Malinda Williams (49425)


A new program was launched this week focusing on the needs of the African American community in Tucson. The African American Initiative, a program of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, seeks to improve collaboration among organizations that serve this community and establish a $1 million endowment to fund permanent resources. The Community Foundation has offered to match up to $25,000 in donations to the initiative to help it accomplish its goal of giving away $50,000 in grants this year.


Citing the nation’s evolving demographics, Starz has made changes to its Encore package of channels that translates to shuffling some of the eight Encore-branded channels to target baby boomers, Black and Latino audiences and the company acquiring older TV series to serve them, something rarely done on premium cable which is traditionally built on movies and original series. Starz also is launching a horror block on Encore Suspense. Beginning Dec. 2, Encore Drama will be replaced by Encore Black, a channel catering to the African American community, traditionally over-indexed on premium channel viewership. The channel’s programming lineup will include “Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up” and off-network series “What’s Happening!,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “227,” and “Amen.” The December launch will spotlight actor Samuel L. Jackson with films such as Unbreakable, Losing Isaiah, Freedomland and One Eight Seven.

District of Columbia

Two of the original Tuskegee airmen were honored at a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony. Washington residents William Fauntroy Jr. and Major Louis Anderson were honored during a ceremony at the city’s African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton presented Anderson with a bronze replica of the Tuskegee Airmen’s Congressional Gold Medal. Anderson was part of the ground support service for the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of Black pilots who fought in World War II. Fauntroy was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

A group of U.S. Senators led by Barbara Boxer (D-CA), has introduced bipartisan legislation to amend Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to help prevent abusive treatment of sexual assault victims in a pre-trial setting. A story on the front page of the New York Times recently detailed the case of a female midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy who was subjected to roughly 30 hours of intimidating and invasive questioning by attorneys for her alleged assailants during an Article 32 proceeding—a pre-trial investigation required under the UCMJ before a case can be referred to a general court-martial. Specifically, the bill would limit the scope of Article 32 proceedings to the question of probable cause to help prevent abusive and unwarranted questioning of sexual assault victims, among other provisions.


Production began this week in Atlanta on the UP original movie “Marry Me For Christmas,” a romantic holiday drama. Malinda Williams (“Soul Food”) headlines a talented ensemble cast and serves as an executive producer. “Marry Me For Christmas” will premiere exclusively on UP on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. EST, with encores at 9 and 11 p.m. EST. Along with Williams, the cast includes Brad James (“For Better or Worse,” “Prisoners”), Tamara LaSeon-Bass (“Boston Public,” “The Fugitive”), Jason Weaver (“The LeBrons,” “The Ladykillers”), Karon Riley (“Necessary Roughness,” “Single Ladies”), Deetta West (“Between Sisters,” “JD Lawrence’s Community Service”), Greg Alan Williams (“Necessary Roughness,” “The West Wing”) and Victoria Rowell (“Single Ladies,” “The Young and the Restless”).


Genetic factors in African Americans with chronic kidney disease (CKD) put them at a greater risk for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) compared to White Americans, according to a new study released in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland contributed data from two separate studies: the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC). Both studies identified high-risk genetic variants in the gene that speeds up kidney disease progression and substantially increases the risk of developing kidney failure in Whites and Blacks with low-risk variants, with or without diabetes. Approximately 1 in 10 Blacks possess the high-risk variants, while it is very uncommon in Whites.


A mass shooting took place on Nov. 6 at Al’s Place, a barbershop in Detroit, and community members are outraged that there hasn’t been nearly the amount of national media coverage that other shootings have garnered. Two men drove up to the barbershop in Chevrolet Impalas and began exchanging gunfire. The police arrived two minutes after being called finding two men dead and at least seven people injured. A third injured man died later at the hospital. One person of interest in the crimes was arrested Thursday but he has not yet been charged in connection with the slayings. The community is angered that the story hasn’t been widely shared and believe that is because it happened in Detroit.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus recently hosted a roundtable discussion with business and community leaders in Detroit. Aligning with the RNC’s Growth & Opportunity initiative to continue engagement and dialogue in minority communities, the chairman addressed the continued economic hardships Black Americans face under the Obama administration and Republican solutions for real opportunities in these communities. Chairman Priebus also discussed the RNC’s efforts to expand engagement among Black voters in Michigan.


In support of November as American Diabetes Month, Colgate Total® has launched “Watch Your Mouth!” a new campaign to help raise awareness about the often overlooked link between oral health and diabetes. Celebrity Dentist Catrise Austin, D.D.S. is an oral health expert and American Diabetes Association ambassador who has joined Colgate’s panel of health and wellness experts to educate the 26 million children and adults in the United States living with diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease. “It’s important for the public to know that there is a strong connection between diabetes and gum disease,” says Dr. Austin. “About 95 percent of diabetics suffer from mild, moderate, or advanced gum disease which is indicated by signs of bleeding gums, loss of gum tissues, loose teeth, persistent bad breath, and more.” To better equip diabetes patients and their families with the resources they need to take care of their smiles, the Colgate Total® “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign has assembled a panel of health and wellness experts to provide information and helpful tips.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood.