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

Florida
The Honorable Oliver Gilbert, mayor of the city of Miami Gardens, delivered his first State of the City address recently to an audience of more than 300. Highlighting the success of Miami Gardens, Gilbert outlined what he describes as a progressive and ambitious future as the community marks its 10th anniversary. “This is our moment; our moment to decide whether we want to be as progressive as our thoughts; as prospective as our words. It is our moment to ensure that tomorrow’s possibilities are more expansive than today’s opportunities,” declared Gilbert from the stage at Florida Memorial University. Gilbert told residents details of the city’s first General Obligation Bond; a $50 million “Decade of Progress” initiative aimed at increasing and improving city services and amenities. Gilbert laid out a vision to include a new senior center, modernized parks, a science and technology complex, an entertainment/art facility and culinary arts center; all designed to offer improved educational opportunities for city seniors and youths. The city of approximately 110,000 has a majority Black population.

Georgia
“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 in Eugene, Ore. “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. It can be viewed at:www.avondaleburialplace.org

Maryland
Between 1937 and 1938, the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Project Administration (WPA) conducted thousands of interviews with former African American slaves. While historians have known about these oral histories for some time, few researchers have exploited the genealogical potential of these sources–until now! The DVD series “Generations” ( ISBN 978-0-8063-8054-4. #8531) by Dr. James M. Rose presents these ex-slave narratives with critical genealogical evidence pertaining to each interviewee. While varying from one ex-slave to another, the genealogical content includes census record extracts, death certificates, probate records, plantation records, and biographical information on slave owners. When available, pictures of the ex-slaves are also included. By linking these sources with the recollections of hundreds of former slaves, “Generations” reportedly affords African American genealogists the rare opportunity to surmount the brick wall of the 1870 U.S. census. Genealogical.com, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Ste. 260, Baltimore, Md. 21211

New Jersey
The 1st Annual Chocolate Bar Brownie Eating Contest takes place in Manasquan, as presented by SquanStrong during their Tailgate on the Square event Saturday, June 15, 2013, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Manasquan Square, located in the center of town. Children ages 12 years and under looking for a sugar rush will compete at 5 p.m. Teens a adults ages 13 to 100 compete at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the event will benefit SquanStrong, which aid efforts to repair, rebuild and restore the area’s beach community. Brownie-eating contestants go head to head to see who can swallow the most brownies in five minutes. No ordinary brownies, Chocolate Bar are built by hand, and are not too moist or too cakey and are ready for competitive consumption. Those who wish to enter the contest should email alison@chocolatebarnyc.com for rules and entry applications. A $10 entry fee will be directed to SquanStrong.

New York
Hot 97 WQHT FM hosted Summer Jam XX, presented by Boost Mobile, on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The huge Hip Hop concert included performances from Wu-Tang Clan, Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Wale, Fabolous, 2 Chainz, French Montana, A$AP Rocky, and Joe Budden, as well as surprise guests Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Lil Kim, Mariah Carey, Meek Mill, J. Cole and Sean Kingston! Jay-Z and Beyoncé attended, as did Foxy Brown and Cam’ron. Concertgoers kicked off the day in the Festival Village, where Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg, Vinny Cha$e, Smoke DZA, Bodega Bmz, Troy Ave, Kid Ink, and the winner of the 2013 Who’s Next Battle for the Best, Radamiz, all took to the stage. KB, from New Rochelle, took home the grand prize of a single deal with Duck Down Records.

Washington, D.C.
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-43rd District) recently sent a letter to the Honorable Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, expressing concerns over the lack of progress in responding effectively to the Haitian cholera epidemic. The letter urged the secretary-general to use his office and his influence to ensure that the United Nations takes responsibility for the introduction of cholera into Haiti and commits an appropriate level of resources to support cholera response efforts. The letter was signed by 19 members of Congress, according to Waters’ office. The letter called the epidemic: “one of the largest cholera epidemics in modern history….” “There is considerable evidence that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Haiti, is responsible for introducing cholera into Haiti,” she wrote.
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Metro TeenAIDS (MTA), a Washington, D.C.-based community health organization partnering with youth to end HIV/AIDS, will hold its 20th Annual Auction and Gala today, June 6, at the District’s Embassy Italy. The event will celebrate Metro TeenAIDS’s influence in the community and the impact it has had since its founding 25 years ago. Metro TeenAIDS has drawn national attention for its leadership in combating the spread of the HIV/AIDS. The event’s Host Committee includes 32 members of Congress and 10 members of the D.C. City Council. California Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-District 13), a founding co-chair of the congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, will receive the Nancy Pelosi Leadership Award for her focus on HIV/AIDS. The award, given to a public figure leading the fight to halt the spread of HIV, is named in honor of Minority Leader Rep. Pelosi (D-District 12).
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The National Bar Association is applauding the nomination of the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins as justice to the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. “Judge Wilkins’ distinguished career and impeccable judicial record speak to his impeccable qualifications as a candidate,” said the association. Wilkins received his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School where he was the executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. In 1990, he joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. In 2002, he joined the AmLaw 100 firm Venable LLP as a partner where he specialized in white-collar defense, intellectual property and complex civil litigation. In 2010, Wilkins was successfully confirmed by unanimous consent and voice vote to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Since that time, he has earned the reputation as a conscientious and fair-minded jurist who dutifully follows the law.

National
“As the Sands Burn,” an online soap opera following Black Greek life at a fictional Historical Black College and University, Ahpla University, was relaunched June 3 on Greek Hang Suite website, www.greekhangsuite.com, a web destination for members of the Divine 9. Written by Darrius Jerome Gourdine, this Christian soap opera previously ran on the BET website from 1998-2000.

International
Nigerian authorities have broken up what is believed to be a Hezbollah terror cell that was operating in the country, according to the Israel Project. Three Lebanese nationals were arrested and allegedly confessed to being members of the Iran-backed terror group, and a fourth operative is thought to have escaped the country. Authorities also seized a Hezbollah-linked weapons cache in the northern city of Kano that included rifles, anti-tank weapons, and an RPG. A military spokesman explained that the weapons were intended for use against “Israeli and Western interests.” Last February Nigerian authorities announced the arrest of a different Iran-backed terror cell made up of three Nigerians.