Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx will host the BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights on Sept. 14, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham. The event will feature musical performances by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott and 2013 BET Lifetime Achievement Honoree and R&B singer-songwriter Charlie Wilson. Civil rights leaders will also make special appearances. The concert will support “50 Years Forward,” the city’s year-long celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned his famed “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The event, which will be co-produced by Live Nation, will take place at the end of a week-long remembrance of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which killed four girls in 1963 and marked a turning point in the struggle for civil rights.
District of Columbia
Crowdfunding expert, head of diversity and inclusion for ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank,” and Kingonomics author Rodney Sampson will bring more than 100 experts in entrepreneurship and investing to the nation’s capital during the 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington to “define a new shift in the movement from civil rights to economic rights and empowerment through crowdfunding and other investment initiatives.” Featured attendees and presenters include Mark Cuban and Daymond John, both of “Shark Tank”; David Weild, former NASDAQ chairman; Attorney Londell McMillan, owner of The Source & NY Nets, activists Al Sharpton and John Lewis. Mark Burnett, executive producer of “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Shark Tank,” Tank is a conference co-chair. The emancipation of capital gala is the first of its kind designed to celebrate access to capital and crowdfunding. The affair will honor innovators, entrepreneurs and investors that have transformed their respective industries and will also benefit the causes and initiatives that address poverty and the wealth gap for underserved communities.
After sitting in at the capitol for 31 days—since just after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin—the group called the Dream Defenders ended its protest with the help of civil rights icon Julian Bond. Leaders said they’ll carry their campaign against the “stand your ground” self-defense law and what they consider other forms of racial bias to the polls, trying to defeat the elected officials who opposed their demands. That includes Gov. Rick Scott, who is up for re-election next year. The Dream Defenders announced a voter-registration drive, with a goal of 61,550 new voters—Scott’s margin of victory in 2010.
Asha Mandela has survived two heart attacks, cancer, and two strokes, and she believes it’s due to her hair. Mandela stopped cutting her hair in her 20s and began to grow dreadlocks as part of a spiritual journey to remake her life. In its current state, Mandela has to carry her hair, which weighs 39 pounds, in a cloth baby sling when she goes out. In 2008, she was the first person to obtain the Guinness World Record for longest dreadlocks, and a year later, she broke her own record with a strand measuring 19 feet, 6 inches. Last week, one of Mandela’s strands was measured at 55 feet, 7 inches—almost three times the length of her official record. There are physicians who call it a health hazard because of its weight on her neck, but Mandela isn’t worried. “My hair has become part of me. It is my life. I will never cut it,” she said.
To commemorate 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Annapolis-based Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Inc. will unveil the nation’s first memorial to the 250,000 “foot soldiers” of the March—the ordinary citizens who risked the threat of personal harm to magnify the impact of the words of the civil rights leaders who spoke that day. The public is invited to the unveiling of the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial, which includes the names of more than 500 foot soldiers. The ceremony will take place at Annapolis’ Whitmore Park, the site of a bus depot from which Annapolis residents traveled to the march. Speakers at the unveiling of the 2 1/2-ton-granite memorial will include Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman John P. Sarbanes, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, Anne Arundel, County Executive Laura Neuman, Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen, chairwoman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus Delegate Aisha Braveboy and Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Chair Carl Snowden, as well as a local foot soldier. Many of those named on the memorial are expected to be in attendance.
For the first time in its 157-year history, the Mississippi State Medical Association has selected an African American physician to lead its organization. The association, with nearly 5,000 members, elected Claude Brunson, senior adviser to the vice chancellor for external affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and professor of anesthesiology, to serve as its president-elect. That means Brunson will become president the same year the nation recognizes the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. In 1964, the physician in the position Brunson will assume opposed hospital admitting privileges for Black physicians.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit out-of-precinct voting. The group seeks to stop these provisions, arguing that they would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For more information about the case, including a copy of the complaint, visit: aclu.org/voting-rights/league-women-voters-north-carolina-et-al-v-north-carolina.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Young Invincibles have announced the Healthy Young America video contest in an effort to inform young people about health insurance coverage and new options under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. People can submit entries and vote for their favorite video at www.healthyyoungamerica.org. The Affordable Care Act is making healthcare more affordable and accessible for 19 million uninsured young adults across the country. Three million previously uninsured young adults have joined their parents’ health insurance plan because of the healthcare law. Young Invincibles is in the midst of a nationwide campaign designed to inform young adults about coming changes and new options. The campaign includes healthcare “train the trainers” to help community leaders be informed about new changes. A website with frequently asked questions and a mobile app to help consumers learn about their options, find local healthcare services, and get information on enrollment events this fall are also included in the campaign. Young people can access a variety of online tools now, through HealthCare.gov, and count on in-person help to get answers to their questions to help them enroll by Oct. 1.
Compiled by Juliana Norwood.