Here's a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
For the first time in its 22-year history, the International Black Summit's annual event is taking place in Birmingham, Aug. 2-5. The community-based event occurs the first weekend in August each year in locations throughout the world. Participants have learned to use the summit's transformation technology to support them in realizing their personal vision as well as their collective visions for the Black community and the world. The summit's official declaration includes an affirmative statement:"We declare ourselves, our community and all communities whole and complete. There is nothing to do except be."
District of Columbia
The National Education Association recently honored 13 of America's human and civil rights heroes at its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. "We celebrate our civil rights heroes, both past and present, because the struggle for social justice continues, and by holding up these heroes we inspire the next generation," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "The people we honor at NEA's Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner, whether they are widely acclaimed or unsung, motivate us to purposeful and principled action by providing a vision of what the world could be with cooperation and understanding." Black honorees included Jerry Gore, founder of the Freedom Time museum; civil rights leader the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy; educator Theresa Bwanya Kashale; civil rights activist Caroline Hunter; and the Rev. Mark Kiyimba, the outspoken opponent of Uganda's proposed anti-homosexual legislation.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime and Deputy Mayor Russell Benford recently joined corporate executives, civic leaders and noted professionals to honor 100 Caribbean-Americans for their achievements in South Florida at Identify Connect Activate the Black Accomplished (ICABA) event. The black-tie recognition program was followed by a traditional Caribbean fete, complete with island-inspired cuisine and musical performances. ICABA's signature coffee table book showcasing the honorees was also unveiled, along with a digital version accessible via the company's website. "This salute is the first time Caribbean Americans have been honored for their impact on South Florida in such a far-reaching and fitting way," said Jerome Hutchinson Jr., president and CEO of ICABA Media Holdings. "[This] is only the beginning as this now-connected, powerhouse, group of people activate and form a network for collective empowerment."
McDonald's announced its list of honorees for the 2012 McDonald's 365Black Awards, which includes multi-platinum and 10-time Grammy award-winning recording artist Chaka Khan; global humanitarian, best-selling inspirational author/entr-epreneur Bishop T.D. Jakes; Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Tamia and husband, professional NBA basketball player Grant Hill; teenage inventor Tony Hansberry II; youth empowerment activist Mary-Pat Hector; and McDonald's owner/operators Tina and Harold Lewis. The McDonald's 365Black Awards were held on July 6 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater and are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African American community.
Procter & Gamble's My Black Is Beautiful (MBIB) recently announced Imagine a Future, a new initiative designed to positively impact the lives of 1 million Black girls over the next three years. In collaboration with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and Black Girls Rock!, Imagine a Future will document the current state of Black beauty with an in-depth look at the influences--people, fashion, music, education, pop culture--and provide tools and resources to foster a greater sense of self and confidence within the next generation of young Black girls. All three organizations came together at the Essence Music Festival to kick off Imagine a Future with the announcement of several exciting opportunities for young girls throughout the country. During Essence festival, My Black Is Beautiful distributed six book awards totaling $3,000 to Black female students through the UNCF Empower Me Tour book award sweepstakes. Additionally, one New Orleans-based Black female student received a $5,000 academic scholarship.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity's 26th General President Ozell Sutton and former Executive Secretary James Huger along with the remaining living members of the Montford Point Marines were recently honored with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Sutton and Huger were presented the medal by President Barack Obama, saluting them for being among the first Blacks to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, the last branch of the U.S. military to allow Blacks to serve. The two join a long list of Alpha men in being the first to open the doors of opportunity through which many, such as former Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell (D-N.Y.), and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have passed.
Angela Hall, a Gospel recording artist, is also a state certified educator currently running a campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise capital for her own children's TV show. Tootie's Education Empire is a program that utilizes the arts to teach concepts and skills to upper and lower elementary-aged schoolchildren in kindergarten through sixth grade. Tootie's Education Empire is a new concept in children's programming that uses skits, humor, animal wildlife visits to the set, families learning together as groups, sibling role models, cooking, experiments, and more as a means to engage the television audience.
Visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/152590092/tooties-education-empire-a-childr... through Aug. 4, 2012.
The Comcast Foundation has awarded approximately $2 million in scholarships through the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program to nearly 2,000 high school seniors across the U.S. during the 2011-2012 school year. Each year, Comcast works with high school principals and guidance counselors to identify the best and the brightest seniors who are exemplary in their community service, academic performance and leadership skills. This year, 47 percent of the students came from diverse backgrounds, including 17 percent African American, 14 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian and 4 percent multiracial. Since the inception of the Comcast Leader and Achievers Program in 2000, $17.4 million has been awarded to approximately 17,000 deserving students to use toward their pursuit of a higher education.
The Smart Bunch is an animated eBook series that teaches and entertains children regarding Science Technology Engineering and Math, or so-called STEM courses. The series will help young children to develop reading, math, science and vocabulary skills. African Americans represent only 8 percent of the engineers that the United States produces every year. There are only a total of 31.2 percent of African American students who enter college as an engineering major and graduate with a degree. The Smart Bunch series was created to educate and entertain children, grade levels K-5. Additional games and activities will be developed to keep parents and children involved in STEM activities.