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  • Lela offering free FAFSA workshops, scholarships throughout March

    The Louisiana Education Loan Authority is gearing up to assist high school students and their parents in checking a major item off of their lists as they near high school graduation — completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as “FAFSA.”

    Lela will conduct FAFSA completion workshops, upon request, at high schools throughout the state and will continue to offer one-on-one counseling by appointment to students at its College Planning Center on Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge. The team will also host a free, statewide FAFSA completion online webinar at noon on Wednesday, March 18, that is geared to parents and a hands-on FAFSA completion workshop in Baton Rouge on Saturday, March 21.

    To register for the statewide webinar or Baton Rouge workshop, to request a workshop in your area, to make an appointment, or for more information, contact Lela staff at info@lela.org or (800) 228-4755 or visit the Lela website at www.AskLela.org.

    Students and parents can learn more about the FAFSA and complete the free form by logging onto http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The page contains links to YouTube videos and other resources that help walk students and parents through the process of applying for aid.

    Lela is also offering $5,000 in college scholarships through its “Cash for College Scholarship Contest,” with grand-prize winners each taking home a $1,000 scholarship for the best essay and video. The second-prize winners in each category will each win $750 scholarships. The theme is “What’s Your College Game Plan?”

    Three seniors will win $500 scholarships through random drawings, which they can enter in three ways: by attending a Lela workshop, registering at http://www.AskLela.org or by submitting an Instagram photo. Details for the scholarship contest and drawings are available at http://www.GoFAAM.com. The deadline is March 31.

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    MARCH INTO SUCCESS – Workshop presents matching funds for business’ growth

    Baton Rouge businesses located in and serving clients in the 70801, 70805, 70806, or 70807 zip code areas will receive information on obtaining matching funds from $2,000 to $10,000 to support business growth. The total reimbursable matching fund is $40,000. Representatives will answer questions on the use of the funds. The number of approved businesses depends on the size of individual awards. Applications will be available at the presentation.

    The workshop is Saturday, Feb. 28, 10am  – 11:30am, at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, 616 Harding Boulevard.

    This program is sponsored by the Southern University Center for Social Research, Housing and Urban Development-HUD, and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center-SUBR.

    REGISTRATION INFORMATION
    This seminar is open to the general public; however, advanced registration is required due to limited class size. To register for this seminar, you may call the Louisiana SBDC at (225) 774-9213 or visit the LSBDC website at www.lsbdc.org. The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University-Baton Rouge (LSBDC-SUBR) is a partnership program funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Louisiana Economic Development, and Southern University-Baton Rouge.

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    Student chemists advance to state competition

    PLAQUEMINE–More than 200 parents, teachers, students and community members assembled at the Math, Science & Arts Academy West in Plaquemine for the second annual Dow Westside You Be the Chemist Challenge® on Feb. 11.

    Thirty-three 6th – 8th grade students from Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes competed against one another through numerous rounds of multiple-choice questions that tested their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries, and chemical safety awareness.

    Sponsored locally and nationally by Dow, the Challenge is an academic competition created by the Chemical Education Foundation (CEF). The Challenge aims to engage middle school students in chemistry through a dynamic event that partners members of the chemical industry with schools and organizations in the communities in which they operate.

    “At Dow we are committed to supporting the next generation of scientists, engineers, chemists and innovators for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields,” said Abby Cook, Public Affairs Manager, Dow Louisiana Operations. “We are proud to collaborate with organizations like the Chemical Education Foundation to do the important work of changing lives through quality education.”

    After six rounds of competition at the Dow Westside Challenge, the Champion, First Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up and Third Runner-up from both West Baton Rouge and Iberville Parishes were decided. Alex Gautreaux, student in Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, took first place for the second consecutive year! Erin Stephens of Janell Albarez’s class at Brusly Middle achieved First Runner-Up. Hanna Prather, also a student of Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, placed Second Runner-Up and Naturi Scott of Delky Arbuckle’s class achieved Third Runner-Up for West Baton Rouge Parish.

    Kristopher Cayette, a student in Tanya Taylor’s class at MSA West achieved Champion for Iberville Parish. Lucas Sanchez, a student from Tyne Courville’s class at MSA West took First Runner-Up. Second Runner-Up was achieved by Emily Deslatte of Pam Mechana’s class at St. John and Alixes Bouvay of Dorothy Trusclair’s class at Plaquemine High received Third Runner-Up.

    Champion, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up recipients from both Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes will advance to the You Be the Chemist State Challenge, April 25 at Louisiana State University. The winner of the state competition will move on to compete in the National Challenge held Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June.

    Participating schools in the local Dow Westside Challenge included: Devall Middle, Port Allen Middle, Holy Family, Brusly Middle, MSA West, MSA East, St. John School, Plaquemine High, and White Castle High.

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    Edwards announces Dist. 5 community meetings

    East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards invites the public to air grievances, speak directly to department officials, and learn about community programs at her district meetings on the following dates at 10 am.

    Saturday, Feb. 28
    Maplewood BREC Park
    8200 Maplewood

    Saturday, April 4
    N. Sherwood Forest BREC
    3140 North Sherwood Forest Dr.

    Saturday,June 6
    Times of Refreshing Ministries
    3745 Mohican Street

    Saturday, August 1
    Delmont Gardens Library
    3351 Lorraine Street

    Saturday,  October 1
    Greenwell Springs Library
    11300 Greenwell Springs Road




     

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  • Mitchell S. Jackson wins Ernest Gaines award

    THE BATON ROUGE AREA Foundation has named Mitchell S. Jackson winner of the 2014 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his novel The Residue Years.

    Now in its eighth year, the Gaines Award is a nationally acclaimed, $10,000 annual prize created by foundation donors to honor outstanding work from rising Black fiction writers while honoring Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world. The Residue Years, published in 2013 by Bloomsbury Books, is a semi-autobiographical novel based on Jackson’s experience growing up in Portland, Ore., in a neighborhood ravaged by violence and drug use. The novel follows a former addict trying to steer her three sons away from drugs.

    Mitchell S. Jackson earned a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and a master’s in creative writing from New York University, where he now teaches. He also earned fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Urban Artists Initiative and The Center for Fiction.His previous honors include the Hurston Wright Foundation award for college writers.In 2012, he published the e-book “Oversoul: Stories and Essays.”

    Previous winners of the Ernest J. Gaines award include Attica Locke for “The Cutting Season”, Stephanie Powell Watts for “We Are Taking Only What We Need” and Dinaw Mengestu for How to Read the Air.

    Gaines is a native of Pointe Coupee Parish, La. and became a literary legend and infl uential American author. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of publication of his first novel, Catherine Carmier and the 40th anniversary of the adaptation of his critically acclaimed novel,The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, into a madefor-TV movie in 1974 that won nine Emmy awards. Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying, published in 1993, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

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    LSU to host MLK Commemorative Celebration Week

    Martin Luther King Jr. once said that life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing to help others?”

    Every year, the LSU community comes together to answer that question with LSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration Week, where the highlights and memorialization of the work, accomplishments and legacy of one of the greatest Civil Rights and African American leaders in modern history are honored.

    The Commemorative Celebration kicks off at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 19, where LSU and Baton Rouge community members come together for “MLK Day of Service.” Approximately 200 registered volunteers from LSU’s students, faculty, staff and administrators, as well as other community partners will participate in revitalizing multiple Baton Rouge programs and their facilities to better the community. Students, faculty, staff and community members participating in events can share their #MLK week experiences with LSU on Twitter @LSU or Instagram @snapLSU.

    Following the Day of Service, a candlelight vigil and march sponsored by National Pan-Hellenic Council will be held to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The vigil will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a short program beginning at the Memorial Tower in honor and remembrance of King’s work.

    On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the Student Union Theater will host the MLK Performing Arts Night, where people can celebrate the life and legacy of King through the arts, poetry, dance and musical expression. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

    The signature program is the MLK & Black History Month Commemorative Celebration, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, in the Student Union Theater. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Committees will host journalist, scholar, author and activist Marc Lamont Hill as the keynote speaker for the celebration.

    Marc Lamont Hill

    Marc Lamont Hill

    Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country and is the host of HuffPost Live and BET News; commentator on Our World with Black Enterprise; and political contributor to CNN and Fox News. A distinguished professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College, Hill is also an award-winning journalist, receiving several prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalist, GLAAD and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

    Throughout the month of January, the MLK Committee will host a food drive to aid in LSU’s Food Pantry. Drop-off locations include the Office of Multicultural Affairs, located in room 335 of the Student Union, and the African American Cultural Center, located behind the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 3 Union Square.

    The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration is coordinated by the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee and the Black History Month Committee.

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  • West Baton Rouge Museum open for King holiday

    On Monday, January 19, a day when many institutions will be closed in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr holiday, the West Baton Rouge Museum will be open with free admission, 10am – 4:30pm, to commemorate the life’s work of King.

    There will be a moderated film discussion at noon presented by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, LSU History Department’s Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies. The film discussion will focus on the 19th century abolitionist struggle that has been noted as America’s first Civil Rights struggle. As part of his presentation, Sheehan-Dean will share clips from the documentary film, The Abolitionists featuring brave men and women who risked their lives to end slavery.“Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” series, a Bridging Cultures initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities

    Throughout the day, the public is invited to walk through Brave Steps: The Louisiana Native Guard. This exhibit, curated by West Baton Rouge Museum’s Angelique Bergeron and guest curator, Emmitt Glynn, illustrates the history of the Louisiana Native Guard, the first Black troops to be mustered into the Union Army during the American Civil War and the brave first steps toward life out of slavery and working toward equality.

    West Baton Rouge Museum is located at 845 North Jefferson Avenue in Port Allen. For more information, visit www.westbatonrougemuseum.com or call 225-336-2422 Ext. 15.

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    SU Board elects Tarver, Braxton for 2015

    NEW ORLEANS–The Southern University Board of Supervisors elected Leon R. Tarver II as chairman and Calvin W. Braxton Sr. as vice chairmen for 2015, during it’s regular meeting held in New Orleans, Nov. 28.

    Tarver, a Shreveport native and resident of Baton Rouge, is SU System president emeritus and is the retired executive administrator of the Center of Cultural Heritage and International Programs at the Southern University System. Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Tarver to the SU Board in January 2013. He serves as an at-large member.

    “Thanks to my colleagues for their support. I want to do a lot to make Southern a finer institution for all,” said Tarver.

    The newly elected chairman holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Southern University Baton Rouge, a master’s of public administration from Harvard University (John K. Kennedy School of Government), and a doctor of philosophy from The Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Tarver has held academic and administrative positions at the national, state, and local levels.

    The former SU System president has conducted international development activities in Egypt, England, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Haiti, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa, and founded two museums on African and African-American art within the Southern University System.

    Braxton, of Natchitoches, is the president and chief executive officer of Braxton Land Company and president of Natchitoches Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.  Governor Jindal appointed Braxton in June 2011.

    Calvin W Braxton Sr

    Calvin W Braxton Sr

    “SU is my heart. I want to do what we need to do to move forward to make a better SU,” said Braxton.

    The new officers will replace Bridget A. Dinvant, chairwoman for the past two years, and the Rev. Joe R. Gant, vice chairman for the past year, who both continue to serve on the board.  The Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College serve to manage and supervise the Southern University System.

     

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  • Nominations accepted for the 2015 Humanities Award

    Dec 18 deadline; Honorees recognized at April 23, 2015 dinner in Baton Rouge

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities,  is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Humanities Awards for outstanding achievement in and contributions to the humanities. Awardees will be honored at the 2015 Bright Lights Awards Dinner on April 23, 2015, at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge.

    Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages, and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award. A curriculum vita for the nominee and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.

    Nominations must be received in the LEH office no later than 5 p.m. December 15, and should be addressed to: Chair, Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA  70113. Nominations also may be faxed to LEH (attention to Chair, Humanities Awards Committee) at 504-529-2358 or emailed to restovic@leh.org.

    Award categories include:

    • Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities
    • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
    • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography
    • Humanities Book of the Year
    • “Light Up for Literacy”

    The “humanities,” as defined by Congress, include the study of literature, history, philosophy, modern and classical languages, linguistics, archaeology, jurisprudence, art history and criticism, ethics, comparative religion, and those disciplines of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches such as cultural anthropology or social theory.

    The LEH Board of Directors will select nominees who best exemplify one or more of the above categories. No single humanities area will receive primary consideration, but the nominees’ activities must reflect one or more disciplines in the humanities.

    Awards criteria include:

    • Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities. The 2014 winner of this award was journalist and documentary filmmaker Peggy Scott Laborde, whose contributions to the cultural life of Louisiana provide an ever-growing audience with intimate portraits of subjects ranging from the history of Mardi Gras to the evolution of jazz.
    • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography: Honors documentary photographers whose subject matter exemplifies Louisiana topics and aesthetics. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or for a single project. The 2014 winner was photographer Richard Sexton of New Orleans.
    • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers. Last year, this award went to Bayou Maharajah, by Lily Keber of New Orleans.
    • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers. Receiving awards in 2014 award were A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies, by Marc-Antoine Caillot, edited by Erin M. Greenwald and Livestock Brands & Marks: An Unexpected Bayou Country History, by Christopher Everette Cenac, Sr., M.D., F.A.C.S.
    • Light Up for Literacy (Inaugural award):  Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the State Library of Louisiana and the Library of Congress.

    For additional information about the annual humanities awards, contact LEH Interim President Miranda Restovic at restovic@leh.org or visit the LEH website www.leh.org.

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    BR NAACP recognizes leaders

    NAACP Annual AwardThe Baton Rouge Chapter of the NAACP hosted its annual Freedom Fund Brunch, Oct. 4, honoring four community leaders and public servants. Chapter president Michael McClanahan (pictured at left) and chapter members recognized Markita Sweet with the President’s Award, Ronald Marshall with the Public Sevice Award, State Senator Sharon Weston Broome with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Howard White with the Entrepreneurship Award. The event took place at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church and Darrin Goss, president of the Capital United Way was the keynote speaker.

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  • Rutledge to lead SUS Foundation

    domoine rutledgeAttorney Domoine D. Rutledge, general counsel for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and former National President of the Southern University Alumni Federation, has been elected president and chairman Southern University System Foundation during the Foundation’s annual meeting on October 23. He will replace Anna M. Jones, owner and operator of State Farm Insurance Agency located in Baton Rouge, as president. During her tenure, Jones increased the Foundation’s revenue by 44 percent and the awards to system campuses by 35 percent.

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    True BLUE campaign exceeds SU goal

    October 1, 2014, marked the successful completion of the Southern University System Foundation’s TrueBLUE 90-day viral fundraising campaign.

    The campaign raised $1,186,059.60 in cash contributions to assist Southern University System campuses. The success of the campaign is due to the more than 930 donors who gave an average of $1,275 since its launch on July 1, 2014, and to 68 volunteer campaign captains who used email and social media as primary methods of engagement. NFL Hall of Famer and SU alumnus Aeneas Williams joined campaign volunteers to celebrate the during University’s halftime homecoming festivities on October 4, at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge.1 true blue

    SUSF president Anna Jones and SUSF treasurer Domoine Rutledge presented the $1 million check to SU System chancellors Flandus McClinton, SU Baton Rouge (interim); Victor Ukpolo, SU New Orleans; Leodry Williams, SU Agricultural Research and Extention Center; Ray Belton, SU Shreveport; and Freddie Pitcher Jr., SU Law Center.

    “A dedicated team of volunteers made this endeavor successful. The students, faculty, and staff of our campuses will be the beneficiary of their efforts,” said Alfred E. Harrell III, executive director, Southern University System Foundation. Contributions made during the campaign will provide direct support for student scholarships, faculty research projects, and important campus initiatives. Laquitta Thomas, Southern University Alumni Federation first vice president said, “Thanks to all who supported the Million Dollar March. The funds raised will give the next generation of young people the opportunity to be a part of SU’s next 100 years. Donor support allows us to focus on the most critical mission for our campuses to increase student recruitment and enrollment.”

    The Southern University System Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation securing financial support for each of the five campuses of the Southern University System since 1968. The Foundation bridges relationships with faculty, students, alumni, friends, corporations, and other foundations interested in academic excellence for the University System. The SUSF is a voluntary institute of business and professional leaders, proudly incorporated to establish program enhancements for Southern University students, faculty, and the community at large.

    By Shonda Y. Wessinger
    The Drum Contributing Writer

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  • BLACK MANHOOD: Who’s afraid of a large Black man?

    Who’s afraid of a large Black man?
    No, that isn’t just a book authored by basketball great Charles Barkley, it’s an almost rhetorical question in America, a concept that woes the hearts of Black parents throughout the country.

    Since the days of American slavery Black families questioned whether their sons would be sold away, treated more harshly or killed by slavers. The Civil Rights era found broken hearted parents fearful that their sons would fall victim to civilian and police brutality during equality battles. And in 2014, parents mourn the untimely deaths of unarmed, young Black men who were likely murdered because of the trigger puller’s fear based solely off of the victim’s appearance. And in these fears, history has become a skipped disc – from comparisons of hanged slaves, to the beating death of Emmett Till to the slaying of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and countless others. Black fathers say they are unable to simply have talks with their sons about the birds and the bees without also warning them about the triggers and the fears.

    This, they say, is what being a Black man in America is… The following is what two Baton Rouge area musicians, who are fathers of Black sons, say being a Black man in the American south is.

    The Children

    Marcel and Amari

    Marcel and Amari


    Amari Jabril, son of area emcee Marcel P. Black – whose real name is Marcel Williams – is a 40 pound two-year-old who already stands at two feet, six inches. At 6’3” and over 300 pounds, Williams is not a small man, neither is his father Malcolm who is 6’6”. Sean Griffin Jr. will be 18 years old this month. He’s 5’9” with a slender build of just over 150 pounds. His father, guitarist Sean Griffin, said Sean Jr. wants to study kinesiology and become an athletic trainer or physical therapist.

    The Fear
    With Amari’s size expectations, most parents would be excitedly planning athletic scholarships, but Williams worries that his now stubborn, yet affectionately sweet baby boy will grow into a fearful person’s nightmare. “People like us scare the living daylight out of white people, and we’re guilty till proven guilty by law enforcement,” Williams said. “My son will be the perfect size for a grown ass man with a badge, firearm and system on his side to say he feared for his life so he had to use deadly force.” Griffin is wary that he and his son will be primarily identified by racial identity and not human identity. “The problem with being racially categorized is that too many people have too narrow of a view of what the races are or are supposed to be,” Griffin added.

    The Talk
    Griffin doesn’t talk to Sean Jr. about race. “I tell my son that there is a delicate balance between respect for authority and respect for self,” Griffin said. “Choose your fights wisely. You can escalate or de-escalate a situation based on your own attitude.” “I simply teach him to be a man,” Griffin continued. “I don’t attempt to define who he is, but I let it be known that other people, unfortunately will and he should stay true to who he defines himself to be.”

    Sean Griffin Jr and Sean Griffin Sr

    Sean Griffin Jr and Sean Griffin Sr

    Williams would agree, but with Amari still too young to talk and fully comprehend anything, he tearfully admits that he is conflicted in the concepts he might someday speak with Amari. “I would love to tell him like my dad showed me, just do what’s right, and you don’t have to worry about anyone messing with you,” Williams said. “But realistically, that doesn’t guarantee safety. I’ll tell him to not break any laws, be a good, hardworking respectable man; I’ll tell him none of this matters when you’re in police targets though, because he’s a Black man, white men/the system will see him as a threat, especially if he’s an activist like his father.” “So while I don’t want my son to cower to the powers that be, I want my baby to live forever,” Williams continued. “I’ll teach him to comply so he can survive. But, why the hell am I teaching my baby to survive when encountering people my taxes pay to protect him?”

    The ‘Future
    Amari and Sean Jr. are the future, but there are not alone there, there is also promise. “I believe there has been much progress for Black men in America,” Griffin said. “However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t much more progress left to be made on all sides of the racial equation. The unfortunate recent killings are more of a hybrid of slavery homicides and civil rights homicides in that they seem to have arisen from a mind of superiority and distrust of Black people that has been around since slavery and was pervasive throughout the Civil Rights era.” While Williams said he hopes for promise, he doesn’t believe it as feasible. “Farrakhan said there are white men and a system that doesn’t like that a Black man is POTUS, so while he can’t kill Obama, he’s taking his disdain out on young Black males,” he said based on a prediction of American Islamic leader Minister Louis Farrakhan. However with varying views on rearing Black sons in the American south, Griffin and Williams seem to agree that being a Black man is unpredictable.

    “Being a Black man in the American South is riding a rollercoaster with eyes closed – you never know what to expect,” Griffin said.

    By Leslie D. Rose
    The Drum Contributing Writer

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    Housing listening tour comes to Baton Rouge

    Louisiana Housing Alliance (LHA) will host the Annual Listening Tour in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on August 29, 2014. The Listening Tour is a week-long road trip during which LHA visits each of Louisiana’s 9 regions to listen to the concerns and successes of housing providers, advocates, working, families, local officials and policy makers.

    The information obtained enables LHA to set its legislative and advocacy agenda for the following year, and work collectively with local regions to promote housing opportunity and strong communities for all. LHA also uses these conversations to learn about technical assistance and capacity-building needs of housing providers and advocates, so that it can design a series of workshops programs to address the needs identified.

    The Baton Rouge Listening Tour meeting will be held at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, 402 N. Fourth Street, 9:30am–11:30am. To register, visit www.lahousingalliance.org or call 225-381-0041.

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    Public to gather against St. George incorporation, Feb. 4

    image

    Several hundred people are expected to attend the first public assembly of the Better Together Campaign, a citizen-led movement to oppose the St. George incorporation.

    The assembly will take place Feb. 4, 6:30pm, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 12424 Brogdon Lane.

    The event will include the debut of a new public information presentation about the effects the St. George incorporation would have on our economy, taxes, public services and our schools.

    The event will launch a grassroots strategy of action to oppose the breakaway effort.

    “The silent majority on this issue has been silent for too long,” said Kathleen Randall, a resident of the proposed breakaway area and a leader in the effort. “It is time for us do the work we need to do to hold this city-parish together.”

    The Better Together campaign started organizing just a few weeks ago, under the leadership of Residents Against the Breakaway, a newly incorporated non-profit organization.

    Already, the campaign has a Facebook page with 3,000 followers, a website with information about the effects of the breakaway and hundreds of  grassroots leaders who are dedicated to holding our city-parish together. 

    ONLINE: www.bettertogetherbr.org.

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  • ESPN Magazine features Grambling band

    ESPN, the world leader in sports and sports and sports entertainment, needed a band that would complete ESPN The Magazine’s music issue the editors reached out the Grambling State University’s marching band to make the issue complete. One week before December graduation, ESPN requested ten band members to travel to New Orleans on Dec. 23 for a turn around photo shoot at Tipitina’s. ESPN provided band members and two faculty with a tour bus for the trip. The issue hits the stands tomorrow, Feb. 3. ONLINE: insider.espn.go.com

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    Wealth Watchers: 13 solutions for your money resolutions

    wealthwatchers_logo

    It’s the beginning of the year and time for you to think about money. You have been told for years how to handle your money. You’ve been told:

      • “Live within your means”
      • “Pay yourself first”
      • “Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul”
      • “Save for a rainy day”
      • “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”
      • “Pinch your pennies”
      • “Start on your golden parachute”

      The reality is that you must live every day. For most of you, you owe, you owe, you owe, and your credit needs work. For some, your money is tight. You are living “right,” and you just need guidance to the financial light.

      The New Year money solution you seek is known as personal budgeting, and it begins now with some great New Year money tips.

      1. Visit your local credit union or bank and open a Holiday Savings account. Set up for a small amount to be taken out of your account each pay period for 2014 holidays. Use the amount you spent this year and divide by the number of pay periods to determine the amount to save.

      2. Use a portion of your tax returns to get a secured credit card from your local credit union to improve your credit.

      3. If you are a homeowner, visit your local HUD Certified Counseling agency for a mortgage checkup to determine if   you qualify for lower rates or mortgage modification.

      4. Open a vacation account along with your Holiday Savings account. Determine where you want to go and when and start saving towards the travel.

      5. Use a portion of your tax returns to pay off a pay day loan to break the cycle.

      6. Use a portion of your tax returns to catch up your child support payments.
      Decide to pay Peter and Paul on time to avoid late fees.

      7. Live within your means. Try to move to cash only transactions. The less you put on your credit card the closer you get to living within your means.

      8. Pay yourself first. Paying off debt and not making more debt is a modified version of paying yourself first.

      9. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul. Make every effort to pay off your payday loan and identify a less costly product for quick cash. Check with your local credit union.

      10. Save for a rainy day. Every day is a rainy day for some. Do your best to create an emergency fund.

      11. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You don’t need the biggest television and the most current cell phone.

      12. Pinch penny. Roll the loose change that you find around the house and make it a point to deposit them each month.

      13. Start on your golden parachute. Some people believe that life starts at 65. Meet with someone this year to learn the truth about retirement.

      By Ed Gaston
      Wealth Watchers

      Ed Gaston is vice president of community development for Wealth Watchers Inc. in Jacksonville, Fl. His column is distributed by the Jozef Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter @edsvision. ONLINE:wealthwatchersfl.com

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    • Civil Rights attorney to speak at LSU, Star Hill

      Civil Rights Attorney Constance Slaughter-Harvey will speak at LSU on Friday, Jan. 31, at 1 p.m. in the African American Culture Center Multipurpose Room.

      Slaughter-Harvey will speak on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. at Star Hill. Star Hill is located at 1400 North Foster Drive, Baton Rouge. Her appearance is part of the church’s Black History Month celebration.

      Slaughter-Harvey is the first Black female to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi. She was the first Black female to serve as student government president at Tougaloo College (1967); to be appointed to serve as judge in Mississippi (1976); to be the president (first female) of the National Association of State Elections Directors (1991); executive director of the Governor’s Office of Human Development (1980-1984); and to serve as assistant secretary of state for elections, public lands and general Counsel for the State of Mississippi (1984-1995). Slaughter-Harvey’s commitment to social justice spans many decades and continues today.
       

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      Globetrotter says ‘expect magic’ in Baton Rouge, Jan. 18

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      Red, white, and blue basketballs spinning behind backs, between legs, and bouncing off the opposing players’ backs.

      Players showing off high-flying dunk shots.

      The world’s fastest dribbler trying to break another record.

      Ballers chasing each other with water bottles, taunting referees, and pulling down the opposition’s shorts.

      Even, players dancing on the rim of the goal.

      Take these tricks in any combination and Baton Rouge is in for basketball wizardry, Saturday, January 18, when the Harlem Globetrotters  bring “magic” to the court, said the team’s 12th female baller, Joyce “Sweet J” Ekworomadu, 27. She shares the female star title with fellow Globetrotters TNT Maddox and T-Time Brawner.

      The world renown Globetrotters are known for their combination of basketball skills, tricks, dancing—and a lot of personality. “You can’t miss out on this,” she said. “We are wizards of basketball.”

      But don’t get lost in the entertainment of it all. Basketball is serious business for these players who were All-Stars college standouts. 

      Sweet J, who is currently a rookie, hailed from Texas State University of San Marcus as the Southland Conference Player of the Year and third place winner of the 2008 College 3-Point Championship. She now plays professionally for the Globetrotters and the Nigerian National Team. She was given the name Sweet J by the Globetrotters because of her sweet jump shot—and her first name is Joyce.

      She said the Globetrotters plan to bring their best, high energy, thrilling game with a message of empowerment for Baton Rouge families.  “They will be inspired and feel nothing but positive energy,” she said. “They will take home a lifetime of memories.”

      The Globetrotters have played for more than 88 years around the world. This year, in the United States alone, the players will compete in as many as 300 games in 250 cities during the 4-month Fans Rule Tour. Then, they will take the game around the world to places like Germany, the United Kingdom, and France for the remaining of the year.

      At 2pm and 7pm, the Globetrotters will face off against Select at the Baton Rouge River Center.

      “There really is no off season. We play 12 months and do a lot of community outreach,” said Sweet J. But that type of commitment isn’t hard for 5’10” point guard. She has played basketball daily since age 10 and has a passion and “calling to be around kids through the (basketball) court.”

      “Every time I did something different, God brought me right back to the court,” she said. “Now, I’m impacting children on a bigger scale,” she said.

      “This is the dream job. I get to play ball, display my personality, and work with children, all together in one package.”

      After graduating with a marketing degree, Sweet J taught at Granbury High School briefly. She also played basketball overseas professionally before trying out for the Globetrotters last year. (She was encouraged to do so by current teammate Freddie Bush.)

      “I am privileged to be in position to inspire others. The Harlem Globetrotters is such a positive brand,” said Sweet J. “You have to be energetic to play and have personality, and keep a positive image.”

      Sweet J frequently plays for Nigeria’s basketball team when schedule permits.  Although she’s a Dallas, Tx, native, she qualifies to play in her parents’ native country. This gives her the opportunity to see family and parts of the country she said she would not have seen otherwise.

      “From a young age, I’ve always wanted to have a prolonged basketball career,” she said. Now 27 years old, Sweet J said, “My court time will be until I can’t walk.”

      The Globetrotters have a 2pm game Sunday (Jan. 19) in the Lafayette Cajun Dome.

      ONLINE: www.harlemglobetrotters.com

      By Candace J. Semien
      Jozef Syndicate reporter
      @jozefsyndicate

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