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

Many star athletes who got their start in the Los Angeles Unified School District are coming home to be inducted in the CIF City Section Sports Hall of Fame. Confirmed honorees include: football greats Warren Moon, Hamilton High School Class of 1974; Mike Haynes, Marshall High School Class of 1971, and James Lofton, Washington High School Class of 1974. Major League Baseball All Star Los Angeles Angels Garrett Anderson, Kennedy High School Class of 1990, is scheduled to attend. Olympic track star Florence Griffith Joyner, Jordan High School Class of 1978, is to be honored posthumously. Other Olympians who plan to attend include Sheri Howard, Kennedy High School Class of 1980; Quincy Watts, Taft High School Class of 1988, and Olympic swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg, Fairfax High School Class of 1993. Legendary volleyball coach Al Scates, Westchester High School Class of 1957, and Pat Harvey, founder of girls’ sports programs in LAUSD, also plan to be there along with other noteworthy athletes from the classes of 1926 through 1996.

The National Bar Association presented its Gertrude E. Rush award during its annual Gertrude E. Rush Awards Dinner recently at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point. Named for the only woman co-founder of the association, the Gertrude E. Rush Award recognizes recipients for their pioneering spirits, community and professional leadership, concern for human and civil rights, and for being a model of excellence in legal education. Past recipients include: Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and former Attorney General Janet Reno.

State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the appointment of Venus D. Johnson to a three-year term on the State Bar’s California Commission on Access to Justice. “Venus is a dedicated public servant who is committed to the fair and equal administration of justice,” said Harris. “She will be a great asset to the commission and to the cause of improving access to justice throughout California.” Johnson, 33, is a deputy district attorney in the Alameda County district attorney’s office. She is a member of the Strike Team, which handles Oakland’s most violent and repeat offenders. In 2012, she was named by The Recorder as one of the 50 lawyers on the “Fast Track” for California. In 2010, Johnson was recognized by the National Bar Association as one of the “Nation’s Best Advocates, 40 Under 40.”

Dr. Beverly “Bam” Crawford and The Company International return to Long Beach for a one-day Women’s Empowerment Seminar: “Loving Me First to Renew, Replenish and Restore” on Saturday, April 27, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Long Beach, 200 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach. Proceeds from this event will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Cancer Network. Registration details and a special video presentation can be found at

District of Columbia
During last week’s spring break, 30 African American and Latino teens from Philadelphia, traveled to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with White House national security advisers and special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to discuss how their growing expertise in programming will help keep the nation safe. The students, ages 13-18, have been studying computer science, programming and mobile apps development at Temple University’s Math, Engineering & Science Achievement (MESA) program. After four months, their efforts have paid off in a big way. This is the second trip for the team, which includes students from 12 high schools and three middle schools Philadelphia. Last December, through a grant from urban retailer Villa, members of the team traveled to Silicon Valley for meetings with software engineers from Google and a special programming session at Stanford University. The award-winning program has produced four national engineering scholarship winners and contracts to develop Navy apps in less than one year.

Trayvon Martin’s parents have settled a wrongful-death claim for an amount thought to be more than $1 million against the homeowners association of the Sanford subdivision where their teenage son was killed. Their attorney, Benjamin Crump, filed that paperwork at the Seminole County Courthouse, a portion of which was made public Friday. In the five pages of the settlement that were available for public review, the settlement amount had been marked out. Lower in the agreement, the parties specified that they would keep that amount confidential. When asked during an earlier interview whether the amount was more than $1 million, Crump said: “I have no comment on that subject … I know you did not get that from me.” Martin was shot to death by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman at the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhomes in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman served as head of the Neighborhood Watch and called police that evening, describing Trayvon as suspicious. He has said the teen attacked him and he fired in self-defense.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin will deliver the commencement address at Xavier University of Louisiana’s 86th annual graduation ceremony in May in the Convocation Center. It will be the university’s first commencement on campus since 1983. Benjamin, a 1979 Xavier graduate, is expected to address more than 550 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional students and their families at the commencement ceremony. She will receive an honorary degree.

A group of celebrities, politicians, and boxing greats, including Laila Ali and Lennox Lewis, rapper Saigon, and senators Harry Reid and John McCain, have lent their support to a petition on started by retired boxing champion Mike Tyson. The campaign, launched on Wednesday, calls on President Obama to posthumously pardon Jack Johnson, America’s first Black heavyweight boxing champion. Johnson’s life and career were derailed after he was prosecuted under the Mann Act–a Jim Crow-era law then used to criminalize interracial dating–and imprisoned for a year after crossing state lines with his White girlfriend in 1913. Senators Reid and McCain were quick to offer support with tweets boosting Tyson’s efforts soon after the petition was launched.

Star of the Original King of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer, will perform at the Palace Theatre in Columbus on May 11. Comedians Malik S. and JJ will also perform. Tickets can be purchased at Tickets are also available at the CAPA Ticket Center. Cedric The Entertainer is perhaps most widely known for his work on the record-breaking “Kings of Comedy” tour with Steve Harvey, the late Bernie Mac, and D.L. Hughley. The highly successful tour led to the hit film “The Original Kings of Comedy,” which was directed by Spike Lee. Cedric can be seen in the TV sitcom “The Soul Man,” starring as Rev. Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine, a spinoff character that originated from a guest appearance on “Hot In Cleveland.” He was also recently named the new host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which airs this fall.

On May 11, Plano residents will decide the fate of mayoral candidates Fred Moses and Harry LaRosiliere. The two candidates are vying for the mayoral seat because Mayor Phil Dyer is not seeking a second term. Their candidacy is historic for the city of Plano because the victor will become the first African American mayor for the city. Plano has a population of just a little more than 250,000. Information provided by the Plano City Planning office, showed minorities living in Plano make up approximately 39.4 percent. African Americans are 6.9 percent of that total, equaling an estimated 18,688 people, according to the data from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood