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NAACP Announces Open Voting for 49th NAACP Image Awards

For the first time in its award show history, voting for the 49th NAACP Image Awards will be open to the public. Viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite nominees in 36 different categories across film, television, and music.

In previous years, winners of the awards were selected only by members of the NAACP, this year; members of the public who are not NAACP members may cast votes by visiting the NAACP Image Awards online at naacpimageawards.net

“We are excited about the opportunity to open voting to the public,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “The Image Awards represents a universe of powerful stories and images, told in ways that express our beauty and make us proud.”

Since 1967, the NAACP Image Awards has been the preeminent multicultural awards show celebrating the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and has also honored individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

While, this year, voters do not have to be members of the Association, the NAACP encourages those who participate in this year’s voting process to become members. “To become a member of the NAACP is to join a community of individuals from all facets of life who like you are committed to the elimination of discrimination of any type and making our nation a better place for all people,” said Johnson.

The deadline to cast votes for the 49th NAACP Image Awards is December 15, 2017. Viewers can watch the winners claim their trophies just one month later. The Two-Hour LIVE TV special, hosted by Anthony Anderson, will air on TV One on Monday, January 15, 2018, at 9pm/8c, with a One-Hour Live Red Carpet Pre-Show at 8pm/7c. The evening will be the culmination of a day of volunteer service, citizen action, and celebration on the national holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For all information, to vote now and the latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at: www.naacpimageawards.net

Rev. Jesse Jackson Announces Parkinson’s Diagnosis

By Stacy M. Brown

Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis caught many by surprise, but those who know him said they’re confident that he’ll overcome the life-threatening challenge before him.

“He’s in the rumble of his life, but he’s rumbled some big foes before,” said Vincent Hughes, a Democratic state senator from Pennsylvania who campaigned for Jackson in 1984 and again in 1988. Hughes said that Jackson’s campaigns were birthed in the Black empowerment movement that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “I’m one of those African Americans, who took office and was a part of that issue of ‘protest to power’ and Rev. Jackson was, in many respects, our leader and he still is.”

More than anyone else, Jackson opened the door for the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Chavis was one of Jackson’s contemporaries during the Civil Rights Movement.

“Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., is a living, global civil rights icon. As a colleague in the Civil Rights Movement dating back to the 1960s and under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have personally witnessed the selfless sacrifice and dedication of Rev. Jackson.”

Chavis continued: “For all who have cried out for freedom justice and equality, the news of his Parkinson’s disease should only serve to re-dedicate a movement now for healthcare equality for all, not only as a civil right, but as a human right.”

On Friday, November 17, Jackson, 76, issued a statement informing the world of his illness.

In the statement, Jackson recalled his foray into activism, being arrested on July 17, 1960 with seven other college students who advocated for the right to use a public library in his hometown of Greenville, S.C.

He said that he remembers the arrest as if it happened yesterday and it was a day that forever changed his life.

“From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access,” said Jackson, whose multiracial National Rainbow Coalition grew out of his work in the 1984 presidential campaign.

He said he resisted interrupting his work to visit a doctor, but his daily physical struggles intensified and he could no longer ignore his symptoms.

“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father,” Jackson said.

Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement saying that he spent time with Jackson and his family in New York, as Jackson made the announcement of his illness.

“As I watched him, I was reminded of the greatness of this man,” Sharpton said. “Reverend Jackson has changed the nation and served in ways in which he never got credit.”

Maynard Eaton, a journalist and national director of communications for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Jackson a legendary and fearless civil rights champion.

He said the disease may slow Jackson, but won’t stop him.

“Activism and civil rights are in his blood. As a journalist, Jesse Jackson has been a treat and joy to cover and write about,” said Eaton. “He has been a civil rights darling and media maverick…Jesse Jackson is a quintessential and preeminent civil rights activist of our time.”

Even though Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurological condition, it is very treatable, said Dr. Nabila Dahodwala, an associate professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease does not necessarily mean that you must make drastic changes, but every individual is different in how they are affected, how they respond to treatment and how they choose to spend their time,” Dahodwala said.

Ihtsham ul Haq, an expert in neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said he believes Jackson will do well.

“Though each patient’s journey with Parkinson’s disease is a little bit different, thankfully for many the symptoms are often well-managed with medication, said Haq. “The hallmark of the disease is the slow loss of dopamine in the brain, which unlocks our movement.”

Haq continued: “As patients begin to produce less of it they show the slowness, stiffness, and tremor that typify the disease. Replacing dopamine usually substantially alleviates these problems.”

Leslie A. Chambers, the president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association, said making appropriate lifestyle changes and focusing on physical therapy will go a very long way to helping Jackson live the best life possible, in spite of the disease.

“Since its a lifelong chronic illness, the American Parkinson Disease Association encourages people with Parkinson’s to seek out a top notch medical and healthcare team, which includes a movement disorders specialist physician and allied healthcare providers and protect and defend their overall health status with a nutritious diet, physical therapy and safe, effective daily exercise programs, as well as emotional and social support from family, and professional care partners-givers,” Chambers said, adding that the association extends heartfelt wishes to Jackson.

Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group said that even though Jackson is in for the fight of his life, she warned that Parkinson’s disease had met its match.

“This is a major blow, but it’s not the death knell,” said Leavell. “We will keep working and encourage Jesse with all he’s done for us and continues to do.”

Get Hired with FEMA

If you or someone you know is looking for a full-time job, FEMA is looking to hire across a wide range of specialties.

FEMA wants to hire local talent to fill a number of positions to continue the work begun after the October wildfires. Temporary full-time positions include logistics, administrative support, applicant services specialists and voluntary agency liaisons.

Several disaster reservists currently working the California disaster began their FEMA careers as local hires. Robert Hoffman joined the agency as a local hire after a hurricane hit in his home state several years ago.

“I was retired from a 40-year career in journalism, but I wanted to keep busy,” Hoffman said. “So I signed up for temporary work as a writer.” After three months, he joined FEMA on a permanent basis.

Disaster also brought Tanishia Masga to FEMA after a typhoon struck her native Saipan, in the Northern Marianna Islands. Masga, who was working at the time in Washington State, returned to Saipan and joined FEMA as a local hire in September 2015.  The following year she was hired as a reservist in logistics. Like Hoffman, Masga likes traveling around, meeting new people and helping survivors.

“The satisfaction derived from helping people out when fate deals them a lousy hand is a precious reward,” Hoffman said.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, 18 years of age or older, with a high school diploma or GED. Individuals will be required to pass a background investigation that includes fingerprinting and a credit check, have their own transportation to and from work and live within 50 miles of the employing office.

Go to the CalJOBS website at www.Caljobs.ca.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx and search FEMA to see postings and job descriptions, and securely apply online.

For more information on California recovery, visit the disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4344, Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion9 and WildfireRecovery.org.