Maxine Waters. (27125)

District of Columbia

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-43) has been named the new co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease. She will lead the caucus alongside Republican co-chair, Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.-4). Waters succeeds Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), following his swearing-in as senator from Massachusetts. Because of Waters’ longstanding support both for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, as well as their caregivers, Rep. Smith considered her to be the obvious choice to assume the position. The task force works to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s, strengthen the federal commitment to improving the lives of those affected by the disease, and assist the caregivers who provide their needed support.


The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that Florida’s race-based education goals for minority students violate civil rights law. In October 2012, the state established reading and math goals for students that varied by race, with Asians expected to perform best and Black students the worst. The plan is set to go into effect for the 2013-14 school year. In reading, the plan sets goals of 90 percent of Asian American students reading at grade level by 2018 versus 88 percent of White students, 81 percent of Hispanic students and 74 percent of Black students. In math, 92 percent of Asian Americans are expected to perform at grade level versus 86 percent of White students, 80 percent of Hispanic students and 74 percent of Black students. The complaint, which was filed jointly with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach, asks the Justice Department to intervene and prevent the state from implementing the goals, which the nonprofit civil rights group calls discriminatory.


Oldways is cooking up something totally new: cooking classes designed for African American communities that showcase the rich and healthy roots of African culture and traditional cuisine. The traditional diet experts at Oldways, a Boston-based nonprofit, have launched a national cooking and wellness program, “A Taste of African Heritage” to help communities and individuals reconnect with the vibrant ways of eating and living that supported the health and well being of African American ancestors. This nutritional, cultural cooking program, which follows a successful pilot in 15 locations last year, debuts in 50 locations throughout the country in 2013, with 100 class sites planned for 2014. This healthy eating model celebrates the traditional eating patterns of early Africans in South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.

New York

Chinedu Echeruo’s is the founder of HopStop.com, an important and influential website that allows users to find their way around nearly any city with public transportation. The site also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, and covers 300 cities across the world. According to AllthingsDigital, Echeruo has sold the company to Apple for an undisclosed sum of money. The pay out is expected to be huge since the company has been compared to Israel’s Waze, which was recently acquired by Google for $1 billion. It is likely that his payday will surpass that of Waze. Echeruo is a Nigeria native who attended Kings College in Lagos, then Syracuse University and the Harvard Business School. He founded the company after working on Wall Street at JP Morgan Chase in New York and is now becoming one of the leading entrepreneurial innovators in the world. He was also named Black Enterprise magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the Year.


Vanessa K. Bush, an award-winning journalist, editor and author, has been named editor-in-chief of Essence. Her appointment is effective immediately. As editor, Bush will serve as the brand’s editorial leader and oversee the magazine’s content and vision. Bush has served as acting editor-in-chief since February. In addition, under her leadership, the 2013 Essence Festival’s “Empowerment Experience” daytime programming enjoyed record-breaking attendance, bringing content to life around the pillars of family, health, relationships, beauty, careers, personal empowerment and activism.


The summertime got a little brighter six years ago at the corner of 20th and Snyder streets in South Philly. On a street that media likes to associate with drugs and crime, Anton Moore, 21, launched “Unity in the Community,” a block party that grew to help stop neighborhood violence and bring young people free entertainment. This year, Moore has more than 4,000 RSVPs for the sixth annual “Unity in the Community” block party, the grand finale of a now seven-day Peace Week celebration. The kids, Moore says, finally have something they can look forward to and depend on every summer. Black men and women across the country are bringing neighbors together to show what community and working together looks like. Influencers like Moore are receiving local support and national recognition from the Black Male Engagement (BME) community, which sponsored the expansion of “Unity in the Community” when Moore became a BME Leadership Award winner this year.


The Links Inc. and The Links Foundation Inc.’s national president, Margot James Copeland, was named Hampton University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year. This award is given annually to an alumnus for career accomplishments and outstanding contributions to Hampton University. Copeland’s passion for higher education is also demonstrated through her volunteer efforts. She is a member of the Business School Advisory Board at Hampton University and a trustee at Kent State University. She also serves as a mentor/protégé program adviser for Morehouse College in Atlanta. Copeland serves as executive vice president, director, Corporate Diversity and Philanthropy, and an executive council member at KeyCorp.


The Million Father March is an opportunity to increase parental engagement in urban schools and communities nationwide for the coming school year. One million fathers across America are expected to take their children to school on the first day in conjunction with the march. Fathers from almost every U.S. state will participate. They will be asked to sign a pledge to be a good father at the school and commit to volunteering 10 hours during the year, including serving as safety patrollers, mentors, tutors, field-trip chaperons, sports coaches, teacher assistants, parent association members, hall and lunchroom monitors, readers to young children and more. Schools and communities are asked to recruit and sign-up fathers as they bring their children to school on the first day.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood.