December 13, 2012
By Jennifer Bihm
“The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage equality takes our nation one step closer to realizing the American ideal of equal protection under the law for all people,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris, part of a growing number of elected officials and community leaders lauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to review a California gay marriage case and the validity of Proposition 8.
“For justice to prevail, Proposition 8 must be invalidated so that gay and lesbian families are finally treated with equality and dignity.”
Proposition 8, a descendent of California’s 2000 Proposition 22, was the “California Marriage Protection Act,” later titled “Eliminates Rights of Same Sex Couples to Marry” on the November 2008 ballot. The prop added to the “Declaration of Rights” portion of the state’s constitution, providing that “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The ban on gay marriage went into effect the day after Prop 8 passed and was in direct opposition to the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that it was unconstitutional.
The next year, same sex couple Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir, applied for a marriage license in Alameda County, which was denied, as was one for Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo. The couples filed a suit against state officials including then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown. Brown agreed that the ruling violated the 14th Amendment to the United State’s Constitution and did not participate in the defense; neither did Schwarzenegger although he did agree that the courts should hear the case.
ProtectMarriage.com organizer Dennis Hollingsworth a staunch supporter of Prop 8, was allowed to step in as a defendant. Now governor, Brown continues his refusal to defend the lawsuit as does Harris who promised as much during her campaign for attorney general. Other elected officials are also weighing in, looking forward, they said, to the ban being overturned.
“I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court finds Proposition 8 violates the promise of equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in a statement released shortly after the December 7 decision.
“I believe support for marriage equality keeps growing stronger.”
“Today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will take up Hollingsworth v. Perry and the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act is a reminder that the pathway to justice is long and difficult,” said Speaker John A. Perez, who also released a statement last week.
“I am very confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of our community in Hollingsworth v. Perry, as it is now known, and affirm that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. But until that outcome is secured, our community must continue to fight for justice on every front, from working to secure the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to addressing the issues of homelessness among LGBT Youth.”
LGBT activist Jasmyne Cannick agrees. While attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing—with about 48 percent of Americans in favor of it, the community should stay “focused on the real issues facing all of us—gay, lesbian, and heterosexual--jobs, affordable housing, education, and access to healthcare,” she said.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the Supreme Court’s decision an ‘opportunity.’
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court faces the opportunity to rectify the injustices caused by denying gay and lesbian Americans the right to follow their hearts and marry the person they love,” he said.
“I am confident that the highest court in our land will follow the wisdom of the 9th Circuit and grant all couples — regardless of sexual orientation — the freedom to marry.”
“We understand that our nation has to be a nation of laws and that there is one class of people, and the law has to apply equally to all of us regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation,” Black AIDS Institute Executive Director Phil Wilson.
“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will affirm that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.”
The Court is expected to make the final decision in June 2013.
December 13, 2012
By LAWT News Service
Dentist. Doctor. Surgeon. In a country where dreams are like wings, a new cadre of students is soaring to become the next generation of promising health professionals.
They meet protégés where they are — on campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and in high schools largely based in medically underserved communities.
Earlier this fall, physicians Alden M. Landry, 31, and Kameron Leigh Matthews, 33, launched their ‘get on the bus’ style Tour for Diversity in Medicine to promote health professions to underrepresented students throughout the country.
A pledge to “give back” has fueled the passions of the two former medical students, who have translated their commitment to mentoring into opportunity on wheels. The branded motor bus is literally on a roll, traveling to sometimes unlikely places to reach, teach and inspire.
“We recognize that many of the students we reach may not have the resources or inclination to come to recruitment fairs,” confides Matthews, who has earned both JD and MD degrees. The goal is to reach people in their comfort zone to explain that dreams beyond their immediate reach are attainable.
Tour for Diversity (T4D) is a project of Hip Hop Health, Inc., a nonprofit organization that Landry launched to blend social media and health education to reach and inspire the Hip Hop generation. The bus tour was the brainchild of Matthews and Landry, both leaders of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). SNMA is the student branch of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest professional society of African American physicians.
Landry is also a 2000 alumnus of the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) (formerly the Minority Medical Education Program), a free enrichment program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The six-week academic initiative provides rising college freshman and sophomores from disadvantaged backgrounds with a timely introduction to the rigorous preparation required to pursue careers in medicine or dentistry. The program operates at 12 university sites with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session.
“The program jumpstarted my commitment to becoming a physician by showing me what it takes to get into medical school early – so I could get on track to realize my dreams,” Landry recalls.
The recruitment drive for SMDEP summer 2013 participants is now open and will continue to accept applications through March 1, 2013. For more information, visit www.smdep.org .
SMDEP 12 site locations include:
• Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio)
• Columbia University (New York, N.Y.)
• Duke University (Durham, N.C.)
• Howard University (Washington, D.C.)
• University of California-Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
• UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical and New Jersey Dental (Newark, N.J.)
• University of Louisville (Louisville, Ky.)
• University of Nebraska (Omaha, Neb.)
• University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)
• University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
• University of Texas-Houston (Houston, Texas)
• Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)
Insufficient financial resources coupled with an uncertainty on how to prepare for a medical future are two major barriers for prospective students. SMDEP helps to fill gaps and inspire success by working to increase diversity in the health care workforce.
“Diverse perspectives reflected in our dental and medical professions are necessary for a better patient experience,” explains SMDEP National Program Officer Norma Poll-Hunter, PhD, co-deputy director for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “SMDEP brings talent that’s not traditionally represented in our medical and dental school applicant pools.”
Landry, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, agrees. “Without a more diverse workforce, the current health disparities will persist, if not worsen.”
Current trends in the health care workforce point to the need for sustained recruitment to yield a more diverse pool of candidates in medical and dental schools. While minorities represent 26 percent of the U.S. population, less than 6 percent of American Indians, Blacks and Hispanics collectively are physicians or dentists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The Tour for Diversity fall outreach (September 24-29, 2012) included six universities between Atlanta and Dearborn, Mich. The next tour in February 2013 will take them to several Texas college campuses. Landry, Matthews and other physician mentors share personal insights and advice on what prospective candidates can expect to help debunk fears of “I’m not smart enough.”
“Our purpose is to emphasize to students the importance of early exposure, advising and mentorship,” says Matthews.
For more on Tour for Diversity in Medicine, visit http://tour4diversity. org/. You can read updates on their Voices of Diversity blog at http:// tour4diversity.org/category/blog/. Join them on Facebook and Twitter.
December 13, 2012
By Shannen Hill Sentinel Intern
A Los Angeles man was killed while walking in Manhattan on Monday.
The shooting occurred around 2 p.m. outside of St. Thomas Choir School, a small boarding school for young boys. The shooter came behind Brandon Woodward, 31, and shot him with a silver semi-automatic pistol. The shooter then jumped into a getaway car and sped off, leaving the victim in a pool of blood.
Woodard had received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was a law student at Loyola Marymount University. He was also the father of a 4-year-old girl.
“This is a shock,” Woodard’s father J Lincoln Woodard told the Daily News. “He was a very good son, loving.”
Woodard was staying at the 6 Columbus Hotel a block away from the shooting. The area, near Central Park, is so secure that some of the witnesses didn’t even suspect that the event was a shooting.
“I’m thinking it was a tire popping,” said Security Guard Jose Villafane.
Even though Woodard seemed to have his life on a positive track, he had many altercations with the law, including charges for cocaine possession and a hit-and-run. In 2009 he was arrested for stealing bottles of wine and was facing an assault and battery charge from June 2012.
The motive behind the shooting is unknown, but police continue to investigate.
“There are no words to express our shock in the face of this horrendous tragedy,” Woodard’s family said in a statement released this week.
“Brandon was a Los Angeles native. He attended Campbell Hall High School, graduated from Loyola Marymount University and was presently enrolled in West Los Angeles Law School. He was a kind, gentle, and generous young man, beloved by friends, family and his community. He enjoyed spending time with his four year old daughter, Kirsten and was a devoted father and son. We eagerly await justice for Brandon. Our family requests solace and privacy at this difficult time.”
December 06, 2012
Family members, former colleagues, and staff of the late Mervyn M. Dymally will celebrate the life of the groundbreaking lawmaker in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, December 12, at the United States Capitol Visitors Center. Among those scheduled to attend and give remarks are Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Janice Hahn, and Rep. Karen Bass, who is introducing a House Resolution in honor of Dymally. H.E. Dr. Neil Parson, ambassador to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago and Lynn Dymally, daughter of Mr. Dymally will also be in attendance. Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, II will head a delegation of current and former members in attendance.
Dymally passed away on Sunday, October 7 in Los Angeles from declining health. He was 86 and is survived by his wife of 44 years Alice Gueno Dymally, daughter Lynn and son Mark, as well as three sisters and a host of other relatives and friends.
Affectionately referred to as the “Godfather of African-American politics” in California, Dymally represented California’s 31st congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1981 until 1993. He was born in Trinidad and was the first foreign-born member of Congress to serve in the United States.
While in Congress, Dymally won assignments on the Foreign Affairs, District of Columbia, and Science and Technology committees. In the 99th Congress (1983–1985), he left his post on Science and Technology for a seat on the Post Office and Civil Service Committee. He served on that panel, Foreign Affairs, and the District of Columbia until he retired in 1993. For a single term in the 99th Congress (1985–1987), Dymally also served on the Education and Labor Committee. In the 100th Congress (1987–1989), he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
“I have an obligation as a Third World person. I make no excuses. I do have a very keen interest in the Third World,” Dymally told the Los Angeles Times in 1988.
“We do not live in just 50 states. We contribute significant sums of taxpayer money in the Third World.”
As chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Operations, Dymally became a leading spokesperson on human rights and economic development, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. He was an outspoken critic of apartheid in South Africa and advocated imposing sanctions against the minority-white government. He also emphasized the necessity of economic development. As a member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Dymally made numerous trips to Africa and pushed the committee to focus on a wider spectrum of issues from “human relations to trade.”
“Most African countries are moving toward democracy and there is an absence of trade between Africa and African Americans, in particular, and America, in general,” Dymally told the L.A. Sentinel in an interview.
“We’ve been building up a network and trying to convince Africans about the importance of trade. It is proper to want to get Africans out of jail. But, I want to get them out of poverty, too.”
In addition to his career in Congress, Dymally served in the California State Assembly, California State Senate, and as the 41st Lieutenant Governor of California.
The service will be held in the House Visitors Center Room 215 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those interested in attending can call (202) 256-0499 or email tkarim@ teclawgroup.com. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will serve as hosts. The event is supported by the Mamadi Diané, liaison to the president of the Ivory Coast, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and Dymally’s staff members.