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

Internationally renowned musician/composer/producer/entrepreneur, Stix Hooper, one of the top drummer/percussionists, and generally best known to music fans around the globe as the founder of the Crusaders, the seminal instrumental group famed for their amalgamated Jazz sound, returns with his ensemble, Viewpoint, to the stage on Oct. 6 at Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Utilizing all the diverse elements that have contributed to his unique style, Hooper will take to the stage and showcase the broad spectrum of Jazz and the universal language of music.

District of Columbia
More than 170,000 volunteers are expected at more than 2,100 sites across the country on Saturday, Sept. 29, to take part in the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States–National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Coordinated by the National Environmental Education Foundation, volunteers in every state will visit parks, urban green spaces, beaches, wildlife preserves and forests to chip in to help these treasured places that belong to all Americans. They will improve and restore the lands the public uses for recreation, education, exercise and connecting with nature. The event last year contributed an estimated $17 million in volunteer services to public lands, which include planting approximately 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, as well as building and maintaining 1,500 miles of trails. NPLD is also supporting first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiative’s emphasis on involving children and families in outdoor recreation as a way to help reduce and prevent childhood obesity. To get involved, go to

Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay top the list of nominees for the second annual SPORTYS @ Full Sail University, with Vince Carter, Annika Sorenstam and Jeff Turner to be inducted into the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame. The SPORTYS will honor the top area teams, high school, collegiate and professional athletes, coaches, deserving local residents and businesses throughout Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties. The SPORTYS will be presented to the winners in 10 award categories: Team of the Year, High School Athlete of the Year, College Athlete of the Year, Professional Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Business of the Year, Employee of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Media of the Year and the Community Spirit Award. During the show, the class of 2012 will be inducted into the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

National leaders from the Civil Rights Movement will come together at the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Fall Leadership Meeting to discuss their eyewitness accounts of milestone events of the ’50s and ’60s, as well as examine the role that lawyers played in the struggle for civil rights. “Lessons in Leadership from the Civil Rights Movement” takes place on Friday, Sept. 28, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis. Speakers include D’Army Bailey, founder of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; Frankie Muse Freeman, first woman of color appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Elaine Jones, first woman to serve as director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Ted Shaw, Columbia Law School professor and former director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; and Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The program will be live-streamed. Register now and receive free access to the event by visiting

The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is hosting its first CME Unity Summit on Sept. 25-29, at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street in New Orleans. Approximately 3,000 persons from the United States and other countries are expected to attend the four-day event, which provides educational and spiritual empowerment classes, dynamic ministry and music. Today, a Unity Summit Luncheon will be held and the guest speaker will be Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The Williams Brothers, the Grammy-nominated and Stellar Award-winning gospel group, will perform in concert in the evening. On Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. Ben Jealous, the NAACP president and CEO, will be the guest speaker for the Awards Nights Gala, a free event honoring civil rights and other African American achievers. All events at the CME Unity Summit are open to the general public and held at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.

A coalition of prominent African American pastors and clergy from around the country recently held a press conference at the National Press Club to announce their support for marriage equality legislation, aand in particular, the Civil Marriage Protection Act in Maryland. The group urged Marylanders to vote “Yes” on Question 6 of the Maryland ballot referendum. According to the group’s convener, the Rev. Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., “The group of pastors that assembled have a range of personal religious views and church practices as it relates to same-sex marriage. Some perform same-sex marriages and others do not. And yet, we stand united in the conviction that the role of the state is to protect the equal rights of all its citizens and should not codify discrimination as a matter of law and public policy.”

New Jersey
“ChessFest,” a unique September Lakewood event, according to organizers, will inspire young people to think ahead, plan, execute and utilize the components of chess to sharpen the mind and motivate them. One of the driving forces behind the event is former Alabama State Trooper Orrin Hudson, who is the founder of “Be Someone,” a Georgia-based nonprofit crime prevention program aimed at the youth of America. Hudson says, “The program teaches self-esteem, responsibility and analytical thinking skills to youth through numerous tools, including the game of chess.” Chessfest will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, and is open to youth under 18. There will be a variety of sessions throughout the afternoon designed for beginners and intermediate players. “We will not only teach them to play chess but we will teach them the principles that make a successful chess player–primarily there is a consequence for every decision Hudson stresses.

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) will convene African American and other midwives of color at their biennial national conference on Oct. 19-21 in Sunny Isle, Fla. to focus on improving birth outcomes and reducing health disparities of women and infants. The eighth Black Midwives and Healers Conference, “Returning Power to Birth: Reclaiming Our Culture,” will provide opportunities for healthcare providers to build skills for cultural competency, create and broaden advocacy networks to spur change, and eliminate health disparities in Black communities across the U.S. The conference will explore cultural traditions and best practices in the care of pregnant and birthing women, postpartum care and breast-feeding support. The purpose of the conference is to increase the number of Black midwives, doulas and healers to serve those most at risk for poor birth outcomes by empowering women and families and reintroducing effective cultural traditions.

The U.S. Army has formed a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to help ensure African American students capitalize on the significant scholarship, leadership development and career opportunities available through the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officers Training Corps. As one of the nation’s largest providers of college scholarships, the U.S. Army has given more than $10 million to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Further, the Army Research Laboratory has formed education partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions to provide research programs and internships that address the projected shortfall of scientists and engineers among diverse communities. The Army’s partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund will help promote the Army’s educational benefits to students, administrators, faculty and community leaders. TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities, medical and law schools.