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Last year was a busy 12 months for Black America. It brought us painful reminders of injustice like the  execution of Troy Davis and uplifting stories like Kimberly Anyadike, the young black girl who flew across the country with coaching from a Tuskegee Airman.

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The 2012 news cycle is sure to brim with key issues that will likely shape the political landscape for years to come. Here’s a list of top priorities and noteworthy stories to keep an eye on in the upcoming months.

Presidential Elections

Barack Obama’s reelection to the White House is not assured. There are a number of variables that need to lean in Obama’s favor before November. For one, will African Americans come out in record-breaking numbers as they did in 2008? And what about the Latino community? Obama needs them, too. Of course, we cannot forget about those voter ID laws sprouting in states like Kansas, Rhode Island, Texas and Tennessee that require voters to show photo identification. And speaking of those laws…

Voter ID Legislation

The Voter Rights Act of 1965, a federal mandate that ensured local and state governments could not employ racist practices against blacks that kept them from voting, may be under threat. Rather than use poll taxes or literacy tests, many states across the country are now requiring voters to show a photo ID before voting. Sounds simple, huh? But the problem, many critics say, is that poor people may not have the money to purchase a picture ID or state offices, especially for rural areas, may be hard to access. Any decline in black or minority voters could result in a pink slip for Democratic candidates come November.

Beyonce Birth

Will this be the birth of the decade? What will Beyonce and Jay-Z name their little one? And how many Twitter, Facebook and other social media records will be broken with the news of an official delivery? And how many false rumors will we endure before something really happens?

Detroit Takeover?

Poor Detroit. With high unemployment, high crime rates, a dwindling population, and a mediocre mayor whose greatest asset is that he isn’t corrupt like the last one, the Motor City doesn’t seem like it is ready to fight off that state takeover we have been hearing about in the media for the past few months. If this happens, what will it mean for the city and the spirit of Detroiters?

Occupy Redux?

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting pretty chilly outside. Will all of those folks who sang Woodstock-era songs this summer roast chestnuts on an open fire in D.C. and New York? The Occupy Wall Streeters here in New York were arrested for trying to shut down Times Square. What will they do when it’s five degrees in February, and what do they have in store for America in 2012 when the weather warms?

Ron Paul

How many racist friends does it take to unravel a GOP presidential campaign? Well, NewsOne ran a story of at least four of Ron Paul supporters who are tied to racists organizations. While Paul disclaims any racial ideology, he doesn’t seem to abhor it, either.

Black Unemployment

The old saying “when white America catches a cold, black America catches the flu” is true indeed. Black unemployment reached 16.7 percent in 2011. Will 2012 at least see that number drop to the single digits?

Jerry Sandusky and Eddie Long

Jerry Sandusky has already admitted to showering with kids and giving them naked bear hugs. And, to further ingratiate himself in guilt, he gave a rather awkward interview with the New York Times that made him look like a real sleaze ball. But the number one question in black America’s mind is this: Are any of those kids black? Doesn’t it matter?

No. A child who has been harmed needs loving support no matter the race.  But, based on what we have heard so from the man whose memoir is oddly titled “Touched,” it appears this narrative will only grow more sordid and disturbing.

And what about Eddie Long? At first, it seemed like Bishop Long’s flock was going to ride or die with him. But recent reports have proven otherwise. His wife is divorcing him and his school is closing, leaving us to wonder what will become of the charismatic preacher who once presided over one of the most popular churches in the United States.


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