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

Gen. Colin Powell will be the featured speaker at the 40th annual Los Angeles Urban League Whitney M. Young Jr. Awards Dinner. The dinner will take place Friday, April 26, 2013, at the JW Marriott, LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. “We are honored to have Gen. Colin Powell as our esteemed guest speaker at the 40th Whitney M. Young Jr. Awards Dinner,” said Noel Massie, Urban League board chair, and president of UPS, California Central District. “Through his service to our country, Gen. Powell epitomizes the strong transformational leadership which is needed to motivate economic and social impact opportunities in communities and neighborhoods seeking solutions in the 21st century. We look forward to the message he will bring to Los Angeles on this momentous occasion.”
Henri R. Ford, vice president and chief of surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, has been elected to serve on the board of regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Founded in 1913, the American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of top-flight surgeons dedicated to improving the quality of care for surgical patients by identifying and establishing high standards for surgical education and practice. Ford and five other surgeons were elected to the 22-member ACS board of regents by the association’s board of governors. The regents are responsible for the management and control of the business and affairs of the college and individual regents serve on ACS committees and advisory councils.
The 2012 Artivist Awards will honor Columbia Pictures senior vice president, author, and inspirational leader DeVon Franklin for his efforts as a community leader at Barnsdall Theatre & Art Park in Hollywood on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, at 5 p.m. The awards ceremony will be at the conclusion of the Artivist Film Festival and will also honor 10 international films and filmmakers alongside three other diverse community leaders–Maria Bello, celebrity actress and advocate; Christine Devine, 16-time EMMY Award-winning journalist and children’s rights advocate, and S. Brian Willson, author and international peace activist. For more information about the Artivist Awards, visit

District of Columbia
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a “coalition of 34,000 African American churches spanning 15 denominations and representing 15.7 million African Americans,” denounced a move by Gallaudet University and the Washington Blade for punishing Angela McCaskill, an African American employee at the school who signed a petition that opposes same-sex marriage in the state of Maryland. McCaskill said that same-sex marriage conflicts with her Christian faith, so she signed a petition to put it on the ballot. “She also exercised her right as a Christian to oppose gay marriage and her employer Gallaudet University placed her on administrative leave,” said NBCI. “These actions that were taken against her are not only unconstitutional, but amounts to a witch hunt against those of us who dare to stand up for our faith,” said the Rev. Anthony Evans, president of NBCI. “This is a form of religious McCarthyism–Nazism being applied especially to African Americans who are Christians as an intimidation tactic.”

The Black Star Project’s Million Father Movement wants to partner with hundreds of faith-based institutions in every city in America to continue the process of saving young Black males. The organization needs pastors and parishioners to call (773) 285-9600 to register their faith-based institution for “Take a Young Black Male to Worship” on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. Churches, mosques, temples and synagogues across the country are being asked to commit to recruiting young Black boys and men to attend faith service and connect them with mentors.

Cecil Faust, a Harvard Business School graduate, has published three volumes of his new book, “Diary of an Obama Disciple.” After receiving a Harvard MBA and working in the information technology industry for more than 40 years at such places as the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Wall Street, and corporate America, he became immersed in politics with the election of President Barack Obama. The diary traces Faust’s journey as he studied and analyzed the day-to-day battles of the president against an oppositional foe who wanted him to fail. It starts on Sept. 17, 2008, following the campaign, the inauguration and up to governing through healthcare reform. According to Faust, “The main message of the diary is that we have become too polarized in the public square; it is beyond time for moderation. We have had too many heated debates with no hope of meeting in the middle. The main issue, however, is not just the boorish discourse, but the foundation upon which our democracy was built.”

New York
With four web series that premiered with the launch of their website, became the first and only Internet TV Network for women of color. The network develops, produces, distributes syndicates and airs original web series programming for this audience, serving a group of women it says are often overlooked within mainstream media. “As a Black woman who has worked at both mainstream and niche media outlets for more than 15 years, it has always been my passion to find a space for women of color to see themselves,” says Elayne Fluker, founder and CEO of “Now, it’s no longer about finding a space, it’s about creating a space, and is a space where women of color don’t have to worry about their images being mishandled as we often see on far too many reality shows today. Instead, they can visit to be enticed, entertained and honored through programming they can relate to as multifaceted women with myriad interests and compelling stories.”

Two of Gospel music’s biggest acts will share the microphone when Kirk Franklin and Tina and Ericka Campbell of Mary Mary will co-host the 28th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. The salute to Gospel’s best and brightest performers returns to Nashville’s iconic Grand Ole Opry House Theater Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. The Stellar Awards will air in broadcast syndication on 150 stations in more than 125 markets around the country and on the GMC network from Jan. 19 to March 3, 2013. With more than 30,000 fans logging online to cast their votes for their favorite projects of the year, show co-hosts and WEtv reality stars Mary Mary lead the list of nominees with nine total nominations based on their latest disc, “Go Get It.” Nominations include “Song of the Year,” “Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year,” and “Contemporary CD of the Year,” in addition to recognition for the project in the “Producer of the Year,” “Music Video of the Year” and “Recorded Music Packaging of the Year” categories.

Thomas Nelson, a world leading Christian publisher, is preparing to release a Bible that will provide African American women with an important and inspiring new tool to help bring their Sunday morning experience into their everyday lives. The “Sisters in Faith Holy Bible: Encouraging and Empowering African American Women with God’s Truth” is expected to address the concerns of today’s Christian women who are seeking God’s wisdom and guidance in every area of their busy and complex lives. The Bible will be available Jan. 1, 2013, in stores and online. This Bible will have a unique African American perspective, thanks to executive editors Michele Clark Jenkins and Stephanie Perry Moore. Clark and Moore are the co-founders of Sisters in Faith, an entity established to create meaningful products that encourage and empower African American women with God’s truth, and address the needs and concerns of life that are particularly challenging to the women in this culture.