Thursday, April 29, 2010
This cake was scrumptous!
Jr FOI did an excellent job of entertaining.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
I'm so excited that one of our ultimate unity projects is back in effect! I remember when the believers of MM27 and the So Cal region launched this back when we were in our building on Vermont & 83rd - packing the boxes in the warehouse in Compton; moving them out; being on the scene when they were delivered to the brothers and sisters in the community, and seeing the joy of especially the sisters and the community as they drove up in front of the mosque to pick up their fresh food boxes.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Billie Boyd shows a picture of her late husband, whose death led to a series of events and ended with the loss of her home. Photo: Charlene Muhammad
RIALTO, Calif. (FinalCall.com)- Billie Boyd did not expect to lose her partner and their home in less than a year, but when her husband Robert died, his passing set off a financial crisis that forced her out of her home within 10 months.
She was 66 and he was 86 at the time he passed away. Their beautifully decorated, two-story home of almost 25 years was nestled in a cul-de-sac in an average, middle-class neighborhood.
As their bills mounted up and their house grew in need of routine repairs, they sought refuge in a special reverse mortgage loan package designed for seniors, which let them turn equity in their homes into cash. But the bulk of the lump sum of $65,000 they received unfortunately went to home repairs and credit cards, Mrs. Boyd said.
The reverse mortgage loan transfered their debt from the mortgage to their lender but it didn't touch their Social Security or Medi-Cal. They were at ease, until the housing market crash occurred. “Because it's not a fixed rate, it's graduated and we owed more on this place than its valued at. It might be $300,000 now whereas it's valued at only $100,000,” Mrs. Boyd told the Final Call on March 24, the day she moved out.
Now, the 66-year-old, who earns $8 an hour for two hours a day working part-time, has gone from paying no mortgage on a three bedroom home with a fireplace and backyard to paying a $898 a month for a one bedroom apartment in a senior village.
In order for Wells Fargo to collect on the loan, the house had to be sold. Mrs. Boyd said she wasn't very clear on the process at first but understands what has taken place. She just believes her lender was insensitive because about two months after her husband died, the bank contacted her with regrets over her loss, and to inform her that she had to move, she recalled. “The timing was horrible and I really didn't have any time to grieve,” she said.
“I tried to reapply and get my name on it to stay here but everything tanked out. They just have those rules, government rules, and the bank gladly threw me out. That's the way it is and all this talk about the economy, all of it sounded great, but they never mentioned the downside of this,” she said.
Mrs. Boyd said she wants her story told to help other seniors avoid her sad experience. She wants other seniors to know her story to help them avoid the same pitfalls.
“I see people all the time interviewing on the news, but no one is talking about what seniors are going through. They never interview seniors about reverse mortgage but that's just another story in this tailor-made bank and Wall Street greed,” Mrs. Boyd said.
Mrs. Boyd did not lose her home in a foreclosure but she still joins millions of U.S. homeowners that have lost their American dreams in the economic crisis. In January alone, according to RealtyTrak, there were 315,716 foreclosure filings, and in 2009, there were 2.8 million foreclosure filings.
Despite her tragedy, she also believes that the American public is partly to blame for the housing crisis.
Lloyd London, founder of TYL Homeownership Preservation Services, told The Final Call the problem is that many people didn't know what they were getting into financially and didn't know that someone impartial was there to explain the process to them without pressure to buy, sell, or do anything.
Much of the problem starts in the loan origination process, when people are convinced to quit claim or transfer titles to their properties over to their spouse or another individual. The attraction to reverse mortgages is that no income is necessary to qualify and the older one is, the more qualified they are.
But the catch is reverse mortgages are based solely on the value of the property and Boyds didn't foresee the downturn in the market. “Wells Fargo might not have wanted the house but it was federally insured, and had to follow the rules of the federal government and if not face violation issues,” Mr. London said.
“The problem is people were supposed to be going to counseling by certified home equity or reverse mortgage counselors, but in a lot of instances, they took the advice of the lender instead of the counselor. But lenders half-heartedly directed you to housing counselors because most are considered a nuisance to servicers and lenders because they interfere, stop, or delay the process,” he added.
Mr. London said he has not seen or heard of too many seniors losing their homes under reverse mortgages, but he expects more to come, as it becomes harder to identify housing counselors to help them.
“Because housing counseling agencies are non-profits and because of the lack of funding a lot of them don't have a budget to support any outreach advertising. A lot of the work is done through the grassroots and homeowners in trouble don't know that people exist in order to aid them,” Mr. Lloyd said.
Wells Fargo’s response to my request for interview came in after my story had already published but here it is:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires a reverse mortgage to be repaid within six months of a borrower’s death. If the estate needs more time to sell the property or pay the debt, the lender can request up to two 90-day extensions, giving a total of one year to repay the reverse mortgage. Wells Fargo is helping the family through the process according to federal guidelines for the reverse mortgage program.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
National Council of Negro Women's Official Statement on the Passing of Dr. Dorothy Height, Civil Rights Activist
Our Great Leader Dr. Dorothy I. Height, President Emeritus -National Council of Negro Women & Civil Rights Activist has passed –submitted by Carolynn Martin President View Park Section NCNW Southern California Area
Early on April 20, 2010 Dr. Dorothy I. Height passed from this world. She was 98 years old with a brilliantly clear mind. We consider her African American Royalty – Dr. Height exemplified all that is encompassed in the description of Royalty. She was a Queen and certainly the crowned head of the National Council of Negro Women Inc., and all the affiliated organizations. Dr. Height as head of the National Council of Negro Women Inc. (NCNW) was a true leader, mentor, instructor, business woman extraordinaire, and an inspiration to over 4 million members. She showed by example the importance of having the ability to play more that one role in the empowerment of our families and communities. She was known by her signature hats and her stylish dress and poise .
Dr. Dorothy Irene Height was born in Richmond on March 24, 1912, and she grew up in Rankin, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where she attended racially integrated schools. But she felt the lash of racial bigotry early in her life. A music teacher in her mostly white elementary school appointed her student director of the school chorus, but a new principal forbade her to take that position. According to documentation the class refused to stand and sing until Ms. Height was allowed to lead. She earned a bachelor's and master's degrees from New York University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work. It is reported she was turned away by Barnard College because it already had its quota of two black women. Height served as national president of sorority Delta Sigma Theta from 1947 to 1956. Over the years she has earned many awards including the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In 1937, while she was working at the Harlem YWCA, Height met famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women and Bethune-Cookman College in Florida. Dr. Height soon joined Dr. Bethune in Washington D.C. to help build the infrastructure of NCNW. Dr. Height became the 5th Executive Director of our organization. Dr. Dr. Height was known for having the uncanny knack for identifying nebulous potential in the people she encountered and assigned those to task to enhance and develop leadership. In December many members of NCNW attended our National Convention, those who never met her will forever have an everlasting memory of the women who was bigger than life. She embraced national icons as well as the youngest convention delegates. The theme for the past convention was “Harnessing Intergenerational Power.” throughout the convention she reminded the delegates to build on the power of our youth. Dr. Height believed as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, “No One Should Be Left Behind.”
As we mourn the passing of a great humanitarian and civic leader we will remember the legacy she has left for us all. People have read about her; she will be noted in history books for all to study; those who knew her will remember her winning ways. She leaves a majestic mark on the world, and thus Dr. Dorothy Irene Height, President Emeritus National Council of Negro Women Inc. becomes a permanent part of the tapestry that makes our world so very rich. TheLegacy will continue
More detail to follow as arrangements are announced – for questions or inquires please contact the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women Inc. Washington DC at 202-737-0120 or locally Othetta Glover, California State Co-Convener.
National Council of Negro Women Inc.,
View Park Section, Southern California Area
Monday, April 19, 2010
Karen Farrakhan wears many hats. She is most widely recognized as the wife of Mustapha Farrakhan, Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam, mother to their 5 children (4 daughters and 1 son), and daughter-in-law of Nation of Islam and world leader, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his wife, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan. To the responsibilities she already gracefully carries, she cheerfully added women’s advocate and youth empowerment to her hat box when she launched “Women of Destiny, Incorporated,” a program to help recognize the issues that confront our youth and tools to assist them in preventing and overcoming.
When I heard about what she was doing, I just had to call her! I had the pleasure of speaking to Sis. Karen about her non-profit effort, and how it became her goal and passion.
[LOOK FOR FINAL CALL CONTRIBUTING WRITER SIS STARLA MUHAMMAD'S COVERAGE OF THE EVENT IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE OF THE FINAL CALL: BY THE BROTHERS ON THE STREET CORNERS, YOUR COMMUNITY NEWS STAND, OR IF YOU'VE A SUBSCRIPTION, YOU CERTAINLY WON'T MISS IT!]
Charlene Muhammad (CM): How did Women of Destiny come about?
Karen Farrakhan (KF): I started the program in 2008 and my goal and passion has always been to try to empower young girls and women. Being a mother of four daughters and one son, and people throughout my life have always told me how they’ve admired me and my children. I believe you have to share what you have with people. When people see our family unit together, they ask how can they achieve what we have, that whole nucleus? That was a defining moment for me to say I’ve got to do something because there are too many of us that are suffering.
CM: Did you get those comments about the unity and solidity of your family coming from within and without the Nation of Islam?
KF: Both, wherever we go. In the Caucasian community, some people would say, “Man, you’re nothing like we thought.” Or, “Wow, you parents are so supportive of your children and in general what I would hear often is you’d be surprised but your children act as if you’re sitting right there even when you’re not around. When my children were growing up I monitored what they watched on TV and I never let them watch anything with sexual connotations in it. I know that seems kind of hard to do, but on days when I was tired I’d put on the Discovery Channel or something about nature, but over all we really were mindful. So if they were with someone who had on a show or went to the movies, they’d say, “Karen, your children covered their faces during those parts,” which really made me very proud and comforted that they were getting it.
CM: What was your motivation for Women of Destiny? When I heard there was a HIV component, I perked up, because my oldest sister had HIV and passed away after she grew tired of taking her meds. She was fatigued, but she left twin girls, uninfected, who are in their teen years today.
KF: Sorry for your loss. My motivation was one of my speakers, Dawn Breedon. I grew up with her in New Jersey and our families have a lengthy relationship. She wrote a book, Remember to Breathe, and I wanted her to share her story with our people, our girls, and let them know that there are so many things to consider while choosing a mate and that there is life after contracting this disease. To make young women aware that there are things that you can do to prevent spreading it to your offspring. If you catch it in time and do the proper things your doctor tells you to do, you can virtually have a baby that’s not infected with AIDS.
CM: What type of response have you received?
CM: What is the age group for your primary target audience? Your message is specifically for whom?
KF: Women, in general, however, a targeted age group is between the ages of 10-18 basically middle school and high school ages. I considered targeting younger than 10 but I realized that some parents may feel I'm embarking on or exposing their children to situations the they are not ready to discuss with their children. The reality is by middle school many students are confronted with a lot of these issues so we have to catch it while they’re young.
CM: Research shows that the level of sexual of activity among our young girls and infection rates are very high. How do you actually cut through that dialogue first, before you can or just so you can even get to the HIV discussion?
KF: My children are my case study basically and the bottom line is when I was rearing my children everyday was a class. Everyday we always talked in the proverbial sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. And in anything that you talked about in this society, that people say are hip or what's happening, you can relate it all to the same thing because it’s all intertwined and connected. I’ve always tried to teach them that you always have to look out and be careful of where you are, and who you associate with, and then I tried to give them examples of situations so whenever they were confronted with an issue, I would try to help them know how to handle it. And then of course, if they didn’t take that route, they felt the brunt of the consequences of it because I was a strong disciplinarian. But after a while they started to see, wow, from other friendships they saw them take that road that was opposite of what I was teaching them and they didn’t want that result. So I’m very grateful to Allah that I have children who have been wise enough to listen to good counsel and guidance thus far.
CM: Were they an ultimate case study as well because they are Farrakhans, by virtue of who they are? So whatever a “normal” or “ordinary” parent and teen or child would go through, then for your children that must have been heightened because all eyes were on them and they’re expected to be a certain way and walk right. But if they could come through certainly parents like me or others could look at their example?
KF: That was one of the factors, who you are, and we already have a stigma attached to us. In our community we end up hearing, they think they’re better than, and that’s not the case at all. And in the Caucasian community, from the mis-representation from their media portrayal of us as racist. So I encourage them to be who they are and be respectful to others, self-respecting and really treat people like they like to be treated, despite how ignorant they can be. Man, you’ve got a bright future ahead of you so don’t waste it. My father-in-law’s mother, their great grandmother, had a poem called “Don’t Be the Women that Men Forget.” It’s a cute little poem. I don’t have it readily available or know it verbatim, but basically it tells you that men will go through all these different women but the women they can’t have their way with are always the ones they will remember to come back to marry. So don’t be the women that men forget.
CM: What are the highlights of your Women of Destiny programs?
KF: Our 1st program dealt with HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, along with breast cancer prevention and awareness. We had a few inspirational songs. A group called HYPE, out of Chicago State University, performed a poetry/sign recital. We had guest speaker Dr. Stephanie Brown of PIHET to enlighten us about breast cancer. My friend and guest speaker, Miss Dawn Breedon, a motivational speaker and author of "Remember to Breathe," and last but not least, our own Sister Minister Ava Muhammad, ended on a spiritual note.
However, we plan to educate them on several issues our youth our confronted with like domestic violence, overcoming peer pressure, the seriousness of sexting, overcoming bullying, drug and gang prevention, the importance of physical fitness, proper etiquette and hygiene, and God willing, provide scholarships, basically give them a guideline of how to recognize these types of situations and give them an orientation of how to make wise choices.
CM: How can people find out more, participate, volunteer, or donate to the cause?
KF: Although we are not 100% tax deductible, we are a non-profit, so any donations offer some tax deductions. We are working on our 501c3. They can mail their donations to: Women of Destiny, Incorporated, P.O. Box 652, Crett, IL, 60417. We will launch our website soon.
CM: Much success to you and to Women of Destiny! Thank you.
Friday, April 16, 2010
** Blog Exclusive - Sis Charlene speaks one-on-one with DMC of Run DMC **
Picture this: It’s day 2 of NAN, New York and I just finished covering the Keepers of the Dream gala’s red carpet. So I go to a tucked away lounge area at the Sheraton and while I’m processing my pics, interviews, business cards, you know, stuff, I hear a lot of laughter. When I checked it out, there were the Roots, DMC of the legendary Run DMC, and others, networking. Needless to say, because I enjoy the music of both very much, I got over there to get an update on DMC and his analysis about where the industry is and is headed these days.
Sis. Charlene Muhammad (SCM): First, Bro. DMC, how are you doing? Look, seeing you brings back memories of how my roommate and I at Southern University used to blast your raps.
Darryl McDaniels (DMC): Yeah, “The King of Rock,” yeah. I’m doing good. I’m doing. I’m just trying to keep that energy, that mind state of high, because a lot of people think old school was a time period, but it wasn’t a time period, it was a consciousness. It was a way of presenting and representing yourself. And it wasn’t just about this person or that one, it was about all of us collectively. Everything was Hip Hop. School was cool. Rapping was cool. Pursuing your dreams was cool. And like (Afrika) Bambaataa said, it was about us taking control of our own destinies because we have everything that we need to change the world. And then Hip Hop got so big to a point where, you know, it was inevitable that it became this big show business thing, but the people that’s in the business of Hip Hop don’t care about the culture or the lifestyle of the people that embrace it, that live it everyday so it’s up to us to not be so angry at what has happened to Hip Hop but it’s up to us to go against all of those, you know, these record labels got million dollar budgets but we have one thing they will never have. That’s presence and presentation.
That presence and presentation changed the world, whether it was the first rock ‘n rollers, you know what I’m saying. Chuck Berry, all of us, Fats Domino, all of us, so we just have to continue to be persistent in utilizing what was given to us and we can continue to change the world, so that’s all I’m trying to do.
SCM: Bro. DMC, do you think that people come down too hard on Hip Hop? And what’s your message on your presence here at the National Action Network’s convention. People would have you think that those two things, the Civil Rights Movement and your genre, Hip Hop, are separated. And is there a way for people to get the message out that they want it to change without just alienating the youth?
DMC: Yeah, well, put it like this, I don’t think we come down hard enough on Hip Hop. You know a lot of us are satisfied and we get comfortable and when you get comfortable that becomes a problem. There’s things that have happened over the course of us being in this world or even in this country that was positive but unless we take it upon ourselves, you know, it’s like I tell a lot of people in the hood. We’re happy that Obama got elected but he ain’t no babysitter. So they looked at me and said, “What do you mean by that?”
And I said go back and listen to Planet Rock. Go back and listen to Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. Go back and listen to the Treacherous Three. All of these rappers that were making records before it was on a record, it was all about civil rights. You know, they were looking at us, putting us in a class of we’re just good for jail. We don’t know nothing. We could only be lowlifes. And we started coming out with this Hip Hop thing because it gave us a chance to express ourselves.
Hip Hop is going to have its materialistic elements but the young people go, “DMC, you’re 40 years old now, and you’re saying everything that you’re saying because you’re wiser, maturer, and more experienced. And I’ll go, “Yes, young brother or sister. That’s true.” But they don’t realize all the great, not the great records that sold and charted, but I’m talking about the records that changed people's lives were created by individuals 12 to no older than 22 years old. It was me and you with those visions and we started putting that on a record, so the world was able to look at us and say - politicians, lawmakers, preachers, teachers, and the powers that be - they wasn’t just saying, “Whoooa, Run DMC and Public Enemy and Will Smith and them are selling a lot of records. They were going, do you hear and see what these younnnng people are doing?
I’m 45-years-old saying this now, and they’ll say, oh you’re just saying this now, and that’s true. But I’ve been saying it since I was 12. Go check those records. And by the ideas, images, and concepts we was putting on those records, it was change. And then it got a point where so-called gangsta rap came, which was inevitable. I talked to Ice T. He said you want to make a lotta lotta money, sex and violence sells when it comes to this entertainment business.
But at the same time, P.E. sold, Will Smith sold. Run DMC sold. De La Soul sold. X-Klan sold. The problem is, the people that control the business don’t provide those other ideas, concepts, and images. You know, when you look at T.V., you see half naked, Black women on all these shows. You don’t see a fully clothed Black women with a briefcase, doing something positive! So these girls are looking at these women on T.V. saying, and you know it’s not that art causes the problems but they’re looking at themselves on T.V. saying that’s all I could be, a girl that’s half naked chasing rappers and athletes.
No! What about the women doing their business. What about the reporters, the journalists, the producers, people like yourselves? Hip Hop said, oh, nobody’s going to do it for ourselves. So let’s put it on a record and in videos and do it ourselves. So the Civil Rights struggle is still going on until we make sure we have our own mediums and platforms to control, you know what I’m saying? Not to hide it, but to control it.
We cannot give our Black brothers and sisters at 12 what they’re supposed to get at 18 and we cannot give an 18-year-old person what he’s supposed to get at 22. That’s what’s happening with the media right now.
SCM: Yes sir, brother. Any projects coming up?
DMC: Yes, hopefully this summer I’m going to be releasing a new solo project, "Origins of Block Music.”
SCM: Am I the first to hear it?!
DMC: Yes. Wait, no probably the third. Probably the third but this is hot! “Origins of Block Music,” and it’s going to be a record that’s going to be inspirational, motivational, educational, but at the same time, fun again, like those records we used to listen to when we were in our cars going to school.
SCM: Thank you.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I'll be hosting the first Online Marketing Made Simple Empowerment Seminar for the Final Call (West) to help close the digital gap for many who have limited knowledge of how to successfully use the Internet.
It came about after I kept getting requests from so many of my friends and family to help them spread the word about their projects or programs. A lot of them are fantastic endeavors, but there was always a missing link - their web presence.
Some of them were online but their sites were stagnant. Others were afraid to connect with the global web market, and some just didn't know what the social marketing vehicles were and how to use them. The fact is though, I saw myself in them, so this is as much for me as it is for anyone. LOL
But since the economic downturn began I've been hearing from so many people who have lost their jobs and are finding that they don't know anything or enough about how to maneuver the Internet beyond basic Google and Facebook.
You can help and benefit at the same time! By clicking the donate link to the left to
sponsor the $30 registration fee for one adult attendee who has been laid off due to the recession, their unemployment has run out, and they are re-training to help provide for their families in these hard times, in return you'll receive a profile pic on my blog at http://charlene.blogs.finalcall.com and on Bro. Jesse Muhammad's award-winning blog at http://jessemuhammad.blogs.finalcall.com.
Your profile would include your photo or company/product logo, a highlight of what you offer/provide, and your contact information, which would run for one full week per sponsorship.
Sponsor a group of five adults (at $150) who have lost their jobs in these hard times and your profile pic would run for one full month on both blogs.
Thank you for any consideration and support of the Final Call (West)!
Sis Charlene Muhammad
P.S. Want to receive a scholarship to the seminar? Email or call me with why you need to enhance our online social marketing skills in this economic downturn.
I'll announce scholarship recipients as they are awarded.