Monday, December 26, 2005

Essay 305

Avoiding the post-Christmas shopping frenzy with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• The Los Angeles Times reported another wrinkle in the issues surrounding illegal immigration: romances between immigrants and Border Patrol agents. “The absurdity of it gets played out in the day-to-day lives of Border Patrol agents,” said the director of an immigrant rights group. “Everybody knows somebody [in the U.S. illegally] who has some kind of relationship with a Border Patrol agent. Either someone in their family is married to one, or they’re sleeping with one. People’s lives are very complicated and intertwined and they’re not very clear-cut.” Well, it certainly explains why so many guys volunteer for the Minuteman Project.

• Up to 100,000 illegal immigrants may be eligible for green cards thanks to technicalities from a 1986 amnesty program. The original rules disqualified anyone who left the country, even for a brief trip, between 1982 and 1987. But settlements in two class-action lawsuits changed things, creating the opportunity for people to reapply for legal residency. The new deadline is December 31. After that, your best chance is to date a Border Patrol agent.

• Perfusia-SR, a dietary supplement billed as an alternative treatment for heart disease, is targeting Blacks via an ad in Jet magazine. One controversial point involves the comparison between Perfusia and BiDil, a drug approved earlier this year by the FDA offering similar benefits for Blacks. The NAACP is partnering with pharmaceutical company NitroMed to support BiDil. “To market [Perfusia-SR] as an alternative to BiDil is, frankly speaking, ridiculous,” said Mandeep Mehra, head of cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. We’re not doctors — and we don’t play one on TV — so definitely check with your physician before responding to any advertising.

• reported on a story from The Chicago Defender regarding a Howard Stern billboard. The posting features an illustrated graphic of a Black fist with the headline: “Let Freedom Ring. And Let It Be Rung By A Stripper.” Community leaders are protesting the billboard, which appears near a predominately Black neighborhood. “To take this phrase made popular by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the fight for freedom and justice, and trivialize it in such a way is both disrespectful and unacceptable,” Rev. Michael Pfleger said. “As we prepare to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, we will not tolerate this kind of brazen disrespect. Howard Stern may have managed to push his craziness on cable, but we should not have to tolerate it in our communities.” It was clearly a bad media buy, given Stern’s low popularity among Black audiences. Plus, it’s just a bad idea overall.

• Afro-In-Books & Things, a Black cultural bookstore in Liberty City, Florida, is closing December 31. It’s been serving the community with cultural and literary activism since 1978. Originally launched by retired Miami-Dade County Public Schools administrators Earl and Eursla Wells, Afro-In-Books & Things offered customers access to stuff not easily accessible via mainstream bookstores. William “DC” and Stephana Clark continued the husband-and-wife owner tradition when they bought the business from the Wells in 1993. William Clark is committed to political activism, having co-founded International African Movement, a.k.a. IAM Miami, in 1984. The group met regularly at Afro-In-Books & Things. But the pressures of competing with the mega-bookstores, as well as the challenges of reviving business in Liberty City, forced the decision to shut down the landmark. Afro-In-Books & Things highlights include visits from Winnie Mandela, Maya Angelou, Will and Jada Smith and Malcolm Jamal Warner — plus organizing a bus trip to the first Million Man March in 1995. “It has been about making a difference, not just making money. That’s it in a nutshell,” William Clark said. Anyone in the Miami area can visit the store at 5575 NW Seventh Avenue, Liberty City. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, call 305-756-6107 or visit

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