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    Calling K-12 student artists for The Walls Project’s juried show

    “Education as a Civil Right,” New Schools for Baton Rouge’s Fall 2019 Convening, is proud to partner with The Walls Project in a call for artistic submissions from student-artists interested in participating in the event’s juried art show.

    Students are encouraged to reflect on their interpretation of the theme.

    WHO: K-12 student artists
    WHAT: Artwork expressing the theme of “Education as a Civil Right”
    WHEN: Now through Tuesday, October 29 and online.

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  • DrumRoll! Congratulations to Tapo, Branson, Stewart, Plummer, Harris, and Golden

    Attorneys Taryn Branson and Joyce Marie Plummer received the Joyn M Clemons Award for Outstanding Legal Work during the 2019 Louisiana NAACP State Convention in Marksville. Plummer was also recognized as a life member of the NAACP by president Michael McClanahan.

    Kathie Stromile Golden, Ph.D., has been appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Mississippi Valley State University. She served as director of international programs at MVSU. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in political science from Southern University and A&M College and a doctorate in political science from the University of Kentucky.

    Tina M. Harris has joined LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication as the Manship-Maynard Chair in Race, Media and Cultural Literacy—the first position of its type in the nation. Harris will do research and teaching on advancing issues of diversity, access and social justice in media and society, and will build upon her extensive research base. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. She is the co-author of the textbook, Interracial Communication: Theory Into Practice. Her other research interests include communication and pedagogy; diversity and media representations; race and ethnic disparities; and religious frameworks in health communication.

    Calvin Mackie, Ph.D., of New Orleans, recently received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Award from U.S Rep. Cedric L. Richmond during the 2019 Annual Legislative Conference. Mackie is the founder of STEM NOLA. The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF and recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally. STEM NOLA has engaged more than 40,000 K-12 students, 10,000 families, 700 college students and 500 professionals in STEM events. Mackie was honored along with Wanda Austin, PhD, aeronautics and systems engineer; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; The Exonerated Five: Yusef Salaam, PhD, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Antron McCray, survivors of false convictions and social justice advocates; and the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist.

    Southern University at Baton Rouge’s enrollment climbed above 7,000 according to its fall 2019 preliminary enrollment report. This year, Southern will host 7,031 students, representing a 5.1 percent increase in enrollment since the fall 2018 semester. In two years, Southern has grown its enrollment by 10.6 percent. Officials said the increase can be attributed to aggressive recruitment strategies, retention, and intrusive advisement initiatives, and additional wrap-around services for students who may need increased assistance.

    U.S. 5th Circuit Court Chief Judge Carl Stewart is the 2019 recipient of the Louisiana NAACP A.P. Tureaud Award. This is the highest award given by the state organization.

    Zhorie’l Tapo, a fifth-grader at L.J. Alleman Fine Arts Magnet Academy, has been selected as the only Louisiana Kid Reporter for the 2019-2020 Scholastic Kids Press. The Lafayette 10-year-old will report “news for kids, by kids” as a Scholastic Kid Reporter. She will be covering events throughout Louisiana, the region and nation on topics including entertainment, sports and breaking news. (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

    The Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association welcomed a class of new volunteers at the conclusion of the Sept. 19 training session. Juvenile Court Judge Adam Haney swore in Patti Crump, Debbie Emery, Karen Godwin, Eboni Kaigler, Chiquita Kelly, Lindsey Litchfield, Helen Meyer, Brian Morin, Nicole Morin, Tommy Ray, Wendy Ray, Reba Roy, Mike Rush, Dona Sharkey, Wayne Sharkey, Michelle Sparks, Edward Stephen, Holly Tupper, Charles Vaughan, Dishili Young, and Nathan Zeller as volunteers. They will be appointed to advocate and help abused and neglected children reach safe homes with forever families.

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    Dr. Leonard Weather appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

    The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners announced that Dr. Leonard Weather was appointed to one of two positions on its board of directors as a representative for the Louisiana Medical Association.

    Weather is an obstetrician-gynecologist. Prior to Hurricane Katrina his practice was in New Orleans; it is now in Shreveport. He received his bachelor of science in Pharmacy from Howard University in 1967, and his MD from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, in 1974. He completed his internship, residency and fellowship in Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and finished the program in 1978. 

    Dr. Weather is a health educator and professor, ordained minister, artist, author and photographer. He has authored three inspirational poetry books and an infertility handbook. He is an active gynecological clinical trials researcher, has presented over 190 peer reviewed presentations and papers on pelviscopic surgical treatment of infertility, endometriosis, pelvic pain and fibroids. He invented the surgical procedure Optical Dissection Pelviscopy, to assist in the prevention of organ injury during laparoscopy. Dr. Weather is a past president (2010-2011) of the National Medical Association, the New Orleans Medical Association and the Louisiana Medical Association, and currently serves as the president of the Northern Louisiana Medical Association. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors to the Endometriosis Association, World Endometriosis Society, a fellow of the Academy of Physicians in Clinical Research, and Grand President of the Chi Delta Mu Medical Fraternity.

    The mission of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is to protect and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana through licensing, regulation, research, and discipline of physicians and allied health professionals in a manner that protects the rights and privileges of the licensees.

    ONLINE: www.lsbme.la.gov

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  • Selena Sanchez serves with High-Tech U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron

    SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 3rd Class Selena Sanchez, a native of Leesville, Louisiana, was inspired by her sister to join the Navy.

    “She was in the Air Force and she told me it was the best decision she ever made in her life,” Sanchez said. “I like being around the ocean so I figured I’d go into the Navy.”

    Now, two years later, Sanchez serves with the Scorpions of Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 49, working with one of the Navy’s most advanced helicopters at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.

    “It’s hard on some days but everybody really gets along most days,” Sanchez said. “It’s pretty fun. I made a lot of friends and we all work really well together.”

    Sanchez, a 2017 graduate of Leesville High School, is an aviation structural mechanic with HSM 49, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.

    “I fix helicoptors, such as H-60 Romeos, anti-submarine and search and rescue helicopters,” said Sanchez.

    Sanchez credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Leesville.

    “I learned the golden rule: Do unto others as you want to be done to you,” said Sanchez.

    HSM 49′s primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments as an expeditionary unit. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations.

    According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the Navy’s new primary maritime dominance helicopter. Greatly enhanced over its predecessors, the MH-60R helicopter features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements, which give it unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission naval platform.

    As the U.S. Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R “Romeo” is the cornerstone of the Navy’s Helicopter Concept of Operations. Anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are the MH-60R’s primary missions. Secondary missions include search and rescue, medical evacuation, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, communications relay, command, control, communications, command and control warfare and non-combat operations.“All our platforms are pretty unique,” Sanchez said. “Rotary wing is completely different than fixed wing because there’s a lot more that goes into it.”

    Serving in the Navy means Sanchez is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

    “Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Sanchez is most proud of being promoted to third class petty officer.

    “I worked hard for it,” said Sanchez.

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Sanchez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

    “Serving in the Navy is a big responsibility and a big commitment and it’s a very good learning experience,” said Sanchez.

    By Jerry Jimenez
    Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
    Navy Office of Community Outreach

    Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown

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    Invisible Illness on full display through Picture of Health

    For someone who began capturing photos at seven years old, seeing life through a lens is second nature. And, using photography for the purpose of storytelling is a skill Baton Rouge photographer and journalist Leslie D. Rose has mastered with The Picture of Health photo project that displays the full scope of people living with invisible illnesses. From capturing bottles of medicines and supplements, medical equipment, vials of blood of another, bundles of hair loss, and hidden scars, Rose takes great care to present photographic stories of people living with invisible, chronic, and often debilitating diseases.

    For many people living with invisible illnesses, very rarely do they “look sick.” And quite often, there is no celebration in looking like they are disease-free when beneath the surface their bodies are fighting debilitating conditions or chronic pain.

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    In fact, a moment of conversation with someone living with diseases like multiple sclerosis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, or lupus, will reveal little known truths about the appearance of illness and the journey to get to an accurate diagnosis. These truths are some of the reasons Rose unveiled The Picture of Health photo exhibit this summer at the Healthcare Gallery and followed with a three-month show at Southern Cofe in Scotlandville.

    Inspired by her own fibromyalgia journey and her husband’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Rose created this exhibit to help non-ill people better understand what “sick” really looks like while giving the power of transparency to people who are chronically ill. Shining light on invisible illnesses of all kinds has become a passion project for her after a simple Facebook post that asked people to comment with a selfie if they had invisible illnesses. More than a hundred posts and responses followed and she realized something should be done. “And this (exhibit) is that something,” Rose said. “The biggest thing is to elicit compassion.”

    Leslie D Rose

    Leslie D Rose

    For those viewing the exhibit at the gallery and coffee shop, The Picture of Health accomplishes more.
    “This exhibit is moving. I see myself in every picture,” said Vanessa Pitts who has lived with systemic lupus erythematosus for more than 20 years.

    Tinicia Turner said this is “such an awesomely fresh and thought-provoking exhibit.”

    “Thanks, Leslie D Rose for bringing light to those suffering in the shadows,” said Tamiko Francis Garrison whose photo presents polycystic kidney disease and migraines in the exhibit.

    The exhibit features more than one dozen Louisianians living with invisible illnesses like kidney disease, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, autism, psoriatic arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, high blood pressure, and more. They volunteer to share their stories. In five months since the reveal, Rose has photographed people with ten different conditions.

    The photos show people in the manner in which they present themselves daily. Using a mixture of headshots, full-body shots, and shots of the individual’s hands holding a sign listing their diagnosis, the exhibit focuses on the perceived normalcy of people housed in ill bodies. Photographs are also shared on @PicofHealthBR social media pages along with hashtags of illnesses to expand awareness and garner more participation. The mission is to highlight invisible illness, elicit compassion, and promote education on a variety of health issues.

    For those who are photographed, the project is liberating. “This was one of the most rewarding and freeing experience of my life! To be able to see so many people who, suffer with invisible illnesses, share their journeys was truly inspiring. It was also quite amazing to see what they battle everyday. These warriors inspired me and filled the room with love and hope!” said Sylvia Chapman.

    One of the exhibit’s collections features Chapman who shared how psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis sent her life spiraling through debilitating health crisis and depression. “I often asked God why this was happening to me and then I started to see purpose in it,” Chapman said. For her, the yearlong Picture of Health exhibit helps her release her purpose of showing others that they can survive and live their lives completely with illness.

    “To have our silent suffering validated and brought to light is healing, and Leslie’s work is beautiful,” said Meghan Matt. In September, Rose gathered participants and the public for a Coffee Chat at Southern Cofe to dialogue on invisible illnesses. They answered candid questions on diagnosis, fears, frustrations, and relationships.

    “My heart is full because so many people are interested in promoting invisible illness awareness,” said Rose who plans to host more events.

    “I have been somewhat shocked by the demographics of people who have signed up to be featured in The Picture of Health. I think I’ve inadvertently given encouragement to women who look like me and inspired them to share their stories. I have worked to create a safe space for those with illnesses to share their stories, but it appears that my own identity has given way for other women of color to feel even more comfortable sharing,” she said.

    “It is truly amazing the response and amount of support this project has received. Leslie has definitely created something educational, relatable, eye-opening, and beautiful,” said exhibit curator April Baham.
    Pieces are still being added to the exhibit and a full showing is being scheduled for May 2020.
    Rose’s activism-based arts organization, CreActiv, LLC seeks a temporary home for the preview pieces on display and a location to host the full exhibit next year.

    On Sunday, Oct.13, the group hosted a panel discussion, “Invisible Illness Awareness through the Arts,” to explore art as a tool for building awareness around the taboo subject of health issues. Panelists will discuss the creation of the project, stigmas surrounding disclosing illnesses, what it is like to have an invisible illness, ways to elicit compassion for those who suffer every day, and more. The program also featured a musical performance by Chris “The Madd Katt” Lee that will depict the pain of sciatica through drum beats. Lee is an “invisible illness warrior” featured in the exhibit.

    “The mission of pushing invisible illness to the forefront of the conversation is very hard…People who wake up in pain but generally look well fight everyday to act how they look instead of allowing their bodies to feel. This is a super trying process. I appreciate everyone’s support, but I fear that our voices are not yet loud enough. …Feel how you feel, support yourself, talk about it, support other invisible illness warriors, and champion this mission,” said Rose.

    ONLINE: www.CreActivLLC.com
    SOCIAL MEDIA: @PicofHealthBR

    By Candace J Semien
    Jozef Syndicate ereporter
    @JozefSyndicate

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    New Orleans minister defends new ‘Emoji’ R&B single

    Switching genres is any creative space isn’t an easy task. Artists, writers, and musicians who do so seamlessly can often be met with resistance. There is always the expectations of fans to create better books, music, or art but often within the scope of the performers’ known area. Recently, Kanye West was met with criticism following his Sunday Service performance at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

    Critics said West’s project is blasphemous–among other things.

    “We really have to unlearn what we have been trained to believe is ministry,” said New Orleans minister Roosevelt Wright III who recently released an R&B single, “Emoji.” The song is mainstream, pop, and high-energy—not quite what people have come to expect for ministry music.

    “Emoji is a fun song with a nice Afro-beat groove but if you listen to the words carefully, you’ll see it’s really just a song about communication. I believe the root of a great relationship is the ability of two people to let nothing hinder them from being able to talk to each other. More importantly, tell each other how they feel. Check up on each other and lift each other’s spirit,” Wright said.

    The song was released mid-August on more than a dozen platforms including iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Tidal, Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer. It is the first single for Wright’s upcoming full project release, “How To Love”.

    The music was produced by Skirmisher Beat Squad.  Wright wrote and arranged it while producer Brandon Barre mastered and engineered it. Wright clarifies the message of his latest–and 11th–project.

    ‘Emoji’ doesn’t fit the praise and worship, Gospel music genre but sits smack in the R&B, love song mix. As a minister, why would you create an R&B love song and album without the mentioning of God or salvation?
    WRIGHT: We’ve been taught that ministry is Worship music only. Worship music is a resource for ministry, and a very vital ingredient, but it is not the only tool God can use. If ministry is truly about healing and building all of God’s people, then that includes those who may not be members of a particular church and may not gravitate to the Worship arena. My God is not in a box and if God is really going to reach this generation then Chance the Rapper is just as important as Tye Tribbett. Kanye West is just as anointed as Kirk Franklin. If my marriage is going through a rough spot and I need to relight the fire in my relationship, why exclude God from that? R&B has the power to make people love and care about each other. Isn’t that what God asked us to do? R&B music can be just as anointed as Gospel when it is created with purpose.

     How can you say this single, “Emoji,” and the “How to Love” project is God-led? What’s the message or messages you’re delivering?

    WRIGHT: Well it’s definitely God-led… These songs are definitely from the soul and written with a purpose.. People fall in love in one minute and in less than a month they are already done with each other. It says to me there is a deeper issue in our community that we seem to avoid and ignore.
    We don’t know how to love. We have workshops and retreats and forums but many times they are so “churchy” that the people who really need the advice don’t even participate. If the church is serious about saving marriages and building young adults, then we have to seriously look at measures which go beyond the parameters of the traditional version of ministry. I want every child to grow up in a great family structure. I want every woman to leave her house confident that her man is being faithful. I want every man to be excited about being a husband, a father, or just a good dude who cares about his lady. Most people have good intentions. We simply lose focus.

    Can you be more specific?

    WRIGHT: I want this project to make couples give it another shot. I want this project to give hope to people who feel they are successful yet still single. We all have a lot to learn about love. Even us. But we hope our journey can help our peers understand how to make it work in a way that has truly helped us.

    How have you addressed those people who challenge your message in this project?

    WRIGHT: I learned a long time ago… I will never fit into religious boxes. I don’t think what I am doing will surprise any of the clergy because I have always been an outsider anyway. I am strategic and purposeful in everything I do and most times they don’t understand it until they see the results that I have ALWAYS produced. I love the culture…I’m cut from a different cloth and I do not play with my purpose. I think churches should invite my wife and me to speak. The way we are structured makes sense. We are cultivated in the Word yet we are not so religious that we can’t connect with our peers. We love being who we are… young, free, eclectic, and saved.

    How welcoming do you expect churches or congregations to receive these messages around love? Is a church tour a possibility?
    WRIGHT: I’m an optimistic person. I think people who are truly Kingdom-minded will understand that this is an emergency. Our churches and families are failing because we neglect to talk about the things that are urgent in their lives. Sexual frustration is tearing up Christian relationships. Lack of communication is destroying families.

    Misunderstanding of our roles in a relationship kills it before it really gets started. Most importantly, being over religious ain’t never kept a fire burning. Many of us are imprisoned and so indoctrinated by improper religious teachings that we think we’ll go to hell if we make love with our own spouses. We don’t have those problems in my house! We truly believe you can love God as a priority and love each other with exclusivity and it is supposed to be exciting. We can’t say God created everything but exclude Him from intimacy. That is important to God too and the more we avoid it the more issues we will have with broken families and heartbroken adults who really want to share their life with someone.

    Your style has been highly charged for 20 years, how is this an extension of what you’ve done creatively and as pastor in New Orleans?
    WRIGHT: I don’t look at any project as an individu
    al entity. Everything is just another chapter in a collective body of work…I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time. Much of my success is centered my work with building relationships. I’ve produced a movie about it (“Get The Ring Keep The Ring”) and I’ve also written books about it. Through social media I connect with thousands of people daily and we are all growing together. This is just an extension of all of that… a continued effort to keep spreading positive vibes and light.

    How important has it been for you to do so many facets of creating and not just focus on one thing?
    WRIGHT: I’ve always been told I had to be a certain way to thrive within a genre and I have let that strip me of who I am. If you are a minister you’re supposed to dress like this. You can’t say this. You can’t listen to this. You can’t be seen over there with them. It’s a bunch of rules that God never orchestrated. I’m free in my mind and in my spirit and I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do. Everybody won’t be used the same way. We are all built and cultivated for the assignment on our lives. If you know me or have ever met me then you know I am built for this. I don’t have to be a preacher to preach.

    ONLINE: www.rotivation.com

    By Candace J Semien
    Jozef Syndicate reporter
    @JozefSyndicate

    REad the entire interview at Jozef Syndicate.

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    Bradie James hosts inaugural internship with three scholars

    LSU alumnus Bradie James has collaborated with the LSU Office of Diversity to launch the Tiger Research Group internship program. This summer three students were given the opportunity to be the first James Interns: Justin Evans, a native of New Orleans; Todd Sterling Jr., a native of Baton Rouge; and John Wilson, a native of Lafayette.

    Interns were selected from the Presidents Millennial Scholars Program, or PMSP, and the Black Male Leadership Initiative, or BMLI, and were invited to participate in the summer internship program.
    Exposure to leadership, mentoring, and internships as a way to expand undergraduate co-curricular experiences is a central focus of both PMSP and BMLI. Participants in the programs believe that their co-curricular experiences are what differentiate them from other students upon graduation.

    “Internships play a critical role in helping to determine if the field of study a student is in, is really what he or she wants to do upon graduating,” said Sterling, a PMSP Scholar. “Taking part in the internship program allowed me the opportunity to use what I’ve learned from marketing and sales classes and apply it to real-world scenarios, and also to bring fresh ideas to Bradie’s team. Learning and working with an accomplished man like Bradie shows the kind of work ethic needed to develop and to have success in both life and business. I am very thankful for being able to take part in a trailblazing experience like the Tiger Research Group internship program, and looking forward to graduating this December and maybe working with Mr. James’ company in the future!”

    The four-week paid internship provided the students with real-world work experience that enabled them to practically apply what they are learning in their classes in a work setting. An additional benefit of participating in the program is that the students were personally mentored by James, who shared his entrepreneurial experience and his own understanding of navigating the obstacles and challenges that students sometimes face trying to transition from student to professional.

    “My experience with the internship program was amazing. It’s not often you get to engage in conversation with a man of his caliber, especially as an African American. I was able to gain insight on daily business operations and the purpose and plan behind everything Bradie and his team wanted to achieve. Through that, I was allowed to apply the knowledge I have acquired at LSU to help them achieve their goals. So as my senior year is coming to an end, I can say that after this internship I have gained more confidence and hope in myself to cultivate success whether as an employee or an employer,” said Wilson, a BMLI Fellow.

    The Office of Diversity hopes to develop more programs of this type and is eternally grateful to James for his vision, leadership, and support.

    “Mr. James has always given back to his alma mater and helping students in this fashion is a perfect partnership for LSU, Mr. James, and the national diversity advisory board,” said Vice Provost for Diversity Dereck Rovaris.

    The purpose of the LSU Black Male Leadership Initiative Fellows Program is to help improve retention, graduation, and participation rates for black male students through mentoring, leadership development, and academic support while connecting these students with faculty, staff, and the campus community.

    ONLINE: www.lsu.edu/diversity

    Photo: Bradie James with interns Justin Evans and John Wilson

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    Cassandra Chaney chronicles police brutality, African-American community in new book

    Given the increasing attention to unarmed African Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of police, LSU School of Social Work professor Cassandra Chaney examined community sentiment regarding police in her new book titled “Police Use of Excessive Force against African Americans: Historical Antecedents and Community Perceptions.”

    The book delves into how the early antecedents of police brutality like plantation overseers, the lynching of African American males, early race riots, the Rodney King incident, and the Los Angeles Rampart Scandal have directly impacted the current relationship between communities of color and police.

    “Each public incident of mistreatment, such as assault and murder, of African Americans erodes the trust members of this group have of police and makes it more difficult for honorable law enforcement officers to effectively do their jobs,” Chaney said. “As a child and family studies scholar, I know well that these events do not just affect the person, but the families and communities of which they are a part.”

    Cassandra Chaney

    Cassandra Chaney

    Chaney and co-author Ray V. Robertson, an associate professor of sociology at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, further studies how African American college students perceive police in order to delve into how race, gender, and education create different realities among a demographic. The scholars chose to study the attitudes of African American college students because this demographic is typically at a developmental stage of life when they are becoming more aware of their values and what is happening in the world around them.

    “In my experience, African American college students have a lot to say about what is wrong with the world, and they see themselves as potential agents of change. Furthermore, their perceptions and sentiment of police mistreatment, such as assault and/or murder, is based on their personal experience, the experience of family and friends as well as the experience of African Americans throughout the nation,” Chaney said.

    Based on their findings, Chaney and Robertson offer recommended policies and strategies for police and communities to improve relationships and perceptions between the two.

    Chaney recently was awarded a Dean Larry Davis Social Justice Fund grant by the National Association of Deans and Directors for her project titled “Nothing Can Change until It Is Faced: Community Sentiment of Police in Low-Income Disenfranchised Communities.”

    “In this project, I will continue my work in this area by examining how African Americans of different ages perceive members of law enforcement. In particular, this work will examine how attitudes regarding law enforcement form, conversations African American parents have with their children regarding police and strategies individuals and families in low-income communities use to maintain safety in their communities,” she said.

    Chaney is a Black families’ scholar with broad interests in the formation, structure, and function of Black families. In particular, her research examines the narratives of single, dating, cohabiting, and married Blacks, as well as how religion and spirituality support these families, both historically and today. Using a variety of theoretical lenses, she qualitatively explores intimacy and commitment in Black heterosexual relationships, emphasizing how demonstrations and perceptions of masculinity/manhood and femininity/womanhood shape this discourse.

    ONLINE: Police Use of Excessive Force against African Americans: Historical Antecedents and Community Perceptions: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498539180/Police-Use-of-Excessive-Force-against-African-Americans-Historical-Antecedents-and-Community-Perceptions

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    Twins’ superhero party at Knock Knock museum gives lessons, toys to others

    Diamond Sherrod and husband, Dr. Rome Sherrod hosted a birthday party with a cause for their 5-year-old twin sons, Rome and Paten.

    Diamond Sherrod rented the Knock Knock Children’s Museum Saturday, Sept. 28, and invited 50 of their friends, but the boys did not receive gifts. All of the gifts that their party guests brought were given to homeless children at St. Vincent de Paul.

    “I want to foster a spirit of empathy, gratitude and giving back in my kids and others, while bringing awareness to the difference between the socio-economic experience of their lives and the lives of kids who are homeless. (We) want to raise good human beings,” said the mother.

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    “I also want to encourage other parents to do the same,” she said. “Some of our kids are growing up with a sense of entitlement and even though they are young, it’s important to instill in them the value of practicing gratitude.”

    Sherrod said she and other parents are guilty of what she calls “perfectionist parenting.”

    “We’re worried about getting them into the best schools and getting the best grades or what they will be instead of being concerned with how they will be. This party experience (was) about changing the narrative of their lives to center around empathy, gratitude and giving back. We’re helping to create their story now.”

    During the Superheroes-themed party, she explained her goal and told the young guests that they are Superheroes of Louisiana for helping those in need.

    “True superheroes are giving, caring, courageous, kind, vulnerable, and empathetic,” Sherrod said.
    In addition to enjoying activities at the museum, the children made capes, had their faces painted, and took pictures with superheroes.

    Each child received a Superhero cape and a certificate. The twins also received Superhero of Louisiana certificates signed by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

    Sherrod asked parents to join her in donating to an organization that hosts birthday parties for kids at homeless shelters. She’s raised more than $1,400–surpassing her goal of $1,000.

    Event planner Qunitina Ricks, of Flare Event Design, said more than 250 gifts were collected for homeless kids in Baton Rouge, and more than 150 guests attended Rome and Paten’s Royal Avengers Birthday Party.

    By Michelle McCalope
    The Drum Contributing Writer
    @thedrumnews

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    Southern University Ag Center Medicinal Marijuana Program to Host Job Fair

    The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants will be hosting a job fair on Monday, October. 21. The Institute is hosting the fair for its medicinal marijuana program partner, Ilera Holistic Healthcare.

    Candidates will be interviewed on-site from 4pm to 7pm at the SU Ag Center’s M.A. Edmond Livestock Arena, located at 14600 Scenic Highway Baton Rouge, LA 70507.

    Positions available:
    6 Cultivation Technicians
    2 – Packing (hiring within 60-90 days out)
    2 – Trimmers (hiring within 60-90 days out)
    2 – Extracting (hiring within 60-90 days out)
    2 Sales and Education Outreach Reps
    1 Controller

    Applications will also be available for other upcoming positions.

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    Black News Channel launches in America, teams with newspapers nationwide

    In a joint teleconference broadcast live from the Four Season’s Hotel in New York’s Financial District, the Black News Channel (BNC) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association announced the official launch date and time for the nation’s first 24-hour, 7-days a week all-news TV channel that will focus on African-American news.

    The new channel promises to inform, educate, and empower nearly 50 million African Americans now living in the United States.

    The potential for the network appears almost limitless.

    BNC will immediately have the potential to reach 33 million households daily in all the major media markets across the nation.

    Combined with the millions of readers who consume information from NNPA’s Black-owned newspapers and media companies each week, the BNC could quickly become the top destination for all who want to consume African American news on TV and on mobile devices.

    BNC, which officially launches at 6 a.m. on Friday, November 15, 2019 has agreements with Charter Communications, Comcast, and DISH TV. The network already has commitments for carriage in major African American hubs like Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, DC, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

    Tallahassee, Florida, houses BNC’s headquarters, and the network will have news bureaus around the country, including Washington, D.C. and New York City.

    Former Republican U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts is chairman of BNC, which is backed financially by business mogul and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

    “This platform will create a venue for the African American community to have a dialogue to talk about news, education and cultural things,” stated Watts, who added that the network has been in the planning stage for many years.

    “I had an afro when I started this,” Watts referenced.

    “It’s especially important to have the Black Press of America join us in this venture. I bet most people don’t realize that there are 223 African American-owned newspapers in the NNPA, and that’s content for us,” Watts stated.

    “We suffered a big blow with the loss of Ebony and Jet, publications I grew up reading. But I still read the Black Press in Oklahoma City, growing up.”

    NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who participated in the teleconference, said the NNPA’s partnership with the BNC is a profound win-win for Black America.

    “This year marks the 192nd year of the Black Press of America. Black Americans striving for excellence in all fields of endeavor give life to our culture that attracts and impacts all people. We set trends for ourselves and others,” Chavis stated.

    “We’re not a cursed people, and we are a blessed people. We continue to strive for excellence, and to have Shad Khan announced as a primary investor for the launch and sustainable development of the BNC is of major significance,” Chavis said.

    Kahn told NNPA Newswire that the decision to back BNC was easy once he looked at the mission and the business model.

    “I am a big believer in the fact that we have a number of communities, obviously especially the African-American community, who are underserved,” said Kahn, a magnate in the auto equipment industry.

    In addition to the Jaguars, he owns the Fulham Football Club of the English Football League, All Elite Wrestling, and the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.

    “I hope that as time goes on, this becomes a bridge to connect all the cultures, including obviously south Asian. But I do believe there is an undeniable calling for everything the Black News Channel will deliver to African American television audiences, who have historically been underserved in an era where networks have otherwise successfully targeted news to specific demographic groups and interests. My decision to invest is an easy one because we get to answer that calling,” Kahn explained.

    Both Watts and Kahn promised that BNC will give a voice to the varied experiences of African Americans and will not just tell a segment of the story but will tell the entire story.

    “We will inform, educate, inspire, and empower the African American community,” Watts added.

    BNC will have three primary anchor teams who will host the network’s evening newscast, morning newscast, and mid-day D.C. Today Live broadcast. In addition to primary anchor teams, BNC also will have high-profile expert contributors who will add commentary and information to each newscast.

    The network will work with historically black colleges and universities to ensure that all African Americans have a voice.

    A BNC correspondent will examine life on the HBCU campuses and explain why the experiences students have at these institutions of learning are so meaningful in the cultural development of many students’ lives. The weekly one-hour program will focus on what is happening at HBCUs that is good, positive, and uplifting.

    Additionally, one of the many topics will include Sickle Cell Diseases, the blood disorder that disproportionately affects African Americans.

    Veteran TV anchor Kelly Wright, who will host a 6 p.m. show on BNC, said his inaugural program would include a segment on the NNPA’s missing black girls national series.

    That series spotlights the more than 424,000 African American women and girls who have gone missing in the United States over the past half-decade.

    “We’re not looking to be Republican or Democrat. There will be current affairs, but we are culturally specific to the African American community. MSNBC, Fox News, CNN may have African American faces on their news shows, but they are not necessarily covering the community from a cultural perspective,” Watts said. “We’re not looking to be left or right. We will be authentic and true to enriched and diverse African American experience.”

    By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
    @StacyBrownMedia

    Read more »
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    Baton Rouge Metro Airport 14th Annual “Business Opportunities Workshop held Oct 16

    The Baton Rouge Metro Airport (BTR) Business Opportunities Workshop will be held tomorrow, October 16th, from 7:30 am to noon at the BTR Multiplex Facility, 4400 Airpark Blvd.

    This is a free event for all firms interested in pursuing work at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

    Attendees can network with local firms of all sizes and learn about opportunities at BTR. The workshop will also provide an overview of Small & Disadvantaged Business (S/DBE) Programs, and show how to navigate opportunities in Baton Rouge. Attendees will learn what it takes to become DBE certified and get information on upcoming projects at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

    Additional information can be found at www.flybtr.com or by calling BTR at 225-355-0333.

    Read more »
  • Climate Modeling Workshop teaches new software Oct. 15_16

    The SU Ag Center’s Air, Nutrient, Soil, Water, Ecosystem, and Remote Sensing (SU-ANSWERS) Institute will host a two-day Educational Global Climate Modeling (EdGCM) Workshop on October 15-16, 2019.

    The workshop will be held in the GIS Laboratory, room 390, of the P.B.S. Pinchback Engineering Building on the campus of Southern University. The October 15 session will begin at 1 p.m., and the October 16 session will begin at 9:30 a.m.

    EdGCM is a software suite that allows users to run a fully functional 3D Global Climate Model (GCM) on laptops or desktop computers. The Global Climate Model was developed by NASA and has been used in research projects by scientists worldwide to study climates of the past, present, and future. EdGCM provides a user-friendly interface, as well as a database and scientific visualization tools that make it possible for educators and students to access some of NASA’s most advanced climate modeling capabilities.

    The aim of this workshop is to equip students and educators with a scientific model to predict climate change and assess the impacts of changing climates.

    The workshop is free and open to the public. For registration information, contact Zhu Ning, Ph.D., Director of the SU-ANSWERS Institute and Endowed Professor in the SU College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, at zhu_ning@subr.edu or by calling 225-771-6292.

    The EdGCM Workshop is funded by a USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Capacity Building Grants titled, “A Modeling Approach to Climate Change and Natural Resource Education.” EdGCM is the creation and intellectual property of Columbia University and NASA.

    The mission of the SU-ANSWERS Institute is to promote natural and biological resources conservation through research, education, and service to communities both in urban and rural settings. For additional information about the SU-ANSWERS Institute visit http://suagcenter.com/page/southern-university-institute-for-air-nutrients-soil-water-ecosystem-and-remote-sensing.

    NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research are co-sponsors of this event.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk
    Special to The

    Read more »
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    LEH is calling all aspiring young artists, illustrators for scholarship opportunity

    Applications are due November 1 for the Gustave Blache III Art Scholarship, offered by the LEH and the School of Visual Arts in New York City and open to all aspiring artists from Louisiana interested in attending SVA.

    The scholarship helps cover tuition and housing costs associated with pursuing either Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts degrees in Illustration at SVA, one of the nation’s premier art schools. Applications are due November 1.

    Full scholarship and application details can be found on LEH’s website.

    Feature photo of previous scholarship winners Marguerite Michel and Paul Michael Wright

    Read more »
  • In This Issue

    Cover story: Picture of Health Exhibit of people living with Invisible Illness
    Features: 3rd generation farming, Emoji R&B single, 5-year old twins host superhero party, ​Understanding Black suicide
    Ads: John bel Edwards, Tim Temple, Preston Castille, The Collective, Louisiana Lupus Foundation, Dr. Rani Whitfield, Louisiana Book Festival

    Read and share this issue now.

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    Tuquisha Adams takes marines to the fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

    SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 3rd Class Tuquisha Adams, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, was inspired to join the Navy after her mother passed away.
    “I lost my mom and I was on a mission to make her proud,” Adams said. “One morning I woke up and the military was on my mind just out of blue.”

    Now, two years later, Adams serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.“This is my first command,” Adams said. “Every day is a different experience. You never know what you’re going to get, but so far so good. I have had a learning experience. I have grown since I’ve been here.”

    Adams, a 2008 graduate of Fair Park High School, is an aviation boatswain’s mate handler aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

    “I am a landing and launching aircraft petty officer,” Adams said. “I’m also training petty officer and assisting yeoman.”

    Adams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Shreveport. “I learned to choose my friends wisely and never let anyone determine my future,” said Adams.

    Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

    Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

    Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

    “They’re hard workers,” Adams said. “It comes with the field that they’re in.”

    Serving in the Navy means Adams is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.“Our priorities center on people, capabilities, and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Adams is most proud of earning a promotion to third class petty officer.

    “I was proud to see that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed,” said Adams.

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Adams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

    “Serving in the Navy means that I’m a part of something huge,” Adams said. “I am fighting for people I would never meet a day in my life and that’s a good feeling.”

    By  Jerry Jimenez
    Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
    Navy Office of Community Outreach
    Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown
    Read more »
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    Why is suicide a growing problem in the Black community?

    It’s no secret that Black Americans – particularly teens – are committing suicide at record levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999 and nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016 alone.

    A June 2019 study conducted by the Journal of Community Health revealed that suicide deaths among Black females aged 13 to 19 rose 182 percent between 2001 and 2017, while the rate among Black teen males rose 60 percent during that same period.

    From 2015 to 2017, 52 percent of Black teen males who died from suicide used firearms, a method with a fatality rate of nearly 90 percent. Another 34 percent used strangulation or suffocation, which has a fatality rate of about 60 percent.

    Among the 204 Black teen females who died by suicide from 2015 to 2017, 56 percent used strangulation or suffocation and 21 percent used firearms, according to the study.

    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said one person dies of suicide every 12 hours in Louisiana on average. (See feature graphic)

    Experts and others have tried to determine why African Americans increasingly are choosing to end their lives. Theories have run the gamut – from the lack of strong father-figures to racism and social media and even the increase in Black wealth.

    Whatever the reason, the CDC said it’s important to note that suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and should be treated as a psychiatric emergency.

    CDC officials also caution that those who have suicidal thoughts should understand that it doesn’t make one weak or flawed.

    “Why are we killing ourselves? The lack of treatment of mental illness is the key factor to why suicide is on the rise in the Black community,” said Clarence McFerren, a mental health advocate and author who admits to previously having suicidal thoughts as a teenager.

    “Throughout my life, I’ve been faced with difficult situations which festered into five mental illness diagnosis – ADHD, PTSD, severe depression, bipolar tendencies and anxieties – and I did not understand what was going on until I took the steps to get help,” McFerren said.

    Famed Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author, Dr. Fran Walfish said she’s treated hundreds of thousands of children and teens each year and recently she’s seen the number of troubled teenagers who are cutters and dealing with suicidal thoughts, feelings, ideas, plans, and even attempts of suicide.

    “There is nothing glamorous about suicide. The one common-denominator shared by all who cut, contemplate or attempt suicide is that they feel emotionally alone in their families,” said Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent,” and who appears regularly as an expert child psychologist on the CBS Television series, “The Doctors.”

    “They feel there is no one person they can talk to about their pain who will listen, validate, understand, and be a safe warmly attuned place for comfort,” she said.

    Sam Gertsmann, the founder of Opinion-Lounge, a website for discussing politics, said he’s had extensive experience working suicide hotlines.
    “While suicide is a complicated topic, it’s clear that the rise of social media is one of the main causes of the recent jump in suicide rates,” Gertsmann said.

    “Social media show users pictures and videos of everyone living better lives than they are; even though these pictures are often staged and paint an inaccurate picture, the brain isn’t able to differentiate and simply sees that everyone else is better off,” he said.

    “Social media also puts numbers on your popularity – your followers, your likes, your replies. And, no matter how many you have, you’ll always want more,” Gertsmann said.

    Kevin Darné, the author of “My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), believes that the suicide rate among young African Americans is due to the growing list of Black millionaires and billionaires.

    “Today, we have Oprah owning a TV network, Tyler Perry owning his own studios, Shonda Rhimes owning her night of television on ABC, Jaz-Z becoming a billionaire, Dr. Dre selling ‘Beats’ to Apple for $3 billion, and a few Fortune 500 Black CEOs, Black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs,” Darné said.

    “Although racism is still alive, it’s impossible to deny the fact that the rise of a Black upper middle class and an increase in Black millionaires [contributes to others having lower self-esteem],” he said.

    “The irony is the more Black success that someone sees in various industries could make a person start to wonder about what’s wrong with themselves. Depression and lack of fulfillment can cause people in a rich country to consider suicide … when there’s a huge gap between one’s expectations and their reality, life can seem miserable,” Darné said.

    By Stacy M. Brown
    NNPA Newswire Correspondent
    :

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    Registration opens for 5th Annual Open Talks Health Conference; Reynolds to keynote

    Don’t miss Open Health‘s 5th Annual Conference, Open Talks on Friday, October 18 at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge. The conference theme this year is health equity and will feature presenters from across the country and locally speaking about health equity among the Aging, Women’s Health, and LGBTQ populations. As in year’s past the day’s coursework will provide five educational units for nurses, social workers and LPC’s. Plus, the conference gives opportunities for attendees to network with colleagues and vendors so they can gain the information, skills, and resources needed to advocate for their patients.

    Duane Reynolds, MHA, President and CEO, Institute for Diversity and Health Equity and Vice-President of the American Hospital Association will keynote. He will speak on the Health Equity Imperative: Best Practice Strategies for Improving Care in Vulnerable Patient Populations

    5th Annual Open Talks Health Conference
    Theme: Health Equity
    3 Tracks: LGBTQ, Women’s Health, Aging
    Approved for 5 CEUs for nurses, social workers and LPCs
    Fees for licensed professionals is $75 and unlicensed professionals is $40.
    Fees include CEUs, breakfast and lunch.
    Meet vendors and network with colleagues

    See the full agenda and register at www.ohcc.org/education.

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  • Inaugural reading with Louisiana Poet Laureate John Warner Smith

    Louisiana’s new Poet Laureate John Warner Smith will give a free reading—his first in the post—Wednesday, October 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette St., in New Orleans.

    Smith, who was selected by Gov. John Bel Edwards for the position in August, teaches English at Southern University in Baton Rouge, has four published collections of poetry, with a fifth due soon, and his poems regularly appear in literary journals. Much of his poetry draws upon African-American history and his personal experiences of growing up and living in the South.

     Admission is free, and no registration is necessary.

    Photo credit: Brian Pavlich.

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    Panel to explore art as a tool for building awareness around health issues, Oct. 13

    On Sunday, October 13, the result of a partnership between Baton Rouge Gallery and CreActiv, LLC, BRG’s Sundays@4 series will host a special panel discussion, Invisible Illness Awareness through the Arts, on CreActiv’s invisible illness awareness project, The Picture of Health, to explore art as a tool for building awareness around the taboo subject of health issues.

    Panelists will discuss the creation of the project, stigmas surrounding disclosing illnesses, what it is like to have an invisible illness, ways to elicit compassion for those among us who suffer every day, and more. The program will also feature a musical performance by Invisible Illness Warrior, Chris “The Madd Katt” Lee, that will depict the pain of sciatica through drum beats. The panel will be moderated by Donney Rose. A few pieces from the exhibit will be on display.

    Panelists include:
    Leslie D. Rose, photographer, The Picture of Health and CreActiv, LLC founder and COO
    April Baham, Project Manager, Louisiana Division of the Arts and Curator of The Picture of Health
    Rani Whitfield, MD, Family Practice Physician
    Tamiko Francis Garrison, Invisible Illness Warrior and Patient Advocate

    Danny Belanger, Director of Arts Education and Accessibility/ADA/504 Coordinator, Louisiana Division of the Arts

    The Picture of Health is an invisible illness awareness program inspired by CreActiv, LLCfounder and COO, Leslie D. Rose’s own struggles with invisible illness. It seeks to highlight individuals living with invisible physical, chronic, and mental illnesses. Through the art of photography, the project shows people living with these illnesses in the manner in which they present themselves daily, focusing on the perceived ‘normalcy’ of people housed in ill bodies. The exhibit kicked off its preview run on May 29 at The Healthcare Galley and held a three-month showing at Southern Grind Cofé this past summer. Pieces are still being added to the exhibit and a full showing is being scheduled for May 2020.

    Read more »
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    Irene Lewis elected Undergraduate President of national agriculture organization

     Southern University student Irene Lewis, a senior agricultural sciences major with a concentration in plant and soil sciences, has been elected the national undergraduate president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization for the 2019-2020 year.

    MANRRS provides leadership training and networking to positively promote the agricultural sciences and related fields among minorities.

    Lewis, who has been a member of Southern University’s MANRRS Chapter since her freshman year, said she was extremely excited when she learned that she was elected to the post.

    “To be able to give back to MANRRS and represent my university at a higher level was exciting for me,” she said. “Participating in MANRRS has afforded me countless opportunities so it only felt right to continue to serve the organization to the best of my ability,” said Lewis when asked why she decided to run for the national position.

    To qualify, she had to submit an application and an application video before being selected to move forward with an interview. Lewis  was interviewed by the then-President-Elect, Karl Binns. After passing the interview, she was informed that her name would be placed on the ballot.

    As a national officer, Irene represents the agricultural students enrolled in dozens of universities across the nation. This is something she doesn’t take lightly.

    “MANRRS has an enormous student membership,” she said. “These students are young people across the country and are a force, working to develop agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.  It’s important that I use this position to continue to advocate for underrepresented students in agriculture, especially for students at 1890 Institutions and other (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). They are truly our next generation of academic and industry leaders,” said Lewis.

    She said her goal as the Undergraduate National President is to be a supporter of the organization’s fourteen student officers.

    “I don’t think people can truly understand the weight that these positions can hold until they are in one. Balancing your academics, pursuing doctoral degrees (for some of our team), and serving in a national office requires a high level of discipline, collaboration, and accountability,” said Lewis. “My ultimate goal is to help my team be the best they can be,” she said.

    Prior to being elected to her current national position, Irene served as the Region IV Undergraduate Vice President for the 2018-2019 year, representing chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.

    At Southern University’s local chapter, Irene has served as the Chapter’s Secretary during the 2017-2018 academic year and Historian during the 2018-2019 year.

    “This year I am in a student advisory role as I transition out of the university,” said Lewis whose national involvement in MANRRS evolved from her participation at Southern.

    “I don’t think I would be able to serve in the way that I have if it had not been for participating in MANRRS at my chapter,” said Irene. “I gained countless mentors and a huge support system on campus. From our advisor, Dr. Janana Snowden, to the friends I met through MANRRS at SU, I really have had a tribe in these past two years of national service. Dr. Snowden literally gave me a pep talk minutes before I gave my campaign speech last year, and I am extremely grateful for that.”

    MANRRS is a non-profit organization that promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. It has more than 8,000 student and professional members within six regions and 55 collegiate chapters in 38 states and Puerto Rico.

    Lewis is a native of  Baton Rouge. She is the daughter of Eric and Maura Lewis and a 2016 graduate of Runnels High School.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

    Irene Lewis, a senior Agricultural Sciences major with a concentration in Plant and Soil Sciences at the Southern University, has been elected the national undergraduate president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences organization. (Photo by D’Andre Lee, SU Ag Center.)

     

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    AUDITION NOTICE: New Venture Theatre seeks performers for ‘Black Nativity’

    Audition Location
    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, 2nd Floor
    427 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Audition Date
    Saturday, October 19 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
    Rehearsal Dates
    Mondays – Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
    Some Sunday’s, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
    Performance Dates
    Friday, December 13 at 9:30 a.m. (school performance)
    Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, December 15 at 3:00 p.m.m.
    4 Performances at the LSU Shaver Theatre
    Audition Requirements
    Please prepare 90 seconds of a song that shows your range and vocal ability
    ALL SONGS WILL BE PERFORMED WITHOUT MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT.
    (Dance / Movement Audition Required)
    Bring or wear comfortable dance attire, as all auditions will be required to learn a short dance / movement combination.
    No monologues required for this production.
    Characters
    Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
    Seeking male and female dancers with strong ballet, modern, and jazz dance experience.
    Seeking male and female vocalist with strong gospel, and r&b style.
    Read more »
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    Mini STEM Camp comes to BRCC, Oct 5

    Baton Rouge Community College is partnering with the United States Naval Academy and Scholars Laboratory for a Mini STEM Camp to be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BRCC’s Magnolia Building on the Mid City campus, 201 Community College Drive.

    College students and middle and high school students in East Baton Rouge Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish students are invited to register for the event at ScholarsLaboratory.com. There are 150 slots and registration is free. Lunch will be provided.

    The mission of the program is to address the urgent national need for more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. USNA faculty and midshipmen along with Scholars Laboratory personnel will provide STEM and Social Emotional Learning to camp participants. The day will include eight USNA STEM modules: Engineering Design Challenge; Cipher Coding and Decoding Modules; Hanoi Tap Code; Morse Circuits; Ozobot Robot Control; Calculator Robots; Testing Archimedes Principle Testing Hull Integrity, SEL instruction along with a trade show.  Special invited guest for the trade show include the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical Company, Methods Technologies Solutions, Hancock Whitney Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU, among others.

    Read more »
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    Public encouraged to complete CATS Strategic Planning Survey

    The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) has partnered with ETC Institute to conduct the anonymous online survey that will assist them in understanding the community’s level of satisfaction with CATS, as well as provide them with improvement ideas. Baton Rouge residents are invited to complete the survey which will take approximately ten minutes to complete. The survey results will assist in planning the direction of future projects and priorities. ETC Institute is administering the survey and will compile the data received to present to CATS officials. All responses will be kept strictly confidential.
    ONLINE: http://www.brcatsstakeholderfeedback.com
    Read more »
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    CASA volunteers ready to lend their voices for abused children in foster care

    Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association welcomed a class of new volunteers at the conclusion of the 2019 September training session. The class was officially sworn in as CASA volunteers by Juvenile Court Judge Adam Haney on Sept. 12. Each volunteer will be appointed to advocate for the best interests of an abused child.

     The new advocates were sworn in at the CASA office during the 32-hour training course, which prepares CASA volunteers for their advocacy work. Volunteers have six months to complete the training. Once assigned to cases, the volunteers will work to help abused and neglected children reach safe homes with forever families.

    The training class includes: Patti Crump, Debbie Emery, Karen Godwin, Eboni Kaigler, Chiquita Kelly, Lindsey Litchfield, Helen Meyer, Brian Morin, Nicole Morin, Tommy Ray, Wendy Ray, Reba Roy, Mike Rush, Dona Sharkey, Wayne Sharkey, Michelle Sparks, Edward Stephen, Holly Tupper, Charles Vaughan, Dishili Young, and Nathan Zeller.

    Though CASA now has new advocates, the program still needs volunteers to continue serving every child in East Baton Rouge Parish who needs a voice. A boost in African American and male volunteers are still needed as CASA strives to have a diverse group of volunteers to match the diverse group of children in care. CASA is accepting people into its next training course, which will be held in January 2020.

    No special background is required to become a CASA volunteer. The first step to getting involved is to attend a 45-minute orientation at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Upcoming sessions will be held October 5 at 10 a.m., October 10 at 5 p.m., October 16 at 3 p.m., and October 25 at 9 a.m. The full list of orientations through December can be found at www.casabr.org.

     

    Read more »
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    Census: Louisiana among states with greatest income inequality although poverty decreased

    The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Sept. 26.

    Louisiana is among the states with the most income inequality, according to the report, though state-by-state data has yet to be released.

    Income inequality in the U.S. expanded from 2017 to 2018, with several heartland states among the leaders of the increase, even though several wealthy coastal states still had the most inequality overall, according to the figures.

    The areas with the most income inequality last year were coastal regions with large amounts of wealth—the District of Columbia, New York and Connecticut—as well as areas with great poverty: Puerto Rico and Louisiana.

    However, after reviewing the Census figures, the Louisiana Budget Project reported the percentage of Louisianans living in poverty decreased slightly in 2018 from the previous year. “Despite these welcome improvements, Louisiana continues to experience poverty at rates far above the nation as a whole, and most of the South,” said Ian Moller, LBP executive director.

    According to LBP analysis Stacey Rousell, these findings serve as an annual reminder of how far the state has to go before catching up with the rest of the country.

    “Poverty, inequality and racial disparities are partly the result of policy decisions made by the people we elect to office. If Louisiana wanted to lift more families out of poverty and into the middle class, it could do so by establishing a statewide minimum wage, and by allowing local communities decide on their own what wage and benefit levels are appropriate,” Rousell wrote.

    “Increased investments in education – from high-quality early care and education for the youngest children, to more need-based financial aid for students who need help paying for college – also would help level the playing field and create more opportunities for low-income families and people of color. A comprehensive paid leave program could ensure that moms can spend time with their newborns, and adults can take time away from work to care for themselves or an ailing family member without facing financial catastrophe.

    Continued investments in the state Earned Income Tax Credit, and ensuring access to safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid, helps keep millions of working families from slipping below the poverty line and into deep poverty. But these programs, too, can be strengthened at the state and federal level.”

    ONLINE: LaBudget.org and APNews.com

    Read more »
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    MOVEBR hosts Oct. 3 small business outreach informational workshop

    MOVEBR through its Small Business Outreach initiative is hosting the first in a series of informational workshops on Thursday, October 3, 2019. This workshop is open to appraisers, abstractors, real estate agents or others interested in the available opportunities to do business with MOVEBR related to the topic of right of way acquisitions.

    As the MOVEBR program implements transportation and infrastructure improvements across East Baton Rouge Parish, a wide variety of opportunities will occur for all businesses irrespective of size to participate in the process. These will be advertised through the normal procurement processes of the City-Parish.  Specific efforts related to training and capacity building will be offered to small businesses through the Small Business Outreach (SBO) initiative.

    “MOVEBR provides an opportunity to invest in our local economy by helping our small businesses flourish, which are the backbone of our community. Ultimately, we’re investing in people as well as concrete,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “The diversity and inclusion of a wide range of small businesses is key to ensuring these investments are cost-efficient and spread equally throughout our community.”

    The SBO effort will include targeted outreach for emerging and established businesses. Throughout the course of the MOVEBR program, several informational sessions will be offered for the various disciplines needed to support the MOVEBR program as the program evolves.  The first session will take place on Thursday, October 3 at the Delmont Gardens Branch Library, 3351 Lorraine Street, Baton Rouge, 5:30-7:00 pm. It will focus on Right of Way services. Small business owners interested in those services are encouraged to attend this session. Subsequent workshops will be held for other disciplines and trades including engineering and construction services.

    “The Small Business Outreach (SBO) Initiative will empower local, small, minority, women and veteran-owned companies by connecting them with opportunities to participate in the process,” said Raymond Jetson, MOVEBR’s SBO Workgroup Leader. ”It’s important that we help small businesses compete for these opportunities by providing timely communications, capacity-building strategies and technical assistance.”

    MOVEBR Small Business Definition

    For the purposes of outreach and engagement, a MOVEBR Small Business is defined as an entity that holds one of the following certifications and/or participates in one of the listed programs:

    The MOVEBR Small Business Outreach effort does not restrict or prohibit any otherwise designated small business or non-small business from pursuing opportunities with the City-Parish. The definition above is intended to identify the types of small businesses the effort is designed to reach, inform and support their inclusion in the MOVEBR Program.

    ONLINE: twww.movebr.brla.gov

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Southern’s enrollment climbs above 7,000

    Southern University and A&M College released its fall 2019 preliminary enrollment report giving indication of significant enrollment gains over the last few years at the institution. This year, Southern will host 7,031 students, representing a 5.1 percent increase in enrollment over the 6,693 students enrolled in the fall 2018 semester. Since the fall 2016 semester, when 6,357 students were enrolled, Southern has grown its enrollment by 10.6 percent over that time span.

    “We are certainly delighted that our flagship campus is once again booming with students who are seeking a dynamic higher education experience,” said Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University Baton Rouge. “This is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty, administration and staff. They have truly invested their time and knowledge in the academic progression of our students.  We believe that the university is moving in a positive direction and anticipate even greater gains in the near future.”

    The increase can be attributed to aggressive recruitment strategies, retention and intrusive advisement initiatives, and additional wrap-around services for students who may need increased assistance.

    The new enrollment numbers offer even more great news for Belton’s recently released strategic plan for the Baton Rouge campus, “Imagine 20K.” Recently released score card updates compiled by the Office of Strategic Planning, Policy and Institutional Effectiveness show that the Baton Rouge campus met or exceeded 89 percent of its expected outcomes for fall 2018 that included increases in dual enrollment, online enrollment, transfer enrollment, degrees awarded, grants awarded and number of financial gifts donated.

    “Imagine 20K,” the strategic plan to increase Southern’s student population to 20,000 by 2030, can be viewed at www.sus.edu/strategicplan.

    Read more »
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    Phoenix Award goes to Calvin Mackie for STEM NOLA

    “Through collective impact, we are changing a generation,” said Calvin Mackie, Ph.D, Saturday, September 14th, upon receiving the CBCF Board Chair’s Award from Rep. Cedric L. Richmond a speech at the CBCF’s Phoenix Awards Dinner at the 2019 Annual Legislative Conference (ALC.

    “STEM access is a social justice issue through and through.” Mackie said. He is the founder of STEM NOLA.

    Winning this prestigious award is opening doors for our organization and we’re looking for corporate and philanthropic partners to share our accomplishments and their implications with communities across America.” The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF. This award recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally.

    The connection of STEM education to justice has been understood long ago in the education community, it was only in 2016 that the National Science Foundation (NSF) published their “Next Generation STEM For All: Envisioning Advances Based on NSF Supported Research” recognizing the deep connection between STEM education and social justice. STEM NOLA is building an inclusive STEM ecosystem in the greater New Orleans regions to expose, inspire, engage and educate all communities. STEM NOLA has engaged over 40,000 K-12 students, 10,000 families, 700 college students and 500 professionals in STEM events.

    The idea here is garnering collective impact by encouraging broader access, early in life and embracing the under-represented. This would include girls (of all races) and differently-abled youth. Mackie and other education trailblazers are currently focused on developing learning innovations, steeped in cultural connection to enrich the lives of students.

    The 2019 Phoenix Awards Honorees are:

    • Dr. Calvin Mackie, entrepreneur, author and professor will receive the CBCF Board Chair’s Award from Rep. Cedric L. Richmond.
    • Dr. Wanda Austin, aeronautics and systems engineer will receive the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair’s Award from Rep. Karen Bass.
    • Congresswoman Barbara Lee will receive the ALC Honorary Co-Chair’s Award from Rep. G.K. Butterfield.
    • The Exonerated Five: Dr. Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Antron McCray, survivors of false convictions and social justice advocates will receive the ALC Honorary Co-Chair’s Award from Rep. Frederica Wilson.
    • Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist, will receive The Harold Washington Award from the CBC
    Read more »
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    Formerly incarcerated Louisianans to met Monday, cast first vote together

    After becoming eligible to register on March 1, local activist Checo Yancy along with others will vote for the first time Monday.

    On March 1, approximately 40,000 Louisiana citizens on probation and parole regained their right to vote under Act 636. The law was made possible by members of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), who advocated for the passage of House Bill 265 at the State Capitol during the 2018 legislative session. The majority of these activists were people who are directly impacted by felony disenfranchisement. Thus, come March 1, when Act 636 goes into effect, they will be able to register to vote.

    Yancy, who directs Voters Organized to Educate (VOTE), registered the first day he could. “Now, I’ll be able to elect people who actually have my best interests in mind,” he says. He’ll also be taking advantage of the early voting period for Louisiana’s upcoming Oct. 12 primary election.

    “We have come from out of prison to do all this, and we are doing it,” said Yancy.

    For him and thousands of others, it has not been an easy race to the finish line of the ballot box. People who have a conviction have to go through extra steps in the registration process. This includes getting paperwork from their local probation and parole office, even if they have finished their probation or parole time five, 10, or 20 years ago. For those living in rural Louisiana, the nearest office is a half-day’s drive away. Due in large part to the employment barriers that formerly incarcerated people, many cannot afford to buy a car or hire transportation to obtain that paperwork.

    Find more info here.

     

    Read more »
  • Fluid, fast-paced, tense, stimulating, genuine.

    FALL READS: I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. October 2019.

    In one night, two teenage girls who were merely classmates have to escape a racially charged high school fight that escalates to shots fired, looting, fires, and police descending with riot gear. One girl’s keenness for how “these scenes play out” and the other’s wherewithal trigger their survival modes and, refreshingly, their human kindness keeps them together to escape through citywide chaos.

    Each chapter of I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT is written from genuine, authentic voices that reveal how distinctly presumptuous Lena and Campbell are. Sometimes the presumptions are stereotypical; other times, they are honest thoughts. They all are quick and stark; some are funny, all are self-reflecting. Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal weave in and out the fanatical nuances of racial ignorance (characters in the same space and time but clueless of the others cultural being), nuances of allegiance and egos in Black love, friendships, and loyalties (heated exchanges between Black males on territory and survival), nuances of white privilege and communal protection (acknowledging where Campbell can move or not), and the nuances of female teenagers whose innocence are transparent and uncompromised (girls instinctively catching hands or jumping before an attacked to protect each other).

    Awesome elements in I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT are the multiple climaxes as the girls run through fighting crowds, busted buildings, smoke/fire, and away from police—only to get closest to death at home! This reader shouted at characters and yelled when they proclaimed the title. In all that is conflicted with society–as Segal and Jones present in this book–it is reassuring that this YA novel delivers soundly the truth that humanity can still rise.

    (Maybe a sequel can guide humanity to healing.)

    Amazing 5-star read. We should anticipate a great audiobook!

    By Candace J. Semien
    #JozefBookandBrew

    Read more »
  • ‘Coffee and Conversation’ presents legendary civil rights attorney Johnnie A. Jones Sr.

    The Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights and Justice requests your presence at “Coffee and Conversation” with the legendary Johnnie A. Jones, Sr. Johnnie A. Jones, Sr. was the first student to graduate from Southern University Law Center after it gained its accreditation in 1953. That same year, Mr. Jones was retained as legal counsel for the organizers of the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott. Over the duration of his fifty-seven-year legal career, Mr. Jones has successfully: fought for pay equity for teachers; sued to desegregate local parks, pools, amusement centers, schools and courtrooms; represented Southern University student-protesters during the civil rights era; guarded the constitutional rights of countless, indigent defendants; and, challenged voter discrimination practices. Attorney Jones has to his credit a record of precedent-setting legal victories, an unwavering commitment to social justice and lifetime of service to the nation, the Baton Rouge community and the state of Louisiana at large. Come hear this battle-tested, legal giant share some of his legal, professional and social experiences.

    September 26, 2019 ​
    Southern University Law Center Atrium
    2:00p.m.—3:30p.m.
    Free and open to the public

    ​​

     

    Read more »
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    Deltas, NAACP, Urban League host Sept 24 Candidates’ Forum

     On Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at Baton Rouge Community College’s Magnolia Theatre, 201  Community College Drive, the Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,  Inc., the Baton Rouge NAACP, and the Urban League, are hosting an East Baton Rouge Candidates’ Forum.

    All candidates are invited to attend. The candidates will have a few minutes to give remarks and there will be questions afterward. After the forum, candidates will have a chance to meet with the attendees. The public is invited to attend.

    “This is a very important election, so our Sorority and partners are committed to help inform and educate our residents on who the candidates are and where they stand on issues of concern to our community,” said Chi Joseph Franklin, president of Baton Rouge Sigma.  “We’re looking forward to a great discussion.”

    Read more »
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    Southern University System selected as pilot institution for CIA’s White House Initiative

     Initiative focuses on HBCUs Recruitment and Workforce Development Program 

     

    The Southern University System and the Central Intelligence Agency entered into an unprecedented partnership to benefit students and faculty. President-Chancellor Ray Belton, Executive Vice President-Chancellor James Ammons, and representatives from the CIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Sept. 16 that will serve as the foundational framework for the university system’s participation in the CIA’s recruitment and workforce development initiative, which is part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Southern University System Board of Supervisors will ratify the agreement at Friday’s board meeting on campus.

    According to the MOU, the CIA chose Southern as the first participant based on the university system’s accredited programs, the graduation rate of its students, and the CIA’s track record of onboarding highly skilled and well-qualified talent.

    “Southern University is honored to have been chosen as the first institution to partner with the CIA for this initiative,” Belton said. “The reputable stature of the CIA alone is an asset to the university, students, and faculty, and we believe that the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for all involved.

    “For nearly 140 years, Southern has been a leader in innovation and scholarship. This opportunity with the CIA adds to our extensive portfolio of public and private partnerships that allow our students and faculty to expand their knowledge and to enhance their technical skills.”

    The MOU allows the CIA to engage in a broad range of classroom workshops, curriculum development, and recruitment activities to foster ongoing relationships with key university staff and personnel on Southern’s five campuses, and will provide for immediate contact with a qualified and diverse applicant pool.

    The Southern University System is comprised of Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The System is the only HBCU system in the nation.

    Read more »
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    Wyche named Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, making history

    For the first time, a Black woman was named deputy director at NASA’s Johnson Space Cent, the Houston Chronicle reports.

    Vanessa Wyche, 54, who has spent almost 30 years with the space agency, will be the second in command at the Houston facility where 10,000 civil service and contract workers are employed.

    She is the first African American to hold the position.

    The Johnson Space Center is one of NASA’s biggest locations and is run by Mark Geyer, per reports.

    “I am incredibly humbled to take on this role at JSC, and also excited to assist Mark with leading the home of human spaceflight,” Wyche said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Chronicle. “I look forward to working with the talented employees at JSC as we work toward our mission of taking humans farther into the solar system.”

    According to the Chronicle, Wyche hails from South Carolina and began working at the Johnson Space Center in 1989 as an engineer.

    In her NASA career, Wyche’s roles have included being a project engineer and acting director of Human Exploration Development Support.

    “Vanessa has a deep background at JSC with significant program experience in almost all of the human spaceflight programs that have been hosted here,” Geyer told the Chronicle. “She is respected at NASA, has built agency-wide relationships throughout her nearly three-decade career and will serve JSC well as we continue to lead human space exploration in Houston.”

    Wyche received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering and bioengineering, respectively, and previously worked for the Food and Drug Administration, according to reports.

    Credit – www.blackpressusa.com

    Read more »
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    Public invited to submit questions for LPB, CABL Governor’s debate, Sept 26

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana will present a Louisiana Governor’s Debate, live on Thursday, September 26 from 7PM to 8PM from the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The public is invited to submit questions at lpb.org/debate.

    Participating candidates include incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards (D), U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham (R), and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone (R). The debate will be broadcast statewide on LPB and in New Orleans on WYES and WLAE. It will also be streamed live at LPB.org/live and on public radio stations.

    Debate moderators Beth Courtney, President of LPB, and Barry Erwin, President of CABL will be joined by a panel of distinguished journalists who will pose questions to the candidates. Journalists are: Mark Ballard, The Advocate; Greg Hilburn, USA Today Network; and Natasha Williams, LPB. Candidate-to-candidate questions will also be allowed.

    Courtney said, “For forty years, LPB has presented live candidate debates as an essential part of the democratic process. It is important for voters to hear from the candidates for governor in a candid forum where they can answer questions and explain their positions on vital issues.”

    “We are really pleased to be able to partner once again with LPB to bring this debate to voters across Louisiana,” said Erwin, CABL President. “It’s our hope with this forum to focus on issues that are of importance to the state and give citizens a chance to hear straight from the candidates about their positions and what their priorities will be if elected.”

    As in years past, CABL has set criteria for participation in the debate. For this debate, candidates were invited if they: Have established a campaign committee with a treasurer and campaign staff, and filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission prior to the debate; AND polled at least 5% in a nonpartisan or news media poll recognized by CABL released after qualifying; AND raised at least $1 million in campaign funds prior to the debate.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Tekema Balentine Crowned Miss Black USA 2019

    Newly-crowned Miss Black USA 2019 Tekema Balentine, who has a strong desire for civic engagement, plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness.

    Balentine is an activist, scholar, and social justice advocate from Madison, Wisconsin who is a also pursing a nursing degree at Madison College.  She is a caregiver, track and field coach and sits on the board for the P.A.T.C.H organization (Providers and Teens Communications for Health), which is an organization founded to advocate for health awareness and mental health resources for teens and adults.

    Balentine said she has a strong desire for civic engagement and plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness in the Black community. During her reign, she will serve as a celebrity advocate for the Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness of heart disease and promote healthy lifestyles.

    According to Black PR Wire, the pageant, a week-long event kicked off August 7 and culminated with the crowning of Balentine on August 11.  The event was live streamed as contestants opened with an upbeat dance number wearing heels by Liliana footwear, the official shoe sponsor.  Contestants were judged in Evening Gown, On Stage Interview, Talent and Personal Fitness.

    1st Runner up –  Miss Black Nevada USA – Aisja Allen

    2nd Runner up – Miss Black New York USA – Shannon Alomar

    3rd Runner up – Miss Black Tennessee USA – Alexis Cole

    4th Runner up – Miss Black Virginia USA – Hollis Brown

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Ernest E. Garrett III to Guide Louisiana’s Special School District

    Following a national search, State Superintendent of Education John White announced Ernest E. Garrett III will serve as the new Superintendent of the Louisiana Special School District (SSD), guiding the implementation of the SSD’s new three-year strategic plan and overseeing all operations of its special schools and programs. Garrett will take the helm Sept.3.

    The SSD was established by the Louisiana State Legislature to provide education to students housed in state or privatized facilities and hospitals. The SSD oversees Louisiana’s two special schools: the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired. It also manages educational programs for eligible students enrolled in the Office of Youth Development, Office of Behavioral Health, Office of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Public Safety, and Corrections, and privatized facilities across the state.

    “Ernest is a strong leader and passionate advocate whose extensive experience, as a school administrator, as an advocate of students with low-incidence disabilities and as a social worker in both the school and clinical settings, will bring a unique perspective to the SSD and to the state education department’s executive team,” White said. “We look forward to watching the SSD redefine itself as a statewide model of excellence under his guidance.”

    Garrett, a native of Missouri, is the former executive director and chief executive officer of Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation, Inc., an organization designed to empower, raise awareness, and bridge a sustainable foundation of communication and equal access to both the deaf and hard of hearing and the hearing communities in the St. Louis metro area.

    Garrett previously served as the first deaf and first African-American superintendent of the Missouri School for the Deaf. In that role, he championed the idea of  “education without limits” and was instrumental in leading the school through a change management process that resulted in a new mission, vision, motto, and strategic plan that drew unanimous approval from the school’s advisory board. Garrett has also acted as the executive director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and worked as a licensed social worker in both school and clinical settings.

    Garrett holds bachelor’s degrees in history and in professional and technical writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and master’s degrees in social work and administration from Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing.

    He also holds an advanced research qualification in management, specializing in leadership and organizational change, from Walden University, the same institution at which he is currently a doctoral candidate in the final stages of his dissertation, which examines hiring and retaining persons with disabilities for leadership positions. His anticipated completion date is December 2019.

    “I am delighted at this opportunity to return to my first passion, which is the education of students with disabilities, and do not take lightly my selection for this role at such a critical time in the SSD’s history,” Garrett said. “The education of children with disabilities is an issue that resonates with me both personally and professionally. I believe that all children can learn and that it is our responsibility as leaders, educators, policymakers, advocates, and stakeholders to ensure that students with disabilities receive the best quality education and are thus prepared for college and the workforce upon graduation. Settling for anything less than high expectations for all students–regardless of disability–is not an option.”

    Read more »
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    Insurance executive, local agent Tim Temple announces campaign for Commissioner of Insurance

    DeRidder native and long-time local agent and insurance industry executive Tim Temple announced his candidacy for La. Commissioner of Insurance, saying “For too long we’ve prioritized political experience, and the results have been painful for the citizens of Louisiana.”

    Temple has served in various roles in the insurance industry over the past 25 years, from neighborhood insurance agent to insurance executive helping businesses recover from the BP oil spill. “What Louisiana needs most now is a Commissioner who understands insurance first-hand. For too long we’ve prioritized political experience over knowledge of the industry and the results have been painful for the citizens of Louisiana; the highest auto rates in the nation, fewer companies writing policies, and a business climate which often pays many times more in premiums than our neighboring states. This cannot continue and that’s why I felt I ultimately needed to run for this office,” said Temple.

    The top priorities for Temple will be addressing Louisiana’s highest insurance rates in the nation, increasing competition by recruiting more insurance companies to begin doing business in Louisiana, improving the service and communication aspect of the office, and being a voice for both ratepayers and the industry. Temple is kicking off the campaign with a tour of the state. The tour will begin in Temple’s hometown of DeRidder.

    Temple and his wife Amy Marie Temple, live in Baton Rouge with their two daughters, Aubrey and Sophia. He is president of Temptan, a family owned business in Baton Rouge. While serving on the Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development, he works outside of government to provide leadership and resources. He has helped create real and positive change for Louisiana residents in government, education, and the economy. Temple is a founding board member of the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Foundation and a member of the NRA.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield announces run for EBR Coroner

    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, a board-certified Family Medicine Physician, has officially announced his candidacy for Coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    As coroner, Whitfield would conduct or oversee death investigations, orders of protective custody, Coroner Emergency Certificates, and sexual assault investigations throughout the parish.

    “My mission is not just documenting death, but preserving life,” said Dr. Whitfield whose campaign has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Louisiana Democrats. The election is Oct. 12, 2019.

    Whitfield is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge. After graduating from University High Laboratory School, he went on to earn a bachelors of science degree from Southern University. He completed his medical school training at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, his residency in Dayton, Ohio, at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at The Ohio State University. He has a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine.

    He is deputy coroner in East Feliciana and an active member of the American Academy of Family Practice, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, Louisiana State Medical Association, and East Baton Rouge Parish Medical Society. He is also an ambassador/national spokesperson for the American Heart Association, a board member for the organization’s Southeastern Affiliates, and a member of the American Stroke Association’s Advisory Committee. He is a sought-after lecturer and educator, addressing health-related issues in front of local and national audiences.

    As “Tha Hip-Hop Doc,” Dr. Whitfield shares health messages to people across the globe. What started as a simple nickname from students has become a persona that allows him to connect with a generation that needs a deeper understanding of the health issues they face. “Young people respond when they feel that you are sincere and actually care about them,” he said. “To be easily accessible to young people makes a big difference.”

    Dr. Whitfield said he will continue to use his grass-roots and hands-on approach as Coroner for the people of East Baton Rouge Parish, actively engaging the public, conducting outreach to citizens, and working to address the many challenges facing citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish. He has served on the boards of educational and civic organizations including the Southern University Board of Supervisors and has received multiple awards. He served as a physician volunteer and medical director of the National Association of Free Clinics Communities are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E) which provides free health care to the underserved patients across the USA.

    Married to registered nurse Kiara and the father of two children, Dr. Whitfield is also a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and a bass player in the band U4ria.

    Read more »
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    Ben & Jerry’s debut flavor backing criminal justice reform

    Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has unveiled a new flavor to highlight what it calls structural racism and a broken criminal justice system.

    Justice ReMix’d is described as cinnamon and chocolate ice cream with gobs of cinnamon bun dough and spicy fudge brownies. A portion of proceeds supports Advancement Project National Office, a multi-racial civil rights group and its fight for justice for all, despite race or wealth.

    The company said it has been working with Advanced Project in St. Louis to close The Workhouse jail and in Miami to slow what the two groups call “the school-to-prison pipeline.”

    “Our approach to creating social change is to raise up the work non-profits are doing on the ground,” said Co-Founder Ben Cohen. “We bring every resource we have to support them—our business voice, our connection with fans, our Scoop Shop community and of course, ice cream. Somehow, it’s easier to talk about difficult issues over a scoop or two.”

    At the grassroots level, Ben & Jerry’s is deploying its Scoop Truck in various states to spark conversations, activate community members, and give away ice cream. It’s a tactic that has proven effective in growing social movements.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Grambling State awards more than $300,000 in technology scholarships

    Grambling State University announced it has awarded tuition and fee scholarships to 10 incoming freshman majoring technology-related degree programs as a part of its Technology Tour Scholarship program.

    “This scholarship is one of the many ways we are working to make higher education attainable for the next generation of cybersecurity and computer science leaders,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We look forward to supporting the success of these students who made the great decision to choose Grambling State.”

    This year’s Technology Tour Scholarship recipients are all incoming incoming freshmen who have at least a 3.0 GPA and 21 ACT score. The students, who have declared majors in cybersecurity, computer science, computer information systems, or engineering technology, will receive four years of tuition and fee scholarships which are funded in part by contributions from Louisiana Economic Development and AT&T.

    This year’s recipients include:

    • Stephon Hardim, Computer Engineering major from Winnsboro, Louisiana
    • Cazembe Zubari, Cybersecurity major from Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Jyron Bell, Computer Science major from Arcadia, Louisiana
    • Arlon McCrea, Construction Engineering major from Jennings, Louisiana
    • Damaine Thomas, Computer Science/Law major from New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Anthony Bell, Mechanical Engineering major from Walker, Louisiana
    • Mikayla Jackson, Cybersecurity major from Monroe, Louisiana
    • Destney Johnson, Cybersecurity major from Atlanta, Georgia
    • Ralynn Rand, Computer Engineering major from Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Tenaj Reliford, Cybersecurity major from Shreveport, Louisiana

    Alumni and supporters who are interested in sponsoring or supporting scholarship funds are encouraged to email advancementservices@gram.edu or donate at gram.edu/giving.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Mayor Broome Announces Community Development Grant Awards

    EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced 33 grant awards to 23 local non-profits, supportive service organizations, and community developers from the City-Parish’s federal Community Planning and Development dollars.

    Approximately $7.2 million was made available through four funding allocations to organizations that help low- and moderate-income residents with shelter, basic needs, housing rehabilitation, employment skills, and other supportive services.

    This year, the following community organizations are receiving grants:

    Community Development Block Grant
    A total of $3.1 million that provides for community development resources for a wide variety of community needs.

    · Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, Inc.
    · Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
    · Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance
    · Humanities Amped
    · St. Vincent de Paul
    · The Walls Project
    · Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation
    · NOVAC
    · Turning Point
    · Premier Services
    · The CEO Mind Foundation
    · The Bridge Agency
    · Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless
    · Habitat for Humanity

    Emergency Solutions Grant
    A total of $266,896 that provides for homelessness prevention and shelter needs.

    · Capital Area Alliance for Homeless
    · Catholic Charities
    · St. Vincent de Paul
    · Preserving Life Ministries

    HOME Investment Partnerships Program
    A total of $1.3 million that provides grants for local housing strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low- and very low-income citizens.

    · Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation
    · We Greaux People
    · Scotlandville CDC
    · Habitat for Humanity

    Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Grant
    A total of $2.5 million that provides local communities and non-profit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

    · East Baton Rouge Division of Human Development and Services
    · Metro Health
    · START Corporation
    · Our Lady of the Lake
    · HAART

    The City-Parish receives these federal dollars annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund activities that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income residents.
    “Our community is more resilient and the quality of life for our citizens is greatly improved thanks to the work of these tremendous organizations,” said Mayor-President Broome. “I’m proud to partner with these mission-driven organizations as their work through this critical funding is taking Baton Rouge in a positive direction.”
    The City-Parish uses a competitive application process to award the grants. A committee of volunteers and subject matter experts helps score the applications and makes recommendations on funding. Criteria are based on goals and priorities for the use of federal funds that are developed, in part, with input from local residents and federal grant requirements.
    In 2017, Mayor-President Broome reorganized the City-Parish Office of Community Development, the agency administering the federal grant funds. Now, the City-Parish partners with community development organizations like Build Baton Rouge – The Redevelopment Authority of East Baton Rouge Parish, the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority, and the East Baton Rouge Division of Human Development and Services for the administration of the Community Planning and Development dollars.

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    NAACP leads largest delegation of Blacks to Ghana for the Year of Return

    Nearly 300 Americans reconnected with their African roots in the journey of a lifetime marking the 400th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

     

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People led a delegation of nearly 300 people, ranging in age from four to 90, on a transformative journey from Jamestown, VA to Jamestown, Ghana to reconnect with their African roots and commemorate the Year of the Return – a landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the United States.

    “In the Twi language of Ghana, ‘Sankofa’ translates to ‘go back and get it.’ We are standing in our ‘Sankofa’ moment,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We are proud to return to Ghana to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and reaffirm that our existence is one of strength, power, resilience, and liberation.  This experience has brought us all closer together and we have the knowledge we need to continue to fight for all of mankind. Strangers became sisters, fathers became mentors, children became playmates and a generation of the Black diaspora found their home.”

    The journey began August 19 with a ceremony at the Jamestown Historic Center to honor the first enslaved Africans to arrive at Point Comfort and Fort Monroe near Hampton, VA.  The reflective, yet uplifting event included a processional, remarks from local and national NAACP leaders and an opportunity for participants to write messages to their ancestors. The following day, the group visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC before traveling from Dulles International Airport to Accra, Ghana.

    Here are highlights from Ghana:
    Akwaaba! Homecoming Celebrations

    Drummers, dancers and local residents greeted the NAACP delegation at Kotoka International Airport, which included actor and humanitarian Danny Glover, as the group made their long-awaited arrival for the Year of Return. The group was first welcomed to the Jubilee House – the residence and office to the President of Ghana – for a photo opportunity, before heading to the Accra Visitor Center to meet with representatives from the Ghana Tourism Authority.

    Per Ghanaian tradition, the group paid a visit to the Mayor of Accra and Jamestown chiefs, who to announce their arrival welcomed them with a blessing. Warm greeting remarks were also provided by President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. The group also paid visits to the village chiefs and elders in Cape Coast, as well as the Ashanti Queen Mother, a direct descendant of Nana Yaa Asantewaa – one of Ghana’s most acclaimed heroines.

    Emotions Run Raw During Visits to Cape Coast Slave Castle & Assin Manso Last Bath River

    image003

    The group visited Cape Coast Slave Castle – one of several castles along the coast of West Africa –  where millions of Africans suffered in dungeons at the hands of European slave traders. As the group wandered from chamber to chamber, hanging on to every word as the guide narrated the painful history of the ground they walked on, the agony in the air was almost tangible.

    “This has been the most life-changing moment of my life,” whispered an elderly woman to her daughter as they exited the female dungeons and walked toward the Door of No Return – the last port of exit before slaves were taken away from their homeland forever. On the other side of the door stood a placard that read, ‘Door of Return.’

    “They called this the ‘Door of No Return,’” said one of the tour guides. “They didn’t want you to come back but look at us now. You have returned. You have survived, and you have returned to us.”

    Following the tour, nearly 80 participants received the results of their African ancestry, through AfricanAncestry.com. People traced their roots to Cameroun, Togo, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and more. The Haynes family, a multigenerational family of women traveling from Howard County, MD, were the last participants to be called. The crowd erupted in cheer and tears of joy when it was announced they were matrilineal descendants of the Akan people of Ghana.

    Business and Labor Summits; City Tours Encourage Year of Return Visitors to Invest in Ghana

    image005

    Participants in the Jamestown to Jamestown journey, explored two complementing sectors in Accra, the cultural landmarks and monuments, and the prime opportunities for investment in the city, and to a larger extent, what the country represents for the Black Diaspora. Hosted by the Ghana EXIM Bank, NAACP President Derrick Johnson gave poignant remarks as to the purpose of the Jamestown to Jamestown trip, reminding the group that the threat to exploit Black labor is still an unfortunate reality across the world, and the need to recognize the value and power of Black labor and consumerism.

    The group also took part in a variety of group tours in Accra and the surrounding area, visiting sites such as the home and museum of one of the founders of the NAACP, W.E.B. Du Bois, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Park, the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine, and the very first cocoa farm in Ghana, the Tetteh Quarshe Memorial Cocoa Far

    ONLINE:https://www.naacp.org/ghana/

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    John Warner Smith named Louisiana’s newest Poet Laureate

    Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has selected John Warner Smith as Louisiana’s newest Poet Laureate.

    A native of Morgan City, Smith began writing poetry while simultaneously building a successful career as a public administrator and a banker. He now teaches English at Southern University and A&M College, in addition to regularly publishing new works of poetry. Since 2007, he has directed Education’s Next Horizon, a non-profit policy advocacy organization dedicated to improving public education in Louisiana.

    Smith is a fellow of the prestigious Cave Canem program and has four published collections of poetry: Muhammad’s Mountain (Lavender Ink, 2018), Spirits of the Gods (UL Press, 2017), Soul Be A Witness (MadHat Press, 2016), and A Mandala of Hands (Kelsay Books – Aldrich Press, 2015). His fifth collection, Our Shut Eyes, is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

    He will serve as poet laureate for two years. Smith is available for public readings, workshops, and lectures, at venues across Louisiana during his tenure. Contact Christopher Robert at (504) 620-2639 or robert@leh.org.

    ONLINE: http://www.johnwarnersmith.com

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    BR high schoolers get aviation experience, attend national conference

    The Baton Rouge Youth Aviation Experience took 20 area high school Juniors and Seniors to Los Angeles to participate in the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Aviation Conference, August 23- 25.

    Baton Rouge Metro Airport Commission Chairman Cleve Dunn Jr. created the initiative, which is designed to educate students about career opportunities in the aviation industry. Dunn raised the money to pay for all 20 students to attend the conference, which included transportation, lodging and meals.

    The students participated in AMAC’s Project LIFT program, which was held at LAX Airports Flight Path Museum. The forum-style mentoring session is held for students interested in aviation and aviation-related businesses. Project LIFT exposes students to career opportunities in the aviation industry and the applicable education paths, and provides networking opportunities with professional mentors to further students’ academic development. In addition to an in-depth view of the aviation industry, the students made connections with industry leaders and were provided information about scholarship and internship opportunities.

    DSC06838_edit

    The participating students came from Capitol High School, Scotlandville Magnet High School, Lee Magnet High School, Madison Prep, Woodlawn High School, Mentorship Academy, Collegiate Baton Rouge, and McKinley High School. Chase Bank, Helix Schools, Baton Rouge Metro Airport, New Schools Baton Rouge, Airport Management Group, MetroMorphosis, Runner’s Courier Service, and Dunn Enterprises helped to sponsor the initiative.

    The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) and the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) presented AMAC’s 35th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference: Transforming the Future of Airports, bringing together nearly 1,000 businesses, aviation professionals, government officials and individuals from around the country to discuss a variety of subjects ranging from how to do business at airports to public policy issues impacting the entire aviation industry. This conference is the premier aviation industry event of the year – serving as a hub for education, advocacy and networking opportunities that promote diversity and inclusion in airports.

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  • ‘The Christians’ features a 1960s Louisiana love story

    With much anticipation, B.J.T Ledet, a Baton Rouge educator, has released the first a new adult, religious romance trilogy: The Christians.

    The Christians, book one, follows the life and love of Mary Jean Woods, a young, Christian woman in 1960 South Louisiana as she maneuvers through self-discovery, unrighteousness, and betrayal in hopes to find a true spiritual identity.

    Through this first release, B.J.T Ledet weaves a story that answers “What exemplifies a Christian?” and introduce readers to characters who boldly feel right–even all-knowing– in their beliefs when they are flawed and some are fallen.

    The Christians deals with the distinctive differences and interactions between the characters who consider themselves Christians and those who don’t. Meet ministers who are in the business of religion instead of uplifting the people and teaching them to love. Meet the ‘show and tell’ flock alongside the church Mothers who have tunnel vision and live in the past.

    Using romance, family scandals, and murder, the novel questions who is and is not a Christian and how the interactions between family and friends impact the spiritual growth of young adults. B.J.T. Ledet is a retired Hurricane Katrina survivor who worked at Tulane University in New Orleans. She attended Southern University and A&M College and Tulane University. Currently, she gives back to the community by tutoring kids inside her home while working on completing the trilogy. Ledet enjoys writing from her Baton Rouge home where she lives with her spouse, a dog, and a cat. Published by Jozef Syndicate, The Christians (ISBN  978-1944155209) is available on Amazon and at www.jozefsyndicate.com/creators/b-j-t-ledet/

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    SU graduates 14 farmers from Ag Leadership Institute

    SU Ag Center holds Graduation Ceremony for 7th Small Farmer Ag Leadership Institute

    Fourteen small farmers from seven states received certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony for Cohort VII of the SU Ag Center’s Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    The ceremony was held on Friday, August 16 in the Cotillion Ballroom of Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union.

    Fourteen participants from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas and Ohio graduated from the year-long course.

    Dawn Mellion Patin, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach at the SU Ag Center, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. During her presentation, Patin discussed how the leadership institute was developed and encouraged the graduates to help other small farmers.

    “We expect you to share what you have learned in conversations with aspiring small farmers,” said Patin. “We expect you to host field days, workshops, and pasture walks so others can see what you are doing,” she said.

    The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is designed to guides small, limited-resource and minority farmers through the process of becoming more competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The overriding goal of the Institute is to promote small and family farm sustainability through enhanced business management skills, leadership development and the utilization of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

    The Cohort VII regional graduates of the Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute are:
    Anthony Barwick, Ohio; Kay Bell, Texas; Keisha Cameron, Ga.; Mark Chandler, Va.; Debora Coleman, Miss.; Felton DeRouen, II, La.; Hilery “Tony” Gobert, Ga.; Royce Martin, Ala.; Lennora Pierrot, Ala.; Gregory Smith, La.; Brad Spencer, Miss.; Joy Womack, La.; Virgil Womack, La.; and Oliver Whitehead, Va.

    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/page/small-farmers.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

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    Bluebonnet Dental Care to Host Free Dentistry Day Saturday, August 24

    Residents in the Baton Rouge community and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to receive free dental services at Bluebonnet Dental Care on Saturday, August 24.

    Doctors and team at Bluebonnet Dental Care will be improving the oral health of the community as part of Free Dentistry Day, a day dedicated to providing free dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 108 million Americans are living without dental insurance.

    “We understand that many people in our community and across the nation haven’t been to the dentist for a long period of time. Some don’t understand the importance of dental health, but more often than not, they don’t have the financial means,” said Burkhalter. “This event is a great opportunity for us to share our time and resources with those less fortunate and give back to the community.”

    There is increasing evidence that links oral health to overall health and well-being. The signs and symptoms of more than 100 medical conditions, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and oral cancer may first be detected through traditional oral examinations.

    “Dental health is a vital part of a person’s overall health,” said Rome. “Through this event, we hope to educate patients on the importance of dental health and encourage them to adopt an ongoing oral care regimen.”

    During Free Dentistry Day, cleanings, fillings and extractions will be provided to patients on Saturday, August 24, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 4451 Bluebonnet Boulevard, Suite A in Baton Rouge. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call 225-767-2273 or visit www.FreeDentistryDay.org.

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    Blind DJ inspires BR, Shreveport music scene

    Alton Dalton was born visually impaired in Amite. He is the youngest child of Wilma Dalton who moved the family to Baton Rouge for her young son to attend the Louisiana School for the Blind.

    As a child, Alton Dalton displayed a natural talent for music. His favorite memory was going to the Ziegler Music Store on Florida Blvd. listening to bands practicing using stereo equipment. He learned to play the drums as a child and often was allowed to play in church. While at the Louisiana School of Music, Dalton was exposed to turn-tables by a blind DJ. He instantly took to learning the equipment and practicing his DJ skills.

    In 2004, Wilma Dalton moved her family to Shreveport. There, his DJ career took off.

    From 2004 – 2013, he became a popular DJ known as “DJ K-Rock”. He began receiving DJ gigs at local clubs, birthday parties, and also worked for a short time as an online DJ for KHAM Radio. Word around town spread about an outstanding DJ who happens to be blind. “At first, people did not believe I was really blind. They would say, ‘no way someone blind could be doing that’,” he said.

    KHAM Radio's Alvin "DJ K-Rock" Dalton with David Banner at theShreveport Convention Center March 18, 2017

    KHAM Radio’s Alton “DJ K-Rock” Dalton with David Banner at the Shreveport Convention Center March 18, 2017

    He has been a featured DJ at Club Voodoo, Club Chicago, Coco’ Pellis, Disco 9000, Club Status, Mr. Bees, Club Lacy’s, Player’s Club, Club Navels, and Brickhouse–all in Shreveport. Veteran Radio Host and DJ Marvin “DJ Jabba Jaws” Williams on 102.1 KDKS Radio Station speaks highly of Dalton’s DJ skills and how he could control an audience.

    After 2013, the DJ business began to decrease and Dalton decided to relocate Baton Rouge to be close to his mother while still traveling to Shreveport for DJ gigs. Dalton usually spends his days monitoring the health and welfare of his mother, while being an active member of the Way of Holiness Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    Earlier this year, he decided to put serious efforts into advertising his DJ Services in Baton Rouge. He reached out to several local night clubs about being a DJ but no one gave him serious consideration. He could not help to think that perhaps his disability was causing club owners to shy away from him.

    “I am not sure if they do not believe I can do it or just do not want to give me the opportunity to prove I can DJ,” he said. Not to be deterred, Dalton has taken a grassroots approach to promoting his DJ services. He has offered to DJ local birthday parties as a way of getting his name out in the Baton Rouge community. Alvin is determined to show inspire others that although you have a disability you can accomplish great things if you do not give up.

     

    Submitted by Laurence Williams

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    Keeping finances fresh throughout the year

    (Family Features) For many Americans, reaching and maintaining financial stability is a goal that tops their checklists. However, the strategies necessary for achieving that goal can quickly fall by the wayside.

    Consider these tips from Bank of America Credit Cards Executive Jason Gaughan that you can put in place to help keep your finances in check throughout the year.

    Make Financial Goals More Attainable

    The key to achieving financial goals is to make them measurable. Try to focus on achievable outcomes that slowly push you in the right direction financially. For example, if you are planning to make a large purchase, give yourself a specific, short-term goal like saving $50 from a paycheck so you can effectively measure your progress and build toward your purchase over time.

    Redeeming your credit card rewards wisely can also help you more seamlessly reach your financial goals. Some cards allow you to redeem cash rewards directly into a checking or savings account or to apply to your credit card balance. In some cases, rewards can also be applied into longer-term investments like 529 accounts for college savings or a retirement fund, letting your everyday spending help fuel your future goals.

    “Earning cash back on everyday purchases can provide extra funds to invest, splurge on a family vacation or put a down payment on a new car,” Gaughan said. “Whatever your financial goals are, a rewards card can help you get closer to achieving them.”

    Reduce the Number of Credit Cards in Your Wallet

    A Bank of America survey found 52% of Americans weigh down their wallets with multiple cards to earn rewards across different categories. By choosing a flexible credit card that allows you to earn benefits across various categories, you can consolidate and eliminate the need to juggle a variety of rewards cards.

    One flexible card option is the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, which allows you to choose from one of six categories – gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement – to earn 3% cash back on purchases each month along with 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to $2,500 each quarter. Cardholders also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. Cards such as this reward all your purchases, especially those in the places where you spend most frequently so you can maximize your cash back.

    Cut Unnecessary Spending and Tackle Debts

    If you’re dreaming of financial freedom, a budget is one of the first steps toward getting there. Start by reviewing bank and credit card statements from at least the past three months to gain a better understanding of your spending habits and identify areas you could improve. While cutting back on non-essentials is typically a good place to start, this is also an opportunity to identify areas you can get better deals by switching providers for things like car or homeowner’s insurance as well as your cellphone, internet and other home services.

    Once you’ve addressed your expenses, consider tackling your debts. To determine which debts need to be prioritized, look at the interest rates and principal costs of each and focus on paying off debts with higher interest rates first. Reducing your debt should take priority over most savings goals.

    Discover New Ways to be Rewarded

    You may be eligible to enroll in a banking rewards program like Bank of America Preferred Rewards, which gives members access to a variety of everyday banking benefits including credit card rewards bonuses on eligible cards from 25-75%, home and auto loan discounts, free stock trades, ATM fee waivers and more.

    Layering your banking rewards program together with airline, hotel, credit card, dining and shopping rewards programs can help boost your financial rewards earnings to the highest level.

    Use Digital Banking Tools to Gain Full Visibility Into Your Finances

    When using a combination of multiple rewards and savings strategies, it can be hard to keep track of where and how much you’re earning and saving at a given time.

    Your bank may offer digital tools that provide assistance and resources to simplify your banking experience. For example, some digital dashboards allow cardholders to track their rewards earnings and redemptions, and discover additional benefits. Those using their bank’s application on their computer or phone can typically manage their rewards, deals and benefits across multiple rewards programs.

    Keep Tabs on Your Credit Reports and Scores

    A numeric representation of your credit, your credit score signifies to lenders what kind of borrower you are. Because it influences everything from mortgage and auto loan rates to credit card approvals, keeping an eye on where you stand can be important in achieving your financial goals. It’s smart to periodically check your credit score to make sure everything is accurate and know where you stand. You can check your score through the major credit bureaus, and some credit card issuers even allow you to view your score for free through online or mobile banking.

    The key to keeping your finances fresh is to create a simple strategy that allows you to push toward your financial goals all year long. By consolidating your wallet, creating realistic goals and budgeting, you can set yourself up for financial success. Find more solutions at BankofAmerica.com.

    Earn Rewards Where You Spend Most

    According to the spending analysis of more than 50 million Bank of America credit and debit cardholders, the average cardholder spent $3,174 on groceries, $2,430 on dining, $2,319 on travel and $1,627 on gas last year.

    “Regardless of whether your spending priorities change frequently or remain steady, you should consider a flexible card that allows you to earn cash back across multiple categories that align with your spending patterns,” Gaughan said.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

     

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    Key decisions to help memorialize a loved one

    (Family Features) Despite the certainty of death, many Americans delay dealing with the fact and avoid funeral planning.

    In fact, nearly 3 in 5 Americans aren’t confident they could plan a funeral for themselves, let alone a loved one, according to a survey conducted by RememberingALife.com, which was created by the National Funeral Directors Association to empower families in their funeral planning, help them understand memorialization options and support them as they navigate their grief after a death.

    One of the main challenges in planning a funeral for a loved one is ensuring the service captures the person’s life and memories. However, according to the survey, just 41.2% of respondents know the deceased’s preferences for a funeral, burial or cremation, and 26.5% have not discussed their preferences with loved ones, though they do feel confident their family and friends would plan an appropriate funeral or memorial service for them.

    To kickstart the planning process, consider discussing these decisions with your loved ones:

    1. Cremation or Burial: Despite the growing popularity of cremation, burial is still important to many families. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as religion, environmental factors, cost and more.
    1. Service Options: Regardless of a preference for cremation or burial, how a family pays tribute to its loved one is also important. There are a variety of ways a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life can reflect the life of the person who died, such as through pictures, location of the service, music and more.
    1. Eulogy: One of the most impactful parts of the service can be the eulogy. Think about who knows you best and would be comfortable speaking. Some choose to write their own eulogy. Either way, eulogies can provide closure and honor a life.
    1. After the Service: While services are an opportunity for loved ones to grieve and heal together, it’s important to consider how to keep memories alive, such as by planting a tree, scattering cremated remains in a special location or visiting a gravesite. Any of these options can help a family continue to pay tribute to the deceased.

    To find more information about how a funeral director can help plan a meaningful service and resources to help you understand your own and others’ grief and loss, visit RememberingALife.com.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

    ONLINE: National Funeral Directors Association

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    State responds to cyber attack on school system

    Stephenson Technologies Corporation at LSU offers tips on how individuals can protect themselves from future cyber-attacks

    This week, several Louisiana school systems were victims of the most pervasive ransomware attacks in the state’s history. Digital thieves successfully injected malware in several parish networks, making north Louisiana one of several areas in the country that have also fallen victim to cyber-attacks.

    Ransomware is malicious software designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. It’s typically spread through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website. Once infested, the thieves hold the user’s data hostage until a ransom is paid, usually in digital currency like BitCoin.

    “Ransomware is not new,” said Jeff Moulton, Stephenson National Center for Security Research executive director. “It’s growing in use at the state and local levels because the attackers know government agencies, especially at the lower levels, are likely to pay.”

    Moulton also said that hackers know that local government agencies including school districts often do not have the systems in place to protect against cyber-attacks. Hackers also may target these agencies because shutting down or interrupting services is unacceptable.

    Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and activated Louisiana’s Emergency Support Function 17, which is a cyber-incident response plan. LSU’s Moulton oversees the ESF-17 subcommittee.

    LSU’s applied research affiliate, the Stephenson Technologies Corporation, or STC, is working with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, or GOHSEP, the Office of Technology Services and the Louisiana National Guard Cyber Team on this criminal event. Three LSU STC information systems security engineers are on site in the affected parishes assisting with the recovery efforts.

    “Thanks to Gov. Edwards’ foresight into cybersecurity vulnerabilities, he created the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission to respond quickly and effectively to attacks like these,” Moulton said.

    He offers the following tips on how individuals and institutions can protect themselves from future cyber-attacks:

    • School districts throughout Louisiana must educate their workforce to stop, think and click before opening any email. If it doesn’t look right, don’t open it.
    • Implement a two-factor authentication system.
    • Have a manual back-up system.
    • Parents and guardians should give out as little personal information on their children as possible.
    • Parents and guardians should write a letter to the three credit agencies to lock and freeze their children’s credit so predators cannot access their children’s social security numbers.
    • Encrypt your data at rest.
    • Stop. Think. Click.

    ONLINE: https://www.sncsrt.lsu.edu

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    SU Child Development Center set to hold an Enrollment Fair

    The Southern University Child Development Laboratory will hold an Enrollment Fair for the 2019-2020 school year on Saturday, August 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at its facility located on E. Street on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

    Parents interested in enrolling their children at the laboratory can do so during the enrollment fair by bringing the child’s birth certificate; social security and insurance cards; and updated immunization, physical (well-child exam), and dental records (if applicable).

    Applications will be available to be picked up from the Laboratory on July 29.

    The Laboratory, which will open August 12, is accepting children six weeks to 4 years old. It will operate from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with before and aftercare available from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee.

    To obtain an application or for additional information, call 225-771-2081 or email suchdvlab@subr.edu.

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    Awards ceremony honors top football recruits, Aug 1

    Tiger Rag magazine’s inaugural High School Football Kickoff Awards ceremony on Aug. 1 will honor four top high school football recruits from the Greater Baton Rouge area. A reception begins at 6pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at 4914 Constitution Ave. with the ceremony starting at 7pm.

    Tickets are required, though the event is free. It includes dinner and photo opportunities with former LSU football players. Tickets are available through the Tiger Rag website until July 31.

    TJ Finley

    TJ Finley

    Joel Williams

    Joel Williams

    Jalen Lee

    Jalen Lee

    Jaquelin Roy

    Jaquelin Roy

     

    The ceremony will honor quarterback TJ Finley from Ponchatoula High School, defensive tackle Jalen Lee from Live Oak High School, defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy from University High School, and cornerback Joel Williams from Madison Prep High School.

    Former LSU and NFL quarterback Matt Flynn will serve as guest speaker. Flynn played for LSU from 2003-07, earning offensive MVP honors in the Tigers’ 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State.

    The ceremony will also recognize David Brewerton of Zachary High School as High School Coach of the Year. Since taking over in 2014, Brewerton has led teams to three state titles.

    ONLINE:  tigerrag.com

     

    Photo credit: 247Sports

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    Southern University plants first seeds in medical marijuana venture

     Southern University this week officially planted its first seeds in its unprecedented partnership to supply medicinal marijuana for patients in Louisiana. Present were representatives from the Southern University System administration, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and Southern product vendor Ilera Holistic Healthcare.

    “This has been a historic week for the university,” said Ray L. Belton, Southern University System president-chancellor. “As one of two institutions in the state and the only historically black university in the nation to be actively involved in the medicinal marijuana industry, Southern looks forward to working with our vendor to provide quality medication for the people of this great state. This will not only make yet another mark in how we excel in STEM disciplines but also how we greatly contribute to our communities.”

    Southern received final clearance from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry on Monday, July 22, after a final walkthrough of the facility located in Baker. Planting began on Tuesday, July 23.

    “We remain on target with all of our benchmarks,” said Janana Snowden, lead researcher and director of Southern’s Institute for Medicinal Plants. “We look forward to having products to the market soon.”

    Snowden, who is also an agriculture professor, said opportunities are on the horizon in academic, research, and other disciplines at Southern.

    The University is slated to receive more than $6 million over five years per its agreement with its vendor. Another beneficiary of the plan is the north Baton Rouge area, with the facility set to employ more than 40 people who will be responsible for growing, manufacturing and distributing pharmaceutical grade medicines from the cannabis plant.

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    Public invited to provide input on Consolidated Plan draft, July 30

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Government Office of Community Development and Build Baton Rouge will hold a public hearing to start the public input and planning process for 2019- 2023 City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge Consolidated Action Plan. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to obtain input from local citizens and organizations regarding the initial draft of the 2019 – 2023 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Action Plan. All public input will be taken into consideration when revising and completing the final draft of the Consolidated/Action Plan.

    The Consolidated Plan serves as the five-year planning and application document for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs.

    A draft of the Plan is posted online: https://www.brla.gov/863/Plans-Reports

    Persons wishing to comment, but who are unable to attend, may do so in writing to the City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge, Office of Community Development, 222 St. Louis St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. Comments may also be submitted via E-mail at ocd.conplan@brla.gov or via fax at (225) 389-3939 ATTN: Anita Lockett.

    For more information about the public hearing, please call (225) 389-3039 ext. 151.

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    Hundreds honor slain civil rights icon, museum founder remembered for living a life of purpose

    Hundreds of people including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, BatonRouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, other elected officials, community leaders, and even residents who barely knew Sadie Roberts-Joseph filled the pews at Living Faith Christian Center to say goodbye to a woman who was remembered for living a life of purpose.

     “What she has done has inspired me and all of us,” said Edwards.  “That’s why we’re all here.”

    Roberts-Joseph, the founder of the Baton Rouge African American History Museum formerly known as the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American History Museum, was found dead in the trunk of her car on July 12. She was 75.

    The mother and grandmother who was affectionately known as “Ms. Sadie” was also a civil rights icon who hosted the city’s Juneteenth celebration. She was known for her dedication to bringing peace and unity to the community.

    “She was a lady small in stature, but mighty in spirit,” the governor said.  “I hope everyone will continue telling Ms. Sadie’s story. Let us never forget what Ms. Sadie stood for – education, love, and community. She was a leader in this community.”

    Broome echoed those sentiments.

    “Sadie Roberts Joseph was a beacon of light in our community. She was the matriarch of our community,” said Mayor Broome.  “She lived a life of purpose. She was a woman on a mission.”

    People from all walks of life came to pay their final respects. Big spray flowers and a quilt that had been donated by a man in Arkansas flanked her wooden casket as her big family (she was one of 12 siblings) and others looked on.

    Many who came barely knew her but admired her spirit and dedication.
    “I had met Ms. Sadie maybe one time, but I just felt like I needed to show my support,” said Patricia Francois.  “I liked what she was doing for people. She was trying to help everybody.”
    Roberts-Joseph also received several proclamations from the governor,  mayor, several state representatives, and U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.
    Her nephews remembered their aunt as someone who was curious about life and asked a lot of questions. She was also the one in the family who didn’t have a lot of rhythm, they joked – someone who marched to the beat of her drum.
    “She lived a life offbeat, but on purpose,” said her nephew the Rev. Shalamar Armstrong.
    Community leaders promised to continue to support the efforts started by “Ms. Sadie.” They urged those in attendance to do the same.
    “Just don’t talk about what she stood for,” Broome said.  “Stand for what she stood for.”
    On July 16, Baton Rouge police arrested Ronn Bell, 38, Robert-Joseph’s tenant, and charged him with first-degree murder. They say Bell was $1, 200 behind on his rent.
    By Michelle McCalope
    Special to The Drum
    Read more »
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    Myra Richardson to receive NAACP’s advocacy award

    Myra Richardson will be presented the NAACP’s Prestigious Montague Cobb Health Advocacy Award, July 22, 2019 during the annual convention.

    This award was established to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in the field of health.

    This award is given annually in recognition of the legacy of Dr. W. Montague Cobb, who served as the President of the NAACP from 1976 to 1983.

    Read more »
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    From cotton fields to NASA: Southern alum and professor recounts working on Apollo 11 mission

    Growing up picking cotton in St. Joseph, Louisiana, Morgan Watson never in his wildest dreams envisioned that he, along with six other men, would become the first Black engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and participate in sending the first man to the moon.

    “It was a great feeling knowing that I would be in the number to help get the first man to the moon,” Watson said. “Our group was among the best and brightest engineers working on the (Apollo 11) mission.”

    During his administration, President John F. Kennedy pledged to the nation that before his tenure ended that man would successfully land on the moon and return back to Earth. Amid a divisive political climate where segregation reigned heavily below the Mason-Dixon line, a group of Black engineering students from Southern University in Baton Rouge was chosen to “break the ice” on a new initiative and become interns for one of the country’s prestigious organizations-NASA. The young men moved to Hunstville, Alabama, to work at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Watson worked on several missions, including the Saturn Rocket Missions where he worked testing rocket components.

    “We were treated professionally and assigned meaningful tasks,” said Watson, describing his work experience. “We couldn’t fail because we knew that we were paving a legacy. I, personally, didn’t want to fail because I knew where I would end up — back in the cotton field.”

    Beyond the integrated grounds of NASA, Watson and his fellow students were not free from the familiar treatment of the Jim Crow South. Watson recounts attending a Ray Charles concert where there was a “rope right down the middle between the white and Black attendees.” However, familial bonds were quick to form among the students as they went to church services and participated in other activities together. They also lived with other Black families who treated them like blood relatives.

    When the Apollo 11 mission commenced, Watson was tasked with testing engine components for the launch to ensure its viability. Being in a room with senior engineers didn’t intimidate him. In fact, he had an advantage academically with not only taking the first computer science course at Southern but he also continuously took additional courses at a local college. He even wrote his own coding programs used to complete his tasks.

    “After watching recent reports on the mission’s anniversary, it brings back memories of how important my work was and the impact it made,” Watson said. “Because I grew up picking cotton in Northeast Louisiana, it was hard to visualize that my life would take a dramatic turn once I entered college and started working for NASA.”

    After success with the mission and his exceptional work ethic, Watson graduated and was immediately hired to work for NASA to work on the thermodynamics of the Saturn V in New Orleans. In 1968, he returned to Southern to work as a faculty member in the engineering department. Upon retirement, he established an engineering consultancy firm where he assists local and state agencies on community projects. At the 2016 Founders’ Day ceremonies, Southern awarded Watson and his fellow classmates with the President’s Medal of Honor.

    As Watson reflects on the 50th anniversary of the mission, he is proud of his work and the opportunity granted to forge an unwavering legacy. He is indebted to his alma mater, Southern University, for affording him this opportunity and being a “bridge over troubled water” for Black students.

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
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    Grambling State launches new dining program with Magic Johnson’s Sodexo Magic

    Grambling State University announced the launch of a long-term partnership with a new dining service provider SodexoMAGIC. The new agreement will deliver $6.7 million in facility renovations, new major-brand quick-serve restaurants, and 24-hour dining.

    “The best part of our new program is that we, as students, are driving the design,” said Steven Wilson, rising senior and President of the University’s Student Government Association. “I’m grateful to President Gallot and the entire administration for how they’ve helped turn our comments, emails, and surveys into an experience that supports all of our students.”
    Grambling State Partners with SodexoMAGIC

    The University’s partnership comes as a result of a collaborative RFP process where students, faculty and staff weighed in on proposals from America’s leading dining service providers. The winning finalist, SodexoMAGIC, is well known for its chairman, NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and its service to universities and corporate clients that include Delta Airlines, the Walt Disney Company, the Federal Reserve Bank, and Toyota.

    “This agreement is a great example of what is possible when Universities put our students first,” said Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State. “We are fortunate to collaborate with a partner, like SodexoMAGIC who understands the holistic needs of our students.”

    The partnership will include a two-year overhaul of campus dining facilities and the launch of new program features that include:

    • New menus overseen by Chef G. Garvin, nationally acclaimed TV host, author, and NAACP Image Award winner
    • A New mobile app feature for ordering takeout and made-to-order items
    • Allergen-friendly meal programs to support vegetarians and other specialized dietary needs.

    The deal connects SodexoMAGIC and the University for a five-year partnership that will yield a $51 million return on investment and includes a five-year option to renew.

    “We are proud to partner with the Grambling State community and excited about investing in the students,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, NBA hall of famer and chairman of SodexoMAGIC. “My team is committed to providing excellent service that the Grambling students, staff, and community deserve so they can continue leading efforts to change the world in sports, technology, and in business.”

    Read more »
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    Teens earn Emergency Medical Responder Certification

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder  Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for careers in the medical field, while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC).
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”

    UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019 at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    Read more »
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    Community honors historian, activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    For more than three decades, Sadie Roberts-Joseph was an exceptional force of civic and cultural life in Baton Rouge. Often called an activist, matriarch, and a ‘tireless advocate of peace,’ the 75-year-old  founder of the city’s African-American history museum was found dead in the trunk of a car on Friday, July 12, about 3 miles from her home. Police did not explain what led them to the car where they found her body.

    Investigators believe she was suffocated before her body was found. Within days, Baton Rouge Police arrested and charged a male tenant from one of Roberts-Joseph’s rent houses with her murder. He was allegedly $1,200 behind in his rent.

    “You stole light,” said her son Jason Roberts. “You stole a warm loving giving and caring woman and it wasn’t just for her family. She cared for the city. She cared for you. Her life should not have ended that way. She did not deserve that, but she would want forgiveness for you.” In 2001, Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now & Then African American Museum, which features exhibits of African art and tells the stories of minority inventors. It also includes displays of historical artifacts from the civil rights era, including a 1963 bus used during the Baton Rouge boycotts.

    Leading up to this year’s Juneteenth Celebration, she’d begun rebranding the museum as the Baton Rouge African American History Museum, which some recognized as an astute move to market it as the city’s museum and to connect it to other Black museums in Southeast Louisiana.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph is the founder of the museum. Photo: Daniel Atkinson.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph is the founder of the museum. Photo: Daniel Atkinson.

    “She was one of the standout matriarchs of Baton Rouge,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who knew and worked with Roberts-Joseph for 30 years. “We will make her legacy a priority because of what she gave so many here.” Roberts-Joseph was also the founder of the nonprofit organization Community Against Drugs and Violence, and she organized the state’s recognition of Juneteenth in Baton Rouge.

    Roberts-Joseph grew up in Woodville, Mississippi. Her family later moved to Baton Rouge, where she studied education and speech pathology. She consistently called for unity and togetherness, often explaining how the city and nation needed to heal from the legacy of slavery. “What my mother wanted in life came to fruition–ironically–in death,” said Angela R. Machen, Ph.D., “and that was inclusiveness, togetherness, and diversity.”

    Machen challenged the community to keep her mother’s legacy by living “a better life. Give a little more effort to make the whole better.” She said her mother was committed to community service and excellence, “Whatever you believe in, work hard in it. Give your dead-level best.”

    The family has created The Sadie Roberts-Joseph Memorial Fund at Hancock Whitney Bank and is hoping to raise funds that will go toward museum operations. The Southern University System Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to the family. The resolution outlined the commitment of Roberts Joseph to both her family and the city of Baton Rouge. These commitments included founding the museum. She was an alumna of Southern University.

    Baton Rouge's 2065 Plank Road is the site planned for a mural of Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    Baton Rouge’s 2065 Plank Road is the site planned for a mural of Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    “Our love for Sadie Roberts-Joseph will continue. We will demonstrate it in very tangible ways,” said Broome. For starts, the Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience participants, led by The Walls Project and Build Baton Rouge, will paint a mural of the revered activist at 2065 Plank Road–the corner of Plank Road and Pawnee Street in North Baton Rouge. On Friday, July 20, LAMAR Corporation began erecting billboards around the city in memory of Roberts-Joseph.

     

     

     

     Lamar-Corporation-erects-this-bilboard-around-Baton-Rouge-in-memory-of-Sadie-Roberts-Joseph


    Lamar-Corporation-erects-this-bilboard-around-Baton-Rouge-in-memory-of-Sadie-Roberts-Joseph

    The community shares their memories and tributes:

    Gov. John bel Edwards: I am heartbroken and sickened by the disturbing death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph. @FirstLadyOfLA and I are praying for her family and the members of the Baton Rouge community who, like us, are struggling to understand this senseless act of violence. Many knew Sadie as the founder of Baton Rouge’s African-American History Museum and for her annual Juneteenth celebrations, but she was equally known for her kindness, vibrant spirit, and passion for promoting peace. Sadie was a storyteller, and I believe we have the responsibility of keeping those stories alive and working to, as she once said, “build a better state and a better nation.”

    Mayor Sharon Weston Broome: In the midst of managing a major weather event in our parish, I was hit with some devastating news – the murder of a dear friend and a mother of the community- Sadie Roberts Joseph. I’ve deliberately waited to comment because of the level of love and respect I had for Sadie; and because it was such shocking news. She loved this city and its people. Her commitment to the cultural and educational fabric of our community is beyond description. The development of The Odell S. Williams African American Museum is a testament of her visionary and pioneering leadership. In the days to come, I look forward to offering a more comprehensive tribute.

    h8-Sadie-Roberts-Joseph-dead-trunk-baton-rouge-african-american-museum

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph at the Odell S. Williams African American Museum

    State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle: My heart is empty… as I learned last night that Ms. Sadie Roberts Joseph was found murdered! This woman was amazing and loved her history. She never bothered anyone, just wanted to expand her African American Museum downtown, where she continually hosted the Juneteenth Celebration yearly. I loved working with her and am saddened by her death.

    Judge John Michael Guidry:  My friend Sadie Roberts-Joseph often had me as her Speaker for her Juneteenth Celebrations in South Baton Rouge or her Veterans Observance at Port Hudson. We bonded over 25 years ago when as a State Senator, I worked with the community group CADAV which she led in the Banks community. Her life was one of sacrificial service to others. She gave herself away so that God could use her. She reminded us of our history and has earned her place in the history of our community. Her death was tragic, but her life was a treasure. I choose to focus my thoughts not on how she died, but on how she lived. My condolences and prayers are with her family.

    State Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith: As I sit remembering my dear dear friend Sadie I know the tears I’ve shed do no more than help relieve my emotions. A lot of people knew or knew of Sadie but really didn’t know her. For those of us who did, who grew up in her time we knew a bit more.  Sadie’s death isn’t an opportunity for news sound bites without knowing her family or involving her family. I am disappointed. This is indeed a time for ALL who knew her and really want her legacy to be enshrined AND the perpetrators brought to justice to come together in unity. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND and we should be embracing her family and referring news outlets to them.  Some may not like this post but I respect her family and for as much time as she and I spent together dealing with the museum issues I could never politicize her death and there are others who feel as I do. I LOVED SADIE FOR WHO SHE WAS AND ADMIRED ALL SHE WAS TRYING TO DO FOR OUR COMMUNITY.  UNIFY FOR THE LOVE OF Sadie L. Roberts-Joseph!

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph from The Drum archives

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph from The Drum archives

    Donna Collins Lewis: My heart is aching. I have known Ms. Sadie for over 30 years. A wonderful, sweet and quiet soul. Soft-spoken with a passion for the community and African American History and Art. I pray for a quick resolution in bringing the person responsible to justice. I pray Gods strength and peace for her family and the many lives who are saddened by her death. May her legacy and work continue to live through the African American Museum and the many efforts she championed in the community. She leaves her footprint on the entire parish and far beyond.

    NAACP Baton Rouge Branch. We lost a Cultural Legend Yesterday!#RIP Sadie Roberts Joseph. From reviving Juneteenth, to the Culture preserved at Her Museum, she was a trendsetter and icon in this City.

    The King Center: ‪We mourn. Sadie Roberts-Joseph was the founder and curator of the Baton Rouge African-American Museum, which she started in 2001. She was a tireless advocate of peace.

    Baton Rouge Police Department: The Baton Rouge Police Department joins the community in mourning the loss of Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph. Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community. We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels. From assisting with her bicycle give away at the African American Museum to working with the organization she started called CADAV. (Community Against Drugs and Violence) Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community, she will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.

    California artist Nicholas Smith of Nikkolas Design shared this rendering of Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    California artist Nicholas Smith of Nikkolas Design shared this rendering of Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    Broderick Bagert: Shocked & saddened by the death of Ms. Sadie L. Roberts-Joseph. She founded the Now & Then Museum of African American History in Baton Rouge on a shoestring as part of her life-long project to teach Black history & civil rights. She was part of Together Baton Rouge from its earliest days. Ms. Sadie was a calm presence. And a fierce presence, in every fiber of her being. May she rest in peace. And may the rest of us live up to her legacy, STARTING by supporting her vision for the Then & Now Museum.

    Paula Johnson-Hutchinson: On this day, Ms. Sadie told me that writing books of our lives and culture ensures the sustainability of us and that we wouldn’t be forgotten. She also said that sharing knowledge and being true teachers of our children will provide a pathway that will long outlive us.

    LSU Office of Diversity: Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph founded the Baton Rouge African-American Museum which tells the stories of African-Americans in Louisiana throughout history from the cotton grown in the museum’s garden to artifacts like a 1953 bus from the year of the city’s public bus boycott protesting racial segregation. Ms. Roberts-Joseph gave away bicycles at the museum and started a community organization to fight drugs and violence. She was known as a quiet leader and tireless advocate of peace in the community. Our LSU family mourns her tragic loss.

    Res-Brother StanleyWe have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Judge Trudy White at the annual Kwanzaa celebration. Photo by David Modeste

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Judge Trudy White at the annual Kwanzaa celebration. Photo by David Modeste

    David Modeste: Much respect to Sister Sadie for her tireless efforts to uplift the community in every way she knew how. We especially appreciate her active contribution and participation in the Baton Rouge Kwanzaa Celebrations sponsored by Afrocentric Focus Group of Baton Rouge.

    Walter Geno McLaughlin: We’ve all posted about it and reacted to the news locally. And now we see the lens of national news outlets focused on the death of Miss Sadie. Fitting, yet unexpected. It’s strange how in death we seek to honor those who have done so much to uplift our community on a daily basis. But this video shows how she lived; with a smile on her face, a quiet force of nature, motivated by the need to narrate & curate our own stories. One of the last times I saw Miss Sadie, she was hopeful that with all the renewed energy towards investment in underserved neighborhoods, her little museum would not be forgotten and would receive the resources to make it sustainable. This woman did so much with so little. And like many others who do this work, probably never knew the full weight of her impact. It is why it’s important to clap for people while they are here, and give them the fuel to keep moving forward. I’m left to wonder who would do such a thing to someone we all loved, and at this tender age. There is speculation beyond the normal motives, and we must ask tough questions. But as we all prepared for the coming storm, I believe she was likely still helping people, not fully aware of the dangers, whatever they were. What I do know is that her funeral will be full of dashiki wearing brothers and sisters emulating the look she was synonymous for. Rest in Power Queen. We will take it from here.

    Niles B. Haymer: This morning I visited the African American Museum that was so loved by her and I could feel her spirit and presence throughout along with her love of displaying African American History in Baton Rouge. I got a chance to speak with Ms. Sadie this past February at a Black History Program sponsored by Councilwoman Erika Green where I promised Ms. Sadie that my kids would soon visit her museum for a photo op with her. My oldest son even wondered loudly why I’ve never taken him to the museum in front of Ms. Sadie. Of course I was embarrassed and gave him that look of “I’ll deal with you later.” Unbeknownst to my son, he was right, many families of all races should have supported this historic museum and still have time to do so. Sadly, that day never came for my kids, Ms. Sadie and that well-anticipated photo op. Violent crime in Baton Rouge is an unspeakable epidemic that’s stealing the soul of this City. I know that the candlelight vigil this evening will be well attended and I wanted to just take in her life’s work without disruption. Rep. C. Denise Marcelle has assisted the family in setting up the Sadie Roberts Joseph Memorial Fund at Hancock Whitney Bank. This is our chance to give to a worthy cause by keeping this museum open and well funded.#JusticeforSadie

    Councilwoman Erika Green: Today, I speak Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s name! Though her life was taken by a heartless person in this city yesterday, I am comforted in remembering the community and the African-American history she carried in her soul. She loved and told the story of our people.

    Sketch of Sadie Roberts Joseph by Antoine GHOST Mitchell. 225.933.7090. @the_art_alchemist  AntoineGHOST.  Facebook: PoeArtry Creative Movement, LLC

    Sketch of Sadie Roberts Joseph by Antoine GHOST Mitchell. 225.933.7090. @the_art_alchemist AntoineGHOST.
    Facebook: PoeArtry Creative Movement, LLC

    Shenena Armstrong Merchant: Aunty Sadie was a light to the Armstrong family, she taught me through her actions how to smile through it. So in spite of my tears, I’m smiling because her legacy lives on; bigger, stronger, and more loving.

    Jeremy L. Blunt: My heart mourns today at the loss of such a pillar of our community. I met Mrs. Sadie L. Roberts-Joseph as a teenager and can still remember our conversations where she encouraged me to keep striving for others. She told me that one day, I too would be one of those on her wall. We have to not just seek justice for her but seek betterment in our community by how we treat one another. Love is a universal language that does not discriminate. Remember what she lived for and carry that message on.

    Lloyd Benson II: Thank you, Queen, for always inspiring and encouraging us to learn, respect, and appreciate our heritage.

    Sadie Roberts Joseph. Photo by Jason Shi Roberts

    Sadie Roberts Joseph. Photo by Jason Shi Robert

    Tiffany Littlejohn: My Aunt Sadie L. Roberts-Joseph always wanted to be famous. Her story is breaking twitter, being shared by CNN, CBS, ABC, ESSENCE magazine, BET, Instagram, US News, New York Times, Perez Hilton, New York Daily News, and the list goes on and on… TAKE YOUR PLACE QUEEN, TAKE YOUR PLACE.

    LaNeir Roberts: Aunt Sadie L. Roberts-Joseph was beautiful, smart, truly a phenomenal woman, and loved the Lord. I will never forget our Christmas light adventure. Never saw the Christmas lights but we managed to find the railroad tracks (lol). When we asked to listen to the radio Aunt Sadie turns it to the politics station; and we expressed to her that we wanted to listen to rap music… she started banging on the steering wheel lol. Aunt Sadie was definitely a character but she was also an educator and loved by so many. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Please please please continue to pray for my family as we support each other through this difficult time. Rest in paradise Auntie, until we meet again.

    Quentin Anthony Anderson Sr.: So, it was great to see everyone at Ms. Sadie’s vigil last night. But many of y’all admitted that it was the first time you had ever stepped foot on the campus of that museum. That’s fine, a lot of people hadn’t and it speaks volumes to how big of an impact Ms. Sadie left on Baton Rouge that so many people were touched by her and hadn’t even see her in her purest element as a historian and curator. But that museum is our history, Black Baton Rouge. And it’s her legacy. If you were willing to come out in the heat and endure an entire church service and 4 closing prayers for Ms. Sadie yesterday, the least you can do is support the museum-going forward. Visit the museum. Take your kids. Volunteer (Ms. Sadie really wanted to maintain those column murals and the maps on the ground, hint hint). Donate monthly to keep the museum open. Sharon Weston Broome, designate the museum as a local historical landmark and protect it from greedy developers. We all have a part we can play as a community. As my friend Myra Richardson says, make this a movement, not a moment. Make this important to you beyond just today, beyond it trending on your favorite timeline. If you truly care about Ms. Sadie and her legacy, let’s protect and preserve it by supporting her crown jewel.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph speaks during the 2019 Juneteenth event.Photo by Yulani Semien

    Myra Richardson:Last summer, Byron Washington and Ms. Sadie asked me work with the museum because she said she needed some “youthful energy”. I’m eternally grateful for both of those relationships. However, one of the things that struck me was when she told me the Museum was an extension of her. Every piece collected in that museum passed through her delicate fingers, every tour was different as she would recount how she got a different artifact. I thought I was an intense person but spend a few days a week on a hot bus with that women and she’ll learn you a thing or two. She made me read endlessly but she talked to me more about how important oral history is and passing down stories. She was a walking book and just wanted to share the museum with the world. She dreamed of renovating the building and connecting it to the building behind it, even thought of renaming it once. The last piece of literature she had me read was about Oscar Dunn. In 1868, Dunn became the first elected Black lieutenant governor of a U.S. state. His sentiments were written during reconstruction hailing from the great State of Louisiana but Ms. Sadie wanted me to draw parallels that he was essentially asking for the same thing 151 years ago that we’re asking for today. She viewed knowledge of history as an equalizer, she wanted me and youth across Louisiana to have access to that museum purely because knowledge is more than power … it’s a labor of love. That museum is Ms.Sadie, that museum is more than a legacy … it’s a living breathing organism birthed from her dreams, travels, relationships and love for all of us. That museum is my chief priority and should be yours as well.

    Byron Washington: Many people will rightly so build memorials and vigils. I think the best way to Honor Sadie is to honor her legacy. Honor what she put her heart and soul in. Donate, find funding sources, and promote the museum. Make it so the doors will never close and we will never lose its memory. Learn your local history and embrace your local culture. It is unique and should be celebrated from the mountain tops.  So instead of buying a bunch of flowers, although you certainly are within you right and in many cases should let’s put that money into the facility. Let’s put our energy into the grants. Let’s put our focus into promotion.

    Stephanie Anthony She was a fellow worker in the vineyard, a kind, sweet lady I can’t wrap my mind around what our city has become capable of these days. What a great loss. Prayers for her family.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph at mic

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph at mic

    Johnny Anderson: The recent murder of my dear and sweet 75-year-old friend Sadie Roberts-Joseph has greatly disturbed me, personally, and Baton Rouge, collectively!! I have so many questions but, I know my friend, Baton Rouge Chief of Police Murphy Paul will do his all to find and appropriately charge the person or persons who committed such a horrific crime!! What is on the mind(s) of anybody to kill a 75-year-old Christian, mother, grandmother, humanitarian, community Activist, human and civil rights activist, African-American historian and protector of the culture, lover of arts, fighter for the people’s cause…! Not only kill her but, stuff her in the trunk of a car!!?  So many times, when I was in government, at the state or federal level, Sadie had no problem making her way there to my office and express her opinion on issues or to advocate for help for the least! I never knew her children, grandchildren or relatives because she never came asking for help for them, it was always about helping others! One of my more recent memories of her was she coming to my office to express concerns with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) where she had taken upstate property for her Museum expansion, painting African-American heroes on State post and was NOT moving it!  Then on another occasion to have me as her guest speaker at the Museum! I was so hot that day, looks like it was 90+ degrees but, she thought that my removing my jacket, on the OUTSIDE, where I was speaking, would lower the dignity of her activity/event…and I was crazy enough to listen to her and kept my coat though they got a shorter version of my speech!! She was always soft-spoken but, very forcefully about her position, that was not easily change! Sadie had a small voice but, strong convictions about her causes! She hardly shouted at anyone but, she never stop coming to the “gate” to help others! She often reminded me of the woman in the Bible that came night and day to “bother” the one in authority until she ultimately got what she wanted!! Sounds familiar LA DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson and Attorney Joshua G. Hollins?!  Sadie Roberts-Joseph was persistent! She knew how to ask you for financial support for the Annual Juneteenth Celebration without ever asking you for a penny,  which by the way, should now be appropriately entitled the “Sadie Roberts-Joseph Juneteenth Celebration!” I want her murderer(s) to be brought to justice!! Did they even know what this women embodied…who she was…what she meant…who she fought for…her commitment…her love…did they know?!!! Rest well my friend…you wrought well while here!!

    By Candace J. Semien
    Jozef Syndicate reporter
    @jozefsyndicate

    READ MORE:

    • Sadie Roberts-Joseph on Wikipedia:20190717_091734_resized https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadie_Roberts-Joseph
    • BRPROUD. Sadie Roberts-Joseph impacted the lives of several in her community https://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/sadie-roberts-joseph-impacted-the-lives-of-several-in-her-community/
    • CNN: Sadie Roberts-Joseph exuded a ‘quiet power’ as she enriched her community. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/16/us/sadie-roberts-joseph-profile/index.html
    • Smithsonian Magazine: Sadie Roberts-Joseph, Slain Activist, Showed How Museums Can Raise Up Their Communities
    • ABC News: African American museum founder discovered dead in car trunk 
    • CNN: Baton Rouge police chief is ‘very confident’ they will make arrest
    • Washington Post: Activist who spotlighted African American history found dead in trunk of car, police say
    • ESSENCE: Sadie Roberts-Joseph, Founder Of Baton Rouge’s African American History Museum, Found Dead
    • NPR: Founder Of African American History Museum Discovered Dead In Car Trunk
    • VIBE: Suspect Arrested For Death Of Activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph
    • Big Easy Magazine: African American Museum Founder Sadie Roberts-Joseph Found Dead in Car Trunk
    • The Insider: A beloved Baton Rouge activist and founder of African American Museum discovered dead in the trunk of her car
    • Democracy Now: Historian and Civil Rights Activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph Found Killed https://www.democracynow.org/2019/7/16/headlines/historian_and_civil_rights_activist_sadie_roberts_joseph_found_killed
    • Teen Vogue: Sadie Roberts-Joseph, Activist and Museum Founder, Is Remembered by Friends and Family After She Was Found Killed. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/sadie-roberts-joseph-activist-museum-founder-remembered-by-friends-family-murdered
    • WTOC. Family of Sadie Roberts-Joseph mourns activist’s death. https://www.wtoc.com/2019/07/17/family-sadie-roberts-joseph-mourns-activists-death/
    • USA TODAY. Baton Rouge mourns after beloved activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph found dead in trunk of a car. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/15/baton-rouge-mourns-death-sadie-roberts-joseph-autopsy/1733992001/
    • THE ADVOCATE. Our Views: Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s grace should live on. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/our_views/article_5a05cc9a-a805-11e9-8fb0-ff04c0cecf02.html?fbclid=IwAR05C0L86YY5Jc26WOyfWriCCnF3ivVQWKbLXyc5ozv5RFmsRiWjfyD53HU

    Share your memories and photos of Sadie Roberts-Joseph. Email news at thedrumnewspaper dot info, comment below.

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    Baton Rouge NAACP leaders challenge parish’s plan of governement

    Leaders of the Baton Rouge Branch of The NAACP have announced the organization will launch an investigation into the proposed changes to The East Baton Rouge Plan of Government.  On June 12, 2019. After 18 months, the East Baton Rouge Parish Plan of Government Amendment Committee has completed its draft of proposed changes to the local constitution, which will be introduced at the July 24, 2019, Metro Council meeting.

    According to the NAACP, the proposed amendments include significant changes, such as implementing two at-large council seats and a city manager position, along with enhancing council authority over the annual executive budget process.

    Through a news release, the NAACP leaders said the changes proposed by the East Baton Rouge Parish Plan of Government Amendment Committee dilute African American voting and could directly violate The Voting Rights Act. The group is opposing the proposed changes  put forth by the committee and will further investigate any violations of the Voting Rights Act this could cause.

    ONLINE: http://www.naacpbr.org

    https://www.brla.gov/1257/Plan-of-Government

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    ‘I became a FarmHer by default’

    A young pioneer in Internet radio, Nicolette “Missy” Gordon started MissyRadio.com in 2011, trending through an online business model that had only surfaced on the national scene.  The path made sense for a 20-something broadcast journalist who’d been “on the air” with Citadel Broadcasting’s WEMX-FM Max 94.1 for years. From there, she went on the graduate studies only to return to her alma mater as an area youth agent at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

    But it was a memory of a conversation she had with her grandfather, Robert Pope, that gives her a “mission” today.

    “When I told him I was going back to school, he asked me ‘Why are you doing that? I’ve given you everything you need,” she said.

    And he had.

    Grandpa Pope and his wife, Ora, left 128-acre farm in Greensburg, La., to a family of seven granddaughters with Nicolette being the one to pick up their legacy and return to farming.

    “I became a FarmHer by default,” she often jokes, “but in all actuality, it was destined to happen.” The third-generation farmer has pulled her talents and skills in youth development, small business management, community organizing, and nontraditional teaching to develop one of her largest personal projects: managing the family farm which includes livestock pasture and woodlands.

    “My family has been farming for centuries, I have a sharecropping document from my great-great grandpa,” she said.

    Her ultimate goal is to make sure that nobody in my community is hungry, and that our youth never forget what self-sustainability really looks like, she said. “As an assistant area agent, working with youth is 90 percent of my appointment. It’s been quite amazing to see the many youth that are still interested in agriculture.

    “I have noticed that urban farming is has taken on a life of its own, and it’s a wonderful thing. It’s one of the easiest ways that we can eradicate food deserts in inner cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans,” she said.

    However, she believes we’ve become too far removed from self-sustainability. “I can remember, as a child, we shelled our beans for dinner at Big Momma house…At eight years old, I knew how to plant, harvest, and shell speckled butter beans and crowder peas.”

    “My grandfather would always talk to me about preserving his legacy,” said Gordon. She began learning the business management side of farming and in 2018 she was selected to participate in the Southern University Ag Center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute. She is a certified master gardener with a certificate in farm risk management. Missyradio

    Now, she is known in Ag circles as FarmHer Missy.

    What’s your mission/goal with your land? Basically, my mission is to pick-up where my grandfather left off but developing an Ag Enterprise.

    How much time are you currently spending in agriculture? I like to think every day is a teachable moment in agriculture. Agriculture is literally tied back to everything that we do, be it the workplace or at home. In the near future, we will open our farm for farm demo, and professional development opportunities.

    Who’s farming with you now? It’s definitely a family affair! My uncle, Robyn Pope, is a very important component of our farming operation because he knows every detail about our farm.

    Why are you farming when so many people are leaving agriculture and farming because of the labor and low wage? Farming is fulfilling, therapeutic, and it keeps me humbly connected to my roots. It is so important to never forget that farming was the only way of life for many of our families in rural America. So in essence, it can never be primarily about earning a wage for me.  This is the preservation of my families legacy for me, and there’s no amount of money that can ever top that… I love it! Many of the Baby Boomers will say, “Farming is hard work!” My reply is always, “Somebody gotta do it!”

    By Candace J Semien
    Jozef Syndicater reporter
    @jozefsyndicate

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    This feature, ‘Pensiri: A Talk with..,’ is a fascinating spotlight using narrative interviews and quick peeks into the interesting and unique lives of “average” human beings. From their spontaneous adventures, triumphs after tragedies, comical failures, and even the oddities of their personality, everybody has a story and every life has meaning. Enjoy the stories they share with Jozef Syndicate writers.

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    Teens complete Emergency Medical Responder Institute

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for medial careers while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center.
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs, and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019, at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    ONLINE: www.urec.org here.
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    Ivory Toldson joins education commission

    Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and president of Quality Education for Minorities – QEM Network, has been appointed to the Commission on the Value of Postsecondary Education. This Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-supported panel consists of 30 higher education leaders, business representatives, and foundation experts. They will study the value of earning college degrees and of earning post-high school certificates. The Baton Rouge native is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education, and executive editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Research, published by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc

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    Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to co-host the first Louisiana Rural Economic Development Summit with Southern University Law Center


    MARKSVILLE – The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is partnering with the Southern University Law Center (SULC) and the Southern University College of Business University Center for Economic Development to co-host the first Louisiana Rural and Economic (LaRuE) Development Summit in Marksville, LA at Paragon Casino Resort on Sunday, July 7 – Tuesday, July 9. Governor John Bel Edwards will address attendees at a special breakfast on Tuesday, July 9.

    The goal of the summit is to connect rural communities with local, state and national leaders as well as Native American Country and improving life in rural areas by helping future generations develop an entrepreneurial mindset while providing them the tools to succeed.

    “Our hope is that through this summit, we can develop a steady platform for small business owners and elected officials to be able to build relationships and create smart partnerships throughout Louisiana,” said Marshall Pierite, chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. “We’re grateful to Southern University Law Center for hosting this event with us and for offering to provide their knowledge from the legal perspective.”

    At the summit, the following topics will be discussed by panels of three to five people:

    • Workforce Development
    • Community Development in Rural America
    • 5G Expansion/Broadband Opportunities
    • Healthcare Access in Rural Communities
    • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    • New Marketing Opportunities in Agriculture
    • Financial Services
    • Small Business Opportunities
    • Creating and Improving Economic and Business Relationships with Tribal Governments
    • Business Development Opportunities with LA Tribes

    The summit will feature local and nationally-recognized scholars as well as business and community leaders who will share their expertise on the summit topics.

    The conference is open to all economic development professionals, including business owners, small business developers, government officials, chamber of commerce professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, faculty and staff from all universities within the state of Louisiana and students. In addition, anyone who is interested in learning more about economic development in rural areas or about doing business with tribal governments, is welcome to attend.

    The registration fee is $100. For details and to register, visit www.sulc.edu/larue or call (318) 597-8981.

    For more information on Southern University Law Center, visit www.sulc.edu.

    For more information on the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, visit https://www.tunicabiloxi.org/.

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  • Carpenter receives La. Legislature’s 2019 Hudson Cup

    The Louisiana House of Representatives recently named State Rep. Barbara Carpenter as this year’s recipient of the Hudson Cup of Unity and Friendship Award. Carpenter is the first female to be honored. The award is given annually to one House member from members of the House based on leadership and respect. The prestigious award is presented in remembrance of the late former State Representative Charles “Doc” Hudson who served St. Landry Parish. Carpenter serves on the Administration of Criminal Justice, Retirement, and Transportation, Highways and Public Works committees. She is also dean of International Education and University Outreach at Southern University and A&M College.

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  • French professor Jerry L Parker Jr. earns doctorate

    Jerry L. Parker Jr.  has successfully defended his dissertation to earn a doctorate of education in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University. He investigated the presentation of cultural content about the Caribbean and Louisiana in textbooks and faculty teaching practices. His scholarly interests include curriculum leadership, instructional leadership, foreign language education, multicultural education, and Caribbean and Louisiana studies. He is currently an instructor of French and Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Southeastern Louisiana University. He also serves as the department’s undergraduate program coordinator and director of the Foreign Language Resource Center. He holds a bachelor of arts in French Language and Literature from Southeastern Louisiana University, a master of arts in French & Francophone Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
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    Griffin publishes ‘Cultural Gumbo Our Roots Our Stories’

    Author Marian Olivia Heath Griffin presents a historical narrative of the stories and glories of Black people’s lives in her stories.

    With the desire to let her children and grandchildren know their historical background, Griffin releases “Cultural Gumbo Our Roots Our Stories,” a documented autobiographical history of her family members. Presented as a historical narrative, the book is about four families, dating back to the era before slaves were brought out of Africa. Griffin’s extended family is a blend and mixture of African, European especially English, French, Irish, Asian, Native American, and South and North American ancestry.

    Contemporary records and archival documents were sought in an effort to reach greater heights of authenticity, enhance ancestral reality and relate the facts to younger generations. Griffin shares that personal experiences led her to realize that even though there were differences in the races of people, there were many similarities as well. “I want the world to accept us as strong resilient human beings who survived severe hardships, physical and mental anguish, conflicts, wars in our homeland and yet we survived,” she said. An excerpt from the book reads: I have learned from historical and traditional accounts that African slaves did not come to the United States and other countries empty-headed or empty-handed. We came with skills, intellectual and educational development and have made contributions for the betterment of mankind.

    However, she has lived in Baton Rouge with her husband, Bertrand Griffin, for more than 55 years. She is a licensed professional counselor and has served as a counselor and administrator in student personal at Southern University in Baton Rouge for 36 years, the last seven years as director of international student services. She graduated from Delaware State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology, attended Atlanta University School of social work, and attended the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary earning a master’s degree in psychological counseling. She received a master’s degree in mass communication and educational supervision, and further studies at Louisiana State University and North Western University in Evanston, Illinois.

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    SU Ag Center Uses Hydroponic Growing System to teach students, urban entrepreneurs

    Scientists at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center have partnered with Tera Vega to conduct research on a new Hydroponic Growing System. Hydroponics is a process of growing plants without soil in either sand, gravel or liquid.
    Through this research, the Center will train students and urban entrepreneurs on new technologies that will maximize crop production with limited space.
    Professor of Urban Forestry Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., and senior research associate Milagro Berhane are working to perfect the system with aspirations of teaching potential urban entrepreneurs how to effectively grow crops in areas with limited space and generate personal and community wealth opportunities.
    For additional information about this research project, contact Milagro Berhane at milagro_berhane@suagcenter.com or Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., at yemane_ghebreiyessus@suagcenter.com.
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    Mayor Broome releases a statement on Gov. Edwards veto

    In response to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of a Senate bill which would have allowed for the proposed City of St. George to continued collection of certain sales taxes, EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said:

    I’m pleased with the decision by the Governor to veto Senate Bill 229 due to the adverse effects on the entire Parish of East Baton Rouge. The amendments made on the Senate floor would have allowed the proposed City of St. George to simply walk away from debt and pension obligations for services that benefit all citizens.

    Despite an agreement in a Senate Committee with the bill’s authors, Senator Dan Claitor and Senator Bodi White, the agreement was altered on the Senate floor without consultation with my office or the City-Parish Employees’ Retirement System general counsel. Serious concerns about the effects of the floor amendments would have been communicated to both Senators.

    The bill would have forced EBRI and the proposed City of St. George into unnecessary and expensive litigation to interpret the floor amendment provisions that were added without any notice or consultation. The fact remains that this transition legislation is not needed because current law provides that the Governor shall appoint all officers of a newly incorporated municipality until the next general election.

    As demonstrated by our cooperation and negotiation during the legislative process, my office stands at the ready to negotiate a transition with the City of St. George should the voters approve of the new municipality on October 12. I commend the Governor for listening to the concerns of all of the citizens in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    Click here to read the governor’s veto letters.

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    Following a residency with Jacksonville Symphony, Courtney Bryan takes her music to Rome

    Composer and pianist Courtney Bryan, Ph.D., has been awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She was awarded the esteemed Rome Prize for music composition in April. Bryan teaches in the School of Liberal Arts’ Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University in New Orleans. She recently completed a two-year residency with the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida, where she was the Mary Carr Patton Composer in Residence. Her work incorporates jazz, experimental music, gospel, classical, and R&B to bridge “the line between the sacred and the secular,” she said.

    Bryan explores historical themes and political issues in her art.

    While in Rome, she will be working on an opera, musicals, and a special melodrama titled “Caracalla: Inner Monologue of an Emperor”. Out of 982 applications nationwide, independent juries selected 30 American and six Italian artists and scholars–including Bryan– as this year’s winners, each of which receives a stipend, workspace, and room and board on the Academy’s campus in Rome. Last year, she won the 2018 Herb Alpert award which is given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists.

    According to Tulane University, one judge of the Herb Alpert award wrote, “We value your breadth, the ways you gather and create communities, and your creation of a new kind of cosmopolitan classical music imbued with fierce urgency of the moment and a real story to tell. We appreciate your concern for and commitment to spirit, social justice, and shifting power dynamics and we celebrate your profound connection to the human voice. We perceive that you are on a powerful journey and as listeners, we’re lucky enough to be on it with you.”

     

     

     

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    Seed to Stomach: Grow Baton Rouge’s Food Cubes, other innovations tackle hunger

    For organizers and volunteers of Grow Baton Rouge, the fight against food deserts in North Baton Rouge is beyond the “last mile” of getting fruits and vegetables to the community.

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    Produce on the Fresh Cube

    “We are committed to resolving this major problem, not only through our gardens, urban farms, and mobile markets but through an upcoming wave of innovative efforts and initiatives that will definitely have a great positive impact of NBR and the city as a whole,”said Jasiri Basel, executive director of THE CEO MIND Foundation.

    Innovative has been the perfect word to describe the ongoing presence of THE CEO MIND Foundation and its Grow Baton Rouge throughout the city. Since 2017, the group has established 11 gardens and two urban farms, launched three “Fresh Cube” mobile market vehicles, and a bus called “The Desert Destroyer.”

    It also houses science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics initiatives and programs ranging from a mobile innovation lab called “The Transformer” and Grill & Connect to a high-tech Youth Empowerment Zone at the MLK Community Center on Gus Young Ave. They also host Girls EmPOWERed, Womanhood 101, and Manhood 101 forums.

    The Transformer

    The Transformer

    Through the Grow Baton Rouge initiative, the foundation expands its mission into agriculture by providing seeds, launching community gardens in neighborhoods around the city of Baton Rouge, and giving 300 residents the knowledge and tools to begin growing at home.

    According to Basel, Grow Baton Rouge has a model that encompasses the full supply chain and logistics that involves area farmers, businesses, ag specialists, and certified growers–for starters.

    The latest Fresh Cube designed by THE CEO MIND Foundation for Grow Baton Rouge

    The latest Fresh Cube designed by THE CEO MIND Foundation for Grow Baton Rouge

    “It’s critical for communities to be able to feed themselves through sustainable farming. It not only aids overall but it’s critical for health and wellness. North Baton Rouge contains many miles, areas, and neighborhoods with food deserts and swamps,” said Basel.

    “We believe that as long as a community has land to grow food, that no one deserves to or should go hungry,” he said.

    Grow Baton Rouge hosts Market Days weekly at different locations. Visit the website, www.growbatonrouge.com, for times and locations.

    ONLINE: http://growbatonrouge.com
    www.THECEOMINDFoundation.org
    By Candace J. Semien
    @JozefSyndicate

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    Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference returns to BRCC, July 2

    Baton Rouge Community College will once again be home to The Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference. The 6th annual conference will be held on Tuesday, July 2 in the Magnolia Theatre, 201 Community College Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    toya2019

    Toya Wright

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    Lance Gross

    The conference will feature master class and empowerment breakout sessions, a preview of the forthcoming stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” an oratorical contest, and celebrity authors and guest speakers, including Lance Gross (Star, Fox) and Toya Wright (T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle, VH1), among others.

    The event is free and open to Louisiana high school students and BRCC students, although registration is required at bswliteraryconference.com.

    In the spirit of this year’s theme, Empowering Young Voices, students will have the opportunity to participate in a Maya Angelou-inspired oratorical contest presented by Angelou’s niece Sabunmi Woods and great-niece Samyra Woods. The daylong event will also feature a preview of the stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” based on BRCC student narratives from the book of the same name, that explores racism, police brutality, and the historic flood. Actor Lamman Rucker (Greenleaf, OWN) will star in the production, written for the stage by Clarence Nero, assistant professor of English at BRCC, and directed by Andrew Vastine, managing director of Swine Palace Theatre at LSU. The preview will also feature monologues performed by LSU MFA students, as well as song and dance performances that highlight events that occurred in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2016.

    Schedule of Events

    10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Preview of the “Voices from the Bayou” play, starring actor Lamman Rucker

    1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Master Class/Empowerment Breakout Sessions (Participants choose one)

    • Acting, Drama, Entertainment – led by actor Lance Gross and publicist Love Logan
    • Poetry – led by BRCC professors Carrie Causey and Eric Elliott
    • Creative Writing – led by literary agent and editor Maxine Thompson and BRCC professor and author Clarence Nero
    • Culinary Arts – led by Lauren Von Dor Pool, chef for celebrities Common, Venus Williams and Serena Williams
    • Arts & Crafts – led by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods
    • Visual Arts/Painting – led by Sharika Mahdi, Essence Magazine Emerging Artist 2015
    • Empowerment Seminar For Young Girls – led by dating expert, Monique Kelley (NBC’s Access Hollywood Live) and BRCC faculty members Carolyn Smith, Bea Gymiah and Shelisa Theus
    • Empowerment Seminar Young Men – led by Lamman Rucker, Hilton Webb, and Kent Nichols

    3 p.m. to 4 p.m. –

    • Dr. Maya Angelou Oratorical Essay Contest presented by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods, nieces of Angelou

    The program is made possible through the support of the Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, RECAST, BRCC Foundation, and BRCC’s Student Government Association.

    ONLINE: bswliteraryconference.com

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    Harris becomes nation’s first, only chair in race, media, and cultural literacy

    Tina M. Harris will join LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication in the fall as the Manship-Maynard Chair in Race, Media and Cultural Literacy—the first position of its type in the nation. Harris will do research and teaching on advancing issues of diversity, access and social justice in media and society, and will build upon her extensive research base.

    “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Harris to our team. Her commitment to translating research from theory into practice is work that facilitates critical engagement with the issue of race. She is a distinguished scholar whose work here at the Manship School to advance conversations on race, media and cultural literacy will benefit our students and the broader community as we work to move forward the conversation on diversity and social justice in media, politics and in our communities,” said Martin Johnson, dean of the Manship School.

    Harris currently studies interracial communication and is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia, which she joined in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1995 and her master’s degree from the University of Georgia in 1992.

    Harris is the co-author of the textbook, Interracial Communication: Theory Into Practice. Her other research interests include communication and pedagogy; diversity and media representations; race and ethnic disparities; and religious frameworks in health communication. She has published many articles and book chapters on race and communication, has served as reviewer for many top tier communication journals, and has fulfilled many service roles within the discipline, including the National Communication Association, the Southern States Communication Association and other communication organizations.

    Harris is the recipient of more than 30 recognitions and awards for her outstanding achievements, including The University of Georgia’s 2017 Engaged Scholar Award by the Office of Public Service and Outreach and the Distinguished Josiah T. Meigs Teaching Professor award—the highest teaching honor. She has also been recognized by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award for her research on pedagogy and race.

    “I spent time in Spain as a child when my father was stationed there as part of his career in the Navy, and I consider that the bedrock of who I am and my earliest influence that ignited a passion within me for ethnic and cultural diversity and international experiential education, so coming to the Manship School to serve as the Manship-Maynard Chair in Race, Media and Cultural Literacy is a full-circle moment for me,” Harris said. “Further, one of the brightest spots in my academic career is mentoring others and helping them realize their dreams. I look forward to working closely with students to help advance their understanding of diversity, access and social justice and to help prepare them for their future careers.”

    Harris is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and in her free time enjoys volunteering in her community, smooth jazz, cooking, reading, and international travel.

    DrumRoll

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    Black Out Loud Conference to explore criminal justice reform, mental health awareness and financial empowerment, Aug. 2-4

    The second annual Black Out Loud Conference – a three-day event designed to highlight Black-centered narratives along the themes of mental health awareness, criminal justice reform and financial empowerment will be held Aug. 2-4 on the campus of Southern University and A&M College. Deriving its name from the February 2017 book from conference founder, Baton Rouge poet and Kennedy Center fellow, Donney Rose, Black Out Loud seeks to assist participants with resources to better push their narratives from outside the margins to center. The conference weekend will feature a special kick-off performance by GRAMMY-nominated singer and hip hop artist, Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef.  For complete conference information, visit www.blackoutloudbr.com53327448_2097110513669569_2987495043968794624_o-1

     “Some key conversations that persist in the African-American community are around financial empowerment, mental health, and criminal justice reform. There are more tie-ins and overlap around these subject areas than we often recognize” said conference founder Donney Rose. “Last year’s conference was primarily centered around themes I am intimately familiar with (the arts, media, and activism). This year I wanted to be able to really lean into topic areas that I have a personal curiosity about, but not expertise in. I thought it was important to reach out to local experts in these fields to give attendees of the conference a more nuance dive into conversations that impact us daily”

    The 2019 conference will kick off on Aug. 2 at Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union with performances, a video presentation on the power of voice/advocacy, and a networking cocktail hour. On Aug. 3, attendees will convene in the Union for workshops and panel discussions featuring subject matter experts in the finances and mental health awareness sharing best practices and dialogue around the value of financial equity and the importance of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health in the black community. The conference will end on Aug. 4 in the Union with a brunch highlighted by a “speed dating” style series of peer interviews with experts on criminal justice reform.

     Confirmed speakers and panelists include Stan Adkins, president of S & K Adkins, Inc. dba Subway Restaurant; Klassi Duncan,director of the Women’s Business Resource Center and the Contractor’s Resource Center at the Urban League of Louisiana; Terrica Matthews, CEO and senior credit consultant of Premier Property and Consulting Group, LLC; Shamyra Howard, licensed clinical social worker, founder of “On The Green Couch;” Viveca Johnson, owner of Forward Moving Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC; and Harry Turner, licensed clinical social worker.

     The mission of Black Out Loud is to center Black/African American narratives and visibility through cultural events/activities with the purpose of amplifying voices that exist outside the margins. The 2019 conference is an extension of Black Out Loud programming that has continued since the 2018 conference including a diverse array of events such as an open mic/mental health expo (Mind.Body.SOUL- September 2018), voting symposium (Voting While Black, October 2018) and financial equity symposium (The Color of Currency, February 2019). Black Out Loud Conference 2019 is presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC, Dr. Rani Whitfield, MetroMorphosis and Southern University and sponsored in part by CreActiv, LLC, The Bluest Ink, WTAA Engineers and Parker’s Pharmacy.

    ONLINE: Blackoutloudbr.com

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    Ponchatoula wastewater has a fascinating journey

    PONCHATOULA–Traffic and greenery at the junction of I-55 and U.S. Highway 51 hide one of Ponchatoula’s great feats of modern technology – its Wastewater Treatment Plant.

    A recent private tour of the facility was a real eye-opener as to how advanced the city is in yet another area of caring for its people.

    Sewerage and Water Department Director Dave Opdenhoff proudly pointed out the treatment is accomplished by biological rather than chemical means.

    In the city itself, wastewater drains southward by gravity. With the highest elevation about 26 feet, to get enough “fall”, the original sewer lines in some places are 20 feet underground, making repairs to the 80-plus-year-old system extremely difficult.

    Thus, the grants Mayor Bob Zabbia and his administration have secured mean work will begin soon on the Sewer Rehabilitation Project, aiding tremendously in a smoother transfer from across town to its 31-acre site in the southeast corner at the edge of the swamp.

    The plant has 23 lift or “pumping” stations, pumping electronically at all times with a back-up generator on a major lift station so during an outage, the wastewater can keep moving.

    Looking across the “aerated lagoon” (official name for what’s called the “Pond”), one can see the 3 cells that make it up.

    Treatment begins as the wastewater enters Cell One on the northwest section where 4 electric floating aerators mix and discharge the wastewater into the air adding oxygen to the water to begin the biological breakdown of the wastewater using aerobic bacteria. This process began in 1992 with the first upgrade to the facility since its installation in the early ’60s, changing it from an oxidation pond to an aerated lagoon.

    Wastewater then moves into Cell 2 via a 36” conduit on the far side from where it entered the facility. Air in this cell is provided by underwater diffusers. Three 50-horsepower compressors are configured to run only one at a time. They can be run concurrently but they are alternated every thirty days. As the oxygenated wastewater enters Cell Two, it meets a combination of aeration and Duckweed to shade the water, helping with the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Using a grid system keeps the Duckweed covering from floating into another area. Wastewater then exits Cell 2 on the western side of the lagoon via an opening in a curtain used to divide the lagoon into separate cells. The back-and-forth of the flow creates a serpentine flow pattern and a theoretical 30-day detention time in the lagoon.

    The current multi-million-dollar upgrade over the past 18 months is nearly complete. The upgrade included raising the levies 18” and added an automated “weir”. An ultrasonic depth chamber registers the depth of the outflow and sends a signal back to the weir gate to regulate the rising and falling of the wastewater in the lagoon.

    Upon leaving Cell Three, final treatment uses ultraviolet disinfection. Four groups of 6-feet long lights are in a trough through which the water passes. These are sequentially turned on and off based on the flow and are capable of disinfecting 2.5 million gallons of wastewater a day. (An average Ponchatoula day is 1.4 million gallons.) This device sends data to a control panel, monitoring flow and level and giving daily, monthly and annual reports.

    Also new is a dissolved oxygen probe for continuous monitoring of oxygen as well as pH numbers. The Department of Environmental Quality establishes the outfall quality for the city and data is collected and sent in monthly.

    A sampler calibrated to flow grabs hourly samples and creates a composite sample which is transported daily to Curtis Environmental in La Place for analysis. Results from the testing lab are compiled and reported to DEQ.

    The permit is for 200 parts per million fecal matter bacteria per day, as well as dissolved oxygen, pH, total suspended solids, and biological oxygen demand. The upgrades have allowed the city to meet the permit requirements and only a few minor adjustments to the system are still needed.

    At one-time nutria rats were undermining the levees but alligators moved in as watch-dogs, solving that problem. In fact, they work so well Opdenhoff says, “Crew members just have to be cautious when working around the lagoon that we don’t encounter a mama gator in the tall grass on the sides of the levees!”

    At the end of its to-and-fro journey through the three cells, treated wastewater exits the plant to enter the swamp on the southeast through what the DEQ’s map shows simply as “Drainage Ditch”.

    Ponchatoula Wastewater Treatment – a successful combination of man, science, and nature.

    By Kathryn J. Martin

     

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    To Dad, With Love

    Gift ideas for a fantastic Father’s Day

    Dads can be notorious as the hardest family members to shop for, but come Father’s Day, there’s little doubt you’ll need a gift that shows dad just how much he means.

    Truth be told, your company is probably all dad really needs, but you can help deliver a little something he wants with these diverse ideas for all different kinds of dads. Remember, the secret to great gifting is giving something that shows you know and care about his personal interests.

    Find more ideas for all your gifting occasions at eLivingToday.com.

    A Sizzling Gift14734_B_UF
    Gift dad everything he needs to throw an impressive cookout any time he wants with the Father’s Day Gift Package from Omaha Steaks. He’ll be set for summer barbecues with steaks and more on-hand, including two tender filet mignons; two rich and indulgent ribeyes; four robust, juicy burgers and more. The package also includes German Chocolate Cake for a sweet way to end a backyard meal. Find more information and gift packages for dad at omahasteaks.com.

     

     

    Keep Him Connected14734_C_UF
    For the dad who’s always tuned in, there’s a way to provide him with entertainment and connectivity while protecting his hearing all at once. Whether he’s using a power saw or mowing the day away, dad can stream his favorite music with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth wireless technology to make his day both enjoyable and comfortable. With built-in features like high-fidelity audio, comfortable ear cushions and a low-pressure headband, he can even make and take phone calls without missing a beat. Find more information at 3M.com/WorkTunes. (Content courtesy of 3M)

    Subscribe to Style14734_D_UF
    Keep dad in style with all the latest looks with a clothing subscription. You can choose from services that coordinate complete outfits, options for accessories only or providers that select a handful of garments for each shipment. It’s a simple solution for a dad who takes pride in his appearance but never has time to shop or dislikes the shopping experience itself. Pricing varies quite a bit; in some cases, dad will need to pay a styling fee while with other services he’ll pay only for the items he keeps.

    A Cut Above
    Practical tools can be the perfect gift, and a pocket knife is such a useful choice that it’s hard to go wrong. For a more sentimental approach, consider a knife with a laser-cut personal message, or go ultra-functional with a multi-tool design. Keep in mind that lesser quality blades may require more frequent sharpening, but they’ll generally do the job just as well as pricier models. Also be conscious of the weight and features like safety catches that may affect comfort and usability.

    Game for Golf
    An avid golfer never tires of golfing gear, so it’s usually a safe bet for gifting. If you’re knowledgeable enough about his preferences, you can always add a new club to his collection. However, there are plenty of other useful gifts a golfer can appreciate, from a sleeve of quality balls to a book about a legendary player. A new set of gloves can improve his grip (and his game) while a new hat or shirt can give him something he can sport on the course.

    By Family Features

     

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    Ponchatoula Student Outreach holds victory celebration

    From the happy expressions on the faces of after-school students entering the Ponchatoula Community Center recently, it was easy to see something exciting was about to happen.

    After their usual healthy snacks, pupils first eagerly participated in Mad Science projects.

    Mad Science of Southeast Louisiana is a leading science enrichment provider based in Metairie. Its trained technicians travel year ‘round throughout the area bringing “education wrapped in entertainment” to schools, birthday parties, and many other special events.

    “Dr. B” Brittany and “Super Nova” Shelby led in making technicolor blenders, using molecules to make physical and chemical reactions. Teachers and Director Offering Congratulations

    Later, parents and guardians joined students in the gym to enjoy a full delicious jambalaya meal with salad, vegetables, and desserts at tables displaying student artwork with positive comments about the after school program.

    Earlier, City Human Resources Director Lisa Jones had personally provided pottery supplies needed for the students to make handmade gifts for their parents. Each decorated box read “Let these gratitude beads be a constant reminder of how much I appreciate everything you do for me.”

    Student Outreach Director May Stilley and Mayor Bob Zabbia welcomed the crowd, thanking the many who boost the youth in the program: Community Center Director Lynette Allen, City Council Members represented by Braville LeBlanc, Advisory Board, teachers, bus drivers, volunteer tutors from SLU Math 367 and PHS Key Club, to name a few.

    Teachers joined Stilley congratulating their students as they handed each a Certificate of Completion. (1st and 2nd grades: Charlotte Gordon and Daphine Griffin, Para’s: Shirley Creel and Cathy Colkmire; 3rd and 4th grades: Lisa O’Donnell and Desrie George; Para’s: Annette Tullier, Leigh Burnthorne and Kelly Martin; 5th and 6th grades: Kim James and Elisha Perry; Para’s: Janea Magee and Kacey Martin; 7th and 8th grades: Windy Haist and Alison Buzbee.)

    Desrie George’s beautiful voice rang out as he sang from his heart “You Can Fly” – words to encourage not giving up but working to make dreams come true.

    At comment time, Key Club officers Austin Granier and Matt Hailey were quick to say their lives have been enriched by working with the students each day.

    Students themselves came forward with smiles, one expressing her initial fear of being with strangers but it had been more like family as she gained new friends.

    Rejoicing at good gradesAnother young lady beamed she had gone from Fs to As in Math. Next, her father praised the program for its help, adding with humor, there’s no longer stress in their home over homework! A mother agreed from her seat to the change in her home and how grateful she is for all the people who make it possible. To this, many “amens” rang out.

    Before the evening closed with Bingo, May Stilley reminded parents and guardians of the 53 students that they have the most influence: “You are the first teacher.”

    She continued to the students, “We want our community to be the best it can be. Obey law, respect each other and the community. Find something you like to do, study to do it, then find somebody to pay you to do it. It all starts with education.”

    In teachers’ personal written comments to Stilley, one expressed the thoughts of all, saying each student is placed in their lives for a reason. They might not all be a “shining star” or “perfect student” but by opening the doors of communication and learning from each other, even those arriving with a “don’t care” attitude, can turn their lives around to believe in themselves when they see how many others already believe in them.

    The program for the coming school year will begin in September. For more information or if you would like to volunteer, donate or become a sponsor for the program, contact May Stilley at 985-401-2210 or Lisa Jones at 985-386-6484.

     

    By Kathryn J. Martin
    Contributing Writer

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    Kamala Harris earns first endorsements for Helena Moreno, Rep. Ted James

    Senator Kamala Harris has earned her first endorsements in Louisiana, a critical early primary state, from New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno and State Representative Ted James earlier this month. Louisiana’s 2020 Democratic primary will be on Saturday, March 7, just four days after Super Tuesday. Fifty delegates will be up for grabs.

    Moreno and James are pointing to Harris’ commitment to help working families through policies like the LIFT Act and her recently released equal pay plan as reasons for their early support. Moreno is the first Latina to serve as New Orleans City Council President. The two will serve as Harris’ campaign co-chairs for the state.

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    “Kamala Harris is just the type of bold,  courageous leader our country needs and I couldn’t be prouder to endorse her for President,” said Moreno. “I’m inspired by Kamala’s commitment to building coalitions and connections that unite us around priorities that America needs to work for all people, not the just the wealthy and well-connected. I look forward to helping elect the first woman president who is champion for paying teachers their worth, closing the gender pay gap and uplifting working class families.”

    “There is no better leader to unite our country at this time of paralyzing divisiveness than Kamala Harris,” said James. “Kamala has spent the balance of her life fighting to ensure everyone has equal and adequate access to health care, fair wages and safe communities. Louisianans, and Americans across the country, can count on her to be their champion in the White House, and I’m proud to endorse her for President of the United States.”

    State Rep. Ted James

    State Rep. Ted James

    “I’m so proud to have the endorsement of Helena and Ted in this race,” said Harris. ‘They understand that when we lead with our values we move closer to a more perfect union. I look forward to working with them to build a better future for our children – that includes ensuring access to quality education, clean air and water and affordable healthcare. Louisiana will play a critical role in determining the nominee and I look forward to earning the support ofLousianan’s across the state.”

    These endorsements come ahead of Senator Harris’ southern campaign swing with stops in Alabama and South Carolina. Harris has been to Louisiana twice as a candidate and was last in New Orleans in April to speak to more than 10,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at their South Central regional conference.

     

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    After burning bridges, a singer struggles to get back on top

    New Venture Theatre continues its 12th season with a new musical written and directed by managing artistic director Greg Williams Jr., running July 26-28 at the LSU Shaver Theatre.

    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN tells the story of the diva herself, Georgia, who has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry. Rumor has it she physically assaulted Etta James, cursed out Dr. Martin Luther King, and maybe even stole the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top of the charts, Georgia takes a gig in a hole-in-the-wall club. In the process, she befriends a group of colorful characters who help her grow out of her wild ways and get back on top.

    Featuring a live on-stage band and chock-full of memorable blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues,” SWEET GEORGIA BROWN is sure to move audiences with its songs and funny, heartwarming story.

    Featured cast members include: Khari Moise Smith (Cadillac), Roderick Tevan Jarreau (Herschel), Ingrid Roberson (Nippie), LaNea Wilkinson (Ruby), Krystal Gomez (Ida Mae), Latosha Knighten (LaWanna-The Juke Joint Jezebel), Shika Crayton (Sippie), Keyarron Harrold (Mojo), Angela Smith (Ollie), Hope Landor (Sugga), Erika Pattman (Georgia), Christian Jones (Pound Cake), and Christopher Johnson (Hatch.)

    FACT SHEET
    WHAT:
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    WHERE:
    LSU Shaver Theatre
    Louisiana State University
    Music and Dramatic Arts Building, #105
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    SCHEDULE:
    Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m.
    TICKET PRICES:
    Regular Admission | $30
    Kids and Students With Valid ID | $25
    Groups of 10 or More | $15 must purchase prior to performance day
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    PG-13 Show (Recommended for Ages 14+)
    Show contains adult content and language. No one under the age of four will be allowed in the theatre and all children ages 4-13 must be accompanied by an adult.
    Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
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    ‘Not Charity Lord, but a Chance’

    On the heels of winning an international People’s Choice Award for her aromatherapy pillow business, Condoleezza Semien, 13, shared a poem during the Baton Rouge African American History Museum’s Juneteenth celebration on June 3.

    She was invited to read the poem at the event and was recognized as an “inventor” by museum curator Sadie Roberts-Joseph. The museum sits in midcity Baton Rouge and hast hosted the celebration for 15 years as the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum. Roberts-Joseph led the Louisiana Legislature to approve statewide recognition of the day–June 19th–that commemorates American slaves being freed in 1865.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    The poem, “Not Charity, Lord, But a Chance,” is a petition for fair opportunities in America. Its message is timely and symbolic for this middle-schooler whose business has won two pitch competition within three months.

    “Blacks demanded a fair chance and were brilliant and excellent in what they did. That’s my goal,” said Semien.

    Semien created Beluga Bliss™, pillows infused with specialty blends of essential oils. For seven months, she participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge. As she worked through weekly assignments, she saw the need to create a product that could help people who are living with mental health conditions and incurable chronic illnesses.

    Then, she won the YEA pitch competition at LSU to receive the YEA Saunders Scholarship and seed funds for her business. On May 4, the eighth-grader traveled to the YEA-USA competition in Rochester, NY, vying for the top award against 60 teen entrepreneurs from across the USA, China, and India. Semien was the sole competitor from Louisiana.

    Fellow YEA-BR teen entrepreneurs and her classmates at Westdale Middle School cheered her on at the semi-final competition. More than 37,000 viewers watched the live stream and more than 300 viewers were in the audience at the Rochester Institute of Technology as she pitched Beluga Bliss.

    “You have a great stage presence,” one judge commented and another expressed how her aromatherapy blends and pillows were well developed.

    “You were above average and it shows… the smell was very pleasant,” said Lenin and Gian from California. “We could smell them where we sat!”

    At the end of each round of pitches, all viewers were able to text-to-vote on their favorite business. Back home in Baton Rouge, the class bell was held for Westdale students to cast their votes. “We are so excited and proud of Condi,” said Aliah James, advanced art teacher. Hours later it was announced that Beluga Bliss™ won the People’s Choice Award.

    “Winning People’s Choice is an assurance to me. To know that people who didn’t even know me thought that I had a very good product without even smelling my scents. It was an eye-opener. I’m proud of myself and grateful for the support I got from everyone. It feels good to know people around the world think that I had a great product.”

    Condoleeza Semien along with YEA winners and VC

    “There have been so many requests for pillow packs that we have to open our online preorders June 1 instead of this fall,” she said.

    This summer, she and her family are creating pillows, bottles of a specialty blended essential oils, and car fresheners.

    Semien is also conducting a BlissTour where she visits summer programs and events to motivate youth to apply to YEA-BR, move on their dreams, and do everything that makes them happy.

    Reach her at www.belugabliss.com for the first opportunity to receive pillows before the official launch. Guests can download custom color sheets, playlists, and bliss tips. Beluga Bliss is also on Instagram @Beluga_Bliss.

    ONLINE: www.belugabliss.com

    READ MORE:

    • WAFB: Young entrepreneur uses pillows to chase her dreams – WAFB.com https://www.wafb.com/2019/04/11/young-entrepreneur-uses-pillows-chase-her-dreams/
    • EBR Schools Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/EBRPschools/posts/condoleezza-semien-8th-grader-at-westdale-middle-is-already-an-entrepreneur-she-/2044889712276961/
    • WVUE FOX 8 News - Condoleezza Semien, 13, is on a journey https://www.facebook.com/…/condoleezza-semien-13-is…/10157599869834610/
    • BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT. Baton Rouge investors give over $18K to 15 Young Entrepreneurs Academy startups. https://www.businessreport.com/business/baton-rouge-investors-give-over-18k-to-15-young-entrepreneurs-academy-startups
    Read more »
  • ,,

    ‘Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers’ encourages overwhelmed dads

    David Miller, a husband, father of three, writer, and social entrepreneur has released Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers: Reflections from the Men In Our Lives. The book is a valuable edition of the books written about the life-affirming power of Black fathers.

    Miller, a former public-school teacher, felt it was necessary to highlight ordinary Black fathers who in many situations overcame obstacles to become great fathers. Miller believes that while many new articles, reports, and documentaries focus on the “war stories” of Black fatherhood, he felt it prudent to highlight the awesome relationship between Black fathers and their children.

    Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers contains hundreds of interviews with Black fathers across the country, soliciting quotes and advice from fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, friends and others who have stood in the gap providing men with fatherly advice. Many of these men were haunted by their own traumatic relationships with their fathers, yet they were able to draw wisdom from “village dads” and elders within the greater community who helped guide their fatherhood journey.

    For example, Craig is a father Miller met while conducting research for the book. Craig, a young father with multiple children, had become overwhelmed with his fatherly responsibilities and previous poor life choices including spending five years in prison. Currently, Craig is engaged to Tina, a hospital receptionist. He and Tina both have two children and are raising four children as a blended family. Craig works at a hotel by day and stocks shelves at night. He’s hard-working, and he’s a loving and committed father. Craig’s story is a shining example of Black fatherhood; his story and countless others, provide ample opportunities to rewrite narratives about fatherhood in the Black community.

    “Without a doubt, responsible fatherhood in the Black community is the antidote to the long list of self, family and group adversities. In Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, Brother David Miller highlights the quiet strength, the profound courage, generous spirit and the amazing love of Black fathers that refuse to give in, give up or go away,” says Richard A. Rowe, author of Wanted Black Fathers: Only Serious Black Men Need Apply.

    The book provides motivation, strength, and encouragement for all the days fathers feel like giving up, for the days that many fathers are overwhelmed or the days their children make bad decisions that fathers take personally. The book is designed to inspire Black fathers to keep pushing and to never give up despite how difficult their fatherhood journey may get. Black fathers will also glean nuggets of wisdom from the book to strengthen their connectedness with their children.

    This book is ideal for young men who have grown into adulthood without a sober, responsible, spiritually guided father or father figure. Essays and quotes in the book provide fuel for new and expecting fathers. The book begins with forty powerful questions every father should ponder. 


    About the author
    A Baltimore native who holds degrees from The University of Baltimore (Political Science) and Goucher College (Education), Miller is widely known for designing Dare to Be King: What if the Prince Lives? A Survival Workbook for African American Males. The 52-week curriculum is designed to teach adolescent males how to survive and thrive in toxic environments.

    Miller is an author with a knack for writing children’s books (Khalil’s Way, The Green Family Farm, Gabe & His Green Thumb). His work has been featured on CNN, PBS, NPR, BBC Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications. 

    Miller has written extensively on strategies for engaging Black fathers and strengthening Black families. His new book, Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, celebrates Black fathers through a series of thought-provoking essays and quotes by ordinary dads sharing their unique fatherhood experiences.

    Read more »
  • The Bail Project to bring fathers home for Father’s Day

    OPEN LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY FROM THE BAIL PROJECT AND THE BATON ROUGE NAACP CHAPTER

    Cash bail should not be something that keeps someone from being a productive member of society, and their inability to pay should not keep them in jail. With that in mind, we are uniting together to help bail out men from East Baton Rouge Parish Prison this Father’s Day.

    We will be partnering with The Bail Project, a national non-profit organization with a new office in Baton Rouge designed to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system, one person at a time. Over the next five years, The Bail Project will work with local partners to open dozens of sites in high-need jurisdictions and pay bail for tens of thousands of low-income people, reducing the human suffering caused by unaffordable cash bail and building on the work of grassroots groups and movements for decarceration and racial justice.

    Your support will help us bring the father’s home to their children for Father’s Day. Donate today and help us bring a family back together.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/home-for-father039s-day

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  • ,,,,,

    Residents urged to prepare for 2019 hurricane season

    The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, 2019 lasting through November 30, 2019. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a “near-normal” 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (MOHSEP) urge the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish to plan ahead for the potential threat of hurricanes. Throughout the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Mayor Broome advises East Baton Rouge Parish citizens to, “Be Red Stick Ready by having a plan that will keep you and your family safe from any severe weather that may affect our area, stay informed, build a disaster supply kit, and use the Buddy System™.”

    2019 Hurricane Preparedness Tips:

    • Make a Family Communication Plan at www.brla.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5697/Family-Emergency-Communication-Plan?bidId=
    • Restock your emergency supply kit with the necessary items.
    • Make sure your home is prepared.
    • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs.
    • Secure and clear all gutters.
    • Fuel your vehicles, generators, and gas cans. Consider purchasing a portable generator.
    • Use the BuddySystem™ to check on your neighbors, friends and family.
    • Check your insurance coverage.
    • Visit www.redstickready.com for more preparedness tips.

    For more information contact MOHSEP at  (225) 389-2100, follow @RedStickReady on Facebook and Twitter, and download the Red Stick Ready mobile application – free on Apple and Android devices by searching “Red Stick Ready”.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    SU students commemorating Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’ through study abroad program

    With this year being coined as the “Year of Return” by Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo, many African Americans are planning to travel to the West African country to commemorate the 400th year since transatlantic slave trade began. Joining in the number of celebrities and other tourists will be a group of Southern University students and faculty.

    “I cannot think of a better way for our students to pay homage to the defiant and indomitable spirit of the ancestors and the legacy of strength, endurance, and self-love that we are called to build upon,” said Cynthia Bryant. “They will be able to fully engage in what I believe will surely be a memorable and transformative pilgrimage to the Motherland.”

    The Southern delegation is participating in the African Diaspora Studies in New Orleans and Ghana program, along with participants from University of Oregon and Xavier University. This four-week program will explore the transformative journey of Africans living in America. Focusing on the broad spectrum of human experience related to the African diaspora, the program will examine the relationship between Louisiana, where the program begins, and West Africa, where it will conclude.

    For the first part of the program, participants will spend 11 days in New Orleans, which was the first port of entry for many Africans enslaved in America. The itinerary includes visits to historical and cultural sites, many of which are still in use today, and course lectures.

    The second part of the course will be spent in Ghana, where participants will be completely immersed in the country’s culture while living with residents and going on excursions. Course lectures will continue to expand on the emotional, cultural, and socio-economic impact of forced migration and displacement of Africans in America.

    The program starts July 7 and runs until Aug. 1. Though participation in this study is funded through a partial grant, students welcome contributions to defray costs, including airfare, lodging, and fees associated with the trip to Accura, Ghana.

    For more information about the trip and to give donate, visit http://bit.ly/sughanatrip.

    Read more »
  • Donaldsonville kicks off Juneteenth Celebrations, June 1

    The Dville Music Festival Celebrating Freedom will be held on Saturday, June 1,  11am – 7pm at the Frank Sotile Jr. Pavilion, 2162 Thibaut Drive, Donaldsonville, LA.

    The line-up includes Rev. Cleveland Washington, Bright Morning Star Baptist Church choir, DJ Thriller, DJ Slaughter, DJ Child Support, Bucket List, Red Tape Musiq, and the Michael Foster Project.

    Organizers said, “Come out and bring your chair.  You will literally be able to spend your entire day at the festival doing nothing but listening to great music, dancing and eating (Fried chicken wings, Jambalaya, Smoked Turkey Legs, Fried Fish Poboys, Fried Turkey Wings, Nachos and Cheese, Pies, Boiled Turkey Necks, Boiled Shrimp, Boiled Crawfish, Homemade Lemonade, Chicken and Pasta, Snowballs, and sooo much more).  Bring your children to the Children’s tent and Water Spray Park. ”

    The City of Donaldsonville and the festival committee (Tamiko Francis Garrison, Allison Hudson, Councilman Oliver Joseph, and Mayor Leroy Sullivan) have carried on the tradition locally since 2011. It was started in 1996 by former Donaldsonville mayor B.J. Francis Sr. and his late wife, Janet Ganes Francis. After the death of Mrs. Francis, the festival continued through efforts of the Kathy Hambrick and River Road African American Museum and others in the community until 2010.

    Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves in the last geographic area in America where slavery existed learned of their freedom. This took ‪place on June 19, 1865, in Galveston,‬ Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order #3, announcing that “all slaves are free”by Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. TheEmancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and issued on January 1, 1863. It took over two and a half years for the news to travel to southwest Texas. “Juneteenth is a landmark in history, a celebration of freedom and the end of enslavement in America,” states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and the National Juneteenth Jazz Artist.

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    Imagine if you had three wishes…New Venture brings Aladdin Jr. June 21-23

    DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR.
    Imagine if you had three wishes, three hopes, three dreams and they could come true!
    New Venture Theatre continues its 12th season Disney’s smash hit, “Aladdin Jr.”, running June 21 – 23 at the LSU Shaver Theatre.
    ALADDIN JR. tells the story of Aladdin and his three friends, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, who are down on their luck until Aladdin discovers a magic lamp and the Genie who has the power to grant three wishes. Wanting to earn the respect of the princess, Jasmine, Aladdin embarks on an adventure that will test his will and his moral character.
    Featured cast members include: Zion Johnson (Genie), Gabriel Bostick (Aladdin), Kaylee Gomez (Jasmine), Christopher Johnson (Sultan), Justin Thompson (Jafar), Charis Gaston (Iago), Maniquwa Holmes (Kassim), Dre’lan Evans (Omar), Braedon Mbala (Babkak), Kolby J’Nae Griffin (Beggar), Alex Mayard (Manal), Delaysia Jarvis (Rajah), Alysse Davis (Isir), Naysia Mallard (Guard), Que Ketchens (Guard/Featured Dancer), Omarion Jones (Guard), Caleb Landry (Razoul), Laila Miles (Beggar), Le’Keldria Whitfield (Apple Vendor), Kassidy Hall (Fortune Teller), Kooper Smith (Abdullah Prince), Amiya Osborne (Beggar #3), Joe Gibson Jr. (Beggar), Charde Nelson (Featured Dancer), Aniyah Mallard (Featured Dancer), Reese Thomas (Featured Dancer), Mariyah Osborne (Featured Dancer), Vanessa Williams (Featured Dancer), Zaria Brown (Featured Dancer), Trinity Star Alexander (Featured Dancer), Paris Barnes (Featured Dancer), Collin Gayson (Featured Dancer), Kodie Danay Brown (Featured Dancer.)

     

    FACT SHEET
    WHAT:
    ALADDIN JR.
    WHERE:
    LSU Shaver Theatre
    Louisiana State University,
    Music and Dramatic Arts Building, #105
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    SCHEDULE:
    Friday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m.
    Saturday, June 22 at 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m.
    Sunday, June 23 at 3:00 p.m.
    TICKET PRICES:
    Regular Admission | $20
    Kids and Students With Valid ID | $15
    Groups of 10 or More | $15 must purchase prior to performance day
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    G- Rated Show (Recommended for All Ages)
    Appropriate for all ages. Everyone entering the theatre, including babes in arms, must have a ticket.
    Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
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    May 29 is Louisiana Black Chamber Day at the Capitol

    Make plans to join Louisiana Black business leaders from across the state for a day at the Louisiana State Capitol, Wed. May 29, 8:30am – 3pm to interact with legislators, explore the halls of the Capitol, and see how the legislative process works first-hand.

    Attendees will gain insight on the legislative process and can:

    • Engage with Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus members
    • Commemorate a special proclamation in support of Louisiana Black Chamber Day
    • Attend committee meetings and see the legislative process in action
    • Get updates and information from Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana Economic Development, and other state agencies
    • Show pride for Black business within Louisiana

    ONLINE: https://brmbcc.org/

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    Teens invited to apply to UREC’s 2019 IGNITE Fellowship

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is accepting applications for the 2018 College & Career Ready IGNITE Fellowship.  IGNITE is an interactive summer and after-school initiative that prepares high school students to create the jobs of tomorrow through entrepreneurship training, college and career readiness and ACT Prep. Complete the IGNITE Fellowship application here.

    Read more »
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    Walker receives Iowa State achievement award

    Retia Scott Walker, Ph.D. has been named the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award recipient by the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU). She is vice chancellor for academics and student services/ associate dean of Southern University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.
    According to ISU website, the award recognizes alumni who have accomplished meritorious service and/or distinguished achievements in business and industry, education, family and consumer sciences and health.
    “I am excited about this recognition and look forward to returning to Iowa State University this fall to participate in the celebration honoring graduates of the college,” said Walker. “I had a great experience there and developed lasting relationships with classmates and professors, some of whom I am still in touch with annually,” she said.
    Walker has been an educator for more than 50 years. She has served as the Vice Chancellor for Academics and Student Services/ Associate Dean in the SU College of Agriculture since November 2017. Prior to coming to Southern University Walker has served as an Interim Provost, an Executive Assistant to the President and as a Department Chair in Human Ecology, all at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Walker has also held the position of Vice President of Academic Outreach and Public Services, Dean and Professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, both at the University of Kentucky and Assistant Professor in the College of Education Graduate Program at Texas Women University.
    Walker earned a B.S. in home economics education and a minor in foods and nutrition from Tuskegee University; an M.S. with a concentration in Family Studies from Hunter College; an M.S. ED in Education Administration and Supervision from Pace University (NYC) and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Iowa State University. Walker also completed her post-doctoral studies in gerontology at the University of Maryland-College Park and Baltimore, and the Executive Education Program from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
    This award will be the third time she has been recognized by Iowa State University. In 1983, she was honored as an Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate and in 2003 she received the Virgil Lagomarcino Laureate Alumni Award from the College of Education.
    She will receive the 2019 Alumni Achievement  Award in October during Iowa State’s Homecoming.
    Read more »
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    Will your child ride the bus next year?

    In order to create a more efficient bus routing system for the children who choose to ride, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System wants to know if parents DO NOT plan to use East Baton Rouge Parish Schools System’s transportation services for the 2019-2020 school year.

    Parents are encouraged to take survey if they plan to use alternative transportation for their students next year. If the student will use Transportation Services there is no need to complete the survey, school officials said. Free transportation is always available to eligible students in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. You may opt back in at any time. Parents/guardians are responsible for notifying the school of attendance regarding any changes in home address, phone numbers or school transfers made during the school year. Note: This survey does not guarantee official approval of transportation services. Most importantly, if eligible, transportation services can be added at any time.

    Take Survey

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    State Representative Barbara Norton to hold equal pay rally

    State Representative Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport of House District 3, will hold an equal pay rally on Thursday in the Governor’s Press Room on the 4th floor of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, to bring awareness to the gender pay gap in Louisiana.  Currently, Louisiana women earn 69 cents for every dollar Louisiana men earn, meaning women have to work an additional three months to earn the same pay a man would earn in a single year.  This staggering difference in pay can affect a woman’s ability to provide for her family, and additionally would affect her retirement and social security benefits for a lifetime.

    “It is important for citizens to recognize and understand this issue, and to work together to bring about a much-needed change,” said Norton whose most recent equal pay bill, House Bill 289, stalled in the House Labor committee by a vote of 6-9. Although the equal pay bill has been introduced many times, it has only once made it to the full House for a vote.

    “I have carried equal pay legislation for nine years, and I am determined and committed to continue to fight for the rights of women,” said Norton.  “I continue to ask the question, why not, why not, why not pass this bill? To this very day, I have yet to receive an answer.  If women are just as qualified and have the same credentials to do the work, then why are they not receiving the same pay? ”

    Norton’s Equal Pay Rally will be held this Thursday, May 23, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, in the Governor’s Press Room on the 4th floor of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.  Speakers will include Louisiana Pay Equity Lobbying Director Camille Moran, members of the Louisiana Legislature, and members of local equal pay for women groups.

    Read more »
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    Youth Literacy, pre-IWE Festival, event continues to BRCC May 30

     

    The public is invited to the 2019 IWE Festival, Saturday, June 8th at Southern University A&M College.  It is an urban culture festival that boosts a vibrant array of creativity, art and culture through literacy. The festival has primarily focused on promoting literacy to an inter-generational audience for the past two years. There will be live music, a children’s zone, a vendors’ corner, and a small food area.

    On May 30, the final Youth Literacy Engagement session will be held at Baton Rouge Community College featuring Larry D. Lewis, eigh Jefferson Griffin, and Jasmine Walker.

    Lewis is founder and chief Executive officer of the Impact Institute for Leadership, Transformation, Innovation and Student Achievement. Griffin is project manager of the East Baton Rouge Parish Early Childhood Community Network and an adjunct professor at Southern University. Known as the Lady in Yellow, Walker tells stories through American sign language.

    Organizers said, “The purpose of these events is to attract families, caregivers, retired teachers, and youth to be involved in this initiative and gain useful literacy information. Each session will be held at churches and schools in the community, and will create a working space to encourage literacy, including youth literacy activities, parent focus groups, literary competition, free book distribution, and speakers.”

    This is a festival founded by Councilwoman Erika L. Green three years ago. “We have also distributed over 1000 free books in the past two years to attendees, and intend to do the same this year!” she said.

     

    Read more »
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    PRIDE RESTORED: Jaguars dominant in 15-0 win

    After a 10-year hiatus, Southern University baseball claimed the program’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament title since 2009 with a dominant 15-0 shutout of Alabama State Sunday afternoon at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
    Tyler LaPorte, who shared the league’s Player of the Year award with Alabama State’s Yasil Pagan, capped a phenomenal SWAC tournament with a 2 of 4 performance, which included three runs scored and a three-RBI home run in the top of the sixth inning.
    Southern pitcher Eli Finney made his second start of the tournament and baffled Hornet hitters from the start, pitching 8 and 1/3 innings, allowed no runs and scattered three hits. Finney fanned six hitters while the SWAC’s 2019 Relief Pitcher of the Year, Connor Whalen, entered in the bottom of the ninth to close the game. Whalen forced Alabama State shortstop Eriq White to groundout to Malik Blaise at short to ignite a post-championship dogpile that was 10-years in the making.
    Finney only allowed five Alabama State baserunner and Alabama State failed to land a runner in scoring position until shortstop Cristopher DeGuzman reached second base on a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth.
    Centerfielder Javeyan Williams and second baseman Johnny Johnson led Southern with four hits each and combined to score five runs and plate four RBIs. Catcher Bobby Johnson finished 3 of 5 at the plate and hit a two-run blast over the left field wall to spark Southern’s offensive onslaught.
    The Jaguars belted out 16 hits and left absolutely no doubt who wanted the championship more.
    Southern landed the first blow thanks to an RBI double by Ashanti Wheatley that scored Tyler LaPorte, who drew a leadoff walk. However, the Hornets ended the damage there as Hunter David flied out and Wheatley was tagged out at third following the ensuing throw-in.
    After a 1-2-3 inning, the Jaguars added to the lead with Johnson’s two-run blast to lead 3-0. The sides traded scoreless innings until the top of the fifth, where the Jaguars added to their lead. There, Coby Taylor was hit by a pitch and Javeyan Williams laid down a bunt, beating the tag at first before LaPorte dropped a flare to right for a two-run triple.
    Johnny Johnson scored LaPorte on a double down the left field line and stole third, scoring on an RBI sac fly by David. LaPorte later put the contest out of reach with a three-run shot over the left field wall and with the Hornets unable to figure out Southern starter Eli Finney, the Jaguars added five runs for insurance down the stretch, cruising to their first SWAC tournament championship since 2009.
    Southern will head to Chicago for a post-season exhibition tune-up in the inaugural HBCU World Series against North Carolina A&T Thursday afternoon before learning where they will play in NCAA Regional on May 31.
    By Christopher K. Jones
    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Christian Davenport named Baton Rouge’s first Poet Laureate

    Christian Davenport has been named the first poet laureate by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

    Davenport, also known as Cubs the Poet, is a native of Baton Rouge and earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Dillard University. He has traveled the world since, with the desire of bringing perspectives and inspiration back to his home city where he plans to release his first book of poetry under his publishing company, Poetry Still Matters. Davenport is a spontaneous poet, drawing his inspiration from the connections that he makes with other people in a diverse array of settings. His poetry has taken him from Baton Rouge to Preservation Hall in New Orleans to a Ted Talk in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was a featured speaker.  Davenport relays that he sees each opportunity to connect with another person as a new poem. 32842186_921822594608903_4260217759285116928_o

    “Christian’s impressive body of work represents new styles in poetry which require collaboration and communication, attributes that will serve him well as the city’s Poet Laureate,” said Broome. “ I look forward to adding this great work to the cultural conversation across our city.”

    The Baton Rouge Poet Laureate Program, initiated by Broome and facilitated through the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, celebrates Baton Rouge’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who will represent Baton Rouge by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching, and written work.

    During a celebration at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on Tuesday, May 7, Christian was named the 2019 Poet Laureate. The evening included performances by the Poetry Out Loud Regional Winner, Lily Carter, Louisiana School for the Deaf Poet Jordan Howard, and Seth Finch, Baton Rouge High School jazz musician. State Poet Laureate, Dr. Jack Bedell was in attendance and spoke at the event. Dr. Joanne Gabbin, founder and director of The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, was the evening’s keynote speaker.

    The term of service of the Poet Laureate is one year and comes with a $5,000 stipend, which covers community engagement events by the Poet Laureate over the term. Funds raised for this position were contributed by private donors.

    Read more »
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    Applications now available for the SU Ag Center’s Summer CLIMATE Program

    Applications are currently being accepted for the SU Ag Center’s Cultivating Leadership Innovation by Motivating Agricultural Talents through Education (CLIMATE) Program.

     CLIMATE is a two-year summer program for current high school juniors. The program will provide supplemental instruction and assist participants in qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship. The participants will also be given the opportunity to gain pre-collegiate work experience during a professional internship in their home town or a neighboring parish.

    During the first year of the program, participants will spend four weeks on the Southern University campus preparing for the ACT test and participating in educational courses and field trips.

    At the completion of the four weeks, the students will receive a $500 educational assistance award.

    Students will further their knowledge during the second year of the program by working for eight weeks in an agricultural related internship with either a state or local government agencies or community organizations. The returning participants will receive a $2,000 stipend after successfully completing the internship.

    Participation in CLIMATE is free of charge, however, only high school juniors will be accepted into the program.

    To apply, applicants must submit an application with an official transcript and a one and a half page double spaced essay which includes:

    • •An introduction of the applicant to include what he or she would like the selection committee to know about him/herself.
    • •The applicant’s definition of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.
    • •Why the applicant believes that Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences are important.
    • •The applicant’s goals and aspirations for the future.

     

    Additionally, applicants must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average and scored between a 14 and a 19 on the ACT.

    Applications are due May 20.

    To obtain an application or for additional information contact, Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach, at 225-771-3532 or via email at dawn_mellion@suagcenter.com.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. named president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education

    LSU Vice Provost for Diversity Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. has been named president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, or AABHE.

    AABHE is the premier organization to drive leadership development, access and vital issues concerning Blacks in higher education, AABHE also facilitates and provides opportunities for collaborating and networking among individuals, institutions, groups and agencies in higher education in the United States and Internationally.

    Rovaris earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas with a triple major in psychology; human development and family life; and crime and delinquency studies. He worked for three years as a financial aid counselor at Xavier University of Louisiana, where he earned an M.A. in guidance and counseling. He later earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Illinois.

    Rovaris returned to Xavier, serving as assistant dean of the graduate school, director of graduate school placement and as an assistant professor with the graduate school. He also directed two nationally recognized student enrichment programs, Xavier’s McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and its SuperScholar/EXCEL program.

    In 2006, he completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University. In 2007, he completed a Council for Opportunities in Education professional development tour in England and The Netherlands. Later in 2008-09, he was in Chicago at DePaul University as a presidential fellow with the American Council on Education. In 2010, he became associate vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and in May 2014, he was named LSU vice provost for diversity.

    The LSU Office of Diversity is a division of the Office of Academic Affairs and provides support, referral and information to students, faculty and staff on issues and concerns related to diversity and inclusion. For more information, please visit www.lsu.edu/diversity.

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