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

District of Columbia
The Library of Congress–the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information–has begun its multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition, “Books That Shaped America.” The exhibition is part of a larger series of programs, symposia and other events that explore the important and varied ways that books influence our lives. The “Books That Shaped America” exhibition will be on view through Sept. 29 in the Southwest Gallery, located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. This exhibition is made possible through the support of the National Book Festival Fund. On view in the exhibition are many rare editions from the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, as well as other related items chosen from various parts of the library. Members of the public are encouraged to comment on the books in this exhibition in a survey on the Library’s National Book Festival website (www.loc.gov/bookfest/) and to nominate other titles for subsequent additions to “Books That Shaped America.”

Louisiana
The opening address at the National Urban League’s 2012 Conference will be delivered by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, July 25, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. “We’re thrilled and proud to welcome the president to our annual conference for the third time,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “It has become a tradition for presidents and major-party candidates to address the conference, not only to share their agenda for the nation, but also to hear ours.” This year’s conference theme, “Occupy the Vote: Employment and Education Empower the Nation,” represents a mobilization to influence public policy through grassroots political action. Workshops, panel discussions and policy sessions are built around the Urban League’s agenda to address the twin crises of unemployment and educational inequity.
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African Pride Hair Care continues the conversation surrounding the brand’s nationally charged “My Pride. My Way” campaign in New Orleans during one of the premier African American music event–the Essence Festival. One of the largest global producers of hair care products for women of color, the African Pride “My Pride. My Way” Pop Up Beauty Suite promises to serve as the premier girl’s playground encouraging guests to celebrate their individual beauty. Taking place in the heart of New Orleans, on July 6-8 from noon to 4 p.m., the free appointment-based beauty suite will serve as an oasis for female concertgoers, providing an escape from the hectic weekend festivities. There will be featured appearances from a host of celebrities, including actress Tasha Smith and model Cynthia Bailey.

New York
Hearts in the Streets Inc. (HITS), recently hosted the 2012 Uptown Summer Classic, “The Red Door,” to benefit students through the Michael Richardson Youth College Tours. The casino-themed event included a night of music, games and fun while also recognizing professional trailblazers who have demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Hosted by Camille McDonald, “America’s Next Top Model,” along with New York state elected officials, “The Red Door” attracted more than 500 young professionals with a common interest of striving for success while serving their communities. HITS Inc. is dedicated to improving the lives of inner city youth through exposure to avenues that they may not normally have access to. HITS hosts events such as “The Red Door” to encourage more young professionals and entrepreneurs to provide service and support to the communities in which they live. Since 2007, HITS has been providing at-risk youth with opportunities to succeed in life. HITS exposes youth to better life opportunities through college tours, one-on-one mentoring, juvenile justice programs and community service programs.
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Dr. Aletha Maybank recently received the Network Journal’s prestigious “40 Under Forty Achievement” award, an honor given to African American professionals under 40 years old who are making great strides within their industry and a significant impact on their community. Maybank has been the assistant commissioner for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since 2009. She also serves as director of the Brooklyn District Public Health Office. She holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine, and an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine/public health. Maybank received the award for her local, national, and international efforts in public health and policy development. For several years she has worked to dissolve health inequities and barriers to healthcare for racial and ethnic minorities, both domestically and abroad. In 2010, she took two missions to Haiti to provide post-earthquake healthcare assistance.

Texas
The Black American News Network has launched its new website at www.tbann.com. Based in Dallas, this new online news portal is looking “To reshape Black news just as BET reshaped Black entertainment,” said owner Dameon Runnels. A major goal of TBANN is to connect its readers to the stories. With nearly a decade at one of the nation’s top news organizations (The Dallas Morning News), Runnels strongly believes he knows what it takes to deliver that connection. “You have to be committed to your audience and finely tuned into their world. Otherwise, the connection is never made,” Runnels says.

International
The groundbreaking podcast program, “Inside the Wire Live from Afghanistan with J.C. Rademas,” discusses living in Afghanistan with a wide range of civilian and military guests. These are live conversations with service members and civilians living, working and fighting in Afghanistan, a very active war zone, which from a soldier’s perspective, shows no sign of ending. Podcasts discuss where the guests came from, how they got to Afghanistan, how they cope with living there and the isolation from civilization, their family, friends and the country they call home. The podcast shows are comic relief, uncensored and unscripted. July 4th was celebrated with a special podcast show entitled, “Operation: Foreign and Domestic,” which discussed how it feels to serve in a war zone on holidays that celebrate our nationalism such as July 4th and Veterans Day. To hear more free podcast shows, go to iTunes or http://insidewire.libsyn.com. The show can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/InsideTheWireLiveFromAf-ghanistanWithJcRademas

COMPILED BY JULIANA NORWOOD