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Some Year-End Thoughts

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As we look forward to the end of 2017, and the impeachment of the POTUS, I wanted to focus on something positive, namely, the courageous action of the Church of Sweden. To quote a PinkNews article:

“Church tells priests to stop calling God ‘he’ and use gender-neutral pronouns (headline).The Church of Sweden has advised its clergy to stop referring to God using male pronouns. Sweden’s national church, an Evangelical Lutheran denomination, made the switch as part of a modernization push. It advised members of the clergy to avoid referring to God using male identifiers such as ‘he’, ‘Father’ and ‘the Lord.’ “Instead of using the phrase ‘the Father, son and Holy Spirit’ during church services, clergy will be able to use the phrase ‘in the name of God and the Holy Trinity.’ The changes to the church handbook for services are aimed at reforming the church’s role in a more gender-inclusive society.
“Antje Jackelen, the Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Church of Sweden, explained that …

Book Review: "The Presidency in Black and White" by April Ryan

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As I shared in an earlier blog, we had the pleasure of hearing White House correspondent April Ryan speak in New York at this year’s Paul Weiss Annual Diversity Networking Reception in June. We all received copies of her new book The Presidency in Black and White, subtitled “My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.” April Ryan has been a member of the White House Press Corps for 18 years as a correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). Most recently she received national attention for being called-out by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for “shaking [her] head” in response to the “alternative facts” presented at the briefing. We have seen her as a regular political commentator on CNN and MSNBC.




Ryan interviewed three former presidents specifically for this book: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. She begins the book by commenting on “the current state of race relations in this country, and more specific…

Lisa Durden and the Burden of the False Angry Black Woman Narrative

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The black person’s burden of managing white fragility is as old as slavery. Dr. Joy DeGruy speaks of this in her groundbreaking book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. There is a delicate balance between the comfort of maintaining a superior cast system and the guilt of protecting it. And still today, people vastly underestimate the extent to which black lives are filled with a level of racial stress that most white people are not exposed to and simply couldn’t deal with. Lisa Durden, a talk show host, pop-culture commentator, film curator and adjunct professor, went on Fox News to discuss the New York City Black Lives Matter chapter’s Memorial Day party, where they asked that if people did not identify as part of the African Diaspora, that they not attend. Durden went head-to-head with Tucker Carlson to explain why she supported the New York City Black Lives Matter chapter’s decision. Durden argued that as Memorial Day was founded by disenfranchised blacks, and as blacks continue to be…

Jeh Johnson, April Ryan, & Deep Roots of Diversity at Paul, Weiss Law Firm

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I was filled with pride when President Barack Obama appointed Jeh Charles Johnson to become our nation’s Secretary of Homeland Security. Jeh Johnson’s grandfather had served as the first African-American president of Fisk University, where my parents were on the faculty. In fact, it was Dr. Charles S. Johnson who gave my parents their wedding at the Fisk Memorial Chapel, since my mother’s father had died when she was a young girl. Dr. Johnson had indeed become a father-figure to her during her early career.


Jeh and I would see each other as children on campus whenever our parents would socialize. Of course we went our separate ways when we left Nashville to go to college, but we would run into each other again over the years when we returned to visit. When Jeh returned to Fisk in 2013 to receive an honorary doctorate, we touched base again and caught up on each other’s recent activities. His parents came to witness the occasion, and my 92-year-old father was present as usual to direct …

How State and Local Governments Impoverish African-American Neighborhoods

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This article was written to recount my first-hand experience with the heartbreak of American racism. Soon after my father’s death I learned that I was the owner of a house in Charleston, West Virginia, which had been built by my grandfather, Dr. Henry Floyd Gamble, who was one of the first African-American graduates of the Yale Medical School. He set up a practice in Charleston as the first African-American surgeon, obstetrician, and gynecologist in the region, and founded the local chapter of the National Medical Association – the African-American version of the American Medical Association since the AMA did not accept African-Americans as members. He resided in the home he built with my grandmother and his four offspring, two of whom were adults by the time he and my grandmother married. When he died, he bequeathed the property to three of his children: my aunt Katherine, my uncle Howard, and my mother. Upon my mother’s death, her portion of the property went to my father; and upon …

Is the Nation Ready for its First Black Woman Governor?

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The Washington Post  describes Stacey Abrams as "a Yale-trained lawyer and business executive who writes romance novels on the side." Perhaps that definition will need to be expounded pending the results of Georgia's upcoming gubernatorial election. There is a possibility that we could be referring to Stacey Abrams as that state's first black governor and the nation's first black woman governor. 

Abrams, the 43-year-old House minority leader is seen as a rising star and one of the future leaders of the Democratic Party. Although she enters the race as the favorite for the nomination, she also faces an uphill battle to the governor's mansion, and a victory would be a huge win for Democrats who haven't won a statewide office in Georgia since 2006.

Abrams is known for her willingness to work with Republicans. "Sometimes fighting for Georgians means working with the other side," she says. "I’m willing to risk my leadership to make certain that Ge…

Will Some American Counties Be Left Without Health Insurance in 2018?

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It doesn’t appear that Congress and the White House will commit to funding crucial payments to compensate insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs for some lower-income enrollees. The damage to insurance markets could be catastrophic if the approximately $7 billion in payments to insurers aren’t funded, and if core ObamaCare provisions — like the individual mandate to buy insurance — aren’t enforced.
The immense uncertainty about the future of ObamaCare has some areas wondering whether they’ll soon be without any insurance plans to buy on the healthcare exchanges.
Insurance companies are in the midst of filing premium requests for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces. But before seeking those premium hikes, they’ll have to decide whether to continue offering coverage at all.
According to The Hill, for some counties in particular, the threat is looming like a dark cloud. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced it was exiting the marketplace, leaving 25 counties in M…