News Briefs

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Clarke calls on Obama to address urban needs U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke last week called on President Obama to take a targeted approach in bringing jobs to communities of color. Clarke, who represents mainly the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, made her comments following Obama’s jobs speech to a joint session of Congress. “While the unemployment rate sits at 9.1 percent nationally, it is at 16.7 percent in the African-American community, which is absolutely unacceptable. That is why I joined my Congressional Black Caucus in presenting key recommendations to include creating jobs to the Obama Administration,” said Clarke. Clarke stressed the importance of the president taking a targeted approach for communities of color, particularly those who are concentrated in rural and urban areas of the country. “I also encourage the President to use the power of the pen and push job initiatives using Executive Order. As a Member of the House Small Business Committee, I would call on the administration to identify tax credits and incentives for women-and minority-owned small and medium-sized businesses who tend to hire in communities of color,” said Clarke. Bed-Stuy gets environmental study Dr. Naa Oyo A. Kwate, an Associate Professor of Human Ecology and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, is setting up offices in Bed-Stuy and Harlem to do a community study on the effects of environmental racism on African-American health. In a presentation to Community Board 3 last Monday, Kwate sited a previous study examining how outdoor advertising in Harlem correlated with a disproportionate number of people who abused alcohol in those areas where advertising was most saturated. Kwate came to the meeting to alert the community that she will be knocking on doors in the coming months and is requesting people partake in a one-hour survey, and then follow up with a blood draw to do a test of cholesterol levels to measure obesity rates. She is hiring survey takers. Residents interested in becoming a surveyor can log onto  www.rniaa-lab.com. Juvenile Justice System may be privatized Mayor Bloomberg has proposed to take over and privatize the juvenile justice system, in his overall effort to push for the Young Men’s Initiative,” according to state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery. Montgomery told Community Board 3 members and the public on Monday that privatization means the public will lose all accountability to what happens to young people. As such, she asked the community to speak out against the move. “This will just be one more opportunity for people to make money off our children’s bodies,” reporters quoted her as saying. “There are some nice things about the initiative, but he (Bloomberg) will be gone in 16 months or less. We want to make sure that the language that allows for privatizing is removed.”