Speaking Truth To Power – PURCHASE FOR AFRICA: AN APPEAL FOR AMERICAN APPAREL BUYS by William Reed Columnist

Labels do matter.  When it comes to African Americans’ apparel purchases Howard University business students say “Labels do matter” and encourages these consumers to engage in socially conscious buying and to “look for Lesotho labels” when they shop.  African Americans consumer power can help change Africa.  African Americans’ buying power exceeds $900 billion.  Blacks’ apparel purchases total $20 billion each year.

In an attempt to re-define community service to Africa, Howard’s Africa Business Club students have joined with the Kingdom of Lesotho toward setting a new trend among African American consumers. In a campus Homecoming event, Lesotho’s Ambassador to the US joined in the collective to empower more Africans through socially-conscious buying in America.  Participants in the “Purchase For Africa” initiative seek to increase the amount of apparel Americans buy from Africa and persuade other like-minded universities and retailers to source more African apparel.  Less than two percent of US apparel imports are from Africa, compared with 41 percent from China.  Howard’s, and expanding numbers of Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCUs), business students, are petitioning their campus bookstores to specifically stock apparel supplies from Lesotho and Uganda and ensure that by 2010, 20 percent of HBCU universities’ sweatshirts are sourced from Lesotho.

Most Black Americans have given little thought to focusing attention on, never-mind purchases from Lesotho, a landlocked country and enclave entirely surrounded by South Africa.  Lesotho’s claim to fame is its successful utilization of, and participation in, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  Under the preferential trade agreement, and assistance from the architect of AGOA, the country has become the largest exporter of garments to the US from sub-Saharan Africa.  Under the tutelage of Rosa Whittaker, the first ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Lesotho has evolved a well-regulated, globally-integrated industry that assembles apparel for some of the best-known brands in the world.

Lesotho’s apparel exports totaled over $320 million in 2002 and employment reached over 50,000.  Because of AGOA’s advantages, Lesotho’s products have been in American shopping carts more often than most know.  Much of the denim Americans wear are made in the “jeans capital of Africa”.  Lesotho workers produce 26 million pairs of denim jeans a year at eight factories.  The industry turns out 70 million knitted garments, mainly cotton, yearly at 28 factories.  One of Levi’s jeans manufacturing facilities is located there, as is a Russell Athletic plant. Lesotho garment firms specialize in the production of denim garments (mainly jeans, but some chinos/corduroys) and cotton knit fabrics (tee and polo shirts and tracksuits).  Each year, Lesotho’s 41 apparel firms make 90 million knitted garments and 26 million jeans.

Conscientious consumers should “look out for Lesotho” in the garment label.  Lesotho’s industry doesn’t compete with China in the area of “cheap clothing”, but its labels are among most designer clothing.  Apparel manufacturing is a significant boom to economic development in Southern Africa, in addition to providing jobs and paying taxes, Lesotho’s manufacturers produce clothing tied to socially conscious consumer campaigns.  A range of Lesotho t-shirts are being produced for singer/activist Bono and the (Product) Red campaign for Africa.  Brands and retailers sourcing from Lesotho include: Foot Locker, Gap, Gloria Vanderbilt, JCPenny, Levi Strauss, Saks, Sears, Timberland and Wal-Mart.

In “Purchase For Africa” the students hope to use African Americans’ consumer power as catalysts toward Africans’ positive change and empowerment.  The activity is against the grain, there’s always been an absence of trade between Africa and African Americans, in particular, and America, in general.  Black Americans need to know more about Africa and tell others how to help there.  Blacks can help by learning more about helpful approaches there and spreading such knowledge to as many people as possible. Given the facts, most Americans will prefer to make sure they enhance trade with countries like Lesotho.  The “Purchase For Africa” initiative is an excellent opportunity for African American consumers’ “fashion statements” toward trends that directly change Africans’ lives and opportunities.  To join this cause, sign up to be a “Purchase For Africa” project fan on Face Book.

(William Reed – www.BlackPressInternational.com)

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William Reed

Press Release – Conference Support of President’s Health Care Agenda Immediate Release of Inmates who qualify for early release

Cape Fear Annual Conference – Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Conference Support of President’s Health Care Agenda

Immediate Release of Inmates who qualify for early release

For immediate release:

For more information contact: The Right Reverend Richard Keith Thompson, Presiding Prelate, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (919) 554-4298

Many who have been silent and perhaps felt they had no voice or representation, rallied to the election polls. They overwhelmingly called for change. This cry continues as we seek to address the matter of national health care. The Cape Fear Annual Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District, of the African Methodist Zion Church, consist of 8,566 members in ninety six churches. These members reside and fellowship in a contiguous area, encasing Wilson County, south to Robeson County, east along the border of South Carolina, north along the east coast to New Hanover County, inland to Pender County, on to Sampson, Duplin, Lenoir and back to Wilson Counties.

During the business session of the conference, while the State of the Country Committee was making their report, this matter came before the body. It was officially entered into the records that at the 98th Annual Session of the Cape Fear Conference, the conference voted unanimously to endorse and support the President’s agenda for national health care.

Another item of discussion during the report of this committee was the matter of inmates being released early from prison in the state of North Carolina.

As a community of faith, our conference believes strongly in the provisions of rehabilitation. We also possess a reverence and respect for the law, and our judicial system. Presently, the laws of North Carolina provide that an inmate may be released early. Inmates have an assigned amount of time to serve. This time is reduced contingent upon good behavior. The time is also automatically converted if you have a life sentence and entitled to parole. Concurrence with these laws is justice. However, to deny an inmate the benefits of said concurrence is injustice and a violation of individual rights. North Carolina has a history of prosecutorial misconduct, and inmates on death row, being found innocent after many years of time served. As a matter of fact in the last few years, four inmates on death row have been released, and declared innocent. One individual served over twenty years.

Following discussion and committee meetings, the Cape Fear Conference voted unanimously, to call for the immediate release, of all North Carolina inmates, who have met the requirements for early release.

The Reverend Alonzo Braggs, Chairman, State of the County Committee

Mrs. Josephine Campbell, Conference Secretary

The Right Reverend Richard Keith Thompson, Presiding Prelate

Has County Settled Legal Fees Lawsuit Terry Smith Editor Tarboro Daily Southerner and Jeff Herrin Editor of Rocky Mount Telegram? You Damn Skippy

I find it so damn funny that ya’ll have not reported that Edgecombe County has settled the residency challenge that was carried out by Rev. Roosevelt Higgs and the Edgecombe County Board of Elections. The county had to pay for Rev. Andre Knight legal fees after the ruling came down from the NC Court of Appeals.

It is so damn funny how ya’ll are so selective about what ya’ll want the people of Edgecombe County to know. But ya’ll sure wanted the people to know that Knight was being challenged and even participated in the challenge. LMBAO

Yep ya’ll try to silence some of us. Ya’ll will not print my letters to the editor but I sure can print them on The DCN.


Candidates Forum For Tarboro City Council and Princeville Commissioners Today Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A DCN resource reported that there will be a candidates forum today at the Edgecombe County Administration Bldg. Auditorium in Tarboro NC at 6:00 PM.

I heard Yolanda Thigpen Edgecombe County NAACP and host of Your Morning With Yolanda say something about a candidates forum on her talk show for the past 2 Saturdays but I did not catch the date, time and location. I believe she said it was going to be sponsored by The Tarboro Human Relations Commission and the Edgecombe County NAACP.

This forum should be quite interesting and a continuation from the 2 previous forums I recently attended held by The East Tarboro Community Group.

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