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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.)

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    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

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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.

     

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  • 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
    Read more »
  • ,

    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

     

    Read more »
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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 
    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    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.

    Read more »
  • 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

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    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

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    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/

     

    Read more »
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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

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    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 »
  • ,,

    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

    Read more »
  • ,

    ‘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
    Read more »
  • ,,

    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.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    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.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    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.

    Read more »
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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.
    Read more »
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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.

    Read more »
  • 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
    Read more »
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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.

    Read more »
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    Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice honors Black Panther Malik Rahim

    The Center for African and African American Studies at Southern University at New Orleans partnered with Southern University Law Center’s Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice to honor and recognize Louisiana’s own Malik Rahim (formerly known as Donald Guyton) at an inaugural Living Legend Award Celebration, Jan. 18, at the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work on SUNO’s campus.

    Rahim was selected because of his lifelong commitment to community activism.

    He enlisted in the United States Navy and after an honorable discharge, he became a founding member of the Louisiana Black Panther Party. He later served as a founding member of Sister Helen Prejean’s anti-death ministry, Pilgrimage for Life, as a founding member of the Fisher Projects Health Clinic and GED studies program and as the founder of the Angola 3 Support Committee. Following Hurricane Katrina, he served Louisiana citizens in need through immediate rescue efforts and later founded Common Ground Collective, which offered free healthcare, legal, rebuilding and clean up services in homes, schools and commercial buildings in nine parishes. By the time his work with CGC ended, approximately half a million Louisiana citizens had been served at no cost. From the 1970s until the present, Rahim has been a fierce and committed advocate for environmental and social justice, housing and prisoner rights and civil and human rights.

     

    Feature photo of Malik Rahim is from BlackSourceMedia.com

     

    Read more »
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    ESSENCE launches initiative for Louisiana-based, minority entrepreneurs, professionals

    GET CONNECTIONS TO CONTRACTS AND ACCESS TO RESOURCES 
    ESSENCE, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women with a global brand reach of over 17 million, will partner with the City of New Orleans and the Urban League of Louisiana to launch The Pipeline: An Economic Inclusion Initiative.
    The Pipeline is designed to increase the pool of Louisiana-based women and Black professionals pursuing careers and business opportunities in live events and technical production. This initiative will also create opportunities to connect existing production entrepreneurs to service contracts in the industry at both the corporate and governmental levels and give them access to networking, capital raising and opportunities for training and skills development.
    As part of ESSENCE’s partnership with the Urban League of Louisiana, the Pipeline Initiative will launch with information briefings that will target potential bidders in key Louisiana cities featuring RFP training and more.
    The sessions will be held in:
    New Orleans Tuesday, February 5 6:00pm-8:30pm Urban League of Louisiana
    Baton Rouge Wednesday, February 6 9:00am-11:30am Goodwood Library
    Shreveport Thursday, February 7 9:00am-11:30am Round-up Room – Cattlemen’s Ranch
    Monroe Friday, February 8 9:00am-11:30am Louisiana Delta Community College – Monroe Campus
    Current Contract Opportunities Include:
    Event Video Services
    Superdome Catering Services 
    Ground Transportation Services 
    Portable Toilet Services
    Photography Services
    Printing Services 
    Audio Production Services 
    Superlounge Video Services 
     
    For PDFs of Contracting Opportunities and to Register, Visit
    Read more »
  • Broome funds $7.3 million to community groups

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced 19 grant awards to 15 local non-profits, supportive service organizations, and community developers from the City-Parish’s federal Community Planning and Development dollars. Approximately $7.3 million was made available through four funding allocations to organizations that help low and moderate-income residents with shelter, basic needs, housing rehabilitation, employment skills, and other supportive services.

    This year, the following community organizations are receiving grants:

    Community Development Block Grant

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

    • Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, Inc.
    • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
    • Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance
    • SBP Rebuild Baton Rouge
    • St. Vincent de Paul
    • The Walls Project
    • Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation

    Emergency Solutions Grant

    A total of $256,333 that provides for homelessness prevention and shelter needs.

    • Capital Area Alliance for Homeless
    • Catholic Charities
    • St. Vincent de Paul
    • Volunteers of America, Greater Baton Rouge, Inc.

    HOME Investment Partnerships Program

    A total of $1.4 million that provides grants for local housing strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low and very low-income citizens.

    • Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation
    • Plan B, LLC
    • Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance
    • LaFleur Industries, LLC

    Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Grant

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

    • East Baton Rouge Division of Human Development Services
    • Metro Health
    • START Corporation
    • Volunteers of America of Greater Baton Rouge

    The City-Parish receives these federal dollars annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund activities that primarily benefit low and moderate-income residents.

    “I am proud to partner with so many tremendous organizations in our community, whose missions are dedicated to tackling our community’s greatest challenges and working to better the lives of so many citizens of Baton Rouge,” said Mayor Broome. “This critical funding provides opportunities for citizens to succeed, which can only help our entire community be more resilient and advance in a positive direction.”

    The City-Parish uses a competitive application process to award the grants. A committee of volunteers and independent contractors helps to score the applications and makes recommendations on funding. Criteria are based on goals and priorities for the use of federal funds that are developed in part with input from local residents and federal grant requirements.

    In 2017, Mayor-President Broome reorganized the City-Parish Office of Community Development, the agency administering the federal grant funds. Now, the City-Parish partners with community development organizations like the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority, and the East Baton Rouge Division of Human Development Services for the administration of the community planning and development dollars.

    Read more »
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    HERITAGE presents annual Festival of Negro Spirituals at The Church Baton Rouge

    HERITAGE, a non-profit professional choral ensemble, will host its 28thAnnual Festival of Negro Spirituals, Saturday, February 2, at The Church Baton Rouge – 2037 Quail Dr. – Baton Rouge, at 3pm. The event, which HERITAGE has hosted since 1991, will feature performances of spirituals by HERITAGE and several outstanding high school, community and university ensembles. Admission to the Festival is free.

    Clarence Jones, the founder and director said, “HERITAGE has been sharing its love of the Negro spiritual with the world for more than three decades. We always look forward to the festival and sharing our love of the spiritual with all the great choirs that participate. The Negro Spiritual has a rich legacy that we must pass on to future generations.”

    Other choral ensembles scheduled to perform at the 2019 HERITAGE Festival of Negro Spirituals include:

    • Southern University Concert Choir -Baton Rouge
    • Acadiana Ecumenical Choir – Lafayette
    • The Bennie L. Williams Spiritual Voices – Denver
    • Grambling State University Choir – Grambling
    • McKinley High School Chamber Choir – Baton Rouge
    • New Dimensions Choral Society- Shreveport

    HERITAGE is committed to educate, elevate and enhance the cultural level and appreciation for the Negro Spiritual. Spirituals grew out of the earliest musical expressions of enslaved Africans in the farmlands of Colonial America.

    Located in Baton Rouge, HERITAGE’s mission is to perpetuate the “Negro Spiritual” as a distinctive art form, as an expression of the Negro ancestors’ struggles and aspirations; to preserve the legacy of the Negro Spiritual in its original medium and foster its influence for all people of the community. HERITAGE strives to maintain a standard of professional excellence and to sponsor and support other worthwhile cultural activities.HERITAGE is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. Since 1976, HERITAGE has lent its talents to many civic and charitable causes in and around Baton Rouge and has performed to critical acclaim and thunderous ovations and applause in some of the finest and most prestigious concert halls at home and abroad.

    The ensemble has presented concerts throughout Louisiana as well as Mexico City, Mexico, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Nashville, Memphis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, Paris, and London. In Rome, HERITAGE was received in an audience with Pope John Paul II. Recent performances have included Hampton, VA, Los Angeles, CA, West Palm Beach, FL., Saginaw, MI, Huntsville, AL, Denver, CO and the 2018 Performing Arts Discovery/American Sounds program in Orlando, FL.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Kenneth Sanders elected Justice of the Peace

    Southern University alumn Kenneth Sanders has been elected Democratic judge of the Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Courts in Arlington, TX.  Sanders is part of a historic number of new Black justices of the peace in Texas. The Fort Worth native defeated the incumbent in the general election on Nov. 8, 2018.

    See his swearing in here: https://youtu.be/xS7ak9Fm-GQ

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  • Camphor designated as a ‘United Methodist Historical Site’

    Throughout February, Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church will celebrate its new distinction as a United Methodist Historical Site by The United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

    Each Sunday will celebrate a special theme:

    Sunday, February 3 at 10:55 a.m. Theme:  “History of Methodism”

    Sunday, February 10 at 10:00 a.m. Theme:  “Walk Down Memory Lane” (Recognizing Camphor Trailblazers)

    Sunday, February 17 at 10:55 a.m.  Theme:  “Faithful Living and Sharing God’s Word” (Youth Sunday)

    Sunday, February 24 at 10:55 a.m.  Dedication Service. Theme:  “A Historical Celebration Leading to the Future”.  Speaker will be Judge John Michael Guidry, Louisiana Court of Appeal, First Circuit, Second District.  Reception after the worship service and dedication ceremony in the Moses T. Jackson Fellowship Hall at the church.

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 8742 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Baton Rouge Community and surrounding areas are invited to attend.  For further information please call the church at 225-775-4106.

    Read more »
  • Southern University Nursing School to host public medical research forum, Jan 24

    With medical breakthroughs consistently occurring, Southern University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health believes that it is imperative for the community to be involved with leading researchers that work to develop cures to critical diseases. With this in mind, the School is working with the national research program, All of Us. With a grant from the program, the School will be hosting an informative forum on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. in the Royal Cotillion Ballroom in the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union on campus.

    “As the only HBCU participating in the All of Us initiative, Southern University is being provided an opportunity to increase its visibility at the national level in the area of advocacy health care research of underrepresented populations,” said Dr. Jacqueline Hill, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health. “(It is also an opportunity to) build the minority researcher workforce that is woefully underrepresented among health researchers.”

    Southern’s nursing program is one of nine nursing schools out of the 1,000 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) member schools that has been selected to receive funding through the organization’s mini-grants awards program to educate diverse communities about the All of Us research program.

    During the campus event, participants will have a chance to learn more about the initiative, ask pertinent questions, and receive free blood pressure checks.  The event’s partners include Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s Healthy City Initiative; The National Library of Medicine, Outreach and Special Populations Branch; Southern University Alumni Federation; Southern University Law Center; Southern University System; and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF).

    The event is free and open to the public. 

    Read more »
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    Life In Living Color! New Venture Theatre welcomes Season 12

    “Since its launch in 2008, New Venture Theatre has premiered more than 60 shows bringing fresh voices to our arts community. We have hired, nurtured and developed more than 800 artists of color. “We have pressed our audiences to confront difficult issues and lead them with compassion towards transformational dialogue. We have raised our voices in harmony to joyfully lift the human spirit. We did more than build a theatre, we made a home for a hungry arts community. And we’re not done yet—twelve years is just the beginning,” said director Greg Williams Jr.
    Now the community theatre group welcomes season twelve with the following productions.
    CROWNS
    A GOSPEL MUSICAL
    By Regina Taylor, adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry
    February 14-17
    LSU Studio Theatre | $30
    Crowns is a moving and celebratory exploration of history and identity as seen through the eyes of Yolanda, a young African-American woman who comes down South after her brother is killed, and is introduced to her grandmother’s circle of hat queens. Each hat holds the story of one of life’s joys or struggles, as Yolanda comes to realize that these hats aren’t just fashion statements, but testimonies of sisterhood—they are hard-earned Crowns.
    JAMBO! TALES FROM AFRICA
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    BOOK BY ALVIN A TEMPLE
    February 22
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $15
    “Jambo, human beings!” Take a trip to Africa, where Lion, Monkey, Elephant and their larger-than-life animal friends share three stories of people and animals who find themselves in sticky situations and use their clever minds to escape. Brimming with African folklore, storytelling, and music, each tale is taken directly from the stories passed down through the folklore of many nations and cultures—including East Africa, Kenya, and the Kalahari Bushmen—and offers important lessons for children of all ages.
    FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN
    By WILL POWER
    March 29-31
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains some adult content/themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
    In the days leading up to one of the most anticipated fights for Cassius Clay—soon to become Muhammad Ali—the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. With a rhythmic script, the play explores the bond that forms between two drastically different and influential cultural icons trying to shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s and examines the true meaning of strength, resilience, and pride.
    THE COOKOUT
    A DANCE MUSICAL
    April 5-7
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $20
    You’ll be dancing in the streets with this new dance musical! It’s time to bring multiple generations of the family together for one big outdoor dance party. And let’s face it: At least half the fun of meeting up is having the young folks teach you the latest moves while the older relatives show how they used to get down back in the day! The Cookout is a dance musical that features all of your favorite songs to groove to. They transcend time and inspire you up off that picnic bench after a day of grilling and dining.
    DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR.
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Music by ALAN MENKEN
    Lyrics by HOWARD ASHMAN, TIM RICE, and CHAD BEGUELIN
    Book by CHAD BEGUELIN
    Based on the Disney film written by RON CLEMENTS, JOHN MUSKER, TED ELLIOTT & TERRY ROSSIO
    June 21- 23
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    Disney’s Aladdin Jr. is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and 2014 hit Broadway show about the “diamond in the rough” street rat who learns that his true worth lies deep within.
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    By GREG WILLIAMS, JR.
    Music by VARIOUS ARTISTS
    July 25-28
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $30
    This new musical is chock-full of sweet blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues.” The diva herself, Georgia, has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry, including physically assaulting Etta James, cursing out Dr. Martin Luther King, and stealing the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top, Georgia takes up singing in a hole-in-the-wall club, ready to do whatever it takes to be number one again.
    PIPELINE
    By DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU
    August 9-11
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains adult language, content and themes. Recommended for ages 16 and up.
    The play’s title refers to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and within it, inner-city public high school teacher Nya is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future—without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
    HAIRSPRAY JR. 
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Book by THOMAS MEEHAM and MARK O’DONNELL
    Music by MARC SHAIMAN
    Lyrics by MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN
    Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by JOHN WATERS
    Date: Fall 2019 (to be announced May 1, 2019)
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    It’s 1962, and spunky, plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has one big dream—to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When she finally gets her shot, she’s transformed from social outcast to sudden star. In balancing her newfound fame with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process. With the help of her outsized mom, Edna, and guest DJ, Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might prove
    ONE NIGHT ONLY 
    A FUNDRAISER FOR NEW VENTURE THEATRE
    SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…
    POLKADOTS
    THE COOL KIDS MUSICAL
    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019
    SEASON 12
    NEW V AWARDS 
    DECEMBER 7, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    Read more »
  • 5 signs a restricted airway may be affecting your child’s health

    For most people, breathing is automatic – the air goes in, the air goes out, and we don’t even think about it.  But for those who have airway problems, it is never that simple –  especially for children.
    “Children who suffer from air-passage problems never get enough oxygen to the brain, which causes them to never get enough sleep,” says Dr. Stuart Frost, an orthodontist and author of The Artist Orthodontist: Creating An Artistic Smile is More Than Just Straightening Teeth (www.drstuartfrost.com).  “They typically do poorly in school and seem inattentive and lethargic.”
    Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing a pause in breathing.  Those pauses in breathing, known as apneic events, often lead to a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Frost says.
    He says signs a child may be impacted by airway blockage include:
    Snoring. Snoring is caused by the vibrations of excess tissue blocking the airway.  When children snore, orthodontists look for a blockage of their airway, from the tip of the nose down to the throat.
    Mouth breathing. When there is no room for the tongue to reach the roof of the mouth (the palate), it can rest in the back of the throat and block the airway.  Also, when a child’s tonsils and adenoids are enlarged, they can reduce the size of the airway at the back of the throat. “Either situation can make it too hard for children to get enough air when breathing through their nose,” Dr. Frost says, “causing them to open their mouth and jut their lower jaw forward during sleep.”
    Clenching or grinding teeth. “If children who are 7 or 8 have baby teeth that are worn from grinding, we know it’s because they’re not getting enough air,” Dr. Frost says. During sleep – and sometimes even when they are awake – their lower jaw is constantly repositioning either side to side or forward to back to open their airway so they can breathe, he says. An expander appliance can widen the nasal passages to help the child take in more air when breathing through the nose.
    Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  Some children who have been diagnosed as ADD may actually just have breathing problems during sleep Dr. Frost says. “ If a child is continually not getting enough oxygen during sleep, the brain will eventually kick in a hyper-alert state to stay alive,” he says. “A child whose brain is hyper-alert tends to bounce off the walls.”
    Bedwetting: A brain that is starving for oxygen can’t wake a child when the urge to go to the bathroom strikes during sleep.  The child will sleep right through any warning sign the brain sends.
    Depending on what’s found during an examination, the solutions for a restricted airway could include braces with an expander appliance, along with surgical removal of adenoids or tonsils.
    “When sleep apnea is not addressed in childhood, over time it can lead to health issues in adulthood,” Dr. Frost says. “By taking care of it when the person is younger, it can save years of restless nights and half-awake days.”
    Read more »
  • Community invited to celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday, Jan 20

    On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church will Celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday.  The speaker for this occasion will be Sharron Hills, the wife of Acadiana District Superintendent Derrick Hills and former pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church.

    The theme for the occasion is “Celebrating a Faithful Future” with the scripture coming from Proverbs 3:3.  The president of St. Mark UMW is Julia Carnes and the senior pastor is Reverend Simon Chigumira.

    For additional information, call the church office at 357-6150.  The public is invited to attend. The church is located at 6217 Glen Oaks Drive in Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
  • State receives $1.2 million grant to address human trafficking

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana has been awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Dept. of Justice Office for Victims of Crime to improve outcomes for child victims of human trafficking.  It will be used to implement a multi-year federal project known as the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative. In addition, Gov. Edwards has declared January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Louisiana.

    “We know human trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the United States and in Louisiana, which is why Donna and I are very passionate about bringing an end to this senseless crime and helping the children and adults who are victimized by it,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are especially excited about this grant to implement the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative. In Louisiana alone, over the last several years thousands of victims have been identified as either confirmed or prospective victims of human sex or labor trafficking. This must end.  Thankfully, we have already begun to see major progress as we work closely with law enforcement and our state lawmakers to support laws and policies to enact harsher penalties on the perpetrators of human trafficking and help to restore the lives of those directly impacted by this terrible tragedy.”

    Louisiana is one of only seven states to receive this fundingsince 2015. The grant will be implemented over a three year period. In 2016, Shared Hope International ranked Louisiana #1 in the nation for its anti-trafficking laws.

    “This is an important issue that everyone needs to be concerned about because it can and does happen in all communities,” said First Lady Donna Edwards. “Human trafficking is a global, national and statewide problem, and we are committed to doing all we can to raise awareness, help those who are in need and prevent others from becoming victims.”

    In February 2018, The Dept. of Children and Family Services annual report to the Legislature revealed that there were a total of 681 confirmed or prospective victims of human trafficking here in Louisiana. 641 (94.1%) of those were sex trafficking victims 29 (5.1%) were sex and labor trafficking victims.  Of all reported victims 356 (52%) were identified as juveniles again which was a 77% increase from the previous year. The saddest piece of data given was that 72 of those sex trafficking juvenile victims were ages 12 and under.

    The Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative will be implemented by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, which is led by Executive Director Dr. Dana Hunter.

    “Louisiana is very progressive in its efforts to identify, treat, and prevent human trafficking,” said Dr. Hunter.  “We want children and families to be aware of the ways in which pimps recruit victims, but we also want citizens to know that we are doing everything possible to increase public safety.”

    Click here to read State of Louisiana Child Sex Trafficking Project Report.

    Click here for proclamation.

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    ‘Carrying on the Dream’ exhibit brings MLK hearse to Baton Rouge, Jan 15.

    The Capitol Park Museum announces a preview of a new exhibit, “Carrying on the Dream” which features a rare display of the hearse that carried prominent civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s body, at the time of his death more than 50 years ago. The public is invited to preview the exhibit at a kickoff event at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – the actual birthday of the iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will also include a special screening of the documentary “I am MLK Jr.” which celebrates the life and explores the character of the American icon.

    Planned in conjunction with The Walls Project, the museum event kicks off the organization’s The MLK Festival of Service – a four-day service event January 18-21 that involves more than 150 local organizations and businesses.

    On Tuesday, doors open at the event at 5:30 p.m. The documentary screening will begin at 6:15 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. The Hearse exhibit preview begins Tuesday at 5:30pm and includes counter stools from the Kress store that were used during the 1960 Civil Rights protest in downtown Baton Rouge. The stools are on loan from Preserve Louisiana.

    Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, led the preservation of hearse and through its exhibit at Capital Park Museum wants to remind young people what Martin Luther King, Jr contributed to society. “It’s important that the next generation really understands how the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. changed the world,” said Graves. “Many of us did not get a chance to hear MLK during his lifetime, so I am hoping they will be able to appreciate him and his work through this tribute to honor his life.”

    “We are excited to kick off MLK Fest with this event. We hope the exhibit and documentary will encourage even more people to come out this weekend and show their support,” said Helena Williams of The Walls Project.

    “This is an opportunity for people to view Dr. King’s hearse as it is such an important piece of history compelling us to contemplate the lasting significance of the civil rights movement,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “The hearse will serve as the centerpiece of a tribute to the struggles of the civil rights movement here in Baton Rouge where the early stages of that time in our nation’s history got its start.”

    Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public.

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    Southern University System Board installs new chair, members

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors today convened for its first meeting of the new year at Southern University Baton Rouge. Atty. Domoine D. Rutledge and the Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr. were installed as the new chair and vice chair, respectively.

    “We have been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility by way of Southern and I approach it with a seriousness of purpose that it warrants,” Rutledge said.

    The two-time Southern alumnus said he had three major objectives for himself and his fellow board members of the system of five campuses — Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

    “…Increased attention and focus to enrollment management,” he said. “Students are the lifeblood of this university. We have to ensure that they have a quality experience academically and otherwise. We must also focus on the alignment of the academic inventory with workforce demands. It is one thing to have a degree but another to have a job. We must ensure our students have marketable skills to compete in a global marketplace.

    “And finally, we cannot ignore how a disinvestment in education — particularly higher education — forces us to create new revenue streams through public and private partnerships and other means that will bear tremendous fruit for this institution for years to come.”

    Also installed to the 16-member board were Raymond Fondel and Leon R. Tarver II — both reappointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. New appointees, Sam Albert Gilliam and Arlanda Williams, were installed as well.

    Gilliam is a former member of the Board (2000-2006) and most recently served as interim chancellor at Southern University Shreveport. Williams represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District and is vice chancellor for workforce development and institutional advancement at Delgado Community College. CrBOekRI

    The Board and others presented tokens of appreciation to Ann A. Smith, outgoing chair, and the Rev. Donald R. Henry, outgoing vice chair, as well as immediate past members Michael Small and the Rev. Joe R. Gant. The Board’s “Above and Beyond” award for Southern University System exemplary employee service went to Patricia Coleman, a payroll accountant at Southern University Baton Rouge.

    Other meeting highlights included more information on the rollout of Southern University System President Ray L. Belton’s working strategic plan for the system; reports from campus chancellors and other administrators; and infrastructure update. The board is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 22 on the campus of Southern University Shreveport.

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    LWC provides guidance to furloughed federal employees in Louisiana

    The Louisiana Workforce Commission recognizes the challenges faced by workers furloughed by the partial government shutdown. Furloughed Federal employees who are impacted by the shutdown are subject to specific documentation requirements:

    • Furlough Notice or documentation if available
    • A copy of the SF8 or SF50
    • Proof of wages (W-2 or check stubs)

    To file a claim go to HiRE at  www.laworks.net. LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie said, “I’ve worked throughout my career with workers faced with the loss of a paycheck, it is never easy.  As with all Unemployment Insurance Claims, wages offset benefits. Claims filing and required documentation are different for furloughed workers. Another extremely important peculiarity exists.  If Congress approves retroactive pay, which has been the norm after prior federal shutdowns, all workers who receive unemployment insurance benefits must repay all benefits received.”

    Important tips and information:

    • Federal employers are contacted and have 12 days to provide wage and separation information.
    • Furloughed workers should continue to file benefits weekly as long as on furlough. Claims processing may take up to three weeks. Continue to file every week.
    • Unemployment Insurance claims based on furloughs may be approved for payment unless there is another disqualifying eligibility issue. In these cases, the claimant will be contacted for additional information.

    All required information can be provided to the LWC by either of these methods:

    • Electronically (best option): The furloughed employee can file their unemployment claim through HIRE (www.louisianaworks.net/hire.) Once logged in, go to Unemployment Services > Provide Specific Documents to upload the requested documentation.
    • Fax: (225) 342-2856 (Attn: Special Claims Unit)

    More information and Frequently Asked Questions can be found athttp://www.laworks.net/UnemploymentInsurance/UI_MainMenu.asp.

     

     

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  • Library programs held for all ages throughout February

    In addition to regular programs, the following special  East Baton Rouge Parish Library programs will be held for all ages throughout February. The asterisks indicate which programs require pre-registration. For more information about or to register for all the programs listed, call the branch where the event is scheduled directly or visit www.ebrpl.com.

    The Library’s Featured Events, www.ebrpl.com (225) 231-3750

    Release the Hounds: Come to the One Book One Community Kickoff Party!

    It’s that time again … time to begin this year’s One Book One Community (OBOC) celebration of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! Everyone in the whole family is invited to join us for a fun, FREE street party at the Main Library at Goodwood from 6 until 8 p.m. Saturday, February 23. You won’t want to miss this family-friendly event that’ll formally kick off the spring reading program with activities including FREE food, games and prizes, crafts, face painting, an old-fashioned Cake Walk to win a delicious confection, live music by the Waelandanna band, plus a visit from Sherlock Holmes and much more! In addition, events will be planned throughout the spring through May with book clubs, community groups, discussions on addiction and substance abuse, film screenings and more related to the book and its author. For more information about this year’s OBOC season, the book and a full schedule of events and programs, visit www.ReadOneBook.org.

    EBRP Library Special Collections Celebrates African-American History Month!

    To celebrate African-American History Month, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Special Collections Department will have displays highlighting the Civil Rights Movement in Baton Rouge, prominent people who have affected change in both the African-American community in Baton Rouge and beyond, as well as an exhibit of local African-American artists and musicians. Special Collections also will introduce its partnership with Google Arts and Culture, a platform that allows the public to connect with art and history from culture institutions around the world. February will mark Special Collections first-ever digital exhibition which will highlight the history of the Baton Rouge blues music scene. Genealogy enthusiasts are invited to register to attend the Resources for African Americans class taught by the knowledgeable and skilled genealogy staff at the Main Library at Goodwood at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 5. Additional information will be posted to the Baton Rouge Room and Genealogy InfoGuides, but patrons are welcome to stop by the Special Collections Department located on the second floor of the Main Library. For more details, program registration or suggestions, call (225) 231-3751.

    African-American Read-In 2019!

    Each year during the month of February, schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, community and professional organizations and interested citizens are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting an African-American Read-In. Everyone is invited to the Library to enjoy and/or participate in several FREE programs to celebrate this annual event! To find out more about the national program, visit http://www.ncte.org/aari. Registration is required for all. For program details and to register, call the Library branch location directly.

    Here’s the schedule:

    • 4 p.m. Mondays, February 4, 11, 18 & 25, River Center Branch
    • 4:30-5:45 p.m. Monday, February 11, Fairwood Branch
    • 3 p.m. Saturday, February 16, Scotlandville Branch
    • 4:45-5:30 p.m. Monday, February 18, Baker Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, Carver Branch
    • 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, Eden Park Branch

     

    VITA Super Tax Day!

    Come to the Main Library at Goodwood from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, February 9, to receive FREE tax preparation assistance through the Capital Area United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program! No registration is necessary, just show up. If spouses are filing jointly, both must be present. Can’t make it? Call 2-1-1 to find your nearest tax site and schedule an appointment. For more information, visit https://www.cauw.org/supertaxday.

     

    Here’s what you should bring:

    • Photo identification
    • Social Security card or ITIN for each family member
    • W-2 forms for all jobs, all 1099 or 1098 forms and information on other income received
    • Child care provider information
    • Checking and savings account information for direct deposit
    • Other relevant information about income and expenses

     

    Get FREE Legal Counsel with the Ask a Lawyer Program

    Adults can come to the Jones Creek Regional Branch from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 9, to take advantage of FREE confidential and individual counseling offered by the Pro Bono Project of the Baton Rouge Bar Association. Area attorneys will be available for one-on-one, 15-minute sessions for legal advice on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Inter-Civic Council of Baton Rouge’s Non-Profit Fair!

    Do you want to learn the missions and visions of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Baton Rouge Area? Perhaps you’d like to find rewarding opportunities to get involved in helping others. If so, come to the Main Library at Goodwood from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, February 16, for the Inter-Civic Council of Baton Rouge’s Non-Profit Fair! See and hear from organizations including the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Susan G. Komen Cancer Center, Families Helping Families, Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, O’Brien House and many more. For more information, call Laura Gilliland at (225) 335-4419.

     

    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile Visits Libraries this Month!

    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile has come back to the Library! Children ages 4-11 are invited to the Library in February to enjoy these FREE informative and entertaining programs designed to educate audiences about wildlife conservation. Attendees will be amazed as they get up close and personal with several live animals at each program and learn about their bone structures, fur and more! Each presentation lasts about one hour. Registration is required for all. For more information and to register, call the Library location directly. Here’s the ZooMobile schedule:

     

    • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, Baker Branch
    • 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, Main Library at Goodwood
    • 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, River Center Branch
    • 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 20, Jones Creek Regional Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 21, Eden Park Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 28, Bluebonnet Regional Branch

     

    Baker Branch Library, 3501 Groom Rd., (225) 778-5950

    Heroes of African-American History: Marian Anderson

    To celebrate African-American History Month, Southern University history professor and Director of the Mwalimu Institute Dr. Charles Vincent will be at the Baker Branch at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 23, to present a discussion for all ages on trailblazer Marian Anderson! An acclaimed singer whose performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 helped set the stage for the civil rights era, Anderson was born February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia. Much of her life was spent breaking down barriers for other African-American performers. FREE school supplies will be given to the first five students to arrive!

     

    Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., (225) 763-2250

    *Record a Song in the Innovation Space!

    Are you a musician or singer and want to record a song on professional equipment? Patrons ages 12 and up can come to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch’s Innovation Space at any time Saturday, February 2, to record a song for FREE! Come check out Bluebonnet Library’s! All you need to bring is your instrument (or voice) and a flash drive to save your song. We’ll have microphones, an audio mixer and knowledgeable staff to help you record your track with GarageBand. To register, visit the online events calendar at www.ebrpl.com or call (225) 763-2250.

     

    Making Communication Possible with Louisiana Relay

    Outreach Coordinator Bobbye Abney will be at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, to demonstrate for adults the FREE services of Louisiana Relay, the organization that makes telephone conversations possible for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking on the phone. Abney will show patrons how the captioned telephone works, explain the communication options that are available and provide the necessary forms to apply for this service.

    Carver Branch Library, 720 Terrace St., (225) 389-7450

    Seven Essential Knots You Need to Know

    Join other adults at the Carver Branch at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 13, to learn how to complete seven essential knots! This skill is useful for everything from survival to hunting, and more. It even can help you keep large items secured properly during transport!

    African-American History Month Film Day

    Adults are welcome at the Carver Branch 3:30 p.m. Monday, February 18, to see the big-screen depiction of a thrilling court case argued by a young Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. In this 2017 biographical legal drama film, Chadwick Boseman portrays the civil rights champion in who would later argue several cases, including the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education, during his earlier years as a traveling attorney for the NAACP.

     

    Eden Park Branch Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd., (225) 231-3250

    African-American History Trivia!

    Celebrate African-American History Month by joining other teens at the Eden Park Branch at 3 p.m. Monday, February 18, for African-American trivia! Categories will include firsts, music, sports, inventions and more. Test your knowledge to win the grand prize! Cookies and lemonade served.

    The Art of Alma Thomas Story/Craft

    Children ages 8-11 can come to the Eden Park Branch at 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, to celebrate African-American History Month and learn about the exuberantly bold art of Alma Woodsey Thomas! We will read about her life in Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison, and then create our own interpretations of her colorful paintings.

    Fairwood Branch Library, 12910 Old Hammond Hwy., (225) 924-9385

    Introduction to 3D Drafting for Teens

    To draw in 3D means to illustrate something that has volume or space. Would you like to learn more about 3D drafting? Teens can come to the Fairwood Branch at 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, to find out the basics of 3D drafting with an online program!

    *Mardi Gras Story/Craft

    It’s Carnival time! Join other kids ages 4-9 at the Fairwood Branch at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 23, for readings of On Mardi Gras Day by Fatima Shaik and Dinosaur Mardi Gras by Dianne de Las Casas. After the stories, each child will make a pair of Mardi Gras glasses and wear them to dance and parade to Mardi Gras music in the Children’s Room! We’ll end the hour with some festive Mardi Gras coloring pages.

    Main Library at Goodwood, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., (225) 231-3750

    Join the Job Club Networking Group! 

    The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is sponsoring an ongoing search and networking group for adult job seekers in professional careers. Job searching can be a lonely and discouraging activity, and this group will provide you with a safe space to meet and network with like-minded professionals who are challenged by the same job hunting process. Attendees will share job

    search experiences, network tips and encouragement, and they’ll learn the latest job search techniques and so much more. Patrons are welcome to join us at the Main Library at Goodwood from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Friday in February. It’s FREE and open to those in professional careers who are seeking employment. Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak will lead the meetings, and topics discussed will differ each week. For more information, call (225) 231-3733. To register, go online to https://www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    Crazy Horse Book Talk with Author William Matson & Clown Family Members

    Adults are invited to the Main Library at Goodwood at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 2, for a FREE book discussion of Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy with author William Matson, along with members of the Edward Clown Family, Floyd Clown and Doug War Eagle. In the book, the Edward Clown family, who are the nearest living relatives to the Lakota war leader Crazy Horse, present the family tales and memories told to them about their famous grandfather. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation.

    Louisiana Trail Riders with Author Jeremiah Ariaz

    Associate Professor at Louisiana State University and author Jeremiah Ariaz will be at the Main Library at Goodwood at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 3, to discuss his most recent work Louisiana Trail Riders with adults. The book is a bridge between Ariaz’s long-standing interest in the American West and his current home in the South. It contains the photographs that have garnered him numerous awards and exhibitions nationally. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation.

    *Resources for African-American Genealogy

    Adults are invited to the Main Library at Goodwood at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, for a class focused on resources designed to help in researching African-American ancestors. Due to the history of slavery, prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans in our country, African-Americans were routinely excluded from many records that could have documented details of their daily lives. In this class, attendees will learn several search techniques and how to navigate special records collections like African American Heritage, Ancestry.com and more that will assist in genealogical research.

    *Write the Résumé That Will Get the Job!

    Lynnette Lee of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Career Center will lead a workshop for adults on writing a great résumé! Come to the Main Library at Goodwood at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 9, to find out how to structure your résumé so that it showcases your most valuable skills. Learn formatting techniques that will make your résumé look clean and professional. You’ll learn about the most common red flags employers look for on résumés and how to avoid them. Registration is required. To register, call (225) 231-3733 or visit www.careercenterbr.com/events.

    *Yes, They Are Hiring: State & City/Parish Civil Service

    If you’re looking for employment with state or local government, we’ve got great news … yes, they’re hiring! Adults are welcome at the Career Center located within the Main Library at Goodwood at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 27, for a FREE seminar that will detail state and city/parish job openings and how to apply for them. A representative from the Louisiana Department of Civil Service will discuss the positions the State will be hiring for in spite of budget cuts, the career paths that different state agencies offer and how to apply for them. The Recruitment and Examination Division of the city of Baton Rouge/parish of East Baton Rouge also will discuss the career options that are available, openings they are seeking to fill, as well as application procedures. Registration is required. To register, visit http://www.careercenterbr.com/events/. For more information, call the Career Center at (225) 231-3733.

     

    Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Rd., (225) 658-1550

    No-Sew Heart Pillow Craft

    We’re in the mood for love … the love of crafting, that is! Teens can come to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, February 2, to make a no-sew pillow perfect for Valentine’s Day. All supplies will be provided for this easy and fun craft.

    Make Mysterious Mardi Gras Masks

    Teens are invited to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, February 23, to make a personalized Mardi Gras mask. Use fabric, puffy paint and glitter to make your craft extra mysterious!

    Scotlandville Branch Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy., (225) 354-7550

    *Resources for African-American Genealogy

    Adults are invited to the Scotlandville Branch at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, for a class focused on resources designed to help in researching African-American ancestors. Due to the history of slavery, prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans in our country, African-Americans were routinely excluded from many records that could have documented details of their daily lives. In this class, attendees will learn several search techniques and how to navigate special records collections like African American Heritage, Ancestry.com and more that will assist in genealogical research.

    For more information about any of these February events or others, call the Library location where the event is being held directly or visit the schedule online at www.ebrpl.com. For general information about the Library, call (225) 231-3750 or visit the Library’s online calendar at www.ebrpl.com. Can’t visit any of our 14 locations, which are open seven days a week? The Library is open 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com.

     

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    Working past 65? Here’s what to know about Medicare

    If you plan to work past 65 and keep the health insurance you’ve had from your job, you’re likely to wonder what, if anything, you need to do about enrolling in Medicare.

    About one in six older Americans now remains in the workforce beyond what was once the traditional retirement age. And the number of older workers will only grow over time.

    One reason is that Social Security now requires you to be at least 66 to collect your full retirement benefits. Retiring earlier means a smaller Social Security check.

    Then, too, a number of sixty-something workers continue to pursue their careers because they can’t afford to retire. Still others simply prefer to stay engaged and on the job.

    Whatever the reason for postponing your retirement, you still need to consider Medicare as you approach your 65th birthday and qualify for the health care coverage.

    First, you should visit with your company’s human resources manager to determine how your employer-provided insurance will fit with Medicare. That’s also true for anyone turning 65 and receiving health care through a working spouse’s group plan.

    Most workers will want to sign up for Medicare’s Part A, which usually has no monthly premium and covers hospital stays, skilled nursing, home health services and hospice care.

    Of course, like most rules of thumb, there’s always an exception. And this one is no different.

    If your employer coverage takes the form of a high-deductible insurance plan with a health savings account, you should defer enrolling in Part A. That’s because the Internal Revenue Service forbids you to continue contributing to your tax-advantaged savings account once you have Medicare.

    When you sign up for Medicare’s Part B, which covers doctor appointments and other outpatient services, mostly depends on how large your employer is.

    If your company or your working spouse’s company has 20 or more employees, your employer-provided insurance will remain your primary coverage and will pay your bills first. You can delay enrolling in Part B until you stop working.

    If you or your spouse’s company has fewer than 20 workers, Medicare will become your primary coverage, and your employer coverage will be secondary, so you should sign up for Part B.

    Assuming that you’re not yet receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare by contacting Social Security at 800-772-1213 orwww.socialsecurity.gov.

    Completing the online application is fairly simple and typically takes 10 to 30 minutes.

    You should do this during what’s called your “initial enrollment period,” which runs from three months before the month you turn 65 to three months after your birthday month. For example, if your 65th birthday is in September, you can sign up any time from June 1 until Dec. 31.

    There’s also the question of whether you’ll need to enroll in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, also known as Part D, when you turn 65 or whether you can put off that decision.

    Again, you should consult with your company’s benefits manager. If your employer plan includes drug coverage that’s at least comparable to Part D coverage, you won’t need to sign up right away.

    When you do finally stop working, you’ll be able to enroll in Medicare (Parts A or B) without risking a late penalty during a special eight-month enrollment period.  You’ll also have two months to select a Medicare drug plan without a penalty.

    To learn more about how your employer health plan works with Medicare, visitwww.medicare.gov/publications and view the booklet “Medicare and Other Health Benefits: Your Guide to Who Pays First.” Or call 800-633-4227 to request a free copy.

    Understanding how your insurance choices fit together as you continue working beyond 65 will help you get the best care for your dollars.

    By Bob Moos
    Southwest public affairs officer
    U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
     

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    Negro League Bobblehead series raises $56K in funding

    The Kickstarter Campaign to create a series of officially licensed, limited edition bobbleheads to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League has raised over $56,000 with five days remaining. The project was launched on December 12, 2018, by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Dreams Fulfilled in conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The goal of the series is to honor and celebrate the league and its players, many of whom were never honored with a bobblehead, while also educating the public about the Negro Leagues and its players.

    Two stretch goals have been added since the start of the campaign, with the first being a bobblehead of Effa Manley, the only female in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the campaign hit the $40,000 mark, that bobblehead is being produced. If the $60,000 mark is reached, the first Milwaukee Bears bobblehead will be produced as part of the second stretch goal. Two additional stretch goals are in the works if the campaign’s momentum continues through the final days. Since the campaign hit the goal, the production process began for several of the other bobbleheads in the series, and Kickstarter backers were the first to see those bobbleheads.

    Kickstarter Backers can secure the best pricing by supporting the project before production of the series begins. Several options are available through the Kickstarter Campaign for people wishing to support the project. As soon as the campaign reached the goal, production of additional production process for the remaining bobbleheads in the series will begin and the bobbleheads will be available in the National Bobblehead HOF and Museum’s online and retail stores, Dreams Fulfilled’s website, www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com, the Negro League Baseball Museum Store and other outlets throughout the country.

    Each bobblehead in the series will be individually numbered to 2,020 and come in a collector’s box with a “back story” of the player. The bobblehead series is officially licensed by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with Dreams Fulfilled and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Approvals have been received from all the identified estates of players featured in the series. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Negro Leagues bobblehead will go to the relatives of the Negro League players and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The players comprising the Negro Leagues Centennial Team were announced at a special event at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City on December 12th. Bob Kendrick, President of the NLBM, announced the team in conjunction with Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled, and the Kickstarter was launched. Within 24 hours, the Kickstarter Campaign reached the initial $10,000 goal. The Kickstarter Campaign concludes on National Bobblehead Day — January 7, 2019 — at 7:07pm central time.

    The Negro League Centennial Team (1920 – 2020) is comprised of 30 of the greatest African-American and Cuban players from 1895-1947. Each player is being depicted on a baseball-shaped base with a replica of Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA, the site where the Negro National League was organized on February 13, 1920. Satchel Paige was the first player selected, and his bobblehead has been completed. Paige will be joined by 10 additional pitchers, three catchers, five outside infielders (1B, 3B), three inside infielders (2B, SS), seven outfielders, one utility player, a manager and an owner as voted on by an online poll at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com and supplemented by five additional players.

    “We are thrilled to commemorate a historic number of former Negro League players with bobbleheads, which are the ultimate honor,” said Phil Sklar, Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. “Many of these players have never had bobbleheads, and these bobbleheads will help ensure that their legacy and vital contribution to baseball and society is always remembered. We have been overwhelmed by the excitement for the series and can’t wait to produce and distribute them.”

    Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled stated, “The Negro Leagues Centennial series will bring long overdue recognition to players who were not only among the best to ever play the game, but also early civil rights pioneers who helped pave the way for integration in baseball and the country.”


    About the Negro Leagues:
    The first successful Negro League was founded by Rube Foster on February 13, 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. Foster believed an organized league structured like major league baseball would lead to eventual integration of the sport and racial reconciliation. Foster did not live to see his dream come true. Others picked up his cause and in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line.


    About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
    The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is finishing set-up of its permanent location, which is expected to open this winter. The HOF and Museum was announced in November 2014 and hosted a Preview Exhibit in 2016. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for organizations, individuals and teams across the country. Visit us at www.BobbleheadHall.comFacebook.com/BobbleheadHall or Twitter.com/BobbleheadHall


    About Dreams Fulfilled:
    Dreams Fulfilled was organized to promote the Negro National League Centennial in 2020. Its founder, Jay Caldwell, has been selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the primary exhibitor for an art and artifact exhibition at the museum between February 1 and May 31, 2020. Dreams Fulfilled will be exhibiting 300 original pieces of art honoring Negro League players and nearly 100 artifacts of African American baseball dating back to 1871. Visit us at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com or www.facebook.com/NegroLeaguesHistory


    About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:
    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM operates one block from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League in 1920. In 2006, the NLBM was designated as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” by the United States Congress.

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    Habitat for Humanity Opens 2019 Application

    Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge is now accepting applications for the homeownership program through February 28, 2019. Applications can be accessed online at habitatbrla.org or in person at either of their two ReStore locations or at the local Habitat office, located at 6554 Florida Blvd., Suite 200 in Baton Rouge.

    Those seeking more information will be directed to additional information, including the application process, requirements for the program and income requirements (with minimum and maximum income based on family size needed to qualify).

    Habitat for Humanity works with each prospective homeowner partner through their 255 required “sweat equity” hours and their path to an affordable mortgage. Families/individuals are selected based on need, ability to pay a monthly mortgage, willingness to partner and Louisiana residency.

    Applications can be submitted in person Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. until Thursday, Feb. 28. No late applications will be accepted. For information, call 225-927-6651.

    ONLINE:  habitatbrla.org

     

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    Symposium to discuss ‘The Color of Currency’ in Baton Rouge, Feb. 2

    The Color of Currency is a one-day symposium designed to assist prospective Black entrepreneurs and current business owners with best practices around raising capital/providing resource information to aid in the enhancement of an existing business and development of a start-up business. Presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC in association with 100 Black Women of Baton Rouge, MetroMorphosis, and other community organizations.

    The event will feature a panel discussion with Black economic leaders in the Baton Rouge area, break out sessions, a keynote address from ExemptMeNow CEO, Sevetri Wilson, mini consultation sessions, food, music and more.

    Sponsored in part by Renee Marie.

    ONLINE: Color of Currency

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    Become a local expert and news source

    Are you an expert on topics and issues critical to our city?

    Can you be a source of insight on issues like community development, politics, education, social/criminal justice, economics/finances? What about religion, relationships/sex, or alternative health? Are you a scholar or connoisseur of music, movies, or food? Do you have great understanding of housing, construction, real estate? Are you a historian of sports, a city historian, or a collector of artifacts? 

    Complete this form

    We’d love to interview you in 2019!

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    Courtney M. Scott named chief service officer

    Courtney M. Scott has been named chief service officer for Mayor-President Sharon Broome. Scott has over 15 years of multi-faceted experience in project management, community engagement, and communications. She has deep relationships with Baton Rouge’s arts, cultural, non-profit, academic as well as business and civic communities. Her passion and commitment to the city are unparalleled.

    Scott earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in Mass Communication from Southern University and is a graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School.

    As Chief service officer Scott will support the development of strategic city initiatives focused on increasing volunteerism, community engagement, and new partnerships with businesses and philanthropic leaders. Upcoming initiatives that fall under the chief service officer include Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.

    “Service has shaped my character and success, and I am honored and humbled to serve the Baton Rouge community in this role,” said Scott. “My goal is to create a collaborative experience for residents by developing action-oriented plans that deliver concrete results and continuously improve quality of life while furthering progress in our community.”

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  • Holiday season, a perfect time for dialogue on neglected mental health issues

    There is no perfect time to bring up this subject. But this is as good of a time as any.

    You would have to be literally living under a rock to ignore it. Mental health challenges in America are increasing at a meteoric rate. Traditionally, the holiday season can be stressful for any American. It’s much worse for those who already have issues.

    In this column, I want to do two things. First, we will examine good advice for anyone to adhere to during this season of the year. Secondly, let’s take a look at the tender, loving care needed for those who struggle throughout the year.
    Here are the tips for the general public when it comes to avoiding the holiday blues:

    • Stick as closely as possible to normal routines.
    • Make sure you get adequate sleep and rest.
    • Take time for yourself, but don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with supportive and caring people.
    • Eat and drink in moderation. The last thing you want to do is turn to alcohol, or drugs, for a boost.
    • Get in a little exercise even if you normally don’t. Do the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Park farther than closer at the mall. Take short walks.
    • For each day, stay organized by a “to do” list. Outside distractions and extra activities can complicate life. This can help keep it together.
    • Set reasonable goals and expectations for holiday activities such as shopping, cooking, entertaining, and partying. Over-planning sets you up for failure.
    • Set a budget from the outset – for everything. How much to spend on eating out? How much to spend on entertainment? Gift purchases? Don’t overdo it.
    • Carve out some “me too” time. Get away to yourself and listen to music or find other ways to exhale. Relaxation is key to balance during a time of hustle and bustle.
    • Never compare what you do or don’t do, to others. If someone you know well is doing way more, getting way more, giving way more, let them do them. You do you. Holiday joy is not a competitive sport.

    When we ignore sensibilities, the risk of fatigue, tension, loneliness, sadness, loss, frustration and isolation become real. Just let go and let it flow. Remember this moment will pass and life will return to a closer state of normalcy. Even then, these are good rules to follow to maintain that necessary balance.

    And whatever you do, don’t let people make you feel bad for any reason. Sometimes imagination can become the most formidable barrier between our thought process and true peace of mind. Sometimes they – whoever they may be – really aren’t talking about you. And even if “they” are, in the end, what does it matter.

    Keep in mind that people who care about you most are those you should care about most.

    Resist the temptation to be weighed down in fear during the holiday season. Remember the simplicity of the reality that this too shall pass. Keep constantly at the forefront of your thinking the simple truth that 95 percent of those things that we dreadfully fear never actually come to fruit- ion.
    As alluded to earlier, there are those among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, associates, parishioners and organizational affiliation facing health challenges all year.

    If you don’t already know their reality, you can hardly ever tell just by looking. They can be the most attractive, best-dressed, well-educated, articulate, clever, witty, outspoken, creative, and resourceful people in the room. None of those have anything to do with the workings of a troubled mind.

    Mental illness takes myriad forms. Bipolar disorders. Depression. Anxiety or panic. Schizophrenia. Excessive phobia. Obsessive, compulsive disorder. Borderline personality disorder. Suicidal or self-harmful behavior. Dissociative disorders. Eating disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychosis. Tourette’s syndrome.

    There is not enough space to delve into each. Perhaps at another writing, we can explore the symptoms, the effects, treatments.
    For now, the point is to urge one and all to recognize their existence and not to shun those who may be suffering. We need to embrace them on whatever level of familiarity we enjoy with them. Let them know they do not need to hesitate sharing their struggle.

    The Black community is particularly in need of addressing mental health among our friends, associates and family members. It does no good to offer some surface explanation for what we know is a deeper issue; no bandage to cover a virtual tumor.

    Finally, many African Americans suffer symptoms of these illnesses in silence and secrecy. We need to make more of an effort to encourage people to step forward for what is more often than not a treatable – if not curable – issue.

    The point is, African Americans need to embrace this cause with fervor through the holiday season and the year. There is no better time than now to launch a massive movement in our community encouraging heightened awareness, sensitive and necessary care for our mental health.

    By Vernon A. Williams
    Black Press USA

    This article originally appeared in The Chicago Crusader.

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  • Young received distinction honors

    Angela Nichols Young, Ph.D., of Lake Providence, has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming Trademark Women of Distinction 2018 Honors for demonstrating dedication and professional excellence. She is CEO of Healthy Minds Counseling Angency and the House of Hope for Boys in Bastrop.

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    Free library programs scheduled for all ages January

    The following special East Baton Rouge Parish Library programs will be held for all ages throughout January 2019. For more information about or to register for all the programs listed, call the branch where the event is scheduled directly or visit www.ebrpl.com. Can’t visit any of our 14 locations, which are open seven days a week? The Library is open 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com.

    The Library’s Featured Events, www.ebrpl.com (225) 231-3750
    Library Closures in Observance of January Holidays
    All locations of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library will close early at 6 p.m. Monday, December 31, and all day Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in observance of New Year’s Day. The Library also will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For more information about these holiday closures, call (225) 231-3750. Check out the Digital Library 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary.

    Join the Job Club Networking Group!
    The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is sponsoring an ongoing search and networking group for adult job seekers in professional careers. Job searching can be a lonely and discouraging activity, and this group will provide you with a safe space to meet and network with likeminded professionals who are challenged by the same job hunting process. Attendees will share job search experiences, network tips and encouragement, and they’ll learn the latest job search techniques and so much more. Patrons are welcome to join us at the Main Library at Goodwood from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Friday in January. It’s FREE and open to those in professional careers who are seeking employment. Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak will lead the meetings, and topics discussed will differ each week. For more information, call 225-231-3733. To register, go online to https://www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    *Get a Jump on Success, Take the ACT Practice Test!
    Your Library will offer a FREE American College Testing (ACT) practice exam at two locations this month! Teens can come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 5, and the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to take the practice test. Spots are limited to 25 students per location, so you must register. Please note that preference will be given to teens who are currently enrolled in high school, and middle school students who wish to take the test will be permitted to do so only if there are still spots available the Monday before the test date. The paper practice test will be administered by Library staff through the Homework Louisiana database. Results will be sent to students via email; please allow 7-10 days to receive scores. Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    *Mastering the Job Interview
    Are you searching for a new job? Your performance during an interview can determine whether or not you get your dream job. Learn how to perfect your job interview skills through this FREE seminar! Adults can come to the Main Library at Goodwood at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 12, to get tips for a great interview, common traps and pitfalls to avoid and interactive demonstrations for answering the most common interview questions. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call the Career Center at (225) 231-3733 or visit www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    Get Organized in the New Year!
    Are you looking for tips and tricks to clean up the clutter and get organized? Join Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair at the Main Library at Goodwood for a FREE seminar that’ll help you do just that! Adults are invited to the Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, to learn strategies that can help bring order to any space.

    The FBI & the Clementine Hunter Art Forgery Case
    Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an Art Crime Team? The East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections Departments invites adults to the Main Library at Goodwood at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, for a presentation led by Special Agent Randy Deaton of the FBI’s Rapid Deployment Art Crime Team’s New Orleans Division. Deaton will discuss what the Art Crime Team does, as well as his investigation of the forgery of artwork by Clementine Hunter, a renowned Louisiana folk artist. Hunter was from north Louisiana, and in her earliest years, she sold her paintings for only 25 cents! By the time she died in 1988, many of them were valued in the thousands of dollars, some worth even more today. Several of Hunter’s paintings will be on display during the talk.

    *Geaux Science for Girls Storytimes
    Girls in kindergarten through third grade are invited to enjoy a special Geaux Science for Girls storytime at four Library locations this month! Girls can go to the either the Main Library at Goodwood, Baker Branch, Bluebonnet Regional Branch or Eden Park Branch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 26, to have fun with science and math-themed stories, plus hands-on science and math experiences led by some of Louisiana State University’s (LSU) top women scientists and mathematicians. Sponsored by Halliburton and the LSU College of Science, this unique storytime is designed to inspire the next generation of women innovators! Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile Visits Libraries in January & February!
    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile has come back to the Library! Children ages 4-11 are invited to the Library in January and February to enjoy these FREE informative and entertaining programs designed to educate audiences about wildlife conservation. Attendees will be amazed as they get up close and personal with several live animals at each program and learn about their bone structures, fur and more! Each presentation lasts about one hour. Registration is required for all. For more information and to register, call the Library location directly. Here’s the ZooMobile schedule:

    • 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 3, Pride-Chaneyville Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, Zachary Branch
    • 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 23, Fairwood Branch
    • 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, Delmont Gardens Branch
    • 10 a.m. Thursday, January 24, Carver Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, Central Branch
    • 4 p.m. Friday, January 25, Scotlandville Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, Baker Branch
    • 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, Main Library at Goodwood
    • 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, River Center Branch
    • 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 20, Jones Creek Regional Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 21, Eden Park Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 28, Bluebonnet Regional Branch

    Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., (225) 763-2250
    Organizing for Your Weight Loss Goals
    Do you want to lose weight but feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it? Adults are invited to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 8, for a FREE presentation led by Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair that will explore the connection between the struggle with weight and disorganization. The seminar will offer simple organizational strategies that can help make achieving your weight loss goals easier. Start the New Year with positive action!

    Teen Bookmark Contest
    Grab your squad and head over to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 3 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to design a handcrafted bookmark with other teens, and then submit it for consideration in a contest! Prizes will be awarded to the top two winners.

    Stress Survival Workshop
    Stress wears away at your energy, immune system function, and emotional wellbeing. Prolonged, chronic stress can cause vulnerability to illness and disease. There is something you can do about it, however. Adults are welcome at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 17, for a FREE stress survival workshop led by Dr. Karen Dantin, MD. The presentation will offer tools that can be used to identify and eliminate recurring daily stressors, plus relaxation techniques that can help reduce the strain life can bring.

    Carver Branch Library, 720 Terrace St., (225) 389-7450
    *Code It: Programming a Piano Story/Craft
    Kids ages 9-11 can come to the Carver Branch at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to hear a reading of Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch, and Code It! Programming and Keywords You Can Create Yourself by Jessie Alkire. Later, each child will learn how to code using simple software.

    *DIY Lemon Raspberry Lip Balm
    Adults can come to the Carver Branch at 4 p.m. Monday, January 28, for a fun craft that can help provide some much-needed relief in the winter months. Using simple, household ingredients, you’ll learn how to make sweet raspberry lemon-flavored lip balm. Limited to 10 participants.

    Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., (225) 274-4450
    *Octaband Movement Program
    This is a program for children ages 6-8 with physical disabilities. Come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 10, to hear a reading of excerpts from Being Fit by Valerie Bodden. After the story, we’ll move like an octopus by stretching, shrinking, flowing, flexing, cooperating and connecting to fun music!

    Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Rd., (225) 658-1550
    Make a Classy T-Shirt Necklace!
    Teens can head over to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 5, to make the perfect accessory for turtleneck shirts and sweaters. With five strips of T-shirt fabric formed into rings and an artificial flower for flair, you can create a simple and fabulous necklace!

    Rubber Band Bracelets
    You won’t believe how fast you can make these cool bracelets! Come to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to craft with other teens. We’ve got colors for both guys and girls, so bring your squad with you to make fun creations without a loom!

    Scotlandville Branch Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy., (225) 354-7550
    Envision Your New Year: Vision Board Craft
    Start the New Year with optimism to reach your goals! Teens are invited to the Scotlandville Branch at 3:30 p.m. Monday, January 7, to think about your goals, and then create a vision board using a poster and magazine clippings. After the craft, we’ll enjoy a sweet treat and discuss our plans for 2019!

    *You Can Be a King Story/Craft
    Kids ages 3-7 can come to the Scotlandville Branch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 19, to hear a reading of You Can Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford. Later, each child will create a Martin Luther King Jr. dreamcatcher craft.

    For more information about any of these January 2019 events or others, call the Library location where the event is being held directly or visit the schedule online at www.ebrpl.com. For general information about the Library, call (225) 231-3750 or visit the Library’s online calendar at www.ebrpl.com.

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    Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown retires with 30 years civil service

    USAF - 1980-1Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown retired Nov. 3 with 30 years federal civil service and 34 years in the U.S. Air Force.State Rep. Barbara Norton acknowledged the occasion as Bianca Brown Day. Brown also received proclamations from Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senator W. Jay Luneau. According to her husband, Tony Brown, she has “commuted from Woodworth to Barksdale AFB in Bossier–282 miles a day–for more than 15 years. She has driven 1.1 million miles in that time she says for God and Country.”

    Master Sergeant Bianca S. Sellers-Brown is the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for the 307th Mission Support Group Commander’s Support Staff, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, responsible for managing the administrative support functions for over 400 personnel. She has the additional responsibility of Wing Focal Point for the Unit Training Assembly Processing System (UTAPS), managing the participation records for over 1,400 Reserve personnel assigned to the 307th Bomb Wing. As a Wing Focal Point, she also provides training and helpdesk support to all personnel requiring access to UTAPS and the Air Force Reserve Orders Writing system (AROWS-R). Because of her wide breadth of experience and expertise in her career field, she was also appointed to the Wing Inspection Team. Her willingness to assist when required resulted in her being requested by name to provide backfill administrative support to almost 200 personnel assigned to the 489th Bomb Group at Dyess AFB, TX. She has served over 34 years in the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserves combined.

    Sergeant Sellers-Brown was born in Redlands, California and enlisted in the Air Force through the delayed enlistment program in January 1980, while a senior in high school. After graduating high school, she departed for basic military training in July 1980. She graduated Administrative Support Specialist technical training school at Keesler AFB, MS in October 1980. Her first active duty assignment was overseas at RAF Fairford, England with the 7020th Air Base Group. In January 1983, she was transferred to the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, the “Flying Tigers”, at England AFB in Alexandria, Louisiana where she attended Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School in November 1987 and received the award of Distinguished Graduate. Her final active duty position was serving as the Military Secretary to the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing Commander. She separated from active duty in December 1992.

    In March 1997, she joined the Air Force Reserve, serving with the 917th Transportation Squadron at Barksdale AFB, LA. While assigned to the Transportation Squadron, she deployed as a transporter to RAF Fairford, England in support of Coronet Astro (Jun 1998), Elmendorf AFB, Alaska (Jun 1999), Australia in support of Operation Tandum Thrust (May 2001) and Istres, France (Sep 2001).

    In July 2001, she accepted a full-time position as an Air Reserve Technician (ART) with the 917th Maintenance Squadron. She earned recognition as the 917th Wing Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter, Apr-Jun 2002. In April 2004, she was hired as the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Commander’s Support Staff (CSS) with the 917th Mission Support Group (MSG), working directly for the Mission Support Group Commander and promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant in May 2004. In Jan 2011, the 917th Wing inactivated and was reactivated as the 307th Bomb Wing. She remained assigned to the 307th MSG as the Unit Program Coordinator until 1 Oct 2017 when she was assigned the task of standing up the newly reorganized Group CSS for the 307th MSG.

    Her awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon Long Tour, Air Force Longevity Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, USAF Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle) and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

    Sergeant Sellers-Brown is married to Tony Brown of Lake Charles, LA and together they have three children, Shayne (Danielle) Daney, Joseph Brown, and Sydney Brown and six grandchildren, Jaynila, Joseph Jr, Joeria, André, Adrian, and Jylell. Tony is a news journalist and owner of Eyes Open Productions, who was recently featured in a television documentary by Investigation Discovery.

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    Youth ambassadors travel to the nation’s capital

    A panel of judges selected Kentwood High Magnet School 4-H’ers Jayla Berry and Ronny Johnson Jr. to represent Tangipahoa Parish at the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training. The selection was made during an Impromptu Essay Contest on October 10.  These students were tasked with guiding their peers and communities, into living healthier lifestyles through the use of The Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project. 

    The training was held at the National 4-H Council Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1– 3. 4-H youth and adult leaders from the Southern University Land-Grant Campus attended workshops on implementing the HYPE Project Curriculum. While attending the training, youth also had an opportunity to learn about health disparities, community access, policies, systems, and environmental changes through hands-on activities.

    Since attending the training, Berry and Johnson have hit the ground running and have committed to revitalizing Kentwood High Magnet’s school garden and building a Humanity Box for the Town of Kentwood.  During a regular 4-H Club meeting on November 14 the Youth Ambassadors presented their plans, and solicited their club members for feedback in getting the projects underway.

    The HYPE Project is a five-phase model which teaches youth ambassadors how to impact their communities by establishing youth-led campaigns. The phases of the project are: Think, Learn, Act, Share and Evaluate.

    For additional information about 4-H programs in Tangipahoa Parish, contact Nicolette Gordon, assistant youth development Agent at 985-748-5462.

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

    Photo:  Kentwood High Magnet School students Ronny Johnson, Jr. and Jayla Berry attended the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1-3, 2018. The two youth ambassadors are developing plans to make their school and community healthier. (Photo courtesy of Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center.)

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    Professor researches link between ADHD, entrepreneurship

    Reginald L. Tucker, assistant professor in the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, recently published an article in Journal of Business Venturing that examined the influence of ADHD on business start-up.

    “It’s my most cited paper, and I think seminal to the Mental Health and Entrepreneurship literature stream,” said Tucker, adding, “We found that ADHD did influence business start-up when impulsivity was present.”

    There has been increased interest recently in how negative traits associated with mental disorders, such as ADHD, may have positive implications in entrepreneurship. While this research has the potential of producing important results, it is still in its infancy and consequently has received limited attention. To that end, Tucker’s study developed and tested a model that ADHD influences entrepreneurship through the multifaceted trait of impulsivity or the tendency to act on impulse rather than thought.

    “Findings demonstrate that entrepreneurship is indeed a unique area where negative traits, such as ADHD, may represent valuable assets,” Tucker said. There are at least two important practice implications associated with the results. First, the results imply that individuals with ADHD symptoms may be empowered to craft their own jobs to fit their special needs. Second, the findings suggest that people with ADHD symptoms and impulsivity will tend to prefer action speed over action accuracy and that this may be functional in the context of entrepreneurship.”

    ONLINE: https://www.lsu.edu/business/sdeis/index.php.

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    Council on Aging purchases property to expand services

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging Purchases Property to Expand Meal Services.

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging has purchased 2.8 acres to meet the demands of meals on wheels and congregate meals services.  The property, located on North 18th Street, will be the site of a new 25,000 square feet facility that will provide much-needed space for preparing home-delivered meals to seniors and congregate (hot) meals that are delivered to the 26 senior centers and feeding sites across the parish.

    “We have performed miracles in the current, but outdated, facility and I am eager to begin construction on a new state of the art building that will accommodate the ever-increasing needs of seniors in our Parish,” said Tasha Clark-Amar, CEO.

    The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has been housed at the 5790 Florida Boulevard location for over 30 years.  The new facility will not only include a commercial kitchen and meal packing facility, but also a space for administrative offices for more than 60 employees and parking for the agency’s fleet of Meals on Wheels vans.

    “The North 18th/Fuqua site has been an abandoned property in my district for a number of years.  I am proud the Council on Aging is not only expanding services for seniors but investing in a much-needed area of the Parish,” said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

    The Council on Aging will begin the design phase of the new development in January, with hopes of moving into the new building in approximately 18 months.

    “Many thanks to our board of directors and staff for all their hard work bringing this vision to fruition.  The entire parish will benefit from this investment in seniors, and the community as a whole,” said board chairwoman Jennifer Moisant.

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    Dyslexia screening provision included in new criminal justice reform bill

    Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate health and education committee, announced that his provision providing for the screening of inmates for dyslexia is included in the new version of the First Step Act (S. 3649), legislation endorsed by President Trump to reform America’s criminal justice system. Cassidy announced his support for the legislation two weeks ago.

    “Having treated patients in prisons, I learned that illiteracy often leads someone to turn to a life of crime. Dyslexia is a leading cause of illiteracy, so to address illiteracy and incarceration, we must better address dyslexia,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I’m pleased Chairman Grassley, Jared Kushner and the White House agreed to incorporate my proposal for screening inmates for dyslexia into this bill. It makes sense that if a someone learns to read, they’re less likely to end up in prison and more likely to be a productive member of society. And if someone ends up in prison, they’re more likely to get a job and keep it once they are released. In the end, I think this will save some people from the prison system, make our streets safer, and save taxpayers money.”

    A study found that 80 percent of prison inmates at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, were functionally illiterate and 48 percent were dyslexic.

    The First Step Act will formally define dyslexia as “an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, and spell.” The bill requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate an evidence-based, low-cost, readily available dyslexia screening program into the new risk and needs assessment system, including by screening for dyslexia during the prisoner intake process and each periodic risk reassessment of a prisoner. It also requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate dyslexia treatment programs into recidivism reduction programs.

    In October, Cassidy and his wife, Dr. Laura Cassidy, coauthored a column about their family’s personal struggle to overcome dyslexia.

    In June, Cassidy met with Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner about prison reform, and Cassidy stressed the need to identify and address dyslexia in early education in order to prevent students from being consigned to a path of illiteracy, crime, and incarceration.

    Ameer Baraka

    Ameer Baraka

    In May 2016, Cassidy chaired a HELP Committee hearing on understanding dyslexia. The hearing featured actor Ameer Baraka, a New Orleans native who struggled with dyslexia as a student and turned to selling drugs. Barak discussed how he taught himself to read in prison on Fox News in April 2017.

    In February 2016, Cassidy’s READ Act was signed into law by President Obama. The legislation requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to devote at least $2.5 million to dyslexia research every year.

    In 2015, Cassidy hosted world experts on dyslexia for a discussion at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and chaired HELP Committee field hearings on dyslexia and education in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

    Each year, Cassidy introduces a resolution in the Senate designating October as National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

    Read more »
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    ‘Verbs, Vittles, and Vibes’ featured at SU event

    The Southern University Museum of Art, in partnership with the Nu Gamma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., recently hosted “Verbs, Vittles, and Vibes: A tribute to the Black Arts Movement” on Thursday, Dec. 13 at the SU museum located in Martin L.Harvey Hall.

    The Black Arts Movement, led by poet Imamu Amiri Baraka, took place from 1965-1975 and impacted the poetry, music, art, and literature. Artists used the on-going political climate as a muse for their work. Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Haki Madhubuti, and Sonia Sanchez are notable names that contributed to the cause. Though started in the New York/ New Jersey area, it shifted to Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and San Francisco, California.

    Guests enjoyed a reading of their favorite poems, light music, and refreshments.

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    Dr. Maurice Sholas inspires SU grads at fall commencement

    Nearly 500 graduates earned degrees from Southern University at its fall commencement, December 14. Led in by Traci Smith, chief student marshal, graduates convened to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as commissions to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. The newest alumni heard from one of their own, Dr. Maurice Sholas, a physician and principal for Sholas Medical Consulting LLC.

    “You may look at today as a glorious ending, but it is a glorious beginning,” Sholas said to the graduates.

    The Baton Rouge native reflected on his family legacy of Southern alumni, beginning with his parents, who met each other at the university.

    “My first visit to Southern was while I was in my mother’s womb,” Sholas said. “My heart was set on Southern from the start in spite of naysayers — those who said I could go to a “good school” because I had good grades. Well, Southern University wasn’t just good to me. It was great.

    “I came here to see what is possible for people like us. I became a part of a community that cares for and cared about me.”

    Sholas said that Southern prepared him for life beyond the Bluff in a number of ways, including him going on to Harvard to earn his M.D. and Ph.D.

    “Southern gave me the confidence to stand with those from corners of the world I’d never heard of,” he said.

    Sholas told the graduates to not fret about tomorrow as they celebrated their achievements today.

    “You don’t have to know today (what’s next),” he said. “When I was sitting here, I had no idea what I would be doing for the next 20 years. While you sort it out, keep moving forward. Excellence defines us. Pride sustains us. Tradition guides us. We are Southern.”

    Sholas closed by reminding the graduates that Southern is a family-oriented organization that reaches well beyond the acres in the capital city.

    “Your SU tribe is a short phone call or text away,” he said. “And my service to you is not over after this message. What I know… what I have experienced is yours. We are Southern.”

    Former Louisiana Sen. Diana E. Bajoie received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. The Southern University alumna who is a pioneer in state politics. In 1976, she was the only woman serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives; in 1991, she was the first black woman elected to the Louisiana Senate; and in 2004, she was the first woman elected as Senate President Pro Tempore.

    The ceremony can be viewed in its entirety at https://bit.ly/2SLS59d. The Fall 2018 Commencement program can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2S0ByhV.

    By Jasmine Hunter
    Special to The Drum

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    Louisiana Democracy Project gives Devil Swamp warning: ‘Don’t eat the coon’

    It may be cultural. It may be heritage but once cold weather and or holidays hit, a segment of the Louisiana population has a taste for wild game such as raccoon.

    Generally, this is not a problem but the Louisiana Democracy Project is continuing to issue warnings to its constituents to avoid eating wild life from the Devil Swam/Bayou Baton Rouge areas. “During the summer an advisory was issued by the Department of Health & Hospitals, along with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries warning people not to eat fish or crawfish from the area. “We know many people enjoy eating raccoons and raccoons enjoy eating fish and crawfish. We think it is important to warn everyone to avoid not only the seafood but the seafood eating mammals as well”, said Stephanie Anthony, LDP president and chair of Pray for Our Air program.

    Paul Orr of the Lower Mississippi River Keepers agrees that people should not eat largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, or raccoons from the area. Samples show HCB hexachlorobenzene, HCBD hexachlorobutadine, PCB polychorinateed biphenyls, arsenic, lead and mercury in the fish.

    There have been advisory’s out since 1993 telling citizens not to drink, swim or play in the water because of contamination. Whereas some citizens around Alsen, Baker and even the Cedarcrest area of East Baton Rouge Parish say they are vaguely aware of contamination, they do not relate this knowledge to fish-eating mammals.

    Devil Swamp covers over 8 miles and more than 6,000 acres of land. It is bounded on the north by Hall Buck Marine Road on the east, by the bluff and the Baton Rouge Barge Harbor and on the south and west by the Mississippi River.

    During the question and answer period after a presentation to the Green Army meeting at Greater King David Church, award winning scientist Wilma Supra remarked that there was not legislative funding to replace signs damaged or destroyed, to warn citizens about hunting, fishing or swimming in contaminated waters. During the 1980s then State Representative Joseph A. Delpit authored legislation requiring signs posting to warning of water contamination in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Today the population in Baton Rouge is 54.98 percent Black, 3.32 percent Hispanic and 3.48 percent Asian. That correlates to about 126,089 Black, 7,974 Asian and 7606 Hispanic equaling over 60 percent of the population.

    Veteran environmentalist Willie Fontenot is said to have named Bayou Baton Rouge, decades ago. He attests to the contamination in the area. He said Devil Swam area is so contaminated that only the devil would enjoy it at this point.

    Anthony said the Louisiana Democracy Project does not ordinarily tackle water issues but they see this is a true grassroots issue affecting the quality of life for citizens whose lives they touch on other issues. They encourage interested parties to contact them at 225-907-1459 or the Department of Health and Hospitals 888-293-7020.

    Feature photo by Jed Postman, taken from SeriousEats.com

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  • Williams inducted as first Black chief judge of the Second Circuit

    Chief Judge Felicia Toney Williams, of Tallulah, has been inducted Dec. 13 to the Second Court of Appeals in Shreveport. On Oct. 4, Williams became the first Black chief judge of the Second Circuit, which serves 20 parishes in North Louisiana. She has served four years on the Louisiaiana Judiciary Commission, and chair of the Louisiana Conference of Court of Appeal Judges. She was elected unapposed to a third, 10-year term. She is married to attorney Moses Junior Williams. She had three children Rhonda, Myra and Justin, and two grandchildren Christian and Camryn.

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    North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative selects 200 new students

    The North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative has selected 200 local students to be part of the program’s fifth cohort, which will begin in January 2019. The students are predominantly from North Baton Rouge and are pursuing careers in electrical, pipefitting, millwright and welding crafts. Each student will receive free training and a National Center for Construction Education and Research Core, Level I, and Level II certification after completion of the program.

    The NBRITI program began in 2012 spearheaded by ExxonMobil in an effort to better connect community members to industry jobs. The training is based at Baton Rouge Community College’s Acadian Campus and provides no-cost training for high-demand crafts. For the past six years, several partners have supported the program and hired graduates including Baton Rouge Community College, ExxonMobil, Excel Group, Cajun Industries, ISC, Turner Industries, Performance Contractors, Jacobs Engineering, Pala Group, Triad, Brock Group, Geo Heat Exchangers, Stupp Corporation, GBRIA, Associated Builders and Contractors, Urban League of Louisiana, and Employ BR.

    “Our partnership is ensuring sustainable workforce educational opportunities in North Baton Rouge, as well as the entire region. ExxonMobil’s continued commitment to bring together business and industry, education institutions and the community is the model of corporate citizenship,” said BRCC Chancellor Larissa Steib.

    _G4A8249About 800 applicants for the fifth training class were screened by the Baton Rouge Community College and partner company representatives through a testing and interview process. Many attended the North Baton Rouge Career Fair in October to learn about opportunities in industry. The college will offer reduced-cost training opportunities for those students not accepted into the NBRITI program.

    “This training has the power to be transformative – not just for the graduates — but for their families as well. We will be hiring millwrights directly from this new class, and I pledge to continue to lead the initiative forward,” said ExxonMobil Refinery Manager Gloria Moncada. With the addition of a millwright track, this new class will triple in size compared to previous classes.

    A unique aspect of the program is a social skills component involving ongoing tutoring, financial literacy training, and resume and interview assistance. This involves additional support from organizations including the Urban League of Louisiana, BancorpSouth, and ExxonMobil YMCA Community Outreach Retiree Alliance.

    About 45 students of the current, fourth training class will graduate on Jan. 24, 2019, at a special ceremony at the Baton Rouge Community College Acadian Campus.

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    ‘Revolutionary health research initiative’ launched in Baton Rouge

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the National Institutes of Health launched a revolutionary health research initiative called “All of Us Research Program” in Baton Rouge.

    The All of Us Research Program is building the largest and most diverse health data resource of its kind by asking one million or more people from across the country of different races, ethnicities, age groups, geographic regions, gender identities, sexual orientations, and health statuses to share their unique health information. Many of these people have historically been underrepresented in medical research. Health data from such a large and diverse group of people will enable scientists to study how different factors – from genetics to exercise habits – affect a person’s health.

    Baton Rouge is one of the early cities in the nation to see a focused effort to recruit participants, led locally by Blue Cross. The All of Us Research Program recognizes Louisiana’s diverse population and unique health challenges and encourages residents to sign up for a chance to be part of the future of precision medicine.

    Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. With eyeglasses and hearing aids, we have long had customized solutions to individual needs. More recently, treating certain types of cancer is now possible with therapies targeted to patients’ DNA.

    By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves, the All of Us Research Program will enable researchers to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

    “The All of Us Research Program is an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to be represented in research and pioneer the next era of medicine,” said NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The time is now to transform how we conduct research-with participants as partners-to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

    “Here in Louisiana, a state rich in diversity, we have the opportunity to be part of this important research initiative, one that can go a long way in helping to address some of the state’s health problems,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross executive vice president and chief medical officer. “We all know the state of health in Louisiana is poor. We have some of the highest rates of obesity and chronic diseases in the country, and we are consistently at or near the bottom of rankings of health statuses. All of Us will lead to healthcare breakthroughs we believe will be beneficial for our people.”

    Leaders from Blue Cross, the Urban League of Louisiana, Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome’s Healthy City Initiative, Louisiana Department of Health, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the NIH and the YMCA of the Capital Area spoke in support of the program.

    “Through The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, we bring together many key stakeholders who make Baton Rouge a healthier place.” said Hymowitz “Good, timely data is something we always struggle to identify. All of Us will help us to make more data-driven decisions to better support our community.”

    Partners were also able to get a more thorough understanding of what it means to take part in the All of Us Research Program, what information participants are asked to provide and how the research is being used to further precision medicine.

    “This initiative is important to Baton Rouge and populations who often are underrepresented in medical research,” said Judy Morse, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “Without the preventative healthcare measures of programs like All of Us, it would be nearly impossible to detect and cure the diseases that plague our community.”

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  • Cookies and Ice Cream! Business is sweet in Zachary

    Business is sweet for Josh and Leah Collins who are making history less than one year after opening Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery at 20103 Old Scenic Hwy in Zachary.

    Zachary Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Scott joked that the Collins were in business for “five minutes” before taking home Minority Enterprise honors, but Josh Collins is a homegrown success story much like Scott.
    Josh Collins explained that he was born and reared in Zachary and felt it was an excellence business environment for his new franchise. 46492447_1944047952569613_1750653340141748224_n

    “We chose Zachary for the simple reason that there were not other options like this in Zachary,” Josh Collins said. “We lived in Zachary and we said ‘what does Zachary not have and let’s bring something to Zachary that it does not have.’”
    The Collins fondly remembered that their first date was Marble Slab so that make the choice to bring the franchise to Zachary. The roll of the sweet dice has paid off in tremendous ways. “Honestly, it’s been overwhelming,” Josh Collins said. “We broke the franchise record in sales so the initial plans we had were scrapped and we had to go back to the drawing board.”

    ONLINE: facebook.com/GreatAmericanSlab

    By Frances Spencer
    Contributing Writer

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  • 20 take-a-ways from Wake Up Happy!

    Recently, I stumbled on a discounted copy of Wake up Happy by Michael Strahan and Veronica Chambers. It was stuffed in a pile of unknown debut novels and children’s books that Albertson’s Grocery positioned in the middle of the medicine aisle.

    While reading the first two or three chapters, I stopped several times to think through the writing until I finally surrendered to grabbing a pen, marking up the margins, doodling emotions, and underlining paragraphs, page after page. I honestly was not expecting the wealth of insight Strahan laid out.

    Here are the best take-a-ways:

    • It is the attitude with which we pursue our goals that give us our biggest boosts of happiness (Strahan quoted Shawn Achor)
    • Start today with music, words, movements use the power of pause. Don’t rush your day.
    • True love multiplies the joy in your life
    • Find ideas and inspiration everywhere you go. Visualize by using all your senses. Be conscious.
    • Just because no one’s screaming your name, doesn’t mean you can’t win. We count ourselves out waaaaay too soon.
    • We hold ourselves back and doubt ourselves more than anybody else will.
    • There’s more power in your attitude than your bank account
    • Your role of agreement is to find a way to say yes.
    • Process information given and readjust. Process the opportunities, failures, observations.
    • It’s your life, drive it like you own it. Project your purpose to the world.
    • Happiness is the joy we feel while striving toward our potential.
    • Do not be afraid to bet on yourself. Win or lose, take joy in striving toward your potential
    • Be around people who encourage you to talk about your dreams then pushes you to dream bigger
    • A little nibble will give you hope; A line in the water gives you hope.
    • Having something to strive for breeds its own kind of joy
    • Figure out what are the untapped resources that could change your life.
    • Pay attention to detail, the specifics of techniques, and develop a mental toughness. The art of mental toughness is finding focus and confidence to attack whatever challenges arise with everything you’ve got and then some.
    • That juice is worth the squeeze!
    • Answer: what did you do to get better today?
    • Indulge your playful side.

    And of course, wake up happy.

    By Candace J. Semien
    The Jozef Syndicate

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    Unity leads to spiritual growth for Black, White congregations during transition

    Manuel Pigee III boldly prayed in 2015, asking God to lead United Believers Baptist Church to a rebirth at a new property.

    After three years of fasting and praying, God presented the steadily growing African-American congregation with the opportunity to move into a facility utilized by Oakcrest Baptist Church, a predominantly Caucasian congregation, whose Sunday morning worship attendance was in steady decline.

    Since United Believers Baptist Church said, “Yes,” in January to sharing the campus, the congregation has seen God move in more ways than they ever imagined.

    “When I became pastor of the church, I said to them I want you to know I am praying God would do something no one could take credit for — that God would get the glory,” he said. “The way He opened the door and solidified this partnership has generated a great spirit of joy and peace. We are overwhelmed by God’s grace.”

    United Believers Baptist Church was formed after Hurricane Katrina forced Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans to meet at three separate locations, including the Baton Rouge campus.

    Within a year, many members of the Franklin Avenue congregation returned to New Orleans, but a remnant of around 100 stayed behind, growing to 136 in 2017.

    In 2011, Pigee was called as pastor of the church, which was still a campus of Franklin Avenue.

    Four years later, on April 15, 2015, the congregation voted to rename itself United Believers Baptist Church, adopting Psalm 133:1 as its mission – “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”
    During their three-year search for a new home, the congregation was introduced to Oakcrest Baptist.

    At one time, that congregation had as many as 600 participating in Sunday morning worship, but as the demographics around the neighborhood changed, attendance steadily declined, with fewer than 20 attending last year.

    After a meeting among representatives of the two churches, in June and then another in October, Oakcrest Baptist leaders told Pigee God was leading them to allow United Believers Baptist to share the space, which is located on Greenwell Springs Road in Baton Rouge.

    Charles Bennett, pastor of Oakcrest, and Manuel Pigee III, pastor of United Believers Baptist Church in Baton Rouge

    Charles Bennett, pastor of Oakcrest, and Manuel Pigee III, pastor of United Believers Baptist Church in Baton Rouge

    “They told us we were the church that could reach the community for years to come, and they wanted to work out an agreement with us to gracefully phase out,” Pigee said. “I said to my people this is a great privilege the Lord has allowed us to walk alongside this aging congregation. With the racial divide that is happening in America, it’s amazing to see an aging Anglo church willing to partner with an African American plant as God allows us to escort them to glory.”

    Charles Bennett, pastor of Oakcrest, said the relationship between his church and United Believers Baptist has been pleasant. “We felt we had a choice,” Bennett said. “We could let the buildings not being used to deteriorate, or, we could look for a group we felt good about coming in to use the facilities; and, we wanted a Southern Baptist group in here. Our people are very open and appreciative by the way they have come in and made a difference for Christ.”
    Tommy Middleton, director of missions for the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, applauds the members of Oakcrest for seeing the need for ministry in its facility for generations to come.

    “To the credit of Oakcrest and the leadership and sensitivity of United Believers, it’s turned out to be almost a textbook of how it’s supposed to be in terms of support, cooperation and love,” he said.

    “In many churches throughout our state and national conventions, churches go through seasons of great growth and then that season passes,” he continued. “If there is not a renewal and a shift to address cultural changes in the neighborhood, that trend continues downward. When they recognize how to correct it or change it over to another church, it allows for a vibrant Gospel witness to continue in that area. Sometimes we hang out with stubbornness — you’ve got to let it go.”

    Since moving into the new building, United Believers Baptist has spent most of its time upgrading the property and building relationships with residents of the neighborhood.

    Members have spruced up the landscaping, restriped the parking lot, installed lights in the parking lot, and placed monitors and additional lighting inside the worship center. Ministry efforts at its new campus have included a spring revival featuring Middleton and Franklin Avenue Baptist Pastor Fred Luter, a Mother’s Day tea and door-to-door visitation. Future ministry plans include a class to prepare young boys and girls for adulthood and after-school tutoring on Wednesdays.

    “One piece of feedback from the community is they want a place for children to go for spiritual enrichment and learn practical life skills,” Pigee said. “We want to do social ministry as a way to create bridges and bring people to the Kingdom through a life-changing relationship with Christ.

    “I anticipate us really impacting the community and touching the lives of families and youth through our social outreach programs,” he said. “We are integrating ourselves more into the community. More than anything we want to be a lighthouse, where people’s faith is being shaped and they are being taught to practice it.”

    ONLINE: unitedbelieversbc.org

    By Brian Blackwell
    Special to The Drum

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    SU Ag Center now accepting meat pre-sale orders for 76th Annual Livestock Show

    The Southern University Livestock Show Office is currently accepting pre-orders for non-processed choice meats from various livestock.

    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 now available for pre-order:

    · Whole beef $2,000
    · Half beef $1,000
    · Fourth beef $500
    · Whole pork $225
    · Whole lamb $200
    · 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 picking up the meat from the slaughter house.

    Those who don’t pre-order their meat are invited to do so during the show’s ‘Special Junior Auction Sale’ on Saturday, March 2 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

    The office will deliver the meat to either the Cutrer 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.

    The 76th Annual State Livestock & Poultry Show will be held February 28 – March 2, 2019 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena, 14600 Scenic Hwy, in Baton Rouge.

    Southern University has held an annual Livestock Show since 1943 and has continued the tradition of providing an opportunity for the state’s youth to showcase their animals, gain entrepreneurship skills and receive character and leadership training.

    For more information on the SU Ag Center’s Livestock Show, how to participate in the show or how to purchase meat; visit http://www.suagcenter.com/page/livestock-show-2019 or contact the Livestock Show Office at 225.771.6208.

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    MILESTONES: Eddie Ponds turns 80 with more than 500 published issues of The Drum

    Fall of 2018 is a special time of recognition and appreciation for Ponchatoula’s Eddie Ponds, a man known and respected far beyond the city limits.

    Image (144) HIGH SCHOOL

     

    He’s celebrating having published the 500th edition of his newspaper, “The Drum,” which has readers around the nation and beyond. Now, that’s a lot of papers and that’s a lot of work!

    With his friendly smile and quiet demeanor, one would never guess the long, sometimes rough roads it took to get so far in the world of media.

    Born in the Millville area of Ponchatoula 80 years ago, little Eddie was fourth in a family of ten children and grew up in a far different world than today.

    In a time when Italians could not live in Ponchatoula and had to be out by sunset, Blacks could not walk on the sidewalks if a white person, even a child, was there.Image military 1

    In the Ponds’ home, a high standard of living was instilled by teaching and by example. Both parents had third-grade educations and stressed the importance of education and solid work ethic. A family of faith, they walked together to services at Millville’s Star Valley Baptist Church.

    Eddie attended the Ponchatoula Colored School before going on to Hammond’s Greenville Park High School. Ponchatoula High School was just across the tracks — but Blacks weren’t allowed to cross the tracks.
    Further puzzling to youth was that on Saturday nights, teenage boys, all friends from both races, enjoyed hanging out at Billups Gas Station but they just couldn’t go to school together!

    Regardless of color, many young people got jobs out in public before they were old enough. Eddie’s was doing dishes in Little Ory’s diner where he worked all through high school.

    After graduation, it was off to the Army during the Viet Nam era, where he was in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and Hawaii for Advanced Jungle Training. Just before he was sent to fight, the situation changed and he returned home to marry Carrie Wells. For two years he worked at the sawmill until following his father-in-law in construction. Three times the salary, but some of the work in those days was brutal.

    After telling his wife he’d really like to save to go to college, she asked, “Why haven’t you said something before? You could have started this semester!”

    At some time, Eugenia “Sis” Hebert of PHS, had shown him how to do papers and thanks to the GI Bill, he was able to enroll. He earned his degrees at Southern University in Physical Science and P. E. along with his Teacher Certificate and his Master of Education at Southeastern. He and his wife both held two jobs to make it all possible and he commuted to Algiers to teach at L. B. Landry his first year.Drum 30 yrs

    Ever since high school he’d been interested in photography and even in the Army, where he also played saxophone in the military band, after hours he learned film processing. Hearing that teachers could attend Tulane at half price, he enrolled in Photography but had read every book on the subject he could find. Ponchatoula Librarian Clara Heitman called him any time a new book came into the library behind Little Ory’s, now the Library Room at Roux and Brew Restaurant.

    By now he was teaching at Ponchatoula High School and over the Photography Club. Some of his club members today are professional photographers, saying they owe it all to him.

    “How to Make Money with Photography” said that world was open to journalists so back to Southern University he went to study creative writing. This introduced him to owner and editor of the “Ponchatoula Times,” Brian McMahon, who gave him his start, hiring him to cover City Hall, thus deepening his interest and love for newspaper work.
    For in Eddie Ponds’ heart, he’d recognized early on the only news reported about Black people was for heinous crimes and he wanted to bring awareness and credit for good. He observed that even when famous Civil Rights leader, Julian Bond, spoke at Southeastern, no press covered the event.

    Image (149) ponds taking picturesLeaving a City Council meeting alongside Don Ellzey from “The Ponchatoula Enterprise,” Ponds expressed a desire to start a newspaper to “put things in perspective for the Black Community.” Ellzey offered the use of his facilities along with helpful hints in laying out a paper from start to finish.

    Thus, 1986, the fifteenth year of his teaching at Ponchatoula High School, saw the first edition of “The Drum”.
    That was the day “cut and paste” really was “cut and paste” and when it was time to go to press, he’d sometimes be up three nights in a row. On those days, he made his lesson plans for lots of activity so he could be on his feet to stay awake in the classroom.

    Ponds is known for his “positive” press as he avoids negativity and doesn’t even include police reports. “The Drum” and his good name have opened doors to meeting folks from all walks of life including officials and governors.
    He humbly considers himself “recording African American history” and, for the past year, has added videoing, especially the older population.

    Recently he was recognized by the Baton Rouge Metro Council with a proclamation for his service and on November 3, was honored with a proclamation by Ponchatoula Mayor Robert Zabbia declaring it “Eddie Ponds’ Day” before the whole congregation of his New Zion Baptist Church family.

    ponds familyEddie and Carrie Ponds have passed along the tradition at home as well, being the proud parents of two daughters, Sharon
    Ponds of Ponchatoula and Michelle Nesbitt of Conyers, Georgia—both graduates of Southern University and both educators. Following them are one grandson, one granddaughter and one great-grandson.

    What a credit this fine gentleman is to the innumerable lives he touches in person and through media! Congratulations, Eddie Ponds!

    By Kathryn Martin
    Contributing Writer

     

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    Opportunities Outlook 2019 for DBEs in Construction starts Friday, Dec. 7

    The Urban League of Louisiana’s Contractor’s Resource Center will host its 2019 Opportunities Outlook for DBE Contractors on Friday, Dec. 7, 9am – noon, at the Urban League of Louisiana, 4640 S. Carrollton Avenue, Suite 110, New Orleans, LA 70119.

    This annual event is held to support contractors in preparing for the upcoming year by focusing attention on new opportunities for strategic growth and competitiveness. The event will feature updates on current opportunities and upcoming bids from procurement officers and prime contractors. Other programs and resources that support capacity-building and profitability for the contracting community will also be featured.

    Already confirmed:

    • City of New Orleans – Office of Supplier Diversity
    • New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
    • New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
    • Veterans Administration
    • Broadmoor LLC
    • Landis Construction
    • Woodward Design + Build
    • Hernandez Consulting and Construction

    This event is free and open to all DBE firms. However, space is limited. Register to reserve your spot. Light refreshments will be served.

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    Gregory Pierson appointed assistant director of aviation

    Gregory Pierson was appointed assistant director of aviation of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) by Mike Edwards, the director of aviation.

    Pierson has 12 years of airport management experience, and was serving as the Interim Assistant Director of Aviation. He was previously the BTR Airport Computer/Electronics Systems Manager (IT Manager). He first joined the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport 15 years ago as a PC LAN Specialist. Within his first three years, he was promoted to a PC LAN Administrator. In his most recent role as IT Manager, his Airport-wide involvement afforded him the experience to identify and manage the expectations and needs of various stakeholders, while ensuring the decisions and processes related to the Technology division were in alignment with the overall mission of the Airport.

    Pierson holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science with a minor in business management from Southern University, and a masters of business administration from the University of Phoenix. He has an ITIL Foundation and Software House industry certification and is currently preparing for his AAAE Certified Member certification. He is also a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), and is an IRS Registered Tax Preparer.

    “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve in this new capacity. I look forward to continuing to do my part to make BTR the airport of choice, and to facilitate improvements in our community outreach efforts.”

    Greg grew up in the Baton Rouge Area, graduating from Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. He and his wife LaToya have three children, Alyvia, Dylan and Skylar.

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  • Jones named to North Baton Rouge Economic Development District

    North Baton Rouge Economic Development District’s Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed Jerry Jones Jr. as its executive director on Nov. The 35-year-old is the former economic development director for St. John Parish. He has 10 years of experience in business recruitment and retention, project development, and administration, management.

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    Grambling State approved to offer cybersecurity degree

    NNPA Newswire–Grambling State University has been approved to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity. The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors provided their approval and support for the university’s program, according to a news release. The next step in the process is approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

    Students will be eligible to begin enrolling in the program in fall 2019.

    “With the vision of your team and the support of this Board, we are confident Grambling is prepared to educate cybersecurity professionals the market is demanding,” said Board Chair Al Perkins. “These graduates will be equipped with highly sought-after skills to protect us as technology becomes more prevalent in our daily lives.”

    Grambling State faculty member, researcher and a member of the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission Yenumula B. Reddy, Ph.D., has been spearheading the new program’s development.

    “We are excited about the work of Dr. Reddy and his team,” said Grambling State President Rick Gallot. “Their continuous innovation in research and the classroom are paving the way for this program. We are excited for the impact their leadership and our system-level support will have on our state and economy.”

    The news comes on the heels of an October report issued by the University of Louisiana System that said Grambling State University has doubled its fiscal health score since FY 2016, increasing from a 1.30 to a 2.60 as of the most recent report.

    The fiscal health score, developed by the Louisiana Board of Regents, measures overall organizational health, factoring in important components including debt, revenue, and ability to operate.

    “It’s been a team-wide effort,” Gallot said. “As a part of our commitment to innovation, we’ve engaged new talent and alumni from across the U.S. who not only understand our charge but offer us expert perspectives and thought leadership.”

    Leading the University’s fiscal health initiatives team is Martin Lemelle Jr. the University’s Chief Operating Officer and Interim Vice-President of Finance. The initiative also includes team members who offer experience from higher education, Silicon Valley, and public accountancy.

    “We’re an example of what’s possible when we partner,” said Lemelle. “The key to our successes has been a university-wide combination of collaboration and commitment. We’ve seen innovative ideas from every area, from our controller’s office to our academic units.”

    The outputs of these collaborative teams are having a direct impact on the institution’s bottom-line. Some of those outputs include:

    $1.2 million in annual savings through participating in the Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program;

    Overall expense reduction of more than $6 million;

    A 320 percent annual increase in grants from federal and state government initiatives; and

    Realizing new revenue opportunities that include an increase in third-party commissions and its “Look for the Label” program which focuses on increasing licensing royalties.

    “Grambling State University is experiencing a renaissance. Its vastly improved fiscal health is yet another indication of the effective leadership and hard work occurring at all levels of the institution,” University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson said. “From its enrollment numbers to its operations, it’s exciting to see the rapid and significant advancement of this historic institution.”

    By Stacy M. Brown
    NNPA Newswire Correspondent

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    Don’t rush into a December divorce for tax reasons

    Nobody likes to rush in a divorce, but frequently things happen that may make a couple want to get it done more quickly than usual.
    This year, the reason may be taxes for some couples.  Since 1942, the person paying alimony got to take payments off of their income and the person receiving it had to declare alimony as income. This all will change with any divorce finalized on or after Jan. 1, 2019. After this date, neither party’s income will be adjusted for paying or receiving alimony.Lawyers are expecting December to be a busy month for divorces due to the change.  Any case settled before the end of the year will continue to follow the old rule.

    But that is not as important as taking your time to make sure everything about the divorce is properly handled.
    “The few dollars somebody may or may not save on their tax bill is not a reason to rush a divorce proceeding,” said Pegotty Cooper, co-founder of Divorce Coaching Inc., (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com), which both provides divorce coaching and trains divorce coaches.  “Frequently, in complicated divorces, issues surface halfway through the proceeding that will take time to investigate.”
    Cooper, a co-author of Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce, said it is in the best interest of both parties to focus on the divorce and make sure everything is done properly instead of trying to meet artificially induced deadlines.
    Cooper offers the following tips for those about to enter divorce proceedings:
    • Don’t forget who the decision makers are. The decision maker in the proceeding is not the judge or your attorney – it is you. More than 90 percent of cases never make it to trial, so don’t think the judge necessarily will set all the issues straight.
    • “My way or the highway” is the wrong attitude. Taking this attitude will be more costly, emotionally draining and time-consuming than you realize. The only one that will benefit is your attorney, who will rack up legal bills fighting tooth and nail for everything instead of negotiating.
    • Don’t throw in the towel. You may want to quit early in the divorce proceedings just to get it over with. This may result in forgetting about important things that you wanted to be resolved.
    • Don’t bet the farm on another relationship. Don’t give up on negotiating just because you have met somebody new and you want to end the divorce as quickly as possible.  Your focus should be on ironing out the details of an equitable agreement with your spouse, no matter how long it takes.
    “While it may be uncomfortable and even distressing to go through a divorce,” Cooper said, “it is rarely a good idea to try to speed up the process.”
    About Pegotty Cooper
    Pegotty Cooper (www.certifieddivorcecoach.com) is co-founder with her husband, Randall R. Cooper, of Divorce Coaching Inc., a firm that trains and certifies individuals to become personal divorce coaches. She is also a co-author of the recently released best-selling book Taking the High Road in Divorce – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce and of Divorce: Overcome the Overwhelm and Avoid the Six Biggest Mistakes. Cooper started her own coaching practice in 2003, after 25 years working in executive positions in large organizations. She has an MBA from Rutgers University and a BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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