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    Myra Richardson to receive NAACP’s advocacy award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Community honors historian, activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

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


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

    The community shares their memories and tributes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph from The Drum archives

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph from The Drum archives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sadie Roberts Joseph. Photo by Jason Shi Roberts

    Sadie Roberts Joseph. Photo by Jason Shi Robert

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

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

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

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph

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

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

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

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

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph at mic

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph at mic

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

    By Candace J. Semien
    Jozef Syndicate reporter
    @jozefsyndicate

    READ MORE:

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

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

    Read more »
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    Baton Rouge NAACP leaders challenge parish’s plan of governement

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

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

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

    ONLINE: http://www.naacpbr.org

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

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    ‘I became a FarmHer by default’

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

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

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

    And he had.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Candace J Semien
    Jozef Syndicater reporter
    @jozefsyndicate

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

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    Teens complete Emergency Medical Responder Institute

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Carpenter receives La. Legislature’s 2019 Hudson Cup

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

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  • French professor Jerry L Parker Jr. earns doctorate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Click here to read the governor’s veto letters.

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

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

    Bryan explores historical themes and political issues in her art.

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

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

     

     

     

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  • ,,,,

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

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

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    Produce on the Fresh Cube

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

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

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

    The Transformer

    The Transformer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference returns to BRCC, July 2

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

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    Toya Wright

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    Lance Gross

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

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

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

    Schedule of Events

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

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

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

    3 p.m. to 4 p.m. –

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

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

    ONLINE: bswliteraryconference.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DrumRoll

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ONLINE: Blackoutloudbr.com

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    Ponchatoula wastewater has a fascinating journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By Kathryn J. Martin

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    To Dad, With Love

    Gift ideas for a fantastic Father’s Day

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

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

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

    By Family Features

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Ponchatoula Student Outreach holds victory celebration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    By Kathryn J. Martin
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

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

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

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

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

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

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

    State Rep. Ted James

    State Rep. Ted James

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

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

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,,,

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

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

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

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

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

    FACT SHEET
    WHAT:
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    WHERE:
    LSU Shaver Theatre
    Louisiana State University
    Music and Dramatic Arts Building, #105
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    SCHEDULE:
    Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m.
    TICKET PRICES:
    Regular Admission | $30
    Kids and Students With Valid ID | $25
    Groups of 10 or More | $15 must purchase prior to performance day
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    PG-13 Show (Recommended for Ages 14+)
    Show contains adult content and language. No one under the age of four will be allowed in the theatre and all children ages 4-13 must be accompanied by an adult.
    Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
    Read more »
  • ,,,

    ‘Not Charity Lord, but a Chance’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Condoleeza Semien along with YEA winners and VC

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

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

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

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

    ONLINE: www.belugabliss.com

    READ MORE:

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

    ‘Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers’ encourages overwhelmed dads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,,,,

    Residents urged to prepare for 2019 hurricane season

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

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

    2019 Hurricane Preparedness Tips:

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,,

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

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

     

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

    May 29 is Louisiana Black Chamber Day at the Capitol

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

    Attendees will gain insight on the legislative process and can:

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

    ONLINE: https://brmbcc.org/

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  • ,,

    Teens invited to apply to UREC’s 2019 IGNITE Fellowship

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

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  • ,

    Walker receives Iowa State achievement award

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

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

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

    Take Survey

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  • ,

    State Representative Barbara Norton to hold equal pay rally

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

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

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

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

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  • ,,

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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    PRIDE RESTORED: Jaguars dominant in 15-0 win

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

    Christian Davenport named Baton Rouge’s first Poet Laureate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

    Applications are due May 20.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Baton Rouge children need more Court Appointed Special Advocates

    Each year, a startling number of children enter the foster care system due to abuse and neglect. Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, provide a voice for these children to help them reach safe, permanent homes.

    May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to recognize the role each of us can play in the lives of children and youth living in foster care. CASA volunteers play a crucial role in many of these children’s lives by speaking up for their best interests during this challenging time. Volunteers are appointed by juvenile court judges to help a child reach their forever home.

    In 2018, over 5,000 reports of abuse and neglect were reported in the Baton Rouge region and over 300 children were being served in foster care each month on average, according to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF). Of the CASA children whose cases closed in 2018, 88 percent were living in permanent homes at the time of closure with the help of their CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers work with the court and DCSF to serve every child that needs a voice; however, children are continually coming into foster care, and more volunteers are needed.

    CASA volunteers do not provide legal representation, nor do they replace social workers, but they help provide information to the court, and resources to the children. They are an independent voice speaking solely for the best interests of the child. The CASA volunteer may be the only consistent adult in their lives during this time.

    CASA is now accepting applications for the next training course in East Baton Rouge Parish which begins on June 11. CASA is seeking caring adults – especially male and African American individuals – to become advocates for abused and neglect children in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    The training course prepares volunteers to be the best advocates with a three week, 32-hour curriculum which covers topics such as The Well-Being of the Child; Trauma, Resilience and Communication Skills; Mental Health; Poverty and Professional Communication; and Substance Abuse and Cultural Competence to name a few.

    No special background is required to become a CASA volunteer. The first step is to attend a 45-minute orientation session at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave.

    Upcoming orientation dates:

    12 p.m., Monday, May 13

    10 a.m., Saturday, May 18

    4 p.m., Monday, May 20

    3 p.m., Wednesday, May 22

    5 p.m., Tuesday, May 28

    9 a.m., Thursday, May 30

     

    To learn more about CASA or to RSVP for an orientation visitwww.casabr.org/volunteer or call 225-379-8598.

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    Multiple sclerosis survivor named chief student marshal for spring commencement

    After being diagnosed with a sometimes debilitating illness, Chacity Simmons felt even more determined to continue her education and reach her goals. Because of her tenacity and hard work, Simmons is the chief student marshal for the 2019 Spring Commencement for Southern University Baton Rouge set for Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

    “This is an unbelievable honor,” said Simmons, who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. “As I go through life, I strive to do my best. I remain extremely humble and most grateful for Southern University’s recognition of one of my most important achievements. I extend my sincere gratitude for this honor.”

    Though she has consistently performed well academically, life has placed obstacles in her way that attempted to discourage her from continuing her education. In 2016, a semester before attending Southern, Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). As a result, she became temporarily disabled, unable to walk unless assisted by a cane.

    “After a month of treatment, I fully regained my physical strength and was able to care for myself,” Simmons said. “Throughout the struggle with my health, I felt that I should make the best out of my life and continue my education at Southern University. Despite my medical diagnosis, I chose to persevere no matter the circumstance.”

    It has not been easy to manage life with yet another hurdle. Simmons, who is a single mother and a paralegal at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, knew that she could not give up. Being a role model for her family and friends, including her son, was very important.

    “My son is a constant reminder of how I should fight through the pain and continue my education,” Simmons said. “My son helps keep me on my toes. He’ll remind me to take my medication whenever he notices that I’m swamped with homework. Some days are better than others, but overall I’ve adjusted to my life well.”

    Because of her challenging lifestyle, she chose the online criminal justice program because of the convenience of the self-paced learning environment. She mentioned that it was easy and accessible to browse course materials and respond to discussion posts through the app on her phone.

    As Simmons prepares to turn the tassel, she prepares for the next chapter in her life. Her future plans include attending law school at the Southern University Law Center and becoming an attorney.

    “In my current position, I have the ability to observe and assist attorneys and it definitely encourages me to pursue a career in law,” said Simmons, who is prepping to take the LSAT. “It’s quite an honor to learn from some the Southern University’s Law School alumni.”

    Before she departs the Bluff, she wants to pass along one piece of advice to students who are balancing a challenging diagnosis and wanting to pursue a college experience: Do not be discouraged.

    “Throughout life, we may experience situations that are unwanted or unexpected, but with hard work and determination, you shall overcome,” she said. “Remain focused on your goal no matter the circumstance. Adjusting to a new diagnosis may be difficult, but the ultimate reward for endurance is satisfying.”

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Special to The Drum

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    Private, online therapy could be best choice when help is needed

    From her virtual private practice in Baton Rouge, Shameka Mitchell Williams helps people who are overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. Her focus is singular: help them recover from pernicious experiences and toxic relationships. “I hold space for people who are hurt and confused to talk about what that relationship or marriage is really like without any judgment about how they should feel,” she says.

    A graduate of Louisiana State University and Washington University in St. Louis, Williams is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Louisiana and Texas. She says she believes in the importance of helping her clients understand how their thinking shapes their experience and also how they are influenced by societal systems.

    Williams, who is the owner of The Chrysalis Center, LLC, is one of 300 licensed therapists in Louisiana who offers online video counseling according to the Psychology Today database. This Pensiri: A Talk with Shameka Mitchell Williams explores online video therapy, who can benefit from it, and why.

    As a therapist with more than a decade of experience in community-based programs, schools, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities, you’ve seen mental health professionals expand their services from in-person counseling to teletherapy and now to  online video therapy. How should we be defining therapy and who can practice or treat people with therapeutic needs?
    SW: Therapy is a specialized, systematic, formal interaction between a mental health professional and a client (an individual, couple, family, or group) during which a therapeutic relationship is established to help resolve symptoms of mental disorder, psychosocial stress, relationship problems, and/or difficulties coping in the social environment. It is also to help the client achieve specified goals for well-being. The term “therapy” is used interchangeably with counseling. While many therapists provide both therapy and counseling, not every counselor is qualified to provide therapy. The term “counselor” is often applied to highly trained mental health, education, or legal professionals, but it is also used for volunteers with minimal training and for paid workers who provide guidance and structure in group settings (as in camp and dorm hall counselors).

    Shameka Williams

    Shameka Williams

    Is virtual or online therapy a growing service among practitioners? When did it begin?
    SW: Online therapy is definitely a growing service. It may have first begun taking shape as early as the 1960s, and it began growing as most people know it today in the early 2000s. Earlier names for it included teletherapy and telemental health care since clinicians started offering sessions by telephone before beginning to utilize email, chats, and video. Today, many clinicians offer a mix of in-person and online services, and some offer online services exclusively. There even exists an International Society for Mental Health Online, which formed in 1997.

    How can we tell if we need or could benefit from therapy? (in general)
    SW: If you are experiencing distressing changes in your normal mood or functioning that are present more days than not for a period of at least two weeks, you may want to consider consulting with a professional. It can be good to start with talking to a medical professional to rule out any physiological reasons for the changes.

    Should there be some type of diagnosis or referral to seek therapy?
    SW: You don’t need to have a diagnosed mental disorder to benefit from therapy. If you are simply feeling overwhelmed with what life is throwing at you, and your usual coping mechanisms are not working, you may benefit from having a therapist to help you identify and remove obstacles that are blocking the progress you’d like to make. An obstacle could be as simple as a negative thinking pattern that you do not recognize on your own.

    What are signs that a person may need therapy?
    SW: You could benefit from therapy if you find yourself.

      • Eating more or less than usual
      • Sleeping more or less than usual
      • Having unusual difficulty concentrating or focusing
      • Experiencing intrusive thoughts that are distressing
      • Worrying or feeling nervous more than usual
      • Withdrawing or isolating yourself from family and friends

    Are there any specific conditions or needs that someone would have that would make them a good candidate for online therapy over in-house therapy?
    SW: People who suffer from mental health disorders that make going out in public difficult, such as agoraphobia

      • People with limited physical mobility and those who do not drive or who have limited access to transportation
      • People who live far away from their nearest mental health professionals
      • Stay-at-home mothers with young children who would rather not arrange childcare and other caregivers who cannot be away for long periods of time
      • People who need/want a provider who is credentialed in a specialty, such as an intensive trauma-focused treatment, energy psychology, or perinatal/postpartum mental health
      • People who would not seek in-person treatment due to fear of being recognized at/near a therapist’s office
      • What are the pros of online therapy?
        SW: Convenience, Efficacy, and Privacy. Research has found online therapy to be just as effective as traditional in-person therapy for many issues including depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

        What are the cons?
        SW: Online therapy is not appropriate for clients who are a danger to themselves or others (i.e., suicidal or homicidal) or for those whose mental health is seriously impaired as with psychosis, delusions, or uncontrolled mania. Some elements of nonverbal communication will be missed when the ​client and therapist can only see each other from the​ ​ cropped view of a screen. Confidentiality could become an issue if the therapist is not using HIPAA-secure software, sites, or apps or if clients are not careful with securing their own electronic devices. Some insurance companies do not cover online therapy.

        Williams admonishes anyone considering online video therapy to do additional research to make sure their potential therapist is qualified and licensed to provide the service they are seeking.

        By Candace J. Semien
        Jozef Syndicate reporter
        @jozefsyndicate

        ONLINE: https://thechrysalisctr.com
        PsychologyToday.com
        BetterHelp.com
        talkspace.com
        breakthrough.com

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    Environmental racism grows as environmental groups turn increasingly white

    Clean drinking water. Lead paint abatement programs. Affordable energy bills. These are the day-to-day environmental justice issues that are vital to the health and financial well-being of communities – especially low-income families.

    But as environmental battles rage across the country, thousands of African-American children and adults are paying a heavy price with their health as elite environmental organizations are overwhelmingly managed by white leaders who appear to ignore key issues that disproportionately impact low-income communities, where African Americans and other people of color reside. As the diminishing African American voices for environmental justice becomes more prevalent, attention appears to be turning away from environmental hazards disparately plaguing urban areas dominated by Black people across the country such as the following:

    • Cockroach allergens are detected in 85 percent of inner-city homes across the U. S. and 60 to 80 percent “of inner-city children with asthma are sensitized to cockroach based on the skin prick testing,” according to the U.S. Institute of Health.

    • Approximately 11.2 percent of African-American children who live in urban areas are at risk for lead poisoning caused by lead-based paint, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • A Center for American Progress report found that water contamination disparately “plagues low-income areas and communities of color across the nation” and that studies have “documented limited access to clean water in low-income communities of color.”

    These atrocities are being shoved aside by misaligned priorities. Instead of making a meaningful impact to health and pocketbooks, some environmental organizations focus on apparent vanity projects that garner media attention and money from well-heeled donors.

    Among the best examples is an issue playing out in Minnesota, where national environmental groups – including Greenpeace, 350.org and the Natural Resources Defense Council – are waging a major battle described as “resistance against the oil pipelines.” They also are running major fundraising campaigns off of pipeline protests – even though the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration notes that pipelines are “one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products.”

    Meanwhile, these organizations are all but ignoring the real issues facing Minnesotans. A report indicated that the state’s urban areas have unsuitable and outdated infrastructure, allowing storm water drainage to become a crisis. Yet another report found that the Twin Cities air pollution kills nearly 2,000 people a year taking its greatest toll on those in poverty, who also disproportionately shoulder the burdens of asthma, unclean drinking water, and lead poisoning.

    While the environmental groups are shoving environmental health issues aside, they also are promoting an agenda that will drive energy bills even higher for Minnesotans who are already spending far too much of their hard-earned money on energy costs. Families in Clearwater County spend 45.9 percent of their income on energy bills, while Roseau County families spend 44.5 percent – and virtually every county across the state sees energy bills eating away at more than 30 percent of income.

    The story is the same across the country, as Alabama families spend nearly 50 percent of their income on energy and Michigan families spend 30 percent and above.

    Some believe that these skewed priorities may be happening in part because of the lack of diversity in the environmental movement. A study by Green 2.0 recently found that the movement is only “getting more white,” as it continues to leave out people of color.

    The report indicated that nearly 70 percent of the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) staff was White. It also concluded that “the top 40 environmental foundations have gotten more White across full time staff, senior staff, and board members.”

    Green 2.0 is pressing to deal with the racial inclusion issue in order to infuse greater sensitivity into the environmental justice movement. Whitney Tome, executive director of Green 2.0, said in a statement, “Communities of color bring to bear experience and perspective on both problems and pathways to power building. As an organization, we plan to take a more aggressive approach to calling out the environmental movement for their lack of diversity.”

    She continued, “For the past five years, we’ve been working to ensure that the environmental movement and its leaders reflect the current U.S. workforce demographics.”

    These racial and economic disparities are happening around the country. For example, Louisiana ranks second-worst among U.S. states when examining a wide range of environmental indicators, including water and air quality, energy use and recycling, according to a recent analysis.

    While some environmental groups in the area have used their presence to fight issues that impact everyone, such as air quality or safe drinking water, other organizations, with the backing of Greenpeace, are instead focusing on anti-pipeline and anti-energy activism in the state.

    The singular focus on one environmental issue while appearing to ignore others implies the presence of environmental racism, a long-used description of the practice of allowing toxics to exist in communities of color.

    Meanwhile African-American led organizations are pushing environmental justice agendas, underscoring the importance of such issues in communities of color.

    “Clean water is a basic human right,” National Medical Association President Niva Lubin-Johnson, wrote in a commentary posted on Seattlemedium.com last fall. “At the National Medical Association (NMA), we see firsthand how this crisis in clean water creates a variety of healthcare problems for Black patients and their families.”

    Instead of seeking ways to make energy more elusive and expensive for communities of color, activist groups could use their initiative to aid in the abating of these most fundamental challenges that continue to push headwinds against many Black families and other families of color.

    “This is just the beginning,” says Tome of Green 2.0. “Environmental groups are now on notice.”

    By Hazel Trice Edney 
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,

    ‘I couldn’t protect her’

    A parent never thinks they would one day have to rescue their young daughter from a sex trafficker, but that’s exactly what Juanita Carruth, her husband, and cousins had to do.

    After searching several days for their daughter who was a habitual runaway, Carruth said they received a call from person who had “sold” her daughter to a local pimp and demanded more than $10,000 for the teen to be returned.

    “At that point I knew they were trafficking my daughter,” said Carruth who later found out that the caller was a well-known sex worker in New Orleans. For days the parents were taunted on social media and through text messages, until her father was able to retrieve her.

    “Even with a loving, two-parent home (and) even though we lived in the suburbs of New Orleans, my daughter became a victim. It made me felt like a failure that I could not protect her,” Carruth admitted.

    Today, Carruth shares her family’s story to help law enforcement officials and parents do a better job protecting children who can be preyed on and pulled into sex slavery.

    According to the national Human Trafficking Hotline, 71 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Louisiana since January. Although that number has the state ranking 22nd in the national, Louisiana received an A grade in enforcing human trafficking from Shared Hope International in 2018. (Read More juvenile human trafficking victims identified in Louisiana)

    With changes to policy, officials with the Governor’s Office said combating human trafficking is a more coordinated national, state, and local effort.

    Dana Hunter, Ph.D. Executive Director, Children’s Cabinet

    Dana Hunter, Ph.D. Executive Director, Children’s Cabinet

    “We are starting to win,” said Dana Hunter, Ph.D, executive director of the Children’s Cabinet. “We are becoming more aware and more educated. Our law enforcement, hospitals, parents, everyone. We are being vigilant.”

    For several weeks, The Drum staff has collected social media posts that alerted followers of suspicious activities.

    One post shared photos of a white van and truck that circled the neighborhood near children’s bus stops after changing license plates. Another shared links and photos believed to belong to recruiters and people who would track the whereabouts of potential victims.

    Family and friends of Nahendra Faye Davis, 35, of Baker, La., have shared photos, QR codes, and posted billboards in Baton Rouge to help find the missing mother of two.

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    Hunter said posts like these are helpful and should be shared with law enforcement. “We can not under-estimate the power of educating our families that these predators and situations are out there.”

    Families often have the fear that their missing loved ones will be ignored especially if the missing person is a runaway. But, with the knowledge that traffickers go after runaways, people who are homeless, and those showing low self-esteem or lack of love, law enforcement and social service providers are being trained to recognize the connection between trafficking and reports of missing persons and runaways.

    img_20190225_182258-e1554666427204img_20190227_181339-e1554666557327

    Last month, the FBI released the age progression photo of Keiosha Marie Felix who went missing, April 20, 2012 at the age of 15. At the time, she was identified as a runaway later reclassified as an endangered missing person. Finding Felix is a joint investigation by the FBI, New Orleans Division, Lafayette Resident Agency, the Louisiana State Police, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department and the Duson Police Department. She is believed to be in the Baton Rouge area and her photo has appeared on coupon mailers in the city.

    Law enforcement are not treating these cases as just kidnappings or runaways. The change in federal law indicates that if sex is involved, it is human trafficking, Hunter said.

    Trafficking a minor under 21 years of age is prohibited without regard to whether force, fraud, or coercion was used to cause the minor to engage in commercial sex acts.

    “We are becoming more aware and educating everyone on human trafficking and putting resources into protecting and recovering victims,” she said.

    Her office recently secured a $1.2 million grant to combat human trafficking statewide. Louisiana is the seventh state to be granted the award.

    “We have leadership at the highest level (in Governor Edwards and State Senator Ronnie Johns) who makes this a priority. This is an issue Louisiana has been very progressive on,” said Hunter.

    The state is one of only 16 states that require human trafficking training that includes child trafficking. The grant will fund multi-agency training and will allow the state to staff an expert coordinator in each region for providers to centralize responses to these crimes.

    Sex traffickers can get up to 20 years in jail and be charged with federally and locally with crimes ranging from kidnapping to racketeering.images

    As of press time, 5,147 cases were reported to the national Human Trafficking Hotline so far this year. Last year, 8,759 human trafficking cases were reported. The goal is for cases to lead to arrests and convictions. “It is very difficult to convict predators. Oftentimes victims recant and witnesses won’t take a stand. Last year, there was only one conviction,” she said.

    As for Carruth, she said it is time for the community to take care of one another. “There is a trending behavior of people–especially kids–looking for a certain type of love to fit in that they are being so easily manipulated. In schools, the babies are recruiting babies. It’s an epidemic where girls are going missing every week. We all see it. Some of these girls and women are being tattooed and branded. It needs to be us taking care of us.”

    By Candace J. Semien
    Jozef Syndicate reporter
    @JozefSyndicate

    Feature photo is by Michael Mims on Unsplash

    Read more »
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    Hammond Community STEM Cafe is Saturday, April 27

    A perfect Saturday morning activity for parents looking for something enriching for the whole family. K-12 students of all ages and parents can feed their minds about the amazing world of science, technology, engineering, and math.

    High school students converse with STEM Professionals from a variety of occupations and fields about college and careers experiences.

    Middle School students will explore STEM careers with hands-on activities from STEM Experts.
    Elementary Students discover how fun STEM is with local robotics teams, live animals, and more!
    Parents will be engaged with information about how to help prepare your child for college and career opportunities in STEM.

    Space is limited for this event to ensure a quality experience for all participants. By registering for this event, you are ensuring a spot is reserved especially for your child(ren).

    For more information, call 985-520-4194 or email us at tangistem@gmail.com. Check out our website for more STEM at www.tangistem.org

    Read more »
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    Public invited to second Baton Rouge Zoo & Greenwood open house public meeting

    Round #2 of the Greenwood Community Park and Baton Rouge Zoo Master Planning Meetings.

    We heard you! Join us to see how our nationally renowned consultants took your ideas and created preliminary master plans for the Baton Rouge Zoo and Greenwood Community Park. You will choose which ideas you like best for the next phase of the park and learn how your Zoo will be completely transformed one phase at a time.

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    6 – 8 pm
    Highland Road Community Park
    Recreation Center
    N. Amiss Rd., Baton Rouge, LA
    (From Highland Rd., turn north onto Amiss Rd., then east onto N. Amiss Rd. Destination will be on the right.)

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Mid City Micro-Con! returns to Baton Rouge

    Do you love comics? Cosplay? Creators? Of course you do!

    Come to the Main Library on Goodwood Saturday, April 27 for Mid City Micro-Con: Building Worlds, Breaking Molds. We’re celebrating the diversity found in comics, their fans, and their creators. This year’s featured guest is Ashley A. Woods, whose work includes Niobe (now in development with HBO!); Tomb Raider: Survivors Crusade; and Lady Castle.

    Ashley A. Woods

    Ashley A. Woods

     

    The Mid City Micro-Con features creators from all across Baton Rouge and Louisiana area, such as cosplayer Ninja YoYo, cartoonist Keith “Cartoonman” Douglas, podcasters Blerdish, and so many more, all in the arts and comics market in the large meeting room. (Thanks to LSU’s School of Library and Information Sciences for sponsoring our market!)

    There will be workshops and panels on everything from how to design, storyboard, and draw diverse characters in comics; to “The Influence of Ink: How Comics Can Change the World” with moderator Rodneyna Hart and speakers Ashley A. Woods, Jason Reeves, Keith Chow, and Chip Reece; to a whole room dedicated entirely to cosplay, with events running all day. You can find a complete list of artists and events on this infoguide.

    Speaking of cosplay, the East Baton Rouge Parish library is having a contest! Come as your favorite character – maybe it’s Sherlock Holmes, from our One Book, One Community read, The Hound of the Baskervilles! Maybe it’s Captain Marvel, or Black Panther, or Storm! Find out how to participate. All are welcome!

    With a green screen photobooth, more talks and activities than you could ever dream of, and absolutely TONS of prizes, there’s somethng for every single human in Baton Rouge.

    by Erica Villani

    Read more »
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    They Beat the Odds

    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem to be fair.

    We start off as little children with big dreams of what we’re going to be when we grow up, all the things we’re going to own and all the places we’re going to go.

    At the time, a lot of our dreams are unreasonable but we’re too young to know it so just keep dreaming.

    Then we grow up more and somewhere along the line we realize our limitations and our dreams become more realistic.

    But then, especially if we’re aiming to be good people and do good things for others, hindrances and lessons from the school of hard knocks come along. We get the props knocked out from under us.

    Sometimes it’s circumstances beyond our control and sometimes it’s we ourselves getting in the way. Maybe bad decisions and wrong choices cause us to give up hope, give up trying.

    Recently I interviewed Ponchatoula’s successful businessman Larry Terry and was surprised to hear how young he was when he figured out what it would take to realize his dream.

    Usually when I ask high school students in sports what their plans are, I’m given a simple answer: “I’m going to play for the NFL.” Studying only enough to stay on the high school football team and I feel like crying. They don’t have a chance.

    But listen to the difference at what Larry Terry told me:

    “I knew as a little boy I wanted to play for the NBA and to accomplish that, there were certain things I had to do. So I set my goals.”

    (I couldn’t help but think at the age he was describing, I didn’t even know there wasan NBA!)

    He continued, “I knew I’d have to study and make good grades, stay out of trouble, and live with a basketball in my hands.”

    And that’s just what he did, making the honor roll all through school and college, breaking records in sports because he practiced any time he wasn’t studying, staying out of trouble by placing himself out of its reach.

    At the age of only 21 when he graduated from college, he was sought by the NBA and began his long-dreamed of career in professional basketball, first for big name teams in the United States then for another ten years on national teams of other countries around the world until he retired.

    . Terry is a  real success story.

    But what about others who’ve come along at different times, faced with different family situations, physical and emotional difficulties, racial prejudices, learning disabilities? Times when hindrances were more common than help.

    Well, the Ponchatoula Library, 380 North Fifth Street, is inviting you to come hear four panel members share their stories of how they overcame their seemingly impossible situations to finally realize their dreams.

    So, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at 6:00 p.m., come take new heart and new encouragement and bring along your young people who feel like giving up.

    From 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., come listen to Eddie Ponds, Ella Badon, Sandra Bailey-Simmons and Kathryn Martin and learn how “They Beat the Odds!”

    By Kathryn Martin
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
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    COMMENTARY: Call it what it is: racism

    Talking about and understanding issues related race is tough for some people and some organizations. News organizations, like the Associated Press, recently changed the way it will address race, which has the potential to impact news outlets across the country. How do explain ongoing racial problems? What do we call the system that serves as the engine for the race-based train that has passed through every American epoch, including contemporary times?

    Call it what it is:  racism.

    Much has been written in scholarly works and in the popular press about how racial disparities in America have over the past several decades been increasingly explained in non-racial terms. Colorblind racism, new racism, and the New Jim Crow are all terms that seek to describe how the dominant racial group in America, en mass, changed expressions of anti-Black sentiments from overt to covert expressions due to social and political changes. However, recent events involving the targeting of symbols associated with the Jim Crow era point to the enduring power of racism.

    What is striking about the attacks on these symbols of an era gone by is that many of the perpetrators of these cowardly acts were not even alive during the Jim Crow era and undoubtedly never learned about it, especially from the perspective of Black people.

    How do we explain this white rage? Understanding racism for what it is and what it is not is an important step forward. Racism is a multilevel, multidimensional system of oppression whereby the dominant group scapegoats racial minority groups.

    When we understand racism for what it really is then we can see how, why, and in what ways misery is heaped upon Black people and other people of color. We see the manifestations of misery not only in the embers of 150-year-old churches in rural Louisiana, or on a legendary civil rights training ground, or in the glare of tiki torches, but also in persistent racial differences in wealth and access to a quality education.

    We can see clearly how race continues to matter in outcomes associated with interactions with the criminal justice system, including who lives and who dies, and which lives truly matter to whom, how—if at all.

    We can better understand why investments are disproportionately made in some areas, while others remain chronically underdeveloped. We can more easily comprehend why access to an emergency room and other health care routes is hard and adequate transportation systems and housing remains elusive.

    Let’s be clear. Racism is dangerous. Racism has been aptly described by many, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a cancer. Anyone who has the unfortunate experience of watching a loved one suffer through any type of cancer knows how the disease can take over, attacking the basic building blocks of the body.

    Racism in America is at once a fundamental and foundational building block of society and one of the greatest threats to itself. Much like many auto-immune diseases, it attacks itself.

    It is important that we understand racism for what it truly is. While functioning much like a disease, racism is not about biology.

    We must understand the myriad ways racism manifests in the lives of individuals, communities, groups, and in the nation as a whole.

    The nation can not afford to lull itself into a false sense of security with claims that the nation is not where it should be on matters about race, but the nation is not where it used to be. There is an abundance of evidence to the contrary.

    Let us agree not to disagree on this one. Racism is what it is. There’s no new racism. There’s no new Jim Crow.  There is just racism and the evidence of it is all around us.

    We should express the same degree of indignation at public policies and private practices that consistently place black people at a disadvantage in virtually every area of life as when historic symbols are attacked.

    Dismantling America’s racialized social system is no easy task but generations of Black people have slowly chipped away at it. We owe it to them, to ourselves, and to future generations to make our own marks however insurmountable the task may seem and irrespective of how bleak our pace of progress might seem.

    Lori Martin

    Lori Martin

     

    Lori Latrice Martin, PhD
    Professor, Department of Sociology and African & African American Studies Program
    Louisiana State University
    Feature photo from Black Metal Music.
    Read more »
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    Charting a path for Black male progress: local, national leaders convene in Baton Rouge 

    The Urban Congress on African American Males, a strategic initiative of Baton Rouge nonprofit, MetroMorphosis, hosted its fourth annual General Convening, on Saturday April 13 at the McKinley Alumni Center in Baton Rouge. The theme of the convening, “The Village Renewed,” was attributed to the continued pursuit of partnership and collaboration in the work of transforming social systems that negatively impact African American males in Baton Rouge. The Convening featured speeches from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

    During a 40-minute keynote to the 100+ attendees, Benjamin Evans, co-founder and National Fellowship Director of BMe Community, said, “To define a person by their challenges is the definition of stigmatizing.” He also stressed the importance of urban communities taking ownership of telling the positive stories often missed in mainstream outlets. “You have to influence the storytelling. If you can’t influence the storyteller, create the storyteller,” he said. BMe Community is a national movement of people of all races and genders dedicated to building more caring and prosperous communities together.

    The centralizing moment of the Convening occurred when delegates of the Urban Congress took part in “Charting The Movement”. For more than an hour delegates brainstormed, visioned and scripted plans for the future of the work. They were tasked with creating hypothetical future news headlines that would tell the story of their work accomplished two years from the present.

    The annual convening also featured a panel discussion from the moderators of the Urban Congress’ “Barbershop Talk” series, a celebration of the year’s work and a special award presentation to Jasiri Basel, founder of The CEO Mind Foundation, who was honored as the 2019 Urban Congress PaceSetter Award Recipient.

    Jasiri jribasel is recognized as the PaceSetter by the Urban Congress on African American Males

    Jasiri Basel is recognized as the PaceSetter by the Urban Congress on African American Males

    The Convening was a continuation of the Urban Congress’ monthly work group meetings held at the McKinley Alumni Center where dedicated community members gather in self-selected working groups to generate strategies designed to enhance the quality of life for African-American men and boys in Baton Rouge. Work groups vary from public policy to workforce engagement to educational outcomes to financial literacy/entrepreneurship, and are centered around specific goals to aid the Urban Congress’ mission of establishing long term, systemic progress towards enriching the state of African-American males in Baton Rouge.

    ONLINE: www.theurbancongress.com.

    Feature photo is of Benjamin Evans, Co-Founder and National Director at BMe Community, served as the keynote speaker for the 2019 Urban Congress on African American Males General Convening. Photo by Perry Productions

    Read more »
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    OneUnited Bank to award $1,000 to middle schoolers with national contest

    Ten Middle School Age Children Are Eligible to Win $1,000!

    For National Financial Literacy Month, OneUnited Bank, the nation’s largest black-owned bank, is proud to announce its 9th Annual “I Got Bank!” Financial Literacy Contest where ten children will win a $1,000 savings account.

    The contest represents the best essays and art projects that embody the “I Got Bank!” theme.

    Students from across the country between the ages of 8 and 12 are encouraged to read a financial literacy book of their choosing, and either write a 250-word essay or create an art project to show how they would apply what they learned from the book to their daily lives.

    “We’ve seen our financial literacy efforts increase awareness through the #BankBlack and #BuyBlack movement,” said OneUnited Bank President Teri Williams, who authored the book, “I Got Bank!”, when she found that there weren’t any books geared toward educating urban youth about finances.

    Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by June 29, 2019. The Bank will choose ten winners and award each winner a $1,000 savings account at OneUnited Bank by August 31, 2019.

    This article originally appeared in LA Focus.

     

    Read more »
  • Youth Literacy Engagement sessions lead to June IWE Festival

    Councilwoman Erika L. Green is hosting the annual IWE Festival scheduled June 8, at Southern University A&M College.  It is an urban culture festival that boosts a vibrant array of creativity, art, and culture through literacy. The festival has primarily focused on promoting literacy to an intergenerational audience for the past two years. As with most festivals, there was live music, a children’s zone, a vendors’ corner, and a small food area.  We will also have some phenomenal speakers for this event.

    Print

    There are smaller Youth Literacy Engagement sessions leading up to the culminating festival. The purpose of these events is to attract families, caregivers, retired teachers, and youth to be involved in this initiative and gain useful literacy information. Each session is held at churches and schools in the community, and will create a working space to encourage literacy, including youth literacy activities, parent focus groups, literary competition, free book distribution, and speakers.

    The upcoming sessions are:

    April 13 10:00AM at United Christian Fellowship:
    Nequoia Elsey, Mentorship Academy, Cradle to K “Parenting Pillars” presenter:

    Amanda Taylor, The Envision Company

    Lionel O’Conner, Cool Kids Products

    Juanita Johnson, The Story of Us, storyteller

    Jasmine Walker, The Lady in Yellow, sign language storyteller

     

    May 20  6:00PM at Forest Heights Academy of Excellence:YLE May 20

    Cradle to K “Parenting Pillars” presenter: PENDING

    Jada Lewis, BESE

    Clarissa Thierry, Student Services Coordinator for Iberville Charter Academy specializing in Special Education

    Rachel Sadberry, I Am Enough

     

    May 30 6:00pm @ BRCC (Baton Rouge Community College)

    Cradle to K “Parenting Pillars” presenter: PENDING

    Dr. Leigh Griffin, Early Childhood Network Project Manager

    Dr. Larry Lewis, Footsteps to Brilliance

    Kristen Wells, Unapologetic Inc.

     

    To volunteer, visit YLE Sessions/IWE Festival Volunteer Registration

    Read more »
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    Youth Summer Employment program kicks off April 13 in Baton Rouge

    Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Broome will kick off the 2019 Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience on Saturday, April 13 at 9 am. This new initiative evolved from the original Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

    Students may choose to attend the 9 am or 11 am session. Attendees will have the opportunity to pre-screen for worksites and get detailed information about employment opportunities from partners such as Excel, BREC, Raising Canes, and more.

    Broome has called together a collaborative of youth-serving agencies, led by Big Buddy and Employ BR, to serve a minimum of 500 local youth. The program serves both in-school and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24 who reside in East Baton Rouge Parish. Teens and young adults are placed in various public sector, private sector, or non-profit jobs throughout the parish for eight consecutive weeks during the summer.

    The Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience will offer participants a valuable educational and employment experience, exposing them to potential educational or career paths.

    Applications will open to the public on Monday, April 15 at www.brla.gov/mayorsyouthworkforce. Applicants will receive a notification of acceptance during the first week of May.

    Read more »
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    AKA’s regional conference focuses on global leadership, brings Kamala Harris to New Orleans April 19

    More than 5,000 women will converge in New Orleans April 18 – 21, for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s 87TH South Central Regional Conference.

    Katina.11-2

    Katina Semien

    Dr_Glenda_Glover_01_186_courtesy_TN_State_University_web_t670

    Glenda Glover, Ph.D.

    Under the leadership of International President, Glenda Glover, Ph.D., and South Central Regional Director, Katina M. Semien, members will engage in four days of leadership training and seminars highlighting the sorority’s International program theme, “Exemplifying Excellence Though Sustainable Service®”. In linewith the sorority’s Global Impact target, attendees will collaborate with Lions Club International and Soles4Souls to donate gently worn eye glasses and shoes to be distributed to recipients around the world.

    During the conference, Senator Kamala Harris – also an Alpha Kappa Alpha member – will deliver the keynote address at the public luncheon on Friday, April 19, 2019.

    The purpose of this year’s public luncheon is to increase awareness of child trafficking. During the event, the sorority will honor the agencies that are working to combat this global crisis.

    The South Central Region is the 2nd largest region in the sorority with more than 7,000 members, and is comprised of members from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico. The conference is expected to attract a record number of members in addition to their families and guests, where attendees will assemble at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Members will be taking in all that the Crescent City of New Orleans has to offer and lodging in numerous hotels in the downtown area. These members will generate thousands and thousands of dollars for the New Orleans area businesses over the four-day conference and the sorority plans to leave a substantial mark on the city.

    Alpha is America’s oldest service organization founded by college-trained African-American women.

    Read more »
  • Youth to meet the 8-year-old chess champion

    Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson, noted mentor and anti-violence and peace activist, is inviting the community to celebrate “Good Deeds Day” on Thursday, April 11, from 6pm to 8:30pm, at the Stone Ridge Events Center, 1750 Stone Ridge Drive, Stone Mountain. Also invited is Tanitoluwa Adewumi, the 8-year old refugee from Nigeria who just recently won the New York state chess championship.

    “There will be free food, free parking and I will be giving specific strategies to help students clearly understand there are consequences for every move they make in life,” said Hudson.

    Hudson, recognized around the nation for his mentoring work in the community through his nonprofit, Be Someone, will use a giant chessboard to teach strategies on problem solving and success.

    The chess champion, who was once an at-risk youngster following a path of personal hardship and heartache, says his training is “designed to provide constructive tools for life.”

    “The game of chess changed my life,” said Hudson. “I use it to change the lives of young people.”

    Hudson was dubbed the “Pied Piper of Positivity” by CNN for coaching his students to a statewide chess championship and three citywide chess championships. His program has served 65,000 students since 2000. The former Air Force veteran and law enforcement officer has been awarded the George H.W. Bush Points Of Lights Award and the prestigious FBI Director’s Community Leader Award.

    ONLINE:  www.BeSomeone.org.

    Be Someone, Inc aims to stop the acceleration of crime and violence and to reduce the school to prison pipeline.

    Read more »
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    Urban Congress seeks to create better outcomes for Black males through annual convening, April 13

    The Urban Congress on African American Males – a strategic initiative of Baton Rouge nonprofit organization, MetroMorphosis, will host its fourth annual General Convening, Saturday April 13 at the McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, Baton Rouge. The theme of the convening, “The Village Renewed,” is attributed to the continued pursuit of partnership and collaboration in the work of transforming social systems that negatively impact African-American males in Baton Rouge.

    “The key to [the convening] remains the people in the room who are committed to creating a different narrative and experience for the Black males around us,” said Raymond Jetson,  chief executive catalyst at MetroMorphosis. “This day is about the village coming together and renewing itself. It is a time to strengthen existing partnerships and build new ones. It’s an opportunity to recognize people and organizations who are making a real difference.”

    For more information on the Urban Congress on African American Males and the General Convening, visit www.theurbancongress.com.

    WHEN:
    Saturday, April 13
    8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    WHERE:
    McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, Baton Rouge.

    WHO:
    Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards,

    East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome 
    Benjamin Evans, Co-Founder and National Fellowship Director of BMe Community – a national movement of people of all races and genders dedicated to building more caring and prosperous communities together.

     

    Read more »
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    Jinx Broussard wins national teacher of the year award

    LSU Manship School of Mass Communication’s Jinx Coleman Broussard, Ph.D. is the recipient of the 2018 Scripps Howard Foundation’s Teacher of the Year Award. The national competition recognizes excellence in teaching in several areas, including innovative teaching practices, influence on curriculum, mentoring of students and faculty scholarship as it relates to teaching, leadership in educational activities and on-going industry engagement inside and outside the classroom.

    Broussard is the Manship School’s Bart R. Swanson Endowed Memorial Professor and has been teaching public relations, strategic communications, media history, and mass media theory at the Manship School since she joined the School full time in 2006.

    Dubbed a pioneer in the classroom by her peers, Broussard is a strong supporter of community organizations through her service-learning curriculum. Her public relations campaigns students have successfully navigated regular course work while forming companies and selecting appropriate agency names and logos before conceiving of and implementing campaigns for dozens of local nonprofit organizations. For the past seven years, Broussard has partnered with Donate Life Louisiana to provide experiential learning opportunities to her students. Each year Broussard’s students develop strategic communication and public relations campaigns aimed at promoting organ, tissue and eye donation. Her work alongside students has led to increased donation awareness nationally for the Louisiana donor registry. Additionally, public relations campaigns produced by Broussard’s students for Donate Life Louisiana have won three national awards since 2014 – two first place awards and one second place award.

    Broussard has been honored with numerous awards, including The Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership (CCELL)’s 2018-2019 Service Learning Happy Award, the Public Relations Association of Louisiana’s (PRAL) First Circle Award for lifetime achievement in the field, the Clarence L. Barney African American Cultural Center Distinction in Diversity Award, the Baton Rouge Area of Black Journalists (BRAABJ) Pioneering Black Journalist Award, and the Legends Award from the LSU A. P. Tureaud Jr. Black Alumni Chapter, among others.

    “Jinx brings unmatched experience and enthusiasm to the classroom, and the Teacher of the Year Award highlights her fierce dedication to student learning and to seeing her students succeed. We are so proud of Jinx—but not surprised at all—that she won this prestigious award.” Martin Johnson, dean of the Manship School, said. “Over the years, Jinx has mentored countless students who have gone on to oversee communications for top national brands and non-profits. Many of the doctoral students she has mentored have gone on to professorships and have themselves shaped the lives of students as well.”

    Broussard’s research interests include the black press, representations of racial and ethnic minorities, media history, alternative media, crisis communication, public relations strategies and tactics, and the civil rights movement. These interests date back to her Ph.D. dissertation, “Lifting the Veil on Obscurity: Four Pioneering Black Women Journalists: 1890-1950” and subsequent books on these women. Broussard is also author of the national award-winning book titled African American Foreign Correspondents: A History. She also is co-author of a book about crisis communication that is scheduled to come out in May.

    As a public relations professional, Broussard was the director of university relations at Dillard University before becoming director of public information for the city of New Orleans and press secretary to Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy in New Orleans for almost eight years.

    When notified of her selection, Broussard said her teaching involves drawing out of students the talents they do not know they possess, while guiding them to reach deep inside themselves to accomplish goals they thought were too advanced at the beginning of the semester but mastering them by the end of the semester.

    “I achieve this with my students by setting the highest expectations, by never handing them an answer, by challenging them and their solutions in ways the real world would, and by demonstrating by example that excellence involves being accountable and available, never cutting corners, and above all, that integrity is paramount to success not only in their academic and professional careers, but in their lives,” Broussard said.

    Broussard’s Teacher of the Year award will be presented at the beginning of the keynote session during the 2019 AEJMC Toronto Conference. The Scripps Howard School of Journalism will also hold a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 18.

    Read more »
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    More juvenile human trafficking victims identified in Louisiana

    The number of reported juvenile trafficking victims rose by 20 percent in 2018, while the number of adult victims decreased by 17 percent, according to data submitted to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for its 2019 report on human trafficking.

    The annual report, now in its fifth year, compiles data from human trafficking service providers throughout the state for reporting to the Legislature under Act 564 of 2014. Of the 58 service providers identified by DCFS, 35 agencies (60%) provided information for the 2019 report – the highest response rate for any year to-date. Twenty-four agencies provided data for last year’s report.

    While the number of service providers who report trafficking data to DCFS has increased steadily over the past five years, the majority of sexual assault centers and refugee/migration service agencies do not participate. This limits the amount of information available on adult sexual abuse and labor trafficking.

    “We have to do everything we can to prevent and end the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “It’s the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the United States, with thousands of victims identified in Louisiana alone in recent years. One of the reasons we’re identifying more victims is our work with law enforcement and other agencies who come into contact with these victims. Increasing awareness, collaboration and information sharing are essential to ending this modern form of slavery.”

    Earlier this year, Gov. Edwards announced Louisiana had been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help fight human trafficking. The grant will fund a multi-year federal project known as the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative, being implemented by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

    “Trafficking is not just a problem happening somewhere else. It’s a problem right here in our own back yards,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters, who serves on the Governor’s Office’s Louisiana Human Trafficking Prevention Commission (Act 181 of 2017). “Victims are often from vulnerable populations – domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, homeless or runaway youth and even young children. The more we know and the more we work together as a state and a community, the better we can fight against it and protect those who are most at-risk.”

    Overall, 744 confirmed and high-risk (prospective) victims of human trafficking were identified in 2018 – an increase of 63 victims (9%) over 2017. The overwhelming majority were victims of sexual trafficking (710 victims or 95.4%) and female (678 victims or 91.1%).

    Victim Ages

    Juveniles accounted for 428 (57.5%) of the reported victims, a 20 percent increase over 2017, when service providers reported 356 juvenile victims. Some 223 adult victims were identified in 2018, compared to 269 in 2017. Age was unknown or unreported for 93 victims this past year, compared to 56 in 2017.

    Forty-two victims identified in 2018 were age 12 or younger, down from 72 victims reported in 2017.

    The reported ages for all victims ranged from 5 months to 65 years old.

    The increase in reported juvenile victims can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of agencies providing data. Additionally, there have been increased efforts in identifying juvenile victims.

    Trafficking Locations

    Orleans, Caddo and East Baton Rouge were the parishes most frequently identified as the trafficking locations for both adult and juvenile victims. However, the proportion of adults to juveniles varied by location.

    Orleans and Caddo parishes both saw significantly more juvenile victims reported than adults: 83 juveniles and 34 adults in Orleans; 92 juveniles and 16 adults in Caddo. Whereas, East Baton Rouge saw a more even distribution that tilted toward adults: 59 adults and 47 juveniles.

    Those three parishes were also the most common parishes of origin for victims, along with neighboring parishes Jefferson and Bossier. Overall, victims were from more than 30 parishes throughout the state.

    Some 54 victims were from outside Louisiana, and 10 were from other countries.

    Other Findings

    Other findings in the 2019 report:

    • 710 victims (95.4%) were sexual trafficking victims; 7 (0.9%) were labor trafficking victims; 18 (2.4%) were victims of both sexual and labor trafficking. There were also 9 victims for whom the type of trafficking was not identified.
    • 678 (91.1%) of the victims were female; 44 (6%) were male; 13 (1.7%) identify as transgender; and 9 (1%) did not have a gender identified.
    • 366 (49%) of the victims were African American; 233 (31%) were white; 8 (1%) were Asian; 25 (3%) were multiracial; 58 (8%) were reported as other; and 54 (7%) were unknown.
    • 333 (45%) were confirmed trafficking victims, and 285 (38%) were reported as high-risk or prospective victims. Another 126 victims (17%) did not have a victim status identified.

    The most frequently provided services by the agencies reporting data were mental health services, referral to community services, health services, forensic interviewing, housing and education services.

    View Reports

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    City of Ponchatoula to become smoke-free

    NO PUBLIC SMOKING OR VAPING

    The City of Ponchatoula has joined the almost 700 cities nationwide in going smoke-free. The City’s new smoke-free ordinance goes into effect on May 12, 2019. In addition to smoking restrictions that already exist under state law, there will be new restrictions on smoking and vaping (use of electronic smoking devices) in many locations across the city.

    The City of Ponchatoula will host a smoking ban town hall educational meeting in the City Council Chambers May 1, 2019, at 5:30 PM.

    This ordinance protects the public’s health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and encouraging smokers to quit. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at work are more likely to develop heart disease or lung cancer, and approximately 1,000 children and adults in Louisiana die each year from secondhand smoke exposure. Tobacco use-the leading preventable cause of death in the United States-causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases (such as emphysema) and diabetes. More than 20 million people in the United States have died from smoking-related diseases since 1964, including 2.5 million nonsmokers as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

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    Missing & Forgotten: Bias and non-attention given to Black girls who ‘disappear’

    Have you heard of Andreen Nicole McDonald of Texas?

    She’s young, just 29 years old, pretty, married to a military husband and missing.

    Like thousands of other black females who’ve gone missing, there has been no national media coverage of her disappearance.

    Earlier this month, her husband, Andre McDonald, was arrested in connection to his wife’s disappearance. Andreeen is still missing, but presumed dead.

    Police say that Andre McDonald bought a shovel, an ax, two five-gallon drums of gasoline, work gloves, heavy duty trash bags and a “burn barrel,” after friends reported his wife missing.

    “He tried to destroy the receipt for those items to conceal the timing and whereabouts of his purchase,” said Deidra Robey, founder of Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, a nonprofit based in Baton Rouge, La.

    Deidra Robey, founder of Black and Missing But Not Forgotten

    Deidra Robey, founder of Black and Missing But Not Forgotten

    “After his arrest, the news coverage seemed to stop. It did not go beyond local news, and even though the FBI is involved in the case, the story was never picked up nationally. I can only imagine that this is because she’s just not the right color,” Robey said.

    When Victoria S. Wright was last seen, at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, the 13-year-old was clutching a silver fannie pack and standing on the porch of a family member’s home along Dale Drive in Portsmouth, Virginia.

    Wearing a black hoodie with white writing, light colored blue jeans, and light blue and white tennis shoes, Victoria suddenly vanished.

    Police suspect she may have run away. However, there’s a chance that the longer she’s missing Victoria, like McDonald and so many others, will join an ever-growing list of black girls who are gone and have been sadly forgotten by mainstream media, where coverage is too-often manipulated by the latest thong or see-through attire worn by a Kardashian, or the most recent tantrum thrown by President Donald Trump.

    As Trump cries that a border wall is needed to eliminate an imaginary crisis, organizations like the Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, the Black and Missing Foundation (BAM) in Landover Hills, Maryland, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Alexandria, Va., struggle to shed light on the real emergency that is of the nation’s missing.

    More than 424,066 girls of all races have gone missing since the beginning of 2018, according to NCMEC.

    More than half of the total are women and girls of color, according to BAM, who, like NCMEC, rely on statistics from the FBI.

    missing-and-exploited-children-featured-web-678x381“The majority of these children most likely come from marginalized communities, and are primarily low-income people of color,” said Ronnie A. Dunn, an interim chief diversity & inclusion officer and associate professor of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University.

    “Given this nation’s racially stratified socioeconomic class hierarchy, as evidenced throughout institutions in America where poor children of color have worst outcomes on all quality of life indicators, their lives are devalued in relation to upper class white youth,” said Dunn, whose authored two books, Race Profiling: Causes & Consequences, and Boycotts, Busing, & Beyond: The History & Implications of School Desegregation in the Urban North.

    Dunn said, “And even within that, while this nation espouses the valuing of children in general, this does not appear to be the reality as evidenced by the failure to act in the face of the onslaught of mass school shootings from Sandy Hook to Stoneman Douglas where the majority of those killed were middle class white youth. Therefore, we see less media attention paid to missing children, particularly those of color.”

    The ignorance toward the black and missing isn’t a new trend.

    Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, BAM and NCMEC each maintain a database that dates back decades.

    For instance, Margaret R. Dash went missing from her home in Clearwater, Florida, on June 14, 1974. Today, she would be 83.

    Ethel Louise Atwell went missing from Staten Island, N.Y., on Oct. 24, 1978. If still alive, Atwell would be 86.

    Jeffrey Lynn Smith, who today would be 49, went missing on Dec. 4, 1985, from her Hot Springs, Arkansas, home and hasn’t been heard from since.

    Other Black women and girls missing since the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s according to BAM, include Cynthia Renae Rodgers of Forestville, Maryland; Beverly Gail Johnson-Sabo of Ventura, Calif.; Trina Ann Winston of South Bend, Indiana; Erica Heather Smith of Ashburn, Virginia; Debra Dianne Sellars of Burlington, NC.; Bianca Lilly Jones of Detroit, Michigan; Crystal Keyona Anderson of New Carrollton, Maryland; Sandra Jean Cunningham of New York City; Yamisha Thomas of Columbus, Ga.; Mitrice Richardson of Los Angeles; Priscilla Ann Rogers of Wilmington, NC; Rochelle Denise Battle of Baltimore; Leslie Marva Adams of Atlanta; Chantel Bryant of Virginia Beach; Nancie Carolyn Walker of Chicago; Verlisha Littlejohn of Gaffney, SC; Theresa Bunn of Chicago; and Barbara Dreher of Washington, D.C.

    “I’m a forensic psychiatrist and legal analyst on television, so I pay attention to media reports of crimes and missing children,” said Dr. Carole Lieberman.

    “The media doesn’t do enough reporting of all the missing children, especially Black children … this tells the viewer that it’s more important to find white children,” Lieberman said. “There aren’t even any – or many – pictures on milk cartons of missing children anymore because they decided it was too upsetting to children eating breakfast. We need to do more to find missing children and do more to stop the family problems such as abuse that causes them to be vulnerable to predators or leave home to begin with.”

    By Stacy M. Brown
    NNPA Newswire Correspondent
    @StacyBrownMedia

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  • 2nd Annual Gray’s Quarters Neighborhood Reunion

    SUBMITTED NEWS–We’re having our 2nd annual neighborhood reunion. The original Hammond, Louisiana neighborhood of Gray’s Quarters dates back to the late 1800s and was initially bound on the east by Range Road; on the west by a canal 2 blocks west of Range Road; on the north by Hanson Street; and on the south by a canal one block south of Iowa (same canal as on the west). Neighborhood residents also populated areas that include Ennis Lane, Hanson Street extension, and East Morris. The neighborhood has since expanded beyond those boundaries. This is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the rich history that this neighborhood is proud of! Everyone is welcome!

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    SU Ag Center, SBA to host 15th Annual Procurement Conference

    Hundreds of current and potential small business owners will gather at the Felton G. Clark Activity Center on April 16 for the Southern University Ag Center’s 15th Annual ‘Connecting Businesses with Contracts’ Procurement Conference.
    The event, which will be held from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., will feature sessions on Marketing Your Business to the Federal Government; How to Get on a GSA Federal Supply Schedule; How to Get a Loan, Financing Options or Capital Access and International Trade/Export Financing; and Updated Tax Laws and Insurance Requirements. There will also be a procurement panel consisting of federal agencies and prime contractors who will discuss how you can do business with their respective agencies and companies.
    The conference provides a venue for potential and existing business owners, contractors, non-profits, small towns, and municipalities to learn about the resources that are available through federal, state and local government agencies and prime companies.
    Co-sponsors for the conference include the U. S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University, Louisiana Economic Development (LED), and the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).
    Online registration for the conference is available here.
    For additional information, contact Eual Hall at 225.771.4105, Krystle Washington at 225.771.3902, or e-mail jo.lawrence3@sba.gov.
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    TPPS Superintendent Stilley gives advice for this week of testing

    Students in Tangipahoa’s public schools will begin spring testing this week, and while some students (and parents) panic, School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said there are several things families can do to ease worries over the annual assessments.

    Statewide testing begins this week for students in grades 3-8. Because of class configurations and limitations on computers in local schools, Tangipahoa will stagger testing by individual classes from April 1-May 3.Students in grades 3 and 4 who take the paper-based LEAP 2025 test will do so from April 29-May 3.

    Stilley said that while test scores are important, the key to making testing easier on the entire family is to be mindful of the testing process and encourage students to do their very best.

    “As a parent and a grandparent myself, I try to remind students that spring testing is their chance to shine as they put all the knowledge and skills they have gained over the past eight months into action,” Stilley said.

    Stilley said students need to be reminded that they know the material, that they have practiced the necessary skills, and they are both ready and capable of taking these tests.

    “Encourage your child to speak positively and to practice positive self-talk when it comes to testing,” Stilley said. Great examples of this include, “I can do it;” and “I know how to do this.”

    During testing, it’s especially important students are in class. Make sure your students attend school on their testing days, and do your best to have them in class on time. Encourage your child to eat breakfast before testing, and if time is tight in the morning, encourage them to eat breakfast at school. Breakfast and lunch are both served at no cost to students at all Tangipahoa Parish School campuses.

    Students who do experience test anxiety or who show signs of worry about testing can practice simple relaxation exercises to help them overcome nerves before and during testing. Regulated breathing and simple visualization exercises are great ways to settle nerves. Stilley also encouraged families to talk to their students about testing.

    “Sometimes just being there to listen and reassure your child is the best medicine for a case of the nerves,” Stilley said.

    Stilley encourages parents to spread some positivity in these coming weeks, sharing notes of encouragement or just a kind word here and there with students and teachers alike as testing continues.

    “When we make someone else smile, when we shower others with kindness, that’s when we do our part to lift spirits. No matter what’s going on in your world today, take a moment to make someone’s day brighter,” Stilley said.

    For more info on state testing, go to the district website, www.TangiSchools.org, or contact your child’s school.

     

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    Lauren Roach receive MLK Humanitarian Award

    LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication junior Lauren Roach was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award by the LSU Black Faculty and Staff Caucus for her outstanding efforts in establishing a new initiative to improve race relations. Roach’s “Seaux Live” initiative aims to create safe spaces on campus for diverse students to meet and socialize to build a sense of community between people from the same ethnic background.

    Her initiative launched in September 2018 and resulted in many students gathering together between classes in a welcoming environment. Roach, a native of Bowie, Maryland, is studying digital advertising to work within the digital or social media marketing industry.

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  • ‘My Brother, You Matter’ to address rise of suicide

    MY BROTHER, YOU MATTER! RAPID SUICIDE RATES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN
    “My Brother, You Matter” will shine a light of hope in the alarming rise of suicide numbers in African American males.
    According to the East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark, “African American male suicide has dramatically increased, rising sevenfold from 2012 to 2018 in East Baton Rouge Parish”. This alarming change has raised concern among local community leaders. “The statistics of this report represent our citizens, and attached to each one of them is a mother, a father, a sister or brother, a neighbor or a friend. So let’s always keep those individuals in our thoughts and prayers.”
    To address this crisis community leaders are working towards findings, solutions, and resources at My Brother, You Matter. Leaders will strategically look at the causes of this drastic increase. My Brother, You Matter is free and open to the public. The evening will consist of a variety of speakers including Raymond Jetson (Urban Congress on African American Males), Dr. Beau Clark (Coroner), Michael Gaines, LCSW, Frank Campbell, Ph. D., LCSW, C.T. (suicidologist), and Dr. Rani Whitfield. In addition to My Brother, You Matter there will be resources and info on an upcoming training for faith-based and community leaders on suicide prevention.
    My Brother, You Matter will take place on Monday, March 25, 2019, 4:30pm-6:00pm. The event will be held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 4000 Gus Young Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. My Brother, You Matter is hosted by the following community partners: Love Alive Church, HealthyBR, The Urban Congress on African American Males, BeBatonRouge, 4th Floor, Representative Ted James, and The Urban League of Louisiana.
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    Who to Watch: Ava Brewster-Turner Ph.D., 63

    A retired educator with 40 years of service,  Ava Brewster-Turner, Ph.D is the Founding Artistic Director of UpStage Theatre Company in Baton Rouge. She earned her BS from Grambling State University; M.Ed. from Southern University; and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.  The 63-year-old is the recipient of numerous recognitions including The Southern Black Theatre Festival’s Trailblazer Award; Hall of Fame Inductee (Augusta, Arkansas); Outstanding Theatre Director (American Association of Community Theatre); multi-year scholarship recipient- New York’s Playback Theatre; multi-year honoree- Who’s Who Among American’s Teachers; Past President of the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts; and Past President of the Charles P. Alumni Chapter of the Grambling University National Alumni Association. She holds memberships in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Black Theatre Association, and The American Association of Community Theatre.  

    What has been a deciding moment or an experience that pushed you forward?   When I was told early in my pursuit to become a theatre company owner that it would never work; that I was wasting my time, energy, and money on something Black people would never support.

    Business resolution:   We believe that the general populous of our community have not fully realized the power and persuasiveness of the arts; therefore, one of our primary business goals for this year is to embark upon ways to educate our community about the power of the arts.  For example, we are familiar with the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks regarding Civil Rights; but not many people consider how the powerful documentary Roots advanced civility among the races.

    What is your #1 priority right now?  To expand to UpStage Theatre Company’s brand, now in its 17th Season… into a well-known theatre arts company.

    Best advice you’ve ever received?   “Treat others the way you want to be treated”

    Moves made:   Relocated UpStage Theatre after 15 years from its 50-seat Black Box on Wooddale Blvd to a 200-seat theatre in Cortana Mall.

    What to expect:  Knowledge is power, and education is the key to succeeding. In order to prepare aspiring playwrights, I plan to implement The Playwright’s Pen Series. Presently, UpStage host an Emerging Playwright Project producing scripts submitted from playwrights from across the country. With the Playwright’s Pen Series, aspiring playwrights will have an opportunity to learn from established writers, which will equip them to learn the essentials of developing an idea into a stage play.

    Other projects:

    • Also, establishing the UpStage Theatre Star Scholarship.  Two scholarships will be awarded to high school students who plan to pursue a degree in the performing arts.
    • Hosting a three-week summer arts camp.  This camp will expose students to learning the aspects of writing and developing a script; filming, editing, and producing the script.
    • Saturday Acting classes.  Students will learn skills that are key to building acting and performance techniques, and building confidence to interact effectively in a group.

    Life/business motto:  “With God all things are possible” ; “Believe in Yourself”

    Role Models:  My mother Berlin Brewster Conner

     What’s on your playlist?   Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross Greatest Hits

    What are you reading?  The Ground on Which I Stand by August Wilson

    What’s entertaining you? Classic movies and television shows and Shiloh Baptist Church Weekly Podcast.

    Website:  www.upstagetheatre.biz

    Email:  info@upstagetheatre.biz

    Twitter: @Upstagedirector
    Instagram: @upstagetheatre
    Facebook Page:  @upstagetheatrebr
    Facebook Group: UpStage Theatre Company

    Ava Brewster-Turner,  63
    Founding Artistic Director of UpStage Theatre Company
    Hometown:   Augusta, Arkansas
    Current location:   Baton Rouge, LA

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    BuyTheBook: A Give A Damn attitude is contagious

    Shift your mindset, make small and large unselfish gestures, and you will change the culture all because you give a damn. Sounds simple enough, right?

    Author Mark S. Lewis believes it is, and he has penned an easy-to-grasp guide for anyone ready to re-connect to community and transform the culture.

    Far from cliche, Lewis’ Give A Damn philosophy posits steps, scenarios, and challenges for readers to realign their habits with the core beliefs of treating people and society with care. It’s about reacting to each other positive and giving ways as frequently and genuinely as possible.

    “Together we can push society back in the right direction, one person at a time until collectively we can make a difference. Give a Damn is the ticket to cultural change,” Lewis proclaims. His goal is to guide readers to a better mindset of becoming more conscious and caring without requirements of money, strength, or talent.

    Give A Damn is ideal for readers who have decided to intentionally work on and deliberately change their selfish and irresponsible behaviors: those that surface in private and professional settings which are isolating, unjust, condescending — or just plain ole mean. Lewis challenges readers to act in big and small ways to help others, to be happier and more successful, to fulfill their purpose in life, and to make Give A Damn™ a big part of what they do no matter the path they take.

    A Give A Damn™ attitude is contagious, he writes. It is being more attentive and more appreciative. It means valuing and respecting others in every way, valuing their time, feelings, background, perspective, and preferences. He provides very specific steps to start a Give A Damn movement. Read this book with a team of colleagues, friends, or family and watch the transformation.

    Much like Michael Gladwell’s thoughtful but simple presentations that combine theory and life application, this book — written by the former executive of the Louisiana Technology Council — offers anecdotes that reiterate the simplistic behavior shifts that Lewis believes will improve society. Lewis wrote this can be done with accountability, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring for others, character, and generosity of spirit.

    If readers glean only one motivation from the plethora the book offers, it should be Lewis’ wife’s favorite saying, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you even can!”

    @jozefsyndicate

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  • Dillon promoted to CEO of Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation has appointed Carl Dillon Jr. as UREC’s President & Chief Executive Officer.

    Dillon has been a driving force behind UREC’s community development initiatives for more than a decade.

    In his prior role of director of operations, Dillon cultivated relationships with financial institutions and local partners to secure more than $4 million for new affordable housing developments in Baton Rouge. He also provided direct oversight for site acquisition, financing, planning, construction and rehabilitation of UREC’s major affordable housing developments. In addition, he oversaw operations, stewarded the agency’s budget, and managed and ensured compliance with federal, state and foundation grants.

    “Carl has vision to grow UREC’s work, possesses the knowledge and agility required to collaborate with our partners, and understands the pressing needs of the families we serve. We are confident that his leadership, experience and track record will catapult UREC in this next chapter while greatly shaping the landscape of Baton Rouge communities,” said UREC board president Girard Melancon.

    Dillon said: “UREC has key initiatives on the horizon that will set a precedent for how we approach community development in the future, and I am excited to lead our organization into this future. I sincerely thank our board of directors for entrusting me to lead and grow UREC and am equally grateful to my predecessors and colleagues for building an organization we are truly proud of. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with our community stakeholders, expanding UREC’s affordable housing initiatives, and continuing to provide high-quality youth programs.”

    Dillon is a native of Zachary, who earned a master of business administration from Louisiana State University and a bachelor of business management from Southern University A & M College. He also holds the National Development Council’s Economic Development Finance Professional Certification, the Neighborworks America Professional Certificate in Community and Neighborhood Revitalization, and a Louisiana real estate license.
     

Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is a nonprofit community development organization that “transforms communities by investing in people and restoring neighborhoods.”
ONLINE: www.urecbr.com.
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    Chenese Lewis ‘honored’ to host Bronner Brothers international beauty show in New Orleans

    Show makes its Louisiana debut, March 30-April 1

    Positive-body image advocate Chenese Lewis will be the mistress of ceremonies on the main stage of the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show in New Orleans.

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    Chenese Lewis of Baton Rouge

    Lewis, a Baton Rouge native and resident, is a veteran hostess and MC whose career spans more than a decade nationally. She was selected to MC the Bronner Bros. show based on her known ability to engage audiences with her quick wit and relatable disposition. She has hosted major fashion and beauty events across the United States, including her 6-year run as host of the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo that takes place during Essence Music Festival. Lewis gained international attention in the early 2010s as a highly sought-after keynote speaker, expert commentator, and positive body image/self-esteem advocate. Through this platform, she has been featured as an expert on Dr. Phil, Huffington Post Live, E! News, Extra, People.com, USA Today, among other outlets.

    “I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to host the legendary Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show,” Lewis said. “This is a huge opportunity for me to not only expand my brand but to be a part of history, as this is the first year the event will be held outside of Atlanta in its 72 years of existence.”

    Known as the “hairdressers fashion week,” the extremely popular beauty show, native to Atlanta, averages audiences of more than 35,000 bi-annually. It is the largest multicultural, multi-textural tradeshow in the United States, featuring more than 100 professional education classes, innovative workshops sessions, exciting evening entertainment, inspirational worship service, creative competitions, more than 300 exhibitors, celebrity guests, and much more. The show will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, March 30-April 1.

    ONLINE: CheneseLewis.com

     

    ABOUT BRONNER BROS., INC.  

    Headquartered in Atlanta, Bronner Bros., Inc. (BB) is a privately held, family-owned company founded in 1947 by Dr. Nathaniel H. Bronner Sr. and his brother Arthur E. Bronner Sr. Today, the BB Enterprise consists of multicultural beauty products, UPSCALE Magazine, and professional trade shows, which attract more than 60,000 salon and barber professionals annually. BB employs more than 100 people in its manufacturing plant, shipping operations, and corporate offices. For more information about the company, visit http://bronnerbros.com/our-history/.

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    Women in State Law Enforcement leave indelible footprints

    There are countless Louisianans who have contributed significantly to our state and nation’s history.  They are the trailblazers and pioneers who have left an indelible imprint that continues to inspire.

    Among the most well-trained law enforcement officers in the country, Black female Louisiana State Troopers are proudly and courageously paving the way for others to follow. They are saluted for their service and for inspiring all women to never give up on their dreams.

    According to the most recent data, there are 1063 Louisiana State Police troopers, out of which 45 are women and of that number, eight current female troopers are African-American.  Women were allowed to join the force in 1974.  Trooper Joyce Stephanie Isaac Thibodeaux, now deceased, started her career with the Lafayette City Police Department and in 1976 she became the first Black woman to join the Louisiana State Police Dept. She retired after 21 years of service.

    “I was fortunate to work with her,” said Lt. Charron Thomas who joined in 1992. “She faced a lot of struggles being the first one, and she gave me a lot of advice that helped me.”

    After a career in the Army National Guard, Lt. Thomas knew she wanted to become a trooper. And 27 years later, she is still going strong.  “Being in a male-dominated workforce is a challenge for all women, which is why we have to support each other, but it is a rewarding career.”

    “I consider myself fortunate to be able to stand on the shoulders of the previous Black female trailblazers such as Lt. Thomas and the late Trooper Thibodeaux,” said Senior Trooper Zuleika Joseph. “I hope that I set a good example for our youth and that some little girl who sees me may one day want to be a trooper or maybe even the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police.”

    Read more at Women in State Law Enforcement leave indelible footprints.

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    Girard Melancon picked to lead BRCC’s workforce solutions

    Girard Melancon, Ph.D., as vice chancellor for workforce solutions at Baton Rouge Community College. He has work with sector-based workforce training programs for more than 15 years and has invested more than $60 million foundation and taxpayer dollars into progressive workforce development initiatives. He is president of the National Council for Workforce Education. He earned a doctorate in education administration with higher education concentration in community and technical college finance and non-traditional students from the University of New Orleans.

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    Kennedy Center Fellow audits 400 years of American Blackness in verse

    With support from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Baton Rouge-based writer, poet, and community activist, Donney Rose is exploring the debt owed to African American humanity in the United States with the creation of The American Audit – a poetry and mapping project assessing the nation’s standing with its black citizens 400 years after the first slaves settled in Jamestown. Placing a special emphasis on his own Louisiana/Deep South roots, Rose plans to culminate the project in a four-part multimedia performance piece/epic poem centered around the assessment of laws, culture, economics and family structure as it pertains to 400 years of black American existence using an audit report as extended metaphor, according to a blog post by The Kennedy Center. A 2018-2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist fellow, Rose is a native of Baton Rouge and a well-known performance poet whose career spans 20 years on the regional and national spoken word circuit.

    “Human life, dignity and liberation are invaluable concepts,” Rose said. “Yet 400 years ago, there were people who put a dollar amount and expected a monetary return on account of free labor. We cannot reconcile with those sins until we are able to honestly admit that a segment of our population are still reeling from the effects of not having their humanity fully actualized until just over 50 years ago. The plan for The American Audit is to examine the emotional currency, toll, labor extolled unto a group of people who came here as products and have fought to be fully human.’”

    Click here to read the Kennedy Center’s blog post on The American Audit. Watch The American Audit trailer here

     

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    Women of Cancer Alley to show March 8 with RootsCampLA

     

    On Friday, March 8th, RootsCampLA is participating in the traveling premiere of the film “The Women of Cancer Alley.”  We’ll be showing it in partnership with the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and 350 New Orleans.  

    Women from around the Cancer Alley area became new filmmakers this year, each crafting two-minute stories of their experience living next to petrochemical plants.  Using footage from their own lives, these new filmmakers are ready to take their stories on the road as leaders and strategists for the Louisiana environmental movement.  The screening includes a pane discussion with the women who shared their life stories in the film.

    This film viewing is open to the general public at no cost.

    Time and Location: Friday, March 8th from 6-8:00pm at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge located at 8470 Goodwood Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

    tickets are availble x for the entire RootsCampLA weekend

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  • Mellion-Patin receives Tuskegee’s T. M. Campbell Leadership Award

     Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., vice chancellor for extension and outreach at the Southern University Ag Center, has been selected as the 2019 T. M. Campbell Leadership Award recipient by Tuskegee University’s Farmers Conference awards committee.

    The award is given each year during Tuskegee’s Farmers Conference Awards Luncheon in honor of Thomas Monroe Campbell, the first person appointed as an Extension Agent in the United States.

    To qualify for the award, recipients must exhibit professional and volunteer work, interact with 1890 Universities as well as other universities to impact Extension/Outreach, demonstrate involvement in public service activities to advance the quality of life for rural citizens and receive recognitions from peer groups for services rendered.

    “It is an honor to receive the Thomas Monroe Campbell Leadership Award from Tuskegee University,” said Patin. “To be recognized by both a prominent HBCU and an 1862 University, within a few months of each other, has truly inspired me to continue my work of providing the rural citizens of Louisiana with the agricultural tools needed to improve their lives.”

    In October, Patin received the 2018 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award from Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Patin has served as vice chancellor at the SU Ag Center since 2016. She developed the Center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, an intensive leadership development program that guides small, minority, socially-disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers through the process of becoming competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

    Her work in the field of agriculture has provided her with the opportunity to serve as a panel manager for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); chair of the Southern Region- Agricultural and Natural Resources Program Leaders Committee; grant committee member for the USDA’s  National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); 1890 representative on the National Extension Disaster Education Network Executive Committee and historian for the National Society of Minorities in Agricultural, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization.

    She earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences, a master’s degree in educational agriculture, both from Southern University, and a doctoral degree in agricultural and life sciences education from Iowa State University.

    Patin received the T. M. Campbell Leadership Award on February 21 during Tuskegee University’s 127th Annual Farmers Conference at the Doubletree Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama.

     

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    Shell makes donation to River Road African American Museum for 25th anniversary

    On February 21, Shell presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the River Road African American Museum (RRAAM), in honor of the organization’s 25th Anniversary. Shell made the presentation during an event celebrating Black History Month, hosted by the Shell Black Employee Network Group (SBNG) at the Shell Convent Refinery.

    “We at Shell are proud to support the important work of the River Road African American Museum,” said Shell Vice President Gulf Coast Rhoman Hardy, who presented the check. “Congratulation to everyone associated with this organization for their vital work in preserving the history and culture of our region.”

    The program, attended by Shell employees, community members, and teachers and students from local high schools, featured an incredible performance by the Southern University Gospel Choir. Shell Convent General Manager Alan Pertuit offered the keynote address, and Shell Convent SBNG President Karen Smith served as emcee for the event.

    Shell and the River Road African American Museum have been partners in the community for a number of years. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the River Road African American Museum. There will be many activities to celebrate the RRAAM’s 25th Anniversary, including a 25th Celebration Gala in September. More information about the RRAAM 25th Anniversary events can be found at africanamericanmuseum.org.

    The preservation of African-American history in Louisiana has been the mission of the River Road African American Museum for the past 25 years.

     

    ——-

    Shell Vice President Gulf Coast Rhoman Hardy, Shell Convent General Manager Alan Pertuit, RRAAM Co-Founder and Interim Director Darrell Hambrick, RRAAM Board President Todd L. Sterling

    Photo Cred: Alpha Media and Public Relations
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    Wright’s sequel brings powerful tale of Africa’s Panther women warriors through five generations to Obama

    Monroe author Roosevelt Wright Jr. has published a second historical epic fiction novel and sequel to The Children of Panther Burn, which he published in 2009

    Unlike most historic fiction novels, both of Wright’s novels contain endnotes and links to historical background information to help readers learn more about many of the real characters and events which formed the basis of the powerful story of the women of the Panther.

    “Many people saw the movie ‘The Black Panther’ and saw a scene in which a dozen women warriors guarded two men as they fought to be king. In reality, the King of Dahomey, West Africa had an army of 6,000 women warriors who were beautiful, sexy, and deadly; all six-thousand of them were his wives,” said Wright, explaining what happens when one of those wives comes to America and ends up a slave on the 15,000 acre of Panther Burn plantation just outside of Greenville, Mississippi.

    The Children of Panther Burn centered around that family of slave descendants in Panther Burn that survived sixty-years of obstacles to reach the pinnacles of success.

    The Trail of the Panther steps back into the lineage and reveals a powerful story of one Ahosi warrior and five generations of her descendants who rose to the pinnacles of power in the United States including involvement in the election of President Barack Obama.

    Trail opens in Dahomey, West Africa—home of the Panther People—where powerful warriors battle each other for slaves to offer to the gods in sacrifice or to sell to slave traders. In the aftermath of a brutal tribal war, little Ehizokie is orphaned.

    After a mother panther raises her along with her cubs, fate decides Ehizokie’s future as she transforms into an Ahosi warrior—a group of special guards that are all women and all wives of the king. More than anything else, Ehizokie wants to please the king of her African nation.

    Roosevelt Wright Jr., author and publisher of the Monroe Free Press

    Roosevelt Wright Jr., author and publisher of the Monroe Free Press

    As she matures and is eventually brought to America on a slave ship, Ehizokie soon reveals to everyone around her, including her slave friend, Izogie, that she is a terror to anyone who threatens her life, the king, or those under her protection.

    A mysterious myth–that any man who mates with her or her descendants will die before the child is born–follows her across the ocean. It causes a problem for several generations of men, slave, slave masters, and businessmen.

    After she finally lands at a Mississippi plantation and begins a new chapter, Ehizokie births five generations of descendants, one of whom is Cora Mae Jones. As Cora rises from the depths of poverty in Panther Burn, Mississippi, she creates a future no one could have ever imagined which leads to Obama.

    Wright is publisher of the Monroe Free Press. ℜ

    ONLINE: monroefreepress.net

     

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    Woodlawn High grad serves aboard guided-missile cruiser in Pearl Harbor

    PEARL HARBOR – A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native and 2017 Woodlawn High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Port Royal Seaman Elijah Sykes has served in the Navy for one-and-a-half years and is a U.S. Navy cryptologic technician (technical) aboard guided-missile cruiser operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

    As a Navy cryptologic technician, Sykes is responsible for anti-ship missile defense of the ship.

    Sykes credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Baton Rouge.“Keeping a steady foot, being assertive and getting the job done at that moment was something I brought into my Navy career,” said Sykes. Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. According to Navy officials, their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Sykes is most proud of completing boot camp last year.

    “I have just started my career but the Navy has put me in a great position,” said Sykes.

    A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea Navy officials explained. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns, and a phalanx close-in weapons systems. Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Sykes 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.

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

    “Several of my family members served,” said Sykes. “I am happy to continue the legacy of being in the military and my family has been very supportive of my decision.”

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Sykes 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.

    “To me, serving in the Navy means protecting the waterfront and doing my duties on and off the ship,” said Sykes. “It’s not only what I can do for the Navy but what it can do for me.”

    By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica R. Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt 
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    Square Collection featured at West Baton Rouge Museum

    Graduates of Grambling State University, where they met, Lawrence and Gay Square started collecting art 40 years ago. Today, their private collection is on display at the West Baton Rouge Museum through March 24.

    The Square Collection features fine art from some of America’s most distinguished artists including 20 figurative sculptures by the internationally renowned sculptor Tina Allen.

    The Square’s Black art collection includes paintings and prints by acclaimed artists: Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Ed Dwight, Charles Bibb, John T. Scott, Charles Dickson, Jim Wider, and Manuelita Brown, as well as slave shackles, rare historical documents, autographed books and memorabilia from sports icons like Michael Jordan.  Whether created in the medium of oil, pen, Lucite or bronze, these carefully selected pieces beautifully portray strength, character, beauty, and the collectors’ love of history.

    When asked, “Why do you collect?” Lawrence Square’s answer is always, “I buy what I like.”

    The West Baton Rouge Museum is happy to share this exhibit in its first Louisiana public showing

     

    Feature photo by Lucie Monk Carter. Read more at Country Roads.

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  • EVENTS: Dates you should know

    First and Third Wednesdays – 15 minutes with the Mayor

    East Baton Rouge residents can scheduled a 15-minute meeting with Mayor Sharon Broome for the first and third Wednesday of each month. In order to schedule a meeting, request form 2-4 weeks in advance. Meetings are limited to one for each individual or organization. Audio or photos requests are at the discretion of the mayor. The main focus of each meeting is based on, but not limited to, public safety, health and wellness, economic development, workforce development, public works, education or youth services, women and children, and innovative ideas or solution recommendations. The meetings are held at city hall. ONLINE: www.brla.gov

     

    $5 Movie Tuesday

    All Movie Tavern® locations throughout Greater Baton Rouge and New Orleans offers $5 admission for all movies. Guests will also receive a complimentary-size popcorn. ONLINE:  www.movietavern.com

     

    March 9. RootsCampLA

    More than 150 forward-thinking activists meet at the Southern University Law Center.  Hosted by the Solidarity Project Advocacy Network, the summit focuses on establishing a more equitable Louisiana. Organizers said the “idea is to bring together activists of all stripes and have an honest exchange of ideas and sharing of skills. This isn’t your everyday gathering; it’s an ‘unconference.’ Instead of pre-set powerpoints and “expert” panels, participants like you design sessions and decide the program. This doesn’t mean experts aren’t in the room. They are — many of them are you. RootsCampLA is about fostering homegrown talent.”

    ONLINE: www.SPANlouisiana.org/rootscampla/agenda

     

    March 14-16. Louisiana Small Farmer Conference

    Small farmers will gather at Southern University’s Felton G. Clark Activity Center for this three-day conference designed to educate and share opportunities through USDA programs and services, while providing resources to help small farmers stay in business. Anyone interested in learning about agriculture is invited. Topic include grant writing, farmer’s income tax, hydroponics and aquaponics systems, soil health, self-sufficient farming practices, raised beds and vertical gardening, technology, and value-added products. Limited complimentary registration  ends Feb. 28. ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/form/louisiana-small-farmer-conference

     

    April 12 – Deadline to apply for the $25,000 Angel Award

    The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2019 Angel Award® through Friday, April 12, 2019. Now in its 25th year, The Angel Award program recognizes Louisianians who perform extraordinary work for children in need. The Foundation will make a $25,000 grant to the Louisiana-based charity represented by each honoree. According to Foundation President Michael Tipton, the Angel Award has recognized all kinds of people making a difference for children in our state. “The Angels we’re looking for are everyday people doing extraordinary good through direct involvement. They’re not just figureheads. Rather, they make the courageous choice to be directly involved in making Louisiana a better place for its kids. They’re leaders who inspire others through action.” Rules and nomination form: www.bcbslafoundation.org/nominate. Nominators are encouraged to upload information in support of the nomination, including testimonial letters, brochures, news articles, photos and videos.

    ONLINE: www.bcbslafoundation.org/nominate. ℜ

     

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    Cantrell commissions Ted Ellis for official Mardi Gras art

    The City of New Orleans, under the leadership of Mayor Latoya Cantrell has commissioned artist Ted Ellis to design the official Mardi Gras Proclamation for 2019. This signature proclamation will be presented to each Krewe King and Queen of Mardi Gras during the 300th year anniversary of New Orleans. Ellis is artist, cultural historian, and nationally appointed Commissioner to the federal commission of the 400 Years of African-American History.

    Read more »
  • Harrell pens history of Tangipahoa, St. Helena parishes

    Geneologist Antoinette Harrell and Alex Richardson president of Richardson Funeral Home in Amite, share a laugh during the Jan. 12 discussion Harrell’s new book, “African American in Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes.”

    web 7 Caught You Harrell Book SigningThe book is a great history book of classic  photographs of  ordinary working people, past and present. Military, elected officials, Black farmers, and graduation classes of students when the schools were all colored.  Kingsley B. Garrison was the was the keynote speaker, he urges the young people to do research and learn about their people.

    Youth attend book signing on Black history in Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes

    Youth attend book signing on Black history in Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes

    Youth also participated in the book signing. Photographed below are; (l to r, standing) AJaelin Jackson, Joella Lacoste, Adarrius Jackson, Auria Thompson, Jo’Elle Lacoste, and Brennan McCoy. Kneeling are: Connor Lacoste, Adrian Thompson, and Chase Lacoste .

     

    Drum photos by Eddie Ponds

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    Meat for Sale at annual livestock show

    Nearly 100 young herdsmen from throughout the state will converge on the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena with hopes of having their prized winning animals named champion during the Southern University Ag Center’s 76th Annual Livestock and Poultry Show.

    The event, which will be held from February 28 – March 2, provides an opportunity for youth to showcase their hard work in raising and caring for various breeds of cattle, hogs, sheep, lamb, goats and poultry. Winners will receive premiums, ribbons, rosettes and trophy belt buckles.

    The Livestock Show Office is inviting local schools to come to the show on March 1 to participate in guided tours. The tour will include a mini petting zoo, hands-on plant, tobacco free living and nutrition exhibits.

    Pre-orders of non-processed choice meats from various livestock are currently being accept by the Livestock Show Office. All proceeds from meat sales go directly to participating youth as a reward for their hard work and financial investment. The following meat choices and quantities are available:

    One whole beef $2,000

    One half beef $1,000

    One-fourth beef $500

    One whole pork $225

    One whole lamb $200

    One whole goat is $175

    There is a processing fee that is not included in the original cost of the meat. All purchases must be paid by money order or check and made payable to the Southern University Ag Center Livestock Show, prior to being picked up from the slaughter house.

    Those who don’t pre-order their meat are invited to make a purchase during the show’s ‘Junior Auction Sale’ on Saturday, March 2 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena.

    The office will deliver the meat to either Cutrer’s Slaughter House in Kentwood (985) 229-2478 or Rouchers in Plaquemine (225) 687-4258.

    Donations to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank are also welcome.

    Since 1943, Southern University has continued the tradition of providing an opportunity for youth throughout the state to gain valuable knowledge and skills at the Annual State Livestock and Poultry Show. The Livestock Show provides a venue for youth to showcase their animals, develop entrepreneurship skills, build character and receive leadership training.

    For more information on the SU Ag Center’s Livestock Show, how to purchase meat or register a school for a guided tour, visit http://www.suagcenter.com/page/livestock-show-2019, call 225.771.6208 or email decobea_butler@suagcenter.com.

    The Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus.

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

     

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    Researchers find community-wide programs make a difference in healthy behaviors

    Researchers from LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center have found that a community-level approach to obesity can inspire participants to adopt healthier weight-related behavior.  Their findings were published this fall in Health Promotion Practice, which includes peer-reviewed articles devoted to the practical application of health promotion and education.

    The results of the study are based on participants in 11 community-wide projects across the state funded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.  Through its Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana (“Challenge Grant”) project, the Foundation awarded more than $10 million in grants to local coalitions who implemented health-focused infrastructure improvements, policy changes, and programs like farmers markets, cooking classes and exercise classes.  Ultimately, Challenge Grant projects attracted more than $20 million in investments and included hundreds of partners.

    6 Health group exerciseAt the conclusion of Challenge Grant activities, there were indications for improvements in healthy eating and physical activity. Participants who were exposed to the program’s physical activity components were twice as likely to adopt the consumption of fruits, showed a more than two-fold increase in odds of consuming vegetables once per day, and showed a more than two-fold increase in the odds of engaging in physical activity and exercise outside of a regular job

    Participants who were exposed to the healthy eating component of the program were also almost twice as likely to report eating fruits and vegetables at least once per day.

    “The results of this study indicate that the Challenge Grant program resulted in positive changes in weight-related health behaviors among participants,” said study co-author Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, FACSM, associate executive director for population and public health sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

    “The results are consistent with the ‘small changes’ approach to obesity prevention.  In other words, small, positive changes in health-related behaviors are believed to be important in sustaining long-term health habits,” he said.

    The study’s co-authors stress the difficulty in controlling for factors that influence health outcomes in community program evaluation.  As a result, many other studies in this area have not produced measurable results, which makes the Challenge Grant evaluation stand apart.  Pennington researchers believe that the trends in behavioral changes observed in this study may yield significant results down the line.

    “As with many public health outcomes,” said study co-author Stephanie Broyles, PhD and associate professor of research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, “the benefits of community-level efforts to reduce obesity may not be evident for many years.”

    The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation said the results of Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana have led it to continue funding similar efforts.

    “Based on this evidence, we are even more certain that communities working together to solve complex health problems stand the best chance of making systemic changes in health,” said Michael Tipton, president of the Blue Cross Foundation.

    The Foundation is currently accepting grant applications from community coalitions working to address public health issues and the upstream factors that cause them.  For those interested in submitting an application for the Foundation’s grantmaking program, Tipton encourages them to reach out to Foundation staff to begin a conversation.  Applications are accepted throughout the year, and it can take six to eight weeks to put together an application.

    Information about Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana, contact information for Foundation staff members, as well as information about the organization’s grant programs, can be found online at www.bcbslafoundation.org/CHL

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    Supreme Court halts closure of abortion clinics in Louisiana

    On Feb. 7, the Supreme Court granted an emergency request from the Center for Reproductive Rights, blocking a law that would have shut down some of the last three abortion clinics in Louisiana . The law, which was set to take effect on February 8, would prohibit physicians from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The justices voted 5-4 to grant the stay, with a dissenting opinion from Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    An identical admitting privileges law in Texas was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. In that case, the Supreme Court found that requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges “provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

    “The Supreme Court has stepped in under the wire to protect the rights of Louisiana women,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The three clinics left in Louisiana can stay open while we ask the Supreme Court to hear our case. This should be an easy case—all that’s needed is a straightforward application of the court’s own precedent.”

    The Supreme Court’s stay comes after the Fifth Circuit upheld Louisiana’s admitting privileges law in a split 2-1 ruling last September. In January, the Fifth Circuit refused to rehear the case and also refused to put the law on hold while The Center petitioned for certiorari. In his dissent, Judge James Dennis warned that the Fifth Circuit’s decision to uphold the law would have “devastating effects on women’s rights to abortion”. He also noted that, “Women in poverty, who make up a high percentage of women seeking abortions in Louisiana, would be especially burdened by the closures, because any travel, child care, and required time off work would burden them disproportionately”.

    The law at issue, Act 620, would require any physician providing abortion services in Louisiana to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the procedure. There is no medical justification for this requirement, as abortion is extremely safe. In fact, the rate of major complications requiring hospitalization is about 2 in 1,000 women. Hospitals frequently deny admitting privileges to doctors who provide abortions for reasons ranging from ideological opposition to the fact that too few of their patients will ever need hospital care.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights originally filed this case in August, 2014.  Plaintiffs are a women’s health center, doctors and their patients. Julie Rikelman and Travis J. Tu are lead counsel for plaintiffs, along with local counsel Larry Samuel.

    Cases:  June Medical Services v. Gee

    Read more »
  • Government Accountability Office to visit East Baton Rouge Council on Aging

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging will receive a visit from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), February 6 and 7. The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for congress to help the government save money and work more efficiently by examining how taxpayer dollars are spent. The GAO was commissioned by congress to examine the Council on Aging based on its successful nutrition program for older adults.

     

    “EBRCOA is honored to have the GAO visiting our agency,” says Tasha Clark- Amar, Chief Executive Officer.  “Earlier this month, the GAO held a telephone interview with executive staff to learn more about agency programs and funding to highlight in their report to Congress. The GAO is interested in learning

    how the Council on Aging spent tax dollars on our Meals on Wheel program, and plan to use our agency as a model for other tax funded agencies throughout the country.”

     

    While visiting the Council on Aging, the GAO will receive an in-depth tour of the Meals on Wheels process and visit several senior centers in the parish to learn how nutrition programs for older adults work in states with diverse geographic locations.

    Read more »
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    Into the Fire: A.Z Young marches the people of Bogalusa to Baton Rouge

    During the turbulent years of Jim Crow a group of brave residents of Bogalusa made a historical march from Bogalusa to the courthouse in Franklinton to express their concern about the lack of opportunities for African Americans in Bogalusa. The march was led by A.Z. Young and others community leaders.

    Since the famous march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge and Young’s death, little has been said or written about Young. On March 23, 2018 a Louisiana State Historical Marker was dedicated in front of Young home.

    Emma Dixon, president of the neighborhood homeowner’s association and head of the local AARP organized the event, said “the goal of this event is to educate our youth and give them more pride in the community.”

    Dixon also said, “I want this marker to inspire young people that they could do great thing with their life. Motivate them to achieve academic and economic success and be victorious over generational poverty.”

    “When you think of Bogalusa you think of A. Z. Young, the city was known across the nation for the civil rights struggle and its leadership” Dixon said.

    Marchers continuing toward Baton Rouge under the watchful eyes of State Troopers and Deacons for Defense.

    The late civil rights leader was remembered for his courage and is an active member of the civil rights movement in Bogalusa.

    On August 10, the Bogalusa Voter and Civil League (BVCL) continued their struggle when they embarked on a, 106-mile long march to the state capitol of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. Young planned to present a list of grievances to Governor John McKeithen on the steps of the capitol.

    The march dramatized the violent repression of Blacks in the areas along their route. The stretch of highways that the marchers traveled was home to the most active of Ku Klux Klan chapters in the state.

    Under pressure from the U.S. Civil Rights Division, Governor John McKeithen agreed to dispatch nearly 700 National Guardsman and 500 state troopers to protect the demonstrators as they walked down the center of Highway U.S. 190.

    When the marchers were met in Hammond by local community leaders they slept the night on Greenville Park High School football field.

    Just outside of Satsuma, a group of whites, some of them children, broke through the ranks of the troopers and attacked A.Z. Young and others. The march was postponed for one day because of the attack, which allowed Young to demand more troops to protect the weary marchers.

    web 4 March with sherrif

    Federalized National Guards and state troops were required to protect the marchers through Livingston Parish. They were confronted with violence in Satsuma and Denham Springs. The march was lead by A. Z. Young, Bob Hicks, and family members.

    Before more troops arrived, 50 more Blacks from Bogalusa and the surrounding area joined the march, bringing the total number to almost 80 marchers. Angry white onlookers threw eggs and bottles at the Blacks, while others spread roofing nails and broken glass in front of the march. The soldiers found dynamite under one of the bridges the marchers were going to cross, which was later identified as only a dummy.“

    When the marchers reached the outskirts of Baton Rouge, Governor McKeithen increased protection to a total of 1,500 National Guardsmen. Pouring rain kept most of the Klansman indoors. The tired and cold marchers took shelter in a wooded area.

    That evening allied civil rights demonstrators held a rally at the Capital Junior High School.    A youthful crowd of 400 sang freedom songs and rallied behind A.Z. Young and Lincoln Lynch as they addressed the crowd. That same night, the Klan held a rally in a nearby field, where they burned a 15-foot cross and the flag of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front (a political grouping the U.S. was fighting in South Vietnam).

    When the marchers reached reach the steps of the capital, more than 600 supporters. Eight robed members of the Ku Klux Klan and 300 more spectators followed the demonstrators up the steps. More than 2,200 National Guardsmen and policemen watched as both groups held separate rallies. There were no reports of violence.

    A.Z Young, Bogalusa civil rights leader

    A.Z Young, Bogalusa civil rights leader

    In his speech A.Z. Young voiced complaints about employment discrimination and called for the election of 10 Blacks running for local offices in Bogalusa.

    The marchers‘ direct route through Klan territory forced the federal government to ensure that they were protected, a major step forward for the civil rights movement. Young died in 1993.

     

     By Eddie Ponds and Alex Garcia

    Featured photo: The 1967 march from Bogalusa to the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Marchers enter the City of Hammond. Leading the march  from left to right R. T. Young, Gal Jenkins, A.Z. Young, and Robert “Bob” Hicks.

    Editor’s note part of this article  includes exerpts of “From Bogalusa to Baton Rouge” by Alex Garcia

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    ‘You Can Aspire to Be…,’ a commissioned painting by nationally acclaimed artist Ted Ellis, to be unveiled at the Louisiana State Archives

    In recognition of the rich and colorful history of Blacks in Louisiana, a commissioned artwork by nationally acclaimed artist and Louisiana native Ted Ellis will be unveiled and dedicated at the Louisiana State Archives on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 11am
     
    Entitled “You Can Aspire to Be…,” the work recently traveled across the state to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. Ellis presented copies to the African-American mayors of five of Louisiana’s largest cities. This tour was sponsored by Acadian Companies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System.
    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
    Ellis has had a distinguished career in art. He has been commissioned by major corporations such as Walt Disney Studios, the Minute Maid Company, Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris and Avon, Inc. He was appointed in 2018 by the U.S. Department of the Interior to the 14‑member 400 Years of African-American History Commission, which plans programs throughout the United States to recognize 400 years of African-American contributions. The New Orleans-based Zulu Social and Pleasure Club recently named Ellis “artist of choice” for the poster representing its 2019 Zulu Mardi Gras parade.
    Photo captured from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MayorPresidentSharonWestonBroome
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    SU Ag Center’s set to host 76th Annual Livestock Show

    Nearly 100 young farmers from throughout the state will converge on the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena with hopes of having their prized winning animals named champion during the Southern University Ag Center’s 76thAnnual Livestock and Poultry Show.

    The event, which will be held from February 28 – March 2, provides an opportunity for youth to showcase their hard work in raising and caring for various breeds of cattle, hogs, sheep, lamb, goats, and poultry. Winners will receive premiums, ribbons, rosettes and trophy belt buckles.

    The Livestock Show Office is inviting local schools to come to the show on March 1 to participate in guided tours. The tour will include a mini petting zoo, hands-on plant, tobacco-free living and nutrition exhibits.

    Pre-orders of non-processed choice meats from various livestock are currently being accepted by the Livestock Show Office. All proceeds from meat sales go directly to participating youth as a reward for their hard work and financial investment. The following meat choices and quantities are available:

    • One whole beef $2,000
    • One half beef $1,000
    • One-fourth beef $500
    • One whole pork $225
    • One whole lamb $200
    • One whole goat is $175

    There is a processing fee that is not included in the original cost of the meat. All purchases must be paid by money order or check and made payable to the Southern University Ag Center Livestock Show, prior to being picked up from the slaughterhouse.

    Those who don’t pre-order their meat are invited to make a purchase during the show’s ‘Junior Auction Sale’ on Saturday, March 2 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena.

    The office will deliver the meat to either Cutrer’s Slaughter House in Kentwood (985) 229-2478 or Rouchers in Plaquemine (225) 687-4258.

    Donations to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank are also welcome.

    Since 1943, Southern University has continued the tradition of providing an opportunity for youth throughout the state to gain valuable knowledge and skills at the Annual State Livestock and Poultry Show. The Livestock Show provides a venue for youth to showcase their animals, develop entrepreneurship skills, build character and receive leadership training.

    For more information on the SU Ag Center’s Livestock Show, how to purchase meat or register a school for a guided tour, visithttp://www.suagcenter.com/page/livestock-show-2019, call 225.771.6208 or email decobea_butler@suagcenter.com.

    The Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus.

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    Darryl Johnson opens The Garden Cafe at Goodwood Library

    Darryl Johnson, owner of SYI Food Services, has opened The Garden Cafe at Independence Community Park. The cafe is located directly across from the Goodwood Main Library in Baton Rouge near the botanic gardens and serves hot and cold coffee drinks, smoothies, breakfast dishes, salads, soup, sandwiches, and desserts. Johnson also operates a food truck and catering service, as well as provides concessions at BREC’s Memorial and Olympia Stadiums. Formerly known as Socially Yours, SYI’s food truck provided the refreshments for the opening of the expansion of the botanic gardens in 2018 as his company had begun customizing the café’ space.

     

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    Pick a topic for Black history Month. Find it in the Louisiana Digital Media Archive

    During the month of February, the Louisiana Digital Media Archive is highlighting Black History Month.  Explore videos about Louisiana history during the periods of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. Also, be sure to check out the complete Black History Month topic to see more stories and interviews with Black Louisianans who have made significant contributions to the state.

    Solomon Northrup & 12 Years a Slave (1853)

    Learn more about the story of Solomon Northup and the publication of his memoir, 12 Years a Slave, which details his life as a slave in Louisiana.

    Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

    In this clip from Louisiana: A History, take a look at the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on slaves and free people of color in Louisiana during the Civil War.

    Louisiana Native Guards at Port Hudson (1863)

    In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the Louisiana Native Guards, the first officially sanctioned African Americans sworn into the United States Army during the Civil War.

    Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

    In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the origins of this landmark Supreme Court case in New Orleans and its role in upholding segregationist laws through the doctrine of “separate but equal.”

    Rosenwald Schools

    Learn more about the history of the Rosenwald Schools, which were built to educate African Americans during segregation, and the donation of one of the schools to the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville.

    Louisiana’s First Black Nurses

    See the story of these pioneering Black nurses, who worked at the Four South unit of Baton Rouge General Hospital, the only hospital unit available to black nurses and patients during the 1950s.

    Baton Rouge’s Troubled Waters

    View this 2008 LPB documentary which explores the close ties of the African-American community in Baton Rouge and the challenges they faced during segregation.

    Baton Rouge Bus Boycott (1953)

    Watch the 2004 LPB documentary, Signpost to Freedom, which chronicles the circumstances and events that led to the nation’s first large-scale bus boycott protesting segregation.

    Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

    View the 1983 LPB documentary, With All Deliberate Speed, which examines the 30-year history of school desegregation efforts in Louisiana following this landmark Supreme Court decision.

    Baton Rouge Sit-Ins (1960) 

    See a story on the Southern University students who participated in the sit-ins at the Kress Department Store, Sitman’s Drug Store, and the Greyhound Bus Station in Baton Rouge in 1960.

    Integration of the New Orleans Public Schools (1960)

    Watch an interview with Ruby Bridges recounting the day she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans under the guard of federal marshals.

    Plaquemine Civil Rights Demonstration (1963)

    See the story of a Civil Rights demonstration on September 1, 1963, in Plaquemine (three days after the March on Washington) that turned violent when state troopers stormed the old Plymouth Rock Baptist Church on horseback with the aid of teargas to look for James Farmer, the founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

    Bogalusa Civil Rights March (1967)

    View several reports on the 105-mile march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge, which was organized by civil rights activist A.Z. Young.

    To see more stories, check out the complete Black History Month topic.

    The Louisiana Digital Media Archive (LDMA) is the online home of the Louisiana Public Broadcasting Digital Collection and the Louisiana State Archives Multimedia Collection. This is the first project in the nation to combine the media collections of a public broadcaster and a state archives.

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    Donna Brazile to Speak at SUNO

    Political Strategist Donna Brazile will give the keynote address during the Charles Frye Memorial Lecture at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). The lecture, hosted by SUNO’s Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS), will be in the new Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Auditorium, 6400 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA 70128. The topic of her address, which is free and open to the public, is “Can the Democratic Party Continue to Usher African Americans into the American Mainstream?”
    Brazille is an author, campaign manager, adjunct professor, political analyst and former interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee. Born in New Orleans, she was the first African American women to direct a major presidential campaign, acting as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000.
    She earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology from Louisiana State University in 1981, and was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Author of the best-selling memoir “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics,” Ms. Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She also provides political commentary for CNN and ABC.
    The Charles Frye Memorial Lecture is the first of many events scheduled at SUNO during African American History Month. Go to www.suno.edu for details.
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    Attorneys to be recognized, Jena 6 activist to speak at Feb 21 event

    During the month of February, our Nation formally celebrates the many contributions African Americans have made to our country and heritage.

    On Thursday, February 21, at 6:30 in the BREC Independence Park Theatre, Councilwoman Erika L. Green in partnership with BREC will host “Present Day History: Channeling the Past, Changing the Narrative”.

    The goal of the program is to curate an artistic expression by celebrating moments of Black history inspired by our city, Baton Rouge. We will also be honoring four attorneys for their work in civil rights and discrimination cases with the “Narrative Changers Leadership Award”. This event is free and open to the public.

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  • Natasha Williams joins LPB

    Natasha Williams joins Louisiana Public Broadcasting as co-anchor and reporter, pairing up with managing editor and co-anchor Andre’ Moreau on LPB’s weekly program Louisiana: The State We’re In, the state’s longest-running statewide news magazine program. Williams is a veteran News Anchor, having spent nearly 20 years as Anchor and Investigative Reporter at the #1 CBS affiliate in the country, WHIO-TV.

    “We are delighted that Natasha has joined Louisiana: The State We’re In, she will bring her journalistic expertise to LPB, informing the citizens of our state on the news and events that connect us all,” said LPB CEO Beth Courtney.

    Williams began her broadcast career as Anchor/Reporter at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, also holding the same positions at WTVO-TV in Rockford, Illinois, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio and WRGT-TV/WKEF-TV, the FOX/ABC affiliate in Dayton. She was named Journalist of the Year by Public Children Services Association of Ohio in 2009, and was awarded for best broadcast writing by the Ohio Associated Press in 2008. Williams was also honored by the Associated Press for a homelessness investigation, which led to policy changes in the city of Dayton that same year. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and won an Emmy Award for her coverage of the 2001 Xenia Tornado.

    Williams earned an undergraduate degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina and a Master’s degree from Ohio State University. Williams received an honorary PhD from Wilberforce University in May of 2008, for her commitment to area youth and charitable causes in Southwest Ohio.

    She comes to LPB from KTVE/KARD in Monroe, LA where she was most recently an evening anchor for the NBC Affiliate.

    Louisiana: The State We’re In airs on Fridays at 7PM and encores Sundays at 4:30PM on LPB’s network of channels that include stations in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. It also airs on LPB’s sister station WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans on Fridays at 7PM.  This award-winning weekly program combines in-depth coverage about the important issues throughout the state along with expert analysis.

     

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  • Weekend Retreat ‘Connecting Race, Love, and Liberation’ brings Black Buddhist author to Baton Rouge’s Red Shoes

    Connecting Race, Love, and Liberation
    March 30 -31, 2019
    The Red Shoes invites the public to a weekend of learning with its scholar in residence, Rev angel Kyodo williams. Mystic meets Warrior in this dynamic leader who says, “Within the idea of compassion lies a shared journey we must all make that transcends faith and tradition: the practice of being human.”
    williams is an African-American Buddhist and author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace and co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation.
    Through the retreat, williams will guide participants to personally and collectively reckon with the pain and separation passed down by our nation’s legacy of racial injustice, white supremacy, and their interlocking oppression — an inheritance which manifests in our communities, policies, and families.
    Come together for an inspiring weekend:
    • Learn how to connect in authentic and inclusive ways.
    • Embody a method for building internal growth.
    • Unearth myths that deny history, social conditioning and their impact.
    • Gain insight into how race maintains other forms of oppression.
    Register online at https://www.theredshoes.org/programs/rev-angel-kyodo-williams/
    ONLINE: TheRedShoes.org
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    Kelvin Hill hired to oversee public works

    Mayor Sharon Weston Broome has hired Kelvin J. Hill to fill the newly created assistant chief administrative officer position overseeing all six city-parish public works departments, beginning Feb. 4.

    Hill, the former vice president of operations at Georgia Pacific in Port Hudson, will be charged with supervising the departments of building and grounds, development, environmental services, fleet management, maintenance, and transportation and drainage.

    “The addition of Mr. Hill to my administration bolsters our capacity to ship high-high quality providers to the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish,” stated Broome in a news release. “He brings a wealth of experience to our public works departments, which are the spine of City-Parish government.”

    Hill served as the vice president of operations at Georgia-Pacific and has more than 20 years of operations and management expertise.

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