The Urban Emphasis Scout Leaders Council, Greater Alabama Council and Boy Scouts of America recently sponsored a public Memorial Day ceremony in honor of African American servicemen and -women who have made great sacrifices to the nation, at Glenwood Cemetery in Huntsville. The ceremony included a military salute and remarks by Col. Martha K. Brooks of the U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal. Col. Brooks is a graduate of Alabama A&M University and received her commission through the Reserve Officers Training Corps as an Air Defense Artillery Officer. The U.S. Army Materiel Command Band Brass Quintet provided music and the program ended with “Taps” and a military salute.

District of Columbia

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) announced a solicitation for applications from prospective candidates to operate six new MBDA Business Centers in Baltimore, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. The successful applicants will join a network of more than 30 MBDA Business Centers across the United States and Puerto Rico. Grant amounts will range from $300,000 to $500,000 per year for a three-year cycle. The MBDA helps to create and maintain jobs by supporting the growth and global expansion of U.S. minority-owned businesses. The primary objective of the business centers is to provide strategic consulting services to minority-owned firms that will result in the creation and retention of jobs for Americans through business growth.


The Library of Congress will present an exhibition, “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” to mark what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the nation’s history.” The exhibition will open on Aug. 28, 2013, 50 years after the historic day when 250,000 people participated in the largest nonviolent demonstration for civil rights that America had ever witnessed. With a rallying cry of “jobs and freedom,” a diverse crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to urge Congress to act on proposed legislation. Free and open to the public, the exhibition will be on display through Feb. 28, 2014.


In recognition of Father’s Day, the Men’s Ministry of the Koinonia Worship Center will host “The Father’s Call” conference on June 11. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. “This conference will provide the opportunity for fathers to share life lessons with boys and young men in our communities,” says Elder Mathes Guice, chair of the Men’s Ministry division and the conference organizer. The conference will include a series of discussion forums that will address three key topics: Social Justice, Lessons from Fathers, and Fathers from Boys’ Perspectives.


Power, purpose, fitness and well-being provided the framework for the ninth annual Spelman College Leadership and Women of Color Conference (Spelman-WOCC). The event was designed to equip attendees with action items to help achieve long-term financial success. Held at the Georgia International Convention Center, the conference attracted a diverse representation of more than 500 of the nation’s best and brightest women in an array of fields, including business, finance, arts, public policy, entertainment and education. Hosted by Atlanta radio personality Jennifer Keitt of “Today’s Black Woman” on KISS 104.1FM, the Legacy of Leadership Awards Dinner honored entrepreneur, activist and actress Nicole Ari Parker and famed crisis communications expert/author Judy Smith—the real-life inspiration for ABC’s hit series “Scandal.” The affair, featuring an electrifying spoken word and tribal dance tribute by Atlanta-based African dance company Giwayen Mata, paid tribute to Parker and Smith for their professional and philanthropic endeavors.


“I Remember, I Believe,” the Georgia Department of Transportation’s acclaimed film documenting the discovery and relocation of what is believed to be a lost Middle Georgia slave cemetery, has been selected for two gold prize awards from nearly 80 worldwide entries in an international film festival devoted to exploring human culture. The 33-minute film, which focuses on efforts at the Avondale Burial Place in Bibb County, received the Best Script and Best Music awards at the Archaeology Channel’s International Film and Video Festival. “I Remember, I Believe,” a department collaboration with Georgia Public Broadcasting, New South Associates Inc., and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), also was cited by festival judges for honorable mention (being among the top three entries) in the Best Film, Best Public Education Value, Best Cinematography and Most Inspirational categories. “I Remember, I Believe” can be viewed at


The Honor Flight program of Northeast Indiana gives a long overdue “thank you” to World War II veterans by flying them to Washington, D.C., for a day to visit the WWII Memorial and other sites—all free of charge. Ninety- and 91-years-old, Al Stiles and Charles Moses were the first African American World War II veterans in the region to ever go on an Honor Flight. Both Moses and Stiles said they feel blessed and honored to be part of the program, and hope their life experiences can serve as example to young African American men.

North Carolina

Wells Fargo recently named Michelle Thornhill, senior vice president, as strategy and integration manager reporting directly to the head of Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion. For the last five years, Thornhill served as the African American segment manager. In this role, she led the development and execution of the enterprise marketing and engagement strategy for African American consumers and communities. As strategy and integration manager, Thornhill is now responsible for providing strategic leadership consultation in support of the company’s diversity and inclusion business goals and objectives. Thornhill will focus on developing the enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion implementation strategy. As the central facilitator of strategic planning and coordination for this area, her role involves partnering with Wells Fargo leaders and key stakeholder groups to support them in their efforts to strengthen and sustain an inclusive culture for the company.


Basketball legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist Earvin “Magic” Johnson helped kick off the 2013 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and Expo hosted by Nationwide Insurance. The conference is the nation’s premier business resource for African Americans and was held for the first time at the Columbus Convention Center. “This is an amazing conference because it provides a great platform for African American entrepreneurs to share ideas, network and ultimately grow their businesses,” said Johnson who hosted a “fireside” chat with more than 1,200 conference attendees and members of the community.


ESPN’s 13th nationally ranked high school wide receiver and Franklin D. Watkins Award honoree Jordan Cunningham unveiled a six-point plan for school district collaboration with high school football and effective leadership development programs recently. Through the Watkins Award, the National Alliance of African American Athletes offers such a program, which this year recognized the four most accomplished leaders and nationally ranked athletes. However, these athletes, as Watkins Award Committee chair, Alexander L. Gabbin emphasized, “are also among the smartest men in the country.” Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie indicated that he was “truly inspired by Jordan Cunningham’s initiative” and that he believes that elements of the plan may significantly support the district’s commitment to improving the performance of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) in general and African American male students in particular.