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AABL News Digest
Hurricane recovery business opportunities unequally spread
Hurricane Harvey left 77 dead, caused $200bn in damage and left thousands homeless, and the rebuilding will be the largest effort since New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. And the clear-up is proving equally dangerous. (After a report in The Guardian.)
A new report produced by the University of Illinois Chicago in conjunction with workers’ rights groups paints a startling picture of the inequity experienced by many of the immigrants doing the hard, often dangerous work of rebuilding. Many have experienced wage theft, the majority have had no safety training and workers are rebuilding without access to basic safety equipment.
Already, battle lines are being drawn between a vision of equitable reconstruction being driven by worker’s rights groups and their allies in the Houston government and a free market vision championed by the Trump administration and their Republican allies in the Texas state government.
More than a decade after Katrina, immigrant and workers groups say that they have learned the lessons of storm recovery and are applying them to a massive political movement being launched under the banner of Houston Rising Coalition.
“Black workers were primarily excluded from rebuilding efforts and had to fight their way in while immigrants workers, while included, suffered extraordinary exploitation” said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworkers Alliance, who headed the New Orleans Workers’ Center after Katrina.
Mississippi Church Arson Investigation Continues
Normally we try to be as scrupulous as possible about borrowing reporting from other publishers, but in this case we feel there is no moral equivalence between any claim of plagiarism and an offense against all Americans. The apparently politically motivated burning of a community church in Mississippi shocks everyone of good will.
As of this review the investigation is continuing. We've also learned that the public has contributed much more than will be need for rebuilding. One assumes that Christians will have no trouble recruiting carpenters.
(Readers are encouraged to register and comment. Attacks on political personalities are probably useless, but if you can volunteer to help this community rebuild, give them at least a kind word. -Ed.)
‘Engozi’ Stretchers: Traditional Transport
During the 1930s in Uganda, there were clan heads locally known as Abatikyiri. These were leaders who were extremely respected due to the positions they held. Clan heads were not supposed to travel long distances on foot for administrative purposes. For this reason, the clan heads came up with a solution that would ease their transportation from one place to another.
As a result, people started gathering bamboo trees and other plant species to make a stretcher commonly known as ‘engozi’ wherein the Omutikyiri, carried by slaves, would sit comfortably with a calabash filled with local porridge to drink while on a journey.
Tap Into 1.1 TRILLION Dollar AA Economy
Black Enterprise reports that there are 43 million African Americans in the United States, 13.7 percent of the total population, the second largest racial minority in the country. The median age is 32 and 47 percent are under 35 years of age.
The report’s findings, which will be presented at the June conference of the National Association of Black Accountants Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, found that the African American population is an economic force to be reckoned with, with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015.
Mobile phone users in Uganda up to 19.5M
Uganda's telecommunications companies serve more than 19.5 million mobile subscribers out of an estimated population of 36 million, a 52.3 percent penetration rate according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) as of December 2014.
Rage et.al (2011) reported that Uganda was ranked among the top ten African countries with the highest number of mobile phone subscribers and that MTN and Airtel Uganda have the biggest share with more than 17 million users split in between them. While Maestas (2013) has it that a huge part of the population has not just one cell-phone but always two and sometimes more.
Meanwhile, Freedom house (2014) reported that internet penetration in Uganda had grown steadily following the deregulation and liberalization of the information and communications technology sector in 1997 which ushered in a reduction in mobile telephone tariffs and bandwidth prices.
Akaro, or millet bread, arguably Uganda's most liked food
As much as people from the Northern, Eastern and Western regions of Uganda may differ culturally, when it comes to the dining table where millet bread is served, they all become united as one. For many years, millet bread has been the main food of the day for people in these regions.
[Ed.: This is the first contribution by our Uganda correspondent Emily Kembabazi. We look forward to more articles. We welcome submissions on topics of mutual trans-Atlantic interest.]
This delicious meal has a variety of names in the different tribes and regions. For instance among the Bakiga, Banyankole, Batooro and Banyoro in the western region, it’s called akaro /oburo whereas among the Bacholi and the Luo in the Northern region, they call it kal. In the Eastern region, the Bateso tribe calls it atap and obwiita among the Basoga.
The Baganda in the central region also call it akaro and this is the only region in the whole of Uganda where millet bread is rarely the meal of the day.
Some researchers have it that millet bread originated from the tribes of northern Uganda during the Gipiiri and Labongo Luo migration before spreading southwards. The akaro is extracted from dried millet grains by using either the traditional grinding stones or modern ways of grain milling.
According to Fellydath Bagamba from western Uganda, millet flour is often not considered suitable for a meal unless cassava flour is added to it. The difference in taste, aroma and appearance of this dish is determined by the proportions in which the flours are mixed. The cassava flour element brings both a sticky and a soft texture making the mixture relatively easy to prepare.
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Urban Farming to Address Tacoma 'Food Desert'
The Garden of Eden is an innovative new approach to urban farming, and offers a holistic approach to food access and community nutrition policy; to better community health, ecological integrity, food education, skills training, local job creation and the development of complete communities.
Obama inauguration draws nearly 2 million
The throngs at the inauguration of Barack Obama as US president included AABL co-founder Michael Twiggs and his wife Juanita. They traveled from Washington State to attend. The accompanying photo shows them near the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background. They report weather was cold, but the city was warm.
Ugandan Artists Join the WWW
A group of Ugandan artists located in several towns around greater Kampala and calling themselves the Uganda Online Art Consortium have partnered with a US web publishing firm to produce an online gallery catalog of indigenous artworks. Many of these original works are for sale and can be purchased directly from the gallery.
Art fare includes paintings, sculpture, jewelry, woven and dyed cloth and more to come. Styles include both traditional and modern, with even the modern media assuming a strong East African cultural form. A growing number of examples may be seen at the gallery link below.
The impetus for the project came from US teacher Tom Herriman, a retired publisher and former Teamsters organizer who spent a semester in suburban Namsana near Kampala teaching language and music to children 10-16. Herriman's web host, Clark Internet Publishing, agreed to establish and operate the web site at cost plus basis, with all fees deferred until the project is financially self-sustaining.
(Clark Internet also hosts and partners with AABL.com.)
NJ Firm Pushes African American History to Homes, Schools
Gayle Brill Mittler and Robert Kersey had one common vision when they first formed GEEBEE Marketing. They wanted to create a complete line of games, toys, and puzzles that would bring the vast rich and diverse history of America's nearly 15,000,000 citizens of African American descent into homes and classrooms. That was 1997.
Black Youth Tour Promotes Voting in Iowa
As part of ongoing efforts to motivate young people to engage in the political process, the League of Young Voters Education Fund (LYVEF) recently teamed up with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (NCBCP) Black Youth Vote! (BYV!) for an innovative civic participation training at North High School in Des Moines, IA. The youth later participated in the Black and Brown Forum Presidential Debate.
Organizers underscored the importance of voting in the Jan. 3, 2008 primary even though people of color make up less than six percent of the Iowa population.
BET's Most Influential, Intriguing, of 2007
Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama, music mogul Jay Z, Hollywood hot shot Tyler Perry are among the powerful 7 topping the list.
By category, here are their picks.
* Politics: Barack Obama
* News: Oprah Winfrey
* Music: Jay Z
* Business: Russell Simmons
* Entertainment: Tyler Perry
* Sports: Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith
Do you think they got it right? Comment or add your picks in the Forums.
The Economist: Middle-income blacks are downwardly mobile
SBA Adds Disaster Preparedness Tools
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers increased services for disaster planning. Included are several planning guides and training documents.
They write "Getting back to business after a disaster depends on preparedness planning done today. Small business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, and yet, while the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, it may get put on the back-burner in the face of more immediate concerns.