Here's a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Historically, neighborhood barbershops have served as hubs where men go to discuss issues in the community (family, politics, health, money and life issues). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse believe that peer education among men is critical in disseminating healthy information about fatherhood and the role of fathers in society. Through this is idea President Obama's Fatherhood Initiative's 'Fatherhood Buzz' was born. On June 16, select barbershops as well as community partners and supporters such as the Children's Institute, Housing Authority of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Urban League, Challengers Boys & Girls Club, and 100 Black Men will participate in the event which encourages fathers to bring their children to the barbershop to talk with other fathers, share stories and information to build a stronger network of fatherhood. For more information about Fatherhood Buzz, visit www.fatherhood.gov.
Vail Soul Music Fest will return to the Ford Amphitheater on Aug. 17-19. Performing are Sugarfoot's Ohio Players, Allen Stone, and Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Anthony David, who returning for his second VSMF play, is joined by Algebra. Also on the bill, the Brand New Heavies bring their internationally known Soul/Funk/Jazz songs to the live stage, husband/wife duo Kindred, and Natalie Stewart and Julie Dexter in their first U.S. appearance together as the highly anticipated The Floetry Re:Birth.
Florida A&M University President James Ammons said he had no intention of resigning after receiving a vote of no-confidence last week from the school's board of trustees. The move raised doubts about Ammons' ability to weather a series of scandals that have shaken the school, including a hazing incident that has threatened one of FAMU's most cherished institutions. Trustees voted 8-4 to approve the motion of no-confidence. The board had voted to reprimand the president in December. Trustees said they were trying to protect FAMU and its reputation in the wake of the deadly hazing linked to the school's famous Marching 100 band, allegedly fraudulent audit summaries submitted to the board, and allegations of sexual assault against minors at the university's Developmental Research School. Ammons, who had considered resigning during a recess in the meeting ahead of the vote, said he would stay on and try to right the ship.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP has released the following statement regarding the Justice Department decision to intervene in Florida's illegal voter-roll purge of eligible citizens: "Florida's recent attempt at purging eligible voters is an example of the extremist state officials' relentless attack on voting rights. This reproach from the Department of Justice sets the precedent for all states attempting voter purges that violate federal election law, confuse voters, and disenfranchise eligible voters. In 2000, Florida successfully purged almost 200,000 from the voter rolls using an erroneous felon list. The purge resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, 88 percent of whom were Black. The state's latest attempt purports to target non-citizens, using a flawed identification method. The first round included 2,700 voters considered suspicious. According to the Miami Herald, 58 percent of the people on the list were Hispanic and 14 percent were Black," said Jealous.
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention elected an African American pastor to its No. 2 position for the first time last week, signifying an effort to diversify its leadership and flock at a time of declines in overall membership and church attendance. The election of Fred Luter Jr., the head pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, comes at the same time the SBC is making a push for greater participation among what it sometimes calls its "non-Anglo" members particularly in leadership roles. Luter's church is one of an estimated 3,400 Black churches in the nation's largest Protestant denomination, a small minority of more than 45,700 total SBC-affiliated churches with about 16 million members total.
Lauryn Hill, the Grammy-winning Hip Hop singer and actress, was charged in federal court last week with failing to file her taxes for three years, on income of $1.8 million. The South Orange native rose to fame as a member of the Fugees, but her breakout 1998 debut solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," sold more than 10 million copies and won five Grammy awards. According to the U.S. attorney's office, Hill, 37, did not file returns with the Internal Revenue Service in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Hill, whose primary source of income is royalties from the recording and film industries, owns four corporations: Creations Music Inc., Boogie Tours Inc., L.H. Productions 2001 Inc. and Studio 22 Inc. Ironically Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman once served as assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice's tax division, which enforces federal tax laws across the country.
Congressman Edolphus Towns recently announced his endorsement of NYC Councilman Charles Barron in the race for the right to represent the 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn. The newly drawn district encompasses much of the 10th District which Congressman Towns currently represents. Towns announced last month that he will not seek re-election. Councilman Barron has represented the 40th Council District for the past 12 years, and is New York City's No. 1 councilmember in building affordable housing, new schools and new parks.
The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Foundation has announced that Luisa Garcia, a rising junior at the College of New Rochelle, and Anne Johnson, a rising junior at Wake Forest University, are the scholarship recipients of the "Emerging Voices" program. The students were formally announced as winners during the Gracie Awards luncheon on May 23, 2012. The "Emerging Voices" scholarship program consists of two $2,500 scholarships made payable directly to each student's educational institute in the name of Ford Motor Company Fund. The winning students will provide journalistic content for AWM's website based on assigned topics or prompts. Each winning student will produce three to four separate pieces of content between June 1, and Oct. 1, 2012.
COMPILED BY JULIANA NORWOOD