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Firefighter, union president retires

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by Aaron Organ, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

FirefighterJim Ridley has seen a lot in 29 years as a Fort Wayne firefighter. He’s saved countless lives and doused far too many fires.

In the 11 years he’s been president of the firefighters’ union, Local 124, Ridley has extinguished probably a comparable amount of fires, and accomplished success upon success for the benefit of his colleagues.

Ridley, 52, is now stepping down. But he’s not out.

The International Association of Fire Fighters announced this week that Ridley has been named director of its Hazardous Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Training Department.

Ridley will be in charge of 102 instructors throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the 11 staff members at his new headquarters in Washington, D.C. His duties will include writing and overseeing the requests of funds through the association, and making sure the requests are met through grant sources that will keep the program running and the training fluid.

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Written by Symphony

October 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

St. Lucie’s first black female firefighter builds on success

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by Larry Bailey, Treasure Coast Palm

Eight months ago, Fort Pierce resident La Toya Young became the first black female firefighter in St. Lucie County.

“To actually be a part of history, to be the first at something, it’s an unbelievable feeling that no words can express,” Young said.

Young works out of Station 3 in Port St. Lucie.

Before becoming a firefighter, Young spent seven years driving a school bus. Her dream since she was a little girl has been to join the fire department, but she never got serious about it until the day she actually saw a female firefighter.

“Seeing a woman doing what I wanted to do, made the difference,” Young said.

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Written by Symphony

October 11, 2009 at 8:07 am

Why I Love Black Women

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by Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, OpEdNews

blackwomenLast year, I interviewed for the chief student affairs position at a Black women’s college in the South. During my interview, people kept asking me “why do you want to be here?” I knew that the seemingly-innocuous question obscured the one they really wanted to ask: “why do you—a Latino/Jewish man who will be seen as white down here and is also gay—want to work with and for Black women.” In my meeting with the all of my potential supervisees—all of them Black women—I told the group “you do not have to be a Black woman to care about and want to support Black women.” I commented that few people who looked like me had historically cared about Black women so I assumed there might be mistrust. In fact, men who looked like me had often been the source of great pain and oppression. However, I explained, that mistrust would not stop me from working on behalf of Black women.

I love Black women—personally, professionally and politically. I realize that this surprises many people. Some wonder if I am simply fetishizing Black women as sassy, “keepin’ it real” sistas, sort of a 21st century Sapphire. Unfortunately, many gay men—white men particularly—love to conjure this stereotype when meeting Black women. Personally, Black women have played a critical role in my life. I have known too many Black women to ever pigeon-hole them. I know too well that Black women are as diverse than any other group. No, my love comes from a keen understanding of the role Black women have played in my life and in American history.

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Written by Symphony

September 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Villaraigosa nominates second African American fire chief, union praises choice

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SOURCE: LA Times Blog

peaksLos Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today nominated Battalion Chief Millage Peaks to be the city’s new fire chief, replacing the retiring Douglas L. Barry, the department’s first African American top commander.

If confirmed by the City Council, Peaks, who also is African American, will take over a department that has been struggling in recent years with allegations of hazing and racial unrest among firefighters.

The department has also made major budget cuts in the last few months that officials admit could reduce emergency response times, and contract talks between the mayor’s office and a city firefighters union appears headed for impasse.

Villaraigosa made the announcement at a morning news conference at City Hall, calling Peaks the “right man at the right time’’ to lead the department through the city’s tough fiscal times while ensuring that protecting public safety remains its top priority.

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Written by Symphony

August 29, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Hales Corners hires its first African-American firefighter

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by Tom Kertscher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

FirefighterThe Fire Department has hired a man who is believed to be the department’s first African-American firefighter and who is one of very few African-American firefighters in the Milwaukee County suburbs.

Terry A. Bell, 30, of Milwaukee is one of three part-time firefighters being hired by the department, Fire Chief Michael Jankowski said Monday.

Bell said he also works for the Pewaukee, Menomonee Falls and Town of Brookfield fire departments, all in Waukesha County.

Bell is believed to be one of only two African-American firefighters who work in the Milwaukee County suburbs. A Journal Sentinel survey in May found there was one African-American firefighter among the more than 600 firefighters working for the 11 fire departments that serve Milwaukee County’s 18 suburbs.

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Written by Symphony

August 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

Yale University: Finalists Announced for the 2009 Frederick Douglass Book Prize

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Press Release

nannyNew Haven, Conn., Jul 30, 2009 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) — MNCOF | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating — Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition has announced the finalists for the 11th Annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African-American experience.

The finalists are Thavolia Glymph for ‘Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household’ (Cambridge University Press); Annette Gordon-Reed, ‘The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family’ (W.W. Norton and Company); and Jacqueline Jones, ‘Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War ‘(Alfred A. Knopf Publishers).

The $25,000 annual award for the year’s best non-fiction book on slavery, resistance, and/or abolition is the most generous history prize in its field. The prize winner will be announced following the Douglass Prize Review Committee meeting in September, and the award will be presented at a dinner at the Yale Club of New York on February 25, 2010.

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Rediscovering Hubert Harrison

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by Scott McLemee, MRzine

hubertharrisonbookThe most exciting and eagerly awaited title in this season’s haul from the scholarly presses is Jeffrey B. Perry‘s study Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, just published by Columbia University Press.  Well, eagerly awaited by me, anyway. . . .  The world at large has not exactly been clamoring for a gigantic biography of Hubert Harrison — whose name, until quite recently, was little known even to specialists in African-American political and intellectual history.  But that started to change over the past few years, thanks to Perry’s decades of research and advocacy.

The two volumes of essays collected by Harrison during his lifetime have been out of print since the 1920s.  A major step forward in his rediscovery came in 2001, when Wesleyan University Press published A Hubert Harrison Reader, edited by Perry, who also prepared a thorough entry on him for Wikipedia.  (This can’t have hurt: Where a Google search once turned up a dozen or so pages mentioning Harrison, it now yields thousands.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

December 16, 2008 at 8:08 am