Here’s a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.
Four Girl Scout troops in North Central Alabama banded together recently to raise $1,000 to donate to the Functional Literacy Ministry of Haiti, which serves to provide the people in Haiti with the health and education they need to bring stability back into their lives. The girls were able to raise the money through donations and a portion of their cookie sales.
The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education announced recently that it has received a $1.2 million, three-year grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to launch the Maynard Media Center on Structural Racism (MMCSR). The MMCSR will encourage the media to provide comprehensive coverage of structural racism, and its impact on American society.
District of Columbia
Ceremonies were held recently for the first class of registered apprenticeship graduates of the D.C. Apprenticeship Academy. There were 12 graduates, the majority of which were African American, ranging in age from 22 to 30. The men showed dedication by participating in 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training over a four-year period.
The Willie Lynch letter has sparked a vision in Tallahassee music and film producer Donald Crenshaw to create an independent film, “Connected” which depicts how slave owners were taught to control and break the slaves through torture and mind control and how African Americans still deal with that now. Crenshaw hopes the film will “free the minds of the people still in bondage within themselves, and help them understand who they are.”
Tavis Smiley recently hosted a town hall meeting at Atlanta Technical College to discuss the theme, “Success Through Education” which serves to address the current state of minority males in America. Community leaders, elected officials, clergy and community organizers will engage in panel discussions and workshops to develop strategies to improve educational and developmental opportunities for minority men.
President Barack Obama and the First Family enjoyed a weekend at their own home in Chicago recently. It was their first time sleeping in their home in more than a year. Obama got updates from his top advisors but spent the majority of the time relaxing with his family, and dining with his neighbors.
Pace American Inc., a cargo trailer company, announced recently that it may have to close its Middlebury plant. The close would cost 150 employees their jobs. Elkhart County, where the plant is located, is already struggling with an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent.
The NAACP Youth & College Division, which is comprised of 12-to 25-year-olds is giving talented artists a chance to put their talent on display by creating their new logo. To enter, participants are asked to create a logo integrating the words, “NAACP Youth & College Division” and upload their designs at www.100remix.com. The winning design will be unveiled at the “100 REMIX Town Hall Event” at the 2010 NAACP National Convention, in Kansas City on July 12th, and serve as the official logo of the NAACP Youth & College Division. The cut-off date for the contest is July 1, 2010.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened Business Recovery Centers in six southeastern Louisiana parishes. Owners of small businesses that have been affected economically by the Deepwater BP Oil Spill, can visit the centers to speak with SBA representatives about their options with respect to the agency’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
Juan Samuel was recently named the manager of the major league baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. He is only the second African American in franchise history to hold this title. Samuel has almost 30 years of experience in major league baseball, including 16 years as a player but has never managed a team. The Orioles currently have the worst record in the league, and hopefully the implementation of a new manager will lead to improvement.
Recently members of the community, family members of victims of police brutality and the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality gathered at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to rally against the recent surge of police killings and violence in the city. The group is hoping to create “peace zones” around the city that will help to mediate disagreements between community members, and try to settle issues so the police never have to be involved.
Hinds County recently held its first ever district-wide GED graduation ceremony for students from all 16 district sites. Since the inception of the national GED program, more than 15 million people have earned GED certificates in America.
The Amelians Inc., an organization dedicated to the improvement of the Black community, recently donated $1,200 to the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation which focuses on education by providing African American youth with full four-year scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The Masjid Malcolm Shabazz Mosque and the Martin Luther King Jr. New York Support Group will join together for the 17th annual Juneteenth Parade and King Festival on June 19. The parade will travel through Harlem while food and activities will be provided at Marcus Garvey Park.
Residents of Greensboro, especially youth, will feel the effects of the state’s budget cuts this summer when the Summer Playground Program cuts back its number of participating parks, and lays off numerous staff members from remaining sites. The city plans to eliminate 18 seasonal positions and 74 fulltime positions.
Clarence Lumpkin, a dedicated community advocate, has been honored by the United States Senate’s passing of a bill to rename the United States Post Office on Cleveland Ave., in his honor. For the last 20 years, Lumpkin has been instrumental in strengthening the community, and was influential in the preservation of the post office that was originally slated to close. Congressman Pat Tiberi thought it was appropriate that the building be named after Lumpkin.
Pittsburgh is continuing on with their fight against Black homicides in the city. In recent months, members of the community have held rallies and marches to end the violence, and for awhile, the homicides decreased. Last month, though, the rates spiked again with all the homicides in the city being Black men under the age of 30.
Rhode Island for Community & Justice (RICJ) held its 22nd anniversary celebrating the legacy of the late Providence Journal publisher Michael Metcalf and his extensive contributions to community at the Hotel Providence. The Metcalf Award was created in 1988 to honor Metcalf’s work in media diversity, and journalists that strive to educate the public on diversity to break down stereotypes and promote respect.
African American attorney Carl Solomon has been named the President of the South Carolina Bar for the 2010-2011 term, and was sworn in by South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal. As president, Solomon will be influential in advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.
Tennessee’s religious leaders are focusing strongly on improving the qualities of education that the African American students are receiving. A committee of African American pastors recently hosted a meeting entitled “Come Let Us Reason Together” at the Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, which will focus on education and the contribution that members of the community can make. Additionally, Board of Education Commissioner Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. held a town hall meeting geared heavily toward teachers at the New Olivet Baptist Church.
Houston has recently been ranked the best American city to live in due to leading as the best U.S. city to earn a living, leading in job growth and the cost of living being significantly lower than the national average, but their low high school drop out rate caused Congressman Al Green to hold a Town Hall Youth Summit where he talked about the importance of getting a good education and encouraged them to graduate.
Recently Seattle held its Kidney Health Festival for African American Families themed, “From Surviving to Thriving: Healthy People, Healthy Communities.” The event provided families with free health screenings and consultations, healthy food made by celebrity chefs, discussions about healthy living, music, and other entertainment.
Carola Peterson-Gaines, Betty Harris Custer, Bettsey Lutz Barhorst, Annette Miller, and Kathy Price were honored by the YWCA of Madison as “Women of Distinction.” All of the women have contributed tremendously to their community and the luncheon ceremony’s crowd of over 800 showed the people of Madison agreed.
The National Coalition of African American Owned Media has launched a campaign against Comcast and their proposed merger with NBC/Universal, because of Comcast’s lack of African American owned channels. Meanwhile many other Black Civil Rights advocates such as the National Action Network, which is headed by Reverend Al Sharpton, believe Comcast has earned a reputation of faithfully promoting diversity through their employment practices.
As part of the 2010 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition, students will have an opportunity to compete for scholarships to continue their education. The competition is an annual advocacy program designed to motivate students of color to excel in education. The contest encourages high school seniors to express their views on a pre-selected topic, and judges the students on their ability to communicate orally and in writing.