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    Protesters, leaders vow: ‘We will not destroy or burn down our community’

    Alton Sterling’s death has inspired nationwide protests backed by thousands of Americans who want to end police brutality and the unremitting laws that seem to protect those who are employed to serve and protect citizens.

    Sterling’s name is being called by people all over the world who are partaking in public demonstrations, rallies, and protests seeking justice for his death and that of Philando Castile, Dylan Noble, and others who were killed by police officers. With the continued efforts being taken to protest, many people are optimistic about the possibility of justice being served this time around, but what happens if the verdict isn’t in favor of the victims? How will supporters feel? Will the public outcry lead to a volatile response from protesters? In Baton Rouge, leaders are extending a strong message to citizens currently fighting for justice and against police brutality. They are saying, with microphones in hand and in casual conversations, “Rioting and looting aren’t effective forms of retaliation. We will not destroy Baton Rouge.”

    In the past, America has seen the devastating aftermath and retaliation from outraged protesters and residents following seemingly “unjust” verdicts. Many of the most highly publicized officer-involved shootings have resulted in non-indictments, non-guilty verdicts, and dropped charges.

    Despite facing incriminating evidence and unedited videos of their attacks, overly aggressive—and often violent—police officers have managed to walk away from cases with judges ruling in their favor. Instead of serving time, these officers end up getting a slap on the wrist or a severance package to move on with their lives. Only to be met with violent uproar within the communities left on the other side of justice.

    Local community leaders and elected officials have stepped into what could’ve been riotous moments during the protests following Sterling’s killing and deescalated situations in an effort to keep peace. With emotions and tensions at it peak, these leaders say they aren’t personally concerned about the possibility of local looting, but some residents are.“I don’t have a concern about looting, but I’m a business owner and a property owner so, I do know other business and property owners may be worried about those possibilities because they aren’t as close to the situation as I am,” said businessman Cleve Dunn Jr.

    Cleve Dunn Jr

    Cleve Dunn Jr

    “(Baton Rouge has) done things differently from a lot of other places around the country because we’ve had the opportunity to learn from the lessons and previous mistakes other communities have made and observed that if you tear your community up, once national media leave and professional protesters leave, we’re left to deal with the aftermath.”

    To that, Black leaders throughout the city stress the importance of refraining from destroying the community, saying the aftermath would be detrimental to the advancement of the community.

    “Destructive protests do not accomplish anything because generally our people are the ones who hurt the most from it,” said Doris Gaymon, 64, a lifelong resident of North Baton Rouge. “We tend to destroy our own areas and properties and it defeats the purpose of the message we hope to send. In many cases, the areas destroyed are not insured and total destruction on those locations have made owners apprehensive about rebuilding in the impacted areas due to fears of repeated destruction.”

    For Gaymon, Sterling’s death is quite disheartening and many of the strikingly intense photos from recent protests mirror those from Civil Rights era demonstrations. The images and emotions signify the fight for equality and the ongoing battle against police brutality.

    “It appears we haven’t gotten beyond destruction,” she said.

    Gaymon remembers the 1972 rally at Southern University where Denver Smith and Leonard Brown were fatally shot by white deputies while protesting on campus. Although their protests weren’t centered around police brutality, they were fighting for a number of on-campus changes and the resignation of certain administrators.

    “The death of Alton Sterling has only culminated a deep-rooted problem that has been festering for many years. Hopefully, we, as a people, can understand that destruction does not resolve anything,” Gaymon said.

    In spite of all the horrific events Baton Rouge has experienced—including the shooting death of Sterling, attacks on peaceful protestors, and the deaths of three uniform officers—most residents agree emphatically that retaliation in the form of rioting and looting won’t relay the message of justice the community is hoping to send.

    “At every opportunity, you will hear leaders and residents all over saying, ‘We will not destroy or burn down our community!’,” said Dunn. “And we will not. This is ours.”

    By Meaghan Ellis
    Special to The Drum

    Originally published July 2016 in the print edition of The Drum

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    Funeral arrangements for Alton Sterling’s homegoing

    The family of Alton Sterling will hold his funeral service in the Southern University F. G. Clark Activity Center, Friday, July 15, 2016. According to the family, a viewing is scheduled for 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., and the funeral at 11 a.m.

    The services will be handled as a private event in the campus facility in terms of traffic, parking, and security.

    Carney and Mackey Funeral Home of Baton Rouge is coordinating arrangements. For more information call (225) 774-0390.

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  • Moore steps down as prosecutor in Sterling case, faces question of police treatment of protesters

    During a press conference earlier today East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore announced that he has recused himself as prosecutor in the Alton Sterling case. Moore said he has no relationship to Blane Salamoni or Howie Lake II, the two officers involved in the fatal shooting, but he does have a relationship with both of Salamoni’s parents, who are also police officers.

    Moore described the relationship as professional in nature, spanning his career as an investigator, defense attorney, and district attorney.

    While answering questions from members of the media at the same press conference, Moore expressed some doubt as to whether yesterday’s move by police to enter the private residence of Lisa Batiste, who had given protesters permission to be in her home, was appropriate or legal.

    “I don’t think the police need to make any more arrests or push the people to make an arrest. . .Whether police can go onto private property, obviously if they saw a crime committed, they can follow that person. Maybe not inside a house depending on the charge.” said Moore

    This treatment has been publicized in national media and in closed meetings between Black elected officials and the US Department of Justice.

    EBRP metro councilman Lamont Cole told The Advocate that the group has “some serious concerns” about how protesters have been handled by police.

    At this time, officials are awaiting recommendations from the US Department of Justice on whether charges should be brought against Lake and Salamoni who are on paid, administrative leave from the Baton Rouge Police Department.

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  • Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room Tourism Destination Shows every Thursday night 8 p.m. to midnight, July 14 to September 8

    Join Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor and the Listening Room All Stars for Evenings of Live Music, Comedy and Visual Art

    Baton Rouge, LA…Henry Turner Jr.s’ Listening Room is pleased to announce a series of Tourism Destination shows every Thursday evening from July 14 through September 8. Performances feature Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor and the Listening Room All Stars. The fun filled evenings of original musical entertainment encompass Blues, R&B, Soul, Reggae, Rock, and Comedy, as well a visual artists. The venue is located at 2733 North Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802. Hours are 8:00pm to midnight. Cover is $10.00 and includes a soul food side dish. For additional information call 225-802-9681 or visit www.henryslisteningroom.com .

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor are well known for developing a style of music that has come to be called Louisiana Reggae, Blues, Soul and Funk. The band has toured extensively over the years and Turner was named an official Louisiana Music Ambassador in 2014. The band is Henry Turner Jr. on guitar and vocals, Keith Lewis on drums, Patrick Joffrion and Larry Dillon on bass, Larry Bradford on percussion with Janessa Nelson and Molly Milne on background vocals. The bands current releases are “You Got Me Doin’ What U Want” and the “Baton Rouge Theme Song.”

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor

    The lineup for the Listening Room All Stars, some or all of which you can see on any given Thursday, are R&B and soul singers Uncle Chess, April “Sexy Red” Jackson, Clarence “Pieman” Williams, D-Whit, MC Nero, J’Rome and Miss Fenixx, along with Blues rapper Lee Thyme. Scott Lewis and Eddie “Cool” Beemer perform as the CIA aka Comedy Improvisational Association. Singer/songwriters include Larry “LZ” Dillon and Ameal Cameron, with Visual Artist John Cashio and of course, DJ Chat spinning songs between sets.

    Upcoming featured performers at Henry Turner Jr.s’ Listening Room include the New Orleans pop band Shy Gemini, singer/songwriters Sara Collins, Wren DeVous, and Kristen Foreman.

    Henry Turner Jr.s’ Listening Room was founded in 2014, as a place for new and established talent to hone their skills and try out new material. It has hosted numerous local, regional and national touring acts. Some of them include New Orleans’ bluesman Carlo Ditta, American poet John Sinclair, New York blues band Brewster Moonface, Mercer and Johnson, a blue grass band, Texas rockers Bourbon and Schwartz, R&B singer Lil’ Fallay, American Idol contestant Mickey Duran, former Plastic Ono band member Ken Petersen, folk rock diva Lilli Lewis, Hip Hop Rocker Fire Rabbit and magician Bradley Tolpen. Local favorites include SmokeHouse Porter and Miss Mamie, The Rakers, Will Jackson, The Sun Room and the John Fred and Playboy Revue. Visual artists have included Neda Parandian, Sharon Furrate, Loveday Funck and Michael Decuir.

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  • #NSBESpeaks: Our Response to Police Brutality, Racism and Violence in America

    By Matthew C. Nelson, National Chair, National Society of Black Engineers

    It is with a heavy heart that I offer my first official communication as the national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). I find myself in a difficult situation when responding to recent instances of social injustice. A significant portion of the revenue used by NSBE to fund scholarships and programs for aspiring, young black minds comes from corporations seeking to increase their diversity through their relationships with our organization. I hope this letter does not estrange them. However, our mutual goal of a diverse engineering workforce is unattainable when black students are more worried for their lives than about their lectures, and when black employees lose productivity over concerns of prejudice.

    Over the past few days, the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have peeled back the scab that covers the septic state of race relations in America. These incidents are especially concerning given the manner in which they occurred: Sterling shot while being pinned to the ground, Castile while reaching for his wallet at an officer’s command. Although both officers will face investigations to determine legal culpability, the visceral reaction evoked is one of shock, fear and fury. The most frightening notion is that our compliance with law enforcement officers may no longer be sufficient for survival. Recent events have caused individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math to question the relevance of their education in a society that undervalues their lives.

    However, the value of life is not exclusive to one race or one profession. The solution to addressing the concerns of our community certainly does not reside in the assassination of public safety officials. Incidents like the recent shootings of police in Dallas during a peaceful protest make a hazardous atmosphere even more toxic. Just as we are praying for the families of the black men slain, we pray for the families of the police officers who were struck down while in the line of duty.

    The issues plaguing the black community extend far beyond police brutality. Unemployment, lack of access to services, underfunded educational systems, the prison-industrial complex, black on black crime, etc.: all of those concerns need to be addressed. However, we must not avoid confronting the ugly truths around policing in America. We must hold our elected officials responsible for the conduct of the officers who work on their behalf. A sheriff is typically an elected official. A police chief or commissioner is usually appointed by a mayor or city council. Research your candidates for government offices, and continue to voice your concerns once they begin their terms.

    In addition, leverage your economic power to influence policy. Choose wisely when deciding where you will live and pay taxes. Make the choice to shop and dine in areas where black consumers are welcomed and appreciated, not labeled and harassed. Take note of the response from the LGBT community to North Carolina House Bill 2 and the effect of that response on that state’s economy. Circumstances will not change until the message is made clear: the unjustified use of force against blacks will be met with swift political and economic repercussions.

    Times like these challenge our belief in justice and our faith in humanity, yet we still must march on, carrying the burdens of oppression, discrimination and hatred in a country that often fails to acknowledge our contributions, our place in society and our rights as citizens. Although these events have obviously rocked us to our very core, emotionally and spiritually, this is not the time for us to lose sight of our mission. It is imperative that we continue to expose our people to opportunities and encourage each other to strive for excellence, while engaging in meaningful dialogue about how to navigate today’s world. Cultural responsibility must prevail. For additional resources to help you focus your frustrations on positive outcomes, read the post “STEM and Social Justice: Applying an Engineering Lens to Social Change,” located on NSBE’s website (www.nsbe.org) in the Blog section.

    If you take nothing else from this letter, please understand that as the leader of NSBE, I feel the sa

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    Scotlandville Alumni and Vanderbuilt star center Damian Jones makes history.

    Scotlandville Magnet High Alumni Damian Jones was chosen by the Golden State Warriors as the 30th pick of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft. With this, Jones is the first player from Scotlandville to enter the NBA Draft. In preparation for the draft, Jones, a Vanderbilt University star center, practiced with the pheonix suns, San Antonio Spurrs, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, and Orlando Magic teams.

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    US Express Track Club makes huge gains in lew of national competition

    The United Southern Express track club’s 4x400m relay has punched their tickets to the AAU National Junior Olympic Championships in Humble, Texas next month.
    In the image you have the members of the winning 17-18 boys 4x400m relay: Heisman Woods, Yusef Davis, Keiveo Chandler, amd Kyshawn Dominique. Out of the 104 athletes who competed in 300 events at the AAU Qualifier in Covington, LA, there were three meet record breakers and 77 athletes to qualify for the AAU National junior Olympics in 119 events.

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  • NewsOne Now talks with BR activist Arthur Reed about Alton Sterling shooting

    News One Now managing editor Roland S. Martin spoke with Baton Rouge activist Arthur Reed about his personal video of the police shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling. Reed spoke about the systemic racism and division that has always been present in the Baton Rouge community.

    “There are a bunch of lies when it comes down to this being a close knit community, said Reed. “This has been a divided community ever since the Jim Crow era. It’s a community of two different types of Black folks; Black folks who will push the vote and black folks that will stand on the shore and tell us that the vote don’t need pushing. We have two different types of Black folks here in Louisiana and definitely in Baton Rouge.”

    Reed also called out Baton Rouge’s Mayor Kip Holden for being supportive of the police and his lack of compassion towards Sterling’s family.

    “The mayor has done a poor job of being a part of the Black community,” added Reed. This young man has been murdered, and the mayor has not shown his face at any of the vigils, he has not come out and talked to the family. The mayor is being pro-police knowing that the police have been the biggest agitators and oppressors of the community here in Baton Rouge.”

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    Mayoral candidate Smokie Bourgeois releases statement on Sterling shooting

    Smokie Bourgeois, candidate for Mayor-President, released an official statement on the recent shootings earlier today:

    “When I came of age, my daddy had a serious talk with me. He started with the phrase ‘violence begets violence’. He went on to make it clear to me that anytime I encountered police officers, it would be a good idea to follow their instructions. If I ever wanted to argue or fight with police, nothing good would come of it. He said to save my arguments for the judge. His words ring as true today as back then.

    Of all the horrific crimes committed and reported in Baton Rouge, one story has caught everyone’s attention; the death of Alton Sterling. Media reports, supported by video, make one fact very clear, Alton Sterling refused to follow police officers’ repeated instructions.

    Smokie Bourgeois

    Smokie Bourgeois


    To anyone who wants to treat police officers as shooting targets, you cannot win, you will only lose. The emotional tide sweeping this city and country will turn against you. All lives matter, particularly those of the men and women in law enforcement who place their lives on the line every day to protect you. In every civilized society, the rules of law and the authority of those who protect us must be respected and followed for the safety of all.

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    BREC completes improvements at T. D. Bickham Jr. park

    With the help of BREC Planning & Engineering and BREC CIP Crew, T. D. Bickham Jr. Park features new renovations and amenities. The park is located at 6850 Pettit Road. BREC will host a ribbon cutting on Friday, July 15 at 10 a.m. to dedicate the project completion.

    Improvements include new playground equipment with two different play areas, one for young children with an age appropriate play unit and tot swings. The other play area is for older kids featuring six climbers, two slides and an arch swing. A new half basketball court was also added, and a picnic shelter was renovated. New connector walks make all the new amenities accessible to everyone.

    The improvements were completed in time for summer camp kids to enjoy. Due to renovations at Baker Recreation Center, summer camp moved to T. D. Bickham Recreation Center. For years to come, children will benefit from the new playground equipment with heart-healthy exercise, social development in group interaction, and enhanced sensory and motor skills.

    T. D. Bickham is just one of the parks receiving renovations in the area. Scotlandville Park now has a new disc golf park and a grand opening will be held on Saturday, August 6 at 10 a.m. Renovations are currently underway at Anna T. Jordan Community park and a grand opening for an expanded and completely renovated recreation center will be held this fall. In addition, construction on a new visitors and event center is set to begin very soon at the Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum.

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    The world is watching Baton Rouge

      Media around the world are watching Baton Rouge:

    MSNBC:Protests have erupted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling by police early Tuesday morning

    CNN: Louisiana lawmaker calls on Justice Department to investigate police shooting death

    New York Times: Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stop Mattering

    Wallstreet Journal: U.S. Justice Department to Investigate Police Shooting in Baton Rouge – http://www.wsj.com/articles/louisiana-officer-fatally-shoots-suspect-protests-erupt-1467796285

    BBC: Alton Sterling death: Fresh protests over Louisiana shooting – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36731378

    Philadelphia CBS: Demonstrators Hit Philadelphia Streets Protesting Death Of Alton Sterling – http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2016/07/06/demonstrators-hit-philadelphia-streets-protesting-the-death-of-alton-sterling/

    Black America Web: #AltonSterling Is The Latest Victim Of A Culture That Dehumanizes Black Men – http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/07/06/altonsterling-is-the-latest-victim-of-a-culture-that-dehumanizes-black-men/

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      Social Media:

    Hillary Clinton: “The death of Alton Sterling is a tragedy, and my prayers are with his family.” – https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/750851893480521728

    Governor John Bel Edwards: Gov. Edwards’ Statement Following Recent Officer-Involved Shooting in Baton Rouge – http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/statement-following-recent-officerinvolved-shooting-in-baton-rouge

    Jessie Jackson: “The shooting of #AltonSterling in #BatonRouge is a legal lynching. Justice must prevail. #Outraged” – https://twitter.com/RevJJackson/status/750648298415853568

    Drake: “It is impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago.” – https://www.instagram.com/p/BHim8QWjFTx/

    Glen Davis: “I knew Alton Sterling and he wouldn’t hurt a fly” – http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/nba-glen-davis-knew-alton-sterling-wouldn-hurt-fly-article-1.2701263

    Shaun King: “Officers Blane Salamoni & Howie Lake should already be arrested by now. That latest video of their execution of #AltonSterling is enough.” – https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/750870151554174976

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  • Brumfield named AMAC president

    Krystal J. Brumfield, ’07, has been named the president/CEO of the Airport Minority Advisory Council headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

    Brumfield, who was recognized as a 2015 SULC Distinguished Alumna during the annual Alumni Round-Up, formerly served as the vice president and chief operating officer of the DC Chamber of Commerce, where she provided leadership to the Chamber’s strategic planning process and implemented new programmatic strategic initiatives.

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  • July community events

    Here is a list of community events for the month of July. Add your event to this listing by completing the submit news form

    July:
    1: Gospel Music Fest. 13101 Hwy. 442 W., Tickfaw, LA 70466. 1st Friday of each month. Doors open at 5:30pm & music begins at6:30pm. Barbara Vaughn 985-974-0507. www.mvmgoodnews.com

    2: A Gathering of Neighborhood Boys. 1455 South St., Baton Rouge, LA. 9am – 1 pm. 225-505-8446

    4: Light Up the Sky for the 4th of July. Zemurray Park, 310 E. Charles St., Hammond, LA. 6pm till end of fireworks display. Lisa Lambert 985-277-5603. www.hammond.org

    8. Manhood 101 Youth Conference. EBR Main Library. 7711 Goodwood Blvd. http://manhood-101.com/reg/

    9: The Louisiana Jubilee. Lions Club Building, 750 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula, LA 70454. Doors open at 5pm & show begins at 6pm. L.D. Barringer 985-981-7777. http://www.thelouisianajubilee.org/

    9. Battle of the Bands. Doug Williams Stadium. 5763 Hooper RD. Baton Rouge, LA 70811

    27: NAACP Baton Rouge Monthly Meeting. McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, 2nd Floor, Baton Rouge, LA, 70802. 6pm. (225) 246-8308. http://www.naacpbr.org/main_page.html

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    Researchers to reduce food deserts using vertical farming

    Researchers at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center are using vertical farming techniques to increase vegetable production in food deserts.
    Food deserts are areas described as lacking access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy whole foods. In Louisiana these areas are growing concern because many of its residents lack grocery stores within convenient traveling distance to access affordable, healthy food options.
    The goal is use these techniques—aeroponics, hydroponics, and aquaponics—to establish potential productivity of traditional row crops like tomatoes. Aeroponics, a soil-less process of growing plants by nourishing their suspended roots with air or mist. Hydroponics, a method of growing plants using only liquid nutrients in water, and Aquaponics, the soil-less growing of plants through the use of hydroponics and raising fish together in one system. These techniques have the ability to grow crops indoors, on balconies, and in limited spaces. According to researchers, this is especially beneficial in designated food desert areas. SU Ag Center researchers James Henson, PhD, Marlin Ford, Asebe Negatu, Ph.D. have begun growing lettuce, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, and eggplants in the systems.
    ONLINE: www.suagcenter.edu

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  • FATHERHOOD: The acceptable partnership

    FIVE THINGS THAT MAKE FATHERHOOD GREAT.

    The first thing that makes fatherhood great is REcreation. As the child is created in the mind of God, he/she is recreated in the loins of the father and inserted into the womb of the mother. The mother delivers the child into the earth realm. And what was created in God, and formed in man and woman, is birthed in the earth. Who can argue that kind of greatness?

    To become a father is both simple and complex. First there is the simple method of how to become a father. It’s all a matter of timing, isn’t it? Deciding the right–or wrong–time to begin a sexual relationship includes the possibility and potential of becoming a father. The act which proves successful in “creating” a baby, also includes a waiting period, and finally, the birth of the baby, and then, the acknowledgement that the baby is indeed, fathered.

    The second thing that makes fatherhood great is the fact that it speaks of an era, an epoch. The “hood” attached to “father” serves as an explanation of the cover that the father represents. For the duration of his life, the father covers the family and all who are positioned under him. And “hood” represents love, safety, protection, and identity. So fatherhood is a title as well as an assignment.

    Thirdly, fatherhood is representative of the “original” Father, God Himself. We cannot overlook God being our Heavenly Father and our human fathers as being our Earthly guardians. In the earthly realm, we note the resemblance we see of ourselves in our dads: the eyes, the nose, the skin color, the walk, the certain way he throws his head back when he laughs. All of the assets point to a certain resemblance that adds to the authenticity of who we are. Added to this is the resemblance our Heavenly Father relies on earthly parents to direct us to. As we look like our earthly fathers, the Heavenly Father looks to Himself to see how much His children resemble Him.

    Fourthly, our greatness points to our father’s greatness. If fatherhood is expressed correctly, the children want to be just like their dad. They want to follow his example so that the greatness is modeled and then passed on to the next generation. Then, the father’s greatness is perpetuated. With this greatness, fatherhood is also the acceptable partnership, ally, companion, and greatness value to motherhood.

    The fifth thing that makes fatherhood great is the one YOU complete. Every one of us is plural, yet singular. Our plurality explains what we have in common. So, while all of us can identify with at least one of the things I have written, I would be remiss if I took total control of this commentary. I would enlist your agreement, but more than that your input. Therefore, I leave the last thing that makes fatherhood great for YOU to add. As you celebrate Father’s Day this year, what makes fatherhood great for you?

    By barbara w. green
    Guest Columnist

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  • Buy the Book: Special books in time for Father’s Day

    The Drum staff suggests these book in time for Father’s Day.

    101 Things I Wish My Father Taught Me
    “Learning 101 things before you need them has the power to greatly impact and improve your life and your state of being,” said Baton Rouge technologist Jasiri Basel who has publish his first book, 101 Things I Wish My Father Taught Me. The book is Basel’s reflection on lessons he said he wishes someone would have told him early in life. Each page is offers encouragement and insight for “boys and men growing up in a world where it isn’t easy to be a man, a world of expectations to be a man without instruction on how to deliver,” he said. 101 Things is written to aid sons and fathers in their tumultuous journey through life.

    12 BUY THE BOOK blendingfamilies

     

    Blending Families Successfully: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges So That Everyone Ends Up Happy
    George Glass, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, has designed a book to help parents understand the challenges of beginning new lives with blended families, and to help their children make the necessary adjustments. He explains how to approach unavoidable dilemmas when they occur and offers invaluable lessons about the link between divorce and issues of self-esteem, depression, substance abuse, and relationship failures that often result from the breakup of a family. This book is an inspiring toolkit for families in need.

    12 BUY THE BOOK My Father and Atticus FitchMy Father and Atticus Finch
    As a child, attorney Joe Beck heard about his father’s legacy: Foster Beck had once been a respected trial lawyer who defied the unspoken code of 1930s Alabama by defending a Black man charged with raping a /White woman. Now a lawyer himself, Beck has become intrigued by the similarities between his father’s story and the one at the heart of Harper Lee’s iconic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. In My Father and Atticus Finch, Beck reconstructs his father’s role in the 1938 trial in which the examining doctor testified before a packed and hostile courtroom that there was no evidence of intercourse or violence. Nevertheless, the all-White jury voted to convict. This riveting memoir seeks to understand how race, class, and the memory of the South’s defeat in the Civil War produced the trial’s outcome, and how these issues figure into our literary imagination.

    12 BUY THE BOOK Cookie JohnsonBelieving in Magic
    In Believing in Magic, Cookie Johnson, wife of NBA icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson, shares for the first time how her husband’s HIV diagnosis 25 years ago sent her life and marriage in a frightening new direction. Johnson shares the emotional journey that started November 7, 1991. She shares how her life as a pregnant and joyous newlywed immediately become one filled with the fear that her husband would die, she and her baby would be infected with the virus, and their family would be shunned. Believing in Magic is far more than her account of surviving that trauma. It is the story of her marriage with Earvin, losing their way, and eventually finding a path they never imagined they’d take.

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  • Commentary: Urban Congress’ message to Baton Rouge is ‘Leave No One Behind’

    The routine of deplaning on the last leg of my flight from Baton Rouge to Washington, DC was interrupted by a message from the captain. He said there was a Marine on board escorting remains and asked that when he turned the seat belt light off–indicating that passengers could move about the plane and collect their belongings–that we all stay seated so the Marine could get off first.A feeling of sadness immediately swept through the plane. Many of the passengers seated in the window aisle were immediately moved to near tears–some actually wept–at the site of the fallen soldiers’ family crying as a team of Marines very orderly and reverently placed the casket in the back of a hearse.
    For a moment, a busy airport came to a screeching halt and a feeling of connectedness and quiet reflection filled a gate at Reagan International airport.
    I relayed what I (and others) experienced to my sister, a Gulf War veteran, and my father, who served his country more than 30 years in the New York State Army National Guard. I relayed the sadness and unexpectedness of the moment. Both said that’s what they do in the military. You are never supposed to leave anyone behind; someone should always be there with you, even in death.
    Despite where you might stand on issues of war, many of us can agree that the idea that we never walk alone is comforting, uplifting, and encouraging. We need to model that same sentiment–never leaving a man, woman, or child behind–in our communities. When we see someone or some group struggling in any area of life as a result of personal or public policy decision-making, we should use our resources and talents to help that person or group in need. If we are short on either (resources or talent), we can still offer a word of encouragement, which cost very little and can yield great returns.
    Phrases like, “No Child Left Behind” and “My Brother’s Keeper,” both controversial federal initiatives, must have real meaning, or as my pastor, Raymond A. Jetson, reminds the congregation at Star Hill Church, “If it’s not true, then we should stop saying it.”
    On Saturday, April 16, 2016, a group of concerned citizens gathered in Baton Rouge to discuss the challenges facing Black boys and men and create a framework and an action plan for addressing the big and complex issues that far too many Black males face. Urban Congress will without question move an entire city to see their past, present, and future as forever linked.
    The Urban Congress on Black Boys and Men is designed in such a way that individuals, groups, and communities will (re)commit themselves to one another and to never again walk away or appear disinterested when it comes to the plight of another. The Urban Congress on Black Boys and Men message to Baton Rouge: Leave no one behind.
    The work of The Urban Congress on Black Boys and Men is ongoing. Working groups are meeting and the first ever all-male cohort of the Urban Leadership Development Initiative begins on Friday, June 10, 2016, to provide the participants with the necessary skills to mobilize people to tackle the tough challenges facing Black boys and men in Baton Rouge and transform the community from within.
    For more information about The Urban Congress on Black Boys and Men visit www.theurbancongress.com. Get involved today.

    By Lori Latrice Martin, Ph.D.
    LSU Associate professor of sociology and African American Studies

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  • Ardoin elected to The Recording Academy

    Lake Charles musician Sean Ardoin has been elected to the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy, the premier organization responsible for honoring achievement in music with the Grammy Awards.

    The distinction is one Ardoin, a member of the First Family of Creole and Cajun Music, had been seeking for eight years. As a governor of the Memphis Chapter, Ardoin joins a group responsible for the financial health of the Recording Academy and trustees who develop policy at the national level.

    Ardoin is an international touring artist, who has entertained in several countries and the entire continental United States. He has performed professionally since the age of 12, giving him 35 years experience in the entertainment business. He is a descendant of Amedee Ardoin, who is credited by Louisiana music scholars with laying the groundwork for Creole and Cajun music in the early 20th century, and was also the first artist to record the music of the Acadiana region.

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  • ,

    Museum celebrates 22 years of sharing Louisiana slave history, Black resilience

    DONALDSONVILLE – THE RIVER ROAD African American Museum started as a vision to tell the stories of the Black slaves who worked on plantations in south Louisiana, but over the past 22 years, the RRAAM has expanded to also tell the stories of freedom, resilience, and reconciliation. Kathe Hambrick-Jackson, inspired to be the voice of the people who provided the slave labor to sugarcane plantations in Ascension Parish, spent three years researching before opening the non-profit museum. Her research showed her the wider mission of educating the public with the full story of her ancestors’ journey. “When I went on plantation tours, there was no mention of slavery whatsoever,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “They would sometimes refer to the Black people who worked on the plantation as servants or workers.”

    RRAAM opened its doors in March of 1994 on the Tezcuco Plantation on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. On Mother’s Day 2002, a fire destroyed the museum and it was relocated to the corner of Railroad Avenue and St. Charles Street in downtown Donaldsonville and it has remained there for the past 13 years.“It’s really been a good thing for us to move here in Donaldsonville, because of the history,” said Hambrick-Jackson.“It is the third oldest city in the state; it was the capitol before Baton Rouge in 1830; and Donaldsonville had America’s first Black mayor,Pierre C. Landry, elected in 1868.”RRAAM is filled with artifacts, art, and information that highlights important figures from Black history and how they relate to Louisiana, as well as important historic south Louisiana events.“We are a public history institution and it is important that this museum remains open so we can clarify the difference between fact and fiction, and teach the next generation no matter what their ethnic background is,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “It is important that people around the world know that we as African Americans have made a tremendous contribution to the economy and the cultureof this world and that is what this museum is about.”

    A red room is the first thing visitors see when entering the museum. It features the history of the people enslaved in the south Louisiana region. The room showcases famous photos, runaway“wanted” ads,historic artifacts, and names of slaves. One photo that stands out is of a Louisiana slave named Gordon. His name isn’t famous,but his picture has become one of the most recognizable and redistributed photos in history. The famous photo of Gordon, taken in Louisiana, has been shown worldwide.“Gordon’s story is really unique, he was a slave in Mississippi who escaped three times,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “He made his way to Baton Rouge and joined the Union Army, and it was the Union doctors who took the photo that so many of us has become familiar with.” Hambrick-Jackson said she believed Gordan’s story was special because he was a slave who didn’t travel north, but stayed in the South to become a part of the Louisiana Underground Railroad.“When we think about freedom, resilience, and reconciliation, Gordon is one of those names that needs to be lifted up,” she said.

    The yellow room exhibits reconstruction, Black inventors,and the musical history of Louisiana.“People do not realize that Madam C.J. Walker was born in Delta, Louisiana,” Hambrick-Jackson said. “One thing we emphasize at this museum is that Madam C.J Walker was the first female entrepreneur millionaire. She did not inherit the money,and she did not marry the money, she made the money on her own by building her own enterprises at the time when we did not have telephones or fax machines. She hired more than 2,000 women around the world.” Hambrick-Jackson added that Walker’s story helps accentuate the freedom message the museum portrays. The final room showcases famous Black rural doctors. “If you look at these exhibit as you leave the museum, we often ask the question how did these men make it to medical school and graduate one generation out of slavery.” Hambrick-Jackson said. “Certainly, if those men could make it to medical school one generation out of slavery, there is nothing young people can’t achieve today.

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  • Orchestra Festival provides opportunities for aspiring musicians

    NEW ORLEANS — Students from the Greater New Orleans area and around the state experienced a fun, but intensive week at the 18th annual Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras Summer Music Festival at Loyola University June 6-10.

    The festival provides an opportunity for students to engage in small group instruction, participate in performance opportunities and enjoy social interaction with other talented musicians. Younger children participated in a string ensemble while students 12-18 participated in the full orchestra.

    Acclaimed fiddler/violinist and Grammy Award winning recording artist Mark O’Connor was the featured artist in resident. O’Connor, who performs with the O’Connor Family Band and has been hailed as “brilliantly original” by the Seattle Times, combines bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical genres to create a uniquely American sound. He has developed a patented training program for strings called The O’Connor MethodTM and holds workshops all over the country.

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    Renowed conductor Jean Montès, DMA, the Director of Orchestral Studies and Coordinator of Strings at Loyola University, is the Artistic Director of The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras (GNOYO) where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra. A musician and conductor who enthusiastically promotes music of all world cultures, Montès is in constant demand as a conductor, clinician, judge and lecturer with orchestras and schools at all levels throughout the country.

    Baton Rouge-area parents Scott and Frances Spencer traveled with their daughter Cecilia, a cellist, so she could experience what they considered a “game-changing” experience. “I’m not usually at a loss for words, but this orchestra festival was a healing and reaffirming moment for all of us,” Frances Spencer said. “Cecilia came out of her shell both socially and musically as she learned, engaged, tried new things and had fun. This was a massive confidence-booster.”

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  • And the winners are…

    PONCHATOULA – More than 50 Junior high school students participated in the first G.T. Carter Poetry Contest (when). Katelyn Vaughn, a 7th grader at Hammond Junior High Magnet, won first place for her poem “Bullying.” Kylie Burks, a 7th grader at Ponchatoula Junior High School, won second place for her poem “Just Because.” Traven Jones, a 6th grader at Independence Middle Magnet won third place for his poem “The Bird of Feelings.” Redasia Caston, a 7th grader at Hammond Junior High, won honorable mention for her poem “Too Fast.” The management and staff of The Drum thank all the schools, students and judges that participated. A special thanks to Theresa Hamilton for her assistance and making it all happen.

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  • ,

    Lafayette Juneteenth Fathers day fun fest Jun 19

    The SWLA Juneteenth committee will be celebrating Juneteenth at Heymann Park, 1500 S Orange Street in Lafayette, Louisiana on Sunday, June 19, 2016 (Father’s Day) from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    The Festival is free to the public. There will be live entertainment including Gospel, Zydeco, R&B, Blues, Jazz and Reggae and live performers. There will also be fun jumps, face painting and games on wheels for the youth.

    The line up of entertainers is coming soon. Please check back often.

    For more information or if your group would like to perform, please contact Jackie McNulty at 337.781.1235.

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  • ,

    Baker man one of 42 prisoners released by President Obama

    On June 3, 2016, President Barack Obama granted commutation of sentences to 42 individuals.

    Cleon Jermaine Hawkins of Baker, LA, was the only Louisianan commuted this month. His 180 month imprisoment was scheduled to expire Oct. 1. Hawkins had been found guilty of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime by the Middle District of Louisiana.

     

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  • KJCB to host free Father’s Day concert on June 17

    KJCB_Jazz on the Green_June 17th poster

    Zydeco, R & B, Comedy and Spoken Word are all part of KJCB’s Jazz on the Green. This Father’s Day Celebration will take place Friday, June 17 from 5 pm – 8 pm. Music will be performed by the world renowned artist Cupid and his Dance Express Band, the Royal Artist Spoken Word and Comedy Group, J’J Caillier and his Zydeco Knockout. The Cooking Sisters will do an outdoor Black pot cooking exhibit to include short ribs, fresh beans, rice, gravy, salad, and dessert.

    Free Admission
    Free Food
    No Ice Chest please.

    For more information contact Je’Nelle Chargois (337) 233-4262.

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  • Louisiana Disaster Survivors: What Are You Waiting For?

    If you are one of the many Louisiana residents who were affected by the severe storms and flooding that occurred March 8 through April 8 and haven’t registered for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, why wait? Do it now!

    You have until June 13 to take the first step toward getting federal assistance. Don’t miss out! Once you register with FEMA, you may be eligible for a federal grant to help you with your recovery. You may also qualify for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

    If you haven’t registered yet and are a homeowner or renter with disaster-related damage in the designated parishes, do it now before it’s too late.

    Did you not register because:

    You simply didn’t know that FEMA offers help to homeowners and renters whose homes were damaged?
    Once you register with FEMA you will learn about the help that may be available to you.
    You kept putting off registering because you were too busy and didn’t remember to register until the evening, and thought everything would be closed?
    Registering is a very important first step to getting help. The FEMA helpline is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week.
    You are confused about the process of registering with FEMA?
    FEMA is there to help you. Make the phone call. Ask questions and you will get answers.
    You thought talking with your parish officials or the American Red Cross would automatically make you eligible for FEMA aid?
    The only way for you to be eligible for federal help is for you, the homeowner or renter, to register with FEMA. Nobody else can do it for you.
    You called 2-1-1 and thought that would automatically make you eligible for FEMA aid?
    2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need, including how to apply for disaster assistance. They’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But calling them does not register you with FEMA. The only way you can register is to call the FEMA helpline.
    You thought the damage to your property would not be eligible for federal help?
    Let FEMA make the decision. A FEMA housing inspector will examine your property damage to determine if it qualifies you for federal assistance.
    You thought that since you already cleaned up and made repairs you couldn’t apply for assistance?
    You can register with FEMA even after you make repairs. You must be able to show that the damage was caused by the severe storms and flooding that occurred March 8 through April 8. Don’t forget to keep all repair receipts.
    You thought others needed the federal aid more than you?
    No one is denied aid because of someone else’s need. If you are eligible for assistance, FEMA will provide funds to help you recover.
    You thought you’d have to repay a FEMA grant?
    FEMA assistance is a grant, not a loan. It does not have to be repaid. It is not subject to income tax.
    You thought that getting disaster assistance from FEMA would affect your government benefits, such as Social Security, Medicaid or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)?
    You will not pay additional income taxes or see any reduction in your Social Security checks or any other federal benefits.
    You didn’t think you could register because you don’t speak English very well?
    FEMA has people who speak many languages. Translators are available and can help you in the registration process. Cuando llame al 800 621-3362 marque el 1 y escuche las instrucciones en español. Favor llamar antes del lunes 13 de junio.
    You didn’t think you were eligible for FEMA help because you are not a U.S. citizen?
    If you are in the United States legally or are the parent of a U.S. citizen in your household, you need have no worries about applying for federal disaster assistance.
    None of these reasons will prevent you from getting help from FEMA. Here’s what to do to get the correct information. Just be sure to do it before Monday, June 13:

    Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
    Cuando llame al 800-621-3362 marque el 1 y escuche las instrucciones en español. Favor llamar antes del lunes 13 de junio.
    If you use 711/VRS call 800-621-3362.
    Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or www.fema.gov/disaster/4263.
    Visit FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or call 800-621-3362 to find a disaster recovery center near you.
    If you have questions about how you may qualify for a low-interest disaster SBA loan:

    Call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit SBA’s website at SBA.gov/disaster. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing you can call 800-877-8339.

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  • Southern University Business College hosts third annual conference June 16 – 18

    The Southern University EDA University Center is hosting its third annual conference. This year’s conference is centered on the theme of “The Role of Universities as Anchors in Advancing Sustainable Innovation in Economic Development” and will be held June 16th – 18th on the campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge. The EDA University Center for Economic Development at SUBR was established with a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help accelerate regional business expansion. It is housed in the College of Business and the mission of the Center is to link businesses with the resources, market information, and financing that will enable them to effectively introduce new products, win new contracts, improve efficiency, and grow successfully. For more information and registration visit http://www.subruniversitycenter.org/

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  • District 5 meeting on economic development, tax abatement at 6:00 P.M. tonight

    District 5′s Quarterly Meeting will be held tonight at Glen Oaks High School at 6:00 P.M. This month’s meeting will focus specifically on Economic Development, Tax Abatement and the Mow to Own Ordinance. A representative from United Health Care will also be present to provide information in regards to the company’s open enrollment program available to the citizens. Any questions about the meeting please contact (225)389-4831.

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  • Community meeting to give update on healthcare in North Baton Rouge Efforts

    The NBRNow Blue Ribbon Commission steps forward to bring healthcare providers to north Baton Rouge in an effort to make this part of the city-parish healthier. With the help of federal, state, local governments, along with private and corporate support and encouragement, we continue our passionate pursuit of medical providers. Delivering quality healthcare close to home is the single most important contribution we can make. A short presentation and overview on healthcare service recruitment will be presented on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    at The Offices at Champion Medical Center on 7855 Howell Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70807

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  • Wisteria Alliance brings women in ag workshop to New Roads

    Workshop will teach women how to choose equipment for a farm or garden

    Southern University Ag Center’s Wisteria Alliance Program will hold a Women in Agriculture Workshop on Saturday, June 4 at the Episcopal Church Hall, 605 East Main St., in New Roads, LA.

    The workshop, which will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., will focus on helping women choose the correct equipment needed to maintain a farm or garden.

    Additional workshop topics will include:

    •Machinery for Small and Large Jobs
    •Farm Equipment Demonstration
    •USDA/FAS Micro Loan Program
    •Networking Opportunities

    The workshop is free and open to all women, but pre-registration is required. To register, contact Emily King at 225.718.3705 or via e-mail at emily_king@suagcenter.com.

    All attendees are asked to bring their most outrageous and outlandish work hat!

    The Wisteria Alliance Program prepares women to own and operate their own farms and other agricultural based businesses. It began in 2012 as a pilot program aimed at providing practical, hands on training for women who live on farms, and those whose interest lie in starting a farm, and/or urban or community garden.

    The program was named after the Wisteria, a lavender colored, very beautiful but hardy, steadfast flowering plant. The plant has many purposes, much like the role that women play in agriculture. All of the Wisteria Alliance trainings are designed for women, and the majority of the workshops will be conducted by women. Although men are welcome, the Wisteria Alliance is committed to creating an atmosphere where women will be comfortable to ask questions in a warm nurturing environment.

    For additional information about the Southern University Ag Center’s Wisteria Alliance Program visit, http://www.suagcenter.com/PageDisplay.asp?p1=1450 or contact Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin at 225.771.2242.

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  • ,,

    University leader calls high school decision to keep athlete, ban valedictorian ‘height of hypocrisy’

    The following is a copy of Dillard University president Walter Kimbrough’s letter to Tangipahoa School Superintendent Mark Kolwe in regards to the national embarrassment:

    Last night, I watched “The Nightly Show” with Larry Wilmore. In the first segment, he discussed the case of Andrew Jones at Amite High School. Living in New Orleans, I was already aware of the case, but I watched Wilmore present the absurdity of this situation to the nation. For the past week, this case has been a national embarrassment to the school, the parish, and the entire state. For me, it represents a tremendous lack of judgment and a colossal failure of leadership. It also exposed blatant hypocrisy present in your school system, Mark Kolwe, Superintendent Tangipahoa Parish School System.

    So, I began to research this situation more closely and I want to present my findings. My hope is that you will issue a public apology to Mr. Jones and his family. Additionally, since this once in a lifetime event was ruined because of what appears to have been an ego contest with an 18 year old, I recommend that you offer restitution to him in the form of a scholarship for college.

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    In your letter, which appears in the Amite Tangi Digest, you write: The Tangipahoa Parish School Board Student Dress Code Policy states that “beards will not be allowed.” As Superintendent, I am obligated to ensure that all Board policies are followed.

    Indeed, the Student & Parent Handbook explicitly states this on page 8 under Student Dress Code, item #1 under dress code regulations grades 4-12. On page 9, it then describes how dress code violations will be handled, with the first violation resulting in a notice to parents and students (essentially a warning), and a subsequent violation resulting in a one day suspension due to disrespect of authority.

    Jones and his family contend that he has worn a beard all year, and that he shaved part of it before the ceremony. I tend to agree with them, not because I know them, but by this story in the Hammond Star recapping the basketball season found here: http://www.hammondstar.com/sports/season-in-review-amite-warriors-district—a/article_ad9875c6-12e2-11e6-932f-47ef2c0ac71f.html).

    The picture shows a young man, wearing a #3 on his jersey, who looks like Andrew Jones to me, with the fuller beard as he has described. I then checked the roster for the Amite Warriors and confirmed that Andrew Jones wore #3. (http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/amite-warriors-(amite,la)/basketball/roster.htm).

    So the question is, why would you wait until graduation, after he has completed all requirements to graduate and will no longer attend the school, to finally enforce a policy that has been unenforced for an entire year? More specifically, why would you punish your top student, 4.0 grade point average, and three-sport athlete with academic and athletic scholarships to Southeastern Louisiana University, on the very last day of his formal association with Amite High School?

    Yes, you are obliged to ensure the policies are followed. But policies were ignored during the football season. He was allowed to play football against Bogalusa in October, where the Amite Tangi Digest reported, “This would help set up a scoring drive that resulted in Walker hitting Andrew Jones for a 33-yard touchdown reception.” He was still playing in November, as the team played against Port Barre, The Advocate wrote “A fumbled punt snap gave Amite the ball at the Port Barre 39, and Walker drilled Andrew Jones with a 39-yard touchdown pass that made it 40-0.” He wore a full beard, in plain view, all through basketball season in the spring.

    The height of the hypocrisy is that you personally made a case for an exception to a rule in the name of fairness for students. In late November, a fight between Amite and Bogalusa resulted in Amite being removed from the football playoffs for violating the Louisiana High School Athletic Association rule that players are automatically suspended for the next game if they leave the bench area during an altercation. In fact, you sued because you felt the decision was too harsh. In an Advocate article, it reads “Taking away the opportunity for senior players to continue their quest for a state title was also deemed unfair by the Tangipahoa contingent.”

    At a school where only 36% of the students go to college within a year, where 80% of them are Black, and the average ACT is below 16, you are more willing to fight for students to participate in athletics than you are for an athlete who shows academic accomplishment to give his valedictory address at his only high school graduation.

    This facial hair rule, one that was not enforced all year long, is now non-negotiable at the very end of the year. Again referencing the handbook, page 10 explains discipline and indicates that administrators will “implement the Student Code of Conduct in a fair and consistent manner” (#3), “implement Board policy in a fair and consistent manner” (#7), and “use professional judgment to prevent minor incidents from becoming major challenges” (#5). There is nothing fair or consistent in the implementation of this rule, and now this minor incident has become a national embarrassment.

    The interim principal, and you as superintendent, failed on these responsibilities. However, if you are willing to exercise leadership, you can work to make amends to Andrew Jones and his family. Here are my suggestions:

    1. A public apology should be issued to Andrew Jones and his family. It is still okay to say “I’m sorry” and “We made a mistake.”
    2. Work within the local community to find a venue for Andrew to give his commencement address. He should still be afforded that opportunity.
    3. Some form of restitution would be appropriate in the form of a scholarship to assist with his first year of college. That moment has passed and cannot be relived, but a scholarship would serve as a tangible expression of regret.

    Please understand that these actions display a, hopefully unconscious, bias that allows you to advocate for Black students on the field or court, but to be punitive when it comes to academics. The vast majority of them will never be professional athletes, but they can use their athletic ability to pay for college. And so when you have a true scholar athlete like Andrew, he must be celebrated profusely so that he becomes a role model for others to follow.

    It is my hope that you will rectify this situation as best as possible.

    z4j1f6mgx9kvyl8i5pqw-1Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D.
    President, Dillard University
    2601 Gentilly Blvd.
    New Orleans, LA 70122

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    STEM NOLA revolution takes on Baton Rouge

    “GO. SEE. DO,” IS THE MESSAGE CALVIN MACKIE, Ph.D., is spreading with a STEM revolution that is exposing young people to
    math and science interactively. The mission is to grow future innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs through inspiration,
    engagement, and exposure.

    “There is power in doing,” said Mackie. “At some point we have to get up off our behinds and do. We have to stop talking and planning and actually do something.”  #LetsGoPeople is the hashtag Mackie adds to the end of every Facebook post, prompting his more than 16,000 followers to action. “I remember speaking with Dr. Cornell West and I whispered to him, ‘I am going to bring social justice to STEM,’” said Mackie, who taught engineering for more than 12 years at Tulane University in New Orleans. To do so, he established STEM NOLA to give children and teens opportunities to experience and gain knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics once a month—and in a big way. “If we give our kids the right skills now in math, science and technology, paired with their own creativity, they can create things the world never seen before,” said Mackie who has mentored thousands of college scientists. He has taken this message to audiences at NY Life, Morehouse University, Hillsborough Community College, and to researchers with the J Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, Discovery Communications, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The award-winning science mentor uses the STEM program to emphasize the importance of taking what is learned to create something new and compete with other youth from across the globe. He said for someone to own the future in the 21st century, “he or she must first create the future and for people of color to find a genius in their community. It is not enough to invest in only a select few, but to support and build up every child, teen, and young adult.” “We celebrate the fact that we have a million boys and girls playing sports dreaming to be one of 60 to get drafted,” he said. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Tulane University eliminated its engineering program and fired Mackie. “So I decided, as Lebron James says, to ‘take my talents back home’.” Mackie said and chuckled. 

    Stem Nola 2

    After 12 years of dedicating his life to students in the classroom, the Morehouse graduate felt he could reach a larger number of young people and make a bigger impact by working directly in the community and enlighten his students on the importance of STEM in today’s world. “Why should I prepare my kid to go through a crack when there is a wide open gate of opportunity to go through”? He shared that opportunity in conjunction with Baton Rouge Community College. The STEM NOLA team came to the capitol city to give high school students the opportunity to experience life science, energy, and force using Mackie’s interactive module. What sets STEM NOLA apart from the classroom experience is the high energy activities the students complete in small groups in order to retain the information that was taught during a lecture. For three days, sixty high school students met the STEM NOLA challenge during Spring Break. On the first day, the lecture and lab covered life science and the heart. Mackie taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle in relation to the heart and how proper rest affects the heart’s circulatory system. Afterwards, the students built a four-chamber mechanical heart out of everyday materials and had the opportunity to dissect the four-chamber heart of a sheep. The next day was energy day. Students spent the first part of the day learning about active and passive solar energy. To aid with the understanding of solar energy, the group built solar energy houses that were placed outside to see which house allowed the least amount of sun inside. To track the amount of sun that each house allowed in, the rate of the increase heat for each house was measured. The house that increased at the lowest rate in heat was declared the winner and received a prize. Later that day, Mackie’s group was given windmill kits to put design and measure the amount of voltage from the windmill. The final day featured force in motion using paper and other household materials to create a rocket that could be launched by compressed air. The group launched solid rockets that could reach up to an altitude of 700 feet with the right booster.  “BRCC saw what we did in New Orleans and said the kids in Baton Rouge deserved to experience something like this,” said Mackie. STEM NOLA is held in New Orleans every second Saturday of the month. It is also part of a national maker movement. ONLINE: www.stemnola.org

    BY BRIANA BROWNLEE
    JOZEF SYNDICATE REPORTER

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  • Giant Inflatable Colon Comes to Baton Rouge

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center Brings Giant Inflatable Colon to Baton Rouge
    Interactive Experience to Show the Different Stages of Colorectal Cancer

    WHAT In the United States, there are more than one million Americans living with a history of colorectal cancer. Estimates are that one in 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in a lifetime.1
    To combat these staggering statistics, the patient advocacy organization Colon Cancer Alliance has embarked on the 2016 Big Colon Tour, a nationwide educational tour featuring a giant inflatable colon sponsored by Bayer. The tour pulls into Pennington Biomedical Research Center for the Get Your Rear In Gear Run/Walk event.
    WHO: CCA volunteer living with colon cancer, Diane McAdams, and physician Dr. Kelly Finan, MD, from Our Lady The Lake Colon/Rectal are available for media interviews
    WHEN: May 7, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    WHERE: 6400 Perkins Road
    Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    WHY: As with many cancers, early detection of colorectal cancer is important. The survival rate is much higher when the disease is diagnosed early, but research has shown that only 39 percent of patients are diagnosed at the early stage, in part due to the underuse of screening.2 In Louisiana approximately 61 percent of adults over 50 are being screened for colorectal cancer, but that leaves nearly 40 percent who are still not being screened.1 This is important, given that more than more than 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented with screening.3
    Colon Cancer Alliance’s giant inflatable colon engages the public in a memorable way by providing an interactive experience showing the different stages of colorectal cancer, including advanced disease. These efforts aim to raise public awareness of this disease by encouraging early detection and timely treatment, while raising funding for research nationwide. Help get the word out about colon cancer; together, we can make a difference.
    For more information about the inflatable colon or colon cancer visit ccalliance.org.

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    Brittney Mills Act failed

    The Brittney Mills Act, sponsored by Rep. Edward Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, failed to pass out of the House Commerce Committee. After a motion to pass the bill
    failed with a tie vote of 6-6, James asked to voluntarily defer the bill. 

    HB 1040 would require that all phones made, sold, or leased in Louisiana be capable of being unlocked for law enforcement in the case of murder investigations. If the phone cannot be unlocked, the seller or leaser faces a $2,500 fine per phone. There are exceptions to this rule in the case where a phone user may have downloaded a third party encryption app. 

    “It’s not just about justice, it’s about comfort and security for the family,” James told the committee. 

    The bill is called the “Louisiana Brittney Mills Act,” in honor of the woman who inspired the legislation. Mills was killed last April at age 29, but the case remains open and the killer unidentified. 

    Mills was shot after opening the door to her
    apartment. She was eight months pregnant at the time, and while a medical team was able to deliver the baby, he died a few days  later. 

    Investigators believe Mills’ cellphone may be the key to catching the killer. However, detectives cannot get inside because the phone is passcode protected. Mills’ family said she changed her passcode just days before she was shot. 

    Investigators asked Apple to unlock the device, but that request was denied.

    James said he hopes to bring the bill back to the committee again some time before the end of session. 

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    New picture book shares ‘Stories by Grandma’

    Patricia F. Crowley offers vibrantly illustrated tales for young readers, pet-lovers

    GRETNA, La. – Patricia F. Crowley wrote “Stories by Grandma”  for her grandson, who is now 7 years old, to tell him tales that recount their family’s happy times with their beloved pets. With its vibrant illustrations and engaging narrative, this picture provides young readers and pet lovers alike with an entertaining and educational experience centered on the adventures of affable animals.

    Scruffy is a Yorkipoo puppy, Freddie is a finch and Jack is a sorrel-colored horse. Crowley tells their story, as seen from a child’s perspective, showing readers the simple pleasures of life provided by pets and how each has its own personality, making its own unique mark in people’s lives. Crowley depicts the loving bond people form with their pets, the contributions they make to life’s quality and how a child can come to appreciate the presence of each of these creatures in his family.

    “At a time when children seem to be surrounded by negative influence, pet ownership provides children with an opportunity to be loving and caring and to experience unconditional love and devotion,” Crowley says.

    Read more »
  • SU releases statement on death of two student-athletes near LSU

    “It is with deep sadness that the University confirms that two Southern University Baton Rouge female student-athletes were killed early Sunday, April 10, 2016. According to law enforcement, freshman track and field athlete Annette January of Gary, Indiana, and sophomore student athletic trainer Lashuntae Benton of Lake Charles, were killed by gunfire outside of an apartment complex in Baton Rouge near LSU, early this morning. An investigation is ongoing. The University asks for prayers and support for the families at this difficult time.”

    -Ray L. Belton, SU System president
     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Entergy supports Tangipahoa’s Black heritage museum

    PONCHATOULA–Eunice Harris, Entergy customer service representative, recently presented Delmas Dunn Sr., president of the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum & Veterans Archives (TAAHM&VA), with a $1,000 check.  The funds will be used toward a joint community development project whereby the board members will partner with community volunteers to landscape the grounds of the TAAHM&VA.  They will purchase live oak trees, stakes, fertilizer, mulching soil, garden hose, etc., and develop the area along the 1600 block of Phoenix Sq.

    The mission of the TAAHM&VA is to preserve, maintain, and educate the public about the history of Black ancestors in the State of Louisiana and the U.S.; to collaborate with other organizations with a common vision, both nationally and internationally, through artistic endeavors.

    The TAAHM&VA welcomed/hosted 3,890 visitors in 2014 and 2,530 visitors in 2015 from Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, St. Helena, Livingston, East and West Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans parishes.  The halls are lined with nearly wall-sized, colorful paintings and murals depicting Black American history, inventors, entrepreneurs, culture, musicians, war heroes, pioneers, slavery, leaders, historians, buffalo soldiers, civil rights activists, underground railroad, family, and kings and queens of Africa.  It also has on display Black American and African artifacts and inventions such as the butter churn, traffic light, smoothing iron, cow bell, ice scraper, meat tenderizer, kerosene lamp, brownie camera, to name just a few.

    “Entergy is proud to reinvest in its vast diversity of cultures within the communities it serves,” said Harris.  “And it’s always a good thing when volunteers come out and participate in community development projects – it shows joint ownership” Harris continued.

    To schedule a class, group, or individual tour, please call 985-542-4259.  ONLINE: http://www.taahm.org/ 

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Time to get SMART, set goals addressing diabetes

    Diabetes takes a disproportional interest in the minority community and one Baton Rouge area mental health professional thinks it’s time for the community to return that interest with deliberate game plans aimed at limiting the devastation caused by this chronic-disease killer.

    Charles Martin

    Charles Martin

    Charles Martin, Capital City Health Center director of behavior health, has both professional and personal viewpoints regarding the challenges of diabetes. His parents and grandparents were insulin-dependent and he is recovering from a diabetes-related limb amputation. Even when the challenges seem great, Martin invokes the daily prescription of NFL coach Chip Kelly: Win the day.
    Instead of simply resolving to turn the tide on diabetes, Martin encourages another tactic: Goal setting.

    “We people living with diabetes may have the fear that we will be gun-ho in January with everyone else making New Year’s resolutions,” Martin said. “But then, are we going to burn ourselves out?”
    “We start fast and we fizz quickly, but it goes back to Chip Kelly and that motto ‘Win the day.’ We are just going to take it one day at a time. It goes back to this attitude that this is something that we have to do daily. When we think about renewing the mind, we should be reminded that our prayers ask ‘give us this day, our DAILY bread.’”

    Martin encourages the ‘attitude of daily’ as a tool in diabetes management. “We must remember that we are consistently inconsistent,” he said. “The goal is to be consistently consistent. To do that, we must take it one day at a time and try to max out that day.”

    10 black_hands_testingThis deadly opponent packs a daunting record against Blacks who are greatly disproportionately affected by diabetes. More than 13 percent of all Blacks above the age of 20 are living with diabetes. In addition, Blacks are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.
    Diabetes is one disease that can spawn serious complications or makes a person susceptible to related conditions. Blacks are significantly more likely to suffer from the diabetes complications of blindness, kidney disease and amputations.

    No matter how great the challenge, Martin said setting goals helps properly address the fear. “A goal is just a tool to put you to work,” he said. “It puts me in charge!”

    Good health is important, but it will not just happen. SMART Goals provide a road map to success because those goals are Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

    If you want to accomplish a task, you set a plan, you set deadlines and you take action. Most people are familiar with SMART goals in the workplace, but they also apply to health. For example, let’s say you wanted to an A1C of 7.5, but your level is now 11. It would be unrealistic to say you wanted reduce your A1C to 11 in next month. It would be more realistic to set up a SMART goal:
    • Specific – I will decrease my average fasting blood sugar by 2 points each week. 10 SMART-goals
    • Measureable – I will keep track of blood sugar levels three times daily so I can track my
    progress towards my goal.
    • Attainable – Is the goal attainable for me? Your diabetes care team should be consulted about ways to reduce your A1C and risk of complications.
    • Realistic – Is the goal realistic for me? Lowering one’s blood sugar is a great goal, but drastic drops can increase changes of hyperglycemia.
    • Timely – I will make an appointment with my care team every three months in 2016 to evaluate my A1C with hopes to start 2017 near 7.5.

    Other goals that will impact blood sugar control include getting regular and sufficient exercise, gaining or losing weight, following a diabetes nutrition plan, and being more compliant to medication schedules.

    Diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications in minority communities. Good diabetes management, however, can help reduce risks, but many people are not aware that they have diabetes until they develop one of its complications.
    Martin warns that even those with the best goal-related intentions can face the obstacles of anxiety and depression. Anxiety can feed the overwhelming fear of failing to control one’s diabetes. “It is the fear that I’m not going to reach my goal so I stop before I even get started,” he said.

    It is important to know the warning signs of depression and plan ahead to combat it. “Exercise does help with depression,” Martin said. “Take a walk. If you are bound to the inside, use can goods to do arm curls. You will feel better if you make efforts to get more exercise.”
    “We often get so depressed that we isolate ourselves and we don’t have the social connections that we need. If you are aware of the possible pitfalls of depression, you are able to make a plan and incorporate that into your ‘I’m going to win the day.’”

    The counselor puts himself in the classroom in which he is teaching. In this calendar year, he will attempt to achieve tighter blood sugar control and with the aid of physical therapy, learn to walk using a prosthetic limb. There will be 365 days in his year, but his mantra will remain “win the day.”

    By Frances Y. Spencer
    Special to The Drum

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Reed becomes deputy under secretary

    Kim Hunter Reed has been appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy under secretary of education.

    Reed will be a member of the senior leadership team at the Department of Education that oversees higher education in the United States. She is the former chief of staff for the Louisiana Board of Regents and the former executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System. Earlier, she served on the faculty at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge and was executive assistant to the president and interim vice president of student affairs at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

    Reed earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and master of public administration degree at Southeastern Louisiana University. She holds a doctorate in public policy from Southern University.
     

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  • Developers saught to remake Government St. site

    Wanting to stir up a revival in Mid City, the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is seeking developers to reinvent the former Entergy buildings and surrounding six acres on Government Street. On Thursday, March 31, the RDA formally asked developers to offer innovative ideas for returning the buildings to commerce.

    To do so, the RDA issued a Request for Expressions of Interest for the site at 1509 Government Street. Written for the RDA by Fregonese Associates, which also created FutureBR, the parish’s comprehensive growth plan, the RFEI asks developers, business owners and others for conceptual plans.

    “The redevelopment of this property has the potential to serve as a gateway linking to downtown, which is experiencing a renaissance of new investment, and Mid City, which is emerging as an economically vital commercial district focused on Government Street,” said John Fregonese of Fregonese Associates.

    The RDA is a quasi-public agency created by government to spark developments in projects that are seen as too risky by private capital. The RDA primes the pump that draws private capital to areas that have seen disinvestment.

    Pockets of Mid City on Government Street farther away from downtown are already slowly returning to life. Buildings have been repaired, restaurants opened, offices rehabbed, and a developer is building a mixed-use project on an entire block of Government Street near South Foster Drive. The state is investing $12 million to transform all of Government Street from four to three lanes flanked by bike lanes and sidewalks.

    The RDA wants to spread development to other parts of Government Street, and it has set the Entergy property on a fast schedule. Developers must submit proposals by April 28; the agency’s board is set to choose a team or teams this June. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2017.

    According to the release, “The RDA is open to a broad range of ideas and uses – new mixed use development, residential, retail, and or commercial/office. The adaptive reuse of the two prominent historical buildings on the site is key to the proposal.”

    A predecessor to Entergy operated the city’s first power plant at the Government Street and South 15th Street site until 1940, then Entergy stored equipment there until 2011. The city’s trolley service operated from the buildings, and the train station was next door.

    Entergy donated the site to the RDA in 2014. The six acres on the north side of Government Street feature two prominent brick buildings, both of which are eligible for listing National Register of Historic Places. The site has been rezoned favorably this year for multi-story, mixed-use buildings.

    “Pioneering businesses have shown there is plenty of demand for housing, offices and restaurants just a few blocks away in downtown, and I’m certain that level of redevelopment will be repeated in Mid City,” said John B. Noland, RDA board chair. “One of the best outcomes the RDA foresees is life returning to inner-city neighborhoods, where the infrastructure is paid for and where the residents are ready to reclaim the neighborhoods as their own.”

    The RFEI can be downloaded at http://ebrra-entergy.weebly.com

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  • ,

    Dixon promoted to Public Relations Colonel

    LSU Cadet Todd Dixon, a New Orleans native, has been selected to serve as the Regimental Commanding Officer for the 17th Regional area of the National Society of Pershing Rifles.  Dixon’s range of responsibility includes eight Pershing Rifles chapters at universities across the South in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. He will also maintain his responsibilities and current position as Commander of Pershing Rifles at LSU.

    Since 2011, this will be the first time the Regimental Headquarters for this area will be located at LSU.  It is a huge accomplishment, and is reflective of the tremendous efforts and hard work of Dixon and Pershing Rifles at LSU. At their national convention, Dixon was promoted to the rank of Public Relations Colonel effective on March 12, 2016. 

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  • New mobile app is building Black wealth nationwide

    Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Have you ever wanted to shop with Black owned business in your city or when traveling across the United States? Not sure how to find local or national business that are owned by people that look like you and live in your community.

    There is an awesome new app to hit the market that is harnessing the $1.3 trillion buying power of the African-American community. Yes, you read that right. Black people spend $1.3 trillion dollars annually, yet our Black owned businesses doesn’t reflect this number in income.

    WHERE U Came From is the premiere and reliable Black business directory app for Apple and Android devices offering a local business search with real-time listing of Black-owned businesses across various categories, ranked by consumers who use the app.

    The app was created by Atlanta-based, social entrepreneur Dr. Dionne Mahaffey and her company the CPAI Group. The wealth disparity arises in the African-American community because the dollar doesn’t circulate the way it does in other minority communities around the world. A huge problem is that despite a collective buying power of in the trillions of dollars, very little of that money stays in Black communities or is spent on Black-owned businesses.

    The WhereU app was conceived for the need to help circulate the dollar longer in Black communities and because of this, it could generate one million jobs for African- Americans nationwide.

    Did you know that currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for 30 days, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days, white communities 17 days, but in contrast a dollar circulates in the Black community only six hours.

    According to researchers, just 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to Black owned businesses. If higher income Black consumers spent at least $1 out of every $10 with Black owned businesses it would generate one million jobs for African American.

    Money zooms over our heads and through our fingers faster than we can count it and it rarely stays in our pockets long enough to save or go to the Black-owned businesses in our neighborhoods. We spend our hard owned money with companies that could care less about our community and more about their bottom line. We are so used to creating jobs for other people and corporations, but we as a community are unable to create jobs for ourselves. This is a very serious issues that the WhereU app is addressing.

    The app merges technology with the need to handle poverty, crime and other social ills in the African-American community by focusing on economic development and job creation.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent survey of business owners there are 2.6 million black owned businesses in this country.

    “While the growth is encouraging there is still a lot of work to do to increase the profit of these black businesses. Gross receipts for all minority-owned firms are still well below the average gross receipts for non-minority-owned firms,” Mahaffey said.

    “It will take all of us across all socio-economic statuses to build black wealth. We’ve got to invest in our own community. For us, community can’t be limited to where we are domiciled since many of us live in non-black neighborhoods. When we start to embrace the diaspora-view that our community is wherever we find our people, then we will be more inclined to support one another, even if it means taking a long drive,” said Mahaffey.

    The WhereU app is here to help make it easier to literally buy Black, in your community and when you travel to other communities around the country. This app will help you locate every African-American owned business in your vicinity from everything like restaurants house cleaning, plumbing, catering, lawyers, doctors, graphic designers, beauty salons and more. The app’s referral and location-based system helps you start your search among the most trusted Black professionals and businesses.

    “Our development team has added several thousand businesses for the app launch. However, we’d love to include as many of the 2.6 million black businesses in the United States as possible,” she concluded.

    Business profiles can be submitted from the web-site or within the actual WhereU Came From app. The app can also help majority, non-black corporations meet their diversity objectives by finding minority businesses to support. .

    Some of the unique app features include:
    * Access the top 10 most referred pros and businesses under a category even without Internet connection
    * Ability to find the pro nearest you through geo-location technology
    * Reliable listings with verified contact numbers
    * Easily refer trusted pros to friends and family through the referral function

    The website, WhereYouCameFrom.biz will feature entrepreneurs’ stories, offer narratives on wealth building and other topics relevant to black owned business owners and consumers. The company also plans to hold conferences and pop-up shops across the country to promote black entrepreneurship.

    Get Connected:
    Download the “WhereU” app in the Apple Store or Google Play

    Facebook: www.Facebook.com/WhereYouCameFrom
    YouTube: https://goo.gl/sjwezW
    Twitter and Instagram: @WhereUCameFrom

     
    Read more »
  • ,,

    New book “Black Author Secrets: How I Make $2,500+ in Book Sales Every Month!” availiable now

    Nationwide — Award-winning entrepreneur Dante Lee has just published the first ever African American guide to selling more books, and in this unique step-by-step guide, he reveals all of his secrets on how authors can be more profitable and more successful.

    The book is entitled, Black Author Secrets: How I Make $2,500+ in Book Sales Every Month! and it’s exclusively available for just $2.99 via his publishing company at www.UrbanEbooks.com

    In this 108-page book, Lee, who himself sells an average of 100 books or more per day, teaches existing and aspiring authors everything they need to know to generate constant streams of revenue with their books. He shares his own personal knowledge, insight and experience!

    “I wrote this book,” Lee comments, “because I know that a lot of authors, especially African American authors, are having difficulty making money from their books. They spend a year or more writing, editing, and proofreading, and then after the book comes out, nothing happens!”

    He adds, “This book is the first book of it’s kind that shows African American authors exactly what they need to do to make at least $2,500 a month in book sales.”

    For more details about either book, visit www.UrbanEbooks.com

     
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  • Youth to gather for first Youth Justice Day, April 6

    Why are 17-year-old children
    prosecuted as adults in Louisiana
    and stigmatized with life-long criminal records?


    BATON ROUGE — Louisiana is one of only nine states that routinely prosecute 17-year-olds as adults — a fiscally irresponsible and inhumane practice that affects about 6,000 LA youth each year, endangering public safety by increasing recidivism <http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/15224459-171/guest-column-including-17-year-olds-in-the-juvenile-justice-system-makes-us-safer> .


    A broad swath of supporters, including Governor John Bel Edwards and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, are calling on Louisiana to get in stride with the 41 states that include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system. Sponsored by Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, the RAISE THE AGE LOUISIANA ACT of 2016 (SB 324 <http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=984017> ) is included in the Edwards Administration’s legislative package.

    Join us on the Capitol steps on April 6 for the stirring kick-off of Louisiana’s first annual Youth Justice Day in support of RAISE THE AGE LOUISIANA.

    Youth Justice Day is sponsored by the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition, a network of over 60 advocacy groups that support common-sense juvenile justice reform.

    This is a local story on an issue of national concern. Read about Louisiana and the seven other states <http://campaignforyouthjustice.org/news/blog/item/raise-the-age-bills-flourish-in-2016>  with RAISE THE AGE campaigns and pending legislation.

    April 6 at 10:30 am:

    · Release of a powerful report authored by the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition arguing that the inclusion of 17-year-olds in our juvenile justice system is safe, smart, cost-effective, and fair.  (Contact us for an advance copy.)

    · Speakers include Rob Reardon, Lafayette Parish Director of Corrections; Dr. James Gilmore, Director of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet; Baton Rouge Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson; and Jasmine Jeff, a senior at New Orleans’ Sci Academy whose research for a term paper sparked a passion for RAISE THE AGE.

    · The New Orleans youth dance group, Dancing Grounds, will live-illustrate news conference messages with giant props and assistance from the audience.  This is a strongly visual media op that reporters and camera crews won’t want to miss.

    At 11:30 am:

    · Join us at the Capitol Park Welcome Center <http://www.crt.state.la.us/tourism/welcome-centers/capitol-park-welcome-center-rentable-venue/index>  for a technical panel on the report and RAISE THE AGE legislation. Three related juvenile justice bills will be discussed as well.

    At 12:30 pm:

    · Follow along with Jasmine Jeff and her peers as they enter the Capitol and lobby legislators in support of RAISE THE AGE — a first-time act of civic engagement for many of these young people.

    At 1:00 pm:

    · The legislative session opens with Rep. Joseph Bouie, D-New Orleans, reading a proclamation in support of Youth Justice Day <http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=985212>  and the hundreds of students — 350 confirmed to date — in attendance.

    For more on RAISE THE AGE, the three related bills, and the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition, visit www.youthjustice.la <http://www.youthjustice.la/> .

    Read more »
  • Oliver to keynote top Blacks in healthcare awards gala

    Healthcare industry’s top leaders celebrated for a larger purpose 

    BlackDoctor.org, the leading online health destination for African Americans, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions announced today that Bob Oliver, President & COO of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., will keynote the 3rd Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

    “I am honored to be a part of such an esteemed group being recognized at the Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala,” said Bob Oliver, President and COO, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. He added, “I’d like to thank BlackDoctor.org for the instrumental role they have played in activating leaders and the healthcare community around this critical mission. Addressing disparity is essential to advancing healthcare equality, from the boardrooms to the hospital rooms. I, similar to the other honorees, am proud to stand tall with BlackDoctor.org so we can reduce disparity and increase opportunity.”

    The 3rd Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala will honor 24 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and health. These highly esteemed and accomplished individuals were identified and selected by alumni from the 2014 and 2015 Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards recipients as well as key individuals from partner organizations such as the National Medical Association, Johns Hopkins University and the American Hospital Association.

    Oliver is a 25 year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. In his current role, Mr. Oliver manages a diverse portfolio of marketed and pipeline products across the neuroscience, cardiovascular, oncology and medical devices markets. He also leads the efforts in the emergence of Digital Medicine solutions.

    “Oliver exemplifies all of the unparalleled qualities that define our honorees, past and present. BlackDoctor.org looks forward to setting the tone for the evening, and for our collective work beyond the celebration, with his address,” said Reggie Ware, CEO of BlackDoctor.org.

    The 2016 Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala Sponsors are Bayer Corporation, Novartis, Eli Lilly, & Company, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., (OAPI), and Pfizer.

    For the second year, Blackdoctor.org will have legendary BET host and radio personality, Donnie Simpson, as Master of Ceremonies.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,,,

    Jones announces financial lecture and book tour

    What happens when you are taught to RAISE YOUR FINANCIAL I.Q., LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY, GET RID OF DEBT AND BUILD WEALTH from a self-made millionaire? Well, Above Average Group is excited to announce that best-selling author and motivational speaker, Paul D. Jones will be hosting a financial seminar and book tour starting April 2, 2016 from 10am – 1pm at the Sheraton Metairie where he will be answering these questions and more while motivating and inspiring you to “INVEST IN YOUR MIND”.

    A recognized “wealth builder” in the financial world, Jones has helped over 500 entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes optimize profits and experience exponential growth through increased customer loyalty. He’s the author of “Who Told You…You Were Broke?”, “Schedule for Success,” “What You and Your Kids Need to Know About Credit” and now announces his latest writing entitled, “I Quit” (Being Broke) in conjunction with his lecture tour, “Financial Literacy University”. This tour not only targets recent college graduates burdened by paralyzing student loan debt and wanting to start off their careers correctly after graduation, it also gives a plethora of useful investment information to those who would normally “splurge” or perhaps not know how to invest. In addition, the tour exhibits significant benefits for single parents and families who simply want to get out of debt and enjoy a peace of mind from excessive debt due to non-budgeting.

    Growing up just outside of Chicago and raised by a single mother who taught him the importance of giving back, Jones has taken that passion and applied it to his own career and uses it to empower others. Through this informative seminar and book tour, attendees will receive information on better managing their money, acquiring better spending habits, growing and budgeting their business and improving and building their credit. “I can’t stand a victim mentality”, Jones protest and because of his “take charge of your life” attitude, participants of the seminar will walk away with real world, pragmatic advise that they can implement immediately into their daily lives.

    The “Financial Literacy University” and “I Quit” seminar and book tour schedule is as follows:

    * New Orleans – April 2nd
    * Houston, TX – April 9th
    * Phoenix, AZ
    * Savannah, GA
    * Orlando, FL
    * Memphis, TN

    Registration is currently open for New Orleans and Houston areas. Other locations will be opening soon. For more information and to stay up-to-date on new cities added to the schedule, visit www.pauldjones.com.


    Available for Interviews
    Double XXposure Media| 201-224-6570 | N.J. Office/ Email: Theellerbeegroup@aol.com
    Atlanta – (678)439-9641/ Email: Foxmediaprinc@gmail.com

     
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  • ,,,

    Auditions open for ‘The Piano Lesson’

    THE PIANO LESSON AUDITION NOTICE
    DIRECTED BY: TIM SANDIFER
    Set in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression, The Piano Lesson explores the troubled relationship of a brother and sister and their struggle over an extraordinary family heirloom, a piano carved with images of their African ancestors. The carvings, done by their enslaved grandfather, instill the piano with a metaphysical legacy – one the siblings avoid or even take for granted, but come to accept and embrace. The piano ultimately brings together a family long torn apart by slavery, violence and murder.Register Here
    When
    Saturday
    April 9, 2016
    1:00 pm
    (General Auditions)
    Where
    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
    2nd Floor
    427 Laurel Street
    Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    What
    THE PIANO LESSON
    REHEARSAL DATES
    April 11, 2016 – May 19, 2016
    Mondays – Thursdays, 6:30 – 9:30 PM
    Sundays, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    Rehearsals are at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
     PERFORMANCE DATES
    May 20, 21 and 22, 2016
    Fridays & Saturday at 7:30 PM Sunday at 3:00

    3 Performances at the LSU Shaver Theatre
    AUDITION REQUIREMENTS
    Please prepare a one-minute dramatic monologue.
    CHARACTERS
    CHARLES DOAKER: Male, 40-60, African Descent, African American The uncle and the owner of the house, spent his life working for the railroad, functions as the play’s testifier.
    BOY WILLIE: Male, 25-40, African American, Berniece’s brash, impulsive, and fast-talking brother who plans to sell the family piano and buy the land his ancestors once worked on as slaves.

     

    LYMON: Male, 25-40, African American, Boy Willie’s longtime friend, speaks with a disarming “straightforwardness”, fleeing the law, he plans to stay in the north and begin a new life.

     

    BERNIECE: Female, 30-40, African America, Boy Willie’s sister, still in mourning for her husband, Crawley, blames her brother for her husband’s death.

     

    MARETHA: Female, 10-14, African American, Berniece’s eleven-year-old daughter who is learning to play piano, the next generation of the Charles’ family.

     

    AVERY BROWN: Male, 30-45, African American, A preacher who moves north once Berniece’s husband dies in an attempt to court her, honest and ambitious.

     

    WINING BOY: Male, 45-65, African American A wandering, washed-up recording star who drifts in and out of his brother Doaker’s household whenever he finds himself broke.

     

    GRACE: Female, 25-35, African American A young, urban woman whom Boy Willie and Lymon each try to pick up.

    Email questions to info@newventuretheatre.org.
    Read more »
  • ,,

    Gauthier leaves McKinley to serve with Naval Beach Group TWO

    NORFOLK–A 2014 McKinley Senior High School graduate and Baton Rouge native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG 2). Seaman Tyran’e Gauthier is working with the beach group operating out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
    A Navy seaman is responsible for training other new personnel and handling check-in for incoming personnel.
    “I like being able to welcome new sailors and get them started on the right track to success,” said Gauthier. “I also like being responsible for training because I feel it is important.”
    Commissioned in 1948, NBG 2 is designed to organize, man, train and equip forces to execute, combat support, and combat service support missions. NBG 2 is made of four commands, Assault Craft Unit TWO (ACU 2), Assault Craft Unit FOUR (ACU 4), Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO, and Beach Master Unit TWO (BMU 2); who have their own individual missions that assist to ensure the overall mission of NBG 2 is complete.
    Gauthier serves with ACU 2 who operate the Landing Craft Air Cushion and provide combat ready craft that fully meet operational tasking worldwide, on time, every time.
    “I like that this command does not see rank,” said Gauthier. “They give you responsibility regardless of rank.”
    Approximately 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the beach group. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the command running smoothly. The jobs range from operating boats to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
    “The sailors here never cease to impress me with the effort they put into their daily work,” said Capt. Jeffrey Hayhurst, commodore commander of NBG 2.”Their dedication and hard work make me proud to be in command of Naval Beach Group Two.”
    Although NBG 2 is made up of four separate commands, they all work together to complete their mission of providing the Navy personnel and equipment to support an amphibious operation or exercise.
    These exercises can include evacuation of American citizens from a hostile territory, delivery of food and medical supplies after a natural disaster, the bulk delivery of fuel or fresh water from a ship anchored off the coast through a pipeline to a shore facility, and nearly any other task that involves moving from ships offshore to the beach.
    “Since joining the Navy, I have matured a bit more,” said Gauthier. “I have always been a leader but now I am a bit more organized.”
    As a member of the one of the U.S. Navy’s most unique commands, Gauthier and other NBG 2 Sailors understand that they need to have the ability to complete a variety of missions to help keep America safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Pierre named Law Center chancellor

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named John K. Pierre to become the seventh chancellor of the Southern University Law Center, on March 18.

    Pierre, who is serving as interim SULC chancellor, was one of four finalists selected by a 14-member search committee to replace Freddie Pitcher Jr. who stepped down last June.

    “First I want to acknowledge the diligence of the Law Center Search Committee members for their considerable efforts in bringing forth four outstanding candidates,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton.

    “After interviewing the final candidates and reviewing their qualifications along with committee and constituent feedback, I am happy to recommend John Pierre who is ably prepared to lead the SU Law Center,” said Belton.

    Pierre became interim chancellor of the Southern University Law Center effective July 1, 2015, and has been on the faculty of the Southern Law Center since 1990. He was promoted to associate vice chancellor for special projects in 2003, and to vice chancellor of institutional accountability and evening division, on October 1, 2006. Additionally, he teaches commercial law, tax law, contracts, and property.

    For seven years, Pierre was involved in the Baton Rouge school desegregation case as co-counsel for the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP in Davis v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. He was also co-counsel in the landmark case  McWaters v. FEMA.

    Pierre is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, and the Louisiana Certified Public Accountants.

    He has previous teaching experience as a visiting and adjunct professor at California State University, Southern Methodist University School of Law, Loyola University Law School, Southern University College of Business, Saint Leo’s College, Webster University, and Northwestern State University.

    He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern University and A&M College in 1980, a master’s degree in tax accounting from Texas Tech University in 1982, and a juris doctor degree from the Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, in 1985.

    Pierre has published numerous articles on tax law, sales and contracts, real estate and commercial law, ranging from magazine features and law review articles.

    “I am truly honored and humbled by the opportunity presented to me,” said the chancellor-elect. “Thank you for your confidence in me.”

    Pierre acknowledged his wife, family members, and faculty and staff from the SU Law Center who he says share much of the credit for his success.

    “I think of my mother and my father on a day like this and I am grateful they gave me the spirit I have to serve. I will work hard to propel the SU Law Center to be the institution you want it to be,” said Pierre.

    Read more »
  • SUNO chancellor announces resignation

    Southern University New Orleans Chancellor Victor Ukpolo, Ph.D, has announced his resignation effective June 30, 2016, after serving 10 years in the position.

    “I am truly grateful to America, the Southern University System and SUNO for giving me an opportunity to lead this University for the past 10 years,” Ukpolo said. “I came to America from Nigeria 44 years ago as a young man with $200 in my pocket and worked my way up from a dishwasher to become the head of a University. Now it is time for me to start my gradual transition back to Nigeria.”

    After he steps down,  Ukpolo plans to return to the classroom to teach at SUNO before eventually returning to Nigeria as the patriarch of his family. “It is my hope that I still have some productive years to give back to my homeland,” he said.

    “My parents, particularly my mother, had not supported my idea to come to America because they feared losing me, but I assured them that I would be back in five years,” Ukpolo said. “Now, 44 years later, I am finally able to keep that promise.”

    He was appointed chancellor on Jan. 6, 2006. He led SUNO during a critical time in the University’s history, rebuilding the campus that was submerged in flood waters after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During his tenure, the University built its first-ever housing complex, an Information Technology Center, a new College of Business & Public Administration Building, and a Small Business Incubator on the newly developed Lake Campus.

    Ukpolo also oversaw the renovations of the University Center, the Leonard S. Washington Memorial Library and the first floor of the Bashful Administration Building. In addition, four new buildings are slated to be constructed: the Education Building, the Natural Sciences Building, the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, and the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work. The University broke ground on the new Social Work building in November 2015.

    SUNO experienced impressive student population growth under Dr. Ukpolo’s leadership. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, he launched an aggressive marketing and reorganization campaign, which included the introduction of four innovative online programs to attract displaced students. Despite projections that only 1,200 to 1,500 of the 3,600 students enrolled before the storm would return, more than 2,100 students came back to continue their education on the new Lake Campus in trailers supplied the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With enrollment climbing faster than any other four-year institution in Louisiana, SUNO not only moved back to its original location, known as the Park Campus, in the winter of 2008, but is also experienced unprecedented growth.

    Looking toward future generations, Dr. Ukpolo established an innovative dual enrollment program to allow qualified high school students to earn college credits at the University. He also continues to support the Honoré Center for Undergraduate Achievement, created to reverse the trend of fewer African American males graduating from college, while increasing the number of male-certified classroom teachers in urban settings.

    Programs such as these demonstrate Dr. Ukpolo’s care, commitment and concern for SUNO’s students, many who, like him, are the first in their families to attend college.

    “As I leave my post as Chancellor, I wish the University and the Southern System well. I still will be here to serve SUNO and the system — just in a different capacity — as I make my gradual transition back to Nigeria.”

    Ukpolo, formerly the Southern University System’s Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, previously served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University in Los Angeles. He also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Academic Research for the Tennessee Board of Regents. He started his career as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Austin Peay State University, where he also held an administrative post as Executive Assistant to the President.

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  • ,,

    New Venture’s ‘Rasheeda Speaking’ opens March 19 at LSU

    New Venture Theatre continues its 2016 season with “Rasheeda Speaking.” This show is directed by April Louise and will be performed March 19 and 20 at the LSU Studio Theatre.

    The PG-13 performance is about a white physician attempts to oust his Black receptionist by enlisting a white female coworker as a spy. Tensions rise as relations between the two women quickly deteriorate, turning their once-cordial workplace into a battlefield of innuendo, paranoia, and passive aggression. With wit and close observation, “Rasheda Speaking” mines the subtleties of “post-racial” America to explore what we are really saying when we refuse to talk about race. Greg Williams Jr. is scenic director and Christian Jones is the costumer. The cast includes Dorrian Wilson as Jaclyn Spaulding, Lee Kelly as Dr. David Williams, Kelly Lockhart as IIeen Van Meter, and Chelsie Ciccone as Rose Saunders.

    The Saturday, March 19, performances begin at 2pm and 7:30pm. On Sunday, March 20, the performance begins at 3pm. Children under the age of four will not be allowed in the theatre and all children ages 4-13 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are  available through the New Venture Theatre box office at 225.588.7576, or visit nvtarts.org

    New Venture Theatre is a local non-profit organization and one of Louisiana’s premiere theatre companies. Since the theater’s founding in 2007, New Venture Theatre has produced over 40 productions throughout the Baton Rouge area and produces a full main-stage and second stage season.

    ONLINE: www.nvtarts.org

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    Growing Louisiana’s small family farms

    Register complimentary before March 4

    Small farmers from throughout the state will gather at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center March 17-19 to attend the 6th annual Louisiana Small Farmers Conference. The three-day conference, themed “Ownership and Growth of Louisiana’s Small Family Farms,” is designed to educate, provide expanded awareness of educational opportunities, USDA programs and services and other resources to help small farmers stay in business.

    This event is the ideal venue for new and beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, backyard gardeners and community based organizations. The conference begins at 8am daily and will include a risk management and networking session and a panel discussion with USDA agencies. At 6:30pm, the conference will host the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet in the Southern University Cotillion Ballroom. The banquet honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences. The conference ends with the first session of the 2016 class of the Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    Conference sessions will cover:
    Soil Health: Key to Successful Farming
    Keeping the Farm in the Family
    Financing Your Farm
    Managing the Farm as a Business
    Opportunities for Market Gardeners
    BMPs for a Beef Cattle Operation
    Mitigating Agricultural Risk on Your Farm

    Registration for the conference, which is complimentary for anyone who submits their registration form by March 4, is $25 for small farmers and $50 for agricultural professionals. On-site registration will be available but early registration is recommended. To register, contact Dawn Mellion-Patin,Ph.D. at (225) 771-2242 or via e-mail at dawn_mellion@suagcenter.com.

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    Ellis named seventh SU Shreveport chancellor

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named Rodney Ellis to become the seventh chancellor of Southern University Shreveport during the board’s Feb. 19th meeting.

    Ellis was one of three finalists selected by a 14-member search committee chaired by Willie C. White III, chief executive officer, David Raines Community Health Centers, to replace the previous chancellor Ray L. Belton who was named SU System President-Chancellor last June.

    “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ellis who is a distinguished educator and administrator to the Southern University System family. His professional experience and knowledge along with his commitment to student achievement will align nicely with our mission and goals for our Shreveport campus,” said Belton.

    SU Board of Supervisors Chairman Leon R. Tarver II offered congratulations as well to the chancellor-elect who will lead the SU System’s Shreveport campus.

    Ellis, a higher-education consultant, is the former chancellor of Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC). Ellis previously served as executive vice president at Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia. Ellis worked at Atlanta Technical College for nearly 13 years where he also served as vice president of IT, planning and development and director of institutional development. Prior to his service at Atlanta Technical College, Ellis served as institutional effectiveness specialist at the Technical College System of Georgia and senior research specialist at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation.

    Ellis earned his doctorate in higher education administration, with a specialization in community and technical college leadership, from the University of Georgia; a master of science in judicial administration from Auburn University at Montgomery; and a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Alabama.

    He has served on the Board of Directors for the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Re-Entry Solutions, and the Rapides Parish Workforce Investment Board. He has also been an active member of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, getting recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. He previously served as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the Atlanta Tech Civitan Club, the Atlanta Airport Chamber of Commerce, and the Atlanta Business League. He was also a member of the Atlanta Media and Film Community Jobs Task Force, the Atlanta Emerald Cities Green Jobs Task Force, and the Atlanta Beltline Employment Working Group.

    “I am very excited and humbled for this honor. I look forward to leading the Southern University Shreveport campus and thank Board Chairman Leon Tarver, all Board members, and President-Chancellor Ray Belton for this wonderful opportunity,” said Ellis.

    “This Board has taken a great deal of effort in its deliberations in selecting a chancellor for the SUSLA campus. The search committee did an excellent job in recommending three very capable candidates to interview. We look forward to Dr. Ellis bringing his expertise and energy in leading our Shreveport campus,” said Tarver.

    Read more »
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    New multicultural dating site launched as NuPassion

    OHIO–New Passion or should we say NuPassion is already here and has been for almost a decade and some have not yet discovered them. Whether your passion is intelligent conversation, religion, political beliefs, a shared lifestyle or the environment, passion is always better shared, isn’t it?

    “The world can be an adventurous place, but can be difficult to travel it alone and not nearly as much fun,”” said Curtis Nicholson, founder of the site.

    At NuPassion.com, they’re committed to helping you find the perfect person who will share your passion. NuPassion is a place where you can connect with like-minded people looking for the exact same thing you are so desperately seeking – fulfillment. Their services are for every lifestyle and different backgrounds, for people who really just want to find those soul mates they can connect with and share all of life’s great and terrible moments.

    According to a corporate press release, “Using NuPassion.com, you can connect with people who you may become lifelong friends with and will undoubtedly meet people who become something much more than that. Focused on that one person who finishes your sentences and shares your greatest loves, NuPassion’s goal is to open that door for you. Maybe you’re just looking for companionship, someone to chat with and share experiences. NuPassion.com provides you a way to widen your social circle and enhance your romantic choices.”

    ““A very diverse site with lots of options. A site you could look forward to meeting new people,”” said one member.

    NuPassion is a Black-owned company that provides a diverse online dating platform. Having been around for almost 10 years, NuPassion has continually served the online community and is becoming a premiere diverse dating site. Believing that communication is the key to any successful long-term relationship, the web site provides the perfect arena for interpersonal communication.

    ONLINE: www.NuPassion.com

    Read more »
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    Author of ‘Blackballed’ headlines Dillard University President’s Lecture Series, Feb 23

    From fraternities to administrative halls, American universities are failing to address serious race problems. In his new book, Lawrence Ross tells us how, and he brings the message to Dillard University, Feb. 23, at 7pm in the Georges Auditorium.

    A close review of racism at American universities could hardly come at a better time. Since last fall’s protests at the University of Missouri (in response to a string of racist incidents) and at Yale University (in response to an administrative letter exchange about race-based Halloween costumes), colleges across the country are grappling with difficult questions of racial justice. Lawrence RossBlackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses enters this conversation-a necessary polemic, if somewhat narrow in its focus. Ross is less concerned with the historical racial factors that have shaped university culture than with the daily experiences of racism on campus. The book’s target is the old assumption that racism ended with the legal abolishment of slavery-the assumption that banning something (in this case, segregative admissions policies) does away with whatever belief systems enabled the banned behavior in the first place.

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    As Ross chronicles, it doesn’t. In 1923-more than 50 years after Harvard University officially banned admissions discrimination and graduated its first black student-the university decreed that “men of the white and colored races shall not be compelled to live and eat together,”  effectively forcing Black students to seek off-campus housing in whatever towns would have them. Such are the burdens on students who are “let in,” but not welcomed. That distinction between the notion of an opportunity (technically, black students can attend a particular school) and its reality (social and institutional forces impede those students’ success) has persisted into the 21st century.

    Throughout his survey of anti-Black racism on campus, Ross riffs on a few recurring themes, drawing largely from interviews with Black students who attended college over the last 50 years. A favorite theme is to view the Greek system as a case study in institutional racism. (Ross’ breakout non-fiction book was The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities in 2001.)

    A Brief History of the Dillard Presidential Lecture Series

    Beginning with the university’s first official president, William Stuart Nelson in the 1930s, public intellectual discourse has been a part of Dillard’s heritage. In the 1950s, Albert Dent organized the Edwin R. Embree Memorial Lecture Series whose guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Subsequently, Dillard presidents have assembled lectures that reflected their sensibilities. During Samuel DuBois Cook’s tenure, 1974 to 1997, he established a lyceum series, but also built a fine arts center to provide a new venue for lectures, theater and music. Walter M. Kimbrough launched Brain Food in 2013, and has continued the tradition with speakers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Crump and Michael Steele.

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    COMMENTARY: Special session, what it brings

    I had the good fortunate of being a part of the Together Louisiana that was invited to set in the balcony and hear firsthand the (Governor John Bel Edwards’) speech as he opened the special session on Sunday, Feb. 14. We were of course in the House of Representatives and watched as they talked with each other hugged and seemed glad to be there. I watched the new legislators including the one from my hometown as they tried to figure out just what to do and who to engage with. It was amazing how many of them are seated close together. Finally the speaker opened the house and had read into the minutes certain pieces of information that no one on the floor paid any attention to, I guess because it was only formality. Then the speaker sent a group of four to announce to the senate that the house had convened and he sent a group of four to announce to the governor that the house had convened. It became evident that the senate had done the same thing because a group of four came and announced that the senate had convened.

    Finally at five the governor arrived with the members from the senate and house as part of his escort team. The colors were presented and an excellent rendition of the Stars Spangled Banner was sung a Capella by a member of the staff.

    The governor began his speech, now it seems as if he has presented in my opinion a bleak state of affairs for Louisiana. He also presented his proposals for alleviating the deficit. His plan does include cutting (160 million) and of course raising additional revenue.

    On my way to the capital, I was walking behind a lady carrying a sign and of course I asked her what the sign was for and she said it had to do with the waivers parents had gotten for disabled children that Governor Edwards wanted to do away with. Then she made the off comment, I wish he had not gotten elected. She set in the balcony where our group set and I wondered if after she heard the speech if she still felt the same. I hope not. It became perfectly clear to me that we have had so many tricks over the last eight years to balance the budget that now the time has come to really reckon with the deficit. No one wants a tax increase, but as I look at the situation I can live with the one cent. I can also live with the tobacco and alcohol taxes especially if they bring in enough revenue to fix the budget.

    I remember last year when the past administration talked about the tax credit for college students and how that credit that brought in no dollars would balance the budget and how the presidents of all the universities with Ph.D. degrees would go along with that particular smoke and mirror screen. I understand the politics of the agreement, because I know the governor could have put pressure on the various boards to get rid of those presidents who did not agree, but for the life of me I still don’t understand how they felt that the universities would have any additional revenue, even an illiterate person could see through that disaster.
    I watched as the governor made his speech who clapped and of course who did not. It was amazing to watch especially the elected state level officials setting behind the podium and there lack of applause. It was also amazing to watch the members of the legislature as some and an awful lot of them chose to not clap even when he mentioned the couple who needed health insurance and had them stand. It was amazing to also watch when the mother of a disabled child stood who had a wavier for her child and who needed the help. I took note of those I knew who were so inclined to dismiss the governor’s plan to balance the budget.

    Now here is where it is interesting, after his speech, one legislator said he cut 160 million that is not meeting us half way, what he did not offer was his solution, just criticism. The governor asked for help and for other options. It also baffled me that one of the great opponents of the Jindal mess was the state treasure who now thinks that we don’t need additional revenue. He must know some of us remember when he was the biggest critic of the Jindal smoke and mirrors.

    So, I wrote before that I caught the breeze of change, after Gov. Edwards’ speech, I am willing to do whatever the governor needs to balance this great mess we are in and hope the legislators will remember they are elected by the people to do what the people want and that the people elected John Bel Edwards overwhelmingly.

    By Linda M. Johnson
    Plaquemine, LA

    Linda Johnson is a former Louisiana BESE representative.

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  • State Senator Barrow sets community meetings

    State Senator Regina Barrow will hold a series of community meetings in the Senate District 15 area to discuss a variety of legislative issues. Representatives from many state agencies, including the departments of health and hospitals, children and family services, revenue, and transportation as well as the Governor’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of Motor Vehicles, have been invited to attend. State Representatives Ted James, Ronnie Edwards, and Barbara Carpenter have also been invited to join the discussion. Barrow urges citizens in the area to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about important state issues. She can be reached at (225) 359-9400.

    • Tuesday, Feb. 23,  6pm – 7:30 pm at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 6217 Glen Oaks Drive
    • Thursday, Feb. 25, 6pm – 7:30pm at Greenwell Springs Road Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road
    • Thursday, March 3,  6pm – 7:30pm at the Baker Branch Library, 3501 Groom Road 
    • Read more »
  • N.O. mayor Mitch Landrieu endorses Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton received the public endorsement of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in the March 5 Democratic primary, citing her experience to make a real difference in the lives of Louisiana families, especially in underserved communities.

     “The stakes are too high in this election for families in Louisiana, especially in our underserved communities, and there is only one person in this race who knows how to get results for them: Hillary Clinton,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We don’t live in a single-issue country, and Hillary is no single-issue candidate. She’ll be ready on day one to make us strong both at home and abroad. And unlike Senator Sanders, who has come up with tooth fairy ideas and who does not have a long record fighting for underserved, predominately African American communities, like New Orleans, Hillary’s a proven leader who understands that being president means doing all parts of the job and delivering for working families.”

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    Weekend cultural celebration salutes Black health, inventors, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians

    The Baton Rouge community is invited to experience a fun-filled weekend of performances, historical displays and interactive cultural celebrations, Feb. 19-21 at the The Angel Heart Center, 3800 Florida Blvd. According to organizers The 2016 Baton Rouge Black History Celebration will salute Black inventors and scientists in the untold history of the United States of America.  

    Events begin Friday, Feb. 19, at 6pm with a welcoming introduction, movie screening, and review. At 8:30 p.m., the Lyricist Lounge opens “The Mic” for Poetry, Spoken Word, and musical performances, with a Live DJ on site. The weekend will include performances by jazz artist George Bell, vocalist Meagan Simone, and the African Dance Collective of Baton Rouge. The Black Inventions Museum will make a tour stop at the Angel Heart Center with customized historical exhibits highlighting the contributions of Louisiana’s inventors who were people of color, on display throughout the weekend.

    Jazz artist George Bel

    Jazz artist George Bel

    There will also be nutrition and health food samplings and children’s activities. Discussion panels will focus on: health, family and social structure, economics, politics and choices for 2016. Hosted on the campus of the Parris Cardiovascular Center’s Twilight Center & Spa, free blood pressure and diabetes screenings will be conducted by health professionals for adults. The three-day event is free and open to the public.

    On Saturday afternoon, 5-6pm, there will be an oral presentation by professor Umar Bey, spokesman for the twenty-five year old traveling museum. He will return to give a special presentation of The Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians with photographic works of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians by Louisiana visual artist Chad Kristian which will be on display throughout the event.

    Cordel Parris, MD

    Cordel Parris, MD

    Photograph of Mardi Gras Indians by Chad Kristian. http://www.chadkristian.com

    Photograph of Mardi Gras Indians by Chad Kristian. http://www.chadkristian.com

    A cartoon workshop for children starts Saturday, Feb. 19, at 11am. From noon to 3pm, participants will screen excerpts from the Hidden Colors movie series focusing on economics, politics and our collective, current state of affairs, and share a panel discussions of the topics from 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. “This will be a positive, productive interactive dialogue. It is a chance to learn and share each other’s views, concerns, and solutions to mutual problems,” said organizers.

     

    At 3pm Sunday, Feb. 21, Dr. Cordel Parris, a local cardiologist, will moderate a panel discussion on physical, spiritual, and mental health issues, including a presentation on healthy, nutrition tips with local health professionals, underwritten by Sam’s Club.  At 5pm, professor Umar Bey will present The Origins of Mardi Gras Indians featuring Chad Kristian’s Mardi Gras Indian photography on display Friday-Sunday.  Local food, craft, and book vendors will be on site for the event.

    This celebration is sponsored by Parris Cardiovascular’s Twilight Center, The Bridge Educational Services LLC, Creative Solutions LA, and Hilltop Apiary LLC. The Traveling Black Inventors Museum is underwritten by  Educational Development Outreach Centers, Inc.

    ONLINE: https://www.facebook.com/2016BatonRougeBlackHistoryMonthCelebration/

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    Shabazz presents ‘Growing Up X’ at BREC event Feb 19

    The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) will celebrate Black History Month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at the Independence Park Theatre, 7800 Independence Blvd. This event is free and open to the public.  

    BREC will present “Growing Up X” featuring guest speaker, Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of historical figures Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She is a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker and author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X. Ilyasah promotes higher education, interfaith dialogue and building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world.

    She produces The WAKE-UP Tour, an exclusive youth empowerment program and participates on international humanitarian delegations. She is the founder of Malcolm X Enterprises and is a trustee for The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. She also serves on the Board of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Arts Committee for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and a project advisor for the PBS award-winning documentary, Prince Among Slaves.

    The program will also feature theatrical performances, musical selections and an interview with Shabazz.

    “We are pleased to welcome Ms. Shabazz to BREC as part of our annual celebration. We hope that by offering programs like this, we can honor those who played such important roles in the Civil Rights movement while reflecting on the progress that has been made over the past few decades,” said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. “Our hope is that we can use experiences like this to bring us closer together as a community,” said McKnight.

    This event is sponsored by the BREC Foundation, Cumulus Media, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, AmeriHealth Caritas of Louisiana, Main Street Pilot Club of Baker, Louisiana NAACP, NAACP Baton Rouge, Capital City Collision, Hotel Indigo, Dr. Leah S. Cullins, Apex Collegiate Academy, Dawn Collins for School Board, Senator Regina Barrow, Xi Nu Lambda Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., AARP Mid-Town LA Ch. #5433, Councilwoman Erika Green, WTQT Radio, Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Representative Patricia Haynes Smith.

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    Pill could deliver insulin without the paIn

    Researchers are developing an insulin pill that could soon offer a pain-free blood sugar management option to people with diabetes.

    “With diabetes, there’s a tremendous need for oral delivery,” said Samir Mitragotri, professor in the chemical engineering department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who specializes in targeted drug delivery. “People take insulin several times a day and delivery by needles is a big challenge.”

    More than 29 million individuals in the United States have undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes, according to 2014 estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. Many of these people require regular insulin shots.

    A diabetes pill under development could do away with needles by delivering insulin via a capsule filled with mucoadhesive patches. ‘People take insulin several times a day and delivery by needles is a big challenge,’ said Samir Mitragotri.

    Blacks are disproportionately affected by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

    Some 13.2 percent of all Blacks aged 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes. Blacks are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites, the ADA reported.

    For those who don’t like needles, the discomfort injections can pose is a huge barrier to compliance, said Amrita Banerjee, a postdoctoral researcher in Mitragotri’s lab. “It can lead to mismanagement of treatment and complications that lead to hospitalization.”

    A pill could circumvent the discomfort associated with the needle while potentially providing a more effective dose, researchers said.

    “When you deliver insulin by injection, it goes first through the peripheral bloodstream and then to blood circulation in the liver,” Mitragotri said. Oral delivery would take a more direct route, and, from a physiological point of view, a better one.

    While oral medications to help the body produce insulin have been around for a while, a pill that delivers insulin remains a highly sought goal of diabetes medicine. The main obstacle to its development has been getting the medication past the hostile proteolytic environment of the stomach and intestine without destroying the protein itself.

    In the case of the new pill, the key is a combination of enteric-coated capsules and insulin-loaded mucoadhesive polymer patches that were optimized by Banerjee as part of her research. The new pill has demonstrated its ability to survive stomach acids with the protection of the enteric-coated capsule and deliver its payload to the small intestine.

    There, the capsule opens up to release the patches that adhere to the intestinal wall, preventing access of proteolytic enzymes to insulin and, with the aid of a permeation enhancer, depositing insulin that can pass through to the blood.

    “This is the first essential step in showing that these patches can deliver insulin,” Mitragotri says, adding that the concept still needs to undergo additional stages of testing and improvement before it can be considered as a viable treatment for diabetes.

    The drug-loaded mucoadhesive patches show early promise for other forms of therapy, as well.

    “We can deliver many proteins that are currently injected,” Mitrago said, adding that other protein-based therapies such as growth hormones, antibodies, and vaccines could potentially be put into patch form for painless delivery and improved patient compliance.

    The researchers presented their findings at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ annual meeting and exposition. The National Institutes of Health funded the work.

    By Sonia Fernandez
    Contributing Writer
    University of California Santa Barbara

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    Standing Strong in Sickle Cell benefit concert scheduled for Feb 19

    Come lift a joyful noise for a wonderful cause! The Voices of Hope Gospel Singers of Baton Rouge are sponsoring a gospel concert benefiting the Baton Rouge Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation. The details for the concert are as follows:

    Voices of Hope Gospel Singers of Baton Rouge Present

    “Standing Strong in Sickle Cell”

    A Gospel Concert Honoring Families Affected by Sickle Cell Disease

    Nazarene Baptist Church

    1707 Spanish Town Road

    Baton Rouge, LA 70802

    Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

    7:00 pm

    2016 marks 42 YEARS of the Foundation’s service to 11 parishes in the state of Louisiana. BRSCAF is the only organization whose mission is to provide supportive medical and social services to people living with sickle cell disease in these parishes. We need your help to ensure client support.

    ONLINE: www.brscaf.org

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  • SU quiz bowl team sweeps at national qualifier

    Southern University Baton Rouge’s National Quiz Bowl Team, Saturday, February 6, 2016, successfully competed in the National Qualifying Tournament for the 2016 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

    image

    National Competition, hosted by Prairie View A&M University.

    National Qualifying tournaments were held at seven HBCUs across the country, featuring approximately 20 teams per region. The winning teams out of these tournaments will ultimately constitute the “Great 48″ that will compete for the national championship.

    Honda rules state that the team that places first in any room will advance to the national championship games.

    Southern University’s national team reigned victorious over all four teams in Room #1. Southern University competed against Southern University New Orleans, Grambling State University, Paul Quinn College, and Mississippi Valley State University. This first place victory led to an automatic seed for the National HCASC game that will be held in Torrance, California, April 2-6, 2016.

    Southern University’s team members are Myeisha Webb, captain, (education), Kelvin Wells (political science), Kemon Jones (biology/pre-med), and Terrance Curry (biology). Alternate team members in attendance included Joyner Deamer (civil engineering) and Eric Thompson (mechanical engineering). The team coach is Deadra James Mackie, assistant professor/academic advisor, Delores Margaret Richard Richard Honors College, and assisting her is Calvin Adolph, graduate student, College of Education, Arts and Humanities.

    There were a total of 10 teams at the National Qualifying Tournament and all were trained to answer questions that relate to numerous topics. These topics included current events, African-American History, sports figures, authors, poetry, wars, music, ballet, mathematics, physics, chemistry, political science, biology, etc.

    “The Southern University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Quiz Bowl Team plans to ‘bring the drama’ to its opponents in California. The solid preparation of our team continues. As per the law of human performance, ‘team members consistently and seriously study for many hours per week in order to outshine the competition’,” said Mackie.

    “The overall objective is to win the HCASC National Competition and to bring $50,000 dollars in scholarship monies to Southern University and A&M College in 2016,” said Mackie. 

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    COMMENTARY: ‘Mardi Gras, big fat lies’

    Saturday, February 6, 2016, was a historic day in Baton Rouge.  It was also a day filled with contradictions that are characteristic of the State Capital.
    image

    In one section of the city residents gathered to remember the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott with the dedication of a memorial bench by The Toni Morrison Society.

    In another section of the city confederate flags were waving and a float was preparing to parade down public roadways mocking the killings of unarmed Black men and women.

    As shocking as the images were for some—and as predictable as they were to others—what was even more disturbing and revealing were the efforts by some people to justify and rationalize the presence of confederate flags, but especially the float as mere satire. 

    Furthermore, descriptions of the float as a joke that may have gone too far and dismissals of the negative reactions that followed revealed what many people have already known; the idea that we are living in a post-racial or colorblind society is a big fat lie.  Race matters as much today as it did more than 60 years ago when blacks were legally forbidden from owning their own buses lines, saddled with a bus fare increase, and forced to stand while seats reserved for whites remained empty.  Through collective action, the community forced changed.  The change was not necessarily the type everyone in the community envisioned, but it helped move hundreds of thousands of people to renew or establish a commitment to social justice. 

    Now more than ever there is a similar need for people of all walks of life to demand more of their friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues.  Remaining silent about things that matter cannot be a viable option in the face of such offensive and unjust actions.  Mocking a contemporary iteration of a struggle as old as the nation itself is no laughing matter.  We should all feel a sense of righteous indignation when unarmed mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters are killed not on foreign battlefields, but on American streets.  In far too many cases, the victims’ families are left to not only mourn but in the case of the shooting of a young man in Chicago and his neighbor, now they also have to ward off l

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    awsuits from the very person who pulled the trigger. 

    Sadly, the float during the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade that displayed a brutalized pink flamingo and baton meant to resemble one carried by a law enforcement officer, and bearing the moniker, “Pink Lives Matter,” points to the sad truism that throughout our nation’s history the lives of people of African ancestry have mattered less to some people than animals or even beloved cultural symbols. 

    Mardi Gras season is a time for celebration. Sadly, the season is also a time when big fat lies about race and racism are on parade. 

    By Lori Latrice Martin, PhD
    Guest Columnist

    Lori Martin is an LSU associate professor of sociology and African & African American studies

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  • Lockett to participate in New Leaders Council

    The Louisiana Chapter of New Leaders Council has selected Terrance Lockett of Baton Rouge as a 2016 Fellow. As a progressive training program,
    the New Leaders Council Institute is a leadership development program for young professionals. Lockett is  president of Axis Strategies, a public and
    governmental affairs firm. He served on U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s state staff as the capital region manager and education liaison. He joins 21 other professionals in this year’s class.

    Read more »
  • Museum hosts lunchtime lecture on the History of School Desegregation, Feb 4

    Join the West Baton Rouge Museum for a talk on the history of school desegregation on Thursday, Feb. 4 at noon presented by Attorney Alfreda Tillman Bester. This lecture will include reference to the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown Vs. The Board of Education, a victory for the Civil Rights Movement that overturned Plessy Vs. Ferguson deeming “separate but equal” unconstitutional thus paving the way for integration.

    Alfreda Tillman Bester is the principal Attorney with Tillman Bester & Associates, LLC, a law firm located in Baton Rouge. She serves as host of “Perspective,” a weekly community interest talk show, which airs every Tuesday, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on WTQT 106.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Bester served as Louisiana Secretary of Labor from 1991-1992 and Undersecretary of Labor from 1989-1991. She is the publisher, editor and founder of Perspective News Magazine, LLC and serves as general counsel to the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP.

    This program is free and open to the public. Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch. 

    Read more »
  • SU team advances in national competition, finishes in top 10

    A team of Southern University Baton Rouge  students representing the College of Business traveled to Bloomington to participate in the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition , Jan. 15-16, at Indiana University.

    Competing against top-level, diverse talent from colleges and universities across the country, the SU team placed first in their division that qualified them to advance to the final round. Out of 34 teams, SU students finished seventh overall.

    The SU team included:

    Rashad Pierre, team captain

    Hometown:  New Orleans

    Major:  Management

     

    Marquanski Arvie

    Hometown:  Opelousas

    Major:  Management

     

    Jasmine Williams

    Hometown:  Dallas, Texas

    Major:  Marketing

     

    Jasmine Woods

    Hometown:  Shreveport

    Major:  Finance

     

    “I was ecstatic when they announced the finalists and we had our place in final round. We were proud to represent our University on a national level and we believe that no one will take Southern University for granted next time we go to Kelley. It was an awesome experience that I wish everyone would take advantage of. I am proud to say that I attend SU,” said Pierre.

     

    The NDCC is an annual two-day event celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that is open to undergraduate students from across the United States. The challenge includes a business case competition, networking opportunities, and additional workshops. Participants have opportunities to engage with corporate sponsors and recruiters, network with other talented students from across the country, and participate in a case competition offering $20,000 in cash prizes.

     

    Student teams were provided with all meals and hotel lodging throughout the event. Students also were provided a travel stipend to cover round-trip travel to the competition.

     

    “I would like to congratulate our case competition team for their performance in the National Diversity Case Competition. We hope that all our students will learn from the experience of this team in that it takes dedication and sacrifice in time spent in research and understanding the basics of all business disciplines to excel in business competition at the highest levels,” said Donald R. Andrews, dean, SU Baton Rouge College of Business.

     

    Toni Jackson, development coordinator, SUBR College of Business, was advisor, and accompanied the SU students.

     

    #   #   #

     

    Photo cutline:

     

    Four SU College of Business students participated as a team in the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition (NDCC) January 15-16, 2016, at the Indiana University. The SU team placed first in their division that qualified them to advance to the final round. Out of 34 teams, SU students finished seventh overall. Pictured (left – right): Marquanski Arvie, Jasmine Williams, Jasmine Woods, and team captain Rashad Pierre.

     

     

    Read more »
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    Racial Incidents Highlight Need for Black History Education

    Fourteen cadets at The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college, were disciplined after photographs circulated of them wearing Ku Klux Klan-style hoods.

    At a Phoenix, Arizona, high school, six students have sparked outrage with a photograph of the girls wearing gold letters on their shirts spelling out a racial slur.

    In both cases, the young people protested no offense was intended. It’s hard to imagine that well-educated near-adults could be ignorant of how their actions would be perceived. But even taking them at their word, these 20 students represent the desperate need for comprehensive Black history education – and not just during Black History Month.

    The president of the Phoenix school’s Black Student Union said, “Something that used to stop my grandparents in their tracks is now being used in regular conversation. Someone needs to put their foot down and say it’s not OK to say that.”

    Would a white student who was fully cognizant of the nation’s history of oppression against African Americans, of Jim Crow and institutionalized humiliation, casually toss around a racial slur for her own amusement, or wear a costume resembling the uniform of the nation’s most vicious and deadly terrorist organization? Possibly, but it’s far less likely.

    Students who grow up with a clear understanding of American history – all of American history – are less likely to perpetuate the sins of the past and more likely to participate in building a better future.

    By Marc Morial
    President, National Urban League

    Read more »
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    Work begins on Hicks Museum

    BOGALUSA – Students, volunteers and elected officials celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18, by giving back to the community.

    They converged on the Robert Hicks Civil Rights Museum to begin remodeling. Former NBA player Nikita Wilson (at left), Valeria Hicks, Edward “Shaka” Butler, and Barbara Collins Hicks show a woodcarving created by Butler and donated to the museum.Hicks Museum web

    Read more »
  • Jackson, Chisley recognized for outstanding service

    The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center presented its first Outstanding Customer Service Award to Angela R.
    Jackson, administrative assistant in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Extension, and Curtis Chisley, research associate and interim Livestock Show Director. Jackson has been employed by the SU Ag Center since 2004, and Chisley since 2006.

    Read more »
  • Nominations open for Women of Excellence Awards

    Call for Nominations and Applications
    Deadline: Friday, February 19, 2016

    The women legislators through the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus Foundation are now accepting nominations for the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards and applications for the Educational Advancement Opportunity (EAO) Scholarships. The criteria and forms for the awards and scholarships are available online at llwc.louisiana.gov, then click on the Nomination and Scholarship Forms’ link. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 19, 2016.

    The categories for the 2016 awards are: College Woman of Excellence (ages 18 to 25) High School Woman of Excellence (for graduating seniors) Louisiana Hero of Excellence, and Non-Profit of Excellence

    Since 2010, the women legislators through the LLWC Foundation have awarded $32,500 in scholarships to deserving young women in Louisiana. The recipients of the College and High School Woman of Excellence Awards will each receive a scholarship for $1,000. Recipients of the EAO Scholarship will each receive $500. Multiple EAO Scholarships will be awarded. Scholarships are to be used to help defray the costs of tuition, room and board, and books.

    The awards will be given at the 9th Annual Women of Excellence Awards & Scholarships Ceremony and Reception on May 24 at the Baton Rouge Hilton Capitol Center Hotel.‎

    Read more »
  • ,,

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s the leadership, Stupid!

    D

    ear Editor:

    I read an article in which the individual who the superintendent has responsible for overall district academic performance described the performance this past year as “impressive.” By whose standards? Of course, this would be the evasive response if one’s own job performance is tied to the fact that 19 of our schools declined under his or her leadership. These same individuals are quick to deem teachers and school leaders as being ineffective or emerging when they perform this way. This double standard is probably why talented individuals who know better are leaving our schools in herds.

    It has been well over five years. What do we have to show for it regarding academic performance that is considered impressive from general contractors and businesses points of view or the points of view of families looking to relocate?

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves. We all know that our Parish President and Hammond Mayor would not have to travel and try to recruit businesses to come to our parish and largest city if our district performance would speak for us.

    True leaders do not constantly shift the blame on items like poverty and parents. Nor, do they rely on the belief that money fixes all of our problems. Talented leaders are innovative and dynamic enough to figure a way to move forward in spite of.

    As for poverty, we all understand that poverty plays a role in all things including education. It becomes insulting when some assume citizens do not understand this. We also understand logic and potential. Logic reminds us of the simple fact that there are other districts that are not declining, but inclining (some pretty drastically) even though the poverty rates are high. This proves that our district can also move forward and at a much faster pace. To further bring this point home, logic also tells us that if a school like our beloved Independence Middle, which serves as a microcosm of a district in much worse shape demographically as ours (95% free/ reduced), can make significant gains in spite of, then we must consider that our district can and should be moving at such a pace.

    The issue is leadership. We have often said that we need fresh-minded, innovative, and proven educators to lead our district in making the gains we can all be proud of. I’m old and I get this.

    In addition, somewhere down the road, the current leaders of our school leaders must be held accountable. The individuals responsible for academics must be held accountable and the Superintendent must be held accountable for the leaders he chooses to lead principals. The NAACP does not support individuals simply because they are black. We support individuals who are effective in providing all kids, especially minority children, the quality education they deserve.
    Our record regarding the individuals we have supported to lead our schools proves such.

    My questions for our Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer are:
    1. Is it impressive that we seldom (if any within the last 5 years) have black kids in the 27+ club for ACT?
    2. Do either of you even know how many or what percentage of black seniors scored 27 or above this past year? 18?
    3. Is it impressive that only 13% of black kids are proficient?
    4. Is it impressive that almost every single high school’s end of course test performance declined? Were these exams “tougher”?
    5. Is it impressive that both East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans (including recovery district) perform better than Tangi?
    6. Is it impressive that there are other districts with similar poverty rates that are inclining in overall performance?

    Again, I am appalled that such a description as “impressive” was made when considering where we are even with the talented teachers and leaders we still have in this parish. I become upset just thinking about the many black doctors and lawyers that could have been but are now in prison or poverty due to this way of thinking. Our kids deserve better. We definitely do not blame our teachers and school leaders. We blame the decisions and lack of vision and direction of their leaders.

    Again, the board has some difficult decisions to make, and we hope that they place children first and not politics.
    Patricia Morris
    President
    Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP

    Read more »
  • ,

    New Venture Theatre announces Jan. 30 auditions

    New Venture Theatre will host auditions for two performances, Jan. 30. They are:

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    Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds: a Children’s Musical Show Audition Notice
    Director: Dorrian Wilson
    Assistant Director: Roger Ferrier

    AUDITION
    Saturday, Jan. 30, 3:30pm (General Auditions)
    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge 2nd Floor 427 Laurel Street Baton Rouge, LA 70801

    REHEARSAL DATES
    Feb 2 – March 3
    Monday – Thursdays, 6pm – 9pm

    PERFORMANCE DATES
    March 4 and 5
    Friday, March 4 2pm and 7:30pm
    Saturday, March 5, at 2pm and 7:30pm

    SYNOPSIS
    Three little birds sing their sweet songs to Ziggy, a very shy child who is happy to see the world from the T.V. in his room. But his tricky friend, Nansi wants him to get out and enjoy the island of Jamaica. But Ziggy is afraid of Hurricanes, Mongoose and evil spirits. Their worldly adventure is enlivened by the fantastic songs of renowned Reggae artist Bob Marley.

    AUDITION REQUIREMENTS
    Please prepare a one-minute of a song that shows your range and vocal ability (SELECTIONS FROM BOB MARLEY WILL BE ACCEPTED). ALL SONGS WILL BE PERFORMED WITHOUT MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT. No monologues required for this production, there will be a cold reading.

    CHARACTERS
    Ziggy- a timid boy with long dreadlocks- 11

    Nansi- a trickster girl- 11 (Also: Spanish Bird#2/ British Colonizer Bird, Sister Indian Bird)

    Duppy- an evil spirit bird with a head full of human hair taken from children, 30s ( Also: Villager #1/ Great Grandfather Spanish Bird)

    Doctor Bird- a lucky bird, Ziggy’s pet and best friend, 20s

    Cedella- Ziggy’s Mother, 40s ( Also Montego, a bird/ Spanish Bird #1/ Great Aunt African Bird)

    Tacoma- a bird ( Also plays- Villager #2/ Great Grandmother British Bird/ Cousin Chinese Bird)

    RASHEEDA SPEAKING AUDITION NOTICE
    Directed by: April Louise
    Written by: Joel Drake-Johnson

    AUDITIONS
    Saturday, January 30 at 1pm

    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge 2nd Floor
    427 Laurel Street Baton Rouge, La 70801

    REHEARSAL DATES
    February 15 – March 18
    Rehearsals are at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge

    PERFORMANCE DATES
    March 19 and 20 7:30pm
    LSU Studio Theatre/ School of Theater
    Louisiana State University
    105 Music and Dramatic Building/ Baton Rouge, La 70803

    SYNOPSIS
    A White physician attempts to oust his black receptionist by enlisting a white female coworker as a spy. Tensions rise as relations between the two women quickly deteriorate, turning their once-cordial workplace into a battlefield of innuendos, paranoia, and passive aggression.
    With wit and close observation, “Rasheeda Speaking” mimes the subtleties of “post-racial” America to explore what we are really saying when we refuse to talk about race.

    AUDITION REQUIREMENTS
    Please prepare two contrasting monologues. Each piece should be no longer than one minute.

    CHARACTERS
    Jaclyn Spaulding (African American) early 40s Dr.’s newer assistant – seemingly unpredictable at face value

    Ilene Van Meter (Caucasian) late 40s Dr.’s long-term assistant – initially mild-mannered/
    optimistic; becomes untrusting

    Dr. David Williams (Caucasian) late 30s successful, young manipulative Surgeon

    Rose Saunders (Caucasian) 60s elderly patient

    Email questions to info@newventuretheatre.org or call (225) 588-7576

    Read more »
  • ,

    Walmart welcomes non-profit’s grant applications from $25K to $200K

    Calling Louisiana Nonprofits! Walmart Foundation to fund local programs focusing on hunger relief, healthy eating and career opportunities

    Walmart Foundation has opened the application period for its State Giving Program funding cycle welcoming Louisiana nonprofits with programs focusing on hunger relief, healthy eating or career opportunities to apply for funding. This year, the State Giving Program will provide grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 and local organizations from across Louisiana are encouraged to apply.

    “The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program is another way we extend our mission to help people live better,” said Bob Mulack, market manager of Walmart. “In addition to the thousands of community service hours our associates perform and the in-kind donations that are spread throughout the communities we serve, these State Giving grants allow us to help nonprofit organizations fulfill their mission and continue on their path of service.”

    To be considered for support, prospective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application. Eligible applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum funding criteria. Grant requests must be submitted online by Friday, Jan. 29 at http://corporate.walmart.com/_foundation_/apply-for-grants/state-giving-program.

    In 2014, the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program awarded grants to Louisiana organizations totaling more than $26 million. Launched in 2008, associate-led State Advisory Councils work with the Walmart Foundation to help identify needs within their state, review grant requests and make funding recommendations to the Foundation.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Princeton to host academy for minority teen girls

    NEW YORK–For the sixth straight year, the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy will be held on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. The Academy is one of the only summer institutes for minority teen girls to be held on an Ivy League campus.

    At the Well Academy is geared towards building leadership skills for minority girls entering the eleventh or twelfth grades of high school. This year’s Academy is scheduled for July 24 – August 5, 2016 at Princeton’s Friend Center. In 2015, almost 50 teenage scholars attended the competitive program.

    The Academy provides on-campus housing at Princeton University that allows the students to experience college life in an Ivy League setting. The curriculum has been developed to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with increasing leadership confidence. Facilitators include business leaders, entrepreneurs, and Princeton University staff who teach select classes.

    Admission is competitive and teens must possess a 3.0 G.P.A, and offer an essay as well as academic recommendations. Scholarships are available and need-based financial aid is available on a first-come basis. The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2015.

    The Academy offers dynamic speakers, standardized test-taking strategies, critical reading courses, college essay writing classes, tutoring, group activities, and field trips. Each year, special guests provide dynamic presentations. The 2015 roster of speakers included marketing guru Terrie Williams, Brandi Harvey, Executive Director of the Steve Harvey Foundation and Yandy Smith executive producer of the television show “Love and Hip Hop.” 2014 roster included husband and wife actors, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker. Our guest professors were Dr. Imani Perry from Princeton University and Dr. Brittney Cooper from Rutgers University.
    The academic achievement gap between minority teen students and their white counterparts along with the lack of female senior leadership in corporate America prompted Jacqueline B. Glass, CEO and Founder of At the Well Conferences, Inc., to create the Academy. According to Glass, “The U. S. Department of Education statistics state African Americans account for about 13% of the entire college enrollment. The low performance of African American students on standardized tests is alarming. Our preparatory program addresses these issues head-on.”

    About the program
    At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy is a program of At the Well Conferences, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization empowering teens since 2009. “The Academy seeks to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally. By promoting excellence in education, these young women will transform their communities,” states Glass. For more information, go to www.atthewellconferences.org

    Read more »
  • ,

    National Black chamber group endorses Hillary Clinton for president

    The US Black Chambers, Inc. announced it’s support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Friday, Jan. 15.

    Ron Busby, President of the US Black Chambers Inc., released the following statement on behalf of the of the chamber’s President’s Circle which is comprised of an elite group of successful Black business owners with annualized revenues of at least $10 million; along with representing more than 100 national Black Chambers of Commerce.

    “In order for there to be a strong America, there must be a strong Black America, and in order for there to be a strong Black America, there must be strong Black businesses. 

    With this in mind, we believe it’s of crucial importance to endorse a candidate who intends to expand access to capital, provide tax relief, and expand access to new markets for Black business owners.

    We unequivocally believe Hillary Clinton is the candidate that has the best understanding of the economic challenges facing Black business owners and has forward thinking priorities to alleviate the economic conditions facing Black Americans and Black Businesses. 

    On behalf of the US Black Chambers Inc. we endorse and stand by Hillary Clinton as an ally of Black business and as the next President of the United States.”

     

    The US Black Chambers Inc. is the national voice for Black business owners and is committed to the economic empowerment of Black Americans through entrepreneurship.

    In response to the endorsement, Clinton released this statement:

    “I am honored to have the support of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. which does important work supporting African-American entrepreneurs nationwide. They serve close to 250,000 small businesses, helping them with issues relating to professional development resources, business development, capital formation, government contracting and much more. That’s important, because black-owned businesses are a vital source of jobs and prosperity for Americans of all races and backgrounds.

    “As President, I’ll make sure America’s small businesses – including black-owned small businesses – get more support. I’ll fight to cut red tape, improve access to capital, provide tax relief and increase access to new markets around the world. America works best when all its citizens get the chance to develop their talents and chase their dreams. That’s what the U.S. Black Chambers strives every day to achieve. I’m thrilled to join them in their fight for fairness and opportunity for African-American entrepreneurs and families.”

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Hundreds gather inside McKinley High School gym for town talk with President Obama

    More than 700 people, including elected officials, participated in a Town Hall with President Barack Obama, Thursday, Jan. 14. Hundreds more lined the streets or waited at the airport for a glimpse of the outgoing president. But what did he tell the citizens?

    “I heard loudly and clearly today talk of taking ownership of development by committing to learning how to control and master the process of personal and community development,” said attorney Donovan Hudson.

    Here’s the transcript from the meeting:

         THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Louisiana!  (Applause.)  Hello, Baton Rouge!  Geaux Tigers!  (Applause.)  For those of you who are not aware, that’s “geaux” with an “x.”  I got it.

         Can everybody give Che a big round of applause?  (Applause.)  We could not be more proud of her.  I was backstage — I asked her, “Are you nervous?”  She said, no, I got this — (laughter) — I’m fine.  That is a serious leader of the future. And we are so proud of her.  And I want to thank everybody at McKinley for hosting us today.

    image

    President Obama hugs Che'dra Joseph, McKinley High Student of the Year


         There are a couple of people I want to make sure we acknowledge.  Your Mayor, Kip Holden, is in the house.  (Applause.)  There he is.  We got Congressman Cedric Richmond here — (applause) — who’s got a really cute little boy.  (Laughter.)  And New Orleans Mayor and great friend of mine, Mitch Landrieu is in the house — (applause) — whose son is not so little, but looks pretty cool.  I want to congratulate your new governor who’s going to do outstanding work — (applause) — John Bel Edwards is in the house, and his lovely family.  We are so grateful to have them here.

         Since LSU has pretty good sports teams, historically, I thought I might mention you got an okay basketball player named Ben Simmons in the house.  (Applause.)  His dad played in Australia with my Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.  So they can hoop.  But I think they would both acknowledge that Ben is better.  (Laughter.)  And it’s wonderful to have him here.

         Now, it is my intention not to give a long speech, because this is sort of a town hall.  I want to spend a little time having a conversation with all of you.  (Applause.)  But I do want to make mention of what your incoming governor is already doing.  He’s already delivering for the people of Louisiana.  This week, he took the bold and wise step to expand Medicaid — (applause) — to cover hundreds of thousands of hardworking Louisianans, providing them with the financial security of health care.  It was the right thing to do.  And, by the way, it will actually help the state’s finances.  And it shows you why elections matter.

    And, right now, we’re hoping to encourage more states to do the right thing.  One of the ways we’re doing that is proposing additional funding to support new states that choose, as John did, to expand Medicaid.  So, I’m just proud of him, and I’m confident that he’s going to do great work. He’s going to do great work.  (Applause.)  And everybody here needs to get behind him because it’s not going to be easy.  He’s coming in a little like I came in, sort of got to clean up some stuff.  (Applause.) 

         Now, I love Louisiana.  (Applause.)  I love Baton Rouge, but this is the first time I’ve been here as President.  I’ve been trying to pack all my fun trips into my last year.  And although I missed the Tigers beating Ole Miss last night, maybe I’ll come back for football season.
    image

    Some of you know I gave my final State of the Union address this week.  (Applause.)  I focused on the fact that we’re going through a time of extraordinary change.  And that’s unsettling.  It can seem sometimes, especially during political season, where everybody is running around saying, oh, everything is terrible and let’s find somebody to blame, that our politics won’t meet the moment.  But what I want folks to know — that’s right, if you have a chair, go ahead and sit down.  If you don’t have a chair, don’t sit down.  (Laughter.)  I don’t want you falling down.  Whoever the first one was who did that, you’re a leader.  (Laughter.) 

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

    THE PRESIDENT:  Love you back.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

    But what I want people to know is, is that we’ve been through big changes before.  And America always comes out stronger and better, as long as we make decisions together that are designed to seize the future instead of run away from it.  And we’re uniquely positioned to do that.  We’ve got the strongest economy in the world.  We’ve gone through the worst economic crisis of our lifetime, and we have bounced back with 14 million new jobs, cut the unemployment rate in half.  We’re the most powerful country on Earth, capable of meeting any threat.  Our commitment to science, and education, and entrepreneurship, and our diversity make us a perfect match for what’s needed in this new century.

    But our progress is not inevitable.  So we’ve got to answer some big questions. 

    Number one:  How do we make sure that we create an economy where everybody is benefitting, everybody feels secure, everybody has a shot at success, not just some?  That’s question number one. 

    Question number two:  How do we make sure we’ve got an innovation economy and we embrace science and reason and facts, instead of running away from it?

    Number three:  How do we make sure that we keep America safe, not through trying to talk tough, but by being smart?

    Number four:  How do we make sure our politics works, not in a way where everybody agrees — because in a big country like ours, people aren’t going to agree on everything — but so that it is civil and so that it is constructive, and so that we can work together to find solutions to the problems that are not just going to face us, but our kids and our grandkids?

    Now, I tried to give you a sense of how I think we need to answer those questions going forward, but I promised I wasn’t going to talk long because I want to have a chance to hear from you.  I just want to make this point.  We’re pretty close to New Orleans, and I had a chance to go back and travel with Mitch as we were commemorating the anniversary of Katrina.  And if you have any doubt about America’s capacity to overcome anything, you just visit some of those neighborhoods, and you talk to some of those families, and you see the businesses that are thriving and the homes that have been built, and the parishes that have pulled together. 

    And it’s just a reminder of the fact that when we work together, we cannot be stopped.  We cannot be stopped.  We work best as a team.  And it is my ardent hope that, during the course of this year, as long as I have this extraordinary privilege to be your President, that I’m going to be able to encourage more and more of you to get involved and feel that optimism and confidence about where America is headed. 

    So with that, let’s start this conversation.  (Applause.)  And let me say this.  We’ve got mics in the audience.  And we’re going to go boy, girl, boy, girl, so it’s fair.  (Laughter.)  Or girl, boy, girl, boy.  That’s fine.  (Laughter.) 

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Girl, girl, girl!

    THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  She said girl, girl, girl.  Now, that’s not fair.  (Laughter.)  Come on. 

    So what I’m going to do is, people just raise their hands, I will call on you.  A couple things — wait until the mic gets there.  Number two, introduce yourself so we know who you are. Number three, if you keep your question or comment relatively short, then my response, I can’t guarantee I’ll keep it short, but I’ll keep it shorter.  And that way we have a chance to hear from more people.  All right?

    Okay, so let’s see who’s going to go first.  Where’s my mic?  Here we go.  All right, let’s see.  This is a good-looking crowd, too.  (Applause.)

    I don’t know who to call on. That young lady right there in the brown jacket.  Right there.  Yes, you. 

    Okay, hold on.  Wait for the mic.  You didn’t follow instructions.  You’re already — (laughter) — careful.  Careful.  She didn’t go to McKinley, is that what happened?

    Q    No, I didn’t.  (Laughter.) 

    THE PRESIDENT:  All right, go ahead, go ahead.

    Q    My name is Rachel.  I’m from Texas.  And my question — I don’t have one — I just wanted to tell you thank you.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Oh.  Okay, well, that’s sweet.  (Laughter.)  All right, well, she just — she didn’t really have a question, so I’m going to go back to — I’m going to go to this young lady right here in the black and white jacket.  Right there.  Hold on a second.  The mic is coming to you.  It’s just that we’re so packed in, it may take — you can go ahead and pass her the mic.  She looks like she’ll give it back.

    Q    Hi, Mr. President.  My name is Jasmine Elliott (ph), and I am a 10th grade cheerleader here at McKinley High School.  (Applause.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  Yay, all right!  Go Panthers!

    Q    And I love you — me and my family love you so much.  And I want to thank you.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, that’s sweet.

    Q    And as a future broadcast journalist, I would like to ask you two questions.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

    Q    My first question is:  What are your plans to do when you leave office?  And can you please give my grandmother a hug? (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  See, now first of all, I know your grandma put you up to that.  (Laughter.)  So I will give your grandma a hug because you did such a nice job asking the question.  (Applause.)

    In terms of my plans, look, I’ve got so much work to do this next year that — Michelle and I, we haven’t had a chance to really step back and think about it.  But as I said at the State of Union, when I get out, I’m still holding the most important job in a democracy, and that is the office of citizen.  So I will continue to work on the things that Michelle and I care so deeply about.  We want to encourage young people to get involved.  We want to improve education.  We want to make sure that our criminal justice system works the way it should.  We want to make sure that we are promoting science education and learning.  We want to work internationally to help other countries develop. 

    So we’re going to have a busy agenda, but I’m not overthinking that right now because I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to do between now and next year.  All right?  But thank you for the question.

    All right, it’s a gentleman’s turn.  This man, because he’s got such a sharp bowtie.  Right here.  Yes, all right.  Go ahead.

    Q    Good morning.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.

         Q    This is a pleasure, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

    Q    My name is Tremayne Sterling (ph).  I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Through your entire two terms as President, what would be your biggest regret and why? 

    THE PRESIDENT:  I think it’s a great question.  Although had you been watching my State of Union on Tuesday — (laughter) — he might have known that I actually already answered that question.  (Laughter.)  But that’s okay.  I’m sure there was a good ballgame on that night.  (Laughter.) 

    No, what I told the country — except for you — (laughter) — was that my biggest regret was the fact that politics has become more rancorous during my presidency and more polarized than it was when I came in.  And keeping mind, when I ran, my belief was that there were no red states and blue states.  There wasn’t a black or white or Latino America.  There was a United States of America.  And that continues to be my belief. 

    Now, I have, as President, obviously done soul searching about what are things I could do differently to help bridge some of those divides.  I think part of it had to with when I came in we had a real emergency, and we had to act quickly.  And people in Washington sometimes weren’t always as focused on getting the job done as they were how is this going to position us for future elections. 

    But as I said at the State of Union, I have no doubt that there are things I could have done better.  But what I also say is that this is not something a President can do by him or herself.  When it comes to how we work together, the main impetus for better politics is going to be the American people.  They have to demand it.

    And so if we have voters who are not getting involved, then the people who tend to determine the agenda are the special interests, or money, or power, or the loudest voices, or the most polarizing voices, because a lot of folks — some of the best people, they’re just sitting at home.  And they’re getting cynical about politics, and they don’t get involved.  And then the people who do get involved end up being the folks who aren’t willing to work together.

    It’s important for voters to insist that their elected officials are strong on principle, but also are willing to compromise with people who don’t agree with them.  And if you punish an elected official for even talking to the other side, then it’s going to produce the kind of politics that we have seen in Washington too often.

    So this is an area where I regret.  I’m going to keep on working at it, try to see what more we can do to reach across the aisle to get things done.  I said on Tuesday that I think at the end of last year, maybe we surprised the cynics by getting a budget done.  And we extended tax cuts for working families that were due to expire.  And we were able to continue funding for transportation.  I know that your mayor was talking about how the interstate here narrows, and we may need to do something about it to relieve some traffic.  (Applause.) 

    And those things are not things that should be subject to a lot of Republican and Democratic argument.  Maybe that’s something that we can carry over into this year.

    One area, for example, that there’s been genuine bipartisan interest and support is the idea that we’ve got to reform our criminal justice system.  (Applause.)  That we have to be tough on violent crime, but also be smart when we think about how can we prevent young people from getting into the criminal justice system in the first place.  (Applause.)  How can we provide alternatives for low-level, non-violent drug offenders.  How can we make sure that the sentencing is proportional.  How do we make sure that we’re training folks while they’re incarcerated to get a skill that would allow them to be gainfully employed.  How do we make sure that when they’re released that there is a transition process for them.  How do we lift up all the outstanding employers who are willing to give people second chances.  So there’s a whole slew of work that we could be doing there. 

    And to their credit, we’ve seen some very conservative Republicans and some very liberal Democrats sitting down at the table and trying to work it out.  And that’s an example of where we see some promise.

         Another area is — and I mentioned this at the State of the Union.  Some of you have heard of the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Now, this is a program historically that is supported by Democrats and Republicans.  And it’s a pretty simple idea.  If you work, you shouldn’t be in poverty.  And so we should provide tax breaks to low-income working families so that they don’t say I might as well just be on welfare because I’ll get more benefits than if I’m working.

         Well, the Earned Income Tax Credit creates an incentive to say if you work hard, you’re working full time, but it’s, say, a minimum-wage job, we’re going to give you a chance, if you’ve got kids, to raise that income level, get a tax break.

        The problem is that it does not apply to individuals without children.  And that means a lot of men in that category don’t benefit and young people don’t benefit.  And one of the things we’ve been talking about is if we expand that to reach workers who don’t have children but are also working hard and are in poverty, that could be helpful.

         And these are areas where Cedric — he’s been a leader on criminal justice reform.  He’s working on this, as well.  I know that Mitch has been doing great work when it comes to the criminal justice system in New Orleans.  These are the kinds of areas where just common sense can prevail if we’ve all got a spirit of trying to solve problems instead of just winning elections.

        Okay?  All right.  (Applause.)

         Okay, it’s a young lady’s turn.  You know what, I’m going to call on that little young lady right there.  Yes.  She’s in her daddy’s lap.  And my daughter — my oldest daughter is about to go to college next year.  (Applause.)  And I can’t really talk about it a lot because I start to cry.  (Laughter.)

         Q    My name is Noelle Remeny (ph).  And I’m in the fourth grade, and I’m 10 years old.  And do you think there’s going to be a cure for cancer?  (Applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Well, there you go.  Are you interested in math and science?

         Q    A little bit.

         THE PRESIDENT:  A little bit?  (Laughter.)  I tell you what, it’s going to be young people like you that are going to help cure cancer.  So you better study up on your math and study up on your science.

         But I do think that we are seeing medical breakthroughs right now that we have not seen in my lifetime.  Part of the reason is because — some of you heard of the Human Genome Project.  What happens is that we’re now able to look at not just how cells work, but we’re actually able to track how individual DNA and genetics operates.  And when you do that, it turns out that a cancer cell that I have may be different than a cancer cell that John or somebody else has, and may require different cures.  And certain treatments might work better than other treatments.  And because we’re able to get into the really nitty-gritty of how our bodies work in ways that we haven’t before, we’re starting to see more effective treatments.

         But we have to make a big investment.  And my Vice President, Joe Biden, who I love, suffered the kind of tragedy last year that is unbelievable.  And he managed it with grace.  His son Beau Biden was one of the finest men I knew.  And so I thought it was entirely appropriate for Joe Biden, who has seen this and gone through it, to lead this effort like a moon launch.  We’re going to double down on medical research.  We’re going to look at the best — we’re going to gather the best researchers, the best scientists, and we are going to go after this thing.

         It probably won’t be cured in my lifetime.  But I think ti will be cured in yours.  And that’s why we got to get started now.  (Applause.)

         All right?  Okay, it’s a gentleman’s turn.  This gentleman back here.  Right there.  Yes, sir.  You.  (Laughter.)  Hold on. The mic is coming.  The mic is coming.

         Q    Mr. President, first of all, I’m Greg Gavins (ph).  I’m the proud father of one of your special, great Secret Service.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Outstanding.

         Q    I have a question for you.  Since you can’t run again for another term, is there any way that we as a group can talk the First Lady into running?

         THE PRESIDENT:  No.  (Laughter and applause.)  No, no, no.  No, no.

         Q    I know that’s right.  (Laughter.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Let me tell you, there are three things that are certain in life.  (Laughter.) Death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for President.  (Laughter.)  That I can tell you.

         But you know what, the First Lady, though, the work she’s done around reducing childhood obesity, the work that she and Jill Biden have done on military families and making sure they get support, I could not be prouder of her.  And I am certain that she’s going to be really active as a First Lady.

         Not only is she going to be a very young ex-First Lady, but unlike me, she looks young.  (Laughter.)  I was looking at a wedding picture — actually, we found the old video from our wedding.  We’ve been married 23 years now.  (Applause.)  And so my mother-in-law had been going through some storage stuff and found our wedding video.  And I popped it in — and I look like a teenager — and realized, boy, I sure have aged.  (Laughter.)

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

    THE PRESIDENT:  I know that, though.  (Laughter.)

         But Michelle looked — she looked identical.  Looked identical.

         Q    We’re proud of her.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m proud of her, too, because most importantly she’s been an unbelievable mom, which is why my daughters turned out so well.  (Applause.)

         All right, it is a young woman’s turn.  This young lady right here.  Go ahead.  Yes, you. Yes, you’ve been raising your hand.  (Laughter.)  Okay.  But hold on.  The mic is coming.  Go ahead.

         Q    Hi, my name is Imani Maxberry (ph).  I’m a coastal environmental science major at LSU.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Outstanding.

         Q    One, I want to say thank you for rejecting Keystone pipeline.  (Applause.)  And two, I want to ask:  While you’ve been in office, what environmental impact — what environmental issue do you think has impacted you the most and should be more brought to the public?

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  That’s a great question, and I’m proud that you’re doing that work.  That’s important.  (Applause.)

         First of all, it’s important for us to understand how much environmental progress we’ve made in my lifetime.  And the reason is, sometimes when we talk about the environment, it sounds like something far away.  But we don’t realize — we don’t remember what we’ve accomplished already.

         In the 1970s, in California, there would be regular days where people did not go outside.  When Ronald Reagan was governor in California, there were regularly days where the smog was so bad, it was like it is in Beijing now. People just wouldn’t go outside.  And if you had asthma or some respiratory disease, you might die.

         I remember as recently as 1979, when I first started college — I started college in Los Angeles — when I went running, the first week I was there, after about five minutes I’d start feeling a burning in my chest.  And it was just me sucking in soot and smog.  And now you go there and that smog isn’t there.  And the reason is because we instituted things like catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline.  And we changed the technologies to reduce smog.

         It used to be that places like the Cuyahoga River around Cleveland caught fire it was so polluted.  Caught fire.  No, this is no joke.  And now you go there and people are able to use it.  Same thing with the Chicago River.  Now people are kayaking and fishing.

         So the point is, is that we actually can make progress when we make an effort because of our technology and our innovation.  And every time we’ve taken a step to try to clean up our air or our water or our environment, there are all kinds of people who say this is going to kill jobs, we can’t afford it, can’t do it, it’s going to cost too much.  And then, after we do it, we look back and say, you know, that didn’t cost as much as we thought, it happened quicker than we did.  Our businesses figured out how to do it and to make money doing it at the same time.  That’s what I mean when I say an innovation economy.  We’ve got to be confident about our ability to solve any problem if we put our minds to it.

         Now, the answer to your question right now is, what I am very much concerned about is climate change.  And there are folks who are still denying that this is a problem or that we can do anything about it.  Look, if 99 doctors told you that you have diabetes and you need to change your eating habits and get some exercise and lose some weight, you may decide not to do it because you’re stubborn.  But don’t say they’re wrong because the science in unsure.  This is happening.  And, by the way, if you live in Louisiana, you should especially be concerned about this because you are right next to some water that has a tendency to heat up, and that then creates hurricanes.  And as oceans rise, that means that the amount of land that is getting gobbled up continuously in this state is shrinking — the land mass — and it’s going to have an impact.

         Now, we can build things and we can fortify things, and we can do things smarter, and we can control how development happens, and we can restore wetlands.  All those things make a difference.  But ultimately, we got to do something about making sure that ocean levels don’t rise four, five, six, eight feet, because if they do, this state is going to have some big problems — bigger problems.

         So what we’ve done is, we’ve gotten together with 200 other nations, American leadership, to say all of us have to start bringing down the carbon pollution that we send in the atmosphere.  And here in the United States, there are two main ways we can do that.  Number one is our power plants; we’ve got to start using cleaner energy.  Number two, we’ve got to start promoting solar and wind, which create jobs.  And we’re a leader in this technology as long as we start investing in it.

         And that transition from old, dirty fuels to clean fuels, that’s going to be tough.  A lot of people make money in the coal industry, for example.  A lot of people have worked there, historically.  But now you have actually have more people working in solar than you do in coal.  Those communities that are reliant on coal, we should help them get a jump on making money in wind power and solar power.  Those are hardworking, good people.  Let’s not have them stuck in old jobs that are going to be slowly declining.  Let’s get them in the new jobs that are going to be going up.

         And then, in our transportation sector, we need to continue to build on the things we’ve done since I’ve been President — doubling fuel efficiency standards on cars, promoting electric cars.  All this stuff adds up.  And the goods new is businesses can succeed and we can make money doing it at the same time.  But don’t think that this is not a problem for all of us.  This is the main message I have.  That young lady was asking about curing cancer — well, we might cure cancer, but if temperatures have gone up two, three degrees around the planet, four degrees, and oceans are rising, we’re going to have more problems than medical science can cure.  We got to make that investment now.  And we can do it.

         All right.  Good question.  This gentleman right here.  Hold on, I got a mic right there.  How you doing?

         Q    I can hold it.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

         Q    I’m a big kid.  (Laughter.)  Well, maybe I’m not a big kid.  My name is Alan Turum (ph) from Youngstown, Ohio.  You’ve been here many times in helping with the steel mills get back on track.  That’s all good.  And in your defense, my business is doing good, making money, growing for the last 10 years.  And I got a lot of friends that have businesses, and they’re doing real well, too.  For a lot of people that are complaining, there’s a lot of people doing well.  So I think if you hustle, you can make good.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.

         Q    But my question to you is, you’re on your last year — is there any one big thing that you’d like to see happen before you leave the office?

         THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Well, first of all, what’s your business?

         Q    I got a couple of businesses.  I manufacture Halloween props, and I own a haunted house and hay ride in Lordstown, Ohio, which you’ve been there many times, to the car plant.

         THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve been, yeah.

         Q    It’s called Fear Forest.  Maybe if you make it back into Youngstown in October, you can come check it out.  But I make Halloween props and I like to scare people.

         THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  So that’s kind of interesting.  That’s fun.  You sell a lot of Obama masks?  (Laughter.)

         Q    Hey, Obama is not scary.  So –

         THE PRESIDENT:  There you go, all right.  (Applause.)  I don’t think so.

         The things that I talked about in the State of the Union are all things that I think are possible.  Some of them I can get done on my own.  So I’ll give you a couple of examples.

         We need to revamp how our information systems, our IT systems in government work.  This is one of the areas where we’re — the biggest gap between government and the private sector is — if you just want to order a pizza, you’ve got your smartphone and you just — and the pizza shows up.  You want to buy an airline ticket, you punch in a couple things and suddenly if you go to the airport it’s all printing out.  And the systems in government are really old.

         Now, that causes two problems.  Number one is, they’re less safe and secure than they should be because they’re old.  They’re outdated systems.  So it’s easier for folks to try to hack into them, break into them, and we’re constantly putting patches up.

         The second thing is, it just means that things are slower for customers.  And I want to make sure government is in the 21st century — and we’re systematically going agency through agency.  If you want to get a small business loan from the SBA, I want you to be able to go to one website, in English, be able to figure out what you need to do, apply online, get that money, start that business, put people to work.  (Applause.)  And right now, we’re continually trying to streamline that process.

         And we’ve made some good progress.  But that’s an example of something that we can do administratively.  The same is true, by the way, for the VA.  You’ll remember — we are so proud of our veterans and our young men and women who served.  (Applause.)  And we got some folks here looking sharp in uniform that we are grateful for their service.  (Applause.)  And we have put more resources and provided more support to — and increased budgets for the VA than any administration in history.  We have cut backlogs.  We included folks who had been affected by Agent Orange.  We have boosted the resources available for folks suffering from PTSD.  We are ending veterans’ homelessness.  We’ve made some huge investments, made really good progress.

         But you’ll remember that story that came out last year, or a year and a half ago, in Phoenix, where folks were waiting so long to try to get an appointment that — and many of these were elderly, aging folks, and they were dying before they got an appointment.  And it was unacceptable.

         When we did an investigation of what had happened — and what was worse was some of the administrators there were hiding what was going on, and manipulating sort of records in ways that meant they had to be fired.  But when you looked at what was going on, a lot of it had to do with the fact that they had a system where a veteran would call in trying to get an appointment, somebody was writing it down on paper, then they were tapping it into some 30-year-old computer system that would then print out something that then would get walked over to someplace, that then they’d have to — it was a mess.

         And so we’ve had to make big investments in trying to clean up that whole process.  So that’s what we can do without Congress.

         Some things I think we can do with Congress I’ve already mentioned.  I think we can get criminal justice reform passed.  I think that we can potentially do some work on what I just identified, the Earned Income Tax Credit, that would help millions of people around the country who are working hard get out of poverty.  And on the issue of medicine, I think that we’re seeing some bipartisan work to try to bring together all the resources we have around these new medical breakthroughs that could potentially — not just affect things like cancer, but also Alzheimer and Parkinson’s, and a lot of diseases that people suffer from.  It’s a good story, and it’s not as politically controversial as some other issues.

         Now, there are some things I’d love to do, like raising the minimum wage for everybody.  (Applause.)  I’d love to get immigration reform passed.  But I’m realistic that Congress probably will not act on some of those more controversial issues.  That’s where people are going to have to make a decision in this election.  That’s what elections are about.  You’ve got to decide which direction America needs to go in.

         Okay.  Let’s see.  These folks have been neglected, so I’ve got to pay them a little attention here.  It’s a young lady’s turn.  Well, you’ve got a beautiful dress on.  Let’s just call on you.  There you go.  (Applause.)

         Q    Mr. President, I’m Judge Trudy M. White, and I’m the district court judge here in the 19th judicial district court.  (Applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Good to see you, Judge.

         Q    I am also the reentry court judge for our parish.  And I did notice when you spoke at the State of the Union, you made your address, that the first issue that you did address was criminal justice reform.  I’d like to know, as reentry court judge, what incentives could you offer our governor — our new governor and governors across the United States that would provide opportunities for felons who are returning as they exit the criminal justice system?  (Applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Judge, you probably know more than I do. (Laughter.)

         Q    Can my people get with your people to get those incentives down here?  (Laughter and applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.  I’ll have my people call your people.  (Laughter.)  But I will tell you what I know I’ve seen with my own eyes.

         I was in Camden with a fellow federal district court judge who had taken — who had worked with the U.S. attorney there to supplement some of the reentry programs that were already there with some grants.  And this judge, she’s a wonderful woman, just like you.  And she had this terrific lead probation officer.  And together, what they had done is just made sure that anybody who got released, the day they were out, they were getting a call from the probation officer.  And the probation officer was saying, all right, what do you need?  Do you need clothes?  What are you doing in terms of a place to stay?   How are you going to think about getting your résumé together?  Do you have an alarm clock?  Just basic stuff.  How are you going to get around?

         Because so often, what happens is these young people are getting released and they’re just dropped off in the neighborhood where they were.  Oftentimes, part of the reason they got down a wrong path in the first place is the — mom and dad might not have been there, or they might have moved by now and so they’re literally all alone.

         And so this young man who was there, who had gone through this process, he had been arrested when he was 17, and had a record that accumulated, then arrested at 27; spent 10 years in federal prison.  Was released at 37.  And he really decided, I want to change my life.  He had a spiritual awakening.  And he started just pounding the pavement, and got a job at a fast food place.  And he was describing what it was like — he had been doing this about three months and he still didn’t have enough money for rent, and the halfway house that he was staying at, it was about to kick him out because they only have a certain number of slots, and you don’t stay there long enough.

         And he was saying how his old friends, the drug dealers and the gang bangers who he had used to run with, they would come up every once in a while, and he’d be sitting there in his uniform flipping burgers and serving food, and they’d be talking to him — hey, man, any time you’re ready.  Those are the only clothes you got?  Those are the same shoes we saw you in 10 years ago; this is the new style.  And that temptation for him was powerful.

         Now, this is where a well-designed reentry program comes in, because what happened was, the judge, the probation officer, they worked with him, signed him up.  The judge, unfortunately, because the program didn’t have a lot of money, had to basically do a collection, dig into her own pocket.  But they got the fees to have him go study at a community college to be an emergency medical technician.  And he ended up graduating from this class, working for a private health firm, and then by the time he was sitting next to me three or four years later — or maybe five years later, he’s now working for the county as an EMT, fully trained, saving lives.  (Applause.)

         But the point is that it required intensive intervention and support and help.  But what a smart investment that was.  Because if we spent whatever it cost during those one, two, three years of transition to help that person get their life straight, we might have just saved ourselves another 10 years or 15 years or 20 years of incarcerating him on taxpayer expense.  (Applause.)

         So it made me realize that if we really want to be smart on crime — you’ve got, let’s say, a maximum minimum sentence — mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years for some drug-related drug — if we reduce the amount of time that they’re incarcerated, took all those savings and we took just some of that for one, two years of reentry programs that are highly supervised, then we’re going to get better results — safer streets, better citizens — because he’s now paying taxes as an EMT instead of taking taxes as a ward of the state.  Less violence.  More hope.  He’s got an opportunity now to be a father, as opposed to an absent presence in a child’s life.  That’s how we rebuild communities.  And that’s why this is such a promising area.

    And as I said I want to make sure to acknowledge, this is an area where there’s been some really powerful bipartisan, interesting coalitions.  I think the evangelical community, because they have a lot of strong prison ministries, they care about this, they believe in redemption and second chances.  And so they’ve gotten involved.  And you’ve got libertarians who just don’t like the idea of the state spending that much money on prisons.  They’ve gotten involved.  And so there’s a lot of good work.  And as I said, Cedric has been a leader in this process, so we’ve got to see if we can make this happen, all right?  But my people will get with your people.  (Applause.)

    That redhead right there.  It’s good having hair like that.  You stand out in a crowd.

    Q    My name is Martin Brown (ph).  I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  And my question is about education.  Education is one of the most important things in achieving equal opportunity.  And in the past decades, we’ve seen desegregation orders lifted and we’ve seen a re-segregation in the South.  Furthermore, there’s huge disparities in resources for different students in different school districts and parishes.  And I was wondering what can the federal government do, what have you done, and what do you think should happen in the future to resolve these issues that we have been fighting for decades.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Are you a teacher, by the way?

    Q    I’m not — I’m a student.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Where are you going to school?

    Q    LSU.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.  What are you studying?

    Q    Math and economics.

    THE PRESIDENT:  All right.  Well, maybe you’ll solve this problem.  (Laughter.)  Well, thanks for the question.  It’s a great question.

    I talked about this at the town hall — or in the State of the Union.  This economy will become more and more knowledge-based during the course of our lifetimes, our children’s lifetimes, our grandchildren’s lifetimes.  There’s no denying it.  That is not going to change. And so when people talk about how the economy is changing and how come we can’t have it the way it was back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it used to be that if you were willing to work hard, you could drop out of high school, walk into the factory, say “I’m ready to work,” and if you showed yourself to be a hard worker, you could actually build a middle-class life on the factory floor.  And that’s great.

    But if you go into a factory today, it’s full of computers and robots.  And if you don’t know math and you don’t know science, you can’t get that job on the factory floor.  And, by the way, because of automation and technology, when I go to a car plant — and we sold more cars — U.S. automakers sold more cars last year than any time in history.  (Applause.)  It has come all the way back.  It has rehired hundreds of thousands of folks.  We created 900,000 manufacturing jobs.  But you go into a plant, and it’s just quiet and clean, and probably — if you used to have a thousand people in that plant, now you’ve got a hundred, just because it’s so automated.

    And the point is, you are not going to be able to build a middle-class life in this society unless you have some education and skills that you can continually enhance and retool throughout your career.  So, young people, I’m going to be honest — I’m not going to call him out — but if you’re Ben Simmons, maybe you’ll do fine not hitting the books — although he’s a very fine student, I’m sure.  But my point is, unless you are one in a million, you better be working hard.  You better be studying.  (Applause.)  And it’s not going to stop.

    Now, the point you made is exactly right.  How do we make sure everybody gets that opportunity?  Because we know what the ingredients are.  We know that early childhood education makes a huge difference, the kind of start that young people get.  (Applause.)  We know that poor kids oftentimes are not starting off in school with the same vocabulary because they haven’t heard as many words, which means we’ve got to train parents, not just teachers, to help get kids rolling.  We know that schools that have great teachers and high standards, and are creative and have the best technologies that are used the right way make a difference.  That high expectations make a difference.  So, we know all these things.
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    But the way that education is America has been organized is local school districts, local control, and local property funding as the primary way of supporting schools.  And that has led to big disparities in every state in the country.  So the federal government can’t get at that.  What the federal government has done and can do is, through programs like Title I funding, we provide additional money to school districts that have a high proportion of low-income kids to try to give them more resources.  The federal government — what I’ve done during my administration is worked with states and local school districts to give them incentives to adopt best practices to help develop and train teachers to more effectively teach kids to make sure that we’ve got high expectations and high standards.

    I just signed, last year, a reform of No Child Left Behind that had led to a lot of over-testing and stress among teachers, but had not necessarily improved learning.  But ultimately, it’s going to be up to states and local school districts to make a decision about how much do we care about equities in funding within states.  That’s not something the federal government can force states to do.

         There was a case way back in the ‘70s that was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court making the argument that it was unconstitutional to have this property tax-based system of funding education.  And the Supreme Court said it’s not unconstitutional; it’s up to states to make a decision on what they want to do.  Some state supreme courts have said it’s unconstitutional to fund education that way.

    But if you don’t have states making those decisions, the federal government can’t force them to.  We can help.  We can give incentives.  But federal funding for education accounts only about for 7 percent of total education funding.  The main thing we can do is hold up best practices, show people this is what works, this is what doesn’t, and then the people of those communities have to determine this is what we want to do to make a real serious change.

         Now, one last point I’m going to make on education — making sure folks like Che can afford college is critical.  (Applause.)  And if I had my wish about what I could get Congress to do — I mentioned a whole bunch of issues — one of them also would be the proposal I put forward:  two years of community college at no cost for responsible students.  (Applause.)

    Tennessee has already adopted this.  Tennessee has already adopted this proposal.  The city of Chicago is working to adopt it.  So you’ve got Democrats and Republicans who have seen the wisdom of this.  If young people can go to a community college for two years at no cost, that means they can get a lot of credits out of the way.  They can then transfer to a four-year institution.  But they’ve cut their costs in half.  And this is an affordable proposal.  We propose paying for it essentially by closing some corporate tax loopholes and some tax breaks for hedge funds.  And it’s enough money to actually make sure that every young person has at least that baseline.  And that’s part of the reason why America became an economic superpower — because earlier than anybody else, we said we’re going to give everybody universal high school education.  Now, the next step is everybody in addition to high school education should be able to get that two years of post-secondary education, as well.  (Applause.)

    All right?  How much time do I have?  I got to check with my people.  One or two more questions.  Okay, this young lady right there.  You can stop jumping.  (Laughter.)  Yes, I just called — but do you actually have a question, or were you just jumping?  (Laughter.)  All right, where is the mic?  Right here.  Right here.  Yes, you.  I don’t know why you’re surprised.  (Laughter.)  You raised your hand.

    Q    Thank you so much for taking my question.  First off, my name is Angenay Turner (ph).  I’m a law student at Tulane, in New Orleans, in the Big Easy.

    THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.

    Q    I’m here with my little sister and one of my other friends from Tulane who also went to Columbia for undergrad.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

    Q    First off, I just want to say that we’re very inspired by you and the First Lady.

         THE PRESIDENT:  That’s nice.

         Q    And you are our biggest inspirations.  And we want to be just like you guys, so can you help us?  Give us some tips.  (Laughter.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  I’m sorry, what was the question?  (Laughter.)

         Q    The question is, can you help us be more like you and the First Lady and give us some tips to be –

         THE PRESIDENT:  Some tips?

         Q    Yes.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, I will say this — Michelle and I, we’ve been through an extraordinary journey.  When we think about where we’ve come from, Michelle grew up on the South Side of Chicago.  Her mom was a secretary.  Her dad worked at the water filtration plant.  Neither of them ever went to college.  They lived on the second floor of her mom’s sister’s house, a little bungalow.  She was — we were talking the other day, she was watching HGTV.  She likes watching HGTV.  And for those of you who don’t know, Home and Garden TV.  (Laughter.)

         And I guess there was this show about this so-called movement or trend towards tiny houses.  So people get these little, tiny — some of them they put on — hitch on the back of their car, some of them they’re already there.  She said, I didn’t know this was a movement because we lived in a tiny house. (Laughter.)  We just thought that’s how you live.  We didn’t know this was a — we were cutting edge.  (Laughter.)

         And so Michelle, her brother, her dad, her mom — her dad, by the way, had Multiple Sclerosis, so he’s going to work every day — he had to wake up an hour early to get to work because it took a long time for him to just button his shirt and get in the car, and then get out of the car, and then get to his job.

         And in that second floor, with — and I know, because Michelle and I, right after we got married, we stayed in that same place before we were able to save up enough to buy our place.  These two folks were able to raise these incredible young people, Michelle and her brother, who both ended up going to college and both had these extraordinary careers.
       
         Now, I say all that because Michelle would be the first to say — and I certainly would be the first to say — the only reason this happened was because there were people who invested in us.  (Applause.)  So there were park programs in Chicago, public park programs where she could be part of dance classes, and her brother could be in Little League.  And there were accelerated programs at her public elementary school where she had teachers who really took extra time.  And then there was a magnet school that she was able to attend, and that was able to get her prepared for college.  And then she got student loans and support in order to be able to go to college and go to law school.  Although she tells the story about how her dad, he couldn’t really contribute much, but he insisted on writing something, a check, to help support that college education for her and her brother because he knew what it was worth.

         And so when you ask sort of the main tip I have — look, we benefitted because somebody invested in us.  (Applause.)  The most important tip I would have is make sure not only are you working hard to deserve that investment, but that you’re also investing in the next generation coming up behind you.  (Applause.)  If you do that, then you’re going to do great things.  Your sister will do great things.


         And the one other thing I tell young people all the time — don’t worry so much about what you want to be, worry about what you want to do.  (Applause.)  Worry about the kind of person you want to be and what you want to accomplish.  And the reason I say that is because a lot of times people ask me, oh, I’m interested in politics, how can I get — I say, well, let me tell you, the people who are most successful in politics and business and whatever, they don’t start off saying, I want to be President or governor; they start off by saying, I want to give people an education, or I want to make sure that folks have jobs, or I believe in justice under the law.  And they pursue a goal.  They’re trying to get something done.

         A byproduct of that is that they may find themselves in positions of authority or power or influence.  But even if you never get elected to something, if you’re interested in the environment, you don’t have to be the head of the EPA to make a difference.  You might organize in a local community to clean up a site and plant gardens and make sure that the water is clean.  (Applause.)  And you can look back and then say, wow, what an amazing life I’ve had and look at all the difference that I’ve made.
    image


         And I’ll tell you, the same is true in business.  The most successful business people — if you talk to somebody like a Bill Gates, they don’t start off saying “I want to be the second-richest man in the world.”  They start off saying, “I really want to figure out this computer thing.”  “I want to make this thing work better.”  “I’m excited or interested in how we can solve this problem.”  And then, because they’re so passionate about it and they’ve worked so hard at it, it turns out they make something really good, and everybody else says, I want to be part of that.  That, I think, is a good tip as well.

         All right.  I’ve only got time for one more question.  It’s a young man’s turn and he’s right in front, and he looks very sharp.  He’s got his tie on and everything.

         Q    How you doing, Mr. President?

         THE PRESIDENT:  How you doing?  What’s your name?

         Q    My name is Anthony King (ph).  I am an 18-year-old mass communications major and I go to the Southern University and A&M College.  (Applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

         Q    Mr. President, first I wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration, because I aspire to be what you are in the next 30 years, and I know I will be there.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

         Q    But one of my main questions for you, sir, Mr. President — I’m going to an HBCU institute — Southern University. Most times, when I go recruit off of high schools, most of the time a lot of them say, oh, I don’t want to go to an HBCU college; I feel like if I go to an HBCU, I won’t get as many opportunities as a student at university as LSU or Tulane.  So what is your take of — or advice to students like me, thousands of students like me who go to HBCUs, and us finishing the course in order to be great leaders in this society?  (Applause.)

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  See, you got some folks voting for you already.

         Well, first of all, the role of the historically black colleges and universities in producing our leadership and expanding opportunity — training doctors and teachers and lawyers and ministers who change the landscape of America — I hope most people know that story, and if not, you better learn it.  Because it has been powerful and continues to be a powerful tradition.

         And I will tell you that if you have done well at an HBCU and graduated, and you go to an employer and are making the kind of presentation you make or a Morehouse man makes or a Spelman young lady makes, you will do just fine.  I don’t think it’s true that actually people don’t take — or discount that tradition.  And you will be credentialed.  You’ll succeed.

         I do think that there’s a range of challenges that HBCUs face.  Some are doing great; some are having more difficulty.  And some of that’s good.  Look — or some of it is the result of good things.  We don’t live in a society where African Americans are restricted in what colleges they can go to.  And I want them to be able to go to an LSU or a Tulane as well as a Southern, as well as a Morehouse, as well as a Howard or a Spelman.  So more opportunities open up — that’s good.

    We have been very supportive of HBCUs over the last several years.  And to their credit, the previous administration had supported them, as well.  There are some HBCUs that are having trouble with graduation rates.  And that is a source of concern.  And what we’ve said to those HBCUs is we want to work with you, but we don’t want a situation in which young people are taking out loans, getting in debt, thinking that they’re going to get a great education and then halfway through they’re dropping out.

         Now, some of it is those HBCUs may be taking chances on some kids that other schools might not.  And that’s a positive thing, and that has to be taken into account.  But we also have to make sure that colleges — any college, HBCU or non-HBCU — take seriously the need to graduate that student and not load them up with debt.

         Everybody needs a college education or a secondary — an education beyond high school.  If it’s a community college, if it’s a technical school, if it’s a training program, you’re going to need more training as your career goes on.

         But I don’t want you taking out a Pell grant or a bunch of — not a Pell grant — like a federal loan or a private loan, and you walk out with $50,000, $60,000, $100,000 worth of debt, and you didn’t get your degree.  So we are working very hard with every school, all colleges and universities, not just to reduce costs, but also to increase graduation rates, give students a better sense as they come in — here’s what it’s going to take for you to finish; here’s why you got to not lollygag and not take enough credits and think going to college is about partying, because it’s actually about getting your degree.  (Applause.) And we want students and parents to be better informed about that process ahead of time.

         All right, listen, you guys have been wonderful.  (Applause.) Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Bo, Sunny, they all send their love.  But I want — before we go, I want to remind you of what I said.  Our system of government only works when you are involved not just by voting, but by being informed and staying involved throughout the process.  Your governor, your mayor, your congressman — they all want to do right by you.  But there are going to be challenges.  There are going to be folks who want to stop progress.  There are going to be people who like the status quo.  There’s always going to be in this democracy countervailing pressures.  And if you want to see change, you’ve got to help make it happen.

         When I ran for office in 2007, 2008, I did not say, “Yes, I can.”  I said –

         AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!

         THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can, people.  God bless you.  Love you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, New Orleans.  God bless America.  (Applause)

    Video of the town hall is available at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLA5OX3MQc4

    ONLINE: See photos at the Jozef Syndicate.

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    COMMENTARY: Dr. King and the gospel of action

    There is no shortage of words in the English language to describe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By now —more than five decades after his fiery delivery of the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.— you may feel as though you have heard them all: leader, hero, visionary, champion, inspiration, pacifist, orator and preacher, to name a few.

    Of all the possible descriptions and titles that have been assigned to Dr. King, history has proven that his legacy endures in our collective American imagination and our national politics not because of what he was, or who he was, but because of what he did. Dr. King changed our society with action. Soaring rhetoric may move our hearts and imagination, but it is action that translates our seemingly impossible dreams into reality.

    Dr. King’s all-too-short life was a monumental one that moved our nation to enact large-scale, course-correcting policies like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act, and genuinely contemplate a day when we would “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” but he departed from this earth with unfinished business.

    Our nation has made undeniable progress since Dr. King described his dream of an America set free from the bondage of racial animosity, injustice and economic inequality. Today, people of color are achieving milestones that would have been impossible without the decades-long accumulation of constant acts of courage to make change happen. But Dr. King did not dedicate himself to a life of action only to create wealth and opportunity for a privileged few, to diversify the palette of America’s corporate offices, or even the White House. While Dr. King would have likely been proud to live in a country that judged an African-American not on the color of his skin, but the content of his character, and elected him president, he would be disheartened to witness the mounting rollbacks in voting rights, disappointed to stand at the cusp of the ever-widening chasm of economic inequality, and disillusioned at the loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement. Progress must not grow into passivity. Complacency will only serve to erode the gains our nation have made and can make under the constant vigilance and activism of its citizenry.

    In his last State of the Union address to Congress, President Barack Obama acknowledged the necessity of every day acts of courage and quiet citizenship to move our nation closer to fulfilling its founding promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all its people. “What I’m asking for is hard. It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.”

    That better future is what Dr. King saw on the mountaintop. He did not live to get there with us, but his clarion call to justice lives on. We, as the heirs of the change he sought, can make this holiday a more meaningful one by engaging in civic, community and service projects. We can spend the day doing what Dr. King did for a lifetime: serving others. But this is about more than a day. Full, unfettered access to voting will not be restored in one day. Police brutality in communities of color will not end in one day. Economic inequality will not be resolved in one day. It will take days, years, decades and perhaps generations, but if we are wedded to the idea of a more perfect union, it is imperative that we continue Dr. King’s long and worthy climb to the mountaintop.

    Marc Morial
    President, National Urban League
    New York

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    Pickens named TSU vice president

    Eva K. Pickens was named vice president for university advancement at Texas Southern University in Houston. She has served in this role on an interim basis since September 2015. Pickens has been on the university’s staff for 25 years.

    Pickens is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she completed her journalism degree in three years.

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    Missing Lafayette teens located

    Missing Lafayette High School students Shaylon Mitchell, 16, and 16-year-old Nasya Pradier were located Friday, Jan. 8., Shaylon’s mother Shanette Mitchell confirmed.

    The pair were missing since 7 a.m. Wednesday when they went to school but never checked in, she said.

    The teens’ disappearance garnered statewide attention on social media, with Facebook videos from their families pleading for their return garnering tens of thousands of views.

    Details surrounding their disappearance are not known at this time.

    By The Drum Staff

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    Hilton named chief of staff at GSU

    Adriel A. Hilton, Ph.D., has been named chief of staff and executive assistant to the president at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He previously served as an assistant professor of higher education student affairs and director of the Higher Education Student Affairs program at Western Carolina University.

    Hilton holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College, in Atlanta. He earned a master’s of applied social science from Florida A&M University, in Tallahassee and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore.

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    AT&T settles Byron Allen’s racial discrimination claim

    Media mogul Byron Allen filed a 10 billion dollar discrimination lawsuit against AT&T and DirecTV when the companies refused to provide distribution for his channels. That lawsuit, filed in 2014, has now been settled, with DirecTV and U-Verse picking up seven channels from Allen’s Entertainment Studios.

    As reported by Variety, DirecTV began carriage of Entertainment Studios’ Comedy.TV and Justice Central.TV early this week. U-verse has added Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, ES.TV, MyDestination.TV, Cars TV and Pets TV; U-verse was already carrying Justice Central.TV.

    Spokespeople for all parties involved only commented that, “The matter has been resolved.”

    This stands as a major victory for Allen, a comedian turned businessman who is the sole owner of Entertainment Studios.

    Allen claimed in his lawsuit that Black-owned media was being shut out of distribution opportunities.

    Allen has filed a similar discrimination lawsuit against Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

    ONLINE: YourBlackWorld.com

     

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    150th anniversary of Freedman’s Bank commemorated

    Liberty Bank’s Alden McDonald will deliver remarks and reflect on the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank

    NEW ORLEANS –  On Thursday, January 7, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department will host a ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (Freedman’s Bank) and name the Treasury Annex building the Freedman’s Bank Building. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Assistant Secretary for Management Brodi Fontenot, Howard University Department of Economics Chair Dr. William Spriggs, and Liberty Bank and Trust President and CEO Alden McDonald will deliver remarks and reflect on the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank.

    image

    Alden McDonald

    The Freedman’s Bank was established in 1865 to create an opportunity for wealth-building among the nation’s four million newly emancipated Black Americans. During its nearly 10-year existence, approximately 100,000 Blacks and Black institutions amassed $57 million in the bank’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and its branches in 37 cities across 17 states. Despite the closing of the Freedman’s Bank in 1874, it remains a significant part of American history and this event will highlight the historical significance of the bank and its original mission – to promote economic integration and financial inclusion.

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    Resolutions that will challenge Black America in 2016

    Whenever we begin a new calendar year, it can be useful to make New Year’s Resolutions to prioritize and focus for the immediate future. Beyond the traditional litany of making very personal and oftentimes private resolutions at the beginning of a new year, Black America as a whole, I believe, should be vocal and public about our determination to keep pushing forward for freedom, justice, equality and economic empowerment.

    What should be our collective goals and strategic objectives over the next 12 months? Recent academic studies by the Dominican University of California on the importance of “goal setting” to overcome individual and social procrastination revealed that writing down your resolutions and sharing your goals with others that you care about will help you work more diligently to achieve those goals.

    Every time I pick up and read a Black-owned newspaper in America during this season of annual proclamation, it is always informative to see a written list of New Year Resolutions that challenge Black America to continue strive for excellence and achievement in all fields of endeavor. I am obviously proud of the trusted impact of the Black Press of America. Check us out at www.NNPA.org and www.BlackPressUSA.com.

    We have another critical election year coming up in 2016 and the Black American vote will have to be mobilized in every primary election and across the nation next November in elections in every precinct in every state, county by county. Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) efforts, therefore, will be a top priority and we must collectively resolve that in 2016 we will ensure the largest voter turnout of Black voters in the history of the United States.

    Remember, we had a record voter turnout of Black voters both in 2008 and in 2012. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “66.2 percent of Blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic Whites who did so…This marks the first time that Blacks have voted at a higher rate than Whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996.”

    We cannot afford to let the Black vote be taken for granted in 2016.

    Politics and economics are inseparable in the United States. Yet, even though Black Americans spend in excess of $1.2 trillion annually in the nation’s economy, that kind of spending volume has not translated into real economic power: increasing the ownership of global businesses and billion-dollar revenue-generating investments. We still have a long way to go to achieve economic equality and parity in America.

    We should resolve, therefore, in 2016 to improve and expand the economic development of Black American families and communities. Although the American economy continues to recover under the Obama Administration, for Black Americans we have not closed the wealth gap. White Americans today have 12 times the wealth of Black Americans. We must, without hesitation and without apology, be more determined to end poverty and to generate more wealth for Black America. Therefore, we join in complete solidarity with the resolve of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) in the goal of striving to increase Black homeownership in 2016.

    We are very encouraged that the 2016 NAACP Image Awards will once again be broadcast on TV One. We all should support Radio One, TV One and Interactive One. We all also should support The Impact Network and other Black-owned media companies as well as the publishers of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

    Ending mass incarceration, reforming the criminal justice system, and stopping police brutality are related urgent matters that demand the resolve and activist involvement of Black America. Yes, in 2016 our national outcry will continue to be “Black Lives Matter!”

    The highest quality education for our children and our young adults requires our vocal support and energetic involvement from pre-school to post graduate higher education. At every level of the educational process and journey we must be vigilant in our demands and commitments to attain the best education for our families.

    Thus let’s renew and strengthen our dedication to support the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) as well as work to sustain all of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and predominantly Black institutions (PBIs). Lastly, we are a spiritual people. All African people are spiritual. We resolve lastly to support and strengthen our religiously institutions: churches, temples, mosques and synagogues.

    I asked the Chairman of the NNPA, Denise Rolark Barnes, who publishes the Washington Informer for her perspective about 2016 New Year Resolutions. She emphasized resolutely, “In 2016, our first priority should be to commit our lives and our dollars to those individuals and institutions that represent our best interests. Let’s strive to be the ones that will make a difference in our own communities. Be mindful that ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’”

    Benjamin ChavisBy Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
    Columnist

    Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis  Jr. is the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at: dr.bchavis@nnpa.org; and for lectures and other professional consultations at: http://drbenjaminfchavisjr.wix.com/drbfc.

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  • ,,

    Louisiana to reinstate SCLC charter

    Charles Steele Jr., president of the National Southern Christian Leadership
    Conference, announced the official return of the historic civil rights organization to Louisiana.

    Under the leadership of the Reverend Reginald Pitcher, Louisiana has met all of the requirements to have its charter reinstated.

    Steele, officers, members and friends will mark the return of the SCLC with 11 am, Jan. 5, 2016, at New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St, New Orleans, LA 70113, where C.S. Gordon, Jr. is pastor.

    Sixty years ago in the same church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jrl, Rev. T.J. Jemison, and attorney Israel Augustine of New Orleans signed documents to incorporate the organization.

    Elected officials and state leaders of many civic, social, and religious organizations, including the National Baptist Convention, the NAACP, National Urban League, Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, MICAH, Nation of Islam, the AFL-CIO and more, are expected to be in attendance.

    ONLINE: www.sclcnational.org

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Poet plans to sail into Black history

    ASTORIA, OREGON — The port of Astoria on the Columbia River is the home of Black History in the making as Niccolea Miouo Nance prepares to set sail with The Emuna Endeavor. The Oregon-born, Arizona-raised poet and artist has put her creative work on hold to learn seamanship and navigation at Clatsop Community College in preparation for the June 2016 departure date.

    Sometimes we as individuals going about our daily lives fall accidentally into something much larger than ourselves. This is one of those stories.

    In July of 2012, Niccolea’s  (pronounced “nick-cole-yah”) best friend Dovid, who was planning on sailing around the world, knew she wanted to travel so he invited her to join him. Since then she has been researching others who have done the journey and discovered that there are no Black American women on record who have sailed around the world.

    Nance was born in a land locked small town in the southern part of Oregon just north of the California border. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona and was a desert dweller pretty much all of her life. As such she didn’t have a rich nautical background so she enrolled in maritime studies at the community college.

    Niccolea said, “My whole life has been a lesson in diversity and tolerance (or lack thereof). I am a Black-white biracial so since birth I have been an example of the unification of different people from different backgrounds. Being raised by my Caucasian stepfather and white mother gave me a perspective on race relations that is totally different from my friends who were raised in totally Black families, neighborhoods, etc. I have seen racism first hand, but I have also seen great tolerance and love firsthand. I choose to focus on the good in life and people. I want to continue to be someone who adds to the positivity in this world.”

    Even with the lessons she learned in her life, she said she is filled with cultural stereotypes of pretty much every place in the world and would like to shed that. “I believe that travel will help me to be a better person overall by experiencing things outside my norm. This trip will be a means to becoming a more culturally aware and more life-educated person.” With modern technology it also gives her a chance to show others what she is learning so we can all learn together via her blog and the trip site and YouTube channel.

    “This is more than just a trip for me… It is the beginning step to a goal of creating a bridge between like-minded people with this project as a catalyst. It’s more than a vacation, this is more than just a grand adventure and a test of my physical and mental strength and stamina… it is a chance to learn about the world and the people in it and hopefully create a chain of positivity on a global scale.”

    According to the website, the Emuna Endeavor is the journey of two friends who’s cause is to take you along vicariously on a world wide sailing trip making stops to create community and hopefully unity along the way.

    Then Nance found out that she will inadvertently be a part of history. So far only one Black woman of any nationality has sailed around the world. There was a single sentence in a Wikipedia article about circumnavigation records (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_circumnavigations) that mentioned a woman named Maria Victor; 2007-2013; first woman of African descent (Barbados) to perform a circumnavigation (with stops, past Cape of good Hope, through Panama Canal). There is one other Black woman named Katia who plans to sail around the world who is from Cape Verde and left from Brazil recently (within the past year). As of this writing, she is approximately half the way around. Katia is sailing with her boyfriend Josh (who is from the Netherlands) on SV Hope (http://www.joshandhope.org/). Even with these two ladies, Niccolea will still be the first American of African descent to take on the task.

    ONLINE:  http://emunaendeavor.org/
    Contact: info@emunaendeavor.org/

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  • ,

    Entrepreneurs make strategic deposits in Black-owned banks

    In a strategic effort to continue the movement of “Black-on-Black economics”—circulating dollars in the Black community to every extent possible—a group of Black male entrepreneurs led by the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. has opened accounts with the D.C.-based Black-owned Industrial Bank.

    “In order for there to be a strong Black America, you must have strong Black businesses. In order for there to be strong Black businesses, we must have strong Black banks. So, from my standpoint, this is just a reciprocation for what Industrial Bank has done for our communities for the last 80 years,” said USBC CEO Ron Busby Sr. “There’s a trillion dollars of spending power in our community and we want to make sure that dollar stays within our community. Twenty-eight days a dollar stays in the Asian community, 21 days a dollar stays in the Hispanic community. In our community, our dollar leaves within six hours. We have got to change that…Until we have total control of how we circulate our money, our power and respect will continue to be marginalized.”

    The 15 young men who gathered in the lobby of the historic Industrial Bank are members of the Black Male Entrepreneurship Institute, which is in partnership with the USBC.

    The meeting took on a celebratory mode as Industrial President and CEO Doyle Mitchell congratulated Busby for his influence.

    “I’m just humbled at the presence of mind that you have displayed since you first came to town and started taking a leadership role with the Chamber of Commerce and came to Industrial Bank and made a $5,000 deposit. You put your money where your mouth is,” said Mitchell. “Our only solution for us to get out of the situation that we are in as Black people is Black on Black economics. I love and appreciate the way you have taken that forward with this effort.”

    Busby recalled that when he made that $5,000 deposit five years ago, he was intentionally choosing Black businesses in every area of his life. Buying a house at the time, he said he made sure he had a Black mortgage company, title company, home inspector, pest control company, and moving company. “Everybody that touched the transaction was a Black firm. The service was superior and the price was right.”

    Since then, Busby has become a leading advocate for support of Black banks and Black-owned businesses.

    In that regard, USBC has now launched an ongoing fundraising effort for the BMEI, co-founded by Randall Keith Benjamin, Jr. and Howard R. Jean, who accompanied the young entrepreneurs to the bank.

    “This is bigger than just a moment or taking pictures. It’s about how can we go out of our way to make sure that our communities are as strong as possible,” said Benjamin.

    According to Jean, a BMEI reception and launch will take place Jan. 15, 2016. “We know that our community banks are the strongest funder of small businesses, particularly Black businesses in the community,” Jean said. “So this is our campaign, starting here at the Industrial Bank in Washington, DC as we launch nationally with BME to encourage and inspire other entrepreneurs – male and female – of all ages to start banking Black.”

    By Hazel Edney Trice
    Edney Trice Wire

    PHOTO CAPTION:U.S. Black Chambers Inc. CEO Ron Busby Sr. (center, red tie) stands next to Industrial Bank CEO Doyle Mitchell along with members of the Black Male Entrepreneurship Institute. Photo by Ashlei Sutton.

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  • Funds available for help with energy payment

    The East Baton Rouge/Office of Social Services has funds available to assist eligible low income households with their energy payments.

    All applications are taken on a first come, first served basis according to the names on the waiting list. To be placed on the waiting list for assistance, please call on Friday mornings, 8am – noon, at local Office of Social Services location based in the community centers around the parish. An eligible household is one who have not received a previous benefit within the past six months and whose total income is at or below the levels listed:

    Household Size                    Maximum Gross
                                                         Income

    1                                                                      $1,859
    2                                                                      $2,432
    3                                                                      $3,004
    4                                                                      $3,576
    5                                                                      $4,148
    6                                                                      $4,720
    Applicants must provide, at a minimum, the following documentation at the time the application is taken: copies of each household member’s social security card; proof of income of all household members; a copy of an energy bill (must be within the last six months); a photo I.D. of the applicant; and another document which was mailed to the applicant at the service address indicated on the energy bill. If it is determined additional documentation is required the applicant will be notified at the time of application. Income eligible applicants who have received a disconnect notice and who have not received assistance for a disconnect notice in the prior 12 months may also apply.

    Read more »
  • Alternative cold, flu remedies prove reliable

    While flu and cold are common to every region of the world, different cultures have developed their own solutions to tackle the all-too-familiar and dreadful symptoms.

    Today it’s thought that 70 percent of your immune system lies in your digestive tract, so many of these alternative healing methods rely on food for its curative properties. While some alternative treatments have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for efficacy, many people swear by them. If you are suffering this cold and flu season, incorporating these remedies into your get-well plan could be worth a shot.

    • In Japan: Hot green tea is poured over a crushed ume, which is an alkaline-rich Japanese pickled plum. Drinking this “umeboshi tea,” full of iron and potassium, is said to help ease fever associated with the flu.

    • In the Dominican Republic: A paste of honey, finely chopped onion and garlic, and the juice of at least half of a lime, is taken before bedtime. The garlic and lime juice, rich in vitamin C, boosts immunity.

    • In France: For those with the flu, a homeopathic approach is taken using Oscillococcinum. This unusually named medicine has been a favorite flu fighter of the French for more than 70 years. Clinical studies show that it reduces the duration and the severity of fever, chills, fatigue, headache and body aches. It is recommended that you take it at the first sign of flu symptoms.

    • In China: A restorative dish is made from healing fritillaria bulbs (Chuan bei mu) and an Asian pear. The center of the pear is scooped out to form a bowl. A teaspoon of honey is mixed with fritillaria extract, which is then poured into the pear. The covered dish is steamed for 45 minutes to create a warm elixir to soothe the throat. For maximum effect, a honeysuckle and licorice root tea chaser provides added immune support.

    • In South America: A plate of sliced onions is placed on a nightstand overnight. The scent from a freshly chopped onion helps break up mucus and congestion, just as it causes the eyes to water and nose to run while cooking. Loaded with sulphur compounds, onions also improve circulation.

    For more helpful tips about the flu, visit www.Oscillo.com for access to a four-part podcast series “Tackling the Flu, Naturally.” Experts explain how the flu virus works and why having a strong immune system is so important.

    By StatePoint

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  • Governor-elect John Bel Edwards selects diverse team

    Governor-elect John Bel Edwards announced several key cabinet and committee appointments for his administration.  He announced that current Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne will serve as Commissioner of Administration and Kimberly Robinson will serve as Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Other appointments include:

    Adjutant General, Louisiana National Guard – Major General Glenn Curtis
    Superintendent, Louisiana State Police – Colonel Michael Edmonson
    Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs – Joey Strickland
    Secretary, Department of Transportation and Development – Shawn Wilson
    Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development – Don Pierson
    Secretary, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries – Charlie Melancon
    Commissioner, Office of Motor Vehicle – Karen St. Germain
    Commissioner, Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control – Juana Marine-Lombard
    Executive Counsel – Matthew Block
    Special Counsel – Erin Monroe Wesley
    Deputy Chief of Staff, Communications, Legal, Special Projects – Julie Baxter Payer
    Deputy Chief of Staff, Intergovernmental Affairs – Toye Taylor
    Deputy Chief of Staff, Programming and Planning – Johnny G. Anderson

    Public Safety Committee
    Joseph “T-Boy” Ardoin, Central South Carpenters Regional Council, Local 1098
    Bruce Bennett, 21st Judicial District Court, Division B
    Fabian Blanche, Executive Director, Louisiana Association of Chief of Police
    Jay Blossman, Attorney, Former Public Service Commissioner
    Major Reginald Brown, Constable, Baton Rouge
    Sheriff Mike Cazes, West Baton Rouge
    Charles Cravins, Chief Administrative Office, St. Landry Parish DA
    Flozell Daniels, President and CEO, Foundation for Louisiana
    Berkley Durbin, Executive Director, Medicine Louisiana
    Anne Marie Easley, Education Director, Louisiana State Penitentiary
    Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office
    Mike Haley, Chief Deputy, Washington Parish
    Gerald Hebert, Grace & Hebert Architects
    Sheriff Victor Jones, Natchitoches
    Bob Levy, Former DA for 3rd Judicial District; Board of Regents Member
    Ron Macaluso, Attorney, Macaluso Law Firm
    Chad Major, President, Professional Fire Fighters Association of Louisiana
    Sheriff Tony Mancuso, Calcasieu
    Hillar Moore District Attorney, East Baton Rouge
    Bob Morrison, Chief Judge, 21st Judicial District Court Division B
    Scott Perrilloux, DA, 21st Judicial District Court
    Ann Porter, President, Northshore Democratic Women’s Club
    Chris Roy Jr., Former State Representative, 25th District
    Karen St. Germain, State Representative District 60
    Chris Stewart, Baton Rouge City Police
    Judge James Stewart, Appellate Judge, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
    Kevin Stuart, President, Teddlie Stuart Media Partners
    Paul Zuli, Business Manager, IBEW Local 130

    Transportation Committee
    Justin Augustine, Vice President, Transdevelopment
    Johnny Bradberry, COO, TOPCOR Companies LLC
    Ernie Broussard, Hunt Guillot & Associates
    Mike Bruce, Senior Principal, Stantec
    Dan Casey, Director, State Government Affairs, Dealertrack Technologies
    Randy Denmon, President, Denmon Engineering
    David Duplechain, State Legislative Director, SMART
    Perry Franklin, President, Franklin and Associates
    Cedric Grant, Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board,
    Sundiata Haley, General Counsel, N.O. Regional Transit Authority
    Theron Jackson, Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church
    David Madden, Manager, Madden Contracting
    Ken Naquin, CEO, Louisiana Association of General Contractors
    Brent Petit, International Staff Representative, United Steelworkers
    Erich Ponti, Executive Director, Louisiana Asphalt Association
    Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director, South Louisiana Port Authority
    Darrel Saizan, Principal, Darrel J. Saizan & Associates Inc.
    John Spain, Executive Vice President, Baton Rouge Area Foundation
    Harold Taylor, Council Member, St. Landry Parish Council
    Anne Trappey, CEO, Forte & Tablada
    Michael W. Victorian, Senior Client Executive, CMA Technology Solutions Inc.
    Jerry Walley, Sales-Marketing Manager, Ergon Companies
    Erin Monroe Wesley, Executive VP and COO, Baton Rouge Area Chamber
    James “Jay” Winford, President, Prairie Contractors
    Jimmie Woods, CEO, Metro Service Group

    Children and Family Services Committee
    Annetta Garner, Leadership Academy Coordinator, Volunteers for Youth Justice
    Artelia Bennett-Banks, Program Specialist-Social Services, Department of Children and Family Services
    Bambi Polotzola, COO, Immaculate Heart of Mary, PSC
    Betty Cooper, Instructor, University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Cathy Johnson, President, Jefferson Federation of Teachers
    Charmaine Caccioppi, COO, United Way of South East La.
    Clifton Starks, President, Central Trades & Labor Council of Shreveport AFL-CIO
    Darrin Goss, President and CEO, Capital Area United Way
    DeLisa Washington, Board Member, Louisiana Association of Educators
    Jacqui Vines, Former Senior Vice President, Cox Communications Southeast Region
    Judge Guy Bradberry, Judge, 14th Judicial District Court
    Judge John Campbell, Retired Judge, Minden City Court
    Julio Galan, President, Family and Youth Counseling Agency
    Katherine Spaht, Professor of Law, Emeritus, LSU Law Center
    LaMonica Jones, President, Monroe City Association of Educators
    Mallery Callahan, Reverend, LA Home & Foreign Mission Baptist State Convention
    Pam Hutchinson, Community Activist
    Samuel Tolbert, President, National Baptist Convention of America
    Sandie Lollie, Vice President, Louisiana Federation of Teachers
    Sharon Braggs, Itinerant Hearing Specialist, Caddo Parish Schools
    Sherry Guarisco, Executive Director, Louisiana Partnership of Children and Families
    Wanda Washington, Child Welfare Supervisor, Department of Children and Family Services

    Economic Development Committee
    Co-chaired by Sonia Perez, President, AT&T Louisiana, and Michael Hecht, CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
    Calvin Braxton, President and CEO, Braxton Land Company
    Terrell Clayton, Owner, Clayton Ventures
    Charles D’Agostino, Executive Director, LSU Innovation Park & Louisiana Business and Technology Center
    Joe Delpit, President, Joe Delpit Enterprises
    Erika McConduit Diggs, CEO, Urban League of Greater N.O.
    Jason Engles, Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Central South Carpenters Regional Council
    Fran Gladden, Vice-President of Government and Public Affairs at Cox Communication
    Rodney Greenup, President, Gulf South Engineering and Testing
    Roy Griggs, President and CEO, Griggs Enterprises
    Robert “Tiger” Hammond, President, New Orleans AFL-CIO
    Randal Hithe, Owner of Hithe Enterprises
    Sibal Holt, President of Holt Construction
    Jeff Jenkins, Partner with Bernhard Capital Partners
    John Jones, Señor Vice President of Public Policy and Governmental Relations with CenturyLink
    Adam Knapp, CEO of Baton Rouge Area Chamber​
    Curtis Mezzic, Business Manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60
    Scott Martinez, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    Phillip May, CEO , Energy Louisiana
    Charlie Melancon, Owner, CMA, LLC
    Don Pierson, Senior Director, Business Development for Louisiana Economic Development
    Bonita Robertson, Site Director, New Orleans Works
    Gale Potts Roque, Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry
    Robert “Bobby” Savoie, CEO, Geocent
    Lloyd N. “Sonny” Shields, Attorney, Shields Mott, LLP
    Glen Smith, CEO, Magnolia Companies
    Collis Temple, CEO Harmony Center, Inc.
    Chris Tyson, Professor, Law at LSU Law Center
    Ginger Vidrine, Attorney
    Lisa Walker, CEO and President, Health Systems 2000
    Arlanda Williams, Vice-Chair, Terrebonne Parish Council

    Higher Education Committee
    Chaired Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D.
    Sheryl R. Abshire,Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, Calcasieu Parish Public Schools
    Jane Arnette, Executive Director, SCI
    Preston Castille, National President, Southern University Alumni Federation; Partner,Taylor Porter
    Mike Clary, Business Manager, Finance Secretary, I.B.E.W. Lisa Cooper, Assistant Professor, LSU Shreveport
    Lola Dunahoe, CEO, The Mary R. Gallaspy Trust & Northwestern State University Foundation
    Tom Enmon, President, Jani-King Gulf Coast
    Barry Erwin, President & CEO, Council for a Better Louisiana
    Carolyn Hargrave, Professor, Provost Emeritus, & Vice President for Academic Affairs and Technology Transfer, Retired, LSU System
    Valerie Holliday, Associate Professor, Baton Rouge Community College
    Paul Howard, Business Manager, Local 241
    Edward R. Jones, Mayor, City of Grambling
    Renee Lapeyrolerie, Client Services Leader, CDM Smith
    Calvin Mackie, Managing Partner, Channel ZerO Group, LLC
    Ron Maestri, retired athletic director, University of N.O.
    James Maurin, Founder & Past Chairman, Stirling Properties
    Huey L. Perry, Ph.D., retired professor, Southern University
    Sean Reilly, CEO, Lamar Advertising Company
    Dr. Phillip Rozeman, Recent Chair, Blueprint Louisiana
    Joe Savoie, Ph.D., former Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education; President, University of Louisiana Lafayette
    Joshua Stockley, Associate Professor, University of Louisiana Monroe
    Roland Toups, Chairman & CEO, Turner Industries

    Fiscal Matters Committee
    Co-chairs Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Sharon Robinson, former Inspector General and Assistant Legislative Auditor
    April Jordan, Staff Auditor, City of Shreveport
    Bob Keaton, Retired, Former Assistant to the President for Budget, LSU
    Bryant Hammett, Owner, Bryant Hammett & Associates, LLC
    Cade Cole, Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals, Local Tax Judge
    Christopher Odinet, Professor, Southern University Law Center
    Chuck Carpenter, Compliance Examiner, Office of Financial Institutions
    Darren Olagues, President, Cleco Power
    Desiree Honore Thomas, Undersecretary, Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism
    Edwin Murray, Senator
    Gregory A. Ruppert, Director, Bureau of Revenue and Taxation, Jefferson Parish
    J.H. “Jay” Campbell, Jr., Executive Chairman, Associated Grocers, Inc.
    James Richardson, Ph.D., Harris J. and Marie P. Chustz Endowed Professor, LSU
    Jan Moller, Director, Louisiana Budget Project
    Jason Decuir, Director, Ryan, LLC
    Jeff Koonce, Vice President and General Counsel, Bernhard Capital Partners
    Jerry Luke LeBlanc, Vice President for Administration and Finance, UL Lafayette
    Kimberly Robinson, Partner, Jones Walker, LLP
    Laura Veazey, Government Relations Consultant, Focus Strategies, LLC
    Lauren Tarver, Law Student
    Lawrence Chehardy, Former Assessor for Jefferson Parish
    Lydia Jackson, Vice President, CRA Business Development Officer, Capital One
    Michael Deshotels, Retired Educator
    Paul Segura, Owner, Segura Development
    Regina Hamilton, Associate General Counsel, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company
    Sean M. Bruno, Sean M. Bruno Certified Public Accountants
    Shane Riddle, Louisiana Association of Educators
    Stephanie Chavis Guillory, Louisiana Federation of Teachers
    Ted Jones, Attorney
    Terrance Ginn, Associate Commissioner for Finance, Louisiana Board of Regents
    Vanessa LaFleur, Director of Policy and Legislative Services, Louisiana Department of Revenue
    Wayne Brown, CEO, Brown Builders

    Read more »
  • Lionsgate apologizes for all-white cast

    Australian director Alex Proyas and Lionsgate have apologized for whitewashing African history in the upcoming film “Gods of Egypt.”

    The studio ignited controversy last month when it released character posters and a first-look trailer for the film, a period fantasy based in Egypt that features mostly white actors, including Scottish star Gerard Butler and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is Danish.

    Lionsgate and Proyas issued statements addressing the backlash. “We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed,” Lionsgate said, as reported by Forbes.

    “In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.” Proyas said, “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”

    The cast also includes Chadwick Boseman, who is Black, as well as French-Cambodian actress Elodie Yung. Gods of Egypt is scheduled to be released on Feb. 26, 2016.

    Read more »
  • Giving, celebrating humanity in the name of Christ

    Merry CHRISTmas!

    Traditionally, for many of us this is the time that we celebrate the beginnings of the extensive life’s journey of the most important man in the earth’s history: the MASS of the CHRIST Jesus’ birth.

    Imagine. More than 2,015 years after His birth, death, and resurrection, millions of us yet celebrate Him and the tremendous Mission His life exemplifies.

    Talk about sustainability!

    Many of us, even those who do not believe in the Divinity of Who He is, perform many acts of kindness in the giving and celebrating of humanity in His Name.

    For me, He is Everything in which I deem Holy and important and worthwhile. He is the Signature Purpose of my existence. But lets not talk about that. Let’s just relegate Him to a place of notoriety that recognizes him as a “good” man. Or even a GREAT man. Why do we give him recognition in the area of greatness?

    Simple.

    It is because He is credited with doing ONLY good. That’s right. That’s EVERYthing for which He is credited.

    He healed sick people; He blessed little children; He was a tremendously persuasive leader; He challenged the leaders of his time and made great arguments for the things in which He believed and for which He stood, and even died for.

    He raised people from the dead and, in the face of adversity, betrayal, and beatings, He yet stood for humanity.

    How many of us would do that? Not a good man, but a great man and some, like myself, would even say, the GREATEST man!

    So, during this Christmas season, as everyone gives others presents that only He should be getting, let’s all remember: not “Happy Holidays” not “Season’s Greetings not Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa but merry CHRISTmas.

    For me, He is the hope of the glory that we shall enjoy, AFTER THIS! And what is AFTER THIS?

    It is the faith fact in which I—and so many others—live and move and have our being: He was resurrected and He is coming back again, for me and all of us who believe!

    By barbara w. green
    Columnist

    barbara w. green is a certified counselor and minister in Baton Rouge. She is the author of The Parent Anointing and The Great One. Her articles are distributed by Jozef Syndicate. Follow her at www.barbaragreenministries.org

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  • COMMUNITY EVENT: TheDietSpotlight.com Weight Loss Workshop, Dec. 12

    Organizers with the  DietSpotlight.com Weight Loss Workshop, Saturday, Dec. 12, at 11:30am, said the event will empower participants to find the right weight-loss or fitness solution. The workshop will be led by an established certified Baton Rouge-based dietician who will offer customized guidance on healthy diet habits based on each workshop participants lifestyle and will consider any special dietary requirements (e.g. gluten-free). The focus of the dietician’s advice will be to help participants adopt healthy ways of eating, from meal planning to grocery shopping to cooking, which are conducive to long-term, healthy weight management. Slow and steady is the key to healthy weight loss and they will offer guidance that supports a healthy diet lifestyle. Also attending the workshop will be certified personal fitness trainer that works with clients of all ages and body types to achieve their fitness goals. Participants of the workshop will be encouraged to interact one-on-one with the dietician and personal trainer to describe their current lifestyles and receive customized guidance on how to incorporate healthy, sustainable exercise activities. Again, the goal here to is to make slow, gradual changes that lead to long-term health and can last a lifetime. This free workshop is a public service outreach of DietSpotlight.com to promote the long-term vision of the site which is public education in the area of healthy diet and weight loss.

    Location: Tracy Center
    1800 S. Acadian Thruway
    Baton Rouge, LA 70898

    ONLINE: http://www.dietspotlight.com/workshop/

    http://www.dietspotlight.com/

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  • We are looking for Babies

    Babies of 2015 The deadline to have your 2015 baby featured in the January 2916 issue of The Drum is December 15. Submit this form on the submit news page and upload your photo or email Zenobia Reed at news@thedrumnewspaper.info.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Edwards names economic development committee, includes Black leaders, business owners

    Gov.-Elect John Bel Edwards announced a third committee for his transition, this one dealing with Economic Development.  

    The Economic Development Committee will be tasked with generating ideas on ways to strengthen our economy, attract new businesses to the state and grow our existing businesses. The Committee will focus their efforts on investing in education to train the next generation of workers, expanding research and development activities at our Gov.-Elect John Bel Edwards announced a third committee for his
    transition, this one dealing with Economic Development.  

    The Economic Development Committee will be tasked with generating ideas on ways to strengthen our economy, attract new businesses to the state and grow our existing businesses. The Committee will focus their efforts on investing in education to train the next generation of workers, expanding research and development activities at institutions of higher learning, and workforce development to accommodate the new industries.

    The committee will be co-chaired by Sonia Perez, President of AT&T Louisiana, and Michael Hecht, CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc.

    Other members are:
    Calvin Braxton, President and CEO of Braxton Land Company
    Terrell Clayton, CEO of CENLA Advantage Partnership
    Charles D’Agostino, Executive Director of LSU Innovation Park & Louisiana Business and Technology Center
    Joseph Delpit, President of Joseph Delpit Enterprises
    Erika McConduit Diggs, President and CEO of Urban League of Greater New Orleans
    Jason Engles, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of Central South Carpenters Regional Council
    Fran Gladden, Vice-President of Government and Public Affairs at Cox Communication
    Rodney Greenup, President of Gulf South Engineering and Testing
    Roy Griggs, President and CEO of Griggs Enterprises
    Robert “Tiger” Hammond, President of New Orleans AFL-CIO and LA State Building
    Trades
    Randal Hithe, Owner of Hithe Enterprises
    Sibal Holt, President of Holt Construction
    Jeff Jenkins, Partner with Bernhard Capital Partners
    John Jones, Señor Vice President of Public Policy and Governmental Relations with CenturyLink
    Adam Knapp, CEO of Baton Rouge Area Chamber?
    Curtis Mezzic, Business Manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60
    Scott Martinez, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    Phillip May, CEO of Energy Louisiana
    Charlie Melancon, Owner of CMA, LLC
    Don Pierson, Senior Director of Business Development for Louisiana Economic Development
    Bonita Robertson, Site Director of New Orleans Works
    Gale Potts Roque, Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry
    Robert “Bobby” Savoie, CEO of Geocent
    Lloyd N. “Sonny” Shields, Attorney, Shields Mott, LLP
    Glen Smith, CEO of Magnolia Companies
    Collis Temple, CEO Harmony Center, Inc.
    Chris Tyson, Professor of Law at LSU Law Center
    Ginger Vidrine, Attorney
    Lisa Walker, CEO and President of Health Systems 2000
    Sevetri M. Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations, LLC
    Arlanda Williams, Vice-Chairwoman of the Terrebonne Parish Council
    institutions of higher learning,
    and workforce development to accommodate the new industries coming into our state.

    “Louisiana is open for business, but we cannot simply rely on costly tax
    incentives to spread this message,” Edwards said. “Louisiana has always
    had a strong workforce and we need to ensure this workforce is attractive to
    diverse industries, while also responsibly incentivizing business and industry
    to invest in our state. This committee is critical to our long-term economic
    stability, and I’m confident they’ll help me develop a plan that is mutually
    beneficial to the citizens of Louisiana and industry.” The committee will be
    co-chaired by Sonia Perez, President of AT&T Louisiana, and Michael
    Hecht, CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc.

    Additional Economic Development Committee members are: 

    Calvin Braxton, President and CEO of Braxton Land Company
    Terrell Clayton, CEO of CENLA Advantage Partnership
    Charles D’Agostino, Executive Director of LSU Innovation Park & Louisiana Business and Technology Center
    Joseph Delpit, President of Joseph Delpit Enterprises
    Erika McConduit Diggs, President and CEO of Urban League of Greater New Orleans
    Jason Engles, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of Central South Carpenters Regional Council
    Fran Gladden, Vice-President of Government and Public Affairs at Cox Communication
    Rodney Greenup, President of Gulf South Engineering and Testing
    Roy Griggs, President and CEO of Griggs Enterprises
    Robert “Tiger” Hammond, President of New Orleans AFL-CIO and LA State Building
    Trades
    Randal Hithe, Owner of Hithe Enterprises
    Sibal Holt, President of Holt Construction
    Jeff Jenkins, Partner with Bernhard Capital Partners
    John Jones, Señor Vice President of Public Policy and Governmental Relations with CenturyLink
    Adam Knapp, CEO of Baton Rouge Area Chamber?
    Curtis Mezzic, Business Manager of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60
    Scott Martinez, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    Phillip May, CEO of Energy Louisiana
    Charlie Melancon, Owner of CMA, LLC
    Don Pierson, Senior Director of Business Development for Louisiana Economic Development
    Bonita Robertson, Site Director of New Orleans Works
    Gale Potts Roque, Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry
    Robert “Bobby” Savoie, CEO of Geocent
    Lloyd N. “Sonny” Shields, Attorney, Shields Mott, LLP
    Glen Smith, CEO of Magnolia Companies
    Collis Temple, CEO Harmony Center, Inc.
    Chris Tyson, Professor of Law at LSU Law Center
    Ginger Vidrine, Attorney
    Lisa Walker, CEO and President of Health Systems 2000
    Sevetri M. Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations, LLC
    Arlanda Williams, Vice-Chairwoman of the Terrebonne Parish Council

    Read more »
  • ,

    Saul takes top engineering prize

    Industrial engineering senior Briana Saul recently received first place at the LSU Undergraduate Research Conference for Engineering Level 2 Researchers.

    “The first year I presented, as a Level 1 researcher, I didn’t win anything,” Saul said. “It’s funny to see how everything has turned around. It was definitely my goal to my push myself further, and it paid off.”

    Saul’s award-winning presentation featured research on the handoff process, the passing of information between two professionals during a shift change, in the community paramedic program in the East Baton Rouge Parish.

    This research project is the result of a grant application Saul was introduced to during a conference. In December 2014, she applied for the Supervised Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant, a grant supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The SURE grant requires applicants to conceptualize their own research interests and projects, collect and analyze data and report the findings.

    “The community paramedic program is different from most handoff programs. With other occupations you complete a 12-hour shift, handoff off your information within 10 minutes and you’re one,” Saul said. “With the paramedic program, you’re handing off information after one month of completing a shift.”

    With her research, Saul aimed to answer the questions: How are they handing off this information after one full month of a shift? How much are they handing off? How much of this information is retained?

    Though Saul was unable complete the implementation process of program, she was able to collect the necessary feedback and data.

    “One phase of data collection focused on how prepared the paramedic was before going on a shift or visit,” Saul said.

    Saul collected data through multiple practices, including ride-along sessions with community paramedics, surveys and general observations. The next set of data was to measure the amount of information that was shared and then retained.

    “They had meetings where they would discuss what went on throughout the month, and I’d ask the ongoing paramedic the five things I was looking for. I’d then follow up with looking at the agreement percentage between what was said by the previous paramedic.”

    The Austin, TX native also received an honorable mention the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Regional Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, for her paramedic research the day after she received her first place recognition.

    Much of Saul’s campus involvement included NSBE, a student-led organization of which she was a member of for six years.

    Read more at LSU

    Read more »
  • Governor-elect to address SU December graduates, Dec. 11

    Only weeks before he officially takes office as the fifty-sixth Governor of the State of Louisiana, Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards will address the Fall 2015 graduating class of Southern University Baton Rouge, Friday, Dec.11,  in the University’s F.G. Clark Activity Center, at 10:30 a.m.

    image

    Governor-elect John Bel Edwards

    Edwards, who was elected to Louisiana’s top office in November 2015 and who will take office Jan. 11, 2016, will deliver the commencement address to nearly 500 Southern University December graduates.

    “Southern University is honored to bring Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards and his long-held support of higher education in Louisiana to our campus as we honor our fall graduates,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton. “We look forward to his message for forthcoming SU alumni and to his leadership for our great state.”

    The Amite native serves as the state representative for District 72 in Louisiana’s North Shore. In the House of Representatives, he is on the Civil Law and Procedure, Education, and Judiciary committees as well as the Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs. He is a 1988 Dean’s List graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. After eight years of active duty with the US Army as an Airborne Ranger, culminating with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he went on to graduate Order of the Coif from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

    Edwards graduated as valedictorian of his Amite High School class. As one of eight children from a family long dedicated to public service, Edwards carries on the family tradition. With a father who was the elected sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish – the Edwards have four generations of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs in their family lineage with John Bel’s brother Daniel currently serving as sheriff.

    West Palm Beach, Florida native, Imani Martina Williams, will lead the 2015 fall graduating class as chief student marshal. She has a 3.806 GPA, the highest of 498 students who will also receive their diplomas at commencement.

    image

    Imani Williams

    Williams went to Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth, Fla. and graduated in the top 25 percent of her class in 2012.

    Read more »
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