California

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 1,433,787 California residents will benefit from $65,659,905 in rebates from insurance companies this summer, averaging $71 per family, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide, 77.8 million consumers saved $3.4 billion up-front on their premiums because insurance companies operated more efficiently. Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $500 million in rebates, with 8.5 million enrollees due to receive an average rebate of around $100 per family. Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Medical Loss Ratio standard (also known as the “80/20 rule”) requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If they spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape, they owe rebates back for the difference no later than Aug. 1, 2013.


Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines returns to town Saturday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 18 for the festival’s 20th anniversary. This musical celebration continues to draw the young—and the young at heart—with an array of world-renowned artists and jazzy newcomers to the mile-high community in the San Jacinto Mountains, just two hours from Los Angeles. Artist highlights this season include two-time Grammy-Award winning vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur; the Harvey Mason Chameleon Project led by composer/percussionist Harvey Mason, featuring pianist/vocalist Patrice Rushen; Jazz vocalist Janis Mann; 21-year-old American Idol finalist Casey Abrams and the Southland’s own, Euphoria Brass Band. Plus there will be performances from fan favorites such as P.S. Blues Band, Rocky Zharp & The Blues Crackers, Change Required, and many others. Proceeds from the event benefit the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

District of Columbia

First lady Michelle Obama, Epicurious, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture announced the winners of a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” will recognize 54 winners, representing all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia, who will attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama on July 9. The group will join the first lady for a healthy lunch, featuring a selection of the winning recipes, followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden.

Florida

The NAACP will be host its 104th annual convention in Orlando from July 13-17. This year’s convention theme is “We Shall Not Be Moved” and will focus on the modern-day attempts to roll back the progress of the civil rights era and efforts to combat them. This convention occurs in a year of critical civil rights anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It also occurs on the heels of three Supreme Court decisions impacting civil rights and during the trial of Trayvon Martin’s killer.

Illinois

USBC President Ron Busby was center stage on behalf of America’s Black businesses as Chicago hosted the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting. The U.S. Black Chambers Inc. participated in this year’s CGI America meeting, an annual meeting focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in America. During the meeting, leaders in government, foundations, NGO (non-governmental organizations) and business sectors were invited to come together and develop solutions that improve access to education and skill development, increase employment, promote a stronger business environment and improve innovation.

Louisiana

In celebration of the 10th annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards, McDonald’s announced it is expanding the program by inviting more than 2,500 consumers to attend the star-studded, “golden” carpet event. Hosted by award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, the awards show will be held Saturday, July 6, during the Essence Festival weekend and welcomes a number of celebrity appearances and performances to the New Orleans Theater at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African American community. This year’s honorees include: recording artist and “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight; supermodel Beverly Johnson; education leader Steve Perry; executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox Kenny Williams; McDonald’s owner/operator Roland Parrish; teen entrepreneur Leanna Archer; and youth environmentalist Charles Orgbon.

Maryland

The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) announced that in response to a request from the Oprah Winfrey Network, it is providing resources to facilitate healing conversations about the ground-breaking film, “Dark Girls,” which had its world television premiere on OWN this week. ABPsi’s resources will be available at www.abpsi.org. In addition, ABPsi is providing information about its collaboration with the Community Healing Network (CHN), which is working to mobilize the Black community to overcome internalized beliefs about the inferiority of Black skin, Black hair, and other characteristics associated with people of African ancestry. “Dark Girls” explores the blows to self-esteem faced by dark-skinned women all over the world, and ABPsi psychologists have compiled a summary of the issues raised in the film and their psychological implications, emotional wellness tips, and links to helpful resources.

Texas

MegaFest, the three-day family festival hosted by T.D. Jakes, will deliver a lineup of inspirational entertainment when top celebrities from music, film, television, comedy and sports converge on Dallas Aug. 29-31. The “Just Churchin’” Comedy Show, Woman of Purpose Concert and the Ball Up Streetball Classic Tour Championship game are just a few of the events that will captivate audiences during the Labor Day weekend. Making its return to the United States for the first time since 2006, MegaFest will be held at the Dallas Convention Center, AmericanAirlines Center and other venues throughout the city. This event marries four of Jakes’ most popular conferences: ManPower, Woman Thou Art Loosed, MegaYouth and MegaKidz with a plethora of entertainment, business and other empowering features for the entire family.

Virginia

The Sisters Network 2013 National African American Breast Cancer tour will be hosted by SNI Central Virginia Inc. chapter in partnership with the organization’s national office. The conference will be held on Saturday, June 29, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at St. James Baptist Church. Sisters Network® Inc is the only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. National conference sponsors to date include Avon Foundation, Celgene, Genentech, and Lilly USA. For more information, (866) 781-1808.

National

Bounce TV has acquired broadcast television rights to The American Bible Challenge and Catch 21 game shows in a new agreement with Game Show Network (GSN). Both shows will debut later this summer. The American Bible Challenge is the highest-rated original series in GSN history. The one-hour game show, hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, brings together contestant teams who compete based on their knowledge of the Bible as they strive to win prize money for the charity of their choice. Multiple Grammy Award winner Kirk Franklin serves as musical co-host. Catch 21 is one of GSN viewers’ favorite series. Its fast-paced game play features host Alfonso Ribeiro quizzing contestants three at a time as they compete to win playing cards, and try to build the hand that comes closest to 21.

Compiled by Juliana Norwood