Baltimore County Public Library now offers free access to Rosetta Stone language program

— Are you interested in learning to speak French but don’t have the budget for lessons? Would you like to learn Mandarin, but don’t have the time to dedicate to a class schedule? Great news! Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) now offers free access to a language program that can be completed in the comfort of your own home on your own time schedule.

Thanks to the Sailor program, which is funded by the state, ALL Maryland libraries now offer free access to Rosetta Stone and its collection of 30 language courses. Rosetta Stone, one of the biggest brands in language learning, uses an immersion-based method that features words, images and the voices of native speakers.

BCPL users can access the program via the’s Research Database & Tools page using their BCPL card number and pin code. As the program is accessed through an individual’s library card, users can sign out and save their progress.

“We are thrilled that Sailor is providing Rosetta Stone for BCPL customers,” said Collections Development Coordinator Jamie Watson. “It provides a nice complement, and another approach, to language learning than our current Mango Languages service and our classic print materials.”

The Baltimore County Public Library has served the citizens of Baltimore County since 1948. With 19 branches throughout Baltimore County, BCPL empowers and engages individuals for a more inclusive and connected Baltimore County community, and provides opportunities to explore, learn, create and connect. In addition to loaning books, library card holders may borrow DVDs, music, ebooks and gain access to our research databases. Branches provide computer and Internet access, job search assistance and offer a multitude of daily learning programs for adults and children. For more information about branches and services, visit or follow BCPL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To be equal: Hillary Clinton stands on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm

“Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes…We must replace the old, negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive action affirming it, and more. But we must also remember that we will be breaking with tradition, and so we must prepare ourselves educationally, economically, and psychologically in order that we will be able to accept and bear with the sanctions that society will immediately impose upon us.”

— Shirley Chisholm

The nation has marked the historic occasion of the first woman in American history to win the Presidential nomination for a major political party.

While Hillary Clinton has come further than any woman Presidential candidate, she is not the first. Victoria Woodhull ran as the candidate for the Equal Rights Party in 1872. Margaret Chase Smith challenged Barry Goldwater for the Republican nomination in 1964. More recently, Pat Schroeder in 1988 and Carol Moseley Braun in 2004 vied for the Democratic nomination.

But the most historically significant forerunner to Hillary Clinton was Shirley Chisholm, the Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was also the nation’s first African-American Congresswoman.

The daughter of working-class immigrants from the Caribbean, Chisholm became interested in politics while serving as the director of a child day care center and an educational consultant for the New York City Division of Day Care. She served three years as a New York State Assemblywoman before running for Congress in 1968 with the slogan: “Unbought and Unbossed.”

“My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency,” Chisholm said.

Chisholm hired only women for her staff, half of whom were African Americans. “Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being Black,” she said.

She announced her candidacy for President at a Baptist church in Brooklyn. In an article about her candidacy, the Associated Press wrote, “Ironically, her major headache seems to come from Black politicians.”

“They think that I am trying to take power away from them,” she said. “The Black man must step forward. But that doesn’t mean the Black woman must step back. While they’re rapping and snapping, I’m mapping.”

She competed in 14 states, winning 28 delegates to the convention. As a symbolic gesture, candidate Hubert Humphrey released his 83 Black delegates to cast their votes for Chisholm. With the votes of several other delegates at that contentious convention, Chisholm finished fourth in a field of 13, with 152 delegates.

It is hard to imagine, in this era of sharp division in politics, the remarkable moment during that campaign when she visited her segregationist rival, Alabama Governor George Wallace, in his hospital room after he was shot and wounded. “What are your people going to say?” he asked her. “I know what they are going to say,” she said. “But I wouldn’t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.” She recalled that her words moved him to tears.

Chisholm retired from Congress in 1982 and remained an outspoken activist for civil rights until her death in 2005.

It would be difficult to overestimate the impact and influence of Chisholm’s Congressional service and Presidential candidacy. While Congress remains disproportionately White and male, one-in-five members of the current House and Senate are a racial or ethnic minority, making the 114th Congress the most diverse in history. The nation’s first African-American President is winding up his second term, and a woman – a former senator and Secretary of State – has just won the Democratic nomination for President.

In her acclaimed speech on the Equal Rights Amendment in 1970, Chisholm said, “The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of White, male citizens. As there were no Black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers — a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone. Today, here, we should start to do so.”

Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League.

Zanzibar: A taste of Africa’s Spice Islands

— “Have you seen ‘The Lion King’?”

The van turns off the main road and speeds down a dirt path shrouded in vegetation.

“That’s where we are going! Hakuna Matata Spice Farm!” shouts my tour guide Aben Rehan, gripping the wheel and laughing as he repeats the Swahili phrase made famous by the 1994 Disney film.

I’ve been in Zanzibar for less than a day but have already heard “Hakuna Matata” — meaning “no worries” — yelled at me several times over.

I’ve quickly come to interpret the refrain as a local code word for, “Hey foreigner, come buy this thing.”

But as the van comes to a stop at the entrance of the spice farm, there are no crowds of tourists, no pushy souvenir sellers. I am, as far as I can tell, the only person there.

A man named Haji introduces himself and his assistant — a 15-year-old boy with a sharp knife sticking out of his back pocket.

“After this is over you will be the King…” Haji says. “The King of Spice!”

Spice trade

Spices have long been a pillar of Zanzibar’s trade-heavy economy.

Zanzibar City, with its UNESCO-listed historic center Stone Town, is the heart of this Indian Ocean archipelago, positioned 25 miles east of the Tanzanian mainland.

The Portuguese and Chinese introduced spices such as garlic, cacao and chili to the islands several centuries ago.

But it was the Omani Sultan Seyyid Said — upon moving the capital of his empire Stone Town in 1840 — who fully exploited the potential of Zanzibar’s tropical climate and incredibly fertile soil.

The Sultan mandated the establishment of clove plantations on both public and private lands and forced Zanzibar’s slave population to grow and harvest the crops, fashioning the less than 1,000-square-mile archipelago into the world’s single largest cloves producer.

Cloves were traded like gold at the time — a staple prized not only for taste but as a common method of curing and preserving meats long before the advent of the refrigerator.

Modern Zanzibar

Today, however, Zanzibar is an economy in transition.

While cloves remain the archipelago’s leading domestic product, its production numbers have been surpassed by other mega-suppliers such as Indonesia and Madagascar.

Zanzibar, as a result, has capitalized on its history as the world’s “Spice Islands” — a title also claimed by Indonesia’s Maluku archipelago — to become a popular destination for eco-tourists and food fans alike.

In a vacationer’s paradise famous for World Heritage-standard Swahili architecture, near-perfect kite surfing conditions, and a 45-seat restaurant perched on top of a sea-bound rock, spice farms like Hakuna Matata top the list of Zanzibar attractions.

And there’s a good reason for that.

Zanzibar spice tours provide an intense, detailed introduction to the region’s rich botanical and cultural heritage, as well as its dark history as the Africa Great Lakes region’s main slave-trading port.

Fragrant harvest

The Hakuna Matata spice farm is in Dole village, about nine miles northeast of Stone Town.

Over the next two hours Haji guides me through the farm’s thick maze of trees, bushes, and fragrant vines including vanilla, ginger, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, lemongrass, and more.

While it’s clear the farm’s main product is tours not exports, nothing about the experience feels artificial.

Each spice comes with its own story — how it arrived on the island and an explanation of its uses, both common and uncommon.

“A lady takes this and the shyness goes away,” Haji says as he cracks a nutmeg seed and displayed the red-veined fruit inside. “Shininess?” I ask, mishearing the word.

“Shyness but just for the lady. She takes it when she wants to celebrate some way … or wants to have a big family. This is like Viagra for her,” he explains plainly. “You get it?”

“I got it.”

As the tour comes to an end, Haji presents me with a delicious traditional meal prepared with many of the spices we have seen over the course of the afternoon, including clove-infused rice, creamed spinach, and pickled onions and tomatoes topped with biryani sauce.

“Eat as much as you want,” Aben says, joining us on a plastic mat spread across the ground. “This is all for you!”

As we finish our meal, locals sit around trading jokes and fashioning hats out of bamboo leaves.

A few others further in the bush sing a song in Swahili, the only part of which I understand is the chorus line of “Hakuna Matata.”

Now, the mantra strikes me as joyous. No longer an urgent plea, its smooth rhythms meant “no worries” and nothing else.

Arranging a Zanzibar spice tour

A spice tour is one of the most popular attractions in Zanzibar and, as a result, there’s a surplus of companies to choose from when planning your visit.

However, the difference between good tour companies and bad is readily apparent, says Aben Rehan, from Jambiani-based Mambo Poa Tours.

“We have big [tour] companies and they have many, many weaknesses. They choose inexperienced guides that have a lack of information but people don’t know.”

“This place is full of natural beauty, so whichever environment visitors face, they will like. Even if staff are crazy.”

In other words, it’s easy to let Zanzibar’s lush surroundings convince you you’re getting a good tour when you really aren’t.

It’s best to look for a company that’s going to provide the added history and context that will make your trip extra-special.

A private tour with Mambo Poa Tours costs $30, including transportation and lunch. The price of a shared tour is $20 per person.

Other major spice tour operators include Colors of Zanzibar, which runs outings for $35 per person and Pure Zanzibar, which is $40.

Micah Spangler is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in CNN, The Daily Beast, VICE, Maxim, The Week, and more.

EpiPen main ingredient costs ‘less than a Big Mac’

— Mark Baum believes the relentless EpiPen price hikes are “shameful” and his company is plotting a $100 alternative for the lifesaving allergy treatment.

Baum, known for offering a $1 substitute for the $750 AIDS drug Daraprim, told CNNMoney on Tuesday that his company Imprimis Pharmaceuticals has been quietly working on a compounded version of EpiPen for months. The company hopes to have it ready by the end of the year.

The plans come amid the latest price gouging scandal over the 400% increase in EpiPen prices by Mylan. The drug maker and its CEO Heather Bresch have become the newest faces of corporate greed. In response to the outcry, Mylan took the unusual step of announcing a fast-track launch of its own $300 generic EpiPen.

But Baum says his version of EpiPen would cost very little to make. He pointed that one milligram of epinephrine, which is three times more than what’s needed in an EpiPen, costs just a few bucks.

“The cost of epinephrine is literally less than a Big Mac,” he said of EpiPen’s main ingredient.

The auto injector is available for between $3 and $7. He believes he can make a customizable version of EpiPen and sell it profitably for less than $100, without gouging the public.

“We don’t have the desire to charge the public even $300, for something that costs so little,” Baum said.

“That’s not how I want to live my life.”

Related: How EpiPen came to symbolize corporate greed

Imprimis has already had success in taking on expensive branded drugs with cheaper compounds. Last year, the company launched a $1 alternative to Daraprim, the AIDS drug that overnight saw an incredible 5,000% price increase from the company led by the infamous Martin Shkreli.

Today, Imprimis has captured 20% of the market for this critical AIDS drug, producing more than 17,000 doses of its alternative, Baum told CNNMoney’s Paula Newton.

So how does it work? As a compounder, Imprimis takes items already approved by the FDA and repackages them to create the drug. Baum thinks this process can easily be replicated with EpiPen.

Another factor is that tiny Imprimis doesn’t have nearly the same costs that big drug companies do. Baum’s $52 million company is located in a modest office park in the outskirts of San Diego and has just 112 employees. By comparison, Mylan is a $23 billion giant with a workforce of nearly 35,000.

Compounded drugs may be a tougher sell because of safety concerns. In 2012, a meningitis outbreak caused by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy led to the deaths of 64 people.

Baum insists that Imprimis focuses on quality and has a deep understanding of epinephrine. “We understand how the drug works and can make it effectively and affordably,” he said.

The Imprimis CEO offered a mixed take on Bresch, the controversial Mylan boss. He applauded her for being “honest” about serious problems in the opaque pharmaceutical supply chain that encourage higher prices.

Given Mylan’s near-monopoly in the EpiPen space, Baum explained that Bresch would have been fired had she not raised prices.

“It would be CEO malpractice if she didn’t,” he said.

But Baum said he would not have raised the price as much.

“I don’t need to make $19 million a year,” Baum said, referring to the big pay package Bresch took home last year.

“Tonight when I go home I’m going to eat a nice piece of fish and the fish I eat isn’t any better or worse than what she is going to eat.”

Nutrition and flavor packed into one simple dish

— Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber, making them a healthy addition to just about anyone’s diet. For those who want the nutritious pack chickpeas can provide but are worried that chickpeas fall short in the flavor department, you can enjoy the best of both worlds by cooking up the following recipe for “Spiced Chickpeas” from “Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine” (Artisan) by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones and Serafina Magnussen.

Spiced Chickpeas

Serves 4

2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in cold water, or two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 cup Scoty’s Marinara Sauce (see below) or store-bought sauce

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Combine the chickpeas, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the oil, and toss to coat. Spread the chickpeas out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast, shaking the pan from time to time, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chickpeas are firm and dry. Set aside to cool. (The roasted chickpeas can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)

Put a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas, tossing to heat through. Stir in the lemon juice, sherry and marinara sauce and cook, stirring, until the chickpeas are well coated and the sauce is hot, about 2 minutes.

Mound the chickpeas in a shallow serving bowl, top with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Scoty’s Marinara Sauce

Makes 6 cups

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pinch of baking soda

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter stick

Working in batches, put the tomatoes, along with their juice, in a food processor or blender and puree until semi-smooth; you want a little bit of chunky texture.

Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and carrot; season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes; and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, making sure it dissolves, and add the basil and the butter substitute.

Once cooled, the sauce can be refrigerated covered for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Leslie Jones, black women have your back

— We were in second grade. And I can still feel the dirt in my hair, falling down my face. Still hear the bullies screeching like monkeys, calling me “Rocky,” after the old African gorilla at the local zoo. Nearly every week for a time, the kids in my neighborhood would chase me home with their monkey taunts.

That gorilla chant found me again nearly 30 years later on the cobblestone streets of Spain, where I was vacationing at a mountain villa. A group of white men decided to chase my son and me down the street making monkey noises. At first, I laughed, stunned by their ignorance and because they looked so ridiculous curling up their arms making money sounds, but then I saw they were serious and meant to do us harm. Then we ran — fast.

So you see, little black girls are taught at a tender age how to defend ourselves against racist, woman-hating thugs, against those who would do us harm. We learn to sniff out bigotry before it can crush us. And we understand that we are all Leslie Jones. We will not let you destroy her. Not this time.

Leslie Jones, you are not alone.

Leslie Jones is an actor. On Wednesday, her website was deactivated after hackers posted personal information, including her home address and passport number along with explicit photos that appeared to be of the comedian.

Jones had just completed a hugely successful and entertaining stint as a guest commentator at the Olympics in Rio, where she breathed life into a boorish NBC broadcast. But it seems Jones’ celebrity and her refusal to cower to cyberbullies has made her a target once again online. Since starring in the “Ghostbusters” remake earlier this summer, the actress has become a favorite of social media trolls.

Jones rightfully challenged Twitter’s abuse monitoring system months back after she was the target of a flood of hateful, racist, misogynistic tweets. Twitter’s response was to ban Milo Yiannopoulos, a columnist and alt-right agitator who encouraged Jones’s Twitter harassment.

“If I hadn’t said anything [about the abuse], nobody would have known about this. All those people would still have an account. … Hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things,” Jones told Seth Meyers in an interview after the first cyberattack.

And today, fans are rallying around Jones to help her remain strong in the face of these new assaults. Yesterday, immediately after the latest cyberattacks became public, fans and celebrities began offering support using the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ. But clearly, tweets are not enough.

At this moment, more than at any other — in my lifetime at least — we have to stand up, act up and speak out against racist, sexist behavior whenever we see it, whether at work, at home, in our government, or now more often on our social media feeds.

Because this is personal.

When these vile cowards attack Leslie Jones, they attack all black women — every woman — who has ever been told she doesn’t fit into Western society’s made-up definition of woman’s beauty. No one has the right to define us, or our bodies.

For centuries, black women’s magnificent, strong bodies have been coveted, used and then abused at will. We have been stripped down to our souls — though never losing our spirit — robbed of our humanity, our families, our dignity. But still we rise to unimaginable heights generation after generation, whether it be to the White House, the big screen or the boardroom. And though we have shed many tears, we will not be broken.

According to reports by the National Center for Education Statistics, black women are among the most educated group in America. Accounting for both race and gender, there is a higher percentage of black women (9.7%) enrolled in college than any other group, including Asian woman (8.7%), white women (7.1%) and lastly, white men (6.1%), according to the 2011 US Census Bureau.

So yes, the hateful words may sting us. And often leave unseen scars. But they also make us stronger, more resilient. As a girl, I plotted ways to get back at my haters. I found my revenge in the classroom — where I discovered I could be smarter, work harder than most — and in sports, where my oversized body was stronger than most. And more than once, my sweet revenge came at the end of my fist, when I got tired of running and decided to stand and fight.

Leslie’s revenge is her success. Bursting onto the big screen at 48 years old to star in “Ghostbusters” was the culmination of years of hard work that took Jones, the daughter of an Army vet who dreamed of being a comedian, from a college hoops scholarship to finally a big break with “Saturday Night Live.”

She is a living example of the American dream. Working hard, succeeding on her own terms where no one imagined she could, or should. Jones’ story is one to be celebrated and even emulated.

So no, haters, you cannot have Leslie Jones, or Gabby or Serena. Or any of the long list of trailblazing black women you too often try to destroy. We know this game well and you will not win.

“Our noses are broad, our lips are thick, our hair is nappy — we are black and beautiful,” said Stokely Carmichael .

And we’re here to stay. Deal with it.

Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has worked as a producer and as a reporter at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She was named a 2010 Woman of the Year by Women in Sports and Events, is a co-author of “Say It Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete,” and CEO of the Push Marketing Group. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Meet the five grand opening sponsors of the African-American History Museum

— Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Prudential Financial Inc., Target and Toyota have each provided $2 million in sponsorships to support the grand opening and inaugural events for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Each company is a founding donor of the museum and their sponsorship not only includes support for the grand opening, but officials said it would also provide assistance for other needs that the museum may encounter.

“These corporations have been longstanding, essential partners in the campaign to build this museum,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the museum, said in a statement.

“Now, their support as sponsors will enable the museum to host a public celebration that reflects the historic significance of this event: the opening of the first national museum dedicated to the African American experience,” Bunch said.

Bank of America’s $2 million sponsorship is far from the company’s only gift to the museum. Previously, the bank announced the donation of historic images from its corporate art collection to the museum that featured 61 black-and-white photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe that also includes Daufuskie Island, a unique national landmark off the South Carolina coast inhabited by a community whose distinctive language and culture is strongly influenced by its African heritage.

In addition to the portfolio of images, Bank of America contributed $1 million to the museum’s capital campaign after making a $1 million grant during the early stages of the museum’s establishment.

The original gift supported construction and the museum’s “Save Our African American Treasures,” a traveling program that teaches people to identify and care for the historically significant items they own, according to a press release.

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture will bring to life an essential part of America’s heritage,” said Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America. “We’re proud to contribute to that heritage so that others can experience the inspiration of this culture.”

Moynihan, who also serves as a member of the museum’s council, said that the bank is committed to creating awareness and support for the museum and is not only proud to help preserve and honor African-American history and culture, but is also proud to be a founding member and grand opening sponsor.

Angie Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based Target, said the company is proud to have supported the museum since its inception and through the grand opening.

“We are a founding donor of the museum and we’re thrilled to be a grand opening sponsor of the museum,” Thompson said. “In addition, Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive officer, serves on the advisory board of the museum and we’ve participated in the museum’s advisory council since 2010.”

Thompson continued: “At Target, inclusivity is one of our core beliefs and we are committed to helping foster diversity among our teams and communities. As part of this commitment, we are honored to support the mission of the museum to tell the story of African-American history and culture, as a lens for understanding what it means to be American.”

Since 1946, Target – which serves guests at 1,797 stores and online at – has given 5 percent of its profits to communities, which today equals more than $4 million each week, officials said. The company has also provided early support for the museum’s capital campaign in the amount of $5 million.

Prudential Financial, a financial services leader with operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America, also has committed $2 million and is among the grand opening sponsors of the museum. The company, which boasts a diverse workforce with employees who are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, also donated $1 million in support of the museum’s capital campaign.

“Prudential has focused its commitment to the museum around being a founding donor and one of five corporate sponsors during the grand opening weekend,” said Alicia R. Alston, vice president for global communications for Prudential. “As part of Prudential’s support, the company will have sole naming rights to the museum’s The Hub ‘Power of Place’ exhibition which explores the idea of place and region as a crucial component of the African-American community.”

As part of its partnership with the museum, Prudential will continue important dialogue through the “Clement Alexander Price Lecture Series,” which will run through Dec. 2018 and highlight Price’s appreciation of African-American history, culture and art and his commitment to the museum and love of people of his hometown, Alston said.

“Prudential has continued to seek opportunities to address the challenges facing the African-American community,” she said. “Since 2011, Prudential has published three editions of the African American Financial Experience report, which takes an in-depth look at the challenges facing this community when it comes to achieving financial security.”

Noted as one of the country’s leading health-care providers and not-for-profit health plans, Kaiser Permanente also counts among the five grand opening sponsors. Officials said the company, which also donated $5 million to the museum’s capital campaign, is committed to providing high-quality, affordable health-care services and to improving the health of its 10 million members and the communities it serves.

Toyota, a top automaker has built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America over the past 50 years and the company operates 14 manufacturing plants and employs more than 44,000 workers on the continent. Toyota has provided $1 million to the museum’s capital campaign and the company’s $2 million grand opening sponsorship recognizes the corporation’s and the museum’s parallel commitments to education and conservation.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture officially opens on Sept. 24 with President Barack Obama and other dignitaries scheduled to be on hand to dedicate the museum at an outdoor ceremony at 9 a.m.

The public is invited to gather on the Washington Monument grounds across the street from the museum to witness the ceremony on Jumbotrons. They’ll also be able to take in a three-day festival.

Congressional legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2003 established the NMAAHC, the 19th Smithsonian museum.

Groundbreaking occurred in 2012 and the museum occupies a prime location in the nation’s capital on the National Mall at the corner of Constitution Avenue at 14th Street, a short distance from the Washington Monument.

The nearly 400,000-square-foot museum will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American experience.

“African-American history did not stop with President Barack Obama’s election, and so we won’t stop either,” Bunch said in a televised interview this week. “There will be plenty for us to talk about in the future, and we’re looking forward to helping Americans understand the contributions of African-Americans to the rich tapestry of our culture.

NFL star Colin Kaepernick sits in protest during national anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat in protest during the national anthem for a pre-season game, saying he would not honor a song nor “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Referencing to the recent shooting deaths of African-Americans by police, he told NFL Media that his conscience would not allow him to partake in the pre-game ceremony Friday against the Green Bay Packers.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he said.

An image if the 28-year-old sitting — he is wearing number 7 — was posted on Twitter.

Willing protest

The player said he was fully aware of the controversy he was courting with his decision.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

The athlete is active on Twitter, usually retweeting other users’ posts on race relations in the US. His decision not to stand has elicited comments both in support and against his decision.

“As if I needed another reason to love Colin Kaepernick,” one supporter tweeted.

Another user, less enamored with his protest, said the 49ers star should “just leave America to the Americans,” Saying that he showed “disrespect to team, sport, fans.”

Team support

Kaepernick is bi-racial, the NFL media report notes, and was adopted and raised in a white family.

His team released a statement saying it respected his decision.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

The NFL also released a statement saying players are encouraged, but not required to stand during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner, which is played before every professional sporting event in the country.

Kaepernick was 2-of-6 for 14 yards in the 21-10 loss to the Packers.

Stereotyping is never a good idea!

We often hear about the crimes and homicides that take place in Chicago and in particular the south side of Chicago. The murder and overall crime rate is frightening.

I wouldn’t want to walk around the streets of Roseland, Englewood or a number of Chicago neighborhoods at night. Actually, I don’t think I would want to walk around them during the day. However, that is not to say that all or even a large number of people in South Chicago are hoodlums. I think just the opposite; most of the people are good and decent.

Last Sunday, I spoke at a church in Roseland and spent almost five hours with a group of very sweet, kind people who live in this neighborhood— 99.9 percent of the group was African American. My wife and I had a beautiful time with these people. I asked the pastor who lives in the neighborhood if he felt safe and he replied no. He went on to tell me that he never lets his grandkids out alone to play in his own yard. He occasionally hears shots in his neighborhood and even had some bullet holes in his car some months back. He went on to tell me, I was in one of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago.

Sadly, there is horrific violence on the Southside of Chicago. Tragically, there are criminals and hoodlums in this incredible city. However, most of the people living on the Southside are not bad people. They are good people trying to survive and overcome the minority of criminals, hoodlums and gang members who make their community scary.

I was raised in Martin County, Kentucky. President Lyndon Johnson began his campaign on poverty in our hometown in 1964. He visited Tom Fletcher about three miles down the road from our family. The Fletcher family became the poster family for Johnson’s war on poverty. We didn’t appreciate the stereotyping of all Martin county people as poor, ignorant hillbillies. I’m sure the Fletcher family didn’t appreciate it either. However, with the history of the Hatfields and the McCoys along with television programs like The Dukes of Hazzard, many of us got the media’s drift about how they viewed Appalachian people.

Yes, just like Chicago, Appalachia has enough ignorance and poverty. President Johnson’s war on poverty just created more poor people. However, lots of people from Appalachia complete college or conduct successful businesses, work hard and meaningful jobs and pay lots of taxes, just like many people do in Chicago. Like all the people on the Southside of Chicago we don’t like to be stereotyped either.

We stereotype in a multitude of other ways. Stereotypes freeze us into time. They limit our ability to communicate, understand and move forward. When we stereotype we make a generalization that limits productivity and success.

I’m so grateful I got to spend a Sunday on the Southside of Chicago. The next time I hear about a Chicago crime, murder or other violent acts I will have some lovely people on my mind and I will be praying and thinking with them about how we all need to work together to rise above the stereotypes and the problems and make this world better.

Glenn Mollette is an American Syndicated Columnist, speaker and the author of 11 books. His column appears in all 50 states. Mollette’s books are available at

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the world. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, more than 1.1 million cases of prostate cancer were recored in 2012, accounting for 15 percent of new cancer diagnoses in men that year.

Prostate cancer is often found before any symptoms arise. Prostate cancer screening no doubt contributes to that early detection, but many men are reluctant to be screened, feeling that the digital rectal exam, or DRE, is simply too uncomfortable to undergo. And the Prostate Cancer Foundation notes that there is no unanimous opinion in the medical community regarding the benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should speak with their physicians to determine if screening is for them, ultimately choosing the option they are most comfortable with and the one they feel best promotes their long-term health.

Men who choose not to get screened for prostate cancer or those who are on the fence regarding screening may benefit from learning as much as possible about the disease. Doing so can help them make more informed screening decisions, and those who choose to avoid screening can learn the potential signs and symptoms so they can bring any problems they might be experiencing to their physicians’ attention as soon as those abnormalities begin to surface.

The PCF notes that not everyone will experience symptoms of prostate cancer, but some men will. Sometimes the presence of certain problems associated with prostate cancer may be indicative of other conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. BPH is not cancer, but it is an enlargement of the prostate, and a man’s risk for developing BPH grows every year. For example, BPH is present in 20 percent of men in their fifties, and that prevalence rises to 70 percent among men age 70 or older. Symptoms of prostatitis, a painful condition in which the prostate is inflamed, tender and swollen, may also resemble the symptoms of prostate cancer. But the PCF notes that prostatitis is a benign ailment that is not cancer and does not contribute to cancer.

While not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer, some men may experience changes in their urinary or sexual function. Men who notice the presence of any of the following symptoms should consult their physicians immediately.

· A need to urinate frequently, especially at night

· Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine

· Weak or interrupted flow of urine

· Painful or burning urination

· Difficulty having an erection

· Painful ejaculation

· Blood in urine or semen

More information about prostate cancer is available at AC169362