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By Veronica Mackey


Tuesday’s council meeting welcomed several fresh faces.  Millennials lined  up to speak their mind about changes and improvements they want to see in Inglewood as the city moves forward. 


Adding police cameras and increasing efforts to reduce homelessness were among the hottest topics, and both were approved unanimously by the Inglewood City Council.  Inglewood police were given up to $545,305 for security camera equipment and installation, and to store and maintain footage. Although the public was in favor of body cameras being worn by police, the council’s action pertains to security cameras being installed near the City Hall parking structure, jails and building exteriors of the Inglewood Police Department.


The public spoke up about past problems with police shootings within communities of color.  Alfonso Parker said having additional police cameras could have helped in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting last year.  Ray Davis said cameras “are not the end all” of police work.  “We have to talk. This is a systemic problem.  It’s not just about racism on every corner.”


Councilman Ralph Franklin, who recently attended a police meeting, said, police have “mixed emotions” about body cameras.  “Officers are seeing the whole picture like windshield wipers while the camera is only getting one segment.”


The City endorsed Measure H, the Los Angeles County ballot measure to prevent and combat homelessness that will be submitted to voters at the election held on March 7, 2017.  Former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane encouraged the public to support the measure.  


“All 88 communities within the County of Los Angeles have made it their mission to end homelessness,” he said.


Several young residents shared their lists of demands with council members.  One man said city officials place a lot of emphasis on the new stadium and other City developments, and not enough attention is given to Inglewood schools.  


Henry Brown, Chair of the Measure GG Oversight Committee, said $90 million has been allocated to make school improvements, such as painting and remodeling.  “I’ve asked our engineers to post signs that these improvements are taking place,” he said.


“We’re very proud of our children,” said Councilman Eloy Morales.  “The City provides after-school programs to children at a very low cost. Once you start looking into our city, you’ll see what we are doing.  But, having folks come forward gives us a viewpoint that we need to hear.”



In addition to school improvements, others in the audience want to see rent stabilization, better access to healthy food choices, health care, police oversight, equal opportunity for minority contractors, college bound programs, and more home ownership assistance.


“I have heard the voter turnout in the City of Inglewood is between 8 and 10%.  If you want all those Utopian changes, then take responsibility and vote,” Davis said.


Councilman Alex Padilla reminds everyone that Inglewood has a weekly Certified Farmers Market, which offers healthy and fresh food choices.  It is held every first and third Thursday of the month from 3 to 7pm on Market Street between Manchester and Nutwood.  Councilman Franklin added, “Not only do we have a Farmers Market, we had Michelle Obama here to promote healthy food choices.  That’s when Northgate Market came in to Inglewood.”


A young woman is concerned about “gentrification” and the impact that new city development will have on renters. “My rent just went up.  I don’t want to be pushed out because of the stadium,” she said.


“I don’t like to call it gentrification,” Mayor James Butts said.  “As property values go up, rent goes up.  The reality is property values have been increasing since 2012 in the City of Inglewood.  That was long before the stadium was contemplated.  This is always something cities go through when cities progress.”


Mayor Butts and council members said yes to various agreements, purchases and contract awards.


Approval of a stipulated interlocutory judgment was given to release any interest in property subject to eminent domain litigation for development of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project.  Approval clears the way for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to dismiss the City from the current action.


Parks, Recreation and Library Services got the green light to execute an agreement with the South Bay Center for Counseling.  The department will provide SBCC prevention and aftercare services for the grant amount of $55,000.


Additionally, Parks, Recreation and Library Services will expand its existing After School Recreation Program and establish  a Before and After School Recreation Program at Kelso Elementary School.


E.M. Construction Corporation was awarded a contract in the amount of $1,398,585 for the Center Park Improvement Project. 


The City of Inglewood denied all claims filed for personal injury and property damage.


By Veronica Mackey


Long before the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Black Lives Matter or—more recently—the Million Women’s March, Black Americans were leading the charge against an oppressive government regime. Many were jailed and beaten—some even died in the fight to gain such basic rights as equal access to drinking fountains and public bathroom facilities.   


The tumultuous 60s were defined to a great degree by African Americans who courageously stood up to government-sanctioned racism and discrimination.  Black civil rights leaders honed the art of civil disobedience that laid the foundation for various other groups to follow.  The 1963 March on Washington, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved that power, when organized effectively, really does belong in the hands of the people.


In this new Trumpian society, there will be plenty of opportunity for protests. But will the protests be organized and effective enough to stop his policies? Change will only come when there is solidarity and commitment, as in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which almost bankrupted local public transportation. 


Marches and protests do draw attention, but they are not the only tools in the toolbox.  Another strategy is to bring about change from the inside out.  Film maker Michael Moore challenged anti-Trump protestors at the Million Women’s March to make a difference by going into politics.  


Last week, parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin announced they are considering running for public office. reports that Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin and mother Sybrina Fulton are “fearful that President Donald Trump will erase any progress and even set the country back.”


 “Before I was just comfortable with my average life, but now I feel like I’m just obligated to be part of the change,” Fulton said. “The only way we can be part of the change is if we start with local government and we work our way up.”


Martin is concerned that the new president is  putting people into positions to further divide the country—a country that has grown more racially divided since the high profile killing of their unarmed black son by a white neighborhood watchman, later acquitted by a six-woman jury. 


He added:  “There’s no limitations.  I think once you embark on a journey, you don’t minimize your goal; you want to maximize your goals.”


Black history embodies the history of fighting for equality, whether the battle takes place on the street or within legislative offices.  Regardless of the venue, those who advocate for the rights of women, gays, undocumented immigrants, nonwhite citizens, the sick, poor and needy have Black civil rights pioneers to thank for elevating the struggle to a level that went beyond making noise to actually getting results. 


When we think about Black History Month, athletes, entertainers, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs all come to mind.  While we recognize the great achievements of African Americans, not much thought, however, is given to the mindset of greatness—what inspires these icons to reach higher and go further than prior generations.


It took a whole lot of determination for black folks to get from the slave ship to the White House and everywhere in between.  So, in celebration of Black History Month, I offer a few quotes by famous African American thought leaders.  Let their words inspire you to keep on keeping on.


“I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”


-- Muhammad Ali


Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise, I rise, I rise.


-- Maya Angelou  


Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can.


-- Arthur Ashe


You have to believe in yourself when no one else does -- that makes you a winner right there.


-- Venus Williams 


There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough, to live up to their own constitution...


-- Frederick Douglass


Greatness occurs when your children love you, when your critics respect you and when you have peace of mind.


-- Quincy Jones


Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power.


-- Barbara Jordan 


The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that's where it's at.


-- Jesse Owens


I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear.


-- Rosa Parks


Freedom is never given; it is won.


-- A. Philip Randolph 


Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.


-- Booker T. Washington 


Yes we can.


-- Barack Obama


The Trump Administration isn’t calling it a ban on Muslims, but a travel ban.  However, semantics matter little to the thousands left stranded last weekend at airports worldwide. Affected travelers were either detained or turned away.


The hasty executive order, which temporarily denies entry of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries into the U.S., was signed by the new commander-in-chief and took effect immediately.


On Monday night, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his order on immigration. The new president and supporters insist the order is valid and that the Justice Department must enforce it, because its text doesn’t explicitly target a particular faith.


Moreover, they say, he is merely making good on the campaign promise to suspend travel by those in certain Muslim countries until tighter security measures can be put in place.  He said it is necessary to protect Americans from potential terrorists.


Also making good on his word to speak out as a private citizen, President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday that he approved of the protests taking place against Trump’s actions.  Obama said he believes “citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”


A federal judge in New York issued a temporary, nationwide stay on the order late Saturday night. Lawyers, pushed along by a growing group of protesters, spent the day trying to free immigrants who were traveling when Trump's order was released.


But the legality of Trump's order won't be completely clear until it faces more hearings in federal court, according to USA Today. Supporters of the plan say he is standing on firm legal ground.  


Only one-third of Americans say the ban will make them safer, according to a new  Reuters/Ipsos survey. 


Atlanta community activist Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson is using his enthusiasm for the game of chess to encourage the NFL to open the Georgia Dome on Super Bowl Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots. 


Hudson is the founder of Be Someone, Inc., an organization that uses chess to teach young people how to make the right moves in life. 


Hudson, a one-time at-risk youth himself, whose life was turned around by the popular board game, said: 


“We have so many differences in our country and community – racial, political, class – that constantly tear us apart. But sports is color blind! Did you see the Dome?” he asks. “People of all colors and persuasions were one during that game. People were high fiving and hugging strangers. We weren’t black and white and brown…. We were all red and black. For a few hours and now a few days, we are united by a team, a football team!”


Hudson continued his plea. “The NFL will generate more goodwill than they can ever imagine if they show some heart and allow our beloved Dome to open its doors one last time for football at its very best. The world will join us as we dance together in the city ‘too busy to hate.’”


The Georgia Dome's football existence has come to an end.  The Atlanta Falcons will move to Mercedes Benz Stadium next door. 


The 3-time world speed chess champion believes in making opportunity and then capitalizing on it. His message to young people is simple… “Heads up, pants up, grades up,” and now, “Rise Up!”


Super Bowl LI will be televised on FOX, Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3:30 PST.  For more details about Orrin Hudson or his Be Someone organization, visit


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