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

On Saturday, Oct. 20, Ambassador Andrew Young will take his insight and experience to Oakland for a lecture, “The Time Is Now: Our Legacy, Our Future.” The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Oakland City Center Marriott. Admission is free. Organizers of the lecture strongly encourage reservations because space is limited. Ambassador Young’s lecture is the 2012-2013 kickoff for the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series. The lecture is co-produced by the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, a nonpartisan, non-political educational organization, promotes the principles of nonviolence and offers an environment where young people actively seek peaceful, nonviolent solutions to the difficult challenges communities face. The Freedom Center serves individuals, organizations, schools and communities in the Greater Bay Area. Call April Chan at (510) 6100-5446 to RSVP.
World Fantasy Award-winning author of “Who Fears Death,” Nnedi Okorafor, has been named as a judge in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Nnedi won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa for her story “Zahrah the Windseeker” and has been nominated for dozens of awards internationally. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. Now in its 29th year, the Writers of the Future Contest awards annual cash prizes totaling $30,000 for writers and illustrators of never-before-published works of science fiction and fantasy. It includes annual publication of the year’s winning stories and illustrations in the anthology titled L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. The contest helped to launch her career by publishing her story “Windseekers” in “Writers of the Future Volume XVIII” back in 2002. Nnedi will judge one set of the quarterly finalists every year and will also judge for the grand prize story each year.

The University of Connecticut’s first African American professor, Rollin Charles Williams, died Sept. 24 in Waterford, Conn., after a short illness. He was 90 years old. A professor emeritus at the time of his death, Williams was hired as a full-time assistant professor in the School of Social Work in 1957. During his 30 years with the university, Williams spent time running the admissions office and as an interim dean. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 181 Ocean Ave., New London, Conn. A visiting hour will be held one hour prior to the service. A tribute page has been created in Williams’ honor at

Marching band fans can now help select one of eight coveted spots in the 2013 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase from among 33 of the nation’s most exceptional Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) marching bands. Fans can begin voting immediately by visiting through Oct. 25, 2012. The Invitational Showcase will be held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. New for 2013, fans visiting the website can enter for a chance to win a personally customized trip to the 2013 Invitational Showcase and a chance to take home an all-new 2013 Honda Accord.

New York
“Clueless” star Stacey Dash recently tweeted her support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and her political viewpoint has become the subject of numerous online attacks mainly via Twitter. Her post, which said: “Vote for Romney. The only Choice for the future,” was subject to a slew of hateful responses, threats, and insults. “You’re an unemployed Black woman endorsing Mitt Romney. You’re voting against yourself thrice. You poor beautiful idiot,” one Twitter user wrote. But Dash seems to be taking the backlash in stride. “My humble opinion… EVERYONE is entitled to one,” she tweeted in response, and has made no effort to respond to it further.
The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival celebrates 15 years on Oct. 13-14 with films by women of color from across the world. There will be an awards ceremony, a professional workshop, a panel and the Brooklyn premiere of Soul Food Junkies. This year’s honorees are pioneering film distributor/curator Michelle Materre, founder of Creatively Speaking; actor/producer couple Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid, and veteran casting director Winsome Sinclair. Terrie M. Williams, founder of the Terrie Williams Agency, will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the awards ceremony and singer Imani Uzuri will perform. The venue is the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, LIU Brooklyn campus. For schedule, descriptions and workshop registration, visit

North Carolina
A new web video by the Democrat Walter Dalton’s campaign claims Republican Pat McCrory doesn’t understand the African American experience in North Carolina. It features 12 African American speakers highlighting areas where they say McCrory doesn’t get it and where Dalton does. In much of the video, footage from the Civil Rights Movement flashes behind speakers who attack McCrory for his support of a state budget that cut education in North Carolina, supporting cuts in women’s health programs, and supporting stronger voter ID laws.

The Let the Kids Grow Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop youth and their families through out-of-school time and family strengthening programs in their communities. Founder Percy Miller has discovered a way to help keep inner-city youth off the streets and away from drugs and gang violence by providing a safe haven for kids to express themselves with positive energy through music, film and dance. The foundation also offers an after-school program where the kids have access to academic support and guidance counseling. The 2012 honorees (including Tyler Perry, Dwight Howard, Usher, Kirstie Alley, Romeo Miller and Nick Cannon), their hard work, struggle, and success inspires the next generation. The organization promotes healthy relationships, provide valuable life experiences through performing arts, film, photography, field trips and strengthens families through activities that encourage family education and togetherness. Their goal is to help kids and their families break negative cycles, have the power of vision and to follow their dreams, giving youth a safe haven and the opportunity to grow and develop a positive future. For more information, visit