Who is Wouter Van Bellingen?

Wouter Van Bellingen (Antwerpen,Belgium, 20 April 1972) is a Flemish politician for the political party Spirit. Before that, he was employed by the city of Sint-Niklaas as a civil servant working on youth and developing world issues.

Since January 2, 2007, Van Bellingen is an alderman in Sint-Niklaas, where he lives. As such, he became the first black alderman in Flanders. He is responsible for the city’s activities related to youths, parties, international projects, civilian affairs and the civil registry and some administrative functions.

Van Bellingen drew media attention in February 2007 when it was reported that 3 couples cancelled their wedding ceremony because they didn’t want to be wed by a black registrar. In response to the event, Van Bellingen decided to organise a multicultural wedding event on March 21, 2007, which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 626 couples were symbolically married by Van Bellingen that day and this event was perceived as a strong anti-racism signal. Read all about the anti-racism event.

Van Bellingen was given up for adoption by his Rwandan mother. He grew up in Sint-Niklaas as the youngest son in a family with 4 adopted children. He is married and has 2 children. He was very active in the different sections of the youth councils in Flanders, and a scouting leader.

Source: Wikipedia

Fighting AIDS in Africa

She’s in a glamorous swirl of red dress and blonde tresses. He flings an arm full of beaded bracelets over her shoulders, his smile as bright as hers.

Anyone seeing that shot of the supermodel and the Maasai herdsman, which has adorned billboards and the pages of Vogue as part of a campaign to fight AIDS in Africa, might well wonder: What was going through his mind?

“To be honest all I was thinking about when I was with this woman was my cattle and goats,” Keseme Ole Parsapaet said, confessing to sleepless nights worrying about who was looking after his herd. Read about the campaign and the behind the scenes story now.

Source: AP

Black Cherokees No More

Native American Cherokees voted to expel descendants of black slaves from their tribe nation in a special election that has prompted charges of racism, according to returns made public early March 4.

But a vote of 77 percent to 23 percent, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma adopted Saturday an amendment to their constitution that strips membership from so-called “Freedmen,” those descended from slaves once owned by Cherokees, blacks who were married to Cherokees and children of mixed-race families.

“The Cherokee people exercised the most basic democratic right, the right to vote,” Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, said in a statement. “Their voice is clear as to who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation. No one else has the right to make that determination.”

However, opponents of the amendment say it was a racist project designed to deny the distribution of US government funds and tribal revenue to those with African-American heritage, US media reported.

“This is a sad chapter in Cherokee history,” Taylor Keen, a Cherokee tribal council member who opposes the amendment, told the New York Times. “But this is not my Cherokee Nation. My Cherokee Nation is one that honors all parts of her past.”
Advocates of changing the 141-year-old treaty rules defining who is a Cherokee say the tribal nation has a sovereign right to decide citizenship and that other tribes base membership on blood lines.

The Cherokee Nation, which ranks as the second-largest tribe behind the Navajo, has some 250,000 to 270,000 members and is growing rapidly. Members are entitled to benefits from the US federal government and tribal services, including medical and housing aid and scholarships.

Cherokees, along with several other tribes, held black slaves and allied themselves with the Confederacy during the US civil war. After the war, the federal government in an 1866 treaty ordered the slaves freed.

In 1983, the Cherokee Nation expelled many descendants of slaves as members but a Cherokee tribunal ruled last year that the Freedmen were fully-fledged citizens with voting rights. That court decision prompted Saturday’s special vote. Native American tribes recognized by the United States government have the right to self-determination and authority similar to US states.

Election results will remain unofficial until certified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, but officials said percentages were not expected to change significantly.

Source: AFP

Brief look at two Black Native American Women:

Edmonia Lewis was a prolific African and Native American sculptor who explored themes from history, mythology, and the Bible as well as from African-American and Native American subjects. Lewis moved to Rome and became a member of a group of expatriate British and American women artists in Italy. Read more about Edmonia Lewis’ artwork here. With an angelic voice of bluebirds singing, Radmilla Cody, a Canyon Records recording artist, Indie Award Winner, Indian Summer Award Nominee, and three-time Native American Award Nominee continues to maintain Navajo culture by recording music that children sing with pride and lyrics the Din?? elders can be proud of. Radmilla is a biracial woman who continues to touch the lives and heal the hearts of her supporters. Miss Cody is of the Tla???a???schi???i???(Red-Orche-on-Cheek) clan and is born for the African-Americans. Radmilla is the 46th Miss Navajo Nation from 1997-98. Read more about Radmilla Cody on her website.

Taking Care of Business in Switzerland Part 2

This sister is into fitness and wellness.

Die Schweizerische Krebsliga und das Bundesamt f??r Gesundheit empfehlen uns “5 mal am Tag” Obst und Gemse zu essen. Diese Menge ist heute notwendig, um unseren minimalen Bedarf an Vitaminen zu decken, uns vor Krankheiten zu schtzen und um unsere Vitalitt und Leistungsfhigkeit zu erhalten. Haben Sie gelegentlich Stress oder sind Sie privat oder beruflich stark engagiert? Rauchen Sie? Treiben Sie Sport? Alle diese Faktoren fhren zu einem erhhten Bedarf an Vitalstoffen. Gemss Fachleuten wie dem Medizinjournalisten und Buchautor Andreas Joop (Risikofaktor Vitaminmangel), decken 70% der Menschen nicht einmal ihren Minimalbedarf, um vorbeugend vor Krankheiten zu schtzen. Uber 40% der Schweizer und uber 50% der Deutschen sterben heute verfr??ht an einer Herz- Kreislauferkrankung. Unsere Kinder – wie auch wir selbst – leiden immer mehr an ??bergewicht, Diabetes Darmerkrankungen, Allergien, Kopfschmerzen und Ermdungserscheinungen. Read more on her website.