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

California
Lisa Williams is a mom and former professor, and has always wanted to inspire the best in young people. In 2003, the World of Entertainment, Publishing and Inspiration (World of EPI) was formed with the mission of expressing joy by providing children with access to dolls that encourage dreams, promote intelligence, challenge perceptions, and open their hearts to all types of beauty. World of EPI just released its newest doll line, the Positively Perfect Diva Collection. “Having already created an infant and toddler line of multicultural dolls, the concept for this new line started with my desire to target girls in a slightly older age group,” said Williams. “I wanted young ladies to know that they are dignified, intelligent, vivacious and attractive–and the Diva Collection materialized.”

District of Columbia
In their continuing effort to make Black women’s issues a top priority and remind elected officials and candidates of the voting power of Black women, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Women’s Roundtable co-hosted nonpartisan roundtable discussions in conjunction with the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa, and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte. At the Charlotte Convention Center, Black Women’s Roundtable joined with Higher Heights for America to co-host, “Harnessing Black Women’s Political Power: The Chisholm Effect 40 Years in the Making,” a celebration and discussion about the power of the sister vote.

Florida
The Urban League of Broward County, a nonprofit human services organization, will host its annual fundraiser the Red Gala on Sept. 15, 2012, at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale. The “Sunset Safari” themed event will present a night of African-inspired ambiance, an exotic menu infused with native nuances and booming rhythmic performances. Hundreds of supporters, community partners and members of the business community will attend to recognize and honor those who exemplify the Urban League’s mission and dedication to improving the lives of families living in Broward County. Long-standing supporter of the Urban League, AutoNation Inc., will present the 2012 Margaret Roach Humanitarian Award to Attorney Eugene Pettis, Esq., co-founder of Haliczer, Pettis & Schwamm. The award recognizes individuals in the community who demonstrate ongoing leadership in the area of social justice, race relations and compassion to all human beings through dedicated community service.

Hawaii
The county of Kauai in Hawaii paid $120,000 to settle a federal charge of race harassment filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced recently. A former attorney for the county of Kauai’s Office of the Prosecuting Attorney since 2009 filed the EEOC charge of discrimination in 2010, prompting an investigation by the federal agency. The former attorney, who is White, alleged that she was harassed due to her race by a top-level manager. The manager allegedly made continually disparaging comments to the former attorney, saying that she needed to assimilate more into the local culture and break up with her boyfriend at the time, also White, in favor of a local boy. The EEOC ultimately found reasonable cause to believe that the county violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the harassment to which the former attorney was subjected.

Illinois
After an aspiring teenage rapper was fatally shot in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, police are investigating whether the boy’s rivalry with another area rapper was the motive for the slaying. Joseph Coleman, better known by his stage name “Lil JoJo,” was shot in the back when a car pulled up while he was riding a bicycle in the 6900 block of South Princeton Avenue on the city’s South Side. Rival Chief Keef, who signed with Interscope Records this summer, previously was sentenced to house arrest after he was arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon last December. The area where Coleman was gunned down is located about a block from where the family of Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson was murdered in 2008.

Louisiana
New Orleans native Master P and Kentwood native Britney Spears team up to help their hometowns that were affected by Hurricane Isaac. It’s been seven years since Hurricane Katrina, where most families from Louisiana lost it all and had to start over. Hurricane Isaac has blind-sided many families in Louisiana that had to evacuate and return to flooded communities and no home insurance. Master P has dedicated his time and resources to the recovery process in helping underprivileged families get back on track.

Pennsylvania
In celebration of the fact that an Afro is definitely bigger than a hairstyle, the Kuumba Family Organizing Committee invites the community to attend the 18th annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Wholistic Health and Beauty Expo. The conference is a natural hair show, vending of goods and services, and a local community event, which has become a much-anticipated national opportunity for family gathering, spiritual renewal and networking. The conference will be held on Oct. 6-7, at the Imhotep Institute Charter High School, 6201 North 21 St., Philadelphia. This year the conference theme is “Rock’ in and Lock’ in: Our Natural Hair-ITAGE” and is a tribute to one of its founders, natural hair pioneer Yvette Smalls. The Locks Conference features two full days of informative workshops, panel discussions, leading experts from the natural hair care field, world-renowned scholars, authors, activists, and artists from myriad professions, live musical performances, belly-dancing, Zumba, soul-line dancing, self-defense for women, live food demonstrations, children’s workshops, and a Kuumba marketplace full of gifted craftspeople.

National
Tom Hanks, Jay Leno, Holly Robinson Peete, Loretta Devine and Stevie Wonder were only a few of the celebrities that came out to celebrate the life of Michael Clarke Duncan and support his fiancee Omarosa Manigault and family during a nearly four-hour memorial service marked by heartfelt speeches, gospel performances and photos of the larger-than-life actor.
Compiled by Juliana Norwood