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

California
The National Council of Negro Women Inc. (NCNW) of Southern California Area is presenting the return of the “Black Family Reunion Celebration 2013” (BFRC 2013). The BFRC 2013 is hosted by NCNW Southern California Sections: Mary McLeod Bethune, Compton, High Desert, Inland Empire, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County, Pomona Valley, San Diego, San Gabriel Valley, Santa Monica/Venice and View Park. The BFRC 2013 honorary chair is Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; honorary co-chairs are Congresswoman Diane Watson (retired), Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks; NBC’s “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” star Reatha Grey and “Mrs. Ethnic World International 2012” Daisi Pollard Sepulveda; BFRC 2013 community Partner is Los Angeles Metro Transportation authority. The NCNW “BFRC 2013” profiles the Black Family in a positive culturally based event that focuses on historic strengths and traditional values. The event will be held July 13, 2013, at 3720 West 54th St., L.A., from Hillcrest Boulevard to Keniston Avenue. BFRC 2013 has openings for vendors (food and non-food), local performers, Gospel singers and persons wanting to volunteer. Please visit NCNW BFRC 2013 website for updates at: www.ncnwscarea.org.

Florida
Prison Fellowship–the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families–is partnering with the film “Unconditional” to bring the movie’s life-changing message of hope to thousands of inmates nationwide beginning Easter weekend. Through a special arrangement with Provident Films, Prison Fellowship will screen the film March 30 at Orlando’s Central Florida Reception Center and March 31 at the Desoto Correctional Institution in Arcadia, Fla. The events also feature Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske and “Papa Joe” Bradford, a former maximum security inmate now working to improve the lives of Nashville’s at-risk kids, whose life is the inspiration behind the film. “I know what it means to be the man in prison,” Papa Joe said. “And I’m so excited that my story in the film can be used to bring hope to these men and their families. There are more than 2 million children of incarcerated parents in the U.S., and they need our love and encouragement.”

Maryland
President Barack Obama has used the second term of his presidency to make a series of moves that have figured prominently in defining the African American experience. After honoring civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks with a statue inside the U.S. Capitol building last month, President Obama announced the designation of five monuments, two of which feature icons of Black History in Harriet Tubman and Charles Young. On March 25, Obama signed proclamations to designate the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland as a national monument under the Antiquities Act. It will be housed in Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the famed Chesapeake Bay and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument will be housed in Ohio.

Oklahoma
Tahrohon Wayne Shannon, 34, has become Oklahoma’s first African American Speaker of the House. Other than being a first, he’s also the youngest ever and the first African American Republican speaker in the country since Reconstruction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As a part of the GOP’s struggle to revamp an image that hasn’t connected with young people in recent elections, Shannon comes to the rescue just in time. The news report states that “Barack Obama won 93 percent of Black voters and 60 percent of those under 30 years old.” Shannon was even invited to the coveted Republican conference, Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC, the entity where future Republican candidates are chosen.

Texas
Nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden has announced on his Facebook page a hiatus from his radio show that will begin on April 1. Baisden, who reportedly commands a daily audience of more than 7 million listeners, states he is unable to discuss the particulars but concluded that a deal could not be made on mutually agreeable terms. His “Michael Baisden Show” is one of the top-rated afternoon drive radio programs heard in the top urban markets. He is also a TV talk show host, filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author. Now in his 10th year on the air, Baisden says he wants his radio family to know he did everything in his power to continue his “Michael Baisden Show” without interruption. “We’re already planning to return to the air as soon as possible in a way that will give the ‘Michael Baisden Show’ a more direct relationship with our affiliates, and most importantly, our listeners,” says Pamela Exum, his business manager.
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Sisters Network Inc., the only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization, will host the 4th annual Stop the Silence National African American Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run on April 13. The event will be held in downtown Houston at the Discovery Green Park, 1500 McKinney. Online registration is open until April 6. Funds raised benefit Sisters Network Breast Cancer Assistance Program (BCAP). The program provides services to breast cancer survivors facing financial challenges. Financial assistance is for but not limited to: medical related lodging, medical co-pays, office visits and prosthesis. BCAP also provides free mammograms to those in need. To register, log on to www.stopthesilencewalk.org.

National
Black Bloggers Connect has teamed up with Codeblack Films to launch The “Free Angela” Blogging Contest. Codeblack Films is a division of Lionsgate Entertainment, distributor for the highly anticipated film, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.” The film was written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Shola Lynch. Presented by BET Networks, the film will open in select AMC theatres on April 5. The film focuses on the events that propelled Davis into the national spotlight after she joined the Communist Party, her protests with the Black Panthers, and later when she became a lead spokesperson for the up-and-coming prison reform movement. The contest will award $1,000 to the person with the best blogs about why the “Free Angela” film is necessary. The contest runs until April 1. The winner will be announced on April 5. View complete “Free Angela” Blogging Contest rules on BlackBloggersConnect.com.
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Bobby Seale, national organizer of the Black Panther Party is producing a biographical motion picture that will dramatize his life and the tumultuous 1960s and ’70s, the era in which the Black Panthers emerged as the prominent revolutionary civil rights movement of it’s time. Seale and his partner Stephen Edwards, a filmmaker and former member of the Panthers, have written a screenplay with the title, “Seize the Time, The Eighth Defendant.” “Seize the Time” is also the title of Seale’s autobiography, which has reportedly sold more than 1 million copies since first published in 1970. A studio executive at Fox Search Light Pictures suggested that Seale and Edwards produce a dramatized feature instead of the more traditional documentary they had originally been working on. Since the late 1970s, Seale has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students on college campuses worldwide about the people in the Black Panther Party, their supporters and the various social programs they created and how they prevailed in a world where they were persecuted and their lives and those of their friends and families were threatened.

Compiled by Juliana Norwood