News Briefs

Black Segregation
Conservative think tank Manhattan Institute for Policy Research reports that Black segregation from other racial groups is at its lowest point in more than a century. Researchers, Harvard University professor Edward Glaeser and Duke University professor Jacob Vigdor analyzed every U.S. Census since 1890 and found that no housing market in the country has a level of Black isolation as high as the national average only four decades ago. They credited Black suburbanization, gentrification, access to credit, fair housing laws and immigration for the decline in segregation. Critics cautioned against declaring an end to all segregation, saying whites still do not move into all-minority neighborhoods and tend to abandon mixed areas. Others point out that the Manhattan Institute report focused only on Blacks and non-Blacks, throwing non-Hispanic whites, Asians and others (some of whom were not accounted for in previous censuses) into the non-Black category.
Highway Contracts
The National Black Chamber of Commerce urges Black contractors to make sure that their state is abiding by the July 2010 ?Rowe Decision? concerning Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration through state transportation departments. The NBCC says the pattern at state level has been to continue discrimination against Black contractors while ?loading up? on utilizing women-owned businesses, a practice courts deemed unconstitutional. In Rowe Company Inc. v. Tippett NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the 4th?Circuit Court ruled that WBEs, Hispanic and Asian firms were not discriminated against in the North Carolina DBE program and should no longer be in it. Instead, only Native American and Black firms should be allowed to participate.

Black Male Achievement
The Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green established a fellowship program for individuals dedicated to improving the lives of Black men and boys in the U.S. It is the first fellowship program to target social entrepreneurs who are starting new organizations in the field of Black male achievement. The Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellowship will be awarded this year to eight fellows who are generating new ideas and best practices in the areas of education, family and work, such as initiatives related to fatherhood, mentoring, college preparatory programs, community building and supportive wage-work opportunities. Fellowships will also be awarded for efforts in the areas of communications and philanthropic leadership. Each BMA Fellow will receive a $70,000 stipend in startup capital and technical assistance over 18 months.?

National Mentoring
Big Brothers Big Sisters and African-American fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi launched Mentoring Brothers in Action for the second phase of their two-year collaborative partnership. The aim is to engage more African-American men in fraternal, social, faith-based and professional organizations to get involved in one-to-one mentoring to change the odds for African-American boys. The 2012 action plan includes a revamped website to serve as the nation?s central source for interactive mentoring resources and teaming with local Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies to host ?friend raisers,? barbershop recruiting drives, Bowl for Kids? Sake fundraisers and other proven efforts to engage more African-American men in long-term, professionally supported mentoring and pilot programs aimed at assisting fraternity partners in demonstrating measurable outcomes for children who participate in their unique
service initiatives and programs.

Campus Diversity
Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger argued in The Washington Post on Jan. 13 that diversity on college campuses could suffer if the Supreme Court hears the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Fisher, a white student, contends she would have been admitted to the University of Texas if the school had not considered race in its admissions decisions, and that her constitutional rights have been harmed as a result. Lower courts ruled that the university?s efforts to assemble a racially diverse student body complied with the constitutional standards established in the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court?s definitive holding on affirmative action in U.S. education. A move away from the court?s recognition in Grutter of the ?substantial? and ?laudable? benefits of a diverse student body would be as damaging to higher education as it would be ill-timed for the nation at large, Bollinger said.

Science Training
Van Andel Education Institute and the United Negro College Fund agreed to collaborate to recruit students interested in research training in the biomedical sciences, specifically in the cellular, molecular and genetic biology of human disease. They will recruit qualified students at historically Black institutions and place them in the Van Andel Institute Summer Internship Program and the Van Andel Institute Graduate School doctoral program. The paid internship program provides opportunities for undergraduates to be mentored by professionals in their chosen research field, to become familiar with the use of state-of-the-art scientific equipment and technology and to learn presentation skills. The graduate school program is a Ph.D. program in cellular, molecular and genetic biology of human disease. More information at

Discount Prescriptions
Walgreens, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, ended its relationship with prescription benefit managing company Express Scripts on Dec. 31, saying it could not accept Express Scripts? offer of ?below-average rates,? and countered with a special discount offering on membership in its prescription savings club. The Congress of Racial Equality said working-class Americans of color who depend on the discounted prescription rates face up to a 20 percent increase in the cost of vital medication now that Walgreens no longer honors Express Scripts prescriptions. Millions of customers have switched pharmacies. Walgreens was sued by several states for allegedly eliminating or restricting access for Medicaid patients, and by the Bush administration?s EEOC for alleged illegal discriminatory employment practices against 10,000 African-American pharmaceutical and other employees.

Diversifying Fleishman-Hillard
Fleishman-Hillard International Communications plans to strengthen the diversity of its staff by recruiting talented minority seniors and graduate students at U.S. colleges and universities for a structured, high-level career entry program through Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowships. The fellowships offer seniors mentoring, professional development and employment opportunities with the firm. Initial Fleishman-Hillard offices participating in the program are Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New York, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with additional offices adding fellowships in the future. Fleishman-Hillard recruiters will work with fellowship coordinators in each office and with university
faculty to identify communications
students for six- to 12-month paid
fellowships with benefits. Information on how to apply for a fellowship