Monday, April 24, 2017

Positive Youth Development

A Whole Village Getting Through "The Process"


Story and Photo By DeLon M. Stradford, American Mentor

AMWS, April 22, 2017, Cleveland, OH – Today, when someone asked me if "I  believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve?”  I answer,  "yes," without hesitation. 

This caring adult ran into a few bumps in the road, especially in meeting and overcoming the challenge, "Say it with enthusiasm; Put an exclamation point behind it."  Or, as my American Mentor said to me, "Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm, or get out the way of somebody who has enthusiasm."

After a year-long journey through trial and error,  I'm now looking at the recipe for success both behind and ahead.

There are multiple layers in any profitable enterprise.  I have found at least three, perhaps four, in the process known as "Money-n-the-Bank.  The way I see it,  achievement, belief in that achievement, the ability to achieve sums up the challenge for any caring adult of a new Youth Achiever to "be or not to be."

Three layers answered the question for me.  "I can" now serves as the root, embedded in the foundation, which deems my success before even initiating the work. 

The work starts before the work starts. If that doesn't make sense to you, maybe some spiritual refreshing will help.  Over the past 12 months I have personally witnessed a chance to win a chance becoming real in the person of La'Nyesha M. Stradford Wiggins.

La'Nyesha is the newest candidate for Economic Inclusion, in a national program known as THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS.  I'm learning with La'Nyesha and a Whole Village of Caring Adults that goals need not only be conceived, but written as well. And belief in reaching those goals, should precede the goals themselves.


La'Nyesha's written goals are now in "the process" of being valued as Money-n-the-Bank, a seven-part vision of her own American future.  During "the process," twenty "caring" adults stepped up "to be or not to be" La'Nyesha's whole village.


These caring adults cared enough about La'Nyesha's future to tear away from everyday distractions that tend to hold us all back.   They have committed to, not only be interested, but to involve each other as a corporate entity.


We've all heard, "It takes a village to raise a child"; well sometimes it takes a village to inspire other members of the village, which should, in theory, motivate the village. Everyone has a part.

Raising a Whole Village is not always easy.  I found it particularly frustrating to come close to completion and then miss the deadline—despite some valiant last-minute efforts.


"All things are possible to the believer." I got up, dusted my hurt feelings off and got busy turning my sour lemons into lemonade.   As a small business owner, I get it!  TIME IS MONEY.  Time waits for no one, therefore we should never wait for time. Make time….. “GET IT DONE!”


This year, La'Nyesha M. Stradford-Wiggins is a winner!   She has written seven goals which I believe YouthUSA will value as Money-n-the-Bank.  Her spiritual, physical, social, financial, educational, professional, and recreational goals are being shared via La'nyesha's YouthUSA Fellowship, a special Facebook group set up for the Whole Village.


La'Nyesha will be calling on the Whole Village to complete the FDIC MoneySmart Financial Literacy course to help her bank the first $500 toward her financial goal.


Now that she has raised a Whole Village,  La'Nyesha is well on her way to becoming a YouthUSA Economic Beneficiary with all rights and responsibilities.  Her next challenge, with the help of key advisors will be to make sure her friends and their friends also raise a village.  It's one thing to say you want to help youth or you want to help poor people be less poor.  It's a whole new opportunity when you see yourself in that vision becoming real.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7.6 million American children unbanked?


YouthUSA Economic Beneficiaries can bank $500 or more
when your Whole Village completes FDIC Money Smart CBI
By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS April 19, 2017, Atlanta -- If you’ve been distracted by national demands for transparency, you may miss one opportunity for bi-partisan engagement. Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH), co-chair the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. In case you missed it in national news reports, April is National Financial Literacy Month. 
YouthUSA has called on the bank that holds its money and the agency that insures it to PAY ATTENTION! YouthUSA is looking to a few good professionals, employed by our bank and government agencies like FDIC, for a little help with low income Americans hoping to be less poor.
“This week in the news, the temporal economy of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez allegedly ended in suicide.  Hernandez played for the New England Patriots as a tight end and in 2013 had an estimated net worth of $8 million.  Since they’re talking about it in the news, we figured a life’s lesson in financial literacy might be appropriate,” said Stephanie A. Stradford, CEO for Youth Achievers USA Institute.
We’ve all heard the axiom, TIME IS MONEY.  Winners at YouthUSA are reading between the lines to assess their own value as assets instead of liabilities to the American economy.  As winners, they’re applying time and money realities to goals for lifelong learning and earning.  To win, they’ll need to MAKE time and not WASTE time, USE time and not LOSE time by DOING time.
Aaron Michael Hernandez was born on November 6, 1989 in Bristol, Connecticut. He died April 18, 2017.  Two dates and a dash in between pretty much sums up his temporal economy. By 2015, Attorney John Fitzpatrick was speaking for Hernandez.  According to Fitzpatrick, Hernandez, who was convicted in April in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, “is low on money as his legal fees are piling up.”  Reports say Hernandez was paid for only one year of his terminated $40 million contract with the Patriots.
Despite the reported prison suicide, his former teammates of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots visited the White House, today.  Somebody had to say something, but nobody wanted to state the obvious.  Neither Hernandez nor President Donald Trump would be releasing their federal income tax returns for the 2016 tax year.
Since so many young people desire to become instant millionaires and billionaires, perhaps it's time for us all to learn more about money instead of just spending it. Earlier this year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) rolled out a new and improved version of Money Smart to help make financial education more accessible.  YouthUSA and other partners affiliated through the FDIC Money Smart Alliance are stepping up efforts to make business as usual a practice of the past. 
It’s been more than a decade since YouthUSA CEO Stephanie A. Walker Stradford met with FDIC’s Penny King to partner on FDIC Financial Literacy.  YouthUSA’s commitment was to promote Money Smart CBI to engage YouthUSA beneficiaries across the U.S. in financial literacy.   Mrs. Stradford traveled to churches throughout the six state Atlanta Federal Reserve Region looking for low income Americans in need of economic inclusion.   Most of the caring adults had no clue as to what Economic Inclusion meant on Our Streets, USA.
According to the 2015 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households 7.0 percent of U.S. households were unbanked, meaning that no one in the household had a checking or savings account.
Approximately 9.0 million U.S. households, made up of 15.6 million adults and 7.6 million children, were reportedly unbanked. The most recent survey was administered in June 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 36,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the pro-portion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.
Helping unbanked and underbanked Americans enter the economic mainstream promotes a noble thought, but as the history reveals, it’s not easy. First introduced in 1991, the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) worked its way through several sessions of Congress, finally passing in 1998. The 105th Congress appropriated $105 million to fund IDAs over the course of 5 years. AFI was the “largest federal funder of IDA programs” awarding grants to more than 400 non-profits and government programs. More than 84,000 families received some sort of assistance from AFI through the IDA and financial education programs. Over 40% of these families have been able to “join the economic mainstream” through the purchase of assets.
The process of applying, and receiving grants can be improved by reducing administrative costs, clarifying specific sponsor organization and defining the grant process from congressional appropriation to an individual IDA.

Monday, April 3, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Getting Money Smart

By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS April 3, 2017, Atlanta – “Get Money Smart,” is the latest good news from Youth Achievers USA Institute.  The national 501c3 public charity shifted its LEARN-2-EARN trust into high gear this week, calling for due diligence by beneficiaries and benefactors to complete FDIC Money Smart Financial Literacy. As of January 19, 2017, the Money Smart CBI (online version) has been updated to enhance functionality and user experience, and to enable compatibility with tablet computers.   

YouthUSA sponsors LEARN-2-EARN opportunities that engage low income beneficiaries in becoming Money Smart.  It takes a whole village of caring adults to reverse cycles of economic despair and life-threatening distrust.  Some folks believe there’s still plenty of time to take corrective action.  They are the baffled majority still wondering what’s happening.

Studies show that financial education and maintaining a savings account are two major steps toward Economic Inclusion.  Based on its outreach to beneficiaries, stakeholders and board members, YouthUSA is taking a proactive approach to its philanthropic investments.

Way too many Americans last week followed conflicting reports about nothing while master manipulators continued to sow seeds of distrust. A Pew Research study measures a “great deal of confusion” by a vast majority of Americans over what is fake and what is truth.

According to a 2014 study, also by the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of the American population identified as “Christians,”  called by a name hated by haters.  They should “ know the truth…   A Savings Account  is already “within easy reach…” And there’s just enough good news on account to bless believers baffled by an overwhelming plethora of fake news.

Ignoring the facts has long been a staple of political speech. Every day, politicians perpetuating Pontius Pilate policy overstate some statistic, distort their opponents’ positions, or simply spew unsubstantiated untruths.  The incessive spinning by surrogates and pundits have, “Got me going in circles.”

Then there’s fake news, the phenomenon that is now sweeping, well, the news. Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word. (Politico)

YouthUSA’s alternate route to “goin in circles” is to follow the money.  We’re taught to believe the shortest distance between two points is believed to be a straight line. So why do so many Americans allow themselves to be distracted from what they know or believe they know?
Which of the following is Good News or Fake News? 

a.     Two Corinthians entered a bar, one from the right, the other from the left.  Bartender says, “What can I get for you?” The Corinthians instinctively look at each other, then to the bartender, they both respond, “BYPARTISAN-CHIPS.”  “Sorry,” replied the bartender, “haven’t served those since Nixon.

b.     Donald Trump financial worth, by his own claim was in excess of $10 billion. But Forbes calculates that his current net worth is actually $3.5 billion. That's down $200 million since before the election, largely due to slumping New York real estate values.

c.      “It is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation,” describes a next first step toward economic inclusion.

d.     An IDA can help low income Americans be less poor.

As of January 19, 2017, the Money Smart CBI (online version) has been updated to enhance functionality and user experience, and to enable compatibility with tablet computers. The course content of the adult and young adult courses remains the same.  However, as a result of this upgrade, users will need to create new accounts to continue completing Money Smart CBI modules.

Completion of The FDIC Money Smart CBI is a YouthUSA program requirement.  All requests for financial benefits require successful completion of FDIC by the beneficiary’s Whole Village of caring adults.  Once you have collected and assembled FDIC Money Smart Certificates for your Whole Village, winners must notify YouthUSA using the YouthUSA Connect Form at www.YouthUSA.net/join

Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to “Make America Great Again” or “Stronger Together”

By DeLon M. Stradford and Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired



The Poverty Center is tapping into Big Data, learning more about the
housing crisis and its impact on American children.
AMWS-AT-WORK  October 1, 2016, Cleveland, OH –  Hillary Clinton’s skillful channeling of Muhammed Ali’s rope-a-dope tactics may have staggered a sniffling opponent.  However, her failure to land the knock-out punch left just enough doubt in Donald Trump’s mind that he had lost every round in the first of three presidential sparring contests. 
Well over 80 million people tuned in for the face off, setting a new record in the sixty-year history of televised presidential debates.  Among them, 62% are still “with her,” standing by her man, to make America “Stronger Together.”  Contrary to populist perception, scientific polling suggests that only 22% are still in that “basket of deplorables” with him to “Make America Great Again.”  According to National Public Radio, actual scientific polls have shown that Clinton was the clear winner in Monday night’s televised debate.  
The presidential hopefuls’ quest to occupy public housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue rent-free has some beleaguered homeowners wondering if the two-party system has run its course.  This is just one reason why voters need to see all candidates’ income tax returns.  
The current residents at The White House, an upwardly mobile African American family, will be headed back to the block with a handful of explanations as to why simple stuff like the mortgage crisis has yet to be resolved for everyday Americans. 
One could claim that as the first African American president, Barack Obama did all he could to restore America’s economy.  He counseled his predecessor on the Wall Street Bail Out, super-glued Freddie Mac’s and Fannie Mae’s brokenness, and got the auto industry back up and running--ALL without urgently needed appropriations bills from Congress. 
But, a decision not to investigate, prosecute and imprison former Vice President Dick Cheyney, select cabinet members and advisors from a previous administration may prove to be the one executive action defining two otherwise productive terms.  Both the Bush and the Obama Administrations knew about Cleveland, Ohio’s housing problem. 
The American Mentor Wire Service, a program of Youth Achievers USA Institute, started observing economic trends and behaviors as far back as 1998.  That was the year young Americans called for a 10-year Million Youth Movement.  They met in Atlanta, GA and set goals around their individual and collective visions for the future.  Among the less than a million committed souls were beneficiaries of an American Civil Rights era.  They were banking on an inheritance that somehow resulted instead in a compromise on a long-overdue promissory note.
By 2008, the hope of disadvantaged Americans owning their first homes had faded in the cloud of a seven-year mortgage crisis.  Two government-sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suffered large losses and were seized by the federal government the summer of 2008 as two-party presidential campaigning shifted into business as usual.  President Bush attempted to ease concerns with an observation that “the economy is fine.”
Earlier, in order to meet federally mandated goals to increase homeownership, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had issued debt to fund purchases of subprime mortgage-backed securities, which later fell in value.  In addition, the two government enterprises suffered losses on failing prime mortgages, which they had earlier bought, insured, and then bundled into prime mortgage-backed securities that were sold to investors.
Historically, potential homebuyers found it difficult to obtain mortgages if they had below average credit histories, provided small down payments or sought high-payment loans.   So, as some wealthy Americans benefitted from the G.W. Bush era tax cuts, few of them ever bothered to follow through on their obligations through the New Market Tax Credits Act.  
Not everybody is an economist, and most economists you meet are more concerned with their next paycheck than your bottom line.   But, in a nutshell, the September 6, 2008 conservatorship to balance Freddie and Fannie’s books cost taxpayers bigtime.  Freddie and Fannie are "independent" corporations and not federal agencies.  Their combined balance sheet obligations were just over $5 trillion, a significant amount when compared to the $9.5 trillion of officially reported United States public debt at the time of the Freddie-Fannie takeover.
It appears that none ($0) of the U.S. Treasury’s infusion of capital for Freddie and Fannie helped folks that could not qualify for Freddie and Fannie’s help in the first place.  HARP seemed to be a necessary first step toward doing the right thing, but imagine being told you don’t qualify for a mere $100,000.00 in relief after Freddie and Fannie denied you a government-backed loan.  Then, go back and review half the political promises made to get you a job or help you start a business.  Factor in some seemingly unrelated issues such as implicit biases and racial anxiety.  Finally, you’ll want to multiply your own undervaluation by 240 years of economic compromise.   
This is just one formula, to begin quantifying a debt due to historically disadvantaged Americans.   Just imagine what might have been achieved had the U.S. Congress approved the President’s budgets over the last eight years. 
Several government agencies under the Obama Administration took steps to increase liquidity within Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 
·      Federal Reserve purchases of $23 billion in GSE debt (out of a potential $100 billion) and $53 billion in GSE-held mortgage backed securities (out of a potential $500 billion).
·      Federal Reserve purchases of $24 billion in GSE debt.
·      Treasury Department purchases of $14 billion in GSE stock (out of a potential $200 billion).
·      Treasury Department purchases of $71 billion in mortgage backed securities.
·      Federal Reserve extension of primary credit rate for loans to the GSEs
Keep in mind that government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) is a financial services corporation created by the United States Congress. Their intended function is to enhance the flow of credit to targeted sectors of the economy and to make those segments of the capital market more efficient and transparent, and to reduce the risk to investors and other suppliers of capital.
Meanwhile, way too many Americans are still struggling with upside down mortgages, limited job opportunities and almost no understanding of their unique small business needs.  There has always been some logic in the belief that poor people can stop being poor as rich people are willing to become even richer at a slower pace.   But, more than 4 million Americans don’t own homes, they own mortgages! 
According to one real estate source, American “homeowners” owe at least 20% more than their homes are worth, totaling $579 billion of so-called negative equity.  The next President of the United States will need to forgive some citizens of that debt instead of compounding the issue with more empty promises and ineffective programs.  Too many families are in serious financial crisis, while our political candidates, members of Congress, and other elected or appointed officials mimic episodes of “Scandal,” “Survivor,” “Empire,” or even “The Apprentice.”   It’s time to stop stalling critical funding, projects, legislation and appointments.  And, it’s past time for Congress to approve a budget. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Homeland Security on Our Street, USA


By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS, September 30,2016, Kennesaw, GA – The race for President of the United States is looking less like a race and more like a study on race relations.  The latest drain on the news cycle comes at the expense of Terrance Crutcher, 40, of Tulsa, OK and Keith Lamont Scott, 43, Charlotte, NC.  Both men, African Americans, belonged to an historically disadvantaged constituency, systemically valued as “minorities.”

Both men, citizens of the United States, will not vote in the 2016 Presidential election.  They are dead, killed by, perhaps, well-intending peace officers, armed with Big Data, based on a perception of less than equal status. Their perceived value represents a known, credible threat to American lives.  

On-demand digital media is clearly a factor driving previously underreported offenses.  At first glance, the story appears to be a justice issue.  At times, it results in military intervention.  At one point, the President of the United States observed a “gulf of mistrust” between some citizens and law enforcement.  The Presidency, in succession will need to bridge that gulf in order to make America either “stronger together” or “great again.”

Candidates are learning that problems of structural racism are far broader than just police violence.  Alexis McGill Johnson of the Perceptions Institute noted that negative perceptions of black men and boys are held unconsciously by teachers, health care professionals, police officers, lawmakers, members of the media — really, by all of us.  “This fuels discriminatory practices in nearly every sphere of our society. Implicit biases and racial anxiety affect our sense of empathy for boys and men of color and our sense of outrage for the conditions they face — and, therefore, our capacity and will to transform the political and policy environment needed to change structural impediments to their success,” said McGill Johnson.

Some folks view the single most significant change in 21st Century governing with a “take it or leave it” mindset.  But, the newest federal department may ultimately render previous functions obsolete.    Homeland security is an American umbrella term for "the national effort to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards where American interests, aspirations, and ways of life can thrive to the national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism, and minimize the damage from attacks that do occur."

Homeland security is not constrained to terrorist incidents. Terrorism is one of many threats that endanger society. Within the U.S., an all-hazards approach exists regarding homeland security endeavors.  In this sense, homeland security encompasses both natural disasters and man-made events.  Thus, the domain of homeland security must accommodate a plethora of situations and scenarios, ranging from natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina) to acts of terrorism (e.g., Boston Marathon bombing), to historic fears resulting from “implicit biases and racial anxiety.”

Homeland Security identifies a venue for addressing some past actions and attitudes that with proactive solutions.   Somewhere between the first and last presidential debate is public awareness of the problem, and existing policy and programs that can work with just a wee bit of tweaking.

On Main Street, USA, more and more small police departments are gearing up with proactive homeland security strategies.  It’s not complicated here.  Just engage citizens as community assets.  In an economic context, the more assets, the fewer liabilities.

Community policing presents an existing starting point for meaningful engagement.  The concept integrates partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions.  Identified as “threats to the homeland,” these conditions give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

Community policing begins with a commitment to building trust and mutual respect between police and communities. It is critical to public safety, ensuring that all stakeholders work together to address our nation's crime challenges. When police and communities collaborate, they more effectively address underlying issues, change negative behavioral patterns, and allocate resources.

The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.

Youth Achievers USA Institute, a national 501c3 public charity seeks to develop community partnerships by assisting emerging nonprofits through strategic planning, capacity building and succession planning phases.  The organization has committed a dollar for dollar match to service hours invested by citizens in the Citizens Police Academy.   YouthUSA funds will be applied to equity for youth beneficiaries in revenue-generating social enterprise projects.

The North Georgia Community Oriented Policing Strategies (COPS) Academy is a $___ m social enterprise owned and operated by qualifying community stakeholders.  A shared-use facility for local law enforcement agencies, federal park rangers, and citizen police academy participants transforms an underutilized federal campground into state-of-the-art training space for “homeland security assets.”   Community Policing Programs commonly engage area residents in intentional, prosocial community learning.

A key feature of the envisioned North Georgia COPS Academy is a state-of-the-art small arms range to meet law enforcement training needs while sensitizing citizens to law enforcement concerns.  On-demand training will support at no additional cost to the police department budget.

v Marksmanship

v Judgmental, use of force skills

v Shoot/don't shoot skills

v Less than lethal force options

v Low light/no light situations

v Cover and concealment

v Proper interaction and verbal commands

The public should play a role in prioritizing and addressing public safety problems.  Participants in a police department’s Citizen Police Academy will be invited to collaborate on “Organizational Transformation,” the alignment of organizational management, structure, personnel, and information systems to support community partnerships and proactive problem solving.

Kennesaw State University will be a key partner in a fully funded, and functioning COPS Academy.  KSU uses the umbrella term “community engagement” to encapsulate the various ways in which the university connects with the community. This includes any significant connection between KSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees with the larger community through engaged teaching and learning, volunteering, outreach, community service or other means.

The #WeAreKennesaw partnership addresses a decline in student interest in the law enforcement field through an increased emphasis on the study of community policing.  The veteran-led partnership creates community leadership opportunities for transitioning veterans.  It connects veterans with VA educational benefits with learning opportunities at partnering Kennesaw State University.

Segal Education Awards offer an incentive for KSU students to demonstrate community leadership.  The education award may be used to pay educational costs at eligible post-secondary educational institutions (including many technical schools and GI-Bill approved educational programs), as well as to repay qualified student loans.  Since the program’s founding in 1994, almost 1 million AmeriCorps members have earned more than $2.4 billion in education awards.

National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a challenge grant program specifically for local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Councils and shooting sports programs. Challenge grant funds should reflect planning to strengthen and increase BSA Council activities in shooting sports and commitment to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of shooting sports activities and firearms safety.

The range of potential partners is large, and these partnerships can be used to accomplish the two interrelated goals of developing solutions to problems through collaborative problem solving and improving public trust.

Based on an existing local police department annual budget of $6 million, the YouthUSA Community Trust model sets a goal to add value through a measurable increase in community assets.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

By George, It’s “The People’s Agenda”


By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps Retired
AMWS May 21, 2016, Atlanta -- 10,000 Black Men Named George is a TV movie about union activist A. Philip Randolph and his coworkers Milton Webster and Ashley Totten.  The film follows Randolph’s efforts to organize the black porters of the Pullman Rail Company in 1920s America, known as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.  The title refers to the custom of the time when Pullman porters, all of whom were black, were addressed as "George".
In this chapter of American history, a movement emerged from organized social action, producing evidence of change in the United States Armed Forces.  Between 1941 and 1946, A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin organized The March on Washington Movement (MOWM) to pressure the U.S. government into desegregating the armed forces and providing fair working opportunities for African Americans.  The evidence came in the form of Executive Order 8802.  Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the order prohibited discrimination in the defense industry under contract to federal agencies.  Roosevelt’s executive action opened the door for some 20,000 “Georges” to become United States Marines.
In 2011, President Barack Obama, a beneficiary of Randolph’s social activism, approved the Congressional Gold Medal to the 20,000 “Georges” distinguished as Original Montford Point Marines.  Between 1798 and 1942, the U.S. Marine Corps followed a racially discriminatory policy of denying African Americans the opportunity to serve as Marines.  The name, “Montford Point,” today known as Camp Gilbert H. Johnson, was the site of a segregated boot camp where these “Georges” earned the title, United States Marine.  Coincidentally, the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to a “George.”  The Continental Congress approved the medal on March 25, 1776.  Its recipient, George Washington, served as the first U.S. President from 1789 to 1797.
Protocol having been established, Ambassador Theodore Roosevelt Britton, Jr., 90, Atlanta, GA is one of 20,000 Original Montford Point Marine.  Just one beneficiary of Randolph’s social action, Britton joined conveners of The National Black Political Convention (@TheNBPC) in 1972 to address policy issues impacting African American lives.  Britton returns to The NBPC June 9-12, 2016 as a 21st Century advocate for veterans’ issues.
According to news sources, two of the last three remaining presidential candidates – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders – have also agreed to participate in a forum in Gary, IN and submit to questions of particular importance to African Americans. An invitation to Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been extended.  The presidential forum is part of the National Black Political Convention, which will return to Gary more than 40 years after the historic 1972 gathering.
This year’s convention is being co-convened by former Gary, IN Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, one of the original conveners of the 1972 convention; Tuskegee, AL Mayor Johnny Ford, who was founding chair of the World Conference of Mayors and founding co-chair of the National Policy Alliance; Gary, IN Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, Tarrant County, TX; Webster Guillory, founding co-chair of the National Policy Alliance; and Thelma Moore, former chair of the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO).
The presidential forum, scheduled for Saturday, June 11, 2016 will be moderated by George E. Curry, editor-in-chief of EmergeNewsOnline.com. He will be joined in the questioning of candidates by Chinta Strausberg, a reporter for the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers and Webster Guillory.
“The 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary was the kickoff to what became the powerful Black political revolution, which led to the election of more Black political leaders than had been elected in the United States since Reconstruction,” the organizers said in a statement. “Now is the time for Black America to return to Gary, convene a second National Black Political Convention; recharge our batteries; develop a Black agenda, and announce it to the world, and leave Gary prepared to implement that agenda.”
That agenda will be developed at next month’s convention, which will be held at the Genesis Convention Center. Positions are expected be taken on such issues as education, justice, energy, voting rights, gun control, health, environment, economic opportunity and the treatment of Black veterans.
In addition to Saturday’s presidential candidates’ forum, on Friday there will be an intergenerational Town Hall discussion.
The first convention had as its theme, “Black Politics at the Crossroads.” The agenda included:
    Home rule for Washington, D.C.
    Establish a national network of community health centers
    Establish a system of national health insurance
    Elimination of capital punishment
    Create a new urban-based homestead act
    Government guarantee of $5,200 income for a family of four
    Minimum wage guarantee of $2.50
    Establish a Black United Fund
    Effective enforcement of anti-trust legislation
To register for convention and obtain more information on the 2016 convention, go to theNBPC.com.
Conveners of this year’s convention said, “We must set our agenda as Black Americans, and be able to say to both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention…we in Black America have set our agenda and if you want our vote and support, then you must consider the Black agenda.”