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Check Out Horace Sheffield’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Horace Sheffield. 

Hi Horace, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was born in a family that has engaged in social change for 2 generations before me and now four including my daughter. Being exposed to how the rank and file buttressed the labor and civil rights movements as a child help me understand how people can organize and change society. Consequently, I got involved in anti-Vietnam war activities, was elected to the Detroit Board of Education at the age of 21, and has continued, even as a pastor, to address the plight of the poor. 

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Inside Detroit’s Real-Time Crime Center: How Detroit police use technology to fight crime

DETROIT – We’ve seen the inside of Detroit’s Real Time Crime Monitoring Facility before, but how does it all work to keep people safe?

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Opinion: End the deadly hold of menthol cigarettes over African American community

By Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, MA, MPA

Cigarettes kill. That’s not hyperbole nor a cheap attempt at being provocative. It’s a statement of fact.

Now, imagine that deadly product being fortified with menthol, an ingredient that accelerates addiction. An ingredient that masks the harshness of tobacco, thus making it easier to indulge. An ingredient that includes harmful chemicals that are more easily absorbed in the body. 

There’s no need to imagine it. One only needs to open their eyes to see it happening right now. Big Tobacco has long pushed menthol cigarettes into the marketplace, but it’s been especially acute in African American communities. Some years ago, the industry used African Americans’ love of art and music to lure us into a perpetual sales pitch for their deadly products. The tobacco industry often sponsored music festivals and other cultural events to promote and give away their menthol products — all under the guise of supporting the African American community. 

It was all a ruse. 

Big Tobacco has as much interest in genuinely supporting us as they do in ceasing the sale of their products. And the government’s wink-and-nod to Big Tobacco’s morally bankrupt intentions has been conspicuous.

Listen to ‘On The Line’: How Detroit got hooked on menthol

It didn’t have to be that way. President Barack Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act in 2009 that, in part, banned flavored cigarettes — all except menthol.

So, on one hand, America’s power structure tacitly acknowledged the harmful effects of flavored tobacco.

But on the other hand, they ignored the far-reaching and detrimental effects of this decision and those negatively impacted by it.

Had the Tobacco Control Act included menthol, it is estimated that more than 320,000 deaths would have been averted by 2050, had a menthol ban gone into effect soon after the legislation passed. In April, the Food & Drug Administration finally issued proposed rules to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Now they must act quickly to implement these rules to stem the tide of preventable disease and death.

But the result of the tobacco industry pushing menthol products in the African American community has been devastating. More than 70% of African American youth ages 12 to 17 who smoke use menthol cigarettes, and African American adults have the highest percentage of menthol cigarette use compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Those facts translate into more addiction in the African American community, more suffering, and more death. 

I lived it.

My mother smoked menthol cigarettes for years. She developed emphysema, which cut her life short at the young age of 43.

I was 16 at the time, and harbored anger and resentment for years. While the pain of losing her to a preventable disease remains, I long ago turned my attention as a social change agent with a spiritual mandate to lending my voice to causes focused on raising awareness of menthol cigarettes’ harmful effects.

One of those causes is No Menthol Sunday.

No Menthol Sunday takes place around the country on May 15, 2022. It is an annual day of observance that raises public awareness of the perils of menthol products.

It’s absurd that a national campaign sharing the dangers of menthol cigarettes is even necessary in today’s world. But as long as Big Tobacco continues to put profits over people, commerce over conscience, and money over morals, we will remain in this deadly predicament. 

Rev. Horace L. Sheffield III is the pastor of New Destiny Christian Fellowship.

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Let It Rip: GOP AG candidate DePerno; Roe vs Wade SCOTUS leak

Republican challenger for Michigan attorney general Matthew DePerno joins us to talk about his candidacy. He then joined our panel in the second segment to discuss the SCOTUS opinion leak on Roe and other election topics.

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COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Detroit aims to educate people, increase vaccination rate

A new COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Detroit is giving people even more incentives to join the fight against COVID-19.

The clinic is being hosted by the Detroit Association of Black Organizations. It’s happening at Wayne County Community College District’s Downtown campus on Fort St., just east of Detroit’s Financial District.

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Patrick Lyoya shooting video creates range of emotions — tips for how to cope

The videos showing a Grand Rapids police officer shooting and killing Patrick Lyoya have led to a range of emotions.

Some people are frustrated, while others are anxious or exhausted after seeing the videos. The police department released videos Wednesday that showed a struggle between the officer and Lyoya before the officer got on Lyoya and shot him in the head.

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Mary Sheffield, Detroit’s youngest city council president ever, opens up on new position

In Detroit, the month of March is happily welcomed for the warmer days still ahead. But across the world, March also is reserved for Women’s History Month- and Tuesday is International Women’s Day.

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Michigan Democrats, attorneys hail Jackson nomination as historic

Washington — Michigan attorneys, elected officials and other residents warmly welcomed President Joe Biden’s selection of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the U.S. Supreme Court, calling her pick as the first Black woman nominee historic and long overdue.

On Friday Biden revealed Jackson, who grew up in Miami, as his choice to succeed retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, calling her“one of our nation’s brightest legal minds.”

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New Detroit program offers free blood pressure screenings, medicine

A new partnership aims to improve the health of Black metro Detroiters by offering free screenings, treatment and medicine to target undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“Hypertension is called the silent killer; many symptoms go unnoticed and unaddressed,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Horace Sheffield Jr.’s Archives, Olayami Dabls, Tylonn Sawyer | American Black Journal Full Episode

American Black Journal continues to celebrate Black History Month by taking a closer look at the legacy of Horace Sheffield, Jr., a trailblazer in the African American labor union movement. Host Stephen Henderson sits down with Sheffield’s son Rev. Horace Sheffield III to talk about his father’s influence during the civil rights era. Then, producer Marcus Green profiles this year’s Kresge Eminent Artist Olayami Dabls at his MBAD African Bead Museum on Detroit’s west side. Plus, One Detroit Associate Producer Will Glover has a conversation with Detroit artist and educator Tylonn Sawyer about the importance of depicting contemporary messages in his artwork.