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  • Judge Casey-Jones receives Congressional honor

    Judge Ree J. Casey-Jones, of Shreveport, recently received the Angels in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington DC. The national award is given based on outstanding work within the child welfare system. Casey-Jones was elected to the Caddo Parish Juvenile Court in 2016. During her tenure, she has been a strong advocate for children and families through her work with the Family Preservation Court, Juvenile Human Trafficking Court, delinquencies, and adoptions.  She was in the practice with her father, Billy R. Casey, before being elected. She is a former volunteer for the Northwest Louisiana Pro Bono Project where she represented families as an attorney in family court who are unable to afford a private attorney. She received the award in October 2019.

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    Healthy BR, HOPE Ministries to get $900,000 to continue work in North Baton Rouge

    Nearly $1 million will be invested into two local groups whose missions include healthy living, workforce development, and improving food access in Baton Rouge.

    Healthy BR will receive an investment of $715,000 to continue to fight food insecurity and social isolation via the Geaux Get Healthy project. The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. has made this commitment as part of its Strategic Community Investment Program in Baton Rouge. The Foundation began a partnership with Healthy BR in 2018 with an initial investment of $725,000.

    HOPE Ministries will receive an additional $189,700 as a key partner in the Geaux Get Healthy project, allowing for an expansion of the program’s workforce development program. By investing in HOPE Ministries, The Humana Foundation is expanding its Strategic Community Investment in Baton Rouge.

    “Working alongside our community, we are addressing food and asset security, improving the lives and health of all Baton Rouge residents,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I’m encouraged by the initial results Geaux Get Healthy saw in its first year, especially the eight new locations where residents of North Baton Rouge can now purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.  I’m excited to see how an expanded workforce development program will help our community continue to grow and prosper.”

    HealthyBR is a community coalition that hopes to inspire a healthier Baton Rouge for all residents. Funded by both The Humana Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Geaux Get Healthy, a HealthyBR project, works in the Baton Rouge zip codes with the highest rates of food insecurity and health disparities across north Baton Rouge. Together with a coalition of local partners, the program addresses food deserts by saturating this region with numerous access points for purchasing fresh food at an affordable price. The program also provides educational programs to help increase fresh food consumption and social connectedness.

    As part of the Geaux Get Healthy project, The Humana Foundation is also beginning a new investment with HOPE Ministries, an organization working to prevent homelessness and promote self-sufficiency and dignity in Baton Rouge. The Foundation’s investment will be used to address post-secondary attainment and sustaining employment, expanding a workforce development program called The Way to Work.

    “Workforce opportunities and retention are an ongoing topic in Baton Rouge and Louisiana, as a whole. HOPE Ministries’ The Way to Work Division provides a unique workforce solution that helps people keep jobs and companies keep people,” said Janet Simmons, President and CEO of HOPE Ministries. “Thanks to The Humana Foundation, The Way to Work division is increasing capacity thereby increasing the opportunity for more people to gain access to sustainable employment.”

    Each organization that receives a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment has the opportunity to receive continued funding for up to three years based on the specifics results achieved in their programs.

    The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program

    Through partnerships with local organizations and community members, The Humana Foundation’sStrategic Community Investment Program creates measurable results in some of the most common social determinants of health, including post-secondary attainment and sustaining employment, social connectedness, financial asset security and food security. These investments are located in Humana ‘Bold Goal’ communities, places where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to help people improve their health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond.

    In the first year of the Strategic Community Investment Program, The Humana Foundation invested $7 million in seven communities and funded programs that served more than 16,000 individuals and their families, addressing one or more social determinant of health. Each of these seven communities will receive continued or expanded Humana Foundation investments based on the measurable results each program attained in its first year. The Humana Foundation is also undertaking two new Strategic Community Investments in New Orleans, funding two organizations for a total of $1 million.

    The Humana Foundation’s continuing and expanded Strategic Community Investments include the following locations: Baton Rouge, La., Broward County, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., New Orleans, San Antonio and Tampa.

    ONLINE:  Strategic Community Investment

    ONLINE:  HumanaFoundation.org

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    Restore Louisiana Announces Changes to Homeowner Services in Hammond, Lafayette, Monroe areas

    Starting Friday, Jan. 31, Restore Louisiana will provide homeowner assistance services on an as-needed basis in the Hammond, Lafayette, and Monroe areas, as the following program locations will permanently close: Tangipahoa Parish Library in Hammond, Lafayette Public Library in Lafayette, and the University of Louisiana Monroe in Monroe.

    All homeowners currently being served at these locations may stay in communication with program staff via email and phone during regular business hours for the duration of their participation in the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. Unique circumstances may allow for the program to provide limited in-person services for homeowners in these areas.

    The Baton Rouge Housing Assistance Center is not affected and will continue to provide in-person homeowner assistance Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Homeowners are encouraged to call their case managers to schedule appointments and confirm meeting locations.

    “As Restore Louisiana continues to assist homeowners impacted by the 2016 floods, we remain committed to ensuring that everyone around the state has access to the necessary program staff and services,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. “We continue to evaluate and adjust resources to meet the needs of homeowners and, as we’ve worked through the program, the use of those centers has dramatically decreased.”

    For assistance on all aspects of the program, homeowners may call 866.735.2001 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or email info@restore-la.org.

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    Professor presents ‘When Law and Injustice Become Bedfellows,’ Feb.3

    On Monday, February 3, 2020, Southern University Law Center professor Angela Allen-Bell will give a presentation entitled “When Law & Injustice Become Bedfellows: Justice Becomes the Business of the People” during SUNO’s Charles Frye Memorial Lecture Series from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work. Allen-Bell will discuss the history of Louisiana’s criminal justice system in an effort to work toward needed criminal justice reforms. The public is invited to attend.

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    Legislative Youth Advisory Council now accepting applications from high schoolers

    The Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council is now accepting applications for membership from high school students who have an interest in representing the voices of other young people around the state. LYAC is an annually appointed body composed entirely of students that tackle issues affecting the youth of Louisiana.

    The purpose of LYAC is to facilitate the communication between youth and the legislature and to give students a unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of state government. The council studies and addresses a variety of issues of importance to young people such as education, mental health, civic engagement, the environment, and school safety.

    Members of the council are selected from a wide pool of statewide applicants who display a strong interest in civic involvement. The thirty-one member council includes three students representing each of the six congressional districts and the remaining members serve at large. Applicants must be between 14-19 years old and enrolled in a public or private high school, charter school, home school, or GED skills program during the 2020-2021 school year. 

    The deadline to apply is March 27, 2020. The application may be accessed at civiced.louisiana.gov and then by clicking on LYAC at the top of the page. All applicants are required to submit two recommendation letters in addition to the eight short essay questions and application form. For additional information, please contact Megan Bella at bellam@legis.la.gov or 225-342-2370.

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  • Baton Rouge Community College’s Weekend College offers two certificates for working adults

    This spring Baton Rouge Community College is set to offer Weekend College, a program that allows for a student to work toward one of two certificate programs – Business Technology or General Studies – by attending classes offered only on Friday evening and all day Saturdays. The program is designed to meet the scheduling needs of working adults.

    The Weekend College program offers the two certificates that can be completed by enrolling in and passing 15 credit hours of courses over two semesters. Classes will be held in the Cypress Building on the Mid City Campus, 201 Community College Drive, and meet on Friday evenings at 5:30 p.m., and all day Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. There is no special registration or additional fees to pursue either of the aforementioned certificates through Weekend College. All courses offered, including many of the general education pre-requisite required courses, are open to all BRCC students.

    To apply, please visit MyBRCC.edu. For more information about Weekend College, contact (225) 216-8228 or weekendcollege@mybrcc.edu.

    ABOUT WEEKEND COLLEGE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

    The Certificate in General Studies provides a strong initial grounding in liberal education. Upon completion, students are prepared to successfully meet transfer requirements at most four – year universities and have obtained the knowledge and skills frequently identified by employers as desirable qualities in an employee. The certificate program may be taken by students who wish eventually to pursue an associate/baccalaureate degree, or by students who wish to expand their personal knowledge and do not intend to obtain a more advanced degree.

    The Certificate in Business Technology is designed to meet the entry-level employment needs of the Greater Baton Rouge metropolitan area business community. It provides a general education and the work skills needed for employment. This program of study is not designed for college transfer.

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    Louisiana leaders meet with White House to discuss Opportunity Zones

    The White House hosted mayors, parish presidents, and representatives from economic development organizations across Louisiana on Jan. 23 to discuss ways that Opportunity Zones can continue to benefit citizens of Louisiana.

    The Opportunity Zone tax incentive provides a tremendous way to bring investment, jobs, and new business development to communities. In order to amplify the impact of this tax incentive, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council was formed to better coordinate Federal economic development resources in Opportunity Zones and other distressed communities.

    The Council is exploring the ways in which Federal agencies can better partner with Opportunity Zone investors and provide some of the social services and other support that may be necessary for community revitalization to take place. Communities, investors, and entrepreneurs who want to effect change are not alone in this process.

    About Opportunity Zones
    In 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which established Opportunity Zones to incentivize long-term investments in low-income communities across the country. These incentives offer capital gains tax relief to investors for new investment in designated Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones are anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment. Qualified Opportunity Zones retain this designation for 10 years.

    In December 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13853, which established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. The Council is chaired by Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is tasked with leading joint efforts between agencies and executive departments to engage with State, local, and tribal governments to find ways to better use public funds to revitalize urban and economically distressed communities.

    The following individuals were in attendance:

    Administration officials:

    • Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council
    • Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison
    • Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of American Innovation
    • Ben Hobbs, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
    • Nicole Frazier, Special Assistant to the President & Director of Strategic Partnerships & African American Outreach

    Agency Officials:

    • Dr. John Fleming, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
    • Daniel Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury
    • Alfonso Costa Jr, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
    • Chad Rupe, Administrator for Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chris Caldwell, Federal Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

    External Participants:

    • Julius Alsandor, Mayor of Opelousas
    • Monique Boulet, CEO, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Leslie Durham, Louisiana Designee, Delta Regional Authority
    • Scott Fontenot, Mayor of Eunice
    • Josh Guillory, Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish
    • Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Regional Economic Development
    • Roy Holleman, Louisiana State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chad LaComb, Economic Development Planner, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Scott Martinez, President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    • Robby Miller, President, Tangipahoa Parish
    • Mandi Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development
    • Adrian Perkins, Mayor of Shreveport
    • Jan-Scott Richard, Mayor of Scott
    • Joel Robideaux, Former Mayor-President of Lafayette
    • Shawn Wilson,PhD., Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
    • 100 other community stakeholders

    Feature photo courtesy of Hailey Hart
    Official White House Photo by Randy Florendo

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    Drago’s set for February opening will feature nightly entertainment

    Tommy Cvitanovich, the owner of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, has been in the restaurant business almost as long as he’s been alive.

    “I’m 60 years old and I have a 50-year career in the restaurant business,” said Cvitanovich. “I’m basically a restaurant brat.”

    His first job was when he was 10 years old at the Metairie location. He remembers it well, peeling shrimp while standing on top of a case of #10 cans with an apron that went down to his ankles.

    “Before that, I grew up working with my dad at Drago’s on Harrison Avenue which was owned by my aunt and uncle.”

    And he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

    He’s getting ready to open his fifth restaurant at its newest location in Baton Rouge off of Interstate 10 and College Drive. The $7 million, 13,600 square feet facility is set to open in early February.

    It will have 180 employees and accommodate nearly 500 customers. The bar area alone will seat about 90 people. Cvitanovich said the bar area will feature live music almost nightly which is something new to his restaurants.

    “There’s literally 1,000 hotel rooms within a five-minute walk of the restaurant so people who stay in hotels generally look for good restaurants, but they also look for entertainment as well,” Cvitanovich said.

    The restaurant is named after his dad, Drago. His parents, Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, opened their first restaurant in Metairie in 1969. Since that time, the business has expanded to locations in New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Lafayette. The business generates about $30 million in sales and employs about 450 people (not counting the newest location.)

    He says his mom who is 80 years old still works every day at the Metairie location and signs his paycheck.

    “The key to our longevity is good quality food at a reasonable price served in a friendly atmosphere,” he said.  ‘The motto of this restaurant is that everything is about and for the customer and I don’t let anything get in the way of that.”

    The married father of four said he’s been looking for an opportunity to expand in Baton Rouge for a few years, but it never seemed to work out. He’s excited about coming to the Bayou City.

    “This isn’t a version of Dragos,” he said. “This is a Dragos restaurant. We’re very much looking forward to serving our charbroiled oysters to the good people of Baton Rouge.”

    The restaurant bills itself as the home of the original charbroiled oysters. The owner said they serve more than three million oysters a year. Customers can expect oysters as well as the full Drago’s seafood menu.

    The restaurant will be owned by him and his brother. It will feature three private dining rooms that can accommodate 40, 60 and 100 people or 200 people at a time. The private dining areas include a Governor’s room that will be decorated with pictures of all of Louisiana’s governors and have a separate private entrance for dignitaries and Mike’s Den named after LSU’s mascot Mike the Tiger.

    The former president of the New Orleans Restaurant Association isn’t moving to town as he still resides in Metairie, but you can expect to see him here often. In fact, he oversees the management of all of the restaurants so he travels quite frequently.

    “My car is less than a year old and I already have 33,000 miles on it,” he said. “I’m very hands-on.”

    That’s because working in the restaurant is not just a family business. It’s his passion. He served as the chairman of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and spent 11 years on the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors. He also spent seven years on the Canadian Restaurant Association Board of Directors as an exchange director.

    “I’m the type of person that I can’t wait to go to bed at night so I can hurry up and work and start over tomorrow. I love what I do.”

    It’s a love story that’s lasted some 50 years and is still going strong.

    Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
    4580 Constitution Avenue
    Baton Rouge
    Opening date early February
    No reservations

    By Michelle McCalope
    Contributing Writer

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    Meet Mariah Clayton, Miss Louisiana USA 2020

    Mariah Clayton, Miss Greater Baton Rouge, was crowned Miss Louisiana USA 2020 on Oct. 19. She will represent Louisiana at the Miss USA 2020 beauty contest this spring. “I love this state. I love our culture. I love our food. I’m just so happy that I am the person that gets to represent this beautiful state on this big, big stage,” she said.

    Clayton, who is 23, participated in three categories to win the state crown: activewear/swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. She is a psychology major at Southern University and a graduate of Zachary High School. She is the founder of Level-Up Volleyball, which offers summer camps and private lessons.

    “I really just want to inspire people, young girls in particular. I’m also a volleyball coach so I’ve always felt like I’ve had an impact on young girls’ lives. That’s all I want to do is be a teacher and be a leader and be an inspiration. So I just want to help girls embrace who they are and not be defined by society’s standards,” she told BRProud.

    She is the daughter of Aristead and Michelle Clayton and one of seven children. Her older sister, Shelby, is a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. During her time playing volleyball at Zachary High School, she received the Captain’s Award and as a defensive specialist at Southern, she received 2015 SWAC All-Academic Team honors.

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    Students shine light on Blacks in classical music

    Student cellists Cecilia Spencer, of Baton Rouge, and Ethan Clay, of Zachary, were recognized nationally as they shined a light on African Americans competing in the world of classical music. A “No-Labels” broadcast piece produced by Spencer featuring Clay was published earlier this month by the PBS Student Reporting Labs. The video featured was published again as part of a PBS Newshour special on Martin Luther King Day on how students experience and cope with racist stereotypes. Spencer and Clay became friends while participating in Louisiana youth orchestras. Clay is a senior at Zachary High School and a 2019 Carnegie Hall Honors participant. Spencer is a junior at University View Academy and a participant in the Talented Music, Digital Media, and the TV and Video Production program that introduced PBS and PBS Student Reporting Labs to UVA students.

    ONLINE: Student Reporting Labs

    ONLINE: PBS Newshour Students Experience and Cope with Racist Stereotypes

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    In Memoriam: Former Mayor ProTemp Lorri Burgess, 56

    Lorri Ann Burgess, Chief Operating Officer of the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana, former Metro Councilwoman, and former Mayor Pro-Tempore and passed away peacefully on January 15, 2020, surrounded by her family, at the age of 56. A native of Baton Rouge, Lorri was born on January 25, 1963. She was the fourth child of Mildred Coats Burgess and the late Howard C. Burgess Sr.

    Lorri loved God and confessed Christ as her Savior at an early age. She was baptized by the late Rev. Jesse Davis at Israelite Baptist Church where she participated in the Cherubim Choir and other youth activities. Lorri’s affinity for service to others was evident very early in her life. During her high school years she became a member of the South Baton Rouge Youth Council and Students United for Racial Equality, thus thrusting her into a life of politics and public service. She was a 1981 graduate of McKinley High School where she participated in several organizations, as well as a member of the cheerleading squad. Lorri earned a bachelor’s degree in merchandising and completed a paralegal studies program at louisiana State University.

    she was very passionate and committed to the citizens of this great city, especially those in South Baton Rouge’s District 10. District 10 was her home and she invested her efforts into encouraging community development, revitalization, and the enrichment of its residents. Lorri served District 10 as Metro Councilwoman for 12 years, four of which she served in the historic role as the first African American female Mayor Pro-Tempore for the City of Baton Rouge, as well as a member of the Capital Improvements, Finance and Executive Committees. Lorri was committed to public service. This commitment was made evident through the impactful changes she fought for in her community and through her thirst to increase her ability to serve. She served as a Board Member for Louisiana Technology Park, Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs and the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission. During her tenure at the Port she served as the first African-American chairwoman for the authority. Lorri was also a faithful member of the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Community Advisory Board (LA CaTS CAB) from January 2018 through December 2019 where she had a significant impact initiating and spearheading the Research Ethics and Research Participant Rights Campaign for La CaTS CAB.

    In addition, she was a strong supporter of the YWCA Encore Plus Program, Sisters Supporting Sisters-Baton Rouge and HIV/AIDS Education. Some of Lorri’s notable initiatives were the Camp 10 Summer Computer Camp and the Summer Reading Program for elementary children in District 10. She also spearheaded the Sensational Seniors Exercise Program for senior citizens in District 10. In addition, she partnered with Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta Sororities to offer educational and enrichment programs in writing, language and visual arts for students in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    She spearheaded the building of the new Carver Branch Library and had the vision to have the Freeman Matthews Head Start Center on the same property to enhance the early learning experiences of the Head Start Center students. She took the bulk of her surplus office expense funds to purchase big screen television sets, video recorders and other learning tools for all new head start centers in her district. Lorri fought to build and keep the new Highland Road Fire Station accessible to her constituents and was instrumental in getting funding to improve roads and drainage in District 10. She sponsored cleanup campaigns, Christmas parades, health fairs and her signature block parties. The inaugural block party was co-hosted with Shaquille O’Neal. Lorri was the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge Palooza Queen.

    She traveled throughout the United States of America, Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe to learn from and collaborate with world leaders, and to expand resources that would allow her to serve her community more effectively. Lorri fought as a staunch advocate for those battling Sickle Cell Disease. Under her leadership as the Chief Operating Officer, the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana (SCASL) annually increased its number of participating clients and earned national recognition as the most improved sickle cell foundation in the United States. Lorri extended the reach of the foundation through her unique and innovative fund-raising initiatives such as the annual Ryan’s Run (honorary chair, former Superbowl Champion Ryan Clark) and the annual John Chavis/Eric Reid Golf Tournament.

    Lorri leaves to cherish her memory her mother, Mildred C. Burgess, of Baton Rouge, LA; one brother, Howard C. Burgess, Jr. (Iris) of Baton Rouge, LA; four sisters, Joy Burgess Dixon and Celestine Renee Burgess Ruffin, both of Johns Creek, GA; Karla D. Burgess and Marva H. Hastings, both of Baton Rouge, LA; four aunts, Lulla V. Coats, Wilmer C. Barrett (James), Olivet C. O’Connor, and Edna C. Coleman (Charles), all of Baton Rouge, LA; two nephews, Aaron Matthew Ruffin, Esq. of Alexandria, VA; Nicholas Christian-Gerard Ruffin of Johns Creek, GA; two nieces, Kaelah Renee Burgess of Baton Rouge, LA; and Teá Williams, of Johns Creek, GA; five Godchildren, Sgt. Roderic Sterling of Lakeworth Beach, FL.; Errol Monget, Jr. of Thibodeaux, LA; and Bria Guntz, Christian Williams, Elayna Morris, all of Baton Rouge, LA; Godparents, Johnny O’Connor, Sr. and Olivet O’Connor, both of Baton Rouge, LA; a brother-in-law, Demetrius Ruffin of Nashville, TN; two special doobies, Leonard R. Coats and Joseph P. Ashford, both of Baton Rouge, LA; a childhood friend, Judge John Michael Guidry; and a host of other relatives, friends and community supporters. Preceded in death by her father, Howard C. Burgess, Sr.; maternal grandparents, Wilbert L. Coats, Sr. and Celestine B. Coats; paternal grandparents, Clarence Burgess and Delphine Smith; three aunts, Georgia C. Dunbar, Gloria C. Harris, Olivia “Tiny” Holloway; two uncles, Wilbert Coats, Jr. and Dr. Louis James, Sr.; first cousins, Donald Dunbar, Sr. and Reginald Harris

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    Gumbo Run returns to Scotlandville, Feb. 1

    The Scotlandville Professional Academy Consortium and Presenting Sponsor Geaux Get Healthy, A Project of Healthy BR are proud to present the 2nd Annual Gumbo Run. Saturday, February 1, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. The race will begin at Scotlandville Magnet High School located at 9870 Scotland Avenue.

    This event will also serve as the Geaux Get Health Zone Initiative for the Scotlandville/North Baton Rouge community as a part of Healthy BR’s continuing mission to improve the health and wellness for the city. It is the vision of the Mayor “…to build a healthier Baton Rouge for all.”

    Last year’s Gumbo Run was the first 5K in the North Baton Rouge and Scotlandville communities. Proceeds from this event will go toward supporting the school’s academies of finance, health science, and information technology. Support includes professional development for teachers, materials, and supplies for students and work-based learning initiatives inclusive of internships.

    For more than 60 years Scotlandville Magnet High School has been and continues to be, a pillar of education in North Baton Rouge. The mission of the Scotlandville PAC is to support Scotlandville’s NAF Academies through the development of relationships between business, education and local government.

    If you would like to register for the run, sign up via smhsgumborun.eventbrite.com or in person at the school. If you would like more information contact Paul M. Jackson at Scotlandville Magnet High School at (225) 775-3715 or via email at pjackson@ebrschools.org.

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    Fitness Stroll rescheduled for Feb. 15

    Bodystyle Personal Fitness in conjunction with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome is hosting a free, community-wide “Fitness Stroll” to help residents jumpstart a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.  The stroll will be held on Saturday Feb. 15, in the North Boulevard Town Square in downtown Baton Rouge.

    The stroll will include a one-mile walk and overall body workout led by Master Fitness Trainer Adrian Francois, owner of Bodystyle Personal Fitness who has more than 20 years in the industry, and Broome.

    It is free and open to the public, but you must register atwww.bodystyletraining.com.  Bring the whole family. All ages are welcome.

    “We’re excited to host this fun, fitness event for the whole family to enjoy and motivate everyone to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2020,” Francois said.

    “I’m looking forward to bringing our residents together to help make our community better by focusing on our health and wellness,” said Broome.

    The event is being co-sponsored by the Mayor’s office, HealthyBR, the Downtown Development District, and CareSouth Medical and Dental. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The stroll will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Afterwards there will be refreshments, health and wellness vendors, and music.

     

    ONLINE: www.bodystyletraining.com

     

     

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    Dallas Examiner publisher Mollie Belt to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

    A tragedy initially brought Mollie Belt into the world of newspaper publishing.

    Now, 34 years after the tragic murder of her parents – Dallas Examiner publisher and civil rights leader Fred Finch, Jr., and Mildred Finch – Belt’s foray into the news business is nothing short of a triumph.

    A former longtime government employee, Belt is set to receive the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) 2020 Publisher Lifetime Achievement Award during the trade organization’s Annual Mid-Winter Training Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday, January 24th.

    The NNPA’s Executive Committee unanimously selected Belt for the honor.

    With the theme, “Publishing Industry: Innovation & Sustainability of the Black Press of America,” the three-day conference which begins on Jan. 23 includes training workshops, panel discussions, and presentations.

    “It is with great pleasure that the NNPA Executive Committee has selected Mollie Belt for the honor of the Publishers Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the NNPA for so many years,” said NNPA National Chair and Houston Forward Times publisher Karen Carter Richards.

    “Mollie has demonstrated great leadership and guidance to uplift the publishers and the entire organization,” Richards stated.

    NNPA President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., stated that the NNPA “resolutely congratulates Mollie Finch Belt for being selected to receive the 2020 NNPA Lifetime Achievement Award.”

    “Mollie’s local, statewide, regional, and national leadership as the distinguished publisher of the Dallas Examiner exemplifies the best of the Black Press of America,” Chavis stated.

    For Belt, the conference isn’t just about accepting such distinguished honor from her peers, but it’s a reminder of how important the Black Press remains to its readers, sponsors, and advertisers.

    “It’s imperative that we publish the news and remember at all times that we are the voice of the Black community,” Belt stated.

    “We have to remember that we are here to print the news. I always think of what someone told me years ago, which was to not worry about getting more advertising, to just print the news, and if your editorial content is good, the advertising dollars will come,” she said.

    In Dallas, Belt observed that when The Dallas Examiner was founded it was the only Black-owned newspaper in which the community could receive hard news.

    “Black newspapers are the only real voice of the community that I know of in Dallas.  We don’t have a Black-owned television station or a Black-owned radio station,”  Belt said.

    Born in 1943 in Dallas, Belt’s mother was a mathematics instructor while her father was an attorney and civil rights leader who, in 1986, founded the Dallas Examiner.

    Tragically, after publishing just four issues of the newspaper, Belt’s parents were murdered in their home.

    Belt attended Spelman college for one year then transferred to the University of Denver where she graduated with a major in sociology and psychology, she was forced to take over the paper.

    She did so without any experience.

    Belt spent her career working as an employment counselor for the Texas Employment Commission, and she also held several positions for the city of Dallas and the federal government.

    “I was the only child, I inherited the newspaper,” Belt stated.

    “I did not know the newspaper industry, and it was something that I had to learn on the job. My father wasn’t a newspaperman either and when I look back, there are a lot of things that we do differently today,” she noted.

    “We have a niche market, and we have to continuously stress that,” Belt said.

    “Even though we know that we now live in a digital world – and we have to have a digital presence – we also have to remember the print edition and that our community still enjoys reading the print edition and our community loves pictures.”

    After taking over the paper, Belt decided to pour much of her resources into making the Examiner a success, in part, to carry out her parents’ legacy.

    In a 2013 HistoryMakers interview, Belt said she successfully applied for a grant from AT&T to start, “Future Speak,” a publication aimed at developing young minority journalists.

    She also used the Dallas Examiner to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by publishing numerous articles and special supplements, including her award-winning pieces titled, “PROBE,” “Battling AIDS in Our Community” and “Innocence Lost.”

    Under Belt’s guidance, the Dallas Examiner has won a host of local, state, and national awards. In 2002, the newspaper earned honors as “Best Weekly Newspaper” by the Texas Publisher’s Association.

    The Dallas Examiner also has captured at least twelve awards from the regional chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, including “Best Newspaper” and “Best Practices.”

    For Belt, the NNPA Publishers Lifetime Achievement Award will forever stand out as most special.

    “When you receive an honor from your peers, it’s all the more meaningful,” Belt said.

    “I get a lot of awards and honors from various organizations, some of which are related to the community. But, this one is very special, and I’m really touched,” she said.

    By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
    @StacyBrownMedia

    Read more »
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    12 elected to state NAACP leadership; two take on new roles

    The Louisiana State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has elected state-wide leaders. On Saturday, Jan. 11, Judge John Michael Guidry swore in the new leadership during a ceremony at the Capitol Center. Inducted were:

    State President Michael McClanahan continues another term as the presiding leader of the organization. He is employed as a home manager at Harmony II with Harmony Center Incorporated. In this role, he provides supervision and direct care to mentally challenged adult males. Much of this experience was obtained when he co-founded M & T Outpatient Rehab Center for residents who need treatment for alcohol and drug usage. A gifted handyman, he also spends time renovating floors, bathrooms, and kitchens with his home repair company, M&T Corner. He and his wife, Patricia, have two children, Ymine and Torin. (More)

    Two new state leaders were elected.

    Marja Broussard

    Marja Broussard

     

    Marja Broussard, who leads Lafayette’s NAACP chapter, has been elected vice president of Dist. D throughout Calcasieu parish. 

     

     

     

     

    Alvin Joseph

    Alvin Joseph

     

     

    Alvin Joseph, president of the Lake Charles Branch will lead Dist. E.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    NAACP 2020 officials

    Re-elected were:

    • Levon LeBan, D.D  as state vice president. He also serves as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference New Orleans Chapter.
    • Charles “CD” Heckard continues his role as state treasurer/registrar. He has served as treasurer of the NAACP Ouachita Parish Branch in Monroe.
    • Laura Bowman, Secretary
    •  Dr. Charles Cole, Chaplain
    • Dist. A Vice President Kevin Gabriel
    • Dist. B Vice President: Jerome Boykins
    • Dist. C Vice President: Reginald Devold
    • Dist. F Vice President: Chipps Taylor
    • Dist. G Vice President: Windy Calahan
    • Dist. H Vice President: Lloyd Thompson

    History of the Louisiana NAACP 

    ONLINE: http://lanaacp.org

    Read more »
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    N.O Mayor issues statement on the Death of 5th Ward Weebie

    New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the following statement on the death of New Orleans producer and rapper 5th Ward Weebie:

    “It broke my heart to learn that Jerome Cosey — our 5th Ward Weebie — has passed. Let me find out you didn’t know who he was. He was an iconic personality, a New Orleans legend, and a beloved friend. He was the Bounce King, who showed us how to move, how to love, and how to bring passion and humanity to everything we do,” said Cantrell. “New Orleans has lost a cornerstone of our culture. Our City will not be the same without his voice and his spirit. May he rest in God’s perfect peace.”

    5th Ward Weebie was a driving force in New Orleans’ Bounce music scene, producing such hits as “Let Me Find Out” and “Get Out the Way” along with a cathartic single about Hurricane Katrina. Most recently he performed at Mayor Cantrell’s Black and Gold Pep Rally in the lobby of City Hall in advance of the New Orleans Saints’ game against the Saints’ 33-27 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He was 42 years old. 

    According to New Orleans rapper P Town Moe, Weebie died of complications after having a heart attack.

    “First his kidneys went and they had him on a machine to get his kidneys back working, then his lungs went the next day,” P Town Moe said. “I don’t know why God wanted him at this time, but my brother gone.”

    “I’m at a loss for words,” said DJ Bird, a close friend and musical associate. “He was a joker. He was a good dude… This is a sad day in New Orleans.”

    A quickly-organized second line took place from the Zulu club and was attended by hundreds of fans.

    Read more »
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    AG Jeff Landry submits qualifying papers for Trump files for reelection in Louisiana

    Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry submitted the qualifying paperwork for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Last time President Trump appeared on the ballot in Louisiana, he received more than 1.1 million votes.

    “People across Louisiana are looking forward to their chance to support a President who has repeatedly delivered for us,” said Landry. “There will be no doubt in November, Louisiana is still Trump country.”

    Landry joined LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich, Republican National Committeeman Ross Little, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain and LAGOP Executive Director Andrew Bautsch.

    The election on April 4 is a closed party primary which means voters must vote with their registered party. Independent and no-party voters can not vote during the April 4 primary. All Louisiana voters (regardless of registered party) will have the opportunity to vote in the November general election.

    Read more »
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    LAE responds to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation

    Louisiana Association of Educators president Tia Mills,Ph.D. issued the following response to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation from the Louisiana Department of Education:

    While LAE members wish Mr. White the best in his future endeavors, we are happy about a change in leadership at the Louisiana Department of Education. I know many educators were not pleased with the initiatives pushed by Mr. White’s administration. His departure presents Louisiana’s education professionals with an opportunity to focus on positive change for our public school students.

    All eyes are now on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Senate, the groups charged with filling Mr. White’s position. The women and men who serve in these bodies must hire an individual with an extensive background in serving students in a K-12 public school system. LAE will be extremely vocal in this selection process.

    This could be the beginning of a promising new period for public education in Louisiana. I, along with members of the LAE, look forward to forging a collaborative relationship with the incoming members of the state board of education (BESE) and their new leader. LAE members are committed to working alongside all key players in education as we continue to help move Louisiana’s public schools in a positive direction for our precious children.

    Read more »
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    Registration opens for first Underground Railroad to Justice Summit

    Grassroots activists will gather on Feb. 7 for the Disrupting the Injustice Narrative: The Inaugural Underground Railroad to Justice Summit at Southern University Law Center for a daylong training open to the public.

    Activists will teach citizens, social workers, lawyers, and students how to navigate obstacles that they face as victims of Louisiana’s criminal justice system or advocates for justice-impacted individuals. The following panels will present:

    Becoming a Legislative or Policy Advocate
    Terry Landry Jr., SPLC
    Will Harrell, VOTE

    Watchdogs
    Becoming a Mental Health Watchdog
    Rev. Alexis Anderson, PREACH

    Becoming a Solitary Confinement Watchdog
    Katie Swartzmann, ACLU

    Becoming a Watchdog for Children of Justice-Impacted Parents
    Bree Anderson, DBI

    Social Workers as Watchdogs
    Ben Robertson, SUNO

    Becoming a Grand Jury Watchdog
    The Kennon Sisters

    Becoming a Felony Voting Rights Watchdog
    Checo Yancy, VOTE

    Becoming a Bail Reform Watchdog
    *Speaker Unconfirmed

    Getting the Ear of the Media
    Jeff Thomas, Think504
    Gary Chambers, The Rouge Collection

    Keynote Address by Calvin Duncan

    Using Art to Advocate
    Kristen Downing
    Kevin McQuarn
    Donney Rose

    Responding to Prosecutorial Misconduct
    Jee Parks, IPNO
    Harry Daniels
    William Snowden, Vera Institute for Justice New Orleans

    FREE continuing legal education credit will be offered for lawyers who attend the entire day and register by Jan. 15.

    FREE continuing education units will be offered for social workers who attend the entire day and register by Jan. 15.

    FREE lunch to those who register by Jan. 15.

    This event is jointly hosted by the Louis A. Berry Civil Rights and Justice Institute at SULC and the Center for African and African American Studies at SUNO.

    Register: http://www.sulc.edu/form/356

    ONLINE: SULC

    Read more »
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    100 Black Women invite youth to BR Grow Girls mentoring program

    The Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter of 100 Black Women Inc will kick off their second annual BR Grow Girls mentoring initiative on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Louisiana Leadership Institute. The program, which serviced more than 150 local girls last year, focuses on character development, leadership skills, STEM learning and more.

    Activities are scheduled each Saturday in February, noon to 2 p.m. Registration is open to girls of African-American descent in grades 4-12. Participants must reside in East Baton Rouge Parish. While the program is free, registration is required. Parents are also required to attend orientation. The deadline to register is Tuesday, Jan. 14.

    Register online at https://forms.gle/5ssdpGbfUhenWn9o9. For more information about the program or registration, contact br100growgirls@gmail.com.

    Read more »
  • 7th Annual Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Festival slated for Feb. 22

    The 7th Annual Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Festival will be held Saturday, February 22 from 10am to 7pm at North Boulevard Town Square. The event features live music, a Vendor’s Village and Food Court. It’s family-friendly and free to the public. Lawn seating. No ice chests. The venue is located at 200 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70801.

    This year’s festival lineup, on the Galvez Crest Stage, features blues, soul, R&B, reggae, Latin and gypsy jazz, pop/rock, spoken word and comedy. Confirmed to date are Henry Turner, Jr. & Flavor, SmokeHouse Porter and Miss Mamie, The Listening Room All-Stars that include ‘Nspire, Wyanda Paul, Lee Tyme, Xavie Shorts, Larry “LZ” Dillon, and comedian Eddie “Cool” Deemer. Additional performers are Clarence “PieMan” Williams and Pastor Leon Hitchens. Touring acts include KK & the Reverend Blues Revival from Arkansas, King Baby from Houston, Young In A Million from Nashville, Jessi Campo from Miami, with Geovane Santos and Urban Gypsy headed in from New Orleans. Also expected is Emanuel Casablanca from New York, along with surprise guests. DJ is Teddy “Lloyd” Johnson of Teddy’s Juke Joint. (Please visit website for exact performance times.)

    Sponsors to date include Visit Baton Rouge, Mr. Outstanding, Cutting Edge, Downtown Development District, and Blue Runner. Vendor slots are still available through EW Media Group.

    This years’ event is presented by Henry Turner Jr’s Listening Room Museum Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

    The 7th Annual Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Festival will also hold a Pre-Party on Thursday, February 20 at Henry Turner, Jr.’s Listening Room located at 2733 North Street from 8pm to midnight. Tickets are $25.00 and come with a soul food buffet.

    For more information, including VIP packages, please log on to www.batonrougemardigrasfestival.com or call 225-802-9681.

    Read more »
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    Rodneyna M. Hart named Grand Marshal of the 2020 Mid City Gras Parade

    During a brief ceremony on Jan. 6, Rodneyna Hart was named the Mid City Gras Parade grand marshal presented with a scepter and crown from Front Yard Bikes, .

    She has been instrumental in the development of local art and cultural advancements in the Baton Rouge area for more than 10 years. After graduating from LSU in 2008, Hart worked as the exhibitions coordinator at Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary art, preparator at the LSU Museum of Art, the exhibitions manager at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum and resident curator and art manager of The Healthcare Gallery. A strong desire to break down barriers for access for artists lead to Hart reestablishing and serving as executive director for the not-for-profit organization, Culture Candy. Advocating for more inclusive and intersectional cultural spaces, Hart created pop-up art events open to all. Each event has an educational component, providing resources for emerging artists.

    Over the years, Hart has served on numerous history, arts and culture boards and given generously of her time, energies, and resources to various organizations and initiatives. She received a gubernatorial appointment to the Louisiana State Arts Council in 2017 and served as the Council’s representative on the Folklife Commission for Louisiana. In 2018, Rodneyna was named one of Baton Rouge Business Report’s Forty Under 40.

    In January 2019, she accepted the position of division director for the Louisiana State Museum overseeing the four regional museums. In this capacity, she adds structural support to further the success of each institution through programming, promotion, partnerships, and exhibitions that strategically meet the needs of the communities served.

    The third annual Mid City Gras Parade will be held at 1 p.m. February 16 on North Boulevard. It will start at the overpass and roll down to Baton Rouge Community College. The parade is a celebration for everyone who lives, works and plays in Mid City, designed to showcase the diversity of the community with a spirit of inclusiveness. More than 50 groups, including bands, dance teams, walking groups, acrobats and puppets, will participate in the parade.

    The second annual Mid City Gras Ball will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. February 1 at the Capital City Event Center, 6955 Florida Blvd. Tickets for the event can be purchased athttps://bontempstix.com/events/Mid-City-Gras-Ball-2–1-2020. The ball is for revelers 21 and up. WHYR Community Radio will provide music for the party.

    The theme for the 2020 parade and ball is 2020 Leagues Under the Sea.

    Read more »
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    4-day MLK Fest enters its 6th year Jan. 17-21

     Creating great change and progress takes consistent planning and collaboration, not an easy task to undertake. Yet for the past five years, The Walls Project has managed the cooperation of more than 200 organizations to progress the work of the Reactivate program, with it’s largest cleanup effort happening at MLK Fest.  Entering its sixth year and concentrating on Plank Road for the next two years, MLK Fest 2020 plans to continue the work begun earlier this year with the Reactivate Quarterly Cleanups, cleaning and refreshing the Plank Road corridor.

    Partnering with the City of Baton Rouge and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, MLK Fest 2020 is the city’s greatest opportunity for collective civic volunteerism. From Jan. 17 to Jan. 21, volunteers work together on projects by painting, removing trash, gardening, and general beautification along Plank Road, including side streets of Choctaw Drive and Chippewa Street.

    Untitled
    This 4-day long event allows residents from all over the parish to participate in cleaning and reinvigorating areas of the city once neglected. This historic volunteer effort is made possible by the support from Build Baton Rouge, ExxonMobil, Our Lady of the Lake, Capital Area United Way, Healthy Blue, Metromorphosis, BREC, PODS, PPG/Pittsburgh Paints and Lamar Outdoor Advertising Agency.

    Planning meetings for the event have been held monthly at Delmont Gardens Branch Library from 3 – 5 PM with two remaining opportunities for the community to engage in workshops on January 8th and January 15th.   Planning committees include Volunteer Outreach chaired by Pat McCallister-LeDuff (CADAV/Scotlandville CDB), Gardening and Blight Reduction chaired by Kelvin Cryer (Star Hill G.E.E.P) and Mitchell Provensal (Baton Roots Community Farm), Block Party and Resource Fair chaired by Geno McLaughlin (Build Baton Rouge) and Tracy Smith (Healthy Blue), and Murals and Building Facades lead by Kimberly Braud (The Walls Project).

    According to organizers, more than 5,000 volunteers participated, showing that this event poses an opportunity greater than logging in-service hours. Volunteers will work hand in hand with citizens from every part of the Baton Rouge community to strengthen relationships across the city as the Walls Project extends its blight remediation efforts to a year-round program on Plank Rd.

    For those wanting to become involved with this event, visitthewallsproject.org/mlk-fest for more information, volunteer registration, and donations.

    Submitted News

    Read more »
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    Melanin Origins offers Black History curriculum

     The founders of Melanin Origins, a children’s book company that publishes biographies about African-American leaders, are   offering their English-Language Arts Black History Curriculum for 99-cents through February 29, 2020. 

    Since 2016, Melanin Origins has provided leaders in education with quality learning materials that children of all backgrounds so desperately need. Understanding the struggle of convincing school districts to fund black history initiatives, the global publishing company has afforded teachers across the nation an opportunity to access four weeks of instruction on the lives of Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Madam C.J. Walker, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

    The Black History Curriculum guide contains TEKS/Common Core-based lesson plans that meet national English-Language Arts standards and cover reading, writing, word study, and social studies for grade one. Many teachers find this curriculum useful for kindergarten and second grade. Melanin Origins learning materials may be applied to any classroom at any time of year. The added benefit is that the materials provide diverse and culturally responsive images and topics for all students.

    Melanin Origins is committed to literacy and empowerment through powerful images and stories representative of diverse backgrounds and cultural pride. The mission of Melanin Origins is to provide quality educational materials that inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage. 

    ONLINE: HERE or by visiting www.MelaninOrigins.com

    Read more »
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    9-year-old girls’ deaths by suicide spark latest thriller ‘Failure to Protect’

    After learning about the suicide deaths of two 9-year-old Alabama girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young decided to take on this rising epidemic in the new legal thriller, Failure to Protect. “We need to end the silence shrouding suicide,” Young said. “By writing a legal thriller that both entertains and educates, it’s my hope to help do that.”

    Young, who is an attorney and anti-trafficking advocate, released Failure to Protect in October 2019.

    Here’s the synopsis:

    What Really Goes on Behind School Doors?

    When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, a grieving mother is determined to seek justice for her bullied daughter. Enter hard-charging attorneys Angela Evans and Jenny Ungerman. From the start, the two lawyers face more than an uphill battle.

    An ambitious school principal is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

    As the battle enters the courtroom, the attorneys fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

    For fifteen years, Young served as managing counsel for Toyota in Southern California, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, she began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of her desire to see women and people of color depicted in legal thrillers.

    Pamela Samuels Young

    Pamela Samuels Young

    Young has penned 14 books over a span of a 20-year writing career. Her work has netted numerous awards including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter a gripping tale of a teen unwittingly drawn into the world of child sex trafficking via a Facebook scam. Her novel, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling teen sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system. Other novels by Young include Every Reasonable DoubtIn Firm PursuitMurder on the Down LowBuying TimeAttorney-Client Privilege, and Lawful Deception. Her non-fiction work includes Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide, a book dedicated to empowering women to discover the true beauty of their kinky coils.

    ONLINE: Pamela Samuels Young

    Read more »
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    Students participate in 4-H Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training

    Kentwood High Magnet School held its 2019 Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training on Dec. 19, 2019, at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Hammond, La. The Ambassador Training was open to all 4-H Club members, in grades 7th – 12th, that attend the school.

    Forty youth attended the training and worked cooperatively with each other to foster a real-life application of teamwork. Youth Ambassadors were also tasked during a working Christmas Luncheon to create their own personal quotes about teamwork to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the team.

    Tahlia Carter, an 8th-grade ambassador at Kentwood High Magnet School, said the quote “alone we can do so little, together we could do so much” resonated with her the most.

    As part of the training, youth organized assembly lines to package canned goods, toys, and coats to donate to God’s Store House Thrift Store just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.

    For additional information about the 4-H Club activities at Kentwood High Magnet School, contact Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, at 985-748-9381.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
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    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosting World AIDS Day Walk/Run/Ride, other activities Dec. 1

    The Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., along with theAIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Southern University Horace W. Moody Intramural Sports Complex is hosting a World AIDS Day one-mile walk, run and ride and other activities on Sunday, Dec. 1.

    The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Moody Intramural Sports Complex. Attendees must bring their own bicycles. The event will also feature a hip-hop, Zumba and kickboxing class, free AIDS/HIV testing, guest speakers and a community resource fair. There will also be food, entertainment and door prizes.

    “We’re excited to host this event along with our community partners to help in the fight against AIDS,” said President Chi Joseph Franklin.  “We want to end this disease in our community.”

    The event is FREE and open to the public. You can register on site.

    For more information,  email tobrsigma@gmail.com.

    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities around the world.  Founded in 1913, the sisterhood includes more than 200,000 predominantly Black college-educated women. The Baton Rouge  Sigma Alumnae Chapter has more than 300 members in the Baton Rouge area.  For more information, email us at brsigma@gmail.com or go towww.brsigma.org.

    Read more »
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    Celebrating 25 years of curating history

    The River Road African American Museum celebrated the 25th year anniversary at The Estuary at the Water Campus on October 6, 2019. Two hundred and twenty-five guests came from as far away as Barbados and Florida to the event that included SHELL employees from Ascension Parish and actress Karen Livers from New Orleans.
    SHELL Employees at RRAAM 25th Gala
    Honors were presented to Joan Louis of MoHair Salon and others in the beauty and hair care industry from the Baton Rouge area. The Museum was proud to announce the new exhibit dedicated to America’s first self-made millionaire Madame C.J. Walker. The museum is located at 406 Charles Street in Donaldsonville.
    Community News Submitted by Mada McDonald
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  • Two of America’s first Black flight attendants reveal their stories of the unfriendly skies

    They were not the very first African American flight attendants in history, but Linda McQueen and Bertha Tease were certainly among the first ones. Their new book, Taking Flight: Two Black Women in the Unfriendly Skies, tells the story of the racial discrimination and persecution they faced while simply trying to work the job of their dreams in the early 1970s.

    Taking Flight opens by painting the picture of life in the 1950s and ’60s. It takes readers on a voyage from listening to radio shows like Milton Berle and “Amos and Andy” to watching programs and actually seeing Black people on TV.

    This book then chronicles how they overcame the odds and rose to the positions they desired. In the face of early racism, discrimination and denial, they were able to fly the skies and meet celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, The Jacksons, OJ Simpson, Stevie Wonder, Dick Gregory, Ray Charles and so many more. Taking Flight is a voyage through history and a story of triumph.


    About Linda McQueen:
    Linda McQueen’s story of growing up in the ’50s and ’60s went from huddling around the radio listening to stories, to actually watching the people she had been listening to on the newly invented television. From keeping her food cold in an icebox, to having a real refrigerator. From eventually getting her dream job, to having to fight to get it back after a near-fatal accident.

    About Bertha Tease:
    Bertha Tease’s story starts in North Carolina with the various challenges her family had to endure. She comes from a family of 22. Her mother had 20 children, 10 boys and 10 girls. Her parents struggled to make ends meet. After getting the job she wanted, Bertha was harassed about her weight after she had her baby. She fought back and filed a lawsuit with E.E.O.C. and won! The weight standards were changed because of this. Not just for her airline, but for all airlines.

    Their stories are about struggle, strength and getting the jobs they prayed for, then fighting to keep them against all odds!

    Read more »
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    Tulane brings 2020 Black women’s health conference; Speakers invited to submit presentations

    The mission of the Black Women’s Health Task Force at Tulane University is to raise health awareness and increase knowledge of health-related issues and concerns that disproportionately impact Black women and girls. The Black Women’s Health Conference provides an annual forum for sharing, matching, and coordinating empirical evidence with praxis and experience to better understand and enrich health outcomes for black women and girls.

    The theme of the 4th Black Women’s Health Conference is The Big C: Countering, Conquering, and Coping with Cancer/s. We particularly seek proposals that conceptualize, interrogate, deconstruct, and report on issues related to the social, political, legal, and historical contexts. We invite panel, poster, performance-based, and individual paper submissions on a wide range of topics that may include but are not limited to:

    • Survival;
    • Screening, Self-Examination, Prevention, Treatment;
    • Obesity, Stress, and Morbidity;
    • Family History and Risk;
    • Access to Care; Workplace Accommodations; Insurance;
    • Mental Health for Caregivers, Self-Care, and Art Therapy;
    • Grief & Death;
    • Faith & Fear;
    • Remission & Recurrence;
    • Tobacco Use, Substance Abuse, and Addiction;
    • Sex, STDs, HPV, and Sexual Health;
    • Fertility, Lactation, and Breastfeeding;
    • Hair Loss and Hair-Care;
    • Reconstructive Surgery, Body Image, Body Art/Tattoos;
    • Environmental Justice & “Cancer Alley”;
    • Oncology Social Work;
    • Parenting Children with Cancer;
    • Medical Marijuana, Access, Benefits, and Barriers; and
    • Holistic Care.

    Submissions are encouraged in a variety of forms, including: traditional academic conference papers and posters as well as proposals for panels, workshops, and roundtables from academics, independent scholars, practitioners, artists, activists, and community workers and organizers.

    Submission Deadline is February 20, 2020.
    Conference Dates: Friday, June 12 – Saturday, June 13, 2020
    For Questions, email: BWHConference@wave.tulane.edu
    To Register: www.bwhconference.com

    Read more »
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    Marshall named vice-chancellor of the SU Ag Center and associate dean of the College of Ag

    Renita W. Marshall, DVM, has been appointed the Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Services at the Southern University Ag Center/ Associate Dean of the Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

    Marshall was appointed to the position during the Southern University Board of Supervisors’ meeting on October 18, 2019.

    Since 2017, she has held the positions of director of the Southern University Institute for One Health One Medicine, Department Chair of Agricultural Sciences and Professor of Animal Science.  She has also served as the Veterinarian for the Southern University Ag Center since 2012.

    In her role as a professor of animal science, she served as the faculty advisor for both the Department of Animal Science’s Pre-Veterinary Club and Southern University’s Chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She was also a co-coordinator of the Southern University College of Sciences and Agriculture’s Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunities Unlimited (BAYOU) Program.

    Prior to teaching at the college, Renita was employed with the Southern University Ag Center for more than a decade. During that time, she held the titles of Interim Associate Research Director and Livestock Programs Director.

    Dr. Marshall has received several certifications which include a Pharmacy Certification from the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. She is also a United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency Controlled Substance Certified Veterinarian, and a United States Department of Agriculture Category II Accredited Veterinarian.

    She has secured $7.5 million in grant funds to expand teaching, research and extension programs at Southern University and has written several scholarly articles on small ruminants, swine, cattle, water resources, animal reproduction, and minority-owned small farm operations.

    Renita is a member of numerous community and professional organizations. She is a member of the Baton Rouge Zoo’s Advisory Board, Southern University’s representative for the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency (MOHSEP) Animal Disaster/Evacuation and a member of the Next Generation Global Health Security Network.

    Dr. Marshall earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Southern University, a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.


    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

    Read more »
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    Survivors presented ‘A Soulful Matinee’ for breast cancer awareness

    The “Playbill”—A Soulful Matinee at the Manship Theatre Shaw Center for the Arts was held on Saturday, November 9, 2019. It was produced by the Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Survivors. This annual event salutes breast cancer survivors and advocates. The theme for the Musical Matinee was “We Are Warriors”.

    The Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Survivors has 16 chapters throughout the state of Louisiana. Those in attendance had a surprise, via a video presentation by Governor John Bel Edwards and Actress/Native of Baton Rouge, Lynn Smith Whitfield. Both spoke about their family members who are breast cancer survivors. They highly recommend and encouraged for regular health care appointments. Added to this year’s lineup was “The Barbershop”. It featured men gathered on a Saturday morning at the local barbershop giving and seeking advice on how to relate to the women in their lives impacted by breast cancer. A very moving section of the musical matinee was when those in active treatment are bundled. They are wrapped with pink blankets and prayers offered to show love and support in their time of treatment.

    LBC349

     

    A special thank you to all donors and volunteers that helped to make The Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Soulful Musical Matinee a great and huge success. The Baton Rouge Magnet High School Key Club members assisted throughout the musical matinee greeting and escorting the attendees inside the theater. They were very helpful and resourceful. Anyone interested in helping to find a cure for breast cancer can make a contribution/donation to the Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Survivors, 8742 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70807.

    Community News Submitted by Katrina Spottsville

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    Blacks ‘urgently’ needed to advocate in court for CASA’s abused, neglected children

    Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association urgently needs African American individuals to speak up for abused and neglected children to help them find forever families.

    CASA volunteers serve as voices for children in the foster care system to help them reach safe, permanent homes and ensure their needs are being met. In 2018, nearly 70% of the children served by Capital Area CASA were African American, yet only about a third of the organization’s volunteers were African American.

    These children need volunteers with whom they can identify. An African American CASA volunteer also provides a positive influence as a powerful advocate who has the ability to make a difference in a child’s life. You can help change a child’s story.

    No special background is required to become a CASA volunteer. The first step to getting involved is to attend one of the following 45-minute orientation sessions at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Call (225) 379-8598, visit casabr.org or email volunteer@casabr.org for more information.

    • 9 a.m., Monday, November 25
    • 5 p.m., Wednesday, December 4
    • 10 a.m., Saturday, December 14
    • 11 a.m., Tuesday, December 17
    • 9 a.m., Monday, December 23
    • 4:30 p.m., Monday, December 30

    CASA is accepting people into its next volunteer training class, which begins January 14, 2020.

    The mission of Capital Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association is to advocate for timely placement of abused and neglected children in permanent, safe, and stable homes. ℜ

    By Erin Fulbright
    Special to The Drum

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  • Changing the Pancreatic Cancer Narrative

    Elvin Howard Sr. Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Foundation (Elvin Howard, Sr. PCAF) was founded in the Fall of 2016  after several months of meetings by its founding members Bertha Howard, RN, MSN, Sgt. Elvin Howard Jr., Dr. Monteic A. Sizer and Veronica Howard Sizer, Esq.

    The foundation was formed in memory of Elvin Howard, Sr. a devoted husband, father, grandfather, family man and Christian.  Elvin, Sr. presented with the classic signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer:  lower back and stomach pains, rapid weight loss, late-onset diabetes and he was misdiagnosed and treated for several months for these individual issues.  It was not until it was discovered that he was jaundice, which indicates the late stages of the disease, that he was finally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Our Foundation was created to help those like Elvin Howard, Sr. to recognize the early signs of pancreatic cancer and be proactive with their health care in order to discover the disease early, when there are more options for successful treatment.

    Elvin Howard, Sr. PCAF was formed to reduce pancreatic cancer deaths and family hardships by bringing awareness of pancreatic cancer by supporting research, pancreatic cancer survivors, their caregivers and families.  In order to carry out this awareness mission, the Foundation presents two symposiums each year, in the Spring and Fall, as well as participate in various local community events at churches and health fairs.  Awareness is especially important in communities of color, in that there is a 35% higher incident rate of pancreatic cancer among African Americans than whites.  The Foundation also host an annual fundraiser the second Friday of each November to raise awareness and money for the organization.

    In 2019, the Foundation supported legislation in Louisiana that will help make it possible for people battling metastatic cancer to gain access to the best pharmaceuticals and treatment options available as opposed to traditional step treatment options. This is a great victory for anyone fighting any form of cancer across Louisiana.

    Elvin Howard, Sr. PCAF officially partnered with Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer, a nation online pancreatic cancer awareness platform, in order to help get cutting edge research and clinical trial information to our various partners and constituency.  The Foundation is also a member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition (WPCC).  As key allies of the WPCC, we bring greater awareness of the plight of people of color.  Awareness and treatment options for African Americans and communities of color throughout the United States is critically important.  Dr. Sizer, our national representative, leads our work with Let’s Win! and recently provided great insight and valuable information to WPCC in  regard to their messaging and public awareness campaign.  Dr. Sizer is also leading discussions on how we might partner with the GENERATE Study, a study funded by StandUp2Cancer and the Lustgarden Foundation.  With our connection with these national and international organizations, Elvin Howard, Sr. PCAP hopes to better inform any who are interested on how to better understand and be effective with African Americans and communities of color when it comes to pancreatic cancer.  Elvin Howard, Sr. PCAF also provide resources to support research and the development of early detection tools to detect and defeat pancreatic cancer.

    We can change the pancreatic cancer narrative by helping people become more aware of the disease.  It is our vision that pancreatic cancer is not a death sentence!

    November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and November 21, 2019 is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day.  Join us on that day by wearing purple and spreading the word about pancreatic cancer.

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    Census 2020: For all to count, all must be counted

    While every Census faces challenges and even controversies, the count remains important because it’s the federal government’s very first responsibility to the U.S. Constitution, the cornerstone of the nation’s representative democracy and America’s largest peacetime activity, said Terri Ann Lowenthal, a consultant to many census stakeholders and former staff director for the U.S. House Subcommittee on Census and Population.

    However, Lowenthal believes the 2020 Census is heading into “a perfect storm.”

    “I think of unprecedented factors that could thwart a successful enumeration – one that counts all communities equally well,” said Lowenthal, who consults on The Census Project, a collaboration of business and industry associations; civil rights advocates; state and local governments; social service agencies; researchers and scientific societies; planners; foundations; and nonprofits focused on housing, child and family welfare, education, transportation, and other vital services.

    “The risks include cyber-threats foreign and domestic, IT failures, weather events that have become more extreme, disinformation campaigns, and the unknown consequences of adding a new, untested citizenship question,” she said.

    The official kick-off to the 2020 Census is Monday, April 1 in Washington where the U.S. Census Bureau will host a live operational press briefing to mark the one-year out milestone from the 2020 Census.

    Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham and others in leadership plan to brief the public on the status of operations and provide updates on the success of the integrated partnership and communication campaign.

    Lowenthal said the unknown consequences of adding a new, untested citizenship question are among the growing challenges facing the 2020 Census.

    She said other challenges including consistent underfunding and President Trump’s budget request for next year, which is well below the amount needed; distrust of government at many levels; and fear among immigrants that their census responses will be used to harm them and their families.

    “An inclusive, accurate census is especially important for Black Americans and other people of color,” Lowenthal said.

    “The census determines the distribution of political power, from Congress, to state legislatures, to city councils and school boards, and guides the allocation of almost $9 trillion over the decade in federal assistance to states and communities for hospitals, public transit, school facilities, veterans services, Medicaid, school lunches, and many other vital services,” she said.

    Unfortunately, advocates say the census is not an equal opportunity enumeration.

    Scientific yardsticks since 1940 reveal that the census misses Black Americans at disproportionately high rates, especially Black men ages 18 to 49 and Black children under age five.

    “At the same time, the census over-counted non-Hispanic Whites in 2000 and 2010. And because the people who are more likely to be missed do not live in the same neighborhoods as those more likely to be double-counted, some communities get more than their fair share of political representation and resources, while others get less than they deserve and need,” Lowenthal said, adding that we then must live with those results for the next ten years.

    The Census is a civil rights issue with huge implications for everyone, particularly people of color, added Beth Lynk, the director of the Census Counts Campaign at The Leadership Conference Education Fund.

    “Census data are used to draw congressional district lines and help determine the amount of federal funding communities receive for programs like Head Start and SNAP,” Lynk said.

    “Communities that are missing from the census lose out on what they need to stay safe and healthy. Unfortunately, Black people and Latinos are considered to be harder to count, and accurately counting these populations takes a focused effort,” she said.

    Lynk said, “That’s why it’s critical that local governments and community organizations educate their own constituents and members and encourage them to be counted.”

    Census data are inherently personal; the data record and codify individual stories, and help to paint a mosaic of rich racial, ethnic, cultural, and geographic identities, said Jason Jurjevich, Assistant Director of the Population Research Center, a research institute in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University in Oregon.

    “Telling the story of diverse communities, including individuals of color, requires a fair and accurate count,” Jurjevich said.

    “As with any census, an all too common obstacle is that some individuals are excluded, resulting in an undercount. In the 2010 Census, considered one of the most accurate censuses in recent American history, 1.5 percent of Hispanics and 2.1 percent of African-Americans were undercounted,” he said.

    Jurjevich added that among African-American men, ages 30 to 49, the undercount was much higher, at 10.1 percent.

    The decennial census is the one chance, every ten years, to stand up and be counted, Jurjevich said.

    He said Census 2020 will offer the first-ever online response option, which could improve census response rates and, at the same time, numerous challenges and barriers will likely make it more difficult to count Americans in the 2020 Census.

    “This means that communities will need to organize and address on-the-ground challenges like the proposed citizenship question, increasing public distrust in government, growing fears among immigrants about the current sociopolitical climate, the first-ever online response option and concerns around the digital divide and security of personal data, and inconsistent and insufficient federal funding,” Jurjevich said.

    Each community should first consider developing a Complete Count Committee – or CCC, he said.

    “A CCC is a volunteer committee established by tribal, state, and local governments and community leaders to increase awareness of Census 2020 and increase census participation,” Jurjevich said.

    The first step for CCCs is to develop a Complete Count Plan.

    The plan should identify local barriers to a fair and accurate count, identifies potential sources of funding, build on the strength of trusted community voices, and develop culturally resonant messaging, Jurjevich said.

    “For all to count, all must be counted,” he said.

    By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA

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    Tangipahoa Parish Schools continue to seek unitary status despite continued segregation

    HAMMOND—When Tangipahoa Parish School Board released a statement on September 26, 2019, it sent shock waves throughout the African-American community.

    The board released the following statement: “On Thursday afternoon, September 26, 2019, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board made history, adopting the recommendation of attorneys in the longstanding Joyce Marie Moore federal desegregation case and authorizing a jointly filed consent agreement in the 54-year-old case.”

    This statement prompted Nelson Taylor, the lead attorney in the case, to call a community meeting to inform the community about the case Oct. 30, at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Hammond.

    Nelson said, “This case is coming to an end, I don’t know how the judge is going to rule in this case. This case has slew of court orders.”

    Attorney Gideon Tillman Carter III wrote the final agreement for the school board. “This agreement will dismiss all litigations,” Taylor said.

    “Carter is not the lead attorney, he has no authority to write anything. Carter has disrupted my team.”

    The 34-page “Final Agreement” outlines the scope of the work that the district will continue in good faith in order to maintain a unitary school system. A school district is unitary when it has eliminated the effects of past segregation.

    Once the board achieved unitary status, they are not obligated to do anything. “It’s business as usual”, said Taylor, “The board doesn’t need unitary status to remove all those portable buildings they can do that now.

    The powers-that-be has their hands on this school board. One white board member had the nerve to go on television and say they will not vote for a tax for the board if the board is under court order to do things for Blacks”. Tangipahoa Parish has the lowest tax for schools than any other parish in the state.

    “If you want good schools, you must have a good tax base. There is something the African American community can do. Have a community meeting, discuss and plan what you want in your schools and where those schools should be located,” said Taylor, “The African American community did not create a dual system of education in this parish.” The board should build high schools in central locations like Ponchatoula and Hammond High with the same curriculum. The board is building schools around subdivisions.

    “The parish has two African American board members, they should have three and maybe four. You should check the parish demographics.”

    Former president of The Greater Tangipahoa Parish NAACP Pat Morris said, “No one wants this case settled more than I do. But it must be done the right way, according to Amendment 14. Equality for everyone. This case is about African American children and their parents.” Taylor asked for the African American community to show up in Federal Court in record numbers on November 20, 2019.ℜ

    By Eddie Ponds
    Ther Drum Founding Publisher

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  • ,,,,,

    Greenville Park High School Class of 1969 gather for ‘Living Legend” reunion

    “Living the Legacy” was the theme for the 1969 Greenville Park High School graduation class who held their 50th class reunion earlier this year at the Contemporary Plaza in Hammond.

    “This class is historical because this is the last class to graduate from Greenville Park High School,” said Betty Jackson.

    In the fall of 1969 Federal District Judge Alvin B. Rubin handed down his court’s order desegregating all schools in the Tangipahoa Parish school system. Greenville Park High was downgraded and renamed Hammond Junior High, leaving little or no traces of Greenvillepark History.

    Image (48)

    CLASS 1969 3

     

     

     

    Tangipahoa Parish School Board representative Jerry Moore, son of the late M. C. Moore who filed the lawsuit to end the segregated system of education in the parish, was the keynote speaker. He gave a brief history of the problems his family endured after his father filed the lawsuit against the school system.

    “My father was in the logging business. After the suit, my father could not get work. When he did it was under adverse condition making it impossible, tearing up his equipment, and shooting in his house under the cover of darkness.”  According to research by the late educator Jesse W. Davis Jr., Hammond Colored School was founded in 1906 by P.Jenkins. It was a sixth-grade school from 1906 until 1929 when it opened as a full elementary school. In 1943 it expanded the school session to nine months, and the principal was Jessie W. Davis Sr. He had the school name change to Greenville Park High School in 1954. ℜ

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  • ,,

    ‘History of Southern University Law Center’ now in Target Baton Rouge store

    The Southern University Law Center has a rich and impressive tradition of educating students from diverse backgrounds.

    Founded in 1947, the Law Center has become a model for student body and faculty diversity. The school has been consistently ranked as The Princeton Review’s #1 school for most diverse faculty.

    Authors Rachel L. Emanuel, Ph.D., and Carla Ball detail the history and legacy of the Law Center along with a foreword by former chancellor and Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr. 

    The book is a part of Arcadia Publishing’s campus history series. It is available on Amazon and sold in Target at 6885 Siegen Ln, Baton Rouge through the holiday season.

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  • ,,

    Saluting Our Sailors: Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lanehart,

    Most Americans rely on weather forecasts to plan their daily routine. The U.S. Navy is no different. With numerous ships, submarines and airplanes deployed in the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s area of operations, sailors stationed at Fleet Weather Center San Diego, make it their primary mission to monitor weather conditions in support of the fleet’s daily operations.

    Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lanehart, a 2001 Capitol High School graduate and native of Baton Rouge is one of these sailors serving at the Fleet Weather Center, providing full-spectrum weather services to shore-based commands and afloat naval units.

    As a Navy aerographer’s mate, Lanehart is responsible for the day-to-day tasks of one hundred sailors. He helps them prepare for deployment by ensuring they have the proper qualifications and training to do their jobs. He also helps mentor them with personal and professional issues to make sure they are ready to perform to the best of their capabilities.

    Lanehart credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Baton Rouge.

    “Baton Rouge is like a small, big city,” said Lanehart. “You learn how to adapt to adversity and think quick on your feet to accomplish your goals. You understand how to move about with a sense of family and pride because everyone knows everyone else and it is a very close-knit community. You always represent your family.”

    Additionally, sailors serving with the Fleet Weather Center ensure naval installations, contingency exercises, and operations are able to facilitate risk management, resource protection, and mission success of fleet, regional and individual unit commanders.

    Fleet Weather Center San Diego provides U.S. and coalition ship, submarine and aircraft weather forecasts including en route and operating area forecasts. In addition, they deploy certified Strike Group Oceanography Teams and Mobile Environmental Teams from the commands to provide tactical warfighting advantage for strike and amphibious forces afloat through the application of meteorological and oceanographic sciences.

    Being stationed in San Diego, the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, means Lanehart is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Lanehart is most proud of earning Sea Sailor of the Year honors in 2018. He attributes that award to all of the hard work that his shipmates put in that year. Stating that, “ultimately I was recognized for the efforts of my team.”

    “It means also that I am finally getting it right. There is a lot of trial and error in the Navy,” said Lanehart. “I was able to have a great chain of command and a great team. They allowed and trusted me to do my job, which enabled me to have that accomplishment.”

    Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Lanehart, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Lanehart is honored to carry on that family tradition.

    “I have had a family member in every conflict since WWII, but I am the only Navy guy. I didn’t realize the family tradition until after I joined,” said Lanehart. “Being from Baton Rouge you always want to make your family proud. When going home I always wear my uniform to church on Sunday, and my uncles are always checking out my ribbons.”

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

    “Serving means that a kid from Baton Rouge can serve his country, become a leader of men and gain an education, all while traveling the world,” said Lanehart. ℜ

    By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Dunn, Navy Office of Community Outreach U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Arthurgwain Marquez

     

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  • ,,

    Saluting Our Sailors: Petty Officer 2nd Class Errol James

    A 2007 North Texas Job Corps graduate and Baton Rouge native is serving at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Errol James serves as a boatswain’s mate that is responsible for renderings honors for military members and veteran’s funerals.

    James credits his hometown for giving him opportunities he would not have had otherwise experienced that has helped in naval service.

    “My hometown taught me that the world was a lot bigger than just where I’m from,” said James. “It’s helped me to adjust to other people and cultures and beliefs and even food.”

    Naval Station Mayport was commissioned in December of 1942.

    It houses multiple surface ships as well as aviation units.

    James is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy our nation needs.

    “I’m kind of the first of my kind in serving,” said James. “Whatever works for you, whatever is best for you, that’s really what service is about.”

    James said they are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

    “The Navy has taught me a lot of trades that will help me after the military,” said James.

    James is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    “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.”

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon capital assets, James and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

    Serving in the Navy, James is learning about being a more respectable leader, Sailor, and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

    “The Navy has taught me the importance of the commitment to what I’ve done,” said James. “I wanted to get out at four but now I’m at seven because I wanted to see the ‘greater later thing’.” ℜ

    Story by Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach. Photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward

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  • ,,,

    Saluting Our Sailors: Petty Officer 3rd Class Casper Anderson IV

    Modern attack submarines are the most technologically advanced and capable undersea warfighters in the world. Operating these highly complex submarines require sailors from the U.S. Navy’s submarine community, also known as the ‘Silent Service.’

    Petty Officer 3rd Class Casper Anderson IV, a 2013 Baton Rouge Magnet High School graduate and native of Baton Rouge works as a Navy sonar technician serving aboard USS Chicago, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

    Anderson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Baton Rouge.

    “Everyone has their own special talent,” said Anderson. “As a team, it is vital for everyone to bring something different to the table.”

    As a Navy sonar technician, Anderson is responsible for using sound to navigate through the ocean.

    Jobs are highly varied aboard the submarine. Approximately 130 sailors make up the submarine’s crew, doing everything from handling weapons to maintaining nuclear reactors.

    Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

    Because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. Regardless of their specialty, everyone has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Anderson is most proud of earning a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

    “I am a repair parts petty officer for sonar,” said Anderson. “I enjoy finding a problem with the system and fixing it.”

    Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Anderson is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    “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.”

    The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.

    The U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.

    Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Anderson, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Anderson is honored to carry on that family tradition.

    “My father was in the Navy, and has always instilled in me a resilient mentality,” said Anderson. As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Anderson and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

    “The command is very supportive and wants us all to succeed collectively and individually,” said Anderson. “The Navy gives me the opportunity to do something meaningful to protect my country.” ℜ

    Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt, Navy Office of Community Outreach. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Finley

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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

    Read more »
  • ,

    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.

    IMG_20190809_090409

    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

    Read more »
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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.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    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

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    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

    Read more »
  • ,

    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.

    IMG_1176
    “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.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    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 »
  • ,,

    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.

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  • 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

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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 »
  • ,

    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 »
  • ,,,

    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 »
  • ,

    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
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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.

     

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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

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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 »
  • ,,,

    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 »
  • ,,,

    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.

     

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  • 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

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  • ‘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

    ​​

     

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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.”

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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.

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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

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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.

     

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    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

     

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    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.”

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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.

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    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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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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