Community failure: No time for Jubilee

It came as no great surprise when it was announced that the Vivian Teal Howard Facility (VTH) would be de-funded by Medicare and Medicaid in effect shutting down the Nursing Home.

Several months ago I spoke with the administrator who assured me that “these issues were in the past.”

I wanted to believe him and several members of the Board of Directors who complained about the socio-economic structure that prevented VTH from receiving funds from private sources. Those funds could make the difference between being solvent and insolvent.

I even received anecdotal information from people visiting relatives; in one situation, an elderly man spat out his medication, relatives arrived to find a sticky mess on the floor beside his bed. A member of the support staff intoned, “He spit out his medication.”

“Then clean it up!” shouted the relative.

Rev. Larry Howard and other ministers in our community have been emphatic about clergy and community based committees being in charge of traditional African-American institutions such as nursing homes, community centers and economic development. These same people have been the architects of some of the biggest failures in Syracuse African-American history.

JUBILEE HOMES
where people don’t own the land, Rev. Howard and others insisted on this “Land trust” concept. Now try getting funds to send your child to college. You can’t. Jubilee has had a great run, remove these land covenants or go out of business!

SYRACUSE JUNETEENTH
– While Vivian Teal Howard is on life support, members of the African-American community including some churches gathered to raise money for the annual we-found-out-we’re-free-late festival. A nursing home that serves poor African- Americans will close on May 26 and we’re planning a party!

NEW YORK STATE FAIR

– Pan African Village and the Gospel Sunday programs are in jeopardy. Agreements signed by Fair officials and vendors are no longer being honored. Rev. Howard in his absence has continued to control the cultural exhibition a decade after grant funds were exhausted. Exhibits have gotten tired and hackneyed usually coordinated by a friend of Rev. Howard “getting paid.” With dwindling funds and lack luster support from the NAACP several vendors have expressed their disappointment with glacier-like action by the NAACP to support a program that bears their name. (If you don’t believe me I have copies of these agreements).

SYRACUSE/ONONDAGA COUNTY NAACP –

If I had a burning noose around my neck the NAACP would be the last place I’d go. When their leader tells you that you’re “A black republican with no skills,” you wonder out loud how effective a group can be who’s sightings are as frequent as Punxsutawney Phil (Ground Hog).

It’s frustrating living in a black community where you’re told “to get a good job, get a good education,” then youwhen become educated only to return to find that misinformed clergy and ignorant activists trump an education every time.

That’s the noose I’m most afraid of.

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Ken Jackson is the editor of urban CNY

From City Eagle May 08