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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: JOBS, LABOR TRADE, AND UNIONS

M_Id_406132_Amazon_Jobs

By Audrey Thompson

During this election season I have heard the Democratic Party telling African American voters why we have to get out the vote and vote for the Democrats, but here’s what I have to say about that.

Jobs, jobs, jobs! The unemployment rate for African Americans in the Inland Empire has always been the highest of all races and voting for some of the local Democrats have not changed that fact. Labor Unions and Trades certainly do not employ African Americans to the extent they can and they give the  most money to Democrats running for office. Yet, Democrats come to our community and expect us to vote for them, no questions asked. Democrats are owned by the Unions and will not speak out against the Unions and Labor on our behalf. For Democrats Union money is more important than our vote. Well let’s show them this election how powerful our vote is!

How many times have we had the conversation about driving down the freeway under construction and we see no African American working on that project? How many times have we drove by building and housing construction projects and did not see any African American working on that project?

Why is it that Labor Unions and Trades have Black Labor Unions and Trades divisions? No brainer, if the Unions and Trades were fair to our workers and black leadership representation, we certainly would not need a black division. It is almost impossible for Blacks to get apprenticeship positions in Labor and Trades. Yet again, Labor Union and Trades give the most money to Democrats locally, statewide and nationally. They are so bad out here in the Inland Empire that when it comes time for the Riverside/San Bernardino Central Labor Council Secretary/Treasurer, Laurie Stalnaker,  to interview candidates running for election, they don’t even invite African American candidates who have half a chance. She invites African American candidates who she knows will lose the race or have no competition in a race. CLC, Laurie Stalnaker, will not interview a viable black candidate in a significant powerful elected position. She has to be called on the carpet to interview certain African American candidates for the Union to interview for their endorsement.

And to add insult to injury, Miss Laurie is also a Delegate for the California Democratic party and a Delegate for Pete Aguilar. There have been several complaints against Laurie Stalnaker to the California State Democratic party for her racism and supporting the Republican candidate over the  Democrat candidate. The Democratic party has taken no action against her. Laurie Stalnaker has financed  Republican candidates that helped put the City of San Bernardino into Bankruptcy. However, if an African American Democratic candidate supports a Republican the same Democratic party will use their by-laws to not endorse the African American candidate.  I am telling you what God loves and that is the truth.

Black folk, please be informed. Let’s take a closer look at the candidates coming to our churches and community centers asking for our vote. Democrats know that 80% of African Americans who actually go to the polls and vote will vote for a Democrat no matter who the Democrat is and no questions asked! That is not the case with all other populations of voters. Be informed, hear what both parties have to say. Don’t just take for granted that the Democrat has your best interest at heart. Be informed!

What we need most are jobs and if the Unions Labor and Trades have the most invested in the Democrats who are asking for our vote maybe we should consider the other candidate. The only thing we have is our vote, and the only way to make the Democratic party understand we mean business is to vote for the other guy. How many times are we going to be hoodwinked, bamboozled and duped by our Democratic party?

Ferguson: A Painful Reminder of Black Angst and Anger

Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim

By Hakim Hazim  

People call us loud and rightfully so. History teaches us that we must seize the opportunity to channel national attention toward the injustices we face. We are a loud people with voices that carry and at times we get caught in the emotion and don’t demonstrate proper restraint (I’m not talking about looting and the destruction of property. I’ll never give the criminal opportunists in our community the same standing as our sages and upstanding folks.). Wisdom provides restraint. This essay is an attempt to bring clarity to the events in Ferguson, Mo. It is an attempt to wrest the narrative away from all of the negative things perpetuated about our community and shine a light on how codified social stereotypes continue to be used against us in the media. The Black victim or the Black victimizer seems to be the only choice offered.  I believe Black Angst and anger and how these cousins are handled by us and law enforcement should be given equal time.

Angst is essentially the feeling of being told you are free to choose, but it’s accompanied by a perpetual anxiety about the outcomes of your choices. You believe your options are restricted to limited, insignificant rewards or heavy consequences. Anger at the injustice limited access to the American dream is the internal response. Authority is external imposition; leadership is internal elicitation. Authority is the art and science of imposing limits upon people and their actions, whereas leadership is the art and science of eliciting or drawing out the best in people’s decisions. Ferguson’s initial reaction was authority and the militarization of the city after the event. Its second response was leadership—drawing out the internal elements of trust, justice and responsible advocacy from the citizenry through the appointment of Captain Ronald Brown.

Society has progressed for us as a people, but for many financially struggling or impoverished Blacks, they don’t see it and are stuck. Ferguson has its own economic setting events.Alex Tabarrok is an internationally recognized economist and he has taken Ferguson to task based on his own research and a white paper by the ArchCity Defenders. What we are seeing is how cash-strapped local criminal justice systems in need of money use the law to secure resources. Citations of all types spiked. There are some glaring statistics.

Here’s the data:  Ferguson has 21,203 residents living in 8,192 homes. It’s 67% black and has violent crime rates consistent with the national average. However, its second largest source of revenue is court fines and fees: $2,635,400. That averages to three warrants and 1.5 case loads per home. Approximately 22% of the people are in poverty. If that’s not a powder keg, I’m not sure what is.

Now for us to continue to be proactive we must remember there are four things you can do with Angst and Anger as a Black person when it comes to dealing with our government:

  1. Stay passive and submit to injustice and grow bitter.
  2. Fight for reform,constructively,to better your situation and others.
  3. Seek an occupation with the government apparatus and fight for change.
  4. Become a token and profit from a system entrenched in ostensible narratives.

We really only have two legitimate options and I have done both: number (3) as an educator and correction specialist, and (2) now as a consultant. I’m most concerned about the narratives taking place on both sides. People use ostensible language narratives and theories that appear to be true, but in reality simply act as a cover for furthering misinformation—to create plausibility and then push their agenda ahead. As Black folks, we still need to hear the facts before making up our minds. And as far as the people perpetually against us, they will continue to recruit and place their mouthpieces in our community. I’ll also say this: we need to seek out new voices to address these crises that emerge in our community. We need nuanced, dexterous leaders who are focused on the future and securing the promises still afforded to us by a Creator who has not forgotten His covenant. Deal with the government, but put your faith in God folks. We know the epidemic of death among Black men through Black on Black crime and law enforcement sends the message that our lives have no value. I utterly reject this. Let’s love them before and after tragedy.

 

Celebrity Hair Stylist Shares His Gifts through Beauty and Fitness

Taco and rapper Trina

Taco and rapper Trina

By Naomi K. Bonman

Seattle, Washington native Turner Yarbrough, more commonly known as “Taco”, is on the brink of becoming a well-known celebrity nationwide hair stylist. As a child, Taco spent countless Saturdays in the salon with his mother as she received her weekly style. Though he and his brother hated being dragged there for hours on end, a spark for an interest in hair styling emerged in him.

Upon high school graduation, the charismatic Cancer enrolled in cosmetology courses at Seattle Central Community College and later transferred to Gene Juarez where he received his license in 2001. From there he opened his first salon, Reign Concept Salon, at the tender age of 19 where he was able to establish a loyal clientele.

Throughout the early stages of his career, Yarbrough continued to learn more to perfect his craft. He has received education from well known trainers which include Paul Mitchell, So. Cap, CHI, Unite and many more.

Not only is Taco an inspiration to his hair clients, but he is also an example for those struggling with weight loss. He has lost over 126 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer. In a recent interview with the rising stylist and fitness guru, he discussed his future goals, motivations and most memorable career highlights.

Naomi: What inspired you to get into the hair industry?

Taco: My mother. She used to drag me to the hair salon and I hated it! [laughs] My cousin LaShawn was also a braider when we were growing up and she [subconsciously] kind of helped to push me into this.

Naomi: What makes you stand out from other stylists? What makes you unique?

Taco: My character. I’m just a funny guy. I’m a big personality. I know that there are a lot of hair stylists that have big personalities, nut I’m just different. I love to have fun and to make sure that everyone is okay by catering to the atmosphere. [I like to make sure that] that everything flows cohesively.

I think what also separates me is that I’m just crazy, passionate. I can only separate myself from the things that within myself meaning that I’m not separate from people, but that my own challenge is myself.

Naomi: You mentioned that your personality shines on set. Is there a reality show in the works?

Taco: There are talks of it. We’re actually putting some things together. I think it would be hilarious [laughs]. I’m just Taco, there’s no explanation for it. I’m just a crazy guy who’s always singing and doing something different. If someone is shy, I’m that kind of guy that helps them get out of themselves so that they can have an awesome experience.

Naomi: How did you come with the name Taco? It’s a very interesting and unique nickname?

Taco: My name came from my Grandma, In larger families, you tend to get stuck with various nick names that follow you for life”. [laughs].

Naomi: [laughs] Interesting. So who are some of your top celebrity clients?

Taco: I just wrapped up a photo shoot with Colyesia Chestnut from MTV’S ‘Are You the One?’ My main client that I love so much is Bad Medina, which is Floyd Mayweather’s massage therapist. One of my long time clients is Tori Lucas who just married Jamal Crawford. I just had the opportunity to cut Trina’s hair. She was really sweet, warm and welcoming.

Taco in action

I’ve also done several events such as a Women Standing Tall calendar which featured Shonie O’Neal and the rest of the basketball wives before they were on the show. It was cool to be a part of that before they went big.

Naomi: How did you get your start into doing hair for celebrities?

Taco: I’m a firm believer in what’s for me is for me. It just comes. I’ ve never advertised or put myself in the newspaper. I let my clients spread the word which say’s a lot on what people believe and see in my skills which I’ ve seen as a blessing to have come so far off just recommendations.

Naomi: How do you make the every day, average client feel like a celebrity?

Taco: My salon in Seattle is called Reign Concept Salon where I work with some of the most amazing girls, and there we create an experience. I’m always singing and serenading them (clients). I make them feel like celebrities because with every single client, no matter how tired I am, I’m going to give them that attention. To me, they are celebrities because they patronize me, and they feel a part of the process of me coming to new horizons [in my career].

Naomi: How did you come with the name Reign Concept Salon?

Taco: I am a Christian, and my whole belief system is to always know and to allow God to reign in your life. When I think of reign, I think of God. It’s my reminder to never puff myself up and to always be humble, and that He reigns over all.

Naomi: What has been your most memorable highlight in your hair career thus far?

Taco: I had a woman, just an ordinary woman, that came in and she thought her hair was damaged.  You could tell she had low esteem and that she was going through some things in her life. When I did her hair, I did it with so much love and took my time to not only love on her hair but to love on her. When I finished and turned her around to the mirror, the level of emotion that she expressed made her feel as if she was brand new, and it healed her. For me that was my gift to her. I didn’t make her pay. Sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest affect on your life.

Naomi: Going into the fitness side of things, what kept you motivated to keep pushing towards your weight loss goal?

Taco: I was always a sort of overweight kid. I battled with a lot of low self-esteem. I definitely covered that up through my personality. It’s been three years since I lost over 126 pounds. I used to be 358 pounds, and was cast for The Biggest Loser twice, but that didn’t come through. They always chose the next person over me.

I have a wife and 5-year-old daughter, and needed to live for them. In this career you have to be healthy. So, I just said ‘ I’m tired. I can’t wait for The Biggest Loser to do it for me. I have to do this’. I just started. My inspiration is myself. I have to conquer me, and I want to do me as a physique body builder one day.

Taco, before and after his weight loss journey

Taco, before and after his weight loss journey

Naomi: Nice! So with body building being a fitness goal, what are some of your others?

Taco: That’s the next fitness goal, to compete as a Physique Body builder. I’ ve been blessed to pick up an international sponsorship with Pro Supps. They are absolutely amazing and they took me on because I started with them in the beginning of my weight loss journey and I was loyal to them. They give me so much love and support and I really appreciate that. I also want to lose another 35 pounds to aid me in my “road to the stage” to compete.

Naomi: What changes did you make in your diet?

Taco: Whew, so many changes! Your diet has to be on point. I learned healthy eating habits from pro body builder Alden Gamet who coached me in losing my first 100 pounds. I went from eating McDonalds three times a day to learning how to prep meals, weigh my food and portion control.

Naomi: What advice do you for those who struggle with weight loss and lose that focus to get to their goal, and that try different regiments that don’t work out for them?

Taco: My advice is to just go. The first step is to just get there. In the beginning you don’t want to do it because your body is used to whatever current routine that it is in. Your mind changes as you begin to change. Also, connect with people that will encourage you and keep nothing but positivity around you. Anything that is new is going to be difficult; the key is to just go. If you do fall back, don’t stay there. Get back up and keep moving.

Naomi: What are your overall personal goals that you want to achieve in life?

Taco: My overall goal is for the world to know me and  to not only be successful, but highly respected and sought after  globally for hair and health.

The sky is the limit for me, and I’m very excited about my publicist. I absolutely love her. Trea Davenport and Trea Day Management are just amazing. I have a lot of support around me, and at the end of the day, I’m just ready to go and welcome success.

To keep up with Taco’s career endeavors, follow him on Instagram @TacoMarche and @TacoReign. For booking inquiries, please contact Trea Davenport at treadaypr@gmail.com or (678) 327-8281