In 2012, the majority of stories in this election year focused on the hard-fought battle for the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The ideological and other differences between both candidates and parties made the race a bitter one and produced an increasingly contentious race.
Other issues The Informer covered included the lingering effects of the 2008 recession; the attempts by the GOP to implement widespread voter suppression tactics; the steady uptick of poverty in the country; the Occupy movement; the changes brought about in the Middle East by the Arab Spring; the murder of 17-year-old Travyon Martin and the national outrage and protests that ensued for 44 days until the man who shot and killed him was jailed; the gridlock that brought Congress and much meaningful political activity to a standstill; and the global economic meltdown in parts of Europe and countries around the world.
Sandusky Sentence Well Deserved, the Public Says – As he has read and listened to televised accounts of the abuses the disgraced former Penn State University defensive coordinator visited on defenseless young victims, Del McFadden said he has one recurring question: How could this have gone on so long without Jerry Sandusky being detected? That is just one of a number of questions the public is left to ask following a high-profile trial after which Sandusky was found guilty in 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over the course of 15 years. The 68-year-old convicted pedophile could spend the rest of his life in prison if his appeals are rebuffed.
FAMU Still Reeling from Hazing Death – Robert Champion's death was totally unnecessary and as details of his death emerge, has cast a pall over two renowned institutions: the university and the famed Florida A&M Marching 100. Champion, an Atlanta resident, died last November after what police described as an incident of hazing. He died after witnesses said he ran a gauntlet where he was beaten with drum fists, bass drum mallets and drumsticks. Champion, 26, is alleged to have entered a bus in a parking lot in Orlando at the Florida Classic football game in the hopes of gaining his peers respect by enduring the abuse.
President Obama Delivers Third Address to the Nation – President Barack Obama delivered the third State of the Union of his presidency before a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives, and for much of the hour-long address he spoke of his determination to help restore the fortunes of America's beleaguered middle class.
Supreme Court Considers Health Care Reform – Supreme Court convenes hearings on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and affordable Care Act, dubbed Obama Care. The case was considered the most significant since Brown vs. Board of Education – a landmark case that led to the end of legalized school segregation 50 years earlier.
Smiley and West Shine Spotlight on Poverty – The 48-year-old mother of one tentatively approached the microphone at the conclusion of The Poverty Tour 2.0 stop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., and captivated the crowd with her story. "I am a single mother, unassisted. I have no support from the system. I want to work. What am I to do?" she asked plaintively. "I feel like I'm being punished by the system. To have no support from the system. I grew up in Alexandria, I went to public school here. I have excellent credit but I can't get a home because I don't make $30,000 ... my daughter deserves better. Every child does."
Turnage Spencer said that she's estranged from her husband and escaped an abusive marriage. She said she lived a very comfortable lifestyle and is facing these financial difficulties because she chose not to stay. Radio personality Tavis Smiley, Princeton Professor Cornel West, Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, as well as most of the people left in the auditorium turned their full attention to the petite woman who sobbed softly as she talked.
U.S. Census: Blacks Flee Cities for Suburbs – Newly released census data shows that blacks moved away in large numbers from many of America's major cities to the suburbs, with the most significant shifts in population occurring in the South. The motivation behind the move between 2000 and 2010 included the promise of well-paying jobs, better amenities and a desire on the part of parents to move to stronger schools and safer neighborhoods. Meanwhile, as blacks move away from urban centers, there has been a corresponding influx of whites which is changing the complexion of these cities.
Five Largest Mortgage Servicers Agree to $25B Payout – After more than a year of negotiations, five of the nation's largest mortgage providers agreed last week to pay $25 billion after investigations by the Department of Justice, state attorneys-general and state regulators revealed widespread abuse and fraudulent practices that led in part to the meltdown of the housing market. This is the largest federal or state civil settlement in U.S. history and sets the stage for the Obama Administration, through the federal government, to put in place safeguards to ensure that consumers and homeowners are protected going forward, said U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan in a conference call on Thursday, Feb. 9.
The National Bar Association has appointed Demetris W. Cheatham the first female executive director in the Association's 87-year history. Representing approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students, the NBA is America's oldest and largest organization of minority attorneys and judges.
George Zimmerman, who has been charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, has been released on bail. Zimmerman, 28, admitted shooting 17-year-old Trayvon on Feb. 26 as the unarmed youth walked along a gated community in Sanford, Fla.
During a 90-minute conversation with Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes last week, Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) spoke eloquently and at length about the philosophy, discipline and principles of non-violence and its importance in America's daily discourse. The event marked The Washington Informer's highly-anticipated presentation of "A Conversation with Civil Rights Icon John Lewis."
Charles Taylor only smiled once during the court hearing in the Netherlands before he was found guilty of aiding and abetting during the bloody civil war in Sierre Leone. Looking up, the warlord, who became Liberia's president before he was finally convicted on Thursday, April 26, for helping bring about years of terror in neighboring Sierra Leone, beamed when he caught the eye of his daughter.
To combat the high toll of HIV and AIDS among Black women in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched Take Charge. Take the Test., a new campaign to increase HIV testing and awareness among African-American women.
George Zimmerman has been released on bond for the second time in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Dems Roll Up Their Sleeves to Re-elect Obama – Blanche Drakeford and Cora Floyd each addressed a small group of Obama supporters gathered in a meeting room at San Antonio Grill in Brookland last Thursday to watch the last evening of the Democratic National Convention.Their message to the listeners was unvarnished and blunt. Register, vote and encourage friends, family and all who they come in contact with to go to the polls.
Smiley, West Kick Off Poverty Tour 2.0 – Talk Show Host Tavis Smiley will be at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., today as a part of the "Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience." Virginia is one of four presidential battleground states that Smiley and Princeton University Professor Emeritus Cornel West will make stops in, to build on what Smiley calls "the continuing moral crusade to make the eradication of poverty a top priority in America."
Religious Leaders Chastise Politicians; Call Lack of Attention to Poverty a Moral Outrage – No more excuses. That's the message that a group of spiritual leaders had for political leaders who they say have ignored the crushing poverty that is decimating more than 46 million Americans. The faith leaders, at a September 12 press conference, promised to hold candidates accountable before, during and after the November 6 election. Now, they said, is the time to stop ignoring the issue of poverty.
Panelists Decry GOP Voter Suppression Efforts – A panel discussion on voter suppression, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus [CBC], produced more than 90 minutes of pointed conversation, fireworks, verbal sparring – all a microcosm of the contentious nature of the issue playing out on the national stage. The Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative commentator Crystal Wright wrangled most frequently during the town hall at the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, each sparring, jostling to make their point, battling for verbal supremacy, dismissing the other's comments.
First Lady Galvanizes Crowd at Phoenix Awards Dinner – The wife of the president of the United States, during an historic occasion, urged guests at an elite and extremely chic dinner to focus their efforts on re-electing her husband and to get involved in the political process. First Lady Michelle Obama told thousands of guests and honorees at the Phoenix Awards Dinner of the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference on Sept. 22 that even though legal racial segregation has ended, "our journey is far from over."
AT&T Initiative Aims to Combat Texting While Driving – In the past, traffic officials have urged drivers not to drink and drive. Today, they're cautioning young drivers not to text and drive. In 2010, distracted driving – which includes texting while driving – claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people nationally and transportation and other officials say those numbers are likely to increase as the number of cellphones people own recently surpassed the population of the United States – at 311 million. As a result, officials are ramping up awareness efforts.
Voter Suppression Foes Lay Foundation for Nov. 6 – When a Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court selected George W. Bush as president in 2000, experts, political pundits and others said they hoped the debacle of hanging chads, ineligible ballots and purported electoral improprieties would not be repeated. But 12 years later, there are growing fears that the Nov. 6 elections might be fraught with similar issues and problems that could throw the result of the race between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney into doubt for weeks after balloting is completed.