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AABL News Digest

November 2017

Hurricane recovery business opportunities unequally spread
- Business/Economy
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.

Original Source

May 2017

African art evades Africans as popularity, recognition increase
- History/Culture
Writing in the NY Times, Chika Okeke-Agulu emphasized the dilemma of African art, which is being more appreciated and valued than ever, bringing record prices, at the same time it is becoming ever less available to the peoples of the continent. The need for national and regional museums to bring home-grown art to the public from whom it sprang is a key requirement for recycling Africa's creative talents into new generations.

(Thanks to JGC for calling this to our attention via Facebook.)

Read More

March 2017

Uganda Equator worth a visit
- Tourism

The equator that crosses through Uganda approximately 72 kilometers south of Kampala, along the Kampala – Masaka road, which has become a famous visit destination for visitors and tourists visiting Uganda. It has also become a booming hub made up of several craft shops and art galleries that sell souvenirs and handmade products about the equator including T-Shirts with words “I crossed the Uganda Equator”. Besides, there are nice restaurants with delicious food and good coffee.

The equator traverses the land and territorial waters of 14 countries and seven of them are in Africa. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world that the equator intersects. It must be noted that equator is one of the five notable circles of latitude on earth, the others are– the two polar circles and the two tropical circles – the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. Fascinatingly, the equator is the only line of latitude that is a great circle.

While at the Equator, tourists have a chance to see an experiment of how water drains straight down at the Equator. You can stand on the Equator with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere and be in both sides of the world. Because the Earth bulges at the Equator due to the effects of rotation, gravity is reduced. Thus one weighs about three percent less than normal, but of course upon leaving the Equator one's weight returns.

At the equator, the sun rises and falls quickly, with equal number of hours in day and nighttime. The weather and temperature around the equator is stable throughout the year making it a nice place to be at. Water runs down in sinks clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern hemisphere and right on the line the water goes straight.

Scientists say that areas on the equator experience the quickest sunrises and sunsets. Since the sun rises and sets almost vertically throughout the year, the length of a day from `sunrise to sunset` at the equator is almost constant during the year. Each day is about 14 minutes longer than night because of atmospheric refraction.

March 21 and September 23 are equatorial equinox days where the sun rises and sets directly above the equator line at midday on these two days; you will not see your shadow because the line is straight up.

December 2016

Christmas in Uganda
- History/Culture

In Uganda, Christmas is called Sekukkulu. It is celebrated on the 25th of every December to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

During the Christmas season there is high movement of people from the city to their respective villages to share Christmas holiday joys with their families and friends. It is a joyful season, quiet and reflective holiday with very few decorations and lights spread over the city. This is a time to relax, reconnect with family, enjoy good meals, and make visits to old friends and relatives back in the village.

While this is the case, bus operators take advantage of travelers by hiking the transport fares compared to the normal days because the demand for transport services plying different routes within and outside the country is always very high.

Everything stops for Sekukkulu like hospitals start discharging patients to go home except those who have serious conditions. Most government bureaucrats take their holiday break from almost the middle of December to the second week of January. All official business grinds to a halt. Also the prices of food and other goods become incredibly high.

The evening before Sekukkulu “December 24th” is a very exciting time as the aroma of the foods being prepared fills the air as children are busy cleaning the home; especially sweeping the courtyard and cutting the grass. Some families will slaughter cows, goats, sheep, pigs as well as chicken. Everybody eats and drinks until they cannot eat any more. After this major feast it is time for storytelling, games, traditional dances and singing.

In the morning of Sekukkulu, Ugandan churches are filled to full capacity; people wearing their new clothes, especially for women to show off their new traditional dresses in rich colors. Even those who never go to church from January to December do attend on this special day. After church service, the celebrations go on to the wee hours of the morning.

Even though some families do not eat meat on this special day due to their low levels of income, quite a number of people especially in rural areas across the country have formed groups of atleast 12 to 15 people with an aim of meeting Christmas needs. Each member pays $10 for the whole year and paying in installments is acceptable. From the $10 each member pays, group members are encouraged to borrow it on a little interest rate and pay it back within a given period of time.

Then on December 15, each group gets its entire savings and buys a cow which is slaughtered on December 24, and kilos of meat are shared amongst them. So on Christmas, almost every Ugandan is always excited looking forwards to have a special meal because the above method has helped many rural low income earners to meet Christmas needs. Usually, each member gets between 11 to 14 kilograms of meat or even above depending on the number of members and the cow`s weight. One of the advantages of being in these groups is that you pay less and gain much. Also you get a chance to enjoy on every part of the cow. For example if a group has 12 members, they make sure that each part let say liver is cut into 12 shares so that each member can have some. Apart from the Christmas groups, there are also many other different groups here which save money month by month and eventually meet the needs of every member.

November 2016

Stone of Karegyeya Worth the Side Trip
- Tourism

In one of the Ugandan villages called Karegyeya in Kikoni parish, Ntungamo district along the Ntungamo – Rukungiri highway, there is a very tall and giant stone that is commonly known as “eibaare rya Karegyeya meaning the stone of Karegyeya” which according to the local residents has been in existence for over 100 years.

It is believed that the bachwezi or demi-gods once lived inside this stone and still inhabit it up to date. The surrounding communities claim that they used to see flames of fire burning at night but nobody could find any ashes in the morning and that the people could find there the food and money in the morning when no one knows who puts those things there.

It is also widely believed that under this stone there is a big snake that protects it from falling off and no one could know or even imagine its length and that below the snake is a lake of which people believe that if anyone ever destroys the stone, all the surrounding areas would be covered by the water from that lake.

According to the residents, the high stone has attracted so many people for over years especially from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. It is alleged that a good number of people visit this stone purposely to ask for blessings, children and supernatural powers and many others.

The interesting part of Karegyeya stone is that it has different parts that look like apartments. It also has a big shade where you can sit, stand or even sleep comfortably as you feel the hill breeze.

Apart from Karegyeya stone, there is another huge stone in the same area known as the stone of Muhumuza one of the bachwezi leaders. At night, big herds of cattle can be heard mooing and flames of fire burning at that stone. In the morning when you go there, reportedly you can see the foot prints of Muhumuza, his dog and a spear but you cannot find any ashes.

Visitors can see these two stones free of charge, but there is hope that in the near future when this place is developed like any other tourist sites, visitors will have to pay some money to increase government revenue.

Currently, at least 30 people visit this place every day including the English people who usually pass by while heading to Bwindi Impenetrable and Queen Elizabeth National parks as tourists. While on a Uganda trip, never fail to visit this place!

Mississippi Church Arson Investigation Continues
- Business/Economy
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.

CNN reports: Police are investigating the burning of a black church in Mississippi during which vandals spray-painted "Vote Trump" on an exterior wall.

A 911 call reporting the fire at Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville came in at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

Most of the damage to the 111-year-old church was to the sanctuary, pastor Carilyn Hudson said at a news conference.

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.)

CNN Source article

October 2016

‘Engozi’ Stretchers: Traditional Transport
- Business/Economy

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.

From there on, local people most especially hunters started to realize how imperative stretchers were. So whenever a hunter would get an injury while hunting, his colleagues would gather trees and make a stretcher where he would be carried home and treated with local herbs.

Stretchers continued to be of greater importance in a way that people started using them to carry brides on marriage ceremonies. A bride would be carried from her parent’s home up to the groom`s home.

With time, people started using them for transporting patients to the hospitals and in cases where one would die from the hospital; they would use them to carry the body home.

Unlike today when there are many cars, health facilities and roads across the country, those days, very few people had cars, and there were no accessible community roads to get to a health facility, so people would walk for 10- 25kms carrying a patient or seeking for treatment.

So the people then who had stretchers would hire them out although some people would fail to meet the costs and even if costs were met, sometimes it was hard to get volunteers to carry your patient or a body from the hospital.

This forced the people to start forming groups of 12 to 30 members locally known as “bataka tweyambe” meaning "let`s help ourselves" whereby each member would pay some money towards the purchase of a stretcher to be on standby in case of a problem. Whenever one fell sick, all the men in the group would help in carrying the patient to the hospital.

Currently, people no longer use stretchers except those in very hilly areas like Kabale in the south west part of Uganda because the government has been able to construct roads across the country and at least most of the villages can be accessible by cars, motorcycles or bicycles.

Also quite a number of medical centers and hospitals have been constructed in most parts of the country from the district level down to the parish level so that everyone can access a health facility without having to travel far distances.

Tap Into 1.1 TRILLION Dollar AA Economy
- Business/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.

Black Enterprise Source

September 2016

Malwa, Uganda's Magic Drink
- History/Culture

In Uganda, drinking malwa, a local brew, is one of the things you will see in almost every part of the country. It is consumed under tree shades, in the comfort of a home or at the market place. Consumers in different parts of the country have different names for it: Ajon (in Teso), Malwa (in Buganda) or Amarwa (in the Western region).

Unlike in the bars and pubs where a drink is shared by only one person, for malwa, it is served in one pot or bucket which can be shared by over 30 people. This local drink brings together all classes of people and it is taken using long, slender bamboo straws.

Probably through such social gatherings, many broken hearts are mended, because as they drink, a lot of things are discussed including problems and misunderstandings in their homes and work places. They also talk about politics comparing the past regimes and the current regime.

In rural areas especially in the Northern and Eastern Uganda, malwa pubs are made of grass thatched huts built in a special way that some space is left between the roof and the wall for proper exposure to air.

Malwa is made out of millet or maize flour. For millet, the process begins by mixing millet flour with water to make it smooth and solid. It is then buried underground for about a week to allow it to ferment. After seven days of fermentation, the sour mass is recovered and roasted at very high temperatures until it turns black. This is followed by sun drying, which normally takes about two days. It is then put in a drum filled with water so that the bad stuff floats and is filtered off. At this stage, yeast is added for two consecutive days. This turns the sour mixture sweet, as though sugar has been added to it. After another couple of days, it is ready to serve.

Whereas malwa made from maize flour goes through more or less the same process, the only difference being that fermentation is done in a bucket for about three days and then the flour is fried until it turns black, after which it is cooled and stored in a drum for two days. It is always prepared with extra care. They use boiled water and the straws are dipped in hot water before re –use.

All in all malwa drink has proven to be one of the healthiest forms of alcohol if taken moderation because it contains carbohydrates, Vitamin A, C, E, starch and proteins.

Don't miss malwa while on Uganda Safari!

July 2016

It's for the birds: Wild Birds Guide Humans to Honey
- Science/Technology
An African bird called the greater honeyguide is famous for leading people to honey, and a new study shows that the birds listen for certain human calls to figure out who wants to play follow-the-leader. (Read the story below.)

Especially interesting is the set of prospective, follow-up scientific questions raised by the observation of this symbiotic relationship; be sure to read through to the end of the article.

Image:; one of several varieties.


Original source

Mobile phone users in Uganda up to 19.5M
- Business/Economy

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 (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.

And the new surveys from Pew research center show that 93 per cent of Ugandans with a secondary education or higher own a cell phone compared with 61 per cent of those with a less educational level. Pew says that more people in Uganda have access to cell phones than to electricity. With the dire need to be connected, they go to great lengths to use cell phones including charging them with solar chargers.

More than 80 percent across the country use their phones to make telephone calls and to send text messages while 30 per cent use them to make or receive payments, 21 per cent to get political news, 19 per cent to access social networks, 17 per cent to get health information and 14 per cent use them to look for jobs.

Cell phones are sold in every corner of the country however; Simba telecom has continued to be an outstanding phone dealer in Uganda. They certainly have smart phones at super prices that you can afford. Additionally, the Chinese have flooded the market with smart phones which are also very pocket friendly to the middle class Ugandans who make up the majority of the population.

Apart from MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda, other available networks include Uganda Telecom, Africell Uganda, Smile Telecom, Sure Telecom, K2 Telecom, Smart Telecom, and Vodafone Uganda.

Information and communications technology contributes to about 6.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product largely driven by the telecommunications sector according to Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director. He said that mobile phone accessibility in Uganda has been on a trajectory growth, increasing to 20.7 per cent then to 46.7 per cent in 2008 before growing up to 52.3 per cent in 2014.

The above data according to analysts shows that Uganda is on the path to maximum tele-density penetration with an annual growth of about 20 per cent.

(Ed. note: It is not unusual for early adopters of technology to lag behind later adopters, while the latter leapfrog over them. Some towns in the Eastern US that had telephones in the 19th Century are still served by World War II era switching systems. It's likely that most TV watchers worldwide have never used a receiver with a cathode ray tube, having started watching after the advent of LCDs. In like fashion, many less-developed countries have the latest communications, often with more sophisticated features than those in otherwide more-developed lands. Keep your eyes on Africa!)

June 2016

Ol' Blac'Donald Had a Farm...
- Politics/Government
I saw a an African American preacher on TV recently extolling the virtues of Donald Trump, complete with all the stereotypical intonations of the rural pulpit (can I have an "amen"?). That made me wonder whether such attitudes in the 21st Century, which of course strike me as self-destructive, might have originated in an earlier era. So of course I went to that font of historical truth, Google.

Using the search string "19th century black writers supporting slavery" I got the following result (graphic). I conclude therefrom that the preacher was just seeking his 15 minutes of fame.

Akaro, or millet bread, arguably Uganda's most liked food
- Business/Economy

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.

Culturally, the special pot (enyungu) and the mingling stick (orwiiko) that is used to prepare akaro are not supposed to be washed with water, but just wiped with a dry banana leaf. However, this no longer holds due to modernity. Many people today, wash the pot and mingling stick and others use saucepans to prepare akaro instead of the pot.

On how akaro is prepared, she said that it starts with the boiling of water in a pot and the amount of water used depends on the quantity of akaro you intend to cook. Usually, it is three litres of water per kilo of flour. With the water boiling, a handful of millet flour is sprinkled into the water to create an initial reaction between the water and the flour.

After the initial reaction, the water is then reduced by half to create space for the flour. The deducted water is put into a separate container. Of course, the flour swallows up the remaining water so over and over again, more water is added. Just in 2 to 3 minutes, the flour forms a single bulging ball as you mingle. While mingling, it is not advisable to use cold water because the flour will become stiff and go bad. That is reason why some hot water is deducted and reserved separately for additional purposes in case more water is needed during the mingling process.

When the millet bread is ready, it is then put it in a special cultural basket (endiiro) and the endiiro is shaken so as to prevent the akaro from sticking to the walls but rather stay in the middle from where it is eaten. Endiiro’s are small in size and as a tradition, the head of the family (husband) has his own basket different from that of children so when serving this delicious meal, the head of the family gets his own endiiro and the rest of the family members share their own endiiro.

In some settings, sliced pieces of akaro are held in one hand and one keeps pulling off a small piece, molding it and using the thumb to make a hole to accommodate the sauce and then dipping it into the sauce. Some people will even pass it over their head before chewing it. Other people say that when eating this meal, it tastes well when you swallow it directly without chewing.

It is believed that the sweetest millet is that one of the first harvest commonly known as omweeza. It is a cultural practice that no one can eat of the first harvest before the head of the family. Also when a girl gets married, before the husband tastes on the omweeza, she must prepare it with good sauce and take it to her father in law or mother in law for blessings. This is termed as okuganura.

This usually creates pressure on the newlywed bride’s side because if you do not mingle the akaro well, then the elders will say that your husband has married a woman who does not know how to cook. In the past, brides who didn’t know how to prepare akaro well would be sent back to their homes.

In some cultures especially in western region, the dish is a must for many traditional ceremonies such as Child naming, Introduction and Give away as well as the wedding. Millet bread is usually eaten with many sauces such as beans, ground nuts, mushroom soup, meat, chicken, fish and eshabwe which is made from ghee.

Many studies have been done on millet to identify its benefits for your health. The findings show that millet contains magnesium which helps reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks. Also the magnesium in millet Niacin (vitamin B3) can help lower cholesterol levels.

Additionally, millet contains phosphorus, which helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy in your body. It also helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fibre from whole grains has been shown to protect against breast cancer and whole grains have been proven to protect against childhood asthma.

All in all, millet bread is a delicious way to start or end your day. Try some today and experience the benefits of millet that have made it the most prized grain of so many ancient cultures!

(Ed.: American readers, look for an African or even Ugandan food shop in your city and see if these items are available. Dietary diversity has many positive health benefits.)

May 2016

Looking for Senior Discounts?
- Business/Economy
Here are some sites with information on senior discounts. We regret that we cannot independently verify all the listed providers. Feedback is encouraged; please register, sign in and tell our readers about your own experiences, or add to the list. To suggest additional lists, write to the editors.

Gift Card Granny; The Senior List

Free Lawnmowing for Elderly Wins Praise
- Miscellaneous
Here's an inspiring story about one young man who's creating a service to his community by organizing a volunteer lawn mowing service for the elderly and disabled. Source: Huffington Post

December 2013

Ideas, anyone?
- Education
Washington State Commission on African American Affairs is seeking proposals for a MLK Day program. Submit your project idea via the following form. The organizers will contact selected participants.

Scroll inner window for questionnaire.

September 2013

Ugandan Artists Teach, Protect Kids
- Miscellaneous
Tom Herriman, former union organizer and publisher, has for several years taught English and music in Uganda for several months each year. We are pleased to call attention to a related effort that deserves your consideration. To wit:
Oakland • Sept. 16, 2013 • Opportunities for self expression and creativity are essential to a good quality of life. A group of artists I met in Uganda recognized this and began sharing their skills and their paints and brushes with kids in the neighborhood. It was informal at first. The kids would show up at James Nsamba's tiny studio every morning, brimming with energy and curiosity. James and Farouk Mukwaya would hand out paper and paint and colored pencils...then give the kids some basic lessons in how to use art materials to express ideas and feelings.

Gradually we got more organized. We call ourselves Uganda Art Consortium. We started a website, and we're part of Kisa Foundation USA, a 501 (c) (3) charity.

We now hold two or three workshops every year, attended by hundreds of children where they learn painting, drawing and jewelry making. We have 8 adult artists who volunteer as teachers. The kids become energetic and excited as they see their visions take shape on paper and canvas. They gradually become more confident, eager to speak out, proud of what they can do

Daily life can be grim for children in Namungona, a slum neighborhood on the outskirts of Kampala. Many are orphans...without a stable home life, steady school or even a steady diet. Many kids have to work to help support their families...hauling water, tending to their Mom's vegetable stand, or weeding the garden. They miss school because of work, or because the families can't afford the fees. School itself is pretty strict and regimented. There's a lot of rote learning, little chance for ideas or creativity.

The schools do the best they can with limited resources, but there's scant music, art, or literature in the curriculum. Our workshops help fill this cultural gap in children's lives.

Now we're hoping to build a small permanent art center in the community where we can hold classes, store materials, and have a gallery to display what the children have accomplished. With a gallery, we can attract tourists. The kids can sell their artwork to help support their families, and buy materials for the workshops. Having our own place is an essential step for us to improve and expand our outreach to Ugandan children through art.

The money we raise through Indiegogo will be used to buy or rent a small piece of land. Then, with many volunteers, we'll build a building ourselves, with recycled roofing sheets and bricks we make ourselves.

Learn More & Contribute

July 2012

Urban Farming to Address Tacoma 'Food Desert'
- Business/Economy
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.

The program will grow affordable, organic herbs, fruits and vegetables all year round. The fundraiser is the first in a series of events that will highlight the importance of our communities' access to fresh affordable organic fruits and vegetables.

The program grew from a senior project at Evergreen State University by founder Michael Twiggs of Seattle, who is also one of the publishers of AABL.

How does "urban farming" work? Consider the standard process of food production and delivery. Raw produce travels to a factory, where it is processed. The processed food is then warehoused for an unknown period. It is then distributed to food stores, where it may again be stored. Finally you buy it for your family. In this long chain of events, nutrition is inevitably lost.

The GOE model puts food production right into your neighborhood. You buy either from the producer or a nearby retail outlet. This means your produce is fresh and retains most of its original nutritive value.

This does not mean your supermarkets cannot offer this better nutrition. Just ask them to carry local produce along with their regular offerings. Your thoughtful purchases will make the difference.

The program was introduced in 2012 at a kickoff presentation hosted by Tacoma, WA, Mayor Marilyn Strickland, who has endorsed the program along with Dr. Maxine Mimms, a prominent local educator.

There are many advantages of urban hydroponics, according to Twiggs, including a year–around growing cycles as a sustainable business model, new technologies for growing organic foods at much lower cost , new work opportunities for local residents and the impact on our communities needed economic revitalization.

December 2011

Ugandan Art Show Opens for Six-week Run in NYC
- History/Culture
Ugandart's show "Fabric of Life" has opened at New York City's Empire State College. We're happy to present a few images from the event. The show continues through January 29. For more details see the photos linked below or click the announcement on our home page.

April 2011

April 8 art show adds funding to projects
- History/Culture
The 2011 Uganda Art Consortium Exhibition held April 8 -10 in Washington DC was declared a success by its organizers. Over 70 paintings and prints including many created in 2010 were included in the show.

Proceeds from the sale of artwork are used to provide art therapy for HIV-AIDS patients and free childrens art workshops in Uganda. The Exhibition is part of Takoma Art Hop, a three day art festival including over 40 artists exhibiting in local galleries, stores and businesses. Uganda Art Consortium is a project of Kisa Foundation USA.

July 2010

Inventions Could Promote Energy Independence
- Science/Technology
I thought AABL readers might be interested in this video report from CNN: "The images of oil spoiling America's shores has folks thinking more seriously about alternative energy sources. One man has made it his life's mission to wean America off big oil. As part of our "The Next Big Thing" series meet Lonnie Johnson– a former NASA engineer with two potentially world-changing inventions."

If you haven't heard of Lonnie Johnson before, you haven't been paying attention. Read on!

Learn more at CNN

April 2010

Classy use of member blog
- Housekeeping
We're happy note how recent registrant '36threads' has made effective use of the new member-blogging system. See His/her commentary on starting a shirt-printing biz. Sure, it is partly focused on pulling business to his printing plant, but the information is solid. Sign in and...


January 2010

Haiti Earthquake: You can help!
- Miscellaneous
The January 12 earthquake in Haiti has created a humanitarian crisis that may well exceed any such event in the history of the western hemisphere. Even the low estimates of death and suffering are staggering.

AABL encourages you to contribute to relief efforts. There are several easy ways to do this:

  • contribute generally to the International Red Cross via the link below; on the RC donation page there is a general fund and a Haiti-specific fund.
  • contribute to the foundation representing the new Haiti Fund established by former presidents Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush.
  • from your mobile phone, send a text message to 90999 with the single word "HAITI" in the message body; your account will be charged $10, which will be included in your next bill; NOTE: this may result in text messages from cell phone advertisers; if this is a concern use another method.
For those able to do so, there is no limit on the number of text messages ($10 bills) you can send or monetary donations you can make.

Caution: Numerous scams have already appeared. Don't compound the tragedy by replying or responding to email or telephone solicitations. Don't click "Donate Now" links in email messages. If you want to donate to an organization, type its website address directly into your Web browser and press Return. Or make a donation by telephone. We vouch for the websites linked from this article.

March 2009

Ugandan Art Show Scheduled for May in Seattle
- History/Culture
Over 100 works by members of Uganda Art Consortium will be on display May 8, 9 and 10 in the largest exhibit and sale of Ugandan art ever held in the U.S. The show is part of the Ballard May 2009 Artwalk.

Works include oil paintings, wood block prints, vat dye paintings, silk screen prints and other media. Beadwork jewelry produced by children in UAC's free workshops for AIDS patients and orphans will also be on sale. Artists included in the show include Kizito Fred Kakinda, James Nsamba, Kennedy Baguma, Matias Tusime, Hassan Mikiibi, and Hadson Mbabazi.

The exhibition will be held at the Ballard Bookcase Gallery, 4611 11th Ave. NW Seattle, WA 98107. For more information, visit

Ugandart - Info and gallery

January 2009

Obama inauguration draws nearly 2 million
- Business/Economy
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.

September 2008

Commentary: A little help for Nov 4
- Politics/Government
Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, and yours is a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local sports reporter, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

(From the mailbag. -Ed.)

March 2008

Ugandan Artists Join the WWW
- Business/Economy
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

Uganda Online Art Consortium

January 2008

NJ Firm Pushes African American History to Homes, Schools
- Business/Economy
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.

Now in 2008, the company's Black Heritage Series includes three games and two puzzle assortments. The line is distributed by retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, K-mart, Walgreen's, as well as gift and book stores across the country, online retailers and others. For its success GEEBEE Marketing has been recognized as a leading marketer of ethnic products.

Compiled from and other sources.

Activity and Game Info

Black Youth Tour Promotes Voting in Iowa
- Business/Economy
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.

Read more

BET's Most Influential, Intriguing, of 2007
- Business/Economy
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.

Go there!

November 2007

The Economist: Middle-income blacks are downwardly mobile
- Business/Economy
According to an editorial commentary from The Economist republished in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer an alarming number of black households are falling out of the middle class for a complex set of reasons. Nope, the traditional favorite culprit is not the main factor.

"Some black Americans are doing very well. Barack Obama is pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Tiger Woods is the world's best-paid athlete. Stan O'Neal was given a $160 million golden parachute as he was ejected from Merrill Lynch last month.

"But these exceptional folk are indeed exceptional. For members of the black middle class, the news is gloomier. New research suggests that their grip on affluence is precarious.

"The Economic Mobility Project, an arm of the impeccably non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts, compares contemporary Americans' family income (based on surveys conducted between 1996 and 2003) with their parents' (between 1968 and 1972).

Overall, the picture is cheerful. Two-thirds of Americans who were children in 1968 and are now in their 30s or 40s enjoy higher household income than their parents did then. The same is true for black Americans.

But black upward mobility consists largely of people from poor families moving up. Blacks born halfway up the income ladder, by contrast, show an alarming tendency to fall down."

The article goes on to assess causes and strategies.

P-I Article

SBA Adds Disaster Preparedness Tools
- Business/Economy
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. For small business owners, being prepared can mean staying in business following a disaster. An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

"The materials and resources on this Web site can help small businesses make plans to recover from financial losses and business interruption and to protect their employees, the community and the environment."

SBA Info

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, 90, Civil Rights Pioneer
- History/Culture
New New York Times reported August 17 that Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, "whose defiance of white supremacy while traveling through the Upper South in the summer of 1944 led to a Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated seating on interstate bus lines, died Friday in Hayes, Va. She was 90.

"Irene Morgan’s fight against segregation took place a decade before the modern civil rights movement changed America. Mrs. Morgan, a worker in a plant that made World War II bombers and the mother of two small children, was returning to her home in Baltimore aboard a Greyhound bus in July 1944 after a visit to her mother in Gloucester County, Va. When the bus grew crowded, the driver told her to give her seat to a white person. Mrs. Morgan refused, and when a sheriff’s deputy tried to take her off the bus in Saluda, Va., she resisted.

"In 2001 President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. 'When Irene Morgan boarded a bus for Baltimore in the summer of 1944,' the citation read, “she took the first step on a journey that would change America forever.”

NY Times Article

South Carolina Family Gets Back Family Cemetery in Developer Deal
- History/Culture
According to The Washington Post and Associated Press, a South Carolina land developer will set aside land for a cemetery in a settlement with a family whose slave ancestors settled the land in the 18th Century.

According to family tradition, more than 100 ancestors were buried at the site in wood boxes without tombstones. Remains discovered during construction of an impending redevelopment will be transferred to the new cemetery. Twentieth Century land transfers had failed to provide for family access, and descendants had recently been excluded from visiting the site.

Source article

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed against U/Washington
- Politics/Government
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a Seattle man has filed a lawsuit against the University of Washington charging both age and racial discrimination. He alleges that university human resource officials repeatedly offered him jobs for which he was overqualified and did not consider him for appropriate positions.

Seattle P-I Article

October 2007

Outsource This, Webmaster!
- Business/Economy
Outsourcing on the Web has become a major international business. The primary destination for Web work has been India, though the Philippines and China are also players.

The AABL directory itself has numerous examples of non-US based companies offering goods and services. Because our policy is to be open to nearly all, we do not block foreign companies for competing for your dollars.

The principal advantage of offshore companies is, of course, low labor cost. Writers, designers and technicians all make substantially less in the countries mentioned and elsewhere. The special advantage of India and the Philippines is their broad use of English as a business language.

Interestingly, these companies do suffer from certain linguistic issues, mainly related to national speech patterns. Reading an Indian or Filipino site for a few minutes usually reveals the origin as their quirks are different from our quirks. Sometimes it's just funny; sometimes the meaning becomes unclear. Over time, however, these differences tend to be reduced, and they can be further reduced by training.

One wonders how long it will take for African companies to form to exploit the widespread use of English on that continent, coupled with a similar labor cost advantage. Today there is an infrastructure problem, but there is no shortage of educated writers and designers. In fact, some countries have a lot of college-educated taxi drivers, frustrated at lack of employment options. A generator, a satellite uplink and a laptop are the only requirement to play in this global market.

When you launch, please list your business in our Directory!

July 2007

Black on black crime a crisis in Seattle
- Business/Economy
Numerous recent Seattle incidents point to a deeper problem that is capturing growing attention -- violent crimes in which the suspects and their victims are young, black and male. Numbers tell part of the story. According to the most recent census figures, blacks make up 8.2 percent of Seattle's population and 5.7 percent of King County's population. But nearly a third of those booked into the King County jails for homicides are black.

More than half of the 4,000 people from King County in the state prison system are black. Nationally, for every three black men in college, there are four in prison.

Yes, it's a crisis.

Read the whole story at Seattle Post Intelligencer

March 2007

Selah Appointed to Hendrix Foundation Board
- History/Culture
The James "Jimi" Marshall Hendrix Foundation had announced the appointment of Shyan Selah, international recording artist and CEO of Brave New World Records, as its new spokesman and board member.

The appointment of Selah as board member and spokesman, effective as of March 1, 2007, further marks a conscientious effort by the Hendrix Foundation to maintain the legacy of Jimi Hendrix by continuing to recognize not only his ground breaking music but also his desires to reach out to his community.

This appointment will also mark the first time there has been a board member who is an active talent in the music and entertainment industries. The foundation's CEO and chairman, James E. Williams, says the joining of Selah and the foundation is a natural fit.

"Shyan is a blessing to this foundation," says Williams. "We believe that both his music and activities within the community embodies the spirit of Jimi Hendrix and is in total sync with the foundation’s goals and principles."

Selah, a native of Federal Way, WA, is a rising star in the entertainment industry and has gained much recognition as both an artist and a businessman, working with the likes of John Stockton (Def Jam/Radar Records), Steven Ray (Winswept Publishing), Erik Willis (Wayans’ Brothers Films) and producer Fabian Cook (Michael Jackson and Mark Wahlberg) to name a few.

"I’m very proud to be a board member and spokesperson for one of the world’s greatest musicians," Selah says. "It’s an honor and privilege to say the least."

Under Selah Brave New World projects consist of music and film productions including soundtracks for multiple films and television shows, marketing, promotions, song wrting, touring, publishing, management and distribution. The company has established corporate sponsorships with brands like Rockstar Energy Drink, and online affiliations with corporations such as, Starbucks, Google and MSN. Brave New World is also involved in community programs such as the Maxine Mimms’ Academy, an organization that provides educational services to suspended and expelled students in Tacoma, and Selah has personally received numerous awards honoring his commitment to community service to todays youth.

Recently Selah founded The Brave Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach out to youth in the area needing mentorship utilizing his skills in music and the entertainment industry. The Brave and Hendrix foundations will collaborate to generate support worldwide for those in need and create necessary and meaningful community programs using the power of music.

For more information on The Jimi Hendrix Foundation or Shyan Selah/Brave New World visit or

January 2007

African-American woman world's oldest person, dies at 114
- Miscellaneous
According to Guinness World Records, a Connecticut woman born to former slaves in the decades following the U.S. Civil War has become the world's oldest known person, at 114.

Emma Faust Tillman, who was born near Greensboro, North Carolina, on November 22, 1892, became the world's oldest person on Wednesday, upon the death of Emiliano Mercado del Toro, of Puerto Rico. Guiness reported the news on its web site.

UPDATE JAN 31 2007 - The world's oldest person died Sunday at the age of 114. Emma Faust Tillman, the daughter of freed slaves, was the world's oldest person for just four days; that's said to be the shortest time on record. Now, the world's oldest person is believed to reside in Japan. She is also 114.


December 2006

New Member-networking Feature in AABL
- Miscellaneous
Hi! We're experimenting with an exciting new feature at AABL: Member Networking.

You have no doubt heard about "social networking" sites like Myspace and Facebook. They offer to millions of users ways to communicate as individuals and within groups. Very cool.

AABL will soon offer many of the same features, focusing on our core topics of business, community development and outreach. In addition, community organizations can inexpensively create their own member networks, with their own operating and membership requirements. All the guest networks will operate on the same robust platform we have used, tested and proven at AABL over the past dozen years.

Watch the AABL Digest over the next few weeks for updates, and plan now to join our association of African American Business Leaders and friends.

November 2006

Cosgrove Prize to Promote Financial Ethics Research
- Education
A major new international prize to promote awareness among young people in banking and related industries of the need for respect for ethics has been launched in Geneva.

The Robin Cosgrove Prize will award $20,000 each year in prize money for creative papers setting out projects or proposals for innovative ways to promote ethics in finance and banking.

The prize will be open to young people throughout the world aged 35 or under. Entries from emerging markets are especially welcome.

More information...(PDF)

July 2006

Stephanie Wilson: Flying High
- Business/Economy
Massachusetts-born Stephanie Wilson and six others launched on NASA's STS-121 flight on July 4. Wilson is responsible for cargo transfer amounting to several tons of supplies and instruments in the mission to resupply the International Space Station.

Profile of Stephanie Wilson

May 2006

Clarence Thomas at NYT
- Miscellaneous
The New York Times compiles stories on well known individuals who have been covered in the newspaper. As a sample, here's a link to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Clarence Thomas

April 2006

Magazines Return to Big Easy
- History/Culture
A Post Office ban on magazines will end this week. The USPS had banned delivery of most periodicals to free up time and space for first class mail and packages.

Times-Picayune Report

February 2006

Plan Emerging for Gulf Coast - Finally
- Politics/Government
The future of Gulf Coast residents and business owners displaced by the hurricanes of 2005 remains uncertain. Lawmakers agree that something must be done, but so far, there’s no set plan. A bill introduced by Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.), proposes a $30 billion federal buyout. Under the plan Congress would create an entity called the Louisiana Recovery Corp. to purchase property from willing sellers at no less than 60% of its equity based on pre-hurricane values, and settle mortgages at up to 60% of the loan obligation.

More at Black Enterprise

Davis: 'A great experience...'
- Sports/Entertainment
U.S. speed skater Shani Davis talks to NBC's Jim Lampley about his 2006 Olympic experience, the social significance of his achievements, and his two "Flat Stanley" friends.

NBC Video Interview

Homage to Coretta Scott King in Atlanta
- Miscellaneous
ATLANTA Feb 6, 2006 (AP)--Coretta Scott King remembered at church where husband preached--Hundreds of mourners joined family members and celebrities at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday to pay their respects to the "first lady of the civil rights movement," Coretta Scott King.People lined up for blocks outside the church's historic sanctuary, waiting for hours in freezing rain. -As reported in ABC News.

ABC News Story

January 2006

- Business/Economy
AABL Digest is a review of news from the Web and other media. We'll point you to the best of what crosses our desks and screens. You can comment on selected articles.

Follow the link at top right to Join. Your membership will be activated by the editors within three business days. All items posted become the property of AABL. Do not post copyrighted material without permission of the owner.

This is an experimental feature and may be modified or withdrawn at any time.

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