Chaka Khan gets street and holiday; Daren Walker named Ford Fundamental president; Aretha Franklin Bo Jackson recieve Beacon Awards

Across Black America

Juliana Norwood | 8/1/2013, midnight
African American news briefs for the week of July 29, 2013.

The city of Chicago honored 10-time Grammy Award winner and Chicago native Chaka Khan in a street-naming ceremony this week and declared July 28, “Chaka Khan Day.” The weekend-long celebration also included a free outdoor concert in Millennium Park. The music icon, who was honored for her stellar 40-year career in music and entertainment, participated in the ceremonial unveiling of Chaka Khan Way on S. Blackstone Ave., between 50th and 51st streets, with her family, including her mother Sandra Coleman, her sister, Tammy McCrary, and a host of other relatives in the Chicago area. Several city officials, business executives and community leaders were among the participants, including Fourth Ward Alderman William Burns, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic School, state Senator Kwame Raoul, and state representatives Christian Mitchell and Barbara Flynn Currie. Chaka Khan Way is located on the west side of Kenwood Academy, where Chaka attended high school during its early days of operation. The students of Kenwood Academy also had the opportunity to participate in the event.

New Jersey

BCT Partners and Frontline Solutions announced this week that they have been awarded $1.2 million to provide advisory services and national technical assistance on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $9.5 million “Forward Promise” initiative. Forward Promise aims to vastly expand the potential for boys and young men of color to grow up healthy, obtain a good education, and find meaningful employment. Frontline Solutions senior partner Marcus Littles believes growing national efforts to invest in and support men of color largely result from groundwork laid by BCT Partners and Frontline Solutions. As partners in the Forward Promise initiative, Frontline and BCT will support 15 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grantees over 30 months to help bring their projects to scale, and possibly replicate them in other cities. Frontline is helping RWJF to manage the initiative and serve as a thought partner, while BCT Partners is responsible for assessing the grantees’ needs, coordinating the provision of technical assistance, and creating a community of practice that will allow the grantees to share ideas and models of success with one another.

New York

The board of trustees of the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s 10-largest philanthropies, has named Darren Walker its 10th president. Walker, who is the Ford Foundation’s vice president for education, creativity and free expression, will succeed Luis A. Ubiñas, who retires in September after six years at the helm. Ubiñas recruited Walker in 2010 to join the foundation. The board, which announced its choice on Wednesday, selected Walker after a worldwide search that began when Ubiñas announced in March that he would retire. “In Darren we have found a president of powerful and diverse ability, deeply committed to our mission and tradition of leadership in the social sector,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, chair of the board of trustees.

On Sept. 17, The Constitution Project will present its annual Constitutional Commentary Award to award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his colleagues for their documentary, “The Central Park Five,” and will host a panel discussion on false confessions. Burns will be present to accept the award and participate in the discussion. The film tells the harrowing story of five teenagers from Harlem who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989, in part, based on false confessions. Conservative columnist George Will calls it “a meticulous narrative of a gross miscarriage of justice.” Excerpts of the film will be shown as part of the program.


Mentoring in Medicine is conducting a free two-week online summer camp on Aug. 5-16, 2013, from 2-5 p.m. EST., which offers middle school and high school students an opportunity to gain exposure to various careers in medicine and learn advanced biology in a fun and interactive setting. A typical three-hour session is composed of two 45-minute lectures that include activities such as journaling, interactive games and watching motivational videos. Students will be able to learn how to take vital signs and understand advanced human biology concepts related to the cardiovascular system. Participation in the Mentoring in Medicine Virtual Science Summer camp requires a computer (Windows or Mac with a minimum 2GB of RAM) and Internet connection. Each interactive session will be broadcast live. In addition, the webcasts will be recorded for viewing at a later date. Register at http://mimvc2.eventbrite.com

Compiled by Juliana Norwood.