Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.

By OW Staff Writer
Two chains of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are claiming that they are both the rightful board of directors for the group and recently held two different directors meetings, one in Eutaw Alabama and the other 200 miles away in Atlanta, GA. The group has been struggling with negative controversy, particularly the firing of previous chairman and treasurer for allegedly unethical financial practices. Though it still hasn’t been determined who is officially in charge, the SCLC still plans to have its annual convention this August and name Bernice King its new president.

Congressman Joe Baca, a well-known advocate of immigration reform is calling for a statewide boycott of Arizona, urging people not to spend money, travel to, or hold any revenue producing conferences there unless absolutely necessary. “This law is about hate, racial profiling and divisiveness,” said Baca.

African Vibes Magazine celebrated its fourth anniversary recently by hosting a fashion show at the Avalon Hollywood, accompanied with plenty of entertainment. The event showcased fashions by Monalisa Okojie, Korto Momolu, Sheila Denanyo and many more African designers. Singer Awilo Longomba performed and received the African Ambassador Award from the magazine editor.

District of Columbia
Social activist Bernice Johnson Reagon has announced that she will make a presentation for the Highlander Research and Education Center, which promotes social change in the African American community, for their tireless effort to improve life and status for people of color.

The Gathering of Women, Inc. held its first Women of Distinction Banquet at the St. Petersburg Country Club recently. The purpose of the organization is to unite, uplift, and empower women and the ceremony was to honor specific women who work diligently to improve the community and haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Justice Micheal has amazed the city of Atlanta with what he can do with a drum set at only 11 years old. The child prodigy has already won numerous talent shows, played at the Trumpet Awards, performed at halftime at an Atlanta Hawks game, and had the privilege to work with world-renowned drummer Sonny Emory. In addition, he has recently been invited to the Apollo and has already won first place in the first two rounds. Emory is the crowd favorite to go all the way.

Many Democrats and house committee members were outraged at a hearing recently when Democratic Senator Kwame Raoul called League of Women Voters employee Chris Butler a “token” after he voiced opinions on the legislator’s commitment to helping minorities. The purpose of the hearing was to get a new districting plan approved but the plan will fail if no Republicans approved and right now that is the case. They have threatened to boycott if the new plan gets approved and gives too much power to lawmakers.

NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers is slated to be the keynote speaker at the True Celebration 2010 ceremony which will be hosted by the Goshen Center for Cancer Care. The ceremony’s purpose is to celebrate cancer survivors and remember those that have lost the battle, such as Brian Piccolo, Sayers’ Chicago Bear teammate who he helped through his struggle with cancer. Their inspirational story will be highlighted at the ceremony.

The University of Louisville is doing a research study to determine lifestyle changes that may be successful in preventing Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans from things as simple as diet to more complex things like increasing brain activity. All will be discussed at an upcoming seminar on May 21, 2010.

Baton Rouge has triumphed in its showdown with Lafayette and won the Cleanest City Award from the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. There was a ceremony held at the Baton Rouge Gallery where Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden accepted the award. This is the 52nd year of the contest and Lafayette and Baton Rouge are always the front runners in the fight against litter and pollution.

The Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, who is the director of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), held a press conference recently to announce their appreciation for the Federal Recovery Act that President Barack Obama put into place last year. The Act enabled Maryland to hire 112 new officers and, as a result, the rate of violent crimes has dropped.

Many Detroit community leaders and religious figures organized at Greater Mt. Tabor Baptist Church to fight against the downsizing of their city. Recently, Wall Street Banks and other large corporations have closed the Detroit Medical Center and 45 more schools. Essentially, the pastors believe that the members of the community are being disenfranchised by being systematically left out of the new plans for the city.

The Minneapolis Board of Education has voted to relocate its headquarters to North Minneapolis in a completely new facility bringing it closer to the communities where the families of children of color are located. “This is an extraordinary victory for North Minneapolis and for the entire city. For the first time the district is showing its commitment to our community in an economic sense. Our community has suffered a loss of teachers of color due to rigid seniority systems. The loss of teacher incomes means our communities have suffered economically. This decision may signal a reversal in that trend.” said William English, Coalition of Black Churches/African American Leadership Summit (CBC/AALS) co-chair.

Cedric Deshun Martin has turned himself in and been charged with the kidnapping of his own child Xavier Deshun Martin. An Amber Alert was released last week after Martin didn’t return the child home for almost a week. The child was taken to a hospital to receive a thorough medical examination and has now been returned to his family.

The urban entertainment company Black Vibes is re-launching their online entertainment news website which showcases spoken word, celebrity interviews, and various other pieces of music and film content.

As many expected, Floyd “Money” Mayweather dominated “Sugar” Shane Mosley in the extremely anticipated boxing match in Las Vegas over the weekend. Mayweather won the fight by unanimous decision as Mosley seemed physically drained after the first five rounds. Now that Mayweather had once again retained his title, all that is left is the highly anticipated match between arguably the two best boxers in the world, Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The fight will only happen if Pacquiao agrees to submit to a drug test at Mayweather’s request, which so far he has refused.

New Jersey
Two 19-year-old women have been arrested for the armed robbery and murder of a recently engaged couple. Nia Haqq and Micheal Muchioki were shot in the head execution style after their engagement party. A third suspect is also in custody.

New York
Evelyn Cunningham, known to many as the “Grande Dame of Journalism,” passed away last week at the age of 94. Cunningham was very influential in the Civil Rights Movement, interviewing figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X.

North Carolina
There are four Democrats and one Republican candidate who are trying to unseat Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes, who is trying to get re-elected for a new term. He claims that crime has gone down 45 percent since he has held the position. His opposition want him removed for the implementation of the 287 Program, which allows the local police departments to detain illegal citizens who have not committed crimes and send them to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to be deported.

A new African American owned eyewear company called Posh Optiques that is slated to open this summer, held their Trunk Show recently. In addition to showing their selection, they provided free vision screenings for children, free glasses repair and cleanings, and accepted donations of old and unwanted glasses.

Inspirational speaker Tony Porter is traveling to Portland today to talk to African American men about how they can prevent domestic violence. Porter is well-known for his talks with the NFL and the military and is co-founder of “A Call To Men.”

The Pittsburgh Foundation recently gave a 3-year grant of $150,000 to the Black Political Empowerment Project and the Coalition Against Violence. The grant is in response to the new document that the coalition has produced which outlines more than 300 remedies for long-term solutions to decreasing the levels of crime and violence in the area.

Rhode Island
The Housing Action Coalition of Rhode Island and Providence Mayor David Cicilline are going up against many financial institutions, including Deutche Bank, urging them to drop the lawsuit they are trying to bring forth that would ultimately bar the housing coalition from protecting homeowners from foreclosure in the next two years. The ordinance the banks and lending institutions are against, would obligate them to participate in mediation with homeowners before foreclosing.

South Carolina
Shortly after Steve Benjamin won the race to become Columbia’s new mayor he was involved in a collision with a woman who, as a result, has been unconscious for almost two weeks. Tests results done by the police department determined that Benjamin was not under the influence but the investigation is still pending because of the contradicting witness accounts of which party was at fault.

Tennessee has lined up a group of very influential African American men to be keynote speakers at commencement ceremonies across the state. United States Representative James Clyburn will speak at Meharry Medical College. Noted historian, author and graduate of Fisk University, Ronald Walters, will speak at the Fisk commencement and journalist Dwight Lewis will speak at the Tennessee State ceremony.

Longview High School is celebrating after a number of their students placed in the top 6 positions in the districts University Interscholastic League Competition recently. Longview went up against teams from seven other schools and took home trophies in accounting, computer applications, news writing, ready writing, prose interpretation, poetry interpretation, and feature writing.

Green Run High School in Virginia Beach was one of only three schools in the nation to be honored recently with a $25,000 College Board Inspiration Award for the efforts that it has taken to improve on its academic achievement.

Because of the small percentage of African American nurses in Washington, the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization has given $18,000 in scholarship money to ten recipients in the Washington area to help them accomplish their dreams of being professional nurses.

West Virginia
The African American Arts and Heritage Academy which is held at the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University continues to grow each year with inclusion of more students from diverse backgrounds. The camp now also caters to physically disabled children. Their most popular disabled student is an extraordinary artist.

Academy Charter School in Milwaukee has received a five-year charter renewal because of the progress they have made in academic improvement and student and parent satisfaction.