Kids to 'Say Know' in Shopping Centers

Compiled by Itabari Njeri.

First Lady Nancy Reagan, who is taking a lot of heat over her alleged backstage role in the White House, hasn't let that deter her from her pet cause, fighting illicit drug use.

Following the lead of her "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign, the International Council of Shopping Centers will launch a "Kids Say Know to Drugs" campaign this spring. The First Lady will serve as honorary chairwoman.

The campaign will be scheduled during Drug Awareness Week in the United States, May 15-23, and directed at elementary school-age youngsters. "These days, by the time kids are in high school, they've made a decision to do or not to do drugs," said Connie Cashin, chairwoman of the campaign's Southern California planning committee. "It's the elementary school kids that need to be educated . . . when they're 8, 10 and 12. That's when they start feeling the peer pressure and want to do what their friends do."

During the "Kids Say Know to Drugs" campaign, shopping centers throughout the country will provide parents and children with literature and displays about illegal drug use and its consequences.

Progressive Alliance

Melanie Lomax, former general counsel for the Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, has formed a new organization called the Progressive Alliance.

Lomax, who worked in the area of black economic development for the NAACP, campaigned for "economic reciprocity" between white-controlled corporations, such as McDonald's, and the black communities in which they did business. Such campaigns called for the corporations to make an economic investment in the communities that support them.

Lomax, however, grew disenchanted working with "traditional civil rights" organizations and leaders, she said. "They had too much of a conflict of interest with the major corporations" that have been a major source of their financial support, she said. "They were not in a position to challenge them. Because of that, we formed the Progressive Alliance last month."

The alliance is made up of lawyers and community activists who are interested in the economic development of "blacks principally . . . but women and other minorities as well," said the attorney. "It's our philosophy that the civil rights movement must concentrate on the question of economics. It doesn't make sense any longer to talk about equality if you are not talking about economic parity. If you don't have the economic means to make it through our society, then you are really not equal."

But economics isn't the only thing on the agenda, said Lomax. The alliance is currently pushing for the selection of a black to be superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the entertainment and media industries will command a lot of attention, too, said Lomax.

The civil rights attorney organized the effort to get a black anchor on KCBS-TV last year and a boycott of black entertainers who "weren't hiring their own people. Black recording artists are not different than anybody else. The equal-opportunity laws apply to them, too." The alliance plans to push for greater black representation, particularly at the management level, in the media and entertainment industries. "The entertainment industry is one of the places that blacks and other minorities have significant equity, they are such a driving force in the creative end of things," Lomax said. Further, "media is very important in terms of changing and shaping the image of blacks and other minorities in society. It can help educate people away from traditional, racist stereotypes."

Sexiest Car in the U.S.A

You know the Southern California stereotype: You are what you drive. And if you don't drive a Porsche, a Maserati or a Ferrari you are, well . . . You ain't much. Right? Apparently not everywhere.

According to a Knapp Communications (publishers of Bon Appetit, among other things) poll of 1,400 affluent families across the country, the sexiest car in the United States is . . . none of the above. It is the American Corvette. The most fun car? A four-wheel-drive Cherokee Jeep.

The poll, conducted every two years, measures affluent Americans' perception of 40 manufacturers' cars. Affluent was defined as couples with a combined income of more than $50,000. The car that has shown the most growth in this market is the Mazda--apparently any Mazda, said Joe Molina, publicist for Knapp Communications. People in the poll just responded to a manufacturer's name, not a particular car, he said.

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