WASHINGTON — In the military, there have already been countless promotion ceremonies this year, held on army bases, aircraft carriers and even, in one case, an escarpment overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy.
But on Saturday there was one for the history books. Gen. Michael E. Langley, 60, became the first Black Marine to receive a fourth star on his shoulder — a landmark achievement in the corps’ 246-year history. With that star, he becomes one of only three four-star generals serving in the Marine Corps — the service’s senior leadership.
In an emotional ceremony at the Marine Barracks in Washington, General Langley, whose next assignment will be to lead United States Africa Command, acknowledged the weight of his promotion. Before Saturday, the Marine Corps had never given four stars to anyone who was not a white man.
Referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s order that desegregated the Marine Corps during World War II, General Langley listed a slew of Black Marines who went before him. They included Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first Black man to become a Marine Corps general, and Ronald L. Bailey, the first Black man to command the First Marine Division. Both men topped out at lieutenant general.
General Langley’s promotion has electrified Black Marines. On Thursday, a slew of them ambushed him when he appeared at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia to get new uniforms to take with him to Stuttgart, Germany, where Africa Command is based.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute, sir,” General Langley, in an interview, recalled one star-stuck Black major saying. “I just want to shake your hand.”
Soon, more Marines — Black and white, men and women — were asking to take pictures with the new four-star general.
At Saturday’s ceremony, five officers sat in a row watching the proceedings. They were part of an expeditionary warfare training class at Quantico that the Marine commandant, Gen. David H. Berger, visited on Wednesday. Around 45 minutes into General Berger’s talk to the class, Capt. Rousseau Saintilfort, 34, raised his hand. “How can I be there Saturday?” he asked.
“It didn’t click on me at first because everyone was asking questions about amphibious stuff and tactics, and he asked me about Saturday,” General Berger said at the ceremony, to laughter.
Capt. Ibrahim Diallo, 31, who came up from Quantico with Captain Saintilfort, said in an interview that “all these friends started messaging me, saying, ‘You’re going to be next.’”
“I don’t know if I’m going to stick around that long,” he said, “but just the fact that junior Marines can see this, they will see that no matter what background you come from, you can achieve in the Marine Corps as long as you perform.”
For the Marine Corps, the promotion of General Langley is a step that has been a long time coming. Since the corps began admitting African American troops in 1942, the last military service to do so, fewer than 30 have obtained the rank of general in any form. Not one had made it to the top four-star rank, an honor the Marines have bestowed on 73 white men.
Seven African Americans reached lieutenant general, or three stars. The rest have received one or two stars, a majority in areas from which the Marine Corps does not choose its senior leadership, like logistics, aviation and transport.
General Langley, who oversaw Marine forces on the East Coast in his last posting, has commanded at every level, from platoon to regiment, during his 37-year career. He served overseas in Afghanistan, Somalia and Okinawa, and he has also had several senior staff jobs at the Pentagon and at the military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East.
After a New York Times article in 2020 about the dearth of Black Marine generals, General Berger was asked why the corps had not promoted an African American to its top ranks in its entire history. “The reality of it is: Everybody is really, really, really good,” General Berger said in an interview with Defense One. “For every 10 we pick, every 12, we could pick 30 more — every bit as good.”
General Langley’s promotion is particularly poignant given that his great-uncle was one of the Montford Point Marines, who were the first Black recruits to join the Marine Corps after it began admitting African Americans in 1942. They trained at Montford Point in North Carolina, which was separate from Camp Lejeune, where white recruits trained.
It had taken Roosevelt’s executive order to force the commandant of the Marine Corps at the time, Thomas Holcomb, to open the service to Black men. “If it were a question of having a Marine Corps of 5,000 whites or 250,000 Negroes,” the Marine commandant once said, “I would rather have the whites.”
Now, one of the corps’ three senior leaders says things have changed.
“Mentally we have learned that there’s greater value in the collective than just the monolithic perception of what the makeup of the Marine Corps is,” General Langley said. He said that his hope was that Black Marines would view the corps as a place where they would not be hampered by a glass ceiling.
Read the full article here
Pasadena Black Pages: Kennedy Memorial, Women for Racial Justice, & more!
KENNEDY’S CONNECTION TO THE COMMUNITY WAS HIGHLIGHTED AT MEMORIAL
JUSTIN JONES CHOSEN TO REPLACE JOHN KENNEDY ON THE CITY COUNCIL
On Thursday evening, the Pasadena City Council, along with Mayor Victor Gordo chose Justin Jones to replace the deceased John Kennedy as a city council member until December, when they will choose the successor for the next two years.
Jones was selected over Brandon Lamar, whom many believe should have won, and Pastor Lucious Smith who didn’t stand a good chance against the two young men regarding policy and views on community growth and development.
FINALISTS SELECTED FOR THE 2023 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES® PARADE
PASADENA, Calif. (September 27, 2022) – Before the final round of interviews, the 28 finalists for the 2023 Royal Court presented by Citizens Business Bank took a group photo on the front steps of Tournament House. Applicants from 33 Pasadena area schools participated in the interview process and seven of the finalists will be named to the 2023 Royal Court on October 3, 2022. The announcement will be live-streamed on the Tournament of Roses YouTube channel beginning at 9 a.m. PST.
CHRIS HOLDEN TO SPEAK AT AAPC’s VIRTUAL MEETING, POLICY IS POWER!
The African American Parent Coalition is a model coalition of collaborative parents, students, and communities. The AAPC respects and embraces the diverse cultures of our communities facilitate educational equity and improvements in academic outcomes, values varied forms of parent involvement to foster the healthy development of all students, and provides the tools and skills necessary for families to access information to purposefully participate in a rapidly changing world.
MEASURE PCC, PROVIDING AFFORDABLE EDUCATION TO THE SGV
Pasadena City College (PCC) has provided high-quality, affordable college education and career training to local students in the San Gabriel Valley for almost 100 years. Offering a wide range of undergraduate degrees, university-transfer courses, certificate programs, career and technical education, PCC provides affordable access to the education and job training students need to succeed and the skilled workers needed to fuel our local economy.
RACIAL JUSTICE ACT FOR All PASSES CALIFORNIA LEGISLATOR
AB 256, the Racial Justice Act for All, passed its final hurdle in the Legislature and will be sent to Governor Newsom. AB 256 is a follow-up measure to the original Racial Justice Act, AB 2542 (Kalra, Chapter 317, Statutes of 2020), which prohibits the state from seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based upon race, ethnicity, or national origin. In a phased-in approach, AB 256 would allow persons with convictions or judgments prior to January 1, 2021 to petition the court and seek relief if a racial bias violation was proven to be present in their case.
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Harvard University Affordable Housing Seminar
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. –
Harvard University is hosting an Affordable Housing seminar titled, ‘Affordable Housing: Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets’. The two-day seminar takes place at the Graduate School of Design. Individuals in the fields of development, lending, investment and policymaking, will learn the skills to navigate the affordable housing industry.
One of the attendees will be Mr. Suleiman Alli. Sule, as close associates call him, works in conjunction with a design and construction company, FABHAUS USA INC. Sule’s role is in the Marketing, Sales and Business Development department, for the African market.
The course is led by instructors in the Affordable Housing industry: David Smith, Davina Wood and Sanjana Sidhra. Sule, a Nigerian, with American permanent residency, believes that the information and collaborations obtained via this course will assist him in supporting FABHAUS. FABHAUS’ mission is to design and construct pre-fabricated homes, globally.
For nearly a decade, Sule has been investing time and money into journeying throughout Nigeria in attempts to persuade decision makers, in the African nation, to utilize natural resources to build homes for the growing population. His association with a Nigerian organization, FEDUP, led him to find that much of the problem surrounding housing affordability in the country, was political.
Sule’s vision aligns with the mission of the Harvard University course, in that the course is built for entrepreneurs. Affordable Housing is not only a Warri problem, a Lagos problem or a third world problem; Affordable Housing is a global problem and if it were a disease, it could possibly be likened to a pandemic.
Affordable Housing is a burgeoning industry that will continue to grow. This industry is interdisciplinary, encompassing political science, sociology, economics, government, architecture, engineering, etc.
BlackUSA.News will follow up on this seminar and its’ benefits, upon its completion.
FORETHOUGHT ADVISORS IDENTIFIES STRATEGIES TO AVERT LOOMING SOCIOECONOMIC CRISIS MARKED BY RISING INTEREST RATES AND LACKLUSTER GAINS IN ‘EQUITY’ AGENDA
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In its latest newsletter, Forethought Advisors, a group of seasoned Washington insiders, said that America faces a growing socioeconomic crisis with new fault lines in the nation’s housing industry and a lackluster performance by the Biden administration in realizing its “equity” agenda.
To see progress, Forethought Advisors recommended that the Biden administration supervise the implementation of new legislation and government policy that expand racial equity while curbing inflation; that Federal Home Loan Banks should forge a marriage with fintech mortgage lenders to survive and keep cash flowing to businesses, consumers and communities; and, in a new “Big Idea,” policymakers must develop new delivery networks to channel federal funding to local partners so urban and rural transformation can truly begin.
Lawrence Parks, co-founder of Forethought Advisors and a national expert in financial services, public policy, and regulatory affairs, said, “We are in a critical flashpoint in America’s looming socioeconomic crisis. The Biden administration and U.S. Congress must immediately act boldly to reverse the devastating impact of rising interest rates on the housing industry and open the spigots to investment in local communities.”
Parks, a former senior vice president at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco who has worked as a chief policy expert at the U.S. Commerce Department and is a former congressional staffer, added: “Corporations, trade associations, state and local governments and non-profit organizations can benefit from better understand the challenging Washington environment we’re in. We can help them realize their regulatory and legislative objectives.”
The Forethought Advisors newsletter, published quarterly, offers comprehensive analysis on policy issues that public and private sector leaders, as well as non-profit organizations, need to inform their decision-making. Subscribe here: https://www.
Timothy Simons, a co-founder of Forethought Advisors and former executive at Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, KPMG and Cable & Wireless in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America, said, “We provide strategic advice to chief executives, public policy makers and corporate and nonprofit leaders that helps navigate the divided landscape in Washington, D.C., so they can realize the transformations they seek in our economy and communities.”
The latest issue of the newsletter features this analysis:
Ø Rising Interest Rates Create Fault Lines within America’s Housing Industry
As the Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher, conservatives and economists focused on taming inflation approve of each uptick. By contrast, in most corners of the housing industry, ranging from potential home buyers to sellers, builders, developers, and lenders, there are more groans than cheers as the inflation-fighting policies raise costs throughout the entire housing sector. In fact, higher mortgage rates are stirring serious concerns about the industry’s future in both the short and long term. And at least one major question looms above the turbulence: will the Administration and/or Congress intervene in bold ways if faults in the housing sector threaten to drag the national economy into a recession?
Ø The Big Idea: Improve the Capacity of Localities to Effectively Use Federal Resources
A radically changed business environment has emerged for corporations. Federal resources are available to pay for new infrastructure, create housing opportunities for changing populations, spur community development, help American companies compete in the global marketplace, shift strategies so more goods are manufactured and warehoused in the U.S., and many additional tasks that generate revenue. A rare common thread for Presidents Trump and Biden is recognition that government must actively engage with the private sector, buffering some economic pain from the pandemic, so that workers and the nation’s economy can benefit. Outside of wartime, this level of federal, industry-targeted resources is unprecedented.
Ø The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under Biden: More Questions Than Answers
On many fronts, President Joe Biden has aggressively pressed an agenda that returns the federal government to “active duty.” His federal spending priorities forge a new era of industrial policy that encourages manufacturing and warehousing goods in America. His domestic priorities expand the safety-net and opportunities for low-income and middle-class families. But the Administration was slow to bring leadership to an obscure government division – the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) – that plays an essential role in turning signed legislation into new realities on the ground for industry, communities, workers, and families. (Since our newsletter was published, President Joe Biden nominated NYU Law’s Dean Emeritus Richard Revesz to be OIRA administrator.)
Ø Federal Home Loan Banks: Could Mutual Benefits Derive from Collaboration with FinTech?
Looking into a crystal ball, could a future marriage between FinTech mortgage lenders and the Federal Home Loan Banks quiet their respective critics? The Home Loan Banks face sharp criticism for being stagnant for decades, with few innovations or new reasons to justify their existence in the modern banking environment.
In future newsletters, Forethought Advisors will continue offering insights on the fight against inflation, as well as other issues, and how the private sector can increase revenue, while workers receive sustainable wages.
Parks and Simons are available to comment on public policy issues or appear as speakers on panels at convenings and conferences. Enjoy our newsletter. For more information about Forethought Advisors and to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit contact Tim Simons at firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 827 6596 or visit
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