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    Youth to Watch: Frederick Bell Jr. 19

    Every year, The Drum presents individuals who our readers need to watch and take note of. For 2017, we begin with youth to watch. Because of their leadership skills, gifts, talents, and personality, twelve Louisiana youth have been selected as Youth to Watch in 2017. “These youth show exceptional character and work ethics. They have vision and ability to be successful with excellence.” Meet Frederick Bell Jr., 19

    School: Louisiana State University
    Parents: Freda Mason and the late Frederick D. Bell Sr.
    Career choice: Law, politics and government

    Biggest accomplishments: Being elected the youngest Louisiana Delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention; being elected the state-wide president of the Louisiana Senior Beta Club; and founding the Louisiana High School Democrats.

    Why was this “big” for you? These three accomplishments were “big” to me because of their unlikely nature. For the 2016 DNC, I was only 18 years old, and I was a part of the delegation that featured Governor John Bel Edwards, Congressman Cedric Richmond, Sen. Mary Landrieu and many other prominent political figures from our state.

    For the Beta Club, it was a huge undertaking for everyone involved at my school at the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy – East. It took me learning how to mobilize a team around an unlikely campaign. And being the chief executive of a state-wide student organization, caused much media attention that I wasn’t used to. This also presented me what a unique opportunity to serve like I had never before.

    And for the Louisiana High School Democrats, I was happy to found this state-wide organization that got hundreds of young people engaged in the political process. This organization is still operational today and is continuing the work of advancing democratic principles and moving America forward.

    Life aspirations: I am currently majoring in mass communication with a concentration in political communication and minoring in international studies. Upon graduation from LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. Communities are the bedrock of this country, and they often rise or fall together. My goal is to help uplift communities that need it the most, because I believe the quest to perfect our union does not end just because our personal lives and communities are doing well. We are all in this together.

    After completing a master’s program, I hope to earn a law degree to better prepare myself to be an agent of change. In an ever-changing world where globalization is constantly changing the landscape of our daily lives, it will be crucial to have the wherewithal to be able to navigate through new issues as they arise.

    With a master’s degree in public policy, I will be able develop and construct policy decisions that aims to better the lives of others. With a law degree, I will be able to understand and interpret the law in a way that will make me an effective advocate for important issues. And with a mass communication degree, I will be able to communicate in a way that policy analyst will understand as well as the single mother who has little time to pour through tedious policy papers.

    Frederick Bell Jr and Former President Bill Clinton

    Frederick Bell Jr and Former President Bill Clinton

    Furthermore, I am a lover of all things Louisiana and believe our state has its challenges, but potential. It will take a new generation of leadership to lead Louisiana in a new direction. I hope to play a part in this work.

    What is your motto, core belief, or favorite quote? Motto: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

    Core belief: “Do the most good.”

    Favorite quote: “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” –Barack Obama

    Who are you mentors?:  Frederick D. Bell Sr. – Although my father passed away three years ago, when he was with us he instilled in me the will and drive to be as ambitious and determined as I could be. This is part of what drives me to set high goals, and accomplish them.  Christopher J. Tyson has been my mentor for the past year and I asked him to do so because he is on a path similar to one I plan to take. He has gotten a master degree regarding public policy and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center. He is a law professor at LSU Law Center and ran for Louisiana Secretary of State in 2015. He is a family man with a bright political future. In addition to these activities, he also leads a very active and positive role in his community. He and his work deserve admiration.

    Goals for 2017: Finish my second semester at LSU and become a summer congressional aide for Congressman Cedric Richmond.

    What are you reading? “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The New York TimesThe Advocate, and the New Orleans Times Picayune.

    What music are you listening to? The Weeknd and R&B.

    Hobbies: What do you do for fun? I like to write, spend time with family and friends, and be a total political nerd.

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    Ponchatoula, Hammond school supply lists now available online

    Parents from local schools have a new tool in their back-to-school bag of tricks this year, as all of their schools supply lists are now posted on TeacherLists.com.

    With just one or two clicks, parents can find all of their 2016 lists and get a head start on this annual back-to-school chore. Parents can print their lists or – for the first time – look up their lists right on their smart phones in store aisles. They can even shop easily online as TeacherLists automatically shares the lists with national retailers.

    The site already includes lists for:

    • D. C. Reeves Elementary, Ponchatoula
    • Hammond Westside Montessori School, Hammond
    • Perrin Early Learning Center, Ponchatoula
    • Ponchatoula Junior High School, Ponchatoula
    • St Joseph School, Ponchatoula
    • Tucker Memorial Elementary, Ponchatoula
    • Vinyard, Martha, Elementary Sc, Ponchatoula
    • Woodland Park Early Learning, Hammond

    “For decades, the supply list process has been a frustration for parents,” points out TeacherLists President, John Driscoll. “Where to find the lists? When are they available? Forgetting the list on the counter at home? All of those issues are solved with TeacherLists”

    More than 50,000 schools now have lists posted on TeacherLists. Lists for more than 1 million classrooms are live on the site and include required and requested items as well as specific notes and clarifications from teachers and school staff. Parents can even print coupons for back-to-school savings from popular back-to-school brands.

    Complete details and all the lists are available at www.teacherlists.com <http://www.teacherlists.com/>

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    Between the Lines book store names ‘Best Books of 2015′

    Baton Rouge bookstore owner Kim Knight said Between the Lines bookstore is the headquarters for book and literary lovers. Located at 4242 Government Street, the store provides connections between authors, readers, book clubs, the community and the world through its online presence.

    Knight released a short list of the best six books of 2015.

    Children’s
    16 trombone shortyTrombone Shorty by Troy Andrews and illustrator Bryan Collier. Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.

    16 Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton PoetPoet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by author-illustrator Don Tate. In the nineteenth century, North Carolina slave George Moses Horton taught himself to read and earned money to purchase his time away from his master though not his freedom. Horton became the first African American to be published in the South, protesting slavery in the form of verse.

    Young Adult Fiction
    16 Gone Crazy in AlabamaGone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia. Bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters, who are about to learn what it’s like to be fish out of water as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

    16 all american boysAll American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one Black, one White—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

     

    Adult Fiction
    16 Forty AcresForty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith. A young Black attorney, Martin Grey, confronts issues of race and power as he uncovers a shocking conspiracy. He finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the Black men are called “Master.” A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.

    16 The Ultimate BetrayalThe Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby. It’s been four years since 28-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. But Levi Cunningham, the drug dealer Alicia had an extramarital affair with, has just been released from prison, and he has completely turned his life around for the better. Still head-over-heels in love with Alicia, he will do whatever is necessary to win her back. Remarrying Phillip is the one thing Alicia has wanted for years, but she can’t get Levi out of her mind.

    These books are available at Between the Lines Bookstore or online at https://betweenthelinesbookstore.mybooksandmore.com

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    Hammond Library brings Kwame Alexander for ‘Crossover’ booksigning, Dec. 29

    The Hammond Library,314 East Thomas St., will host a book signing and discussion Tuesday, Dec. 29., with Kwame Alexander, award-winning author of Crossover and He Said, She Said.
    He is author of 21 books who recently won the 2015 John Newberry Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.
    Alexander is the founder of Book-in-a-Day, a student-run publishing program that has created more than 3,000 student authors in 75 schools; and LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy project that builds libraries, trains teachers, and empowers children through literature.

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    Students use arts to bring World AIDS Day awareness

    KENTWOOD—French poet Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words.” On Dec. 1, this statement was backed by three lyricist at Kentwood High Magnet School as they battle rapped during the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s, “Dream Big! End It” World Aids Day event.

    Contestants were challenged to develop an artistic piece for their peers that would bring awareness about ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    More than 200 students filled the Kentwood High School gym anxiously waiting to cheer on their favorite contestant. AIDS Healthcare Foundation Regional Coordinator Sashika Baunchand told students about the startling statistics on HIV/AIDS cases that were just released this month.

    Kentwood High School Battle Rapped winners from left are Corey Moore second place winner Lil' James Gibson third place winner and Cornelius Moore first place winner

    Kentwood High School Battle Rapped winners from left are Corey Moore second place winner Lil’ James Gibson third place winner and Cornelius Moore first place winner

    For example, the Baton Rouge metro area ranks second among major United States metro areas for new HIV infection diagnoses, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

    Comedian Tony King told the youth that these statistics were not being “shared to scare them, but to help them make sound decisions when it comes to things that can ultimately affect their future.”

    “Ending the AIDS epidemic is possible, but only by educating our youth and connecting them with people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services,” said Baunchand.

    The World AIDS Day activities began at the St. Helena College and Career Academy, as gifted and talented art students Shy’Janae Hookfin and Javier Smith unveiled the “Dream Big! End It” social change mural.

    Students at Kentwood High Magnet School gathered during their lunch shift for a Poetry Slam, using word play to encourage their peers to dream big and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Organizers said “Dream Big! End It” means empowering youth in Louisiana, to take a stand for people who may not necessarily be able to stand for themselves.

    “It encourages the students to be a voice of reason when their peers are being pressured into compromising situations. It also opens the door for dialogue with key decision makers in congress when youth dream big to end this crippling epidemic,” said Nicolette Gordon, assistant area youth agent at the SU Ag Center.

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    Quinton Jason turned love of the Web into a life-changing career

    Quinton Jason was first drawn to the instant gratification of coding in a high school computer literacy class. What started as an interest grew to a passion, which eventually led him to graduate with a computer science degree. However, in the years that followed, Quinton drifted away from the industry. Instead, he dabbled in retail work, the food industry, and telemarketing, but continually found himself uninspired and unfulfilled.

    When a position as a customer support technician led Quinton back to the keyboard, he made the decision to return to his original career path and chose the East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Treehouse to help him accomplish that. Before long, Quinton had gained a solid foundation of skills and was ready to embark on a career in the web industry.

    Today, Quinton is the interactive director at Xdesign in Baton Rouge. He has also taken his love for the web one step further by speaking at tech conferences, including Future Insights Live 2015. Quinton is proud of his new career path and is embracing the opportunity to share his knowledge and passion for the industry he’d always dreamed of being a part of.

    Read Faye Bridge’s interview with Quinton on TeamTreehouse.com

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    Scenes from police brutality teach-in

    Groups of community activists from Baton Rouge, New Iberia, and Lafayette gathered at the Unitiarian Church Oct 13 to discuss for a two-day teach-in workshop on police brutality and the Victor White III case. The Justice for Victor White Committee worked directly with the family of Victor White III for a National Week of Action, […]

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    Community asked to complete online survey on EKL site, land use designs

    North Baton Rouge elected officials other community leaders and more than 100 stakeholders gathered at the S. E. Mackey Center to discuss their ideas and preferences of the former Earl K. Long Medical Center site at 5825 Airline Highway.
    The public input received during the March meeting served as a critical first step in understanding the community’s vision. Landscape architect Diane Jones Allen, D. Eng., of DesignJones, LLC , presented two LSU student designs completed over the summer which included the ideas and wishes expressed during the fi rst public meeting.
    These drawings and images will generate additional ideas and discussion of alternatives for the project site. Now, the volunteer committee is asking the community to complete an online survey to determine specific ways to use the vacant property. The survey is available at www.5825Airline.com, and all residents are asked to provide input.

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    Woman to Watch: Erika Green

    Erika Green prides herself on hanging her shingle out fairly quickly as a lawyer, community activist, and juvenile justice advocate, but she still faces the daunting challenge of balancing a burning desire for community and the demands of private practice.

    “I intentionally try to provide as many resources, programs, and events to my community (in) the north Baton Rouge area,” she said. In fact, Green has led thousands of participants for the MLK Day of Service, BREC’s Black History Program, and political forums.  “I use each organization I am in to promote inclusion and encourage youth. I think that’s the hard part of my life—juggling speaking engagements, community organizing and full time business.”

    After sitting under great mentors and working in two law offices while she was a student at Belaire High school and Southern University Law Center, Green credits her abilities as a successful lawyer and organizer to the consistent training she received throughout her time at Southern.

    She has volunteered in private law firms, the East Baton Rouge Public Defenders Office and gained a strong connection with Juvenile Court. She is a board member of  Gloryland Educational Resource Center, The Butterfly Society, LLC. (A domestic violence nonprofit), and JK Haynes Charter Schools.

    She can be seen actively advocating for justice and equality of services for residents. “I love the city and that’s why I do what I do,” Green said.

    The Baton Rouge native is a family lawyer who doesn’t back down from high-profile criminal juvenile cases or hot-button issues.  For that, she is a Woman to Watch.

    Meet Erika Green, 30:

    Juvenile Criminal Conflict Attorney for the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court, family law attorney at the Office of Erika Green, LLC, and Child in Need of Care Attorney with Southeast Legal Services.

    Moves made: Recipient of the Daniel Ellis Byrd Community Service Award by the Louisiana State NAACP Conference; chaired the 3rd Annual MLK Day of Service with more than 1,500 volunteers in the Scotlandville area; organized a high school lecture series on racial profiling, voting, conflict resolution, and the juvenile justice system along with the NAACP Baton Rouge Branch

    What to expect in 2015: Continuing to be an advocate for children in the juvenile system; connecting the North Baton Rouge Community with more programs and services; and co-chairing a city-wide Black Lives Matter Summit Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on August 22.

    Personal resolution: To use my position—whether it is as an officer in an organization, committee member, or board member—to help produce tangible results and programming that will ultimately effectuate change in this city.

    Life/business motto: “Passion Drives Greatness”

    Business resolution: I desire to grow the consulting portion of my business for nonprofit and faith-based organizations, and do more speaking engagements especially to young people.

    Role Models: Stephanie Brown James. She is young, tapped into community needs and issues, and committed to empowering young women.

    What are you dancing to? Mali Music “Yahweh”; and India Arie “Just Do You”

    What are you reading? “Hard Choices” by Hillary Clinton and “Black Robes, White Justice” by Bruce Wright

    Online: www.eglawoffice.net

     

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    Woman to Watch: Alma C. Stewart

    With the Louisiana Legislative session in active mode, this health care advocate is busy mobilizing Louisiana citizens and elected officials around all health equity issues from funding the Affordable Health Care Act, expanding Medicaid, and improving citizen’s access to health services.

    When Louisiana legislators in both the House and Senate Health and Wellness committees voted against two bills that would expand Louisiana’s Medicaid program so the working poor could get government-funded health insurance, Alma C. Stewart was there along with several hundred other advocates.

    In fact, if there is a conversation on state or national health care policies, Alma Stewart, is in the room or leading the discussion. For that, she is a Woman to Watch.

    Meet Alma C. Stewart
    Age: A Baby Boomer.

    Professional title: President and Founder of Louisiana Center for Health Equity and talk show host of “Today’s Health Topics” (which airs on WTQT 106.1FM every Monday at 7pm). I am also the CEO and owner of A. Charles Stewart Consultants.

    Organization: Louisiana Center for Health Equity
    The Louisiana Center for Health Equity works to address the increasing disparities in health and health care across Louisiana. A statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit IRS 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt, organization established in January 2010, LCHE is the only statewide non-profit organization in Louisiana with a mission solely of addressing disparities.

    Hometown: Natchitoches, LA, the “City of Lights,” and reared in Germany during the sixties.

    Moves made in 2014/Accomplishments: I lead two phenomenal collaborative initiatives. Over the past two years, I have organized the Campaign for Healthcare for Everyone – Louisiana, a broad diverse group of organizations and individuals fighting for expanded access to healthcare for ALL Louisianans. The Campaign is leading policy advocacy and grassroots efforts to close the coverage gap by allowing low income, mostly working, adults to obtain healthcare insurance through federal Medicaid funds as authorized by the Affordable Care Act. I also convened the Together We Are More Adolescent Health Collaborative, a community effort that implemented the inaugural Youth Peace Olympics to promote healthy living and help curb youth violence in Baton Rouge.

    What to expect from you in 2015? I am very pleased that the Louisiana Center for Health Equity will be celebrating our fifth anniversary. This is a monumental milestone for an organization that is making an impact throughout the state of Louisiana. Our Anniversary Celebration will highlight LCHE’s accomplishments. We will continue building momentum for better access to healthcare and closing the coverage gap, and addressing inequalities that affect individuals and families in Louisiana.

    Personal Resolution: To live a lifestyle that praises Jesus Christ and to enjoy His blessings, especially my family and friends.

    Company Resolution: To work to improve healthcare and health outcomes in Louisiana with a focus on inequalities through collaboration, community engagement, education and advocacy.

    Life motto: To joyfully and diligently be of service as a resourceful resilient advocate for health equity in Louisiana.

    What music are you dancing to? Variety

    What are you reading? Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513 – 2008 by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This book intrigued me because it is such a thorough historical collection. Initially, I was especially interested in learning more about what I missed as a child during the sixties when my family and I lived overseas because it was during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. I believe understanding history is important, especially for our youth.

    Mentors or Role Models: I have been fortunate to have people throughout my life that encouraged and coached me in different areas that were and still are enormously helpful. There are several people whose advice I value and seek for various purposes. Those who probably have the most influence are those who share spiritual wisdom and guidance as I strive to be Christ led.

    Watch her online at www.lahealthequity.org and or on facebook as alma.stewart.39

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    Everybody with Diabetes Counts classes offered Mondays through May 18

    Everyone with Diabetes Counts program is partnering with Jewel J. Newman Community Center to provide free diabetes education in North Baton Rouge and surrounding areas Mondays, April 13 – May 18, 10:30am in the Recreation Center of the Jewel J. Newman Community Center, located at 2013 Central Road.

    The EDC program is a national initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It is administered by Quality Insights in Louisiana as well as Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The program offers free classes that are open to people with diabetes, their family members and caregivers. Individuals with pre-diabetes can also benefit from these classes. The classes are designed to empower each participant with the knowledge to effectively manage diabetes, meet glucose targets, and prevent or manage complications from the disease. Participants will learn about diabetes risks, nutrition, weight management, stress control, how to properly manage medications and much more. Past participants have reported weight loss, improvement of lab results and a decrease in medications.

    “We are very excited to partner with the EDC program,” Carla Powell, Manager at the Community Center, said. “The need for diabetes education is so great in our area and we feel the community will greatly benefit from the classes. We hope our community members will also consider registering.”

    The classes will be by the Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network. For more information or to register for the upcoming class, email jjncc@brgov.com.

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  • Mason named University of the District of Columbia finalist

    The Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia has announced the selection of three finalists for the position of President of the University–including Southern University System President Ronald Mason.

    Each of these candidates will visit the campus and participate in two open forums that will provide University stakeholders the opportunity to meet the finalists, ask questions and provide written feedback to the Board of Trustees.

    Open forums for Mason will be Friday, April 3, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Community College, 801 North Capitol Street; and Friday, April 3, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Building 44, Room A03 on the Van Ness Campus. http://www.udc.edu/

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  • Llorens named private school’s founding president

    James L. Llorens has been confirmed by the Board of Directors for Cristo Rey Baton Rouge to serve as founding president. The board held its launch meeting March 3, 2015, and is currently completing its feasibility study. Although no facility has been located for the Catholic, college prep school, it is scheduled to open in Fall 2016. The high school will be private but only enroll low-income students. Llorens formerly served as chancellor of Southern University and A&M College and a former aide to East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden. In the Cristo Rey model, students participate in a corporate work-study program.  Local businesses sponsor a full time job that is shared by a team of four students who each work one full day per week at the business. The job salary is paid to the school to offset tuition costs for students. The jobs provide students with hands on experience to prepare them for future careers. The Cristo Rey network is made up of 28 schools serving 9,000 students in 26 cities. The network has a 96% graduation rate, a 100% college acceptance rate, and a 90% college enrollment rate.

    ONLINE: http://www.cristoreybatonrouge.org/

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    Black film fest issues challenge to rising filmmakers

    OAK BROOK, Ill.–McDonald’s USA and the American Black Film Festival are joining forces to launch the McDonald’s Lovin’ Video Competition. To complement the new “Lovin” campaign, up-and-coming filmmakers are challenged to create one 90-second film that brings to life McDonald’s philosophy that, “A little more lovin’ can change a lot.”

    Aspiring filmmakers nationwide are encouraged to enter their best, original submissions by 11:59 p.m. Eastern March 24, 2015, for their chance to win the grand prize and earn accolades from film industry leaders. Three finalists will be selected to attend the 19th annual American Black Film Festival in New York City, June 11 -14 and have an exclusive opportunity to be mentored by critically-acclaimed film director Malcolm D. Lee (Best Man; Best Man Holiday), who will provide the finalists with invaluable film industry tips and advice.

    The top three short films will premiere at the highly-anticipated festival and will be judged by a panel of industry experts. Each submission will be critiqued on creativity, implementation of concept and quality. In the end, only one finalist will take home the grand prize — a film equipment package valued at $2,500 and an opportunity to have their film featured on prominent websites, including McDonald’s 365Black.com and other media entities. More information about the competition can be found at www.abff.com.

    “We are excited to partner with McDonald’s USA on this most unique digital video contest,” said Jeff Friday, American Black Film Festival founder and chief executive officer. “The ABFF is committed to supporting emerging artists and providing trailblazing opportunities for them to gain exposure and visibility in the film and television industry.”

    “I’m honored to mentor our next generation of aspiring filmmakers through ‘Lovin’ Video Competition’,” said Malcolm D. Lee. “Many have mentored and guided me along my journey to make an impact in film, and it’s important for all of us to do our part to bring the next generation up.”

    McDonald’s newest campaign reignites the spirit of “i’m lovin’ it” and will inspire everything the brand does moving forward. By focusing on the lovin’ people show each other every day, the campaign provides an opportunity to celebrate and bring more lovin’ to customers.

    “McDonald’s is excited to embark on this initiative with ABFF and the filmmakers of the future from the communities we serve,” said Kristen Wells, External Communications Manager, McDonald’s USA. “We hope that the idea of sharing love throughout our communities will motivate and inspire the filmmakers as they work tirelessly to make their dreams a reality.”

    The Lovin’ Video Competition and ABFF’s vision to promote diversity in the film and television industry align with McDonald’s 365Black platform — an initiative that celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year round.

    To learn more about the American Black Film Festival and the Lovin’ Video Competition, visit www.abff.com. Follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram.

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  • Group to receive $900,000 for North BR charter school developments

    New Schools for Baton Rouge announced earlier this week that it is investing $900,000 in HOPE Christian Schools from its $30 million Excellence Fund.

    Although no sites have been identified, NSBR officials said HOPE is preparing to launch its first school as early as Fall 2016.HOPE plans to open a total of four schools, serving 1,000 students in grades K-12 by 2022.

    NSBR’s board voted to make the investment after reviewing HOPE’s leadership, transformational school model, growth plan, and plans to engage the local community. HOPE is the first nonpublic school to receive an investment from NSBR’s Excellence Fund.

    Chris Meyer New Schools for Baton Rouge

    Chris Meyer
    New Schools for Baton Rouge

    “We are excited to welcome HOPE Christian Schools to Baton Rouge and provide the families of North Baton Rouge with another excellent school choice,” said Chris Meyer, CEO of NSBR. “HOPE schools have a track record of success. For the past three years, 100% of HOPE’s seniors were accepted into college. They are a great addition to our network of excellent schools as we work to ultimately deliver great schools, both public and nonpublic, to 12,000 students in underperforming schools in North Baton Rouge by 2017.”

    “HOPE is pleased to partner with NSBR to bring the students of North Baton Rouge our school model, which focuses on character and academic performance,” said Andrew Neumann, Ph.D., president and CEO of Educational Enterprises and HOPE Christian Schools, Inc. “Our schools are designed to put students on the path to college from day one through our model which integrates a focus on academic excellence, character development and faith formation.  We do this through providing strong leadership and passionate teachers, creating a positive and nurturing culture for learning, and using data to drive purposeful instruction.”

    Andrew Neumann, Ph.D. Hope Christian Schools

    Andrew Neumann, Ph.D. Hope Christian Schools

    HOPE Christian Schools is a network of five Christian, college-preparatory schools in Milwaukee’s central city that opened in 2002 with one school and nearly 50 students. Today, HOPE serves nearly 1,600 students in kindergarten (K4 and K5) through 12th grade with the 3 C’s - Christ. College. Character® HOPE aims to launch in areas of unmet educational needs with high at-risk populations. In their current network, 90% – 100% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Across their three K-8 schools last year, HOPE averaged over 1.5 years growth on the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress assessment and their high school students outperformed the city, state and national ACT average for African-American students.

    NSBR’s Excellence Fund is a collection of local and national resources to catalyze the transformation of schools in what NSBR calls the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone.. NSBR’s top priority is to support the expansion of proven, high-performing schools by investing exclusively in organizations that have track records of success, a transformational school model, and a commitment to the Baton Rouge community.

     

     

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    And the 52 nominees are….

    More than 50 professionals from across the Greater Baton Rouge area have been nominated for the first class of the Baton Rouge Black Professionals Forty Under 40 Entrepreneur Award.  The inaugural class will be honored at a noon ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Belle of Baton Rouge.The winners will be announced by emcee Tiffany “Mic Chick” Dickerson.  Miss Black Teen Louisiana USAM 2015, Cathy McLeod will present the awards on behalf of the organization.Organizers said the nominees exemplifiy an entrepreneurial spirit and have company statistics to support their claim.

    The nominees are:

    • Jaubert G. Ambeau IV of Total Body Anatomy
    • Angel Askew-Murchison of Mommie’s Minis Cupcakes
    • Tonia Askins of Tonia Askins International, LLC
    • Wilson Battley III of Battley Home Inspection Services and VIP Daiquiri
    • James Benton III of The Law Office of James Benton III, LLC
    • Oonarissa Bernard of Over and Beyond Apparel – Manufacturing/Make Me Over Artistry
    • Robert Broussard Jr of Greater Louisiana Insurance Group
    • Gabrielle Briley-Johnson of Aspire Consulting Solutions, LLC
    • Kimberlee Collins of Assurance Tax & Accounting Group
    • Tanesha Craig of XtremeLife Fitness
    • Maryam Diaab of OpenBarre Fitness Studio
    • Michael R. Dunbar of Amazin Advertizin’
    • Jackie Edwards of Happy Hair
    • Erika Elzy of Until Then, LLC and Erika Press
    • Karah Martin Fields Affordable Health Solutions LLC and Accurate Records LLC
    • Jamar Franklin of Franklin Enterprises of LA
    • Hilda Trenise Gautier of BayouHarpiste
    • John Gray of Continuum Music
    • Letrece Griffin of Power Move Management, LLC
    • Keshia Hardnett of JTK Prints
    • Lucianna Harris of Luciana Massage & Spa Therapies, LLC
    • Cosha Hayes of Bran Nue Productions, LLC
    • Jessica Haynes of Make-Up by Jess
    • Josh Howard of 2 Broke Guys
    • DJ Hunter of Prince Photography
    • Jeremy Jackson of State Farm
    • Natasha James of Pinkolicious Birthday Party Spa and Allstar Community Care Counseling Agency
    • Ted James of James Law Office, LLC
    • Brianne Joseph of Sly Fox Investigations
    • Shawn Lagarde of Baton Rouge Cheer Stars
    • Terrica Matthews-Mitchell of Premier Planning and Consulting Group, LLC
    • Yalandra McClain of DYPA Foundation
    • LaTonya McMillian of Happy Hair
    • Vincent Perry of Perry Productions
    • Malonna Peters of Mosiac Solutions, Inc.
    • Trina Pullum of PullCorp Media and Business Consulting Group
    • Latrina Raddler of Oasis Behavioral Health
    • Victoria A. Roberts of VAR Events
    • Terrell Robertson of DIG Deep Fitness, LLC
    • Joy Russell of S Corp
    • Brandon Simmons of Mr. Carter’s Exclusive Grooming Lounge & Spa
    • Katrina “Moe” Smith of KAS Productions
    • Danielle Tennent Stanton of National Star Pageants
    • Ariel Steib of Beyond Flawless
    • Ursula Stewart of Ursula’s Boutique
    • Britney Monet Temple of Fit Lab Fitness
    • Torrence Thomas of The Thomas Brothers Group, LLC
    • Thurman Thomas, III of The Thomas Brothers Group, LLC
    • Christopher Turner of Art By Christopher Turner, LLC
    • Don Williams, ESQ of Don Williams Law Firm
    • Sevetri Wilson of Solid Ground Innovations

    The Baton Rouge Black Professionals mission is to cultivate, empower, and sustain the African-American professional community through business and social networking activities within the Baton Rouge region. Tickets can be purchased at  https://brblackpros4040.eventbrite.com/

     

     

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  • ,,

    Community Meeting Snap Shots

    Share photos from your recent community meeting with The Drum readers. Email photos and cutlines to news@thedrumnewspaper.info or submit your photos online.   The Southern University Ag Center recently held an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Sustainable Ag Urban Demonstration Farm located on the Baton Rouge campus, March 19. Two local schools attended  along with […]

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  • ,,

    Poised to be the next big thing in music industry

    An interview with gospel artist Anita Jarrell-Robertson

    About 17 years ago, music executive Vivian Scott Chew told me in a telephone interview to be on the lookout for a gifted singer who very few people had heard of but one who was about to take the world by storm with her music. The songstress Chew was referring to was R&B sensation and acclaimed actress Jill Scott.

    It was around 1998 when Chew predicted how big Scott would get. And in 2000, Scott’s debut album — Who is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 — was released. That album made it to the Top 20 of the Billboard albums chart. Scott, also a songwriter, had earned three Grammy nominations for the project, which included the hit “Gettin’ in the Way.”

    Now, nearly 20 years after Chew — who has long provided direction and musical support for new and emerging artists — spoke of Scott’s imminent rise from obscurity to stardom, there is another gifted singer who is on the verge of an accomplishment that’s reminiscent of Scott’s dynamic ascension to prominence in the entertainment industry.

    Her name? Anita Jarrell-Robertson. And she has a voice and a stage presence that command attention. Jarrell-Robertson in July of 2014 released her contemporary gospel album “God is There,” a CD filled with tracks that minister to the core of people’s hearts. The title track — “God is There” — speaks directly to the listener whose life has been thrown into a tailspin by one personal calamity after another.

    On that track, Jarrell-Robertson shares that the Lord is always present, especially in times when He seems most distant.

    “The song, ‘God is There,’ was written during a very tumultuous time in our lives (my husband and my children). At that time we were fighting cancer with my daughter, Jessica. She was only about a year old and she had relapsed with leukemia for the second time, and her doctor had informed us that she probably would not make it,” Jarrell-Robertson said.

    “So, we were facing a lot, we were facing her (conceivably) passing. She was our first child, we already had a second child with a third one on the way. And we were going through tough times in our marriage because of all the stress,” Jarrell-Robertson said. “We had issues with outside family members and friends with their opinions and their judgments, and we just felt alone.

    “We actually had a pastor at that time to tell us that our daughter was going to die, and that we needed to let her go because she was going to die and that’s what (he said) God had told him,” recalls Jarrell-Robertson, whose family moved to Carrollton, Texas, from Baton Rouge, La. “We were told a lot of things during that season but when all that stuff was happening, it was like we were in a whirlwind and I was like, ‘Where are You? What’s going on?’ I remember being in the hospital room by myself one day with my daughter, and I looked around and I looked up and asked, ‘Where are You?’ And He answered me and He said, ‘I am there.’ ”

    God’s response, Jarrell-Robertson admits, didn’t exactly soothe the pain she was feeling as her child faced such a life-threatening disease.

    Jarrell-Robertson couldn’t understand how she could be serving God as passionately as she was at that time and, yet, sill be faced with such a harsh reality.

    “I just didn’t understand,” states Jarrell-Robertson, who said her experience caused her to feel somewhat like Job, whose family was hit with disaster that claimed the lives of his 10 children. “And so the song actually came about because God gave me the song. The whole song was written like a conversation.”

    From her dialogue with the Lord, Jarrell-Robertson said she learned that trusting God and walking by faith don’t come without trials from time to time. She learned that sometimes people go through difficult times as preparation for the places God is sending them in some cases and so that they could have testimonies to help edify other people in other cases. Jarrell-Robertson and her husband, Jesse, now share the profound testimony of their daughter being cancer-free.

    The 12-track album has so many songs on it that are more than capable of capturing and suspending the attention of listeners. One such track is “Even Me,” which is perhaps Jarrell-Robertson’s most widely recognized song.

    “Even Me” sends the message that regardless of how unworthy of God’s grace and mercy a person may feel he is, the Lord’s love is strong enough to cover him.

    “I came to this realization that I can come to the cross even with this, in whatever mess that I’m in, I can still come to the cross with it,” said Jarrell-Robertson, who, with her husband, started Harvest Music, a record label for independent Gospel artists. “Basically, God was not surprised about the condition of my heart. I was, but He wasn’t. His blood was powerful enough to save and deliver ‘even me.’ ”

    The song “God is There” earned Jarrell-Robertson the top 2014 Chosen Voice Awards honor for “Best Contemporary Song.”

    Jarrell-Robertson’s music, which has crossover appeal, can be purchased on her official website, http://www.anitaworships.com. Other places it can be found include: Pandora, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and iHeart Radio.

    By Donald Lee
    Guest Columnist

    Donald Lee is founder-pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center of Dallas. E-mail him at pastordonjlee@yahoo.com.

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  • Caught You: Praying

    The nonprofit group, Answering the Call, hosted a prayer vigil for the youth of the City of Donaldsonville and surrounding areas, Monday, Jam. 26, 2015, at the Louisiana Square on Railroad Ave.

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  • LSU Summer Scholars Class of 2015 Accepting Applications

    LSU University College’s Summer Scholars program is currently accepting applications for its Class of 2015. Su>mmer Scholars is an eight-week summer program that prepares high-achieving, under-represented minority students to make a successful transition from high school to college. The program is only open to 2015 high school graduates who have applied and are eligible for enrollment at LSU. This summer experience offers students the opportunity to become adjusted to the academic, personal, and social challenges they may encounter as new freshmen at LSU.

     LSU Summer Scholars awards scholarships covering tuition, housing, meal plan and cultural and enrichment activities. The deadline to apply for Summer Scholars is March 20.For more information or to apply for LSU Summer Scholars Class of 2015, visit www.lsu.edu/ssp <http://www.lsu.edu/ssp> .

    “LSU Summer Scholars is an opportunity for incoming minority students to arrive on campus for a summer experience that not only involves enrollment in freshman level classes, but also the opportunity to integrate themselves to the campus community and build a network of fellow students who support each other and grow together in a close bond that lasts beyond their freshman year,” said R. Paul Ivey, executive director of LSU University College.

    Summer Scholars are provided with a structured environment conducive to building the fundamental skills necessary to enhance the likelihood of successful completion of a bachelor’s degree. The program includes enrollment in six credit hours of coursework; study/discussion groups with supplemental instructors and tutors; social and cultural enrichment activities; residence in on-campus housing for the entire summer term; academic, self-improvement, and leadership seminars; and academic advising, course scheduling, and career goal development.

    “Summer Scholars helps students pursue their dream of coming to LSU,” said Riad Elhhanoufi, president of Summer Scholars Class of 2014 and LSU chemical engineering major. “The program has Tiger Exploration talks where various speakers share with us specifics of their industry and resources to help us in our lives at the university. Summer Scholars provides me the opportunity to get one step ahead of the game.”

    Ivey said that former participants in the Summer Scholars Program live by the motto, “Once a Scholar, Always a Scholar,” so the networking opportunities extend far beyond the boundaries of campus.

    “Scholars receive an experience that helps prepare them for their upcoming college careers,” said Natalie Derouen, a 2009 Summer Scholar participant and LSU biology major. “They build friendships that will last a lifetime, and they become part of a family that has been established for more than 20 excellent years.”

    Since 1933, LSU University College has served as the portal of entry for students enrolled at LSU. Academic and personal success is the hallmark of a well-rounded student and University College provides a foundation of support services for students beginning their academic careers at LSU. University College has two enrollment divisions: The Center for Freshman Year and The Center for Advising and Counseling. In addition, a variety of retention-specific programs, targeting particular student populations, play a significant role in accomplishing our mission. These programs include Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars and Summer Scholars. For more information on LSU University College or Summer Scholars, visit www.uc.lsu.edu <http://www.uc.lsu.edu>  or follow the conversation at www.facebook.com/LSU.UniversityCollege <http://www.facebook.com/LSU.UniversityCollege>

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  • Events: Feb 3 – 15, 2015

    Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6pm
    Baton Rouge Youth Coming Together: Citywide Youth Strategy Prayer Meeting
    Antioch Full Gospel Ministry
    6538 Mickens Road, Baton Rouge
    Advocates against crime, entrepreneurs, concerned citizens, and prayer intercessors will join youth leaders and parents for this united prayer movement. Contact: Minister Patricia Gail, facilitator, (225) 247-3534. Event repeats Tuesday, Feb. 10, 6pm. Free.

    Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6pm
    Beyond Bricks EBR: A Community Driven Discussion
    Mckinley Middle School
    1550 Eddie Robinson Dr. Baton Rouge
    Speak up and be a part of a positive movement to recharge our public schools. Online: beyondbricksebr.org. Free.

    Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7pm
    Mister and Miss Imani Pageant: “A Night in Harlem”
    LSU Union Theater, Baton Rouge
    LSU celebrates Black History Month every February, recognizing the struggles, strides and accomplishments of African Americans. This year’s theme is “The Dawn of a New Renaissance: Celebrating a Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” Free.

    Wednesday, Feb. 4, noon
    Blacks in Academia Lecture Series
    Eugene Kennedy: “Increasing the Success of K12 African American Students in Science and Math: Ways for College Students to Get Involved”
    LSU African American Cultural Center, Baton Rouge. Free

    Mrs-Rudolph-1963-todayThursday, Feb.5, 6pm
    The Fifth Little Girl of the 16th St. Baptist Church Bombing
    BREC Independence Park Theatre
    7800 Independence Blvd, Baton Rouge
    BREC presents this citywide Black History Month Celebration of monologues, dining, dancing, and a discussion with Sarah Collins Rudolph. Open to all ages. Free.

    Thursday, Feb. 5, 6pm
    Beyond Bricks EBR: A Community Driven Discussion
    Baton Rouge Magnet High School
    2825 Government Street
    Speak up and be a part of a positive movement to recharge our public schools. Online: beyondbricksebr.org. Free.

    Friday, Feb. 6, 4pm – 6pm
    “Say it Loud: What’s Black & Proud?”
    LSU African American Cultural Center
    Co-sponsored with the LSU Black Male Leadership Initiative and LSU Career Services, Baton Rouge. Free.

    mardi gras tangi

    Friday, Feb. 6, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
    Tangipahoa Parish’s 2015 Mardi Gras in the Zone
    North General Pershing Street in the Pennington Center Parking Lot, Hammond, LA
    Celebrate Mardi Gras with the TRACC Coalition and PEEPS. Games and activities for kids. Bring lawn chairs. All children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Free.

    Sunday, Feb. 8, 2pm
    Beyond Bricks EBR: A Community Driven Discussion
    Broadmoor Methodist
    10230 Mollylea Drive, Baton Rouge
    Speak up and be a part of a positive movement to recharge our public schools. Online: beyondbricksebr.org. Free.

    Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2pm
    Beyond Bricks EBR: A Community Driven Discussion
    University Baptist Church
    5775 Highland Road
    Speak up and be a part of a positive movement to recharge our public schools. Online: beyondbricksebr.org. Free.

    Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6pm
    Beyond Bricks EBR: A Community Driven Discussion
    Capital Middle School
    5100 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge
    Speak up and be a part of a positive movement to recharge our public schools. Online: beyondbricksebr.org. Free.

    Wednesday, Feb. 11, noon
    Blacks in Academia Lecture Series
    “Journey to the Graduate Degree: A Panel Discussion”
    LSU African American Cultural Center. Free.

    Wednesday, Feb. 11, 5:30pm-7pm
    Credit Counseling Seminar
    Goodwood Library
    7711 Goodwood Blv. Baton Rouge
    Learn cost effective tools to build or repair credit, connect with credible lenders, meet realtors, learn about homes available for purchase. Hosted by Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation and CapitalOne Bank.Fee: $25 for registration and credit processing. This is the first of a six-month series on credit counseling seminars. The seminars will take place each month in partnership with various Baton Rouge financial institutions and real estate professionals.  Attendees will learn the tools necessary to improve their credit and to prepare for homeownership.  A nominal fee of $25 for registration & credit will be assessed during registration.  Advanced registration is required.  For more information, email info@urecbr.com or call (225) 356-8871. Register online at www.urecbr.com.

    Thursday, Feb. 12, 6pm
    Sankofa Poetry & Open Mic Night
    “Masterpieces of Black Eloquence”
    LSU African American Cultural Center. Free.

    Friday, Feb. 13, 8pm
    Mardi Gras Ball
    Southern University Royal Cotillion Ballroom
    500 Jesse N Stone Ave, Baton Rouge
    Formal ball of the NAACP Baton Rouge Chapter. Tickets: $50. Online:naacpmardigrasball.eventbrite.com. Contact: (225) 287-4673

    Saturday, Feb. 14, 9am – 10:30am
    Fueled to Geaux Free Breakfast for Kids
    Dr. Leo S. Butler Center
    Thomas Delpit Drive
    Sponsored by Geaux Learn Educational Solutions. Free.

    To be included in the EVENTS section,submit details to thedrumnewspaper @ gmail. com. Include full name and contact
    phone number. Or complete this form online

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  • ,

    Energy Assistance Funds Available for Low-Income EBR Residents

    Applications to be accepted starting Monday, Feb. 2

    East Baton Rouge’s Office of Social Services has funds available to assist qualifying low-income households with their energy bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

    To qualify for assistance through the program, a household’s total monthly income cannot exceed the limits in the table below. Qualifying households cannot have received a previous benefit within the past six months.

    Household Size                       Maximum Income
    Per household                            per month
    1                                                       $1,807
    2                                                       $2,363
    3                                                       $2,920
    4                                                       $3,476
    5                                                       $4,032
    6                                                      $4,588
    7                                                      $4,692
    8                                                      $4,796
    9                                                      $4,901
    10                                                    $5,005
    11                                                     $5,109
    12                                                    $5,214
    13                                                    $5,318
    14                                                    $5,422
    15                                                    $5,526

    All applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis according to the program’s waiting list. To get on the waiting list, please call the nearest Office of Social Services location (see table of zip codes below) on Fridays, 8am – noon. Applications will then be taken by appointment only, beginning Monday, Feb. 2nd.

    Applicants must provide, at a minimum, the following documentation at the time the application is taken:
    (1) Copies of each household member’s social security card
    (2) Proof of income of all household members age 18 or older
    (3) A copy of an energy bill (must be within the last 6 months)
    (4) A photo I.D. of the applicant
    (5) At least one other document that was mailed to the applicant at the service address indicated on the energy bill.

    If additional documentation is required, the applicant will be notified at the time of application. Households reporting zero income will also be required to provide additional documentation. All information provided with the application will be subject to verification. Intentional misrepresentation of information may result in criminal prosecution of the applicant and anyone assisting in the misrepresentation.

    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.

    LIHEAP Application Sites

    • Central Office, 4523 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70805 358-4561 70805
    • Chaneyville Community Center, 13211 Jackson Road, Zachary, LA 70791 658-9790
    • Charles R. Kelly Community Center (Delmont Service Center, 3535 Riley Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70805 357-5013
    • Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center, 950 East Washington St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802 389-4814
    • Dr. Martin L. King Community Center, 4000 Gus Young Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70802 389-7679
    • Jewel J. Newman Community Center (North Baton Rouge Community Center), 2013 Central Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70807 778-1007
    • Rural Program, 5736 Rollins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70791 658-7494 70791
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  • Sybrina Fulton to headline community gathering, Jan 30

    “A MOTHER’S CRY” EXAMINES IMPACT OF KILLING OF CHILDREN ON FAMILIES

    On Friday, Jan. 30, at 7pm, citizens from the Baton Rouge area will gather at the BREC Independence Park Theatre to discuss what can be done to prevent the rise of what organizers call “senseless killing in our community”. This event, “A Mother’s Cry – The Community Gathering of The Voices,” focuses on helping mothers who are healing after the violent deaths of their children.

    “By sharing their stories with the larger community, everyone can become more aware of how we can all work together to keep our youth from becoming participants and/or victims of street crime,” said organizers with Stop the Killing Inc.

    They will hear from Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin who was murdered in 2013 by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Other presenters include RCA artist and Hip-Hop reformer Dee 1, Houston community activist Deric Muhammad, Louisiana radio journalist Tony Brown, Stop the Killing organizer Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, and West Baton Rouge assistant district attorney Tony Clayton.

    BREC’s Independence Park Theatre is located at 7800 Independence Boulevard. The event is free of charge to the public.

    Stop the Killing Inc. is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization established in 2003 to work toward eliminating the violence and senseless killings that disrupt the social fabric in our communities. The organization’s goal is to create stronger and safer living environments by teaching youth to value life, get an education, and make positive choices.

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