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Across Black America

Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya | 7/3/2014, midnight

California

A star-studded celebration in Los Angeles last month kicked off the effort to raise money to create a documentary on the history of R&B music, headed by recording artist and producer Kashif. “The History of R&B Music and Its Influence on World Cultures” will be a feature-length documentary put together from interviews and data from an 18-city worldwide tour that Kashif has put together. He and friends held the free concert-like event to help raise awareness of a campaign on IndieGoGo (a public money raising system) to raise money for completion of the documentary. To make a donation to the campaign, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-history-of-r-b-music/x/5169837

In its second year, the Miller Lite Tap the Future Live Pitch Event hit Los Angeles last Monday with “Shark Tank” regular and entrepreneur Daymond John. As with the television series, teams of business partners delivered their best pitches for an opportunity to win money for their businesses. The best team received $20,000 and will now advance to the national finals to compete for a grand prize of $200,000. Chris Moriarity and John Bowers won with an all-natural blend of ingredients that protect tattoos.

“Entrepreneurship is a tough road that takes a lot of heart, dedication and discipline,” John said. “Miller Lite Tap the Future as a program gives these young businesses a great platform to learn and put in practice some of the most important elements in business, like pitching, networking and putting together a business plan. Most importantly, it gives them a chance to win grant money, which can really help a small business get a head start.”

Other judges included Crystal Mitchel, co-director of Recycling Black Dollars. Kenny Burns hosted the event.

Illinois

Last year, 50 Chicago schools were closed and thousands of educational professionals were terminated from their jobs. Most of these schools were in predominantly African American communities and most of the terminated educational professionals were Black. This week, another 1,150 educational professionals were terminated from the Chicago Public Schools system. The image of creating “educational deserts” in poor, Black communities is a disaster waiting to happen for Chicago, says teacher union leaders. Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis expressed the union’s outrage over the latest cuts, slamming in particular Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Lewis called the move “yet another brutal attack on public education in Chicago.” The cutbacks are a result of the city’s per-pupil funding model, which connects a school’s budget to how many students it has enrolled. A lot of the areas that are predominantly Black have seen decreases in enrollment and thus received the deepest cuts.

Louisiana

The New Orleans South African Connection will be among several Black groups and students set to participate in the YesWeCode Hackathon. The event brings together about 200 of the tech industry’s brightest developers, designers and influential business professionals working alongside 50 high-potential youth. The ultimate goal is to work toward transforming their neighborhoods into thriving communities, where everyone experiences success regardless of race, gender, abilities or other factors. The hackathon is designed so that its participants work together to build great apps centered on education, environmental sustainability, restorative justice, music/entertainment and health/wellness issues. The event will be held during the Essence Music Festival this weekend in New Orleans. Qeyno Labs sponsors the hackathon in partnership with YesWeCode.