Friday, June 30, 2006

The Conscience of the County - Speaking Truth to Power!!! 070106

As the nation’s largest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been a leading advocate for the empowerment of individuals and communities across the country. As we look to the future we hold our testimony of past and present experiences close. While we have accomplished so much in the struggle for civil rights, we acknowledge the disparities that remain and continue to renew our commitment for change.

This year, we pause and reflect on the impact that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made in the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters here in the Gulf Coast Region. While over the past several months the NAACP has committed more than $2 million towards relief and advocacy efforts in the region, we clearly recognize we have a long way to go to adequately secure the education, housing and employment rights of our brothers and sisters.

In an effort to empower communities across the nation to proactively address similar social challenges, the NAACP is launching 2 major national initiatives;
the "Arrive with 5" voter empowerment campaign and the "Equity Matters" education campaign.

The NAACP continues to fight the good fight, but we cannot do it alone. Join our "Arrive with 5" and "Equity Matters" campaigns and make a commitment to empowering our community.

Let’s Value Our Vote and Vote Our Values on November 7, 2006.


Bruce S. Gordon

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). Human papilloma virus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.

Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts. Genital warts are single or multiple growths or bumps that appear in the genital area, and sometimes are cauliflower shaped.

Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.

The types of HPV that infect the genital area are spread primarily through genital contact. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected persons are unaware they are infected; yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner. Rarely, a pregnant woman can pass HPV to her baby during vaginal delivery. A baby that is exposed to HPV very rarely develops warts in the throat or voice box.

Most people who have a genital HPV infection do not know they are infected. The virus lives in the skin or mucous membranes and usually causes no symptoms. Some people get visible genital warts, or have pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, vulva, anus, or penis. Very rarely, HPV infection results in anal or genital cancers.

Genital warts usually appear as soft, moist, pink, or flesh-colored swellings, usually in the genital area. They can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large, and sometimes cauliflower shaped. They can appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, and on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. After sexual contact with an infected person, warts may appear within weeks or months, or not at all.

Genital warts are diagnosed by visual inspection. Visible genital warts can be removed by medications the patient applies, or by treatments performed by a health care provider. Some individuals choose to forego treatment to see if the warts will disappear on their own. No treatment regimen for genital warts is better than another, and no one-treatment regimen is ideal for all cases.

Most women are diagnosed with HPV on the basis of abnormal Pap tests. A Pap test is the primary cancer-screening tool for cervical cancer or pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, many of which are related to HPV. Also, a specific test is available to detect HPV DNA in women. The test may be used in women with mild Pap test abnormalities, or in women >30 years of age at the time of Pap testing. The results of HPV DNA testing can help health care providers decide if further tests or treatment are necessary. No HPV tests are available for men.

There is no "cure" for HPV infection, although in most women the infection goes away on its own. The treatments provided are directed to the changes in the skin or mucous membrane caused by HPV infection, such as warts and pre-cancerous changes in the cervix. All types of HPV can cause mild Pap test abnormalities, which do not have serious consequences.

Approximately 10 of the 30 identified genital HPV types can lead, in rare cases, to development of cervical cancer. Research has shown that for most women (90 percent), cervical HPV infection becomes undetectable within two years. Although only a small proportion of women have persistent infection, persistent infection with "high-risk" types of HPV is the main risk factor for cervical cancer.

A Pap test can detect pre-cancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. Regular Pap testing and careful medical follow-up, with treatment if necessary, can help ensure that pre-cancerous changes in the cervix caused by HPV infection do not develop into life threatening cervical cancer. The Pap test used in U.S. cervical cancer screening programs is responsible for greatly reducing deaths from cervical cancer. For 2004, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,520 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,900 women will die from this disease. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening.

The surest way to eliminate risk for genital HPV infection is to refrain from any genital contact with another individual. For those who choose to be sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent future genital HPV infections. However, it is difficult to determine whether a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected. For those choosing to be sexually active and who are not in long-term mutually monogamous relationships, reducing the number of sexual partners and choosing a partner less likely to be infected may reduce the risk of genital HPV infection. Partners less likely to be infected include those who have had no or few prior sex partners. HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. While the effect of condoms in preventing HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease.

Hilary O. Shelton, Director NAACP Washington Bureau, Freedom Fund Banquet Speaker

The Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP announced its Freedom Fund Banquet. The Banquet is September 2, 2006 in the R. Wilson Brown Room on the campus of Missouri Valley College. The banquet is preceded with a guest of honor reception beginning at 5:30 PM. Tickets to the gala is $30.00.

Hilary O. Shelton, presently serves as Director to the NAACP's Washington Bureau. The Washington Bureau is the Federal legislative and national public policy division of the national civil rights organization. In this capacity, Hilary is responsible for advocating the federal public policy issue agenda of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization in the United States to the U.S. Government. Hilary's government affairs portfolio includes crucial issues such as affirmative action, equal employment protection, access to quality education, stopping gun violence, ending racial profiling, abolition of the death penalty, access to comprehensive healthcare, voting rights protection, federal sentencing reform and a host of civil rights enforcement, expansion and protection issues.

Prior to serving as director to the NAACP Washington Bureau, Hilary served in the position of Federal Liaison/Assistant Director to the Government Affairs Department of The College Fund/UNCF, formerly known as The United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, Hilary worked with Senate and House Members of the U.S. Congress, Federal Agencies and Departments, college and university presidents and faculty members, as well as the White House to secure the survival, growth and educational programming excellence of the 39 private historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Prior to working for The College Fund/UNCF, Hilary served as a Federal Policy Program Director to the 8.5 million-member United Methodist Churches' social justice advocacy agency, The General Board of Church & Society. In this capacity, Hilary advocated for the national and international United Methodist Churches' public policy agenda affecting a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues including preserving equal opportunity programs such as affirmative action, securing equal high quality public education for all Americans, guaranteeing greater access to higher education and strengthening our nation's historically Black colleges and universities, abolition of the death penalty, reforming the criminal justice system, voting rights protection and expansion, gun control and a host of other social justice policy concerns.

Hilary serves on a number of national boards of directors including, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, The Center for Democratic Renewal, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute among many others.Playing an integral role in the crafting and final passage of such crucial federal legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Hilary was also instrumental in ushering through to passage, The Civil Rights Restoration Act, The Violence Against Women Act, The Hate Crimes Statistics Act, The Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act, The National Voter Registration Act, The National Assault Weapons Ban, The Brady Handgun Law, Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act and many other crucial laws and policy measures affecting the quality of our lives and equality in our society.

Hilary has humbly received a number of awards and recognitions for his unwavering dedication to civil rights and the mission and goals of the NAACP. Among the many awards to which he is most grateful for receiving, Mr. Shelton is the proud recipient of the National NAACP Medgar W. Evers Award for Excellence, one of the highest honor presented by the national NAACP for Outstanding Service, Sincere Dedication and Commitment to the Mission of the NAACP, the Israeli Embassy and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's 2005 Civil Rights Leadership Award, as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman's Award In Recognition and Appreciation for Dedication, Leadership and Commitment to Advancing the Cause of Civil Rights for All Americans.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a family of 6 brothers and sisters, Hilary holds degrees in political science, communications, and legal studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C., the University of Missouri St. Louis, and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively.Hilary presently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Paula Young Shelton and their three sons, masters Caleb Wesley, Aaron Joshua, and Noah Ottis Young Shelton.

A letter to NAACP Members and Supporters from Dr. John H. Johnson, Chief Policy Officer

Equality in voting is fundamental to the American democratic system. For more than 40 years, the Voting Rights Act has protected the right of every American citizen to cast an informed vote. Consequently, the NAACP strongly encourages Congress to swiftly reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 [S. 2703/H.R. 9]).
Although the reauthorizing legislation was introduced in Congress on May 2, 2006, on Wednesday, June 21, 2006, a small band of obstructionists in the House of Representatives hampered the reauthorization process by stalling H.R. 9. These congressional obstructionists—like Representatives Lynn Westmorland (GA), Charlie Norwood (GA) and others—represent retrogressive forces that America hasn't seen at this level since the 1960s.
Many of those trying to derail this bill represent states with the most egregious records of discrimination in voting. Their actions would return us to a time when the rights of racial and ethnic minority Americans-specifically the right to vote-were not protected or enforced.
Leaders in the House of Representatives must move past this small group of obstructionists and get the bill back on track immediately. The nation's continued progress towards equality demands this.
Starting on Wednesday, June 27, 2006, the NAACP will join People for the American Way and the National Education Association to hand-deliver signed petitions gathered from around the country to the House leadership.
Tell Congress to stop stalling and renew the Voting Rights Act. Please sign the petition now to tell Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and Majority Leader, John Boehner, to stand up and lead the effort to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act!

Protect the hard-earned civil rights gains of the past three decades. Unit #4069
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