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California

Alan Bernstein is the first African American to chair LA5, the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, which is also the fifth oldest Rotary Club in the world. July 11 was Bernstein’s first time as head of LA5, and the special keynote speaker at the meeting was Jeanie Buss, president and co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. She was introduced and interviewed by stand-up comedian and weathercaster Fritz Coleman of NBC4.

Born in Los Angeles, Bernstien attended Loyola High School, and went on to study business administration at USC. He works at Pace Lithographers, where his clients include USC, Loyola Law School and Mount Saint Mary’s College among others.

Florida

Tom Joyner and Allstate return to Orlando this Labor Day weekend for the annual Tom Joyner Family Reunion with events and concerts featuring the Jacksons, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Yolanda Adams and more. The event, which runs from Aug. 28-Sept. 1, brings together families from all over the country for a weekend filled with concerts, tickets to a Walt Disney World theme park, interaction with celebrities and leaders, seminars and activities for all ages. The reunion will be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.


The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)—one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for supplier diversity—hosts its annual Conference and Business Opportunity Fair in Orlando, Nov. 2-5. The gathering of nearly 7,000 corporate leaders, supplier diversity professionals, Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American-owned businesses and guests from around the world will be held at the Orange County Convention Center. The Walt Disney Company is the corporate co-chair of the four-day conference, and Liberty Power Corp. is the minority business enterprise (MBE) co-chair for the event.

The event includes the one-day Business Opportunity Fair–one of the nation’s largest minority business tradeshows—with more than 700 corporate and MBE exhibit booths. Each day there will be workshops for corporate procurement professionals and minority suppliers. The event concludes with an awards banquet on Wednesday evening, where winners will be announced for Corporation of the Year, Regional Council of the Year, Minority Supplier Development Leader of the Year and Supplier of the Year. Go to www.NMSDCConference.com for more information.

Louisiana

Dillard President Walter M. Kimbrough is a finalist as Best Male HBCU President. Known as the “Hip Hop Prez,” he has garnered national attention with media outlets such as MSNBC, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” and Huffington Post. He is considered an expert on Black fraternities and outspoken when it comes to issues of educational standards, Blacks in technology and Black male education and philanthropy.

Dillard was selected as a finalist in seven other “Best Of” categories sponsored by the HBCU Digest annual awards. Other categories Dillard was nominated for include Best Choir, Best Fine Arts Program, Best Nursing Program, Female Faculty of the Year (Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy), Female Alumna of the Year (Cynthia Butler McIntyre), Female Student of the Year (Nicole Tinson), and HBCU of the Year.

Maryland

“Dare to be King: What if the Prince Lives? A Survival Workbook for African American Males” is an innovative approach to address urban street culture, violence and a self-defeating mindset among African American males. Baltimore-based author David Miller, a former teacher turned social entrepreneur, conceived the workbook. The program is a 52-week life/survival skills curriculum designed to teach alternatives to street life and coach kids to explore opportunities for growth.

Miller created the model to engage young Black males around three critical areas: anger, decision-making and impulse control. He believes that our cities are occupied by thousands of angry males due to failed public policies, absent fathers, eroding communities and dysfunctional schooling. The book is being used in summer- and after-school programs, mentoring projects and faith-based initiatives around the country. The suggested program uses role-playing, case studies, discussion groups and critical thinking activities to attack a mindset of mediocrity and hopelessness. From the likelihood of being victimized by the police to being robbed at gunpoint, the curriculum has developed innovative practices to teach life and survival skills. It also uses the tragic examples of the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant to have dialogue with young males on topics such as community safety, addressing encounters with strangers and the police, and how to handle dangerous situations. Go to www.daretobeking.net for more information.

Michigan

Ford is set to donate $1 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to help celebrate the richness and diversity of the African American experience. The donation continues Ford’s support of African Americans and a 40-year relationship with the Smithsonian Institution. The new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open in 2016. The donation will support the museum’s capital campaign. It will also go toward funding key programs when the museum—the only national site devoted exclusively to documenting African American life, art, history and culture—opens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The museum was established by an act of Congress in 2003 as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian. The nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is under construction on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. It is being outfitted with 11 exhibitions at a cost of about $500 million. The U.S. Congress covers half of the cost; the museum is responsible for raising the rest.

New Jersey

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Tracy Morgan has been released from rehab as he continues to heal from serious injuries he suffered in a car crash that left a fellow comedian dead. He has already filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, claiming the retailer was negligent when one of their drivers rammed into his limousine. Morgan is continuing to work at home on an “aggressive outpatient program,” said his spokesperson. Morgan, who once had his own comedy series and also starred in “30 Rock,” suffered a broken leg and broken ribs when his limo was struck from behind June 7 by a Wal-Mart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident killed 62-year-old comedian James McNair, who went by the name Jimmy Mack. Comic Ardley Fuqua and passenger Jeffrey Millea were also injured.

The lawsuit contends the retail giant should have known that its driver had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his commute was “unreasonable.”

The lawsuit is asking for punitive and compensatory damages.

Wal-Mart responded that it was “cooperating fully” in the investigation. The Wal-Mart truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., has pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto. He’s also been accused of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the accident, which is a violation of New Jersey law.

Ohio

The 2014 National Urban League Conference, with the theme “One Nation Underemployed: Bridges to Jobs and Justice,” will get underway July 23-26 in Cincinnati with more than 8,000 participants expected. The five-day conference will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center and include panels, workshops and networking sessions focused on the most pressing social, political and economic issues facing urban communities across the nation.

Vice President Joe Biden is set to headline a roster of thought leaders, influencers, activists and supporters. These include the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Kevin Johnson, along with six other mayors, including Alvin Brown of Jacksonville, Fla., and Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio. Additional speakers scheduled to appear include Rev. Al Sharpton, Wal-Mart President/CEO William Simon, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Ohio Sen. Nina Turner and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Academy Award winning actor and activist Forest Whitaker will receive a Living Legends Award at the annual Whitney M. Young Jr. gala on July 26.

In addition, 350 young people will be included for four days of rigorous college and career lessons, as well as leadership training. The conference will also include the Women of Power Awards Luncheon, which will honor trailblazing women for their outstanding contribution in the areas of arts, politics, journalism, justice and sports.

Celebrating African American culture and music, on Thursday, July 24, the conference will showcase an advance screening of “Get On Up,” the life story of the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, starring Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Jill Scott. For more information, visit http://conf2014.iamempowered.com.

Texas

Paul Quinn College has turned its football field into a two-acre farm. The school’s president, Michael J. Sorrell, took the initiative in 2010 and has turned a money-losing college football program into a profitable farm enterprise that sells agricultural products to the community, restaurants and the Dallas Cowboys.

Every semester, about 10-15 Paul Quinn College students work on the farm to help pay for their education while others are learning entrepreneurial skills, such as business planning, marketing, the market value of specific foods, food distribution and cash flow analysis first hand.

Sorrell said he wants to transform Paul Quinn College into a nationally elite school focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, academic rigor and leadership. The school was racking up a debt of about $600,000 a year for the football program, and now the farm generates about $10,000 in revenue. The school has developed an orchard, beehives, greenhouses, raised-bed farming and raises tilapia fish aquaponically. Biology and botany classes use the farm to learn soil biology, soil analysis and composting. Visit the farm at www.weovermefarm.com.

Washington, D.C.

On July 10, U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Dave Reichert (R-Washington) officially launched the bipartisan Congressional Youth Development and Crime Prevention Caucus.

“The most important thing we can do in Congress is to protect the future of our nation,” Cárdenas said. “The children who we lose to crime, to poverty and to violence are not just a loss for their friends and family. Every kid who fails to reach his or her potential is a failure on the part of our nation. I want to help my colleagues understand why crime and violence impacts kids throughout our country, how we can stop it, and how we can turn them toward choices that allow them to reach their potential and live a fulfilled life.”

National

Wednesday, Jonathan A. Mason, international president of Phi Beta Sigma, one of the country’s largest African American men’s organizations, kicked off it’s Centennial Week activities with the unveiling of “I Am My Brother’s Keeper,” a 2014-2015 program to address issues impacting men of color, inspired by President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, a White House initiative announced earlier this year. The organization will join the president’s call to action for foundations, business leaders, as well as elected officials and public figures to come together around this important initiative, helping to build ladders of opportunity and unlocking the full potential of boys and young men of color. Broderick Johnson, chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force and assistant to President Obama, delivered remarks on the initiative. Other attendees included: Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network, and George Selvie, NFL football player for the Dallas Cowboys. For more information visit www.PBS100.org.

Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.