Across Black America
Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Birmingham’s award-winning Ramsay High School choir is poised for the trip of a lifetime and needs some immediate assistance to get there. The weeklong excursion is an opportunity for the nearly 30 students to perform, experience life on Broadway and further nurture their passions for careers in the arts. The students will perform at the World Trade Center site and will also be doing master classes with the cast of Broadway’s “Sister Act.” Donations of any amount are currently being accepted to eliminate the remaining several thousand dollars needed for the March 23 trip. Donors may give through a special Paypal account set up for the choir. The account is located at: www.paypal.com and can be accessed through entering the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Toyota Green Initiative, designed to empower the collegiate audience to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, closed the 2011 CIAA Tournament (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) by selecting Stephen Graddick, IV—a freshman from Livingstone College—as the winner of the first-ever Toyota Green Initiative Contest. His winnings include a one-year lease of a 2011 Toyota Prius Hybrid and other various prizes. To enter the contest CIAA students were required to submit a plan and carry out their own Grassroots Green Campus project that restored, improved or sustained the environment at their local campus or campus’ community. Graddick beat out more than 200 entrants with his innovative environmental plan of hosting a Green Awareness Week to improve sustainability at Livingstone College.
The African American Performing Arts Community Theatre (AAPACT) recently announced the opening of “Camp Logan,” an award-winning stage play and critically acclaimed military drama written by Celeste Bedford Walker. The play will be held at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center located in Miami, March 30 through April 16.
More than 200 Black and Latino youths gathered outside headquarters of the delinquency prevention program Chicago Area Project (CAP) to protest the city’s elimination of community youth service funding from its 2011 and 2012 budgets. According to CAP officials, $1.7 million was cut from this years’ budget, while $5.3 million is on the line for next year. Although fiscal year 2012’s budget proposal remains ongoing, says a spokesperson for Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, state officials plan to meet with local service providers regarding possible reductions. Nevertheless, many senior members of youth advocacy groups throughout the city contend that cutting program funds that assist at-risk youth, removes their safety net. “We know that there have been increases in the tourism budget,” CAP’s Associate Executive Director Cheryl Francis said. “There have been increases in the horse racing budget. We have line items that fund exotic pest control in the state budget which has nothing to do with people. Many of us in the human service community feel betrayed.”
Mayor Rudy Clay is seeking the support of city and state officials for his campaign to keep Gary’s main United States Postal facility from shutting down its operations. During a press conference, joined by several Black members of the local postal union, Clay pledged to see the campaign through to “its very end.” “Closing the facility at 1499 Martin Luther King Drive would have severe impact on not only the Gary community, but Northwest Indiana. The postal center here in Gary serves every city, town and business in the region,” Clay warned. “Closure would cause delays in residents receiving their mail, and difficulties for businesses that communicate with their customers through the mail.”
Janet Langhart Cohen, a former host of Good Day! in Boston, and her husband, former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, received the Museum of African American History’s prestigious living legend award this week at a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Together, the Cohens champion multiculturalism and work to further tolerance, acceptance and diversity in the U. S. In 2008, they spearheaded “Race and Reconciliation,” a conference held in Washington, D.C., that began a serious, open and highly visible civil dialogue on racial, ethnic and religious prejudice.
North Carolina Black Repertory (NCBRC) officials recently announced actors T’Keyah Crystal Keymah and Lamman Rucker will serve as celebrity co-chairs for the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), which will be held August 1-6. The announcement was made during a national news conference held at the Garden Terrace of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Winston-Salem, N.C. Keymah and Rucker both made appearances and dazzled the crowd as they spoke about their involvement with the NBTF and the importance of supporting Black theatre. NCBRC officials were joined by Mayor Allen Joines.
Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor, may receive the death penalty, if convicted of killing a patient and seven newborns at his abortion clinic in years past. According to the reports, the 70-year-old suspect and his lawyer were recently notified by prosecutors of their intent to pursue the sentence. Gosnell was the head of a squalid West Philadelphia abortion clinic that also served as a center for prescription drugs. He, and several employees, were arrested in January and charged with numerous felonies, including the homicides. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams told CBS News that Gosnell, “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh [and] eighth months of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.”
Actor and author Isaiah Washington, former host of “Divorce Court” Judge Mablean Ephriam, and the urban fiction duo Ashley and Jaquavis will headline the fourth annual National Black Book Festival (NBBF), June 10-12, in Houston at the downtown Doubletree Hotel. Washington’s memoir titled, “A Man From Another Land,” will be released in late April and the former star of “Gray’s Anatomy” will discuss his book and autograph copies. More than 100 African American authors and thousands of book club members and readers will converge in Houston during the largest indoor gathering of African American authors in the world. Participating authors from more than 30 states and the Caribbean will showcase, sign and sell their books during the weekend event.
The National Association of Broadcasters recently expressed its intention to televise First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Flash Workout,” scheduled May 3 at 1:42 pm ET. The event is designed to create more buzz for Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, against childhood obesity, and will call for middle-schoolers across the country to participate in a pre-choreographed “Let’s Move!” dance exercise routine led by megastar Beyonce’ Knowles. In addition to rewriting and re-recording one of her songs for the afternoon telecast, Knowles, a 16-time Grammy Award winner, plans to release an instructional video demonstrating the dance/video routine as well. Its distribution will benefit participating schools through a partnership with the National Middle School Association (NMSA), the National School Boards Association (NMSA) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
Forbes Magazine recently named Sean “Diddy” Combs as the music industry’s wealthiest Hip Hop artist. The media mogul now stands above his peer, Sean “Jay-Z” Carter, who remained at the top spot four consecutive years. According to Forbes, Combs’ estimated worth is $475 million to Jay-Z’s $450 million. Rounding out the top five are Andre “Dr. Dre” Young ($125 million), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson ($100 million) and Bryan “Birdman” Williams ($100 million). Combs’ wealth is generated by his majority stake as president of Bad Boy Records, Sean John Clothing and his collaborative partnership with Ciroc Vodka. The top earners were chosen based on their current holdings, past earnings and financial growth potential.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A man in his early 20s suffered life-threatening wounds to his upper back this morning in a shooting in the Leimert Park, police said.
The shooting in the 3800 block of Third Avenue, near 39th Street, was reported around 12:20 a.m., said Lt. H. Fanfassian, watch commander of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southwest Station.
The victim, who was hospitalized “in extremely serious condition,” did not provide police details of the shooting or a suspect description, Fanfassian said.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Authorities today identified a man who was fatally shot by Inglewood police after he allegedly smashed the windows of eight squad cars with a sword in a police station parking lot.
The shooting occurred Saturday night, after the man damaged the vehicles using a sword that was thicker and heavier than a machete, police said. The dead man was identified as Charles Curl, 46, of Los Angeles, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising—or necessary—a showdown will be.
In a flier proclaiming “Reaching Higher Together at LAX,” the New Frontier Democratic Club has announced that it will hold a meeting concerning issues involving the Los Angeles International Airport.
At the end of life, Black kidney disease patients are more likely than White patients to continue intensive dialysis instead of choosing hospice care, according to a new study.
Researchers also found that racial differences in kidney disease treatments became more extreme in the highest Medicare spending regions of the U.S.