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Archive for June 8th, 2011

Proposed Mortgage Qualification Rule may end homeownership as we know it

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2011 Comments Off on Proposed Mortgage Qualification Rule may end homeownership as we know it

By Marc H. Morial, President and CEO
National Urban League

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

Homeownership, as we know it, could be a thing of the past if a proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule (QRM) takes effect.  In a letter I sent last week to the heads of the six federal agencies charged with developing risk retention regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, I pointed out that the proposed rule would be especially damaging to the home owner aspirations of minority and working class citizens.  Here’s why.

The rule would require prospective borrowers to present a 20 percent down payment, spend less than 28 percent of their monthly gross income on housing and have total monthly household debt capped at less than 36 percent.  Most people can’t afford to put 20 percent down.  And, when coupled with an additional requirement of near pristine personal credit standards, these proposed requirements could end the standard 30-year fixed mortgage and replace it with a new class of “high risk” borrowers, formerly known as the responsible middle class borrower.

Housing industry experts agree.  In April, a coalition of trade groups including the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Homebuyers and the Mortgage Bankers Association issued a joint report, saying in part that it would take 14 years for the typical American family to save enough money for a 20 percent down payment.  They added, “A 20 percent down payment requirement for the QRM means that even the most creditworthy and diligent first-time homebuyer cannot qualify for the lowest rates and safest products in the market.”

John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition calls this a civil rights issue.  He said, “What has been proposed essentially creates a separate and unequal system of finance for people of color and for blue-collar, working-class people where regardless of your creditworthiness, of whether you’re someone who has a great credit score and pays your bills on time and plays by all the rules, if you’re not well-heeled enough to come up with 20% or if your household debt to income ratios are high … you’re going to go into a separate and unequal category of financing where you’re going to have to pay more,”  We agree.

Adding high minimum down-payment requirements will only exclude hundreds of thousands of consumers – including legions of minority renters – from homeownership.  And any rule or action that further stifles an already severely depressed housing market for first-time buyers, including many minorities, will also negatively suppress the entire housing industry – realtors, builders, retailers, suppliers and many others.  Clearly, what is being proposed is anti-jobs, anti-growth, and in absolute contravention of the American Dream.

The American home, by definition, reflects much more than mere property.  It represents the ability to build wealth for all those with a stable income and a demonstrated history of financial responsibility.  It is the foundation of family and community and represents the collective promise of the chance to build prosperity that lasts through generations.

The National Urban League believes this promise must be reaffirmed and protected in whatever form the new housing finance model ultimately takes.

To Be Equal#23
WWW.NUL.ORG

Real Men Cook falls on Father’s and Juneteenth Day

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2011 Comments Off on Real Men Cook falls on Father’s and Juneteenth Day

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

With popularity growing, the 22nd annual Real Men Cook celebration will be held on June 19, 2011 at the Chicago State University which ironically falls on two special days—Father’s Day and  Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day when 149-years ago President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and 101-years since Father’s Day began.

With Texas being the last state to find out that slavery had been abolished two-years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, today 39 states and the District of Columbia now recognize Juneteenth and today 149-years later Real Men Cook is being celebrated simultaneously in 13 states across America.

Sporting chef’s hats and aprons, the men prepare their best dishes and actually proudly serve the anxious people attending this event, but they are also helping to particularly change the image of African American fathers so often betrayed in a negative light by the media.

These Real Men Cook events, held on June 19, 2011 in five cities:  Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, shed a more positive light on fathers and their relationships to their families and their communities.

It is the spirit of fatherhood that fills the atmosphere of Real Men Cook activities and the realization that these men can actually cook some very tasty and attractive meals and through their volunteerism they also raise more than $1 million for charity.

Real Men Charities, Inc. is the national not-for-profit organization that presents the Real Men Cook events uses the funds to build and continue programs to honor fathers and father figures, to empower families and perpetuate the memory and spirit of Karega Kofi Moyo and Yvette Moyo-Gillard who founded the annual Father’s Day event.

Real Men Cook  promotes father figures in our communities by showcasing their culinary talents but also spotlights their close ties to their families and communities.

 “I can’t tell you how many times people in smaller cities tell me that their families get together, and the fathers and grandfathers treat them to a feast on Father’s Day, said Real Men Cook co-founder Yvette Moyo-Gillard. She emphasizes the new tradition is not merely about food.

“Ultimately, what the event does is enable others to see the fathers in our community as we see them every day: Nurturing men who work hard to provide for their families and their communities,” she stated.

Agreeing is Mark Fishback, a law clerk who has volunteered for the past 10-years. He is passionate about his involvement with Real Men Cook. “It is a moving Father’s Day experience, nurturing and ministering souls through substance—not fluff and commercialism,” he said. “The food is the draw; but the lasting image of who black men really are and what we really do has the greatest effect.”

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for this year’s 22nd Real Men Cook that ironically falls on Father’ day. It will be held in the Cordell Reed Student Union, Chicago State University, 9501 South Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, Illinois, begins at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m.

There will be a moment of silence/prayer for Daryl Hawks and deceased volunteers. During the program, the Soul of Fatherhood Award will be presented. The Parade of Cooks will be showcased and scheduled is a 2:30 p.m. Ribbon Cutting ceremony: Children’s Zone (Real Men Read and “Let’s Move” – inspired play/exercise, grilled fruits and veggies).

The opening ceremony will start with a joint press conference with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition which is holding its Black Male Crisis Panel (part of the PUSH National conference). PUSH and Real Men Charities will be announcing its partnership to actively address the issues negatively impacting African American men.  Real Men Charities and Real Men Cook are perfect examples of projecting positive images and lifestyles of African American men.

Newly elected Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) will also be one of the host.

Good health is also being promoted by Real Men Cook which is opening its Real Men Charities Health and Wellness Zone.

The WLFM Jazz Band, Infuzion, will perform “Music to Munch By,” followed by the opening of  Teen Zone– a career mentoring and action plan development. Steve Hurley will be on hand with his special musical mixes. 

There will be a “Let’s Move” dance contest and  there will be acknowledgments and giveaways, Children’s and Teen Zone closes. Towards the end of this year’s event, there will be  musical headliner, Nanette Frank who will perform just before 2011 Real Men Cook closes for the year.

Tickets are currently being sold for $20 for adults, $10 for children ($5 additional at the event) –online at: www.realmencook.com, at the Southside YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island and at the Community Mental Health Council, 8704 S. Constance Avenue.

Everyone is welcome and do bring your entire family.

Wise investments: Financial realities face Black boomers

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2011 Comments Off on Wise investments: Financial realities face Black boomers

(Louisiana Weekly/New America Media)

By Nayita Wilson

 

Is retirement a boom or bust proposition for African American baby boomers?

As the 78 million boomers — over 9 million of them black — continue to make a gradual, but highly visible exit from the workforce, data show that pre-retirement factors, such as income and planning, are key determinants of how well off they will remain financially in their later years.

Boomer and retiree Gilda Austin of Las Vegas, Nev., launched her retirement savings plan the day she began her education career by taking advantage of the pension plan made available to her by the Clark County Unified School District.

“As an educator, you don’t make a lot of money, especially when you’re starting out,” said Austin, who retired from the school district as an administrator in 2008. She also returned to work, this time as a teacher, to earn more before retiring for good in 2010.

“I was vested in the state, so my pension is nice,” said Austin, who left work with about 80 percent of her pre-retirement income. And she expects her retirement income to surpass her former salary in a few years because Nevada laws guarantee cost of living raises.

How Much Is Enough for Retirement?

Financial planners typically say retirees will need replacement income of 70-80 percent to continue living as well as they did prior to exiting the workforce. Social Security replaces only about 40 percent of workplace earnings on average. Also, public employees in many states are not eligible for Social Security and must rely entirely on their employment pensions, investments and savings.

Today, of course, educators like Austin and other public service employees are under new pressures, as many states aim to reduce their budget deficits partly by requiring workers to contribute more to their healthcare and pension funds.

Whether in public or private jobs, though, Austin encourages others to take advantage of employee incentives and remain in good jobs as long as possible. For retirement, says a recent AARP report, black baby boomers are less likely than others to contribute to a pension plan, when one is available. (Employer-based pensions are now offered to about one in three U.S. workers.)

“If you are relying on Social Security, invest and find opportunities to make your money grow,” Austin said. “You have to set out something—even if it’s just $10 a month. You have to save something.”
For African Americans and other ethnic groups with low savings rates and a greater portion of individuals in low paying or government jobs, working longer or reentering the workforce after initial retirement may become the norm, say experts in aging.

Data on seniors’ incomes analyzed in the federal report, “Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well Being,” reveal a gaping disparity between the net worth of black and white households for those ages 65 and older. For instance, between 1984 and 2007, the median net worth of older whites more than doubled to $280,000; whereas, the median net worth of blacks inched up only slightly from $29,700 to $46,000.

Furthermore, a 2010 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., showed that among African Americans ages 58 or older continuing to work more than four in 10 have physically demanding jobs and one in three work in difficult conditions.

Because African Americans face difficulty in the labor market throughout their working lives, says a recent AARP report, “The disadvantages are just as serious for workers age 50 and older as for their younger counterparts.”

The study, 50-Plus African American Workers, cites federal labor figures for 2008 (before the recession took effect and the most recent year with available statistics) showing that while two-in-three white or Latino men continue working, significantly fewer black males (56 percent) were on the job. The employment levels were about half for black, white and Hispanic women, but the report, prepared for AARP by the Urban Institute, anticipates more will keep working in light of the Great Recession and growing financial needs.

Blacks Earn Less

Further, says the AARP report, blacks tend to earn less. The median annual income of adults ages 50 to 61 was $44,000 for blacks, $50,000 for Hispanics and $72,300 for whites. One reason for this income disparity is that African Americans have lower marriage rates than Latinos or whites, and married couples tend to have more income.

The study also shows that although older black workers made important income gains in the 1980s and ’90s, their average incomes dropped by 12 percent from 1999-2008, compared with three percent reductions for Hispanics and five percent for whites.

The AARP report’s lead author, Richard W. Johnson of the Urban Institute, noted that boomers also face other retirement challenges. For instance, reduced wage growth because of the Great Recession will probably lower future income by five percent, or about $2,500 on average annually. Lower earnings, besides affecting personal pensions and savings, will translate into diminished Social Security retirement benefits, he said.

As it is, according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, seven in 10 African American elders currently rely on Social Security for at least half their income, compared to less than two-thirds of all beneficiaries. And Social Security provides almost half of black seniors 90 percent or more of their incomes.

Even though some blacks are earning more money, too few are executing strategies to help build wealth, such as saving, eliminating debt, increasing income streams, creating a financial plan and building an estate for the next generation, said Horace Sinclair, a personal financial coach working with many African American families in Louisiana and Texas.

“By and far, we are lagging behind as a people because we are not putting enough money aside,” Sinclair said.

The reality becomes most apparent at death when some black families scramble to find funds to cover funeral costs.

“In other populations, buying [life] insurance is a way to build wealth for the next generation. In the event that something happens, insurance protects that goal and provides heirs with money to fulfill the goal of the benefactor,” Sinclair said. Such goals can include paying off a mortgage, paying for college or creating a stream of income for beneficiaries.

In the black community, he observed, “They sell us burial polices. They offer enough policies to bury the person, and that’s it.”

Sinclair urges African Americans worried about their retirement future to read business articles, attend financial seminars, find a financial mentor, and establish a plan that “will attract a lot of income, assets and wealth.”

Potential Solutions

The Urban Institute’s Johnson, while allowing that individuals with lower earnings inherently have slimmer resources for retirement, stressed, “Because Social Security doesn’t allow for a comfortable retirement on its own, people really need to supplement it with their own savings, but that requires a certain level of financial education.”

One approach, he said, is for employers to offer workers a program that automatically signs them up for a retirement plan to which both employers and employees contribute. Rather than agree to sign up, as mostly happens today, individuals not wishing to participate would have to opt out. Experiments with such programs have been very successful in increasing employee participation in retirement plans.

“We shouldn’t just let people make their own decisions,” Johnson said. “It’s important that workers have clear guidance about how much they should save for investments and where they should invest.”

Sinclair believes a “massive movement” is needed to change the difficult prospects ahead for many black retirees. “The government is not going to be able to do it because they have their hands tied with other priorities,” he added.

“It’s not hopeless,” Sinclair went on. “There are people who are fighting and advocating for our people to make it. If you are searching for something, you will find it. If you prepare yourself for change, God is already preparing someone to facilitate what you are preparing for.”

Second annual “Loving The Me I See” workshop comes to Dallas

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2011 Comments Off on Second annual “Loving The Me I See” workshop comes to Dallas

 

This Groundbreaking Self-Esteem Workshop for Girls and Adult Women will be held Saturday, July 30, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson, TX 75080.

 


Angela Clay, author and speaker

Dallas, TX (BlackNews.com) — Nationally acclaimed author and inspirational speaker Angela Clay and her team of talented associates will conduct the second annual Loving the Me I See Workshop on Saturday, July 30, 2011, at the Richardson Civic Center.

Ms. Clay developed the workshop in response to what she describes as a “cry out for help from young women across the globe.” Ms. Clay states, “Young girls are suffering quietly from low self-esteem, which manifests itself in destructive behavioral patterns. Studies indicate that 61% of girls admit to talking badly about themselves, 25% admit to resorting to cutting themselves when they feel bad about themselves, and 25% of young girls admit to practicing disordered eating, such as starving themselves or overeating when they feel they do not measure up to friends or images seen in the media.”

The good news is that participating in empowering activities such as the Loving the Me I See Workshop can assist in reversing low self-esteem.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
Loving the Me I See Workshop is designed to promote positive changes, self-acceptance, and personal commitment. Participants will be challenged to get to know and understand who they are as persons, the value of their self-worth, and what they must do to respect, love, and esteem themselves.

Registration is $45 and includes free parking, lunch, workshop sessions, curriculum, a cute Loving The Me I See drawstring bag, wristband, T-shirt, and compact mirror. Group rates apply. To register, visit http://ilovemetoo.eventbrite.com.
WORKSHOPS OFFERED:

AGES: 9-11

Teach Me To Love Me
The Fundamentals of Building Healthy Self-Esteem

Bullies Dressed in Disguise
Facts about Bullies and Facing the Bullies without Fear

AGES: 12-14

I Am Proud To Be Me
Recognizing Who You Are No Matter Where You Are

Hello! Are You Listening?
Girls Having a Real Conversation about Real-Life Issues

AGES: 15-17

Loving Every Bit of Me
Embracing My Flaws and Loving My Figure

Teen Dating Violence
Warning Signs about Dating in the Dark

AGES 18-20

When I Look In The Mirror
Learning to Accept Award-Winning Compliments

Don’t Believe The Hype: True Love Waits
Pump the Brakes! Is It Lust or Love?

AGES 21-UP

Back To The Mirror
Reinforcing the Power of Self-Love

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? Forgiveness
Let It Go! Forgive, Heal, Freely Live

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Clay is the inspirational author and worldwide visionary for the Loving The Me I See (www.lovingthemeisee.com) workshops. Clay is an advocate for building high esteem in girls. She is a vivacious self-esteem enthusiast, a dynamic motivational speaker, and a fifth-grade Sunday School teacher. Her tenacious drive and relentless compassion to help young girls balance a healthy sense of self-worth keeps her in demand.

The “New” Charity/Fundraising movement

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2011 Comments Off on The “New” Charity/Fundraising movement


Bernadette Clark, Crazygood Representative

 

Baltimore, MD (BlackNews.com) — Crazygood is the next evolution of social networking, fundraising and charitable giving. This 2011 model of fundraising is the first of its kind to identify non-profits, 501(c)3, educational and religious organizations, professional associations, government agencies, hospitals, scientific, literacy, foundations, political and fraternal organizations that are meeting various needs locally, nationally and globally.

Crazygood donates 10% of their gross monthly revenues to non-profits and 501(c)3 organizations. There is no cost for a lifetime membership for organizations to become part of Crazygood’s charitable initiative. With this FREE membership, charities get their personal “live TV station”, where they can communicate with other charities, business partners, their congregation and supporters, along with other great benefits – a great way for pastors to conduct their sermons to the sick and shut in, members who have moved out of state and students in college. Schools can conduct PTA meetings and communicate with parents regularly. The charities will be able to assist their inner city communities and continue their great missions locally, nationally and globally.

Over 2,000 charities, including Feed the Children, World Relief, Bread for the World Institute, Inc., and many Corporations, Churches and Celebrities like Steve Harvey, have partnered with Crazygood to continue their mission. This social-minded social network is private and safe for the younger generation to participate in a clean environment, with no hate groups, nudity or profanity.

Crazygood is in compliance with the Children Online Protection Act (COPA). No other company in the world offers this unique fundraising and charitable initiative, along with Social Networking. They are in 39 countries and their website translates over 60 languages globally.

Since their inception on August, 2010, Crazygood has over 14,000 members and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Crazygood is self-funded, financially sound and debt free, with an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Their remarkable mission is to create a feature-rich social network that respects and protects the privacy of its members, with a focus on helping charities and organizations by donating 10% of their gross revenues monthly and to assist them in raising the needed donations to survive a fallen economy. Crazygood believes that giving to others is a priority, not an afterthought. For more information, please visit www.crazygoodincome.info and click on “charity fundraising”.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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