Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the RLJ Companies and chairman of the board of the automotive group RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings, LLC (RML) ranked first on this year’s “B.E. 100s Auto Dealers” list published annually by Black Enterprise. The automotive group has ranked first on the B.E. 100s list for four consecutive years and its rank is based on 2012 revenue among 60 minority auto dealers in the country. Headquartered in Little Rock, RML is the largest African American owned automotive franchise in the country, consisting of 35 automotive franchises and three Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships across the South, Central, Southeast, and Midwest regions of the country.


California State University, Dominguez Hills, has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 universities granting undergraduate and graduate degrees to minority students, according to “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.” In the magazine’s “Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers” published this month, CSU Dominguez Hills ranked 52nd nationally in total number of bachelor’s degrees and 85th in total number of master’s degrees awarded to minority students during academic year 2011-12, the year of the most current data reported to the U.S. Department of Education. In 2011-12, 1,639 minority students, representing 72 percent of the graduating class, earned their bachelor’s degrees from CSU Dominguez Hills. In addition, more than 50 percent of those receiving their master’s degrees that year were minority students (437). The university is ranked first in California and 78th nationally for bachelor’s degrees conferred specifically to African American students.


Preparing students to compete and excel in international markets, Miami Gardens Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro is leading a small delegation of students from Miami Gardens to the West African nation of Sierra Leone through Aug. 14, 2013. The two-week trip is designed to expose South Florida students to the culture, economy, educational systems and business climate of one of the fastest growing economies in the world—Africa. “We live in a global village and in this competitive global market, our children must be prepared to compete with their counterparts from China, Germany, etc.,” explained Ighodaro. “For over a decade, this ‘Rites of Passage’ program has allowed our school district to live up to its motto of ‘giving students the world.’”


Former MLB All-Star Bo Jackson and 18-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Aretha Franklin will receive MLB Beacon Awards at the 2013 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon on Aug. 24 at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile, and will be recognized on the field prior to the Civil Rights Game at U.S. Cellular Field. The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon is one of the Civil Rights Game weekend events, which were developed to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The 2013 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers. Information for the game and the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, which recognizes individuals whose lives have been emblematic of the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, can be found at MLB.com/civilrightsgame or WhiteSox.com/civilrightsgame.

The city of Chicago honored 10-time Grammy Award winner and Chicago native Chaka Khan in a street-naming ceremony this week and declared July 28, “Chaka Khan Day.” The weekend-long celebration also included a free outdoor concert in Millennium Park. The music icon, who was honored for her stellar 40-year career in music and entertainment, participated in the ceremonial unveiling of Chaka Khan Way on S. Blackstone Ave., between 50th and 51st streets, with her family, including her mother Sandra Coleman, her sister, Tammy McCrary, and a host of other relatives in the Chicago area. Several city officials, business executives and community leaders were among the participants, including Fourth Ward Alderman William Burns, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Father Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic School, state Senator Kwame Raoul, and state representatives Christian Mitchell and Barbara Flynn Currie. Chaka Khan Way is located on the west side of Kenwood Academy, where Chaka attended high school during its early days of operation. The students of Kenwood Academy also had the opportunity to participate in the event.

New Jersey

BCT Partners and Frontline Solutions announced this week that they have been awarded $1.2 million to provide advisory services and national technical assistance on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $9.5 million “Forward Promise” initiative. Forward Promise aims to vastly expand the potential for boys and young men of color to grow up healthy, obtain a good education, and find meaningful employment. Frontline Solutions senior partner Marcus Littles believes growing national efforts to invest in and support men of color largely result from groundwork laid by BCT Partners and Frontline Solutions. As partners in the Forward Promise initiative, Frontline and BCT will support 15 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grantees over 30 months to help bring their projects to scale, and possibly replicate them in other cities. Frontline is helping RWJF to manage the initiative and serve as a thought partner, while BCT Partners is responsible for assessing the grantees’ needs, coordinating the provision of technical assistance, and creating a community of practice that will allow the grantees to share ideas and models of success with one another.

New York

The board of trustees of the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s 10-largest philanthropies, has named Darren Walker its 10th president. Walker, who is the Ford Foundation’s vice president for education, creativity and free expression, will succeed Luis A. Ubiñas, who retires in September after six years at the helm. Ubiñas recruited Walker in 2010 to join the foundation. The board, which announced its choice on Wednesday, selected Walker after a worldwide search that began when Ubiñas announced in March that he would retire. “In Darren we have found a president of powerful and diverse ability, deeply committed to our mission and tradition of leadership in the social sector,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, chair of the board of trustees.

On Sept. 17, The Constitution Project will present its annual Constitutional Commentary Award to award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his colleagues for their documentary, “The Central Park Five,” and will host a panel discussion on false confessions. Burns will be present to accept the award and participate in the discussion. The film tells the harrowing story of five teenagers from Harlem who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989, in part, based on false confessions. Conservative columnist George Will calls it “a meticulous narrative of a gross miscarriage of justice.” Excerpts of the film will be shown as part of the program.


Mentoring in Medicine is conducting a free two-week online summer camp on Aug. 5-16, 2013, from 2-5 p.m. EST., which offers middle school and high school students an opportunity to gain exposure to various careers in medicine and learn advanced biology in a fun and interactive setting. A typical three-hour session is composed of two 45-minute lectures that include activities such as journaling, interactive games and watching motivational videos. Students will be able to learn how to take vital signs and understand advanced human biology concepts related to the cardiovascular system. Participation in the Mentoring in Medicine Virtual Science Summer camp requires a computer (Windows or Mac with a minimum 2GB of RAM) and Internet connection. Each interactive session will be broadcast live. In addition, the webcasts will be recorded for viewing at a later date. Register at http://mimvc2.eventbrite.com

Compiled by Juliana Norwood.