death, which was the only adverse outcome that remained significantly elevated (incidence rate ratio, 1.58) in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa when compared with a control group of individuals with severe psoriasis (JAMA Dermatol. 2016 Feb 17. doi: 1 0 . 1 0 0 1 / j a m a d e r m a -tol.2015.6264).

“Studies have suggested that, in hidradenitis suppurativa, atrophy of the sebaceous glands, follicular hyperkeratinization, and subsequent hair follicle destruction are associated with deep-seated inflammation, increased susceptibility to secondary infections, and chronic perpetuation of the inflammatory response,” wrote Dr. Alexander Egeberg of the University of Copenhagen and coauthors.

The researchers suggested that there was a “conspicuous absence” of research reports on the risk of cardiovascular disease in hidradenitis suppurativa, especially in light of accumulating evidence of the association between cardiovascular disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

No conflicts of interest were declared.

How Nutritional Interventions Can Help Improve Mental Illnesses

Although not usually considered as part of primary treatment, nutrition addresses the crucial link between food and brain functioning.

Although not usually considered as part of primary treatment, nutrition addresses the crucial link between food and brain functioning.

Not all patients respond to pharmacological treatments for psychiatric disorders, and a portion of those who do experience troublesome side effects. While the search for new and better medications continues, there is a frequently overlooked, powerful tool that is relatively safe, effective and that everyone already consumes anyway: food.

“Nutrients form the building blocks of brain chemistry, and are vital in the both the structure and function of the brain,” Jerome Sarris, PhD, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia, told Psychiatry Advisor. “Dietary quality may affect mental health by impacting the creation and function of brain chemicals and key enzymes, modifying the level of inflammation, in addition to have effects on altering key gene expression.”

Nutritional interventions — specially dietary changes but also nutritional supplements for those with certain deficiencies — are generally not considered primary treatment options, despite this direct and crucial link between food and brain functioning.

“The body produces the cornucopia of mood-regulating brain chemicals — such as glutamate, GABA and serotonin — by synthesizing various nutrients we take in,” explained John Arden, PhD, director of training for Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in the Northern California region, and author of books like The Brain Bible and Rewire Your Brain. “Neurotransmitters are derived from the diet,” he toldPsychiatry Advisor. Serotonin, for example, is made from the intake of foods containing the amino acid tryptophan, which the body converts to the neurotransmitter.

If there is insufficient tryptophan in the diet, there will be insufficient serotonin production and resulting mood deficits. This is also relevant to people taking antidepressants that work by affecting neurotransmitter levels, such as the effects of fluoxetine (Prozac) on serotonin, said Dr Arden. The drugs don’t actually make the neurotransmitters, they just influence the activity of one’s existing supply, which depends largely on diet quality. The same goes for the other neurotransmitters that influence mood.

Though the connection between mental health and nutrition is inextricable, it is not commonly a focus of treatment. “While other fields have embraced the link the between diet and certain pathologies–such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease–psychiatry has been slow to recognize this link. This may be due to old medical theory of the mind being separate from the body,” said Dr Sarris. “The field of psychoneuroimmunology understands the link between all systems and the effect of modifying factors on the immune and endocrine system, and how this may impact the nervous system, and thus one’s mental health.”

A recently formed organization seeks to encourage the widespread acceptance of dietary intervention in mental health care. The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) is growing rapidly, “in part due to burgeoning public and clinician interest in nutrition and its potential effects on mental health,” noted  Dr Sarris, who is a member of the group.

In a consensus position statement published in World Psychiatry in October 2015, the ISNPR stated that in light of significant growth in research on the connection between mental health and nutrition, the organization’s aim is to promote movement toward the consideration of nutritional interventions as mainstream.1 “Epidemiological data, basic science, and clinical evidence suggest that diet influences both the risk for and outcomes of mental disorders,” the authors wrote. “As such, we advocate that evidence-based nutritional change should be regarded as an efficacious and cost-effective means to improve mental health.”

The majority of data supports an association between diet and depression, though additional findings suggest that nutrition has a significant role in a variety of disorders, as well as overall mental health. In a systematic review published in January 2015, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark evaluated 52 studies and concluded that “elimination diets fish oil supplementation seem to be the most promising dietary interventions for a reduction in ADHD symptoms in children.”2

Numerous studies have found evidence supporting a strong association between depression and diet among adults: Some show that a healthy diet–consisting of sufficient intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, for example–is linked with lower depression risk, while an unhealthy diet–for instance, the “Western diet,” which is high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats like those in many fried and processed foods — is linked with higher risk.3,4,5 Researchers have observed similar patterns between diet quality and the mental and emotional health of children and adolescents.

Abundant research also supports the relationship between trace elements and other specific nutrients and psychiatric disorders. As reported in a review in the American Journal of Public Healthin October 2014, for instance, “the dietary intake of folate, zinc, and magnesium is inversely associated with depressive disorders, whereas dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are inversely related to anxiety disorders.”6

Inflammation and gut health are two additional factors that appear to have an important role in the relationship between diet and psychological functioning, and research in these areas is ongoing.7,8,9,10 According to the field of psychoneuroimmunology, “diet, gut health, and mental health are all interrelated and have huge effects on mood,” Dr Arden said.

In addition to diet-based interventions, there is sufficient data to support the use of supplements (also called “nutraceuticals”) as stand-alone or add-on treatments,11 according the the ISNPR statement. “While more research is required, there are some nutraceuticals that have substantiative evidence for use in select psychiatric disorders,” which can be prescribed by clinicians with the required qualifications, added Dr Sarris.

“Advice on pursuing a balanced whole-food diet can also always be given, and in cases involving more intensive advice or challenging prescription, appropriate referral is advised.”

Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist and freelance writer based in Atlanta.


1.      Sarris J, Logan AC, Akbaraly TN, et al. International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research consensus position statement: nutritional medicine in modern psychiatry. World Psychiatry. 2015; 14(3): 370–371.

2.      Heilskov Rytter MJ, Andersen LB, Houmann T, et al. Diet in the treatment of ADHD in children – a systematic review of the literature. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry. 2015 Jan;69(1):1-18.

3.      Sanhueza C, Ryan L, Foxcroft DR. Diet and the risk of unipolar depression in adults: systematic review of cohort studies. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013; 26(1):56-70.

4.      Lai JS, Hiles S, Bisquera A, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression in community-dwelling adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014; 99(1):181-97.

5.      Akbaraly TN, Brunner EJ, Ferrie JE, et al. Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2009; 195(5):408-13.

6.      O’Neil A, Quirk SE, Housden S, et al. Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Public Health. 2014; 104(10): e31–e42.

7.      Jacka FN, Rothon C, Taylor S et al. Diet quality and mental health problems in adolescents from East London: a prospective study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2013; 48(8):1297-306.

8.      Berk M, Williams LJ, Jacka FN, et al. So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from? BMC Medicine. 2013; 11:200.

9.      Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2010; 72(4): 365–369.

10.  Selhub EM, Logan AC, Bested AC.  Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 2014; 33(1): 2.

11.  Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutrition Journal. 2008; 7:2.

St. Louis Student, 9, Can’t Attend School Because He’s Black

Edmond Lee, 9, won't be able to return to his charter school inside St. Louis city limits next year because he's black.

Edmond Lee, 9, won’t be able to return to his charter school inside St. Louis city limits next year because he’s black.


A third-grader from St. Louis was told he couldn’t return to his elementary school next year—because he’s black.

Edmund Lee’s family will be moving from inside St. Louis city limits to a new suburban school district and, when they asked if the boy could still attend his school after the move, they were refused due to a twisted application of a decades-old state desegregation law forbidding black students from going to city schools.

“It was surprising to me to have on a piece of paper that he couldn’t attend because he was an African American and if he was another race he could,” LaShieka White, Edmond’s mother, told the Daily News.

The 1980 U.S. Court of Appeals law that will prevent Edmond, 9, from returning to the city charter school, Gateway Science Academy, was created with good intentions.

The desegregation law was supposed to diversify both the city schools, which were in poor condition and predominantly black, as well as the suburban schools, in better condition and predominantly white.

But in the case of Edmond’s school, which is roughly 80 percent white, this particular application of the law will actually have the inverse effect by barring a black student.

“I’m kind of still in shock about the whole thing. It was intended for a good reason at the time,” White, 30, said.

White is attempting to fight the city policy so that Edmond can stay in the school where he’s been since kindergarten and has excelled.

“We love the school, we love the staff, that’s why we’re trying to fight for him to stay,” she said.

The school community has been supportive of Edmond’s case and a whopping 54,000 people from around the world have signed White’s petition.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a statement clarifying that the “unfortunate situation” is because “of the student’s change in residency.”

“Even if the family’s new St. Louis County school district participated in the transfer program, the student would still not be able to transfer. This situation stems from the 1980 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the St. Louis City and County schools were maintaining segregated systems. In 1983, the schools reached a Desegregation Settlement Agreement allowing African-American students to transfer into primarily white suburban school districts and for non-African American students to attend St. Louis schools. The goal was to try to balance the racial makeup of the city and county schools,” the statement read.

White says that she’s open to moving to another school district, but wants to raise awareness about a perverse application of a well-intentioned law.

“The only thing I would really like out of this whole outcome are that the guidelines be revised for all children. I don’t think a factor of race should determine if a kid should be able to go to school or not, or the guidelines should have some leeway for how to deal with situations like this,” she said.

“I don’t want any other families to go through what we’re going through.”

Edmond will finish this school year at Gateway Science Academy.

Fighting The Power In 2016!

Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 15, in Los Angeles. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

Kendrick Lamar performs at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 15, in Los Angeles. Photo: AP/Wide World photos


Remember back in the 80s, when a rap song could come on the radio, and parents wouldn’t worry about the lyrics being too harsh for their children?

Instead, during that time, some lyrics inspired revolutionary thought in the minds of Black people.

In 1989, rapper KRS-One started the Stop the Violence Movement in response to killings taking place in the Black community. The group consisted of popular rappers including MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Public Enemy, Kool Moe Dee and  others. They produced the hit “Self-Destruction,” a song that encouraged the Black community to put down drugs and weapons.

In 1991, the collective group 2 Black 2 Strong MMG came out with a self-titled song that dealt with racism and the history of slavery.

As the century turned, hip hop’s message was also taking a turn. More and more, the message was turning away from Black consciousness towards degrading women, drugs and self-hatred.

From then to now, artists such as Kid Rock and Rebel Diaz have been using their voices to send political messages. However, the artists that were the most popular were more concerned about the dollar than the message they were selling. It appears a shift is happening.

With the onslaught of police brutality and rampant racism plaguing Blacks, these crises have sparked something in the entertainment industry that could change the direction of popular music, and inspire a broadening of minds.

Beyoncé, a world famous singer with influence over millions of people, recently used her voice to promote her Blackness. In the music video for her latest song “Formation,” Beyoncé made references to police brutality and wrongs seen in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina left hundreds of thousands of Black and poor people devastated and some dead. In one scene in the music video, graffiti on a wall says, “Stop shooting us.” This message is accompanied by a young Black boy in a black hoodie dancing in front of a line of police officers, raising their hands in surrender. In another scene in the video, Beyoncé lays on top of a New Orleans Police cruiser as it sinks under the water.

After taking in the symbolism in her music video, social media blew up with comments declaring that Beyoncé was anti law enforcement. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, lambasted her performance. In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” he said, “I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her, and protect us and keep us alive.”

Beyoncé is not the only artist using her platform to take a stance. Preceding the airing of the 2016 Oscar and Grammy awards, two of the most anticipated award shows in the United States, actress Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott due to the lack of diversity in these award shows.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar made a strong political statement with his performance at the Grammy’s. Opening the scene with his musicians behind bars, and chains around the rapper’s wrists, he spoke of the prison industrial complex and the destruction of Black people and their culture in his song “The Blacker the Berry.” He then transitioned into his song “Alright,” which has been adopted as a kind of theme song for the Black community. He concluded with a freestyle that referred to February 26, 2012, the day Trayvon Martin was killed.

Rapper Azealia Banks has used her platform to speak to social issues, mostly through her Twitter account. In a few tweets, she’s called Black media counter-productive, and also called out White rappers who want to appropriate Black culture but are silent when young Blacks are shot or killed without just cause.

In America today, if Blacks proclaim their Blackness, or stand up for themselves, they can expect to be criticized and condemned for reverse racism. New York Representative Peter King released a five-paragraph long statement concerning Beyoncé’s “Formation” video. “Beyoncé may be a gifted entertainer but no one should really care what she thinks about any serious issue confronting our nation,” said the Republican lawmaker. However, when Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis performed their song “Same Love” at the 56th Grammy Awards, a song about marriage equality for the LGBT community, and married gay couples, there was no major backlash. Yet the moment fearless Black men and women expose the issues facing the Black community, and the lack of equality, their actions become the subject of major criticism.

Other rappers such as P. Diddy, who stood with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during his call for Justice Or Else! and the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March last October, ran into trouble soon after.

Many say America’s White supremacist system is afraid of the rise and unity of the Black community. As Black entertainment begins to raise the level of consciousness, it could incite rebellion against capitalism and racism and undermine a society rooted in White supremacy.

“Hip hop is a reflection of what’s happening in our hoods, on our reservations,” said YoNasDa Lonewolf Hill, a young female activist in the fight for justice. “It’s a voice of that. The question is if Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé are a threat, then our people must be a threat.”

This was evident in a Saturday Night Live’s skit titled, “The Day Beyoncé’ Turned Black,” which aired soon after her music video. It depicted the reaction of White America after hearing the song “Formation,” and realizing that Beyoncé had declared her Black heritage. Whites feel the song is not catering to them.

In SNL’s skit, a White woman says to a Black woman that they must leave America because Beyoncé is Black. The Black woman points out the fact that she is Black as well, but the White woman denies it. When the Black woman points out a young Black man wearing a hoodie, a hat and a gold chain, the White woman says, it’s obvious that he is Black. This skit portrays the way Blacks are widely looked upon in society—as thugs and “super predators,” as leading presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party put it.

Black youth are feared because of the way they are portrayed as thugs and gangbangers and elders do not believe youth can be controlled.

“The elders are rejecting the youth because the youth are not listening to them, and the youth are doing something that the elders do not quite understand,” said Minister Louis Farrakhan during a meeting with the hip hop community last year. He went on to say, “You are the most courageous generation that we have ever had. You are the strongest generation that we have ever had. You are the most fearless generation that we have ever had. But your courage and your fearlessness are being used by the enemy so that you will destroy each other.”

Dr. Raymond Winbush, research professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, believes artists have a chance to educate people through their art.

“The biggest form of education is through music, the movies, and television that young people listen to,” Dr. Winbush said. “If they see their athletes and entertainers educating them, then they will start changing. It could teach young people to be more conscious about some of the lyrics they put out there. I hope this isn’t just a trend, and they will probably get into the political realm as ‘whitelash’ is coming their way, and the police said they won’t guard Beyoncé but Farrakhan said he will. It brings worth to our community and it makes us work harder to produce our own entertainment.”

During his Saviours’ Day address, Minister Farrakhan addressed the impact of a growing hip hop and Black entertainment consciousness. “Kendrick Lamar set a new standard,” Minister Farrakhan said. “He freed rappers to come on up!  He’s the boss.  He is the boss.  Now, when the rappers are free to say it ‘like it is,’ and say what they feel, and teach their people through music and rap and song and dance, the Cultural Revolution is on.”

Other rappers such as Rick Ross, Kanye West, Young Thug and others have made references to the Black liberation movement in their songs, or have publicly shown that they are ready to be part of the movement.

“For a minute now, it was like pulling teeth to get certain artists to be vocal about Black lives that matter,” said YoNasDa Lonewolf Hill. “It’s getting to a point where it’s becoming so bad that these artists cannot just be quiet. They have to figure out what’s more important—their Black life or their White dollar? That’s a choice that many entertainers have to make. Beyoncé made a statement in her song and said that the best revenge is your paper. I was in the streets protesting and getting sprayed by mace, but what was more effective was Minister Farrakhan’s calling for an economic shut down. He wasn’t the first to call for it, but the scale that he did it on with Justice Or Else!, we saw these companies shutting down and that was the best revenge.”

While it’s true that music affects people, it is also true that people affect music.

“Most significant social movements have a soundtrack,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins, a Black author, economist and political analyst. “Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is immortalized because it connected to what the people were feeling. The same could be for Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé. They’ve been called out and cooned for the fact that they were twerking and jiving, and I think that ostracism is paying off. If you’re not down for the people then we’re not down for you.”

While everyone has opinions as to the significance or lack thereof of this new generation of artists speaking out, it is part of the freeing of minds and feeding the movement. Just as media and its celebrity influence are used to glorify drugs, degrade women and assassinate Black images, they can also be used to educate the masses about the reality Blacks are facing, and what to do about it.

“Really begin working in your community,” said Ms. Lonewolf Hill. “We can’t just be like, I slay. Now, what are you slayin’? Your weave? You have to be able to slay your Black life and be like yes, I’m fighting for my people. Don’t just sing the song. When she’s saying let’s get in formation, she’s saying information. Don’t make this a trend. My Black and Native American self is not a trend, this is who I am. I will fight to the death for my people.”

Lead in Flint Water, Mold in Detroit Schools: An Anatomy of a Free Market Disaster?

Jessica Owens, a resident of Flint, Michigan, holds up a bottle of water taken from one of the taps in her home. She was attending a committee hearing, on 3 February 2016 in Washington DC, to examine the ongoing water crisis in Flint. (AP/Molly Riley)

Jessica Owens, a resident of Flint, Michigan, holds up a bottle of water taken from one of the taps in her home. She was attending a committee hearing, on 3 February 2016 in Washington DC, to examine the ongoing water crisis in Flint.
(AP/Molly Riley)

by David Bacon

In spite of the growing sense of disbelief and horror surrounding the lead contamination of drinking water in the Michigan city of Flint, at least one thing is clear: that the catastrophic levels of pollution and destruction are a direct result of the extreme policies pursued by the Michigan’s right-wing leadership.

A very conservative group has controlled Michigan since the election of Governor Rick Snyder and a Republican majority in its legislature in 2011. At the heart of their policies has been a concerted effort to remove control over cities and communities by the people who live in them, and to impose austerity and free market measures on populations who are mostly African American and people of colour.

Some of the key opponents to that threat to democracy, however, have been Detroit’s teachers. This January, the Detroit Federation of Teachers filed lawsuit, and some educators even staged a walkout of the city’s schools, to protest against the “deplorable, dangerous, unhealthy and unacceptable” conditions for children that have emerged from the wreck of Michigan’s autocratic rule.

The key to the conservative’s strategy has been the emergency manager law. While a version of it was passed in 1988 under a Democratic administration, new Republican office holders passed Public Law 4 in 2011, which was much more radical. It gave virtually unlimited powers to unelected managers appointed by the governor in times of financial distress, while elected city councils and school boards lost all decision-making power.

With none of the constraints of public accountability, emergency managers in several cities then proceeded to nullify union bargaining agreements and sell off public assets. Detroit itself was forced into bankruptcyin July 2013.

In nearby Flint, Governor Snyder appointed Darnell Earley as emergency manager in October 2013. Over the next 16 months, Earley laid the groundwork for switching Flint’s water supply from the municipal utility that serves Detroit to pumping water from the Flint River – a waterway that is highly-polluted as a result of decades of toxic waste dumping by auto plants and other heavy industry.

Earley, a Democrat, justified the move as a measure to reduce costs. It has since become clear, however, that his action was connected to a plan to drive Detroit even further into bankruptcy.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has operated with budget deficits that averaged US$57 million a year; debt servicing took up half of its budget. Bondholders, facing the loss of Flint as a customer, pressured for cutting off delinquent customers and raising rates to avoid writing down their investments in bankruptcy proceedings. The French waste and water management multinational, Veolia, was waiting in the wings.


Flint is the biggest customer for Detroit’s water

When Detroit’s water agency offered to halve its rates to keep supplying the city, Earley and his successor refused. Instead they signed an agreement to put Flint into the hands of a new water supplier connected to Veolia.

Without Flint as a customer, Detroit residents now have to pay higher rates. Detroit itself may have to sell its public water system – one of its main assets – to private investors.

One year ago, under the decree of Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr, the water district began to shut off water services to poor residents behind on their bills. Only a global outcry stalled the move. At the same time Orr began negotiations with Veolia.

In February 2015 Veolia was then hired by Flint to study its water, after the switch in sources had been made. Public health doctors were already warning state and federal authorities that the level of lead in the drinking water pumped from the Flint River was alarmingly high. Lead is a recognised cause of learning disabilities in children, and the damage to their cognitive development is permanent.

Veolia announced that Flint’s water was safe. It echoed similar false safety claims by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, an agency under the control of Governor Snyder. However, last year even General Motors stopped using Flint water in its car manufacturing plant because it was causing corrosion.

Eventually Snyder was forced to admit that corrosive river water was dissolving the lining of Flint’s ancient lead pipes, causing a spike in the metal’s concentration.

Embarrassing emails revealed knowledge by state authorities of the lead contamination, at the same time they were ridiculing parents and public health officials who warned of the danger.

Eventually a state of emergency was declared, and President Barack Obama offered US$80 million in relief, although replacing the city’s pipes is likely to cost over US$1 billion.


Emergency in Detroit’s schools

After leaving Flint, in January 2015 Earley was appointed by Governor Snyder as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools (DPS) – the system’s fourth emergency manager in seven years.

The main program of all four has been the privatisation of Detroit schools. By the end of the 2009-2010 school year, 36 per cent of students (50,139 students) were already attending private charter schools, and another 41 schools (30 per cent of the district serving 16,000 students) were converted into charters.

The Deficit Elimination Plan – agreed between managers and the state of Michigan in a bid to erase DPS’ US$20.4 million deficit by the end of 2021 – required the district to close a further 70 schools over two years, and raise class sizes to 60 students at high school level.

Voters rebelled and repealed Public Law 4 in the 2012 election. The legislature moved even further to the right, however, passing a law forbidding contracts that require union membership as a condition of employment (a so-called “Right to Work” law), and then passed Public Law 4 again in a slightly modified form, as Public Act 436.

In a recent opinion piece, Pamela Pugh, treasurer of the (elected) State of Michigan Board of Education, wrote: “After more than six years of a failed state takeover, Detroit Public Schools have deteriorated into a destabilised education system, marred by decreased academic outcomes and increased deficit, upward of US$3.5 billion. Just as Flint’s water crisis occurred under emergency management, so did the demise of the Detroit school district.”

Last month, the Detroit Federation of Teachers finally filed a lawsuit to force Earley to resign, and to return the schools to control by an elected school board. “Asking a child to learn or a teacher to instruct in classrooms with steam coming from their mouth due to the cold in the classroom, in vermin-infested rooms, with ceiling tiles falling from above and buckets to catch the rainwater, or in buildings that are literally making them sick, is more than what is legally or constitutionally tolerable”, the suit says.

Other conditions named in the action include black mold, bacteria, freezing cold or boiling hot classrooms, rats and insects, exposed wiring and falling debris.

At the beginning of this February Earley finally resigned, telling Governor Snyder he’d completed his work of “comprehensive restructuring” months ahead of schedule. And as hundreds of teachers staging a‘sickout’rallied in front of the school district offices, Snyder announced he’d appoint a ‘transition leader’ to move the schools back toward local control.

“Educators and parents have been raising the red flag for years about dangerous school conditions, only to be snubbed, ignored and disrespected by DPS and the emergency managers, including Earley”, said Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, in a statement. “The state has brought the school district to its knees, and now it’s time to give up the reins.”

Michigan cities like Detroit and Flint have been used as a laboratory for market-based policies and the most extreme forms of austerity. The results have been deadly.

Detroit remains in bankruptcy and emergency managers still wreak havoc in several other cities. Detroit schools, even without an emergency manager, will take many years to recover from the devastation caused by disinvestment and privatisation. The water in Flint still has lead, and the children damaged by its pollution will never fully heal.

As Americans go to the polls to vote this year, they must remember that conservative candidates all over the country are proposing to extend policies like those enacted in Michigan. The actions of politicians shouldn’t just be debated in the abstract; when people are forced to suffer the very real consequences of political negligence such as that wrought on Flint and Detroit, individuals must be held to account.

Why the Congressional Black Caucus Endorsement of Hillary Clinton is a Really Big Deal

Rep. John Lewis joins the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee in endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Rep. John Lewis joins the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee in endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By Corrine McConnaughy,

Last Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. It was a media event, and outlets faithfully reported Clinton’s endorsement pickup as a potential key to winning black votes in upcoming primaries — especially the fast-approaching South Carolina contest, where black voters are expected to be key. In the 2008 election, black voters constituted 55 percent of the Democratic vote in South Carolina.

So what, exactly, does an endorsement like this do?

Possibly more than you think.

hen do black leaders’ endorsements influence black voters?

In the most straightforward sense, endorsements such as the one issued by the CBC PAC can be important signals to black voters about the likelihood that a candidate will represent their interests — much as party labels signal a range of likely policy commitments to partisan general election voters.

On this straightforward effect of black political endorsements of white candidates, political scientist Andrea Benjamin has an important new paper. Benjamin conducted an experiment that presented black respondents with consistent information about candidates in an electoral context absent contrasting partisan cues (as the Democratic primary is). But she randomly assigned some to receive the additional information that an association of black political leaders was endorsing one of the candidates. The result: an increased likelihood for blacks to vote for the endorsed (white) candidate.


Benjamin’s study took seriously the notion that black Americans aren’t “blind followers” — a point that many prominent African American commentatorshave been trying to make this electoral season. So Benjamin manipulated not only the presence of the black endorsement but also the presence of information suggesting the endorsed candidate actually had taken some political action in favor of black interests. In Benjamin’s study, the candidate opposed a government contract that, it was suggested, had been awarded despite failing to adhere to affirmative action policies or to seriously consider a minority company’s bids.

The result: Black respondents were unmoved by a black endorsement when there was no other cue to the candidate’s commitments on matters of race. When the endorsement was tied to a white candidate’s record on racial issues, however, the black leaders’ endorsement increased their support.

The takeaway for the Democratic primary campaign trail, then, is that the content of the endorsements the candidates line up matters. The endorsements aren’t likely to be useful voter signals unless they contain the right policy signals. Benjamin’s results are consistent with the argument that black voters turn to black leaders not for their stamp of approval, but for their justified argument in favor of a candidate’s likely representation on matters of race.

The Congressional Black Caucus gave the right kind of nod

With the results of Benjamin’s study in mind, the CBC PAC endorsement announcement becomes all the more meaningful for Clinton. The CBC PAC’sofficial endorsement statement was filled with policy, giving Clinton nods for her record on issues from racial profiling to voting rights to minority business interests. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) presented her as a long-trusted partner for CBC members’ goals. And, perhaps most important, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) used the CBC PAC announcement as an opportunity tochallenge the legitimacy of Sanders’s claim to a similarly long-standing record.

In other words, the CBC PAC gave Clinton exactly the right kind of nod. One that carefully connected her to a policy record, while raising doubts that Sanders’s endorsers could really do the same.

On the other hand, there’s no consensus among black leaders yet — and that matters, too

But maybe it’s more complicated than that.

While the CBC PAC endorsement is yet another on a growing list of black political leaders’ endorsements for Clinton, it certainly does not signal an all-encompassing consensus of black elites. Some CBC members, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), have made their still-neutral stances clear. CBC member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn .) has independently endorsed Bernie Sanders, as have some visible black figures outside of electoral circles, including longtime civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, black intellectual figures like Cornel West and Ta-Nehisi Coates, and a number of activists linked to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

On the one hand, it is difficult to see the endorsements Sanders has acquired as the kind likely to be particularly helpful to him among black voters. His endorsers have generally not made clear pro-Sanders racial policy arguments for him. Some, like Belafonte, have pitched Sanders as simply aspirationally right, representing “a moral imperative” and a “certain kind of truth.” Others, like West and former NAACP president Ben Jealous, are framing their Sanders support far more in terms of reasons they question Clinton.

On the other hand, the dissensions may be doing political work that could ultimately be even more consequential than the Clinton endorsements. By propping open a space for open debate about candidate support in black communities, a divided black elite can prevent the solidification of whatrecent work by Ismail White, Chryl Laird and Troy Allen call a “norm of black political behavior” in this election. According to White et al., when ideas of what political choices are in the interest of African Americans as a group become crystallized norms — well-defined and broadly understood — the social location of many black Americans in black spaces, from neighborhoods to churches to fraternal organizations, becomes a social mechanism for encouraging norm-adherent political behavior.

The larger and louder the black elite dissension on Clinton versus Sanders, the less clear it becomes that supporting a particular candidate is something that black voters should do for the interest of blacks as a group. In turn, the less likely it becomes that the social dynamics of black communities will be leveraged to be sure black voters turn up and register their support.

Consider what White, Laird and Allen were able to demonstrate about the norm of black support for President Obama in 2012. Their series of studies provided small cash payouts, quite typical in behavioral experiments, to support Mitt Romney’s campaign rather than Obama’s. The team repeatedly found that black subjects were uniquely willing to take the payouts and support Romney when they were confident that their black peers would not observe their choices. (Rest assured this was all fictitious support, though it plausibly seemed real within the study. Subjects were also all debriefed about the fiction at the end of the study.)

When their choices were made in conditions that implied black peers would know their choices, however, the black respondents stuck to the Obama-supporting norm. But the team also found that they could not use the same sort racialized social pressure to encourage voters to defect from that norm. Witnessing black peers supporting Romney (planted by the researchers — a technique called “using confederates”) did not encourage the black respondents to do the same.

So here’s the rub of the dissenters in the Clinton-Sanders black leader endorsement round-up. In the short run, with electoral contests looming where black voters absolutely matter, such dissension may well push both candidates to address issues of race more than they otherwise would. Thursday night’s Democratic debate saw both candidates take seriously their need to answer questions on issues of race. We’re witnessing discussions of issues like mass incarceration that seem unlikely to have materialized without the sense of competition that a divided black elite implies. But without the development of a norm-inducing consensus among black leaders, the Democratic nominee — whomever it may be — stands less likely to count on the black community dynamics that helped to deliver the record turnout of black voters that helped seal the Obama victories.

Trump Fails To Condemn KKK On Television, Turns To Twitter To Clarify

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs for supporters at the conclusion of a rally at Millington Regional Jetport on Saturday in Millington, Tenn. Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs for supporters at the conclusion of a rally at Millington Regional Jetport on Saturday in Millington, Tenn.
Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

On the Sunday morning talk shows, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump refused to condemn endorsements from a prominent white supremacist and former KKK leader, and said he retweeted a Mussolini quote because “it’s a very good quote.”

The extended conversation about white supremacists came on CNN’s State of the Union, where Jake Tapper asked if Trump would distance himself from an endorsement by David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke has told his radio audience that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage.”

Trump refused to condemn that endorsement or say he didn’t want the support of white supremacists — four times.

“I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me, or what’s going on?” he said. That prompted a back-and-forth that went, in part:

Trump: I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. … If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them and certainly I would disavow them if I thought there was something wrong.

Tapper: The Ku Klux Klan?

Trump: You may have groups in there that are totally fine and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups and I’ll let you know.

Tapper: I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here.

Trump: Honestly, I don’t know David Duke.

You can watch the full exchange here.

Not long after, Trump tweeted out a video of him being asked about Duke’s support on Friday, at a news conference where he received the support of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In the video from Friday, Trump said, “I disavow.”

As several people swiftly pointed out on Twitter, Trump hasn’t always claimed ignorance of David Duke as he did on CNN this morning.

In 2000, when he ended his presidential campaign, Trump cited Duke’s participation in the Reform Party as one reason he no longer wanted the party’s nomination.

“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. [Pat][ Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. [Lenora] Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep,” he wrote in his statement.

On MSNBC, Chris Jansing spoke to Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., about his father’s comments on State of the Union.

He said he wasn’t a campaign spokesman — but as a spokesman for his father, he was willing to say Trump’s camp didn’t want the support of a former KKK leader.

“I’m pretty sure we’re not interested in those kinds of votes,” Trump Jr. said.

Also on the Sunday show circuit, on NBC’s Meet the Press,Trump declined to distance himself from a Benito Mussolini quote he had retweeted.

Gawker has since posted to announce that the account that first tweeted the quote — unsubtly named “@ilduce2016” — was a bot they designed with the express purpose of tricking Trump into retweeting a line from the fascist Italian dictator.

And the ploy succeeded.

When Chuck Todd pointed out that “it is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep” is, indeed, a famous Mussolini quote, and asked if Trump knew that, Trump said:

“It’s OK to know it was Mussolini. Look, Mussolini was Mussolini. … It’s a very good quote. It’s a very interesting quote.”

When Todd asked if Trump wanted to be associated with a fascist, Trump said, “No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.”

He then pointed out he has millions of followers on social media, and that they appreciate his interesting posts.

“Hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?” Trump said.

Record 61 Million Immigrants in U.S., 15.7 Million Illegally

There are a record 61 million immigrants and their American-born children in the United States, including an estimated 15.7 million illegally here, according to a new analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data.

The estimated number of undocumented immigrants is one of the highest ever.

The analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that 45.3 million, or three-fourths of the 61 million, are legal immigrants and their children. The report out Monday notes that the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill supported by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio would have doubled that number of legal immigrants.

“These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom even asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our schools, health care system, infrastructure, and labor market? What is the effect on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation’s population density?” wrote Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of Research.

“With 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, does it make sense to continue admitting more than one million new legal permanent immigrants every year?” he added.

His report found that the normal pattern of immigration to the United States changed after 1970. At that time, there were 13.5 million immigrants, or about one in 15 U.S. residents.

But since 2000, the number of immigrants has increased 18.4 million, and now nearly one of every five U.S. residents are immigrants.

“The number of immigrants and their young children grew six times faster than the nation’s total population from 1970 to 2015 — 353 percent vs. 59 percent,” he added.

Camarota dug deep into Census Current Population Survey and other data to determine his estimate of 15.7 million illegals in the United States.

“Our best estimate is that in 2015 there were 5.1 million children with at least one illegal immigrant parent. Taken together, the best available evidence indicates that there were a total of 15.7 million illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children in the adjusted December 2015 CPS, accounting for 25.7 percent of the 61 million immigrants and their children in the country,” he said.

He broke the figures down state by state and Camarota said that “the number of immigrants and their minor children from 1970 to 2015 has been nothing short of astonishing.” Some examples:

— In Georgia, this population grew 3,058 percent (from 55,000 to 1.75 million), 25 times faster than the overall state population.

— In Nevada, this population grew 3,002 percent (from 26,000 to 821,000), six times faster than the overall state population.

n North Carolina, this population grew 2,937 percent (from 47,000 to 1.43 million), 30 times faster than the overall state population.