Friday, March 14, 2014

More Information from BCALA

From Jerome Offord, Jr.


Thank you for the notes of support and the quiet concerns. However, I want to make sure you understand the purpose of the press release and BCALA's intent. Please allow me to provide you a timeline of events.

·        In the fall of 2013, BCALA leadership received a note regarding the Orlando Conference and the Stand Your Ground issues in the State of Florida.

·        The aforementioned question sparked dialogue on the Executive Board electronic list.

·        Several board members requested that this issue be on the January 2014 Executive Board Midwinter Meeting agenda.

·        During the Midwinter Meeting, the Executive Board discussed this issue at length and the Board voted that BCALA should go on record expressing our concern about the implementation and interpretation of the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida and the ALA 2016 Annual Conference scheduled to be in Orlando, FL.

·        The Executive Board shared this issue with BCALA’s ALA Liaison during the Executive Board meeting during Midwinter.

·        I, along with VP Watson, shared BCALA’s concerns with the leaders from the ethnic affiliates and ALA during our meeting at Midwinter.

·        I shared BCALA’s concern during the ALA Affiliates Luncheon during Midwinter.

·        I, along with VP Watson, shared BCALA’s concerns during the JCLC meeting with the ethnic affiliates.

·        During the membership meeting on Sunday night, this issue was brought to the forefront when I announced that the Executive Board had taken action and the members affirmed the board’s decision.

·        On January 28, 2014, at 8:57 p.m., in a message titled, Updates From Midwinter, I shared, that “The Executive Board voted to authorize the President to pen a letter to express the BCALA’s concerns and discontent with the 2016 Annual conference location (Orlando, FL) because of the gross misinterpretation of, and poor implementation of, the Stand Your Ground Law in the State of Florida vs. Zimmerman case."

  • After issuing the press release, a note was sent to ALA leadership regarding the matter and formally requested a meeting.
  • Today, though I was not available, ALA President, Barbara Stripling, did reach out and I will follow-up with her tomorrow

Therefore, I attest that this issue was not a surprise.  We verbally shared this with others prior to leaving Midwinter. 

To be blatantly clear, BCALA did not and has not called for a boycott of the 2016 conference.  I want to remind each of you to understand that your leaders were sensitive to the matter, while understanding the stance.  Please do not allow others to use our concern as a way to divide and/or isolate BCALA, Inc., its members, and/or its leaders.  Again, we did NOT call for a boycott.

As President of BCALA, Inc., it is my duty and obligation to follow the will of the governing body of this august organization.  Your executive board, and the members, want to be heard on this issue. 

Your leaders are aware that ALA, an organization that we all pay dues to, has a financial obligation and contract. We are aware that the possibility of moving the conference is near impossible. However, the impossibilities and challenges regarding the Orlando conference does not mean that we should or shall remain silent about an issue that impacts our communities and people we serve.

As President of BCALA, Inc., I stand firm in fulfilling my duty.  I remain committed to this organization and our profession. As a leader, one must decide to either lead or not.  This situation, as a leader, reminds me of a quote by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”  The others, for me, are those on the Executive Board and those members who affirmed the need for me to speak up on behalf of BCALA, Inc.

As conversations develop with ALA Leadership, I will continue to update you.  Have a blessed day!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Black Caucus of ALA Denounces ALA’s Decision to Hold 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Black Caucus of ALA Denounces ALA’s Decision to Hold 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. 

For immediate release: March 10, 2014

Media Contact: Jason Alston,

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), condemns the American Library Association’s (ALA) decision to continue with plans to hold the ALA 2016 annual conference in Orlando, Fla. in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict and that state’s refusal to revise or repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws, which were included in jury instructions in Zimmerman’s trial for second degree murder for fatally shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. in 2012.
BCALA believes that “Stand Your Ground” laws enable a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality against African-American men perceived without merit to be threats or assumed without evidence to be engaged in criminal behavior. Kenneth Nunn, a professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, wrote in the New York Times in 2012 that, “African-Americans, black males in particular, have been constructed in popular culture as violence-prone and dangerous,” and that this construct produces a fear in Americans that deadly force against such people is consequently reasonable in general.

BCALA therefore contends that Florida law should require more than perception of a threat before use of deadly force is deemed justifiable. BCALA predicts “Stand Your Ground” will be used in future killings where racial bias played a factor in the actions of the accused. Months after the Zimmerman verdict, another travesty of justice occurred when a Florida jury failed to convict Michael Dunn of murder for shooting into a car and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn said he fired because he felt threatened by Davis and other Black teens in a car Davis was riding in, but the unarmed Davis had not exited his vehicle or physically confronted Dunn. Dunn was convicted only for attempted murder after he continued firing at the vehicle as the teenagers attempted to flee.  
BCALA believes that ALA, which claims various commitments to diversity and tolerance, should have begun plans to find a new venue for ALA 2016 following the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman. BCALA must question ALA’s true commitment to diversity and racial tolerance when ALA, North America’s largest and strongest library association, still plans to hold its largest and most financially lucrative function in a state that has become Ground Zero in initiating weapons laws, as well as voting policies, that potentially put the rights and safety of African-Americans at risk. ALA annual conferences are generally well-documented and publicized, and BCALA fears that librarians, 20,000 strong, conducting business and spending money in Orlando will negate any claim that librarians have to being advocates of equality and social justice. 

BCALA, rather, is committed to creating, supporting and cheerleading initiatives that facilitate success in young Black males. The organization is particularly encouraged by President Barack Obama’s recent unveiling of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which the president hopes will, “(I)mprove significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color (including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans) and their contributions to U.S. prosperity.” An initiative to support Black male success coming from national leadership will hopefully catch on with those who otherwise wouldn’t care or would see these youths as a threat.
BCALA was formally established in 1970 and remains the forefront networking and professional development vehicle for African-American librarians. An independent non-profit organization, BCALA sponsors scholarships and travel assistance, produces a quarterly publication and holds a biennial conference. BCALA serves in an advisory role to the American Library Association and collaborates with other ethnic affiliate organizations on diversity initiatives in libraries. More information about BCALA is available at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Powerocks Super MagicStick Review Part Two

I've had the Super MagicStick since November and it has served me well.

From recharging my Iphone on a snow hike to recharging my Iphone on my nightstand, it is a great tool and I recommend it.

Small and portable, I can throw it in my backpack, or put in in a pocket.  I like the various colors they come in and the price is decent.

It charges my phone pretty fast and stores two full charges.  

If you are in the market for a charger for your phone--it has a USB and Micro USB plug--so it is can be used on many phone models.  

The price range is from 22.00 to about 30.00 depending on where you purchase the product.

Product Features

  • Has a one-amp charge rate (same as home chargers)

  • Depending on your phone's battery, you can get one-two full charges from one Magicstick charge

  • Large capacity 2600mAh portable battery keeps your cell phone or smartphone powered while on the go

  • Small and convenient for traveling

  • Compatible with cell phones, smartphones, and media players

  • Has one USB port with 5V / 1A output for rapid charging

  • Recharge via the included Micro-USB charging cable

  • Features a charge-level indicator

  • Powers iPhone, Android phones, other smartphones, and many other devices

  • Environmentally friendly (ROHS compliant)

  • CE, UL, FCC approved

Check out Powerocks Super MagicStick!

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