We are excited about the work ahead in 2018.
You don’t want to miss this informative meeting and please pass along this information to others on your distribution lists. We will provide lunch, parking and networking opportunities as usual.
DATE AND TIME
Sat, April 21, 2018
10:30 AM – 2:30 PM PDT
Archives for April 2018
The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality today released “Bare Minimum: Why We Need to Raise Wages for America’s Lowest-Paid Families,” a report on working people and their struggle to make a living when paid tips, or the federal minimum wage, or less. The report makes a case for raising wages that is grounded in history, economics, and movements across the country, but particularly in the lived experience of our nation’s lowest-paid working people.
“A living wage is not a privilege, it is a civil and human right for all,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Education Fund. “The majority of people who would benefit from the policy changes we recommend are women, especially women of color, who are overrepresented in the low-wage workforce. Changes are a bare minimum and needed to redress longstanding inequities. The first-hand stories in this report capture the day-to-day struggles of minimum wage life while underscoring the importance of providing better opportunities for low-income communities. Raising wages is a moral question: do we value the people who are the engine of our economy or not? The answer must be yes.”
“Today, the minimum wage is a poverty wage,” said Peter Edelman, faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty. “Families cannot survive on $14,500 a year—the salary of someone working full time at the federal minimum wage. Significantly raising the minimum wage would help families make ends meet, while also reducing inequality and shrinking the gender and racial wage gaps. On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, raising wages for working people would be one step toward realizing his vision of economic and racial justice.”
The report includes the stories of working people from across the country trying to make ends meet on incomes just above the federal minimum wage. The report also recommends four key ways to raise the federal minimum wage and include more working people under its protections:
- Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour;
- Indexing the minimum wage once it reaches $15 per hour so that it will continue to keep pace with cost and standard of living;
- Eliminating the tipped minimum wage; and
- Eliminating the subminimum wage that applies to certain working people with disabilities.
The full report is available here.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit http://
The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality’s (GCPI) Economic Security & Opportunity Initiative’s mission is to expand economic inclusion for all of the United States through rigorous research, analysis, and ambitious ideas to improve programs and policies. The Economic Security & Opportunity Initiative works to alleviate poverty and inequality in the United States. The Initiative develops and advances proven and promising ideas while identifying and articulating risks and harms from ineffective policies and practices. The Initiative works with policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and advocates to design and advance policy and programmatic recommendations at all levels of government. For more information on the Center on Poverty and Inequality, please visit: http://www.georgetownpoverty.
A novel by RAYMOND GEORGE WARD
Whilst writing this book I came across a magazine article, about a famous performer and his Net Worth. I was quite astonished at the sum total. But it forced me to ask myself, what’s my Net Worth, and that of my Slave Ancestors? Surely their net worth is priceless.
I then asked myself, what’s our net worth, as a collective, here in the United Kingdom? That single question drove me on. The book reminds us just where we’re coming from, and in order to move forward, we’ll have to re-visit our past and take that monetary aspect, or saving scheme, in every part of the Caribbean, which formed a part of our parents, and our own 2nd generation everyday life while growing up. It has become part of our DNA, and to somehow re-build it here in England, as an above the board financial institution, and use that to change our situation and elevate our status here, where we still seem to be at the behest of everyone else’s negative assumptions, and the like, which some of us still eagerly live up to.
The Curl is about us. Black People, and our potential. Every migrant, wherever they’re from, and decide to finally settle, brings with them a part of their culture, be it food, clothing, customs etc. They then utilise it to their betterment. We are no different, but we’re severely lacking here financially, and the need to look to ourselves for a solution to something which we’ve always had, in every part of Africa and especially the Caribbean, to take us forward into the 22nd Century. I can’t thank my parents, enough, God bless them. I can’t even begin to imagine what they had to go through, but they did their utmost best. Don’t get me wrong, plenty are moving forward in leaps and bounds, already, but it’s about us, our excuses, our laziness, and our comfort zones.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raymond George Ward, 57, married to my lovely Pam. I’m from the Old School. I’ve been a Dustman, Labourer, Driver and a Carer. I feel privileged to have a Mum and Dad. Discipline and Good Manners were the order of the day. I left school with no qualifications. Mum would give you her last. She taught me my life skills. There was nothing that I couldn’t do as a man child. Work and save, she drummed into me, and it stuck and made sense. I’ll bring my children up the exact same way.
This book is published by Raymond George Publishing in conjunction with WRITERSWORLD, and is produced entirely in the UK. It is available to order from most bookshops in the United Kingdom, and is also globally available via UK-based Internet book retailers.
The American Civil Liberties Union, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (LDF), called on Congress today to take action in response to the national crisis of fatal police shootings.
The leading civil rights groups voice their concern in the wake of the killing of three Black men — Stephon Clark, Danny Ray Thomas, and Saheed Vassell — by police in recent weeks, as well as the more than 1,000 people killed by police in 2017 alone, and the 300 people shot and killed by police thus far in 2018. In many of these cases, victims were unarmed or experiencing mental health crises.
Advocates submitted a letter to the congressional Working Group on Policing Strategies, which was formed in 2016, noting that “our nation’s conscience has been rocked by a series of tragic events that have resulted in the loss of too many lives.” And yet in the two years since — let alone in the four years since Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 — little progress has been made towards the Working Group’s reported goals of “end[ing] excessive force” and “strengthen[ing] police accountability.”
While the current Congress fails to advance or even consider any meaningful police reform legislation, the public continues to rely on open sources to provide a national census of fatal police shootings. According to these sources, Black people are still three times more likely than white people to be killed by police. People of color represent more than 50 percent of those unarmed during fatal encounters with police. The data indicates police violence and racial bias to be a systemic problem, not simply the result of “a few bad actors.”
“One thousand people are killed by police every year, many of them of color, and many of them of unarmed,” said Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “We cannot accept fatal police shootings of this magnitude as business as usual. The crisis we find ourselves in means everyone has new work to do, and this includes members of Congress. We are calling upon our federal lawmakers to provide the necessary oversight, resources, and policy to end this epidemic of police violence.”
Todd A. Cox, LDF’s policy director, said, “The deaths of Stephon Clark, Danny Ray Thomas, and Saheed Vassell underscore the urgent need for Congress to pass life-saving policing reform legislation. Our nation’s lawmakers must finally take action to require national data collection on police use of force and de-escalation training rather than advancing unnecessary punitive measures that threaten to put Black and Brown lives at greater risk.”
“Our justice system should be fair and impartial, but the sad reality is that it is still rife with systemic racial discrimination,” said Kristine Lucius, executive vice president of policy for The Leadership Conference. “Recent police killings of unarmed Black people and other people of color make it clear why it is imperative for Congress to act to restore the trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.”
Keith Sweat, legendary R&B singer, music producer and songwriter, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Sweat Hotel – will be the President of a new record label to launch next week. Young Millenium Records is the name and their passion is to uplift and promote young artists and mold them for the music industry. Their first artist, a 17 year old who is working with Zaytoven – a major producer of Migos, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Travis Scott, etc and a bunch of other people. A renowned performer, recording artist, producer, Georgia Music Hall of Famer and father of four, Keith Sweat has nearly three decades in the soul business – so he is excited to partner in this venture.
Keith Sweat says, “I’ve known Lena for a number of years and always admired her work ethic and attention to detail. When the opportunity presented itself to collaborate on this record label I knew it would be a successful venture. I think one of the key elements to my success is that I’ve always reinvented myself while remaining true to my core. Launching YMR gives me the opportunity to do this and help guide the careers of some very young and talented artists. We’ve been very fortunate to sign a very talented and diverse group of artists. The energy, enthusiasm and level of professionalism that they bring to every project is inspiring. They are really on the cutting edge of what’s happening in music today.”
After much success as a recording artist, Sweat ventured into the producing side of the business. In 1992, he discovered the group Silk and produced their debut album which resulted in a #1 hit, “Freak Me.” In 1995, he repeated that success for R&B group, Kut Klose. Sweat then helped form his own super R&B group, LSG, with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill in 1997. In addition, Sweat has produced numerous songs such as Men At Large’s Don’t Cry; Dru Hill’s Love’s Train and Share My World; Immature’s Extra, Extra; Ol’Skool’s Am I Dreaming; The Isley Brothers’ Slow Is The Way; The O’Jay’ Baby You Know(featuring Keith Sweat); and many more.For his work, Sweat was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2013 Soul Train Awards.
About Young Millenium Records Company:
Our goal is to create a company dedicated to supporting, fostering and promoting the music of talented young people who enjoy entertaining their fans and establishing a platform for positive music. Our artist represent the new world of music. They are hip, stylish, fun and loaded with swagger. Their sounds are unique and speak to audiences who are okay with living the “good life.” As a part of our marketing strategy, our goal is to partner with community groups such as The Atlanta Business League, The Sweet Auburn Festival, the Downtown Preservation Alliance and the Atlanta School Board to have our artists participate in free events such as Back To School events as a way to connect with new and existing fans as well as create a positive connection to the community. Additional community events that we have a ongoing relationship with are the Happy Feat Spring Festival in Suwanee, Ga. and the Say No To Bullying Rally in New York. The main goal of our overall company strategy will be to secure distribution for the music through multiple channels including social media and other music streaming outlets. Music distribution will allow us to reach fans wherever they love to listen to music. Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, Apple Music, Tidal are several of the means to create access to our fans and supporters. We also need support with radio play, mastering, cataloging and releases.
CEO / executive producer
About Lena Jenkins-Smith:
Lena is a hard working entrepreneur who has carved out an inspiring career from her over 16 years as an executive assistant to some of Hollywood’s elite. She holds multiple degrees in business management, psychology, and liberal studies – with a focus on production. She is especially committed to giving young artists a head start on their futures. Lena is a professional who understands how to manage multiple aspects of a client’s career at once—including but not limited to arranging housing, selecting wardrobe, managing the logistics for concerts and appearances and working closely with various vendors while ensuring that her client’s needs are met. She has also honed her skills as a production and stage designer, which earned her the title of executive producer for several of her client’s DVD and live tapings. Her passion is music and to be able to combine that with a youthful generation is a dream come true!
New Rule Addresses Failings of U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The Washington Supreme Court on April 5 became the first court in the nation to adopt a court rule aimed at eliminating both implicit and intentional racial bias in jury selection. General Rule 37 will take effect at the end of April and will apply to all jury trials, civil and criminal, throughout the state.
The rule will expand the prohibition against using race based peremptory challenges during jury selection. Not only is intentional race discrimination outlawed, but also challenges based on “implicit, institutional, and unconscious” race and ethnic biases will now be rejected.
“For decades in Washington state, many people of color have been blocked from participating fully in our democracy as jurors for reasons unrelated to their ability to serve,” said ACLU-WA senior staff attorney Nancy Talner. “This groundbreaking rule for jury selection will reduce the damage done by racial and ethnic bias to the integrity of our judicial system and to communities of color.”
During jury selection, each side can use peremptory challenges or strikes to exclude particular jurors without giving a reason. Since a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision (in Batson v. Kentucky), these challenges can be objected to if the other side suspects that the motive for the exclusion is intentional racial discrimination. With the new rule, these objections to peremptory challenges will no longer be restricted to instances of purposeful discrimination but can also be used if an “objective observer” could view race or ethnicity as a factor in use of the peremptory strike. The rule specifies that an objective observer is someone “aware that implicit, institutional, and unconscious biases, in addition to purposeful discrimination, have resulted in the unfair exclusion of potential jurors in Washington state.” Full text of the rule is available at .
Since the 1986 decision in Batson, peremptory strikes, when challenged on the basis of race discrimination, are often defended with reasons that historically have been associated with racial bias. These reasons include having prior contact with law enforcement officers, expressing a belief that law enforcement engages in racial profiling, having a close relationship with people who have been stopped, arrested, or convicted of a crime, living in a high-crime neighborhood, receiving state benefits, and not being a native English speaker. Demeanor-based justifications for exclusion are also invalid absent corroboration, because, as ACLU-WA Cooperating Attorney Lila Silverstein explains, “such justifications are often borne of implicit biases and have historically been used to exclude potential jurors of color. The new rule directly confronts this problem.”
“The court has recognized that the fair and impartial administration of justice requires changing the conversation about racial and ethnic bias in our courtrooms. It has expressly acknowledged the insidious role of implicit and structural bias, and reasons previously considered as acceptable for excluding a juror will now be rejected for their association with bias,” said the ACLU-WA’s Nancy Talner.
Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director for the ACLU, added, “By acknowledging the harms done to communities of color, the court has taken a giant step toward building trust in the legal system.”
Adoption of the rule builds on the court’s leadership in sponsoring a symposium about jury diversity in Washington state in May 2017. At the symposium, an African American woman who had been excluded from serving on a jury explained how distressing the experience had been (see ). Her moving testimony conveyed the devastating effects of racial bias in jury selection on communities of color.
The rule was originally drafted several years ago by ACLU attorneys Robinson, Talner, and La Rond Baker, along with cooperating attorneys Salvador Mungia, Silverstein, Jim Lobsenz, and David Zuckerman. Support for the rule grew, and several organizations earlier this year served on a working group at the request of the court to fine-tune the language, with key contributions from working-group participants Sara Ainsworth and Taki Flevaris. Working group members were the ACLU, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Legal Voice, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington, and the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law. Their united efforts were critical to the passage of this historic rule.
Numerous studies point to money as one of the leading causes of divorce. From different spending habits and financial goals to one spouse earning considerably more income than the other, money can be a polarizing issue in a marriage, straining it to the breaking point.
Money problems within a marriage can spiral out of control when one spouse or both establish detrimental financial habits, such as overspending, increasing debt, and poor priorities. Things worsen when these spending behaviors occur without the other’s knowledge. Thus, communication, financial advisors say, is a key component to a couple keeping their financial house – and perhaps their marriage – in order. And ideally, the couple will have honest and thorough money conversations on a consistent basis.
“Successful relationships require open communication and trust, but there are some conversations that are harder to have than others,” says Al Zdenek, (www.AlZdenek.com), the author of the book Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow And Retain Wealth and of the upcoming book Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow A Valuable Business.
“One of the most difficult ones is about money. It’s serious and can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or scary.”
Zdenek gives three tips to couples on making a healthy, organized discussion about money a consistent part of their marriage:
- Planning the talk. This is the first step and it’s an important one. “Find a time when you can both talk without distractions – no phones, TV, or kids,” Zdenek says. “It’s also a good idea to have these meetings monthly, or at least quarterly, to ensure you’re on the same page.”
- Discussing the hard numbers. You both should be prepared to discuss your budget as well as plans for savings and retirement. In a 2017 MagnifyMoney Divorce and Debt survey, 70 percent of respondents who said their divorce was due to money issues also said they didn’t stick to a budget during the marriage. “Bring notes about how your family has handled money in the past and how you would follow or change those steps,” Zdenek says. “Is it best to have joint bank accounts or single? Now is also the time to talk about financial goals and dreams, and to see how together you can make them come true.”
- Remember, it’s ‘We,’ not ‘I.’ It’s no longer just about you since you’re building your lives together. “It should also be noted that empathy will help with these conversations,” Zdenek says. “Try to understand where your partner is coming from, especially if you have different spending habits. It’s also important to listen to qualms your partner may have.”
“It’s important to remember that old saying: ‘No one is perfect,’ ” Zdenek says. “Both of you are going to make financial errors. Be forgiving and understanding. And then try to figure ways to prevent it from happening again.”
Constructing a smart retirement income plan isn’t easy. Throughout the working years there are many factors to consider, such as salary, expenses – monthly and unforeseen – debt and college for the kids, just to name a few.
All of those can affect a person’s ability to, first, devise a consistent plan for their retirement goals, and secondly, accumulate the necessary capital to provide ample retirement income. hieve them. Meanwhile, costly mistakes can be made that will have implications down the road.
“A retirement strategy has many moving parts, and each can have a significant impact on the others,” says Jadon Newman, CEO of Noble Capital (www.noblecapital.com), a financial advisory firm. “Many people often make the same mistakes.
“There are ways to avoid them, and much of it is about knowledge. There’s more you need to know about retirement today than you did 20 or 30 years ago. It starts with knowing what lifestyle you want to achieve in retirement and the options that will both protect you and enhance what should be the best years of your life.”
Newman gives four common mistakes in retirement planning and how to avoid them:
• Investing like you’re still young. Earlier in their working careers, people often have a higher risk tolerance. But approaching retirement, Newman says, your investment strategy should shift toward preserving capital. “Phase out those investments that are subject to wider fluctuations,” Newman says. “The gradual move away from riskier investments should begin as you enter your mid- to late 40s.”
• Leaving your nest egg vulnerable to big market drops. Putting your entire nest egg in one basket could be disastrous. “Having an excessive amount of market risk in your portfolio, you could find yourself suffering a loss that you won’t have time to recover from before you retire,” Newman says. “With stocks having surged for an extended period, beware the bear market. It would be wise to purge some risk from your portfolio in favor of more predictable methods of capital growth and income, such as annuities, life insurance policies, or alternative investments like private lending and real estate.”
• Not satisfying basic income needs. It has become less realistic for a 401(k) coupled with Social Security to provide the regular income needed for retirement. It’s important to estimate what yearly expenses will be in retirement and diversify accordingly. “Use your investments, insurance policies or retirement accounts to provide multiple income streams,” Newman says. “This allows you to draw from them only what you need to meet your pre-determined budget. Be sure you calculate your Social Security payment and any required minimum distributions so you don’t incur additional tax liability.”
• Having the wrong kind of annuity. A crucial component of a comfortable retirement is reliable income, and a common way to achieve that is by using annuities. Unfortunately, some retirees find themselves with an annuity that doesn’t fit their needs. A fixed annuity pays out a guaranteed rate of return, providing less risk compared to variable annuities, but the tradeoff is you get a more modest return. “Sometimes a fixed index annuity (FIA) is the best bet,” Newman says. “These allow you to protect your principal by shifting the risk to the insurance company selling you the annuity. There are caps on your potential returns, but FIAs are more reliable because they mitigate risk.”
“With retirement planning, the end goal should be not only to ensure you’ll have enough income to satisfy your retirement budget, but also to provide you with enough to truly enjoy your retirement,” Newman says. “Because life goals and the economic climate are subject to change, you need to consult with your financial adviser annually to optimize your strategy.”
Meet renowned life coach Dr. Stacia Pierce and fashion business guru Ariana Pierce–a mother-daughter team focused on inspiring women to make their career dreams a reality. For over 20 years, Dr. Stacia Pierce has inspired, motivated, and guided thousands of women on their path to success through her numerous books, popular blog, and sold out seminars. Now, she is joined by her daughter Ariana, whose social media prowess and experience running both a retail line and online company have brought a fresh view and hipvoice to their 2018 Entrepreneur’s Prosperity Tour.
Capitol Analysis, one of Washington State’s premier cannabis testing labs, is launching a data-driven Lab Transparency Project, an effort to improve accuracy of cannabis testing results in the state through transparency and a new third-party auditing process.
The action comes in response to a new report issued by Straight Line Analytics, using data provided by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, which points to ongoing inconsistencies and possible foul play across labs testing cannabis in Washington State.
The report indicates that some producer/processors have participated in “lab-shopping” – a process in which companies send samples to several labs in search of the most favorable results, namely high potency and/or low quality assurance fail rates. The report shows that businesses that pay for the highest number of lab tests achieve, on average, reported potency levels 2.71% higher than do those that pay for the lowest number of lab tests. The new report shows that in return, labs that provide the highest total cannabinoid results to certain producer/processors tend to gain the most market share.
This practice undercuts the business of ethical I502 companies and ultimately compromises consumer safety. This is what spurred Capitol Analysis into action.
“Lab shopping shouldn’t exist, because it is a symptom of lab variability,” said Jeff Doughty, President of Capitol Analysis. “We already have standards that should prevent variations in lab results and proficiency testing that shows that the labs are capable of doing the testing. But problems arise when the auditors aren’t looking. Therefore, we’re creating the Lab Transparency Project to contribute to honesty and transparency in the testing industry.”
Dr. MacRae said, “I applaud Capitol Analysis for committing to this effort. With the state’s new traceability system up and running following a 4-month breakdown, the time for openness and transparency is now.”
Dr. MacRae has been at the forefront of data analysis of Washington’s legal cannabis industry. He will continue to contribute unbiased summaries of lab data and ongoing lab audits to the Lab Transparency Project that will help keep the industry in check.
Doughty intends to form a coalition of labs dedicated to openness, transparency and adherence to the highest lab standards and industry best practices to create a more accurate and fair testing environment in Washington state.
For more information visit this page on Capitol Analysis’ website.
About Straight Line Analytics
Straight Line Analytics, based in Woodinville, Washington, leverages data and analytics to help businesses thrive in competitive markets and to help policymakers form better policy and rules. The company uses LCB-supplied data merged with its proprietary compilations of industry-related information to produce analytic summaries, innovative metrics and numerous insights for the Washington state legal cannabis industry and interested regulators, operators, investors, consumers, patients and observers. www.straightlineanalytics.biz
About Capitol Analysis
Capitol Analysis, based in Lacey, Washington, provides recreational cannabis testing, including I-502, potency, cannabinoids, microbial, foreign matter, moisture analysis, and more. Capitol Analysis’ staff is comprised of physicists, chemists, microbiologists, and doctors. The company’s goal is to provide accurate numbers to the cannabis industry through proper application of scientific rigor at an affordable price. www.capitolanalysis.com