Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) announced that the Los Angeles City Council has confirmed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointment of the Rev. Kevin Sauls to LAHSA’s Board of Commissioners. Sauls is senior pastor at Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles. He is also an ordained elder in the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves as a mentor, coach and advocate in the areas of transformational leadership, multicultural/ethnic/racial/lingual congregational development, community and economic development, and justice ministries for equality and dignity.
The courtyard at the California African American Museum (CAAM) will be filled with dazzling style and creativity during the annual fashion show, “Haute Couture with Hatitude.” Taking place during Target Sundays at CAAM on April 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Haute Couture with Hatitude” will be co-hosted by performing artist and choreographer, Ingrid Graham and actor Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter. This marks CAAM’s 9th annual “Hatitude” event where guests have the opportunity to showcase unique hats from their personal collections, as well as designing them while attending the event. Mauva Gaciua, a wardrobe stylist for StarHold Images, will lead a special fashion show.
District of Columbia
Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), announced the results of a national poll commissioned by Zogby Analytics that reveals current African American sentiment on a range of issues that include the state of national affairs, race relations, employment, and a variety of current political and social issues. Johnson announced the results of the Zogby poll during his remarks at a National Press Club luncheon. The poll reveals that African Americans have an immense sense of pride in Barack Obama as president of the United States and he is unequivocally liked. He receives a 91 percent favorable rating. Seventy-two percent believe that President Obama’s election has helped them while only 4 percent believe his election has hurt them. A majority of those polled–62 percent–are optimistic about employment in the next four years.
Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson, a master motivator, teacher and mentor, will hold his annual Spring Break Leadership Chess Camp, April 8-12, in Stone Mountain. Hudson will use his signature chess skills and abilities as he offers information, insight and advice on the importance of making every move in life count. Hudson has trained more than 20,000 students and his goal is to reach 1 million youngsters as he continues to train new teachers/motivators to spread the positive life lessons learned through the game of chess.
While the city is in turmoil over school closings, Urban Prep Academy has set an example of education that is making a huge difference in the lives of Chicago’s young men. All of Urban Prep’s graduating seniors–167 young African American men–have been accepted to a four-year college or university. Both the senior class at the Englewood campus and the inaugural graduating class from its West campus will be going to college. The young men are defying the odds in a city where fewer than 40 percent of African American males even finish high school.
On April 10, first lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown to address local business and community leaders about providing more opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential. The first lady will address a “Joint Luncheon Meeting: Working Together to Address Youth Violence in Chicago,” hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, which will include members of Chicago’s leading civic organizations: the Commercial Club, the Economic Club, the Executives’ Club, and World Business Chicago. Mrs. Obama will be urging Chicago’s business leaders to invest in expanded opportunities for youth across Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Black Enterprise, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently held a symposium titled, “Today’s Business Crisis: Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce,” at the Westin Charlotte. The symposium was part of a series aimed at cultivating a conversation between top leaders in business, philanthropy and education about the critical challenges facing the American K-12 and postsecondary educational system. The Charlotte symposium focused on how postsecondary schools must change to meet the needs of today’s student and prepare them for successful careers in corporate America. The symposium also discussed and analyzed challenges, and presented solutions while illustrating the role business leaders can play in supporting and improving America’s postsecondary system and ensuring students graduate ready for success in career and life.
The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) will launch the “Fifth Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer” with an ambitious goal of reaching 1 million persons. This will be the largest and most visible prostate cancer education and awareness effort ever undertaken with a focus on Black America. The rally will be held on Sunday, June 16, 2013, in partnership with churches nationwide during their regular services. Prostate cancer survivors within each congregation, along with family members of loved ones lost to the disease, will be recognized and join hands in prayer for healing. In 2012, the rally reached approximately 200,000 persons based on the total membership of the churches that participated. This year, PHEN will augment the rally with prostate cancer educational symposiums in selected cities, including Los Angeles, on the Saturday before Father’s Day (June 15). The symposiums will be hosted by a church partner within each city serving as a magnet site. PHEN industry partners, members of its national survivor network, and local health providers will play integral roles in these educational activities.
The Book Look, the online review show commonly regarded as the industry’s video hub for African American literature, is announcing its partnership with Black Art In America (BAIA), the leading social network for Black art in the nation. The two organizations will collaborate and cross promote emerging, established and celebrity authors and artists to a worldwide audience by way of their popular online platforms. Accordingly, Black Art in America now hosts “The Book Look Group,” a discussion forum for books at www.blackartinamerica.com/group/the-booklook, and The Book Look is planning an on-air segment for Black Art in America. “It’s a thrill for us to come together and expand the platform for new and established authors and artists to get their works seen and discussed,” says Charisse Carney-Nunes, an award-winning children’s author and co-executive producer of The Book Look.
Chinua Achebe, the author of “Things Fall Apart,” among other writings, passed away suddenly on March 21. He was 82. Achebe challenged the dominant Eurocentric perspectives of his time and brought an African perspective to the story of colonialism in Nigeria. His books showed the clash between the Igbo and the British in Nigeria: first from the perspective of a Nigerian father, and in the second book from the perspective of his European-educated son. From the Guardian newspaper: “From the seeds of his example, hundreds of African literary flowers have bloomed. To a writer such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Achebe’s vigorous redefinition of colonialism is less a battle plan than a legacy.”
COMPILED BY JULIANA NORWOOD