Passing from 2010 into 2011
As 2010 fades into the distant past and 2011 rapidly approaches, it is important to reflect on the past to look at the some of the events, and gauge what might have been done differently so that the coming year may be brighter and better.
Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Almost a year has passed since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Within an hour 17% of the nation’s population was killed. Hundreds of thousands of survivors were homeless and hopeless. Today, the report on the progress in rehabilitating life in Haiti is not positive. It has earned an “F” grade. The blight is about the same as it was a few months after the earthquake and that is a global disgrace. More must be done in 2011 to ease the suffering of the masses.
Oprah Winfrey announced that she will be signing off after 25 years as the queen of daytime talk shows; she also announced that she will be starting a new cable television network, OWN, Oprah Winfrey Network; and she was recent recipient of the Kennedy Center honor.
Veteran New York Congressman Charles Rangel stepped down as chairman of the powerful Ways & Means Committee for ethics violations. He was eventually censured though he was overwhelmingly re-elected to his seat by his Harlem constituents.
The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team won its 16th championship. The team holds records for having the most wins, the highest winning percentage, the most NBA Finals appearances and for NBA’s longest winning streak. In addition, the Lakers have produced 16 Hall of Famers and four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards.
Shirley Sherrod was smeared by the United States Department of Agriculture, whom she worked for, as a racist. Sherrod had been in the business of helping African-American farmers and made news in July 2010, after a conservative agitator, Andrew Breitbart, posted a video of her speaking at an event, the previous year and of having racist feelings toward a white farmer.. The story was picked up by Fox News and other online media outlets; her remarks were condemned and she was asked to resign. The next day a different story emerged after it was discovered that Breitbart and the news media had run only a portion of her speech willfully leaving out the part where Sherrod told of overcoming her racist feelings. She was offered a new position in the USDA and announced her plans to sue Breitbart.
Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., chairman of National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), was named publisher of the year. NNPA represents over 200 Black newspapers throughout the nation and is the voice of the Black community.
Michael D. Vick is an football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. He was recently released from prison after serving time for engaging in illegal dogfighting. On August 13, 2009, Vick signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and his comeback has included not only the game of football but also speaking to young people about not falling by the wayside as he had done.
Cameron “Cam” Newton received the Heissman Trophy in December 2010, as the most outstanding college football player despite a major controversy concerning his eligibility that embroiled the second half of the season. He became the third player in major college football history to pass for 20 touchdowns and rush for 20 touchdowns in a single season.
Kamala Harris was elected the attorney general of California in 2010. She is the first woman, the first African American to be so elected. In addititon, she is only the third African American to be elected to statewide office in the history of California. Presently, she is serving her second term as the district attorney of San Francisco.
In his second year as president, President Obama gained some major legislative successes – the healthcare bill and the financial reform bill – despite his party’s “shellacking” during the midterm elections. Still, he was able to push through several bills in the “lame duck” session of Congress, an accomplishment that defy the pundits, by reaching out to Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts and unemployment insurance, and including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” ratification of New START, the Sept. 11 first-responders bill, the food safety bill and deliver long-awaited financial relief to Black farmers. It was a tough year for the President but he’s ending it on a strong note. It earned him the honor of being the man Americans admired most in 2010, according to a Gallup/USA Today poll.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has elected a new chairman: Rep Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5). He will assume the office when Congress returns in January 2011. The CBC is an organization of Black congress members and has become known as the conscience of Congress. One of its primary missions has been to advocate on behalf of Black Americans. The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the Black members. Membership is exclusive to Blacks.