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

District of Columbia
Since 1982, each spring the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors a nationwide high school arts contest designed to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of artists in the nation. Any high school student in the 37th Congressional District of California is welcome to submit their artwork to U.S. Representative Karen Bass’ office to enter the competition. The deadline to enter is April 15. The winner of the competition will win two round-trip airline tickets to Washington, D.C., to attend the unveiling ceremony with members of Congress and special guests. In addition, the winner’s artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for a year. Starting Monday, April 22, submissions will be displayed in an online gallery on Bass’ website and the public will be able to vote for their favorite. All submissions should be sent to CA37art@mail.house.gov.
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Bread for the World released a new analysis revealing that African American children suffer more hunger and poverty than do U.S. children as a whole. The analysis, titled “Hunger by the Numbers: Hunger and Poverty Among African American Children,” explores the latest figures, breaking down African American child poverty rates across several states and metropolitan areas. In Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, African American child poverty rates are double the overall child poverty rates. In Iowa, the poverty rate for African American children is more than triple the overall child poverty rate. Bread for the World launched its 2013 Offering of Letters campaign, “A Place at the Table,” to raise awareness about persistent hunger in the United States and around the world, and to urge policymakers to find budget solutions without cutting essential programs. The campaign highlights the tireless work of churches and charities to end hunger. But also emphasizes that federal nutrition programs are crucial to hungry people since the combined assistance of churches and charities across the country amounts to only 4 percent of what the federal government provides.

Georgia
Bounce TV will begin production on the network’s first-ever original reality series, which will center around the daily lives of the Grammy-nominated family Gospel group “foreverJONES.” Bounce TV has ordered an initial six episodes of foreverJONES with production beginning later this month and will debut “foreverJONES” this summer. On the heels of the original holiday special “A foreverJONES Holiday,” the new non-scripted series will delve deeper into the daily lives and challenges of this close-knit, faith-based family. Viewers will follow along as the seven family members balance personal dreams with their daily lives and the group’s professional success and continued growth. The group has won Stellar Awards, been nominated for a Grammy and is also up for three Dove Awards in April. The band is led by parents Dewitt and Kim Jones and includes their five children, D’Jeniele’, Dominique, Dewitt IV, Judah and Mya. As musical artists, their mission is to continue the spirit of worship, the message of the Gospel and the essence of family through their artistry.

Illinois
Chicago-based nonprofit Common Threads will come together with more than 60 celebrity chefs, local celebrities and a family of supporters to celebrate its 10-year anniversary of providing nutrition and well-being classes for underserved children and families in Chicago and to announce its most ambitious goal yet–to get 1 million American kids moving away from frequent fast food and toward cooking healthy meals with their families by 2017. Common Threads is embracing the 10-year milestone as a turning point for the organization to engage current and new partners nationwide in a collective effort to address childhood obesity through this five-year commitment to engage 1 million children. To kick-start the five-year campaign and anniversary year, Common Threads has been gathering diverse groups of supporters through a series of mini-summits in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Washington D.C. to focus on tangible ways to work together to address nutritional issues affecting America’s children.

Louisiana
The south central region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., will celebrate its 81st Regional Conference in New Orleans on March 21-24. The theme, “Preserving Timeless Service with Jazz and Pizazz,” is the sorority’s way of celebrating the culture and contributions of the people of Louisiana and New Orleans. All of this is part of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s commitment to mankind as an international service organization, founded in 1908 by African American college-educated women. Luncheon honorees will include state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, U.S. attorney for the western district of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley, president of Xavier University Dr. Norman C. Francis, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, and many others. Additionally, the mistress of ceremonies will be Sally-Ann Roberts, co-anchor of WWL-TV Morning News.

North Carolina
In an effort to continue forging the path to identify solutions to problems that affect African American communities, families and marriages, OORadio (www.ooradio.com) will host the 2013 Conference on Community Family & Marriage on April 5-7, 2013, in Fayetteville. This three-day gathering is designed to serve as a platform for healing and developing an avenue to usher in collective resolutions and healthy dialogue between sexes, generations and cultures. Conference admission includes a Meet & Greet, workshops, panels and discussions, rituals, entertainment, lunches and the African Glitz and Glamour Gala: An evening of elegance which will include dinner, entertainment and dancing. For information about the 2013 Conference on Community Family & Marriage, visit www.ooradio.com.

Utah
Salt Lake Community College recently honored some of the African American pioneers of the United States military’s five branches. The college launched a campaign during Black History Month dedicated to the stories of military personnel that don’t often get told. “Every year, Salt Lake Community College focuses on an aspect of Black History that is educational and isn’t necessarily in the mainstream,” said Joy Tlou, SLCC public relations director. “In the past, we’ve put together profiles of poets, visual artists, musicians, and this year we decided to take a closer look at some of the lesser-known accomplishments African Americans have made to our country’s military history.” Perhaps the two most famous groups profiled by the college were the Tuskegee Airmen and Buffalo Soldiers. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. These soldiers fought in World War II. Buffalo Soldiers were members of the all-Black U.S. Cavalry and Infantry Regiments founded in 1866. They were also the first to serve as park rangers of U.S. national parks.