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    A conversation with Grambling State University’s athletic director Paul Bryant

    As the Chicago Football Classic is steadfastly approaching its 20thAnniversary weekend, co-founder and producer Everett Rand along with business partner Larry Huggins have made the Chicago media rounds with the participating school Athletic Directors. HBCU football teams Clark Atlanta University Panthers and Grambling State University Tigers are facing off on Saturday, September 30 at Soldier Field for the only collegiate football classic in the North. The Chicago Football Classic expects a strong turnout of not only both school’s alumni but the support of graduates overall.

    Grambling State University is considered one of the more prominent football programs in the country with a long tradition of championship wins, as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The university’s athletic director Paul Bryant is excited about being a part of this year’s Chicago Football Classic and working with businessmen and organizers Larry Huggins, Tim Rand and Everett Rand on making sure HBCU schools are highlighted on a national platform.

    Mary L. Datcher, Chicago Defender Sr. Staff Writer sat down with Bryant and discussed the program’s direction, recruitment and continuing the school’s tradition of producing quality students both athletically and academically. Read it on The Defender. 

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    Group prepares for Womanhood101

    The CEO Mind Foundation will host “Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed Program,” Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Eden Park Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd., 9am -noon.

    The program will teach 10- to 14-year-old girls how to build self-awareness, social and emotional competencies, how to cultivate self-respect and personal responsibility, and how to make informed choices.

    Speakers include Siedda Hebert, Paula Hutchinson, Imanni Sheppard, and Miss Black East Baton Rouge 2017 Makeva Armant.

    They will  discuss self-esteem, positive connections, self-love, and entrepreneurship. Although the event is free, registration is required. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

    ONLINE:theceomind.org.

    By Nadja Curtis
    Contributing Writer

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    Farmer and Agriculture Stakeholder Forum planned for Sept. 13

    The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute will host the Farmers and Agriculture Stakeholders Forum, Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 1:30pm in SARDI’s office, 1209 Diesi St, in Opelousas.

    Farmers, agricultural stakeholders, elected officials and community stakeholders are invited to participate in the forum. Participants will be provided with information on programs and services offered by the federal government; as well as helpful resources for farmers and agricultural workers who have been impacted by the 2016 floods and Hurricane Harvey.

    A representative from the USDA and the offices of the three Congressmen elected to represent St. Landry Parish – Congressman Ralph Abraham, Congressman Clay Higgins and Congressman Mike Johnson – will be in attendance to present information and address questions.

    St. Landry Parish’s Congressmen serve on the following agriculture-related committees:

    Congressman Abraham
    House Committee on Agriculture
    Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
    Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry
    Research and Technology

    Congressman Higgins
    Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    Subcommittee on Environment

    Congressman Johnson
    House Committee on Natural Resources
    Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
    Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans.

    Interested participants are asked to pre-register by Monday, September 11th to SARDI@suagcenter.com or by calling Krystle J. Washington at 337- 943-2410.

    Research has shown that every major crop grown in the state, is grown in St. Landry Parish; and, for decades the parish has been a leading agricultural parish in the state. A pillar of the mission at SARDI is to provide local farmers/ agriculture stakeholders with the information, tools, and resources they may need to go to the next level.

    SARDI is a satellite campus of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center located in Opelousas, La. in St. Landry Parish.

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

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    Former Louisiana hotel owner, billionaire to headline International Black Business Week in Chicago

    CHICAGO—While African Americans continue to be the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the United States, they are also failing at greater rates, according to a report released by the Kaufman Foundation. But organizers of the International Black Business Week Expo & Conference said those rates can change with innovation, global relationships, and a focus on legacy.
    Held October 4-6 at Malcolm X College Conference Center, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.- Chicago, IL, the International Black Business Week Expo & Conference will convene entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and change agents from across the globe to explore critical topics that will propel businesses forward and position small and mid-sized brands for success in state, national, and international markets.

    Covering everything from digital marketing to innovative business funding solutions, asset protection, generational wealth creation strategies, and more, International Black Business Week Expo & Conference will kick-off with a keynote by African-American Billionaire Businessman Michael V. Roberts who once owned a hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana.

    Known as the “Actionaire,” Roberts acquired his $1 billion wealth through real estate investments in hotel properties, shopping centers, telecommunications, and television.

    21366740_10100101843358713_6574805945588486178_o“As entrepreneurs we far too often struggle with finding and accessing tools, valid strategies, and resources that will help grow our businesses. Some of us just don’t know where to look. For those people, IBBW is a solution. We’re putting the people in the room that you need to connect with to take your business to the next level. We’re also intentionally putting the resources in the room. Any question you have, any gaps that exist in your business, any humps you need to get over, IBBW is a center of solutions. If you have a product or service that can be marketed beyond the local marketplace, into the national or international marketplace, we have experts to help you do that as well,” said IBBW founder Traneisha Jones. “There are countless opportunities in other countries that we can leverage to our benefit right here in Chicago. Let’s go global! Get here, so we can get you there!”

    The conference will also feature an exhibition with B2B resources, a signature Personal Branding Lounge and Hustle Lab for those needing innovative solutions for raising capital to start or grow their business, and presentations by a host of business leaders and experts including Professor Devin Robinson of the Beauty Supply Institute, Jamal Miller of Married & Young and Attorney Ernest Fenton of Law Offices of Ernest B. Fenton.

    Register at www.intlblackbusinessweek.com.

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  • EVENTS: September community events

    ONGOING EVENTS

    West Baton Rouge NAACP, every 2nd Tuesday, Hall’s & Sons Funeral Home, 1160 Louisiana Avenue, Port Allen, 6pm.

    Victims of Domestic Violence,  meeting with the Iris Center hosts its Coordinated Community Response Team,  last Tuesday of each month, West Baton Rouge Parish Library, 1pm. (225) 332-2509.

    East Baton Rouge School Board,  each third Thursday, 650 N. Foster. 5pm . www.ebrschools.com

    Tangipahoa Parish School Board,  each first Tuesday,  Central Office Board Room 59656 Puleston Road, Amite, 6pm

    Recovery Support at Addis has meetings for men and women seeking freedom from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, over eating, or other addictions. Women meet Sundays at 4pm. Contact Ellie (225) 776-1652. Men meet Sundays at 7pm Contact James (225) 218-5630. Both groups meet at First Baptist Church in Addis, 6781 LA Hwy 1, Addis

    Ponchatoula City Council meets every second Monday, 6pm, Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 W. Hickory St.

    Sickle Cell Anemia Support Group. 2nd Wednesdays. Main Library at Goodwood . noon.

     

    SEPTEMBER EVENTS

    9: Friendship Facelift: A Vision Board Party for Women! Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., 3pm. Bring your best friends with you and listen to soft, relaxing music while creating a vision board with magazine clippings to illustrate your dreams, goals and aspirations. All supplies will be provided.

    10: Recovery Month Community Discussion. Main Library at Goodwood. 3pm. Discussion on mental health and substance use disorders. This annual observance is sponsored each September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Allison M. Smith, associate director of the Louisiana Center Addressing Substance Use in Collegiate Communities, will moderate the discussion.

    13 -16: Baton Rouge Slam!: An Obituary for Summer 2016, LSU, Coates Hall, Room 137, HopKins Black Box, 7:30pm, and Sept. 17, 2:30pm. Last summer: Racial tensions, protests, and natural disasters flooded the Red Stick. One year later, we stage local poet interviews and remix Eclectic Truth slam poems, inviting the community to reflect on a capital divided. Reserve seats: https://goo.gl/LUXdUq. Donations.

    15: Dear Friend. Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, 427 Laurel St, Baton Rouge, 7pm. A performance of letters representing the different communities and diverse perspectives that form our collective American story. Most of the letters are contemporary, written during the past few years, and a few are older and speak to different moments in our nation’s history.

    20: Human Trafficking Awareness Symposium. Baton Rouge Community College, Magnolia Theatre, 9am-noon. Presented by the Governor’s Office of Community Programs. Register: dana.hunter@la.gov

    23: Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed. Eden Park Branch Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd, 9am-noon.  Purpose is to unite girls (age 10– 14) to empower one another, activate awareness, and grow in power. The Womanhood 101: Girls EmPOWERed program provides a safe place to learn and build greatness. Hosted by THE CEO MIND Foundation

    22: State Capitol March Against Police Brutality and Police Use of Excessive Force. Louisiana State Capitol. 4pm – 7pm. Hosted by Progressive Louisianan and the State Conference of the NAACP. Info by text: (337) 240-6336.

    30: Dependable Strengths: How to Find and Grow the Best within You. Main Library at Goodwood, 9am – 4pm. Certified facilitator Mike Cragin will teach ways to discover your strengths and offer help with making a plan to develop them. Registration is required. Career Center, (225) 231- 3733, www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

     

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    Ponchatoula streets will rock during Art & Wine Stroll 2017

    Bigger, better and bustin’ out all over downtown best describes this year’s Art & Wine Stroll sponsored by Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce.

    Saturday, September 16, will see something new added to Art & Wine from 5-8 p.m. and that is music galore from 6-8 p.m. Eighteen sets of performers will be singing and playing in fourteen locations in an easy-walking five-block area on both sides of the railroad tracks. In a recent interview with Kim Howes Zabbia and T. J. Barends, coordinators of the musical portion of the evening, it was easy to catch the excitement this addition will bring. Barends owns Bare Sounds Studio, 276 East Pine Street, and is known for his quality recording as well as his own expertise in both playing and teaching music. He said the event will be mostly acoustic and easy-listening.

    The public can vote on its favorite musician giving the winner two hours studio time recording and being featured on next year’s poster. Attendees will be given a booklet with details of the evening and contact info will be on posters near each musician’s stand. Musicians booked by Barends are from the area although they perform across a large region and their style of music is varied and plentiful due to their versatility, greater than can be listed.

    • “Invisible Cowboy”- Classic Rock
    • “Alex & Lexie Theriot” – Classic Rock and 80s and 90s
    • “PTown Ramblers” – Folk and Country
    • “Graham Guillory” – Classical
    • “John-Mark Gray” – Rock and Roll
    • “Lacy Blackledge” – Rock and Roll
    • “Ballot’s” – Folk and Pop
    • “Lake Ragan” – Pop, Rhythm and Blues
    • “TJ Barends” – Folk/Rock
    • “Avery Meyers” – Pop
    • “Benjamin Thomas” – Rhythm and Blues
    • “Lance Younger” – Rock and Roll,
    • “Britton Newton” – Rock
    • “Lindsay Cardinale” – Pop and Country
    • “Lil’Bit Meaux Band” – Swamp Pop
    • “Britney Jenkins” – Pop and Country
    • “Cody Ellis Band” – Modern Country\
    • “Sylas Faust” – Country.

    Zabbia said thanks to the generosity of the following sponsors, each performer will be paid an honorarium directly from them: Especially for You, JaniKing Gulf Coast, Benton Thames State Farm, The Art Station, Bare Sounds Studio, LaCaretta’s Restaurant, ITL Accounting, Louisiana Purchase Brewery, Paw Paw’s Country Buffet, Legnd Internet Market, Ponchatoula Therapy, Roussel’s Specialty Shop, Margaret Bailey, Gwen and Robert Barsley, Andrew Edwards, Roux and Brew Seafood and Steak, Middendorf’s, Moss and Berry, Xpressions, Mad Maidens Bar, and Stray Cats Sports Bar.

    Art and Wine Stroll Committee Chair Jenel Secrease and Co-Chair Kathleen Elstrott report applications from Visual Artists are still coming in for that part of the evening. Watch for upcoming news about the Visual Art portion and for more info, visit the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or www.ponchatoulachamber.com which includes an Artist application form.

    The public will be able to vote for their favorite visual artist, giving the winner $100 in art supplies from The Art Station and a featured spot on next year’s poster. A wine glass will be supplied along with an arm band for a $20 fee for the entire evening and will be available for purchase from the Chamber the night of the event in front of Ole Hardhide’s alligator cage, at Ponchatoula Therapy and at A Touch of Country. (Purchasers will be carded.)

    The event is free for those not partaking in wine samples and children’s art will be on display bringing everything together for a delightful family outing.

    By Kathryn Martin
    Contributing Writer

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    Rock N Rowe concert heads to Perkins Rowe Town Square, Sept 14

    Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor, known for their upbeat dance tunes and romantic ballads with lyrical twists perform for the “Rock N Rowe” Concert Series on Thursday, September 14, 6pm – 9pm,  at Perkins Rowe Town Square, 10202 Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge.

    The jam-packed performance also features some of Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room All-Stars that include blues rapper Lee Tyme, southern soul singer Uncle Chess, gospel/jazz singer Wyanda Paul and singer/songwriter Larry “LZ” Dillon.

    The band is Henry Turner Jr. on guitar, background vocalists Jenessa Nelson and Miss Molly, Patrick Joffrion on bass, Larry Bradford on percussion, Dinki Mire on keys with Joe Monk on drums and Andrew Bernard on saxophone.

    Some of the fan’s favorite songs include “Ugly Man,” I Might Just Let You Go” and an homage to his hometown, “The Baton Rouge Theme Song.” Henry Turner Jr. & Flavor are well known for developing a syncopated style of music that includes blues, soul, reggae and funk rhythms.

    ONLINE: http://www.henryturnerjr.COM

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    Baton Rouge Speaks Event Inspires Community

    Capitol Elementary School’s gymnasium provided a bright and inviting atmosphere for Baton Rouge Speaks: A Conversation about Jobs, Health, and Social Justice in Our Community. The word ‘Harambee’ plastered on the wall reminded attendees of the Kenyan principle to “pull together”. Nearly 100 people attended the event which, for me, evoked the spirit of Louisiana-born civil rights leader Kwame Ture who once said, “The knowledge I have now is not the knowledge I had then.” Ture would also say, that “unity is the greatest power of a community”.

    On June 29, organizers of Baton Rouge Speaks echoed the same message, shared valuable community resources, and honored four men who have been proven to be outstanding community leaders and mentors to young men.

    BR Speaks Dunn CollinsThe honorees were Daryl Hurst, of Elite Sports; Kirwin Sims, of Sims and Sons; Christopher Johnson, of the Baton Rouge Rising Stars Boxing Team; and Marvin Augustus Sr. of Augustus Properties LLC.

    Hurst, of Elite Sports, mentors and builds up children through team sports and other activities. Elite Sports offers programmatic mainstays like tutoring, camps, college campus tours, and community service projects that highlight the importance of giving back. Elite Sports is an umbrella organization that partners with professional athletes who have a Baton Rouge connection such as basketball players Garrett Temple and Terrel Martin. The year-old organization, has sponsored 150 kids in their football camp with another 150 on the wait list. Hurst said his greatest joy is to be a positive role model and see the kids, whose life he impacted, go on to college and beyond to be great leaders”.

    Sims is owner of Sims and Son, BDS Motors, and Big Boys Car Wash. Sims has been doing construction for more than 16 years, completing small construction work, foreman work, paving, and debris cleanup. He was recognized for taking chances on at-risk youth, showing them how to work hard and provide for themselves. He says, “We all get together and look out for each other. If you need a service, come see me at work. If your son needs a job and he doesn’t mind working in the heat, I don’t mind giving it to you.” For fun, Sims leads an ATV riding group called Mud Mafia along with Jeremy Smith, owner of The Spot Barbershop.

    Johnson was honored for his dedication to leading youth through the Baton Rouge Rising Stars Boxing Team. As a trainer, he has discovered and developed the natural skills within young boxers turning fledgling competitors into professionals. He has lead the boxing team for five years, competing in several state tournaments, and a National tournament. Johnson said, “The youth is where it is!” His joy for helping young athletes is genuinely felt. One of his star boxers said, “Johnson is a ‘man’s man’.He is one of those guys that, if you have it in you, he will get the best of you.”

    Augustus was acknowledged for providing jobs to members within the community from his real estate and heating/cooling businesses. For his dedication, Augustus Properties LLC and Marvin’s Heating and Air Enterprise LLC are flourishing, He says he isn’t a “boss”. “He leads a team and everyone is important”. After being imprisoned in his youth, he was stuck working temporary jobs with grueling labor. His wife found an opening for a maintenance job that put him on the path to a lifelong career. He used those skills to open his own business, which has seen 17 successful years. “There is no such thing as poverty. You do well and increase productivity, your pay comes up as well,” he said. He is an active member of Living Faith Christian Center. He has been married for 31 years and has fathered three children. Augustus said, “He is proud of the reputation that he has built for himself and his businesses”.

    Speakers at the event; such as personal trainer and wellness coach Gary Ausbon, told the audience that health comes from the inside out. There are small changes that can be made to start feeling and looking better. “Pay me now or pay me later,” he said, explaining that it is important to be mindful of health on the front end means the rest will take care of itself later. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” he said, encouraging everyone to put information to action and get past the starting line.
    Web Baton Rouge Speaks Dr. whitfield
    Dr. Rani Whitfield reiterated that diet is everything. Many foods are genetically modified, containing steroids and compounds that do more harm than good. His rule of thumb, “If it has more than five ingredients, it probably isn’t good for you.” Whitfield also described the difference between a community and a hood. A community is one where its residents own businesses and establishments; where everyone is responsible for the mental, spiritual and financial wellness of the collective.

    The Reverend Reginald Pitcher brought that message home. He spoke on issues within the Black community, stressing that whatever problems we have, we are the solution. He touched on “home training”, the education system, community policing, and more. We have idle power that needs to be awakened, gone stale in the time since we were fighting for basic civil rights. A dose of real talk and old school examples from this seasoned activist and leader was met with affirming “Mmhmm”s and “Amen”s from the audience. Pitcher urges those who are scared to sit down, and for those who are sitting down to stop complaining; “Can’t nobody save us for us, but us”. He ended on a positive note, that a change in our environment takes nothing but creativity to build and shape it.

    Terry Simmons of T. Simmons and Company built and shaped his own change. T. Simmons is a brand development, talent optimization, and new business development firm in Baton Rouge that works with novice and large-scale clients. Part of his motivation stems from seeing the need to build a competitive workforce throughout Louisiana. He said, “Developing our potential is top priority especially since this state keeps most of its workers”. He schooled the audience on the importance of hard skills, soft skills, industries in demand, and how your social media page isn’t just for fun. He encouraged each of us to be competitive and share resources on how to get a leg up.

    The Baton Rouge Speaks Event was a sight to behold. The positive energy reverberated in every guest as they walked out of the Capitol Elementary School’s doors and returned to their own neighborhood more knowledgeable and empowered. It was great to see the collaboration of community leaders, agencies, and residents gathered to discuss the critical issues that have not be addressed within our communities.

    Representatives from the Louisiana Urban League, Metromorphosis’ Urban Congress, Baton Rouge AIDS Society, Employ BR, The CEO Mind Foundation, Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network, and United Healthcare shared resources. Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis and State Representative Edmond Jordan were also present. Catering was provided by Boil & Roux Southern Kitchen.

    By Carmen Green
    Contributing Writer

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    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church celebrates 100 years

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church One-Hundred Years Centennial Celebration was held on Sunday, June 25, at the 10:55am worship service. The theme was “God’s Grace and Witnessing for Jesus Christ.  Founding dates 1917-2017.  

    The centennial message was given by Pastor Stephen Emmanuel Handy, of McKendree United Methodist Church located in Nashville, Tennessee.  He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana with a bachelors degree in business administration.  He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in divinity from Vanderbilt University and is currently working on his doctorate in divinity from Wesley Seminary.  In 2009, Stephen was appointed by the Bishop to become the first African-American Pastor at McKendree United Methodist Church.  His father, Bishop W.T. Handy, served on the United Methodist Ministry for many years and was former minster of the St. Mark United Methodist Church located in Baton Rouge.  

    Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church Centennial Celebration, January-June 2017 Schedule of Events
    Activities and Fellowship, “A Moment of Camphor History”, Black History Sunday, Ecumenical Service, Gospelfest, Writing Essay Contest, Church Outside the Wall, “When Camphor was in Vogue”, Centennial Banquet, Centennial Concert, Prayer Breakfast, Old Fashioned Basket Family Picnic, and the Centennial Celebration Praise and Worship Services. A reception was held after the worship services in the Moses T. Jackson Fellowship Hall.

    The twelve founders and former ministers were recognized.  The Centennial Celebration was very well attended.  Rev. Clifton Conrad Sr., Senior Pastor, Rev. Tiffanie Postell, Associate Pastor, Rev. Ken Irby, Baton Rouge District Superintendent and Rev. Cynthia Harvey,  Bishop, Louisiana Annual Conference.  Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 8742 Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

    By Mada McDonald Clark
    Contributing Writer

    Photographed above are: Julia B. Moore, Claude Tellis DTh., Mada McDonald Clark, Mary Emerson, Rev. Stephen Emmanuel Handy, Associate Pastor Tiffanie C. Postell, Pastor Clifton C. Conrad Sr., Press L. Robinson, Sr. EdD, Marilyn Ray-Jones DTH, Wesley J. Belton, Blanche P. Smith, and Mary T. Charles. Photo by: Tina Bernard. Submitted by: Katrina Spottsville

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    Seven additional community meetings announced on the Zoo

    The community is strongly encouraged to attend 13 community meeting on the Zoo at Greenwood Park. BREC announced six meetings last week. The Keep the Zoo at Greenwood Park Committee are adding seven additional community meetings. BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight has been invited to attend all of the additional meetings; however, the Keep the Zoo at Greenwood Park will be on hand for all 13 meetings.

    “Every citizen has a role to play in building community and creating sustainable community investment across our East Baton Rouge parish. The vitality of our Baton Rouge Zoo at Greenwood Park and democracy relies upon the active participation of every person,” said committee member, Becky Bond.

    According to a written statement, the group saw the need for additional meetings to offer a balance in diversity; reaching across lines of race, culture, class, and location to gather participants.

    Meetings planned:

    • July 11 – Perkins Road Community Park, 7122 Perkins Road, 6pm
    • July 11 – City of Baker Council Meeting, Baker Municipal Center, 3325 Groom Road, Baker, LA 6pm
    • July 12 – City Center Development District, Piccadilly Cafeteria, 6406 Florida Blvd., 8:00 am
    • July 13 – Highland Road Community Park, 14024 Highland Road, 6pm
    • July 22 – Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 185 Eddie Robinson Sr., Dr., 9:00 am
    • July 25 – CADAV Community Meeting, Scotlandville Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy., 6:00 pm
    • August 1 – Central Library, 11260 Joor Road, Central, LA, 6pm
    • August 01 – Baton Rouge Airport, Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 3:30 pm
    • August 3 – Zachary Library, 1900 Church Street, Zachary, LA ; 6pm
    • August 8 – Independence Park Theatre, 7500 Independence Blvd, 6pm
    • August 10 – Federation of GBR Civic Associations, Goodwood Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., 6:00 pm
    • August 14 – Greenwood Waterfront Theater, 13350 Hwy. 19, 6pm
    • August 24 –Visit Baton Rouge Board Meeting, 359 3rd Street, 12 noon
    For more information, contact Metro District 2 at (225) 389-8331

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    Genealogy Gathering scheduled for Georgetown 272 descendants, June 24

    The GU272 Descendants Association and the River Road African American Museum are co-hosting a Genealogy Gathering at the Ascension Parish Courthouse, 300 Houmas St., Donaldsonville, Saturday, June 24, 9am-3pm

    “This Genealogy Gathering to help descendants with the process of researching their family tree and learning more about the history of the Jesuits of Georgetown University and their sale of our ancestors to Louisiana. Descendants will meet other descendants and share family information as they figure out how they may be related to each other. You are encouraged to bring your laptop if applicable, note paper, your family tree information and any other information you may want to share at this gathering,” said organizers.

    “272 slaves were sold to save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants? In 1838, the Jesuit priests who ran the country’s top Catholic university needed money to keep it alive. Now comes the task of making amends.”Gen-Gathering-6_24_17

    The meeting is free to the public, but registration required. Learn more and find your ancestors. You may be a descendant, if your family surnames are: Hill, Harris, Butler, West, Ford, Queen, Hawkins, Dorsey, Ware, Lewis, Henry, Green, or Brown.

    ONLINE: The GU272 Descendants Association,
    Georgetown University Slavery Archive, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/

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    Casas for CASA fundraiser to benefit nonprofit’s advocacy for abused children

    Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates Association announces the 23rd annual Casas for CASA playhouse fundraiser presented by title sponsor Faulk and Meek General Contractors. Casas for CASA generates awareness and funding to support CASA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of abused children.

    The fundraiser kicks off July 16 from 5-8 p.m. with CASA Fiesta at the Renaissance Hotel. The event will feature Mexican cuisine donated by Caliente Mexican Craving, a silent auction and a wine pull. Tickets are $50 each and will be available online at casabr.org, at the door or by phone at (225) 379-8598. Dress is summer casual.

    The 2017 “Grand Victorian” CASA playhouse will be on display July 22-Aug. 13 at the Mall of Louisiana in the main entrance corridor near center court. Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be available online at casabr.org, at the mall or at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. The playhouse was designed by Lilliput Play Homes and assembled by local builder and title sponsor Faulk and Meek General Contractors.

    Casas for CASA concludes with the playhouse giveaway on Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. Faulk and Meek General Contractors will deliver the playhouse to the winner within 60 miles of the mall. Winner need not be present to win.

    All proceeds benefit Capital Area CASA Association, a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in need of safe, permanent homes. The fundraiser enables Capital Area CASA to continue serving every child in East Baton Rouge Parish who needs a voice. Platinum sponsors include Caliente Mexican Craving, Community Network, Lamar Advertising, Mall of Louisiana, Renaissance Hotel and Republic Finance.

    The mission of Capital Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association is to advocate for timely placement of abused and neglected children in permanent, safe, and stable homes.

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    COMMUNITY CALENDAR: June 13 – June 30 events

    June 13-16: Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center Volunteer Camp. Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center, 113 N. Cypress St., Hammond. 1:30pm – 4:30pm – Carolyn Schwebel 985-340-9150 www.lcdcofhammond.org

    14: Garden Fest. LSU Ag Center Botanic Gardens  Burden Museum & Gardens 4560 Essen Lane at I-10. 7:30 am,- 1pm. $10 for adults and children 4-10 years old. Children under 4 will be admitted at no charge.  www.discoverburden.com 225-763-3990.

    14: Job Fest at Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. noon – 3:00p.m. 722 N Broad St, New Orleans, LA 70119. http://www.neworleanswill.com/june-job-fest-zulu-club/

    15-17: Advancing Economic and Entrepreneurial Development in Disaster Recovery. Southern University A&M College 801 APACVB-0056 Juneteenth_2017 (2)_1_0

    Harding Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70813. $25 to register. 225-771-5262

    15: Reimagine Greenwood Regional Park and New State of the Art Zoo Public Meeting. Womack Park Ballroom, 6201 Florida Blvd. 6:30pm. Give input, vote on design features, hear a presentation, controlled question and answer session, brief comments. www.brec.org.

    15-17 & 19: Juneteenth Cultural & Heritage Celebration. Alexandria, Louisiana

    16-17: Tangipahoa Parish Pro Rodeo. Florida Parishes Arena, 1301 NW Central Ave., Amite, Rockin S Rodeo Productions 225-719-3911 or Florida Parishes Arena 985-748-5914 www.floridaparishesarena.com

    18: SWLA Juneteenth Music Festival . Heymann Park 1500 South Orange Street Lafayette, LA 70501. 2pm–7pm.

    18: Juneteenth Freedom Festival. Galvez Plaza Downtown Baton Rouge, LA, 70801. 222 North Blvd. 3pm.

    18: Essence of New Orleans – Mardi Gras Fashion Show & After-Party.  LYCEUM Ballroom, 124 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, 3:30pm, Do-WAP Agency, LLC. http://www.socialife.us or socialife.us@gmail.com

    Juneteenth Cupid19: 12th Annual Flag Day Celebration. Baker Municipal Center. 3325 Groom Road. Baker. 3pm. Hosted by Senator Regina Barrow. 225-359-9400

    20: Together Baton Rouge Flood Matters Assembly. First United Methodist Church 6:30pm.Elected and appointed officials and citizens affected by the flood will work to galvanize the political will needed to address flood recovery and flood prevention as aggressively as circumstances demand: http://www.togetherbr.org/6-20-2017

    24: Mrs. Black West Baton Rouge Competition. The pageant provides educational opportunities to outstanding young women of color and to develop the “whole woman mind, body, and spirit.” Ages 6-25. missblackwestbr@gmail.com 225-302-1732.

    24: New Venture Theatre Silent Auction. Arts Council of Baton Rouge 427 Laurel St. Baton Rouge LA, 70801. $15 Presale. $20. www.nvtarts.org. 225-588-7576.

    24: Omega Psi Phi Linen and Lace Social.Plaquemine Bayou Waterfront Park 57845 Foundry St, Plaquemine. 7pm. Tickets are $20.

    24: Genealogy Gathering. Ascension Parish Courthouse 300 Houmas Street, Donaldsonville 9am-3pm.Gen-Gathering-6_24_17

    26: The Mayor’s Office “Meet the Beat”. United Christian Faith Ministries 9229 N Ridgewood Dr, Baton Rouge. 6pm-7:30pm.  http://ucfministries.org/. 225-927-1161

    Submit your events to our community calendar by emailing news@thedrumnewspaper.info.

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    Summer reading program kicks off in Tangipahoa

    Tangi Library will kick-off its summer reading program following the theme of building and construction using the slogan, “Build a Better World.” Through the program, the library aims to combat summer learning loss by offering dynamic, entertaining and educational programs for children, teens, and adults.

    The program is open to all ages, separated into age categories from birth to 7 years old, 7-12 years old, 12-18 years old, and adults. Everyone that signs up for the program will have a chance to win prizes based on the number of minutes read throughout the summer. The process includes reading yourself or reading to your child, going online and logging minutes, then receiving prizes every time a new benchmark has been reached.

    Along with all of these great prizes, the library will also host entertaining guests to come in and perform. “For our summer kick-off parties, we will have “Lady Chops,” percussionist Elizabeth Vidos sure to bring music to your ears at all of our library locations. Lady Chops is a former STOMP percussionist that provides a quality show with information about different instruments , techniques of playing music, and little bit of a background about her life as a performer. All library locations will have new guests every week in June and July including a petting zoo, a trained dance troupe, stage productions of Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio, a balloon artist extraordinaire, a magician, and more,” said Laura Brooks Thomas, M.A., community relations coordinator, Tangipahoa Parish Library.

    All of these performances are free and open to the public.

    thumbnail_SRP - Photo ChallengeTo get everyone really engaged in the Summer Reading Program, Tangi library invites the public to participate in our social media challenge. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share photos every day for the month of June that fit into the theme, BUILD A BETTER WORLD! With the key below, check and see what the theme of the day is and capture a picture that illustrates the theme. Remember, when doing the challenge, be sure to tag the library and use the hashtag #TangiReadTeam and share all of the amazing things going on at your local library. Join us in building a better world through reading at Tangi Library!

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    COMMUNITY EVENT: Ponchatoula Samaritans to meet May 11

    Ready to aid community leaders, the Ponchatoula Samaritans have scheduled a May 11 meeting at the St. Joseph Ministries. The public is invited.

    Spearheaded by Nancy Bourgeois, the group helps churches, organizations, city and parish government, and interested residents stay informed about what is being done in the Ponchatoula area to meet the everyday needs of its citizens, especially in times of disaster.

    Organizers said this effort prevents duplication of services, and the information gleaned is shared among the groups, further aiding in the process of lending a hand-up to those in need.

    St. Joseph Ministries is located on the corner of West Pine and North Eighth. The lunch meetings are usually potluck. RSVP to Bourgeois at 985-507-1797.

    Submitted News by Kathryn J. Martin

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    50 Shades of Pink comes to Downtown Baton Rouge

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Nu Gamma Omega Chapter hosted 50 Shades of Pink: A Girls’ Night Out on Friday, April 28, 2017, at 6p.m. at the La State Capitol Visitor Center in downtown Baton Rouge. The event was facilitated by the arts committee of the chapter, and included: wine pairings, makeovers, medical spa consulting, shopping, author expos, fashion model participation, food,and music. All the proceeds of the event will directly benefit sewing camps for young girls in the Baton Rouge community.

    Submitted by Morgan E. Etienne, MPA

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    ‘b-side for tray’ comes to Baton Rouge, April 29

    Kimber Lee’s beautiful play, Brownsville Song (b-side for tray), tells the story of a family grieving the tragic loss of 18-year-old Tray, who was shot in his neighborhood of Brownsville, New York. Moving fluidly between past and present, this dynamic new play explores a family at its weakest and strongest moments. Through its intimate portrayal, we’re challenged to resist complacency and reminded of the true value of every life.

    Brownsville song (b-side for tray) runs 7:30pm Saturday, April 29, at and 3pm Sunday, April 30, at Louisiana State University, Music and Dramatic Arts Building.The production is directed by New Venture Theatre’s The Piano Lesson director Tim Sandifer and features an all-star cast including Dwayne Butler, Denisa Joshua, Addison Jordan, Krystal Blatcher, Drelan Evans, and Dion Sideboard.

    Director Tim Sandifer is a theatre director and teacher originally from Baton Rouge who has worked in numerous capacities at Theatre Baton Rouge, Independence Park Theatre, Baker Little Theatre and many other performance venues throughout the region.
    He has trained, performed and directed in many places throughout the world. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern State University of Natchitoches in theatre directing/performance and technical theatre and design. From there he went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts from East 15 Acting School, a part of The University of Essex in London. Tim worked at GITIS – The Russian University for Drama in Moscow. There he worked with direct assistants of Constantin Stanislavski.
    Tim currently serves as the Theatre and Fine Arts teacher at Plaquemine Senior High School. He lives with his wife and fellow Artistic Director of Spotlight Performing Arts Academy, Amber Sandifer, and their three-year-old daughter in Port Allen.
    CAST:
    Tray – Dwayne Butler
    Lena – Denisa Joshua
    Devine – Addison Jordan
    Merrell – Krystal Blatcher
    Junior – Drelan Evans
    Brooklyn College Student – Dion SideboardDESIGN & PRODUCTION STAFF:

    Scenic Designer – Tim Sandifer
    Costume Designer – Christian Jones
    Lighting Designer – Piper Productions
    Properties Designer – Melanie Williams
    Stage Manager – Chelsea Ciconne
    Sound Designer – Bryan Jareau
    TICKET PRICES:Regular Admission | $27
    Students With Valid ID | $22
    BOX OFFICE:     225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    Group rates available and special pricing available for student groups. Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org  to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
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    Urban Congress general convening to discuss improving life outcomes for Black males

    MetroMorphosis, a non-profit dedicated to transforming urban communities from within, is hosting the Urban Congress General Convening on Saturday, April 8 at the BREC Headquarters, 6201 Florida Blvd. This event is an initiative of the organization’s program, The Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge.

    The event is free and open to individuals of all walks of life. Interested community members must register at www.theurbancongress.com  to attend. There will be no on-site registration.  Saturday’s event will feature several guest speakers including Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Trabian Shorters of BMe Community and national speaker and author, Rodney Walker. Check-in for the one-day convening begins at 8:15am and the event will conclude at 2pm.

    In 2015, MetroMorphosis commissioned a study on the state of Black boys and men in Baton Rouge. It includes several daunting statistics that led to the creation of The Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge.

    The Congress held the first general convening in April of 2016 where more than 250 businessmen, elected officials, and concerned citizens gathered for a high-energy day focused around creating a path forward for sustainable change. urbancongresslogo

    It’s been a year of growth since then. The Congress developed a vision, mission, and 7 goals along with groups working towards those goals, plus an 8th group focused around influencing policy. Further, over 70 community organizations are actively engaged who are excited about the work and eager to partner to achieve the seven goals.

    “Our main message is that there’s no quick fix to the challenges we face. It will take time. We were intentional about taking a year to learn of the assets in our community for Black boys and men and now, it’s time for action,” said MetroMorphosis president Raymond A. Jetson.

    The work is in collaboration with  My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, housed in the Mayor’s office, and 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge.

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    Celebrity bowling challenge set for April 8

    Baton Rouge Bowling Proprietors will host the “Mayor’s Celebrity Bowling Challenge to Strikeout Hunger” with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Saturday, April 8, benefiting the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

     Broome will be joined by television anchors and reporters, and other local celebrities at the Raising Cane’s River Center. The event begins with a VIP reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and bowling from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. More than 200 people are expected to participate.

    “This is a fun event for the whole community and it raises money for a great cause,” Broome said. “The Food Bank was hit hard by the flood, so this fundraiser will help them move forward in their recovery efforts.”

    The bowling challenge is a kickoff for the United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships, which will be held in Baton Rouge starting April 23. The Mayor’s Celebrity Challenge was last held in 2012 during the USBC Open Championships in Baton Rouge.

    The challenge is being sponsored by the USBC, Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, the Kiwanis Club of Cortana and others.

    Tickets are also available for $50 per person for those who want to attend the event, but don’t want to bowl.  For more information, contact call Marc Pater at 225-603-5914 or paterm@bellsouth.net.

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    Broome invites public to city-wide dialogue on education, March 21

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is inviting education stakeholders to attend the City Parish’s Inaugural Education Roundtable: City-Wide Dialogue to help close the education gap in our community.

    As part of the roundtable which will be held on March 21, East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Members, Metro Council Members, and other educators will come together to share common goals, express challenges, and develop solutions to enhance the educational experiences of our children. Representatives from Southern University, LSU, and Baton Rouge Community College will also participate in the event.

    “While education doesn’t fall directly into my realm of responsibility, it is a very important part of helping to move our City Parish forward,” Broome said.  “My vision for this forum is to help support local systems and boards so all of our students have an opportunity to succeed.”

    The education roundtable will take place at the Raising Cane’s River Center in rooms 9 and 10 from 3:30pm to 7pm. It will include two sessions:

    ·        3:30pm. to 5:15pm, Information sessions will feature speakers discussing various topics including early childhood expansion, higher education connections, and future workforce demands.
    ·        5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., a dialogue between Metro Council and School board members about proactive measures that can be taken to enhance the experiences of our children.

    Members of the audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions or make comments.  Participants should enter the River Center on the St. Louis Street side near the theater.

    Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP here: Attend Education Roundtable
     

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    Ponchatoula native brings ‘Something Miraculous’ to Baton Rouge stage, March 26

    It was a matter of fate that Lady Toussaint Duchess ended up bringing her highly-anticipated stage play to Baton Rouge.

    She had recently returned to visit her family after an extended stay in Africa for seven months and was watching the news the night Baton Rouge elected its first black female mayor, Sharon Weston Broome. She heard Broome speak about her plans to build a new, more inclusive and prosperous city and wanted to be part of that.

    “I listened to her and believed that TDE (Toussaint Duchess Entertainment) could be a small piece of the fabric that could help build a new Baton Rouge,” said Duchess, who added that she also wanted to give back to her home state as a whole through her ministry.

    Then Duchess met her cousin Michael Toussaint Sr. shortly thereafter, and the rest was history. The two talked about their professions and passions and decided that they wanted to bring something grand to the area that residents would appreciate. Duchess told Toussaint about her company’s stage plays and how she has worked with the likes of Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes and would like to bring her national connections to Baton Rouge. They eventually decided to debut Duchess’ theatrical soap opera “Something Miraculous” at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church’s Family Life Center.

    “’Something Miraculous’ is truly a life-changing theatrical experience that you do not want to miss,” Duchess said. “We’re asking everyone to come out and enjoy this Broadway-style dinner theatre that we’re bringing to Baton Rouge. It will be a night of great food, fellowship—and of course drama.” image

    Episode One of “Something Miraculous” premieres March 26 at 3pm and 7:30pm. VIP tickets have sold out for both shows, but General Admission tickets are still available for $35 on Eventbrite.com or by calling (225) 771-8527.

    Duchess will be starring as Mrs. Lucy, the no-nonsense grandmother who speaks her mind and will “shade” a person at any given moment. The show will also feature Trisha Mann-Grant, who is widely-known for her role in “The Man in 3B,” the movie based on the Carl Weber bestseller of the same title.

    “Something Miraculous” is dedicated to Michael Toussaint Sr.’s son, Michael Toussaint Jr., 32, who was killed in a car accident in 2015. The co-owner of Toussaint Customs in Port Allen, he was affectionately referred to as “Mustang Mike.”

    The elder Toussaint owns Michael T. Enterprises and serves as president of River City Records. He has produced two tailgate songs for the New Orleans Saints, which were released courtesy of Mardi Gras Records. He will also be making an appearance in the show.

    Duchess has lived and worked all over the country, collaborating with Babyface, Fantasia Barrino, Fred Hammond, and Robin Givens on various projects. After surviving a painful divorce and going on sabbatical in Africa for healing, she said that her relationship with God sustained her along the way. She said she lives by the Romans 12:6 scripture, “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”

    It has been a decade since Duchess last performed in Baton Rouge in her play “Dream With Your Eyes Open.” Eventually she plans on moving back to Florida and having dual citizenship in the U.S. and Tanzania. However, she said Baton Rouge is home for now and feels that she is right where she needs to be.

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    The Diabetic Kitchen to host 1st International 5K Walk/Run for a Cure of Diabetes, Alzheimer’s

    Members of The Diabetic Kitchen and the Village Members have teamed up to host a 5K Walk/Run to promote a greater awareness of Diabetes health and wellness, Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Coteau, La. The Run will begin and end at 7913 Champa Avenue, in the Lanexang Village.

    “Both groups realized that we’re facing an alarming increase in Diabetes and Diabetic-related illnesses by far too many family members and friends. This collaboration resulted in the opening of a door to a partnership. As a result, we formed an Information, Education, and Hope-Filled Outreach Pocket of Help for our communities and this 5K Walk/Run is an attempt to keep more and better interest in health and health care issues,” said Nathaniel Mitchell Sr., founder/CEO of The Diabetic Kitchen.

    The Event will begin with:
    Registration…………………………………7:00 am
    Prayer and Warm-up…………………….8:15 am
    Walk Begin………………………………….8:30 am

    Cost:
    Adults 18 and Over………………………$15.00
    Youth 12 – 18 Years Old………………..$10.00
    Teams of Five……………………………..$40.00
    Free for Youth 11 Years and Younger
    Booth Space………………………………..$20.00

    Contact: The Diabetic Kitchen, 337-519-3010

    ONLINE: www.thediabetickitchen.org
    The Diabetic Kitchen on Facebook

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    Small farmers gather for annual conference on innovations, resilience

     Small farmers from throughout the state will gather at the Southern University Ag Center March 16-18 to attend the 7th annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference.

    The three-day conference, themed “Innovations and Resilience for Louisiana Small Family Farms,” is designed to educate, provide expanded awareness of educational opportunities, USDA programs and services and other resources to help small farmers stay in business.

     Registration for the conference is complimentary for anyone who submits their registration form by Friday, March 3. On-site registration will begin at 8am.

     Conference speakers will include Jay Grymes, chief meteorologist at WAFB News Channel 9; Brandon Davis, agriculture labor attorney at Phelps Dunbar, LLC.; Leonard Jordan, associate chief for conservation at the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and Brennan Washington, minority farmer/ outreach specialist at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE).

    Session during the conference will include:

    • Drone Demonstrations
    • Grant Writing
    • Soil Health
    • Farm Labor
    • Marketing

    This event is the ideal venue for new and beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, backyard gardeners and community based organizations.

    Other events occurring during the conference will include the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and the graduation ceremony for the 2016 Class of the Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    To register, visit http://www.suagcenter.com/small-farmers or contact Kelli Hollins at 225-771-2242 or e-mail kelli_hollins@suagcenter.com.

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    Museum presents ‘The Thibodaux Massacre’ Book Tour, Feb. 18

    For the first time ever, a limited number of people will experience live, the on-site telling of a key story hidden from people of Louisiana. Join us for this unique tour with the author who recently verified and chronicled the story in his book, The Thibodaux Massacre. The Feb. 18 tour will begin at 10 am from the Road African American Museum, 406 Charles Street, Donaldsonville, and continue down Bayou Lafourche to Thibodaux, returning to Donaldsonville at 3 pm.

    As part of its “When History Hurts” program, the River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) is sponsoring a day-long bus tour of Louisiana’s sugar cane country, which will include the site where striking Black laborers were buried after a mass murder that ended an 1887 tri-parish strike. The incident has since become known as the Thibodaux Massacre. John DeSantis, author of ‘The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike,” will share vivid details of this history and other events from a chartered bus making stops at locations relevant to the story. The tour includes a stop in Thibodaux where victims of the massacre are believed buried, where plans are afoot for archeological exploration by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

    Critically acclaimed for its thorough research, the book is interwoven with the story of Jack Conrad, a former Lafourche Parish slave who joined the U.S. Army during the Civil War. After fighting for his freedom with other Black soldiers, he is wounded in the massacre 22 years later while watching vigilantes kill his son and others participating in the strike.

    “Much of this hurtful history until now has been unknown,” said DeSantis. “This is a story of empowerment, because 25 years after emancipation these courageous people dared standing up to an oppressive culture of white supremacy.”

    The tour is limited to 55 people and the tour price is $75 which includes:
    * A signed copy of the book, The Thibodaux Massacre
    * Lunch 
    * A tour of the River Road African American Museum
    * A private bus tour narrated by the author

    The museum’s director, Kathe Hambrick, said this special tour is meant to be “a healing tour” in the memory of those resilient sugar workers who lost their lives fighting for fare wages and equality. The history is painful, but we cannot move forward with reconciliation until there is acknowledgement of the injustices that happened right here in our own communities.

    For more information, call 225-206-1225.

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    Same Crime, Different Punishment; Together Baton Rouge to report on BRPD enforcement disparities

    Tomorrow at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together Baton Rouge will release an analysis of neighborhood disparities in the Baton Rouge Police Department’s enforcement of drug possession laws between January 2011 and January 2017.

    According to the Reverend Lee T. Wesley, the goal of the study is to improve the quality and depth of the police reform discussion in Baton Rouge.

    “We figured we could either sit around and wait for the Department of Justice to make some contribution, or we could start to act for ourselves at the local level,” said Wesley, who is an executive committee member of Together Baton Rouge. “Our first step has been to take a close look at this very important aspect of policing in our community and how it can be improved.”

    The report examines drug enforcement disparities by calculating BRPD enforcement rates for drug possession on a per capita basis at the zip code level and assesses the proportionality of those enforcement rates by comparing them to the prevalence of illegal drug use in that zip code.

    It also examines the extent to which drug enforcement disparities correlate with neighborhood demographics, including the racial composition of a neighborhood, its poverty level, median income, home values, education level and crime rates.

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    Local Links chapters to announce partnership to support SU

    Two local chapters of The Links, Incorporated will come together to officially announce a partnership with Southern University through the national organization’s Historically Black Colleges And Universities (HBCU) Initiative.

    Officers of the Baton Rouge and La Capitale Chapters of The Links, Incorporated will make a formal announcement of a collaboration that will support the University in increasing graduation rates, providing scholarships, and promoting STEM programs, Tuesday, January 31, 9 am, in the Donald C. Wade House on the Baton Rouge campus.

    “Institutions of higher education have a vested interest in building strong relationships with organizations that serve to build a better community. Southern University welcomes the opportunity to partner with The Links in furthering our mutual goals to strengthen HBCUs,” said Ray L. Belton, Ph.D. president-chancellor, Southern University and A&M College.

    The Links, Incorporated’s HBCU Initiative focuses on addressing the critical needs of the community through transformational programming to increase high school and college graduation rates, awarding college scholarships and endowments, and promoting and supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

    The program features hosting HBCU college fairs and other events in each geographic region, promoting and encouraging connections with an HBCU and its STEM programs, mentoring and recruiting students to attend and complete HBCUs, identifying opportunities to support faculty research and/or professional development, and contributing to the sustainability of HBCU institutions.

    “As an organization committed to community service, The Links of the Baton Rouge area are excited to come together in support of one of the nation’s premier historically black universities,” said Yolanda Dixon and Paula Clayton, presidents of the Baton Rouge and La Capitale Chapters of The Links, Incorporated, respectively.

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    Time2Testify Conference comes to Baton Rouge, Feb 23-25

    Bishop Dwight Pate will host the first Time2Testify Conference at the Baton Rouge Radisson Hotel, February 23-25. Registration is free.

    Since 1995, Pate has prayed over olive oil and sent more than 16 million bottles free of charge around the world. People have experienced the miraculous and are coming to Baton Rouge to celebrate the testimonies of GOD. “Now more than ever, people need to be encouraged that the GOD of the Bible is real and more than a two-hour church service on Sunday.”

    For more information call 800-266-5111 or go online to bishopdwightpate.com

    This news item was submitted online.

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    Divas, Daiquiris, Deals Networking Mixer opens to local female entrepreneurs

    This event is created to have an effective business networking mixer where female entrepreneurs can link together as individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another. While building these relationships, participants also get to enjoy dancing, daiquiris and entertainment. Admission is free. Vendor Spotlight tables are available at bit.ly/dddnetwork2017.

    Please invite your girlfriends out!

    This news item was submitted online.

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    Conference focused on special education starts Jan 30

    The Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children (LaCEC) will host its annual Super Conference on January 30-31, 2017, at the Cajundome Convention Center located at 444 Cajundome Blvd. in Lafayette, LA. The title of this year’s Super Conference is “To the Classroom and Beyond!” The program will include outstanding speakers for general and special educators, families, students, administrators, related service providers, paraprofessionals and postsecondary educators.

    First Lady Donna Edwards and Bambi Polotzola, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs, will present the LaCEC awards during the Super Conference.

    Click here for more information about Super Conference and to register.

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    Families Helping Families of Jefferson offers free online webinars

    Families Helping Families of Jefferson, through its statewide program Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center, invites you to register and attend their free webinars full of rich content. A webinar event is viewed right from your computer, where you can watch, listen and have the option to post questions and get live responses. Webinars are offered on various days and at various times.

    Some of the webinar topics in January are Extended School Year (ESY) Services, Legal Status and Capacity – What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter, EEOC Basic Overview of the Laws, Understanding the Important Difference Between Accommodations & Modifications, Seizure Recognition and First Aid for Families, IDEA: What You Need to Know, Expanded SSI Application Window for Foster Kids, Be Your Own Self-Advocate, Understanding 504, and Individualized Education Program (IEP): A Blueprint for Student Success (for Children and Youth Ages 3-21).

    For a full listing of webinars, visit fhfjefferson.org

    and then click on “What‘s Going On” to choose a topic and register.

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    Broome invites girls to ‘Hidden Figures’ Event

    East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Elect Sharon Weston Broome is inviting young girls to participate in a special outreach event for the release of the feature film, “Hidden Figures.”

    100 young girls will be selected to attend a viewing of “Hidden Figures” followed by a “Chew and Chat” to discuss their purpose, plan, and path as they consider how STEM can impact their future. Women ‘who lead in STEM’ and the community will share in the experience. This initiative is open to girls in 5th – 9th grade from all East Baton Rouge parish zip codes.

    Applicants should submit a paragraph explaining their interest in STEM to: info@BRTransition.com by Thursday, December 29. Selections will be announced on January 4th and details regarding the event will be released thereafter.

     

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    Diana Ross, Mary J Blige to headline Essence Fest

    Essence announced the initial lineup for the 2017 Essence Festival Concert Series in New Orleans, including headlines Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige.

    “This year’s Festival lineup puts women at the forefront of an incredible weekend of entertainment featuring more than 40 of the world’s most gifted artists and performers,” said Essence president Michelle Ebanks.

    The festival, which is the 23rd annual event, will take place June 30-July 2, 2017

    in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 16. More than 40 acts will take place over the 3-day festival, with five stages booked for the many performances.

    The confirmed performers include the following: Diana Ross, Mary J Blige, Chaka Khan, Doug E Fresh, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend, June’s Diary, Lalah Hathaway, Lizzo, Master P, Michel’le, Moses Sumney, Ro James, Shaggy, Sir the Baptist, Solange, Teyana Taylor, The Jones Girls Feat. Shirley Jones, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tweet and Yuna.

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    Museum presents ‘The Strange Origins of Jim Crow’

    Join the West Baton Rouge Museum in welcoming  Aaron Sheehan-Dean on Wednesday, December 7 at noon for a Lunch Time Lecture. He will explore the origins of Jim Crow, an era with roots in Louisiana from the Plessy vs. Ferguson railroad segregation case and living with Jim Crow.

    The museum is located at 845 N. Jefferson Avenue, Port Allen, LA 70767 .

    This program is offered in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, “For All the World to See,” organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. This exhibit examines the role that visual culture played in the civil rights movement. Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and other historic artifacts, For All the World to See traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both Black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

    Sheehan-Dean is the Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies at Louisiana State University. He is also author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia, The Concise Historical Atlas of the U. S. Civil War and the editor of several books. He teaches several courses on nineteenth century U.S. History, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History.

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

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    System Broken: Can effective criminal justice reform come to La?

    In Louisiana, nearly 4 in 10 inmates released from prison are back behind bars within three years, and the state is spending more than $700 million annually on this broken system.  Organizers of a Criminal Justice Reform Summit said legislators, thought leaders, and others can lead Louisiana to adopt a more just and effective criminal justice system. During the summit, the public and these leaders will learn more about how reforms around the country can be effective within Louisiana’s criminal justice system to lower costs while increasing public safety.

    The summit will be Nov. 17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.  Topics on the agenda include:

    • Justice Reinvestment: What it is and Why it’s Critical
    • Cost Saving and Reducing Crime: Proven Successes and Testimonials
    • Linking Workforce Needs and Re-Entry: Unique Employer Challenges and Realistic Solutions

    Panelists include:

    • Jay Neal, interim executive director, GA Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
    • Stephanie Riegel, editor, Baton Rouge Business Report
    • Representative Greg Snowden, MS Speaker Pro Tempore
    • Ian D. Scott, vice president – communications and networks, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
    • Senator Danny Martiny, LA State Senate
    • Terrence Williams, Kia technician, Premier Automotive
    • Stephen Waguespack, president & CEO, LABI
    • Secretary Jimmy Le Blanc, LA Department of Public Safety & Corrections
    • Sheriff Beauregard “Bud” Torres III, Point Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office
    • Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight, 22nd Judicial District Court
    • John Hightower, vice president, East Region, Premier Automotive / Premier Collision Centers
    • Dennis Schrantz, director, Center for Justice Innovation, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations
    • Bryan Kelley, executive relations manager, TX Prison Entrepreneurship Program
    • James M. Lapeyre Jr., president, Laitram LLC
    Read more »
  • ,

    Fall garden workshop scheduled for Nov. 22

    The Southern University Ag Center will host its Fall Garden Workshop themed, “Recovering Your Soil: Gardens, Farms, and Spirit.” The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9am-2pm on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. Registration will begin at 8:30am.

    The workshop will focus on the topics of:

    • Soil Health
    • Soil Sampling
    • Fall and Spring Planting
    • Flood Resistant Trees

    Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that include:

    • Propagating Fig Trees
    • Wreath and Bow Making
    • Healthy Eating for the Season

    This workshop is ideal for school and community garden coordinators, large and small farmers, backyard gardeners, college students, and anyone interested in learning something new about agriculture.

    The Southern University Ag Center, its Wisteria Alliance Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program are co-sponsoring this event.

    For additional information or to RSVP, contact Mila Berhane, Stephanie Elwood, Dawn Mellion-Patin Ph.D., Zanetti Augustine, or Emily King at (225) 771-2242.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Financial recovery empowerment seminar

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation in partnership with Red River Bank will host a series of FREE Financial Recovery Seminars, starting on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016 from 9:30-11:30am at Delmont Gardens Branch Library; Tuesday, Nov.15, 2016 from 5:30-7:30pm at Scotlandville Branch Library; and Thursday, November 17, 5:30-7:30pm at Redemption Life Fellowship. For more information, email info@urecbr.com or call (225) 356-8871. Register online.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    New Venture to present ‘Black Nativity’

    For more than five decades, “Black Nativity” performances have swept International theaters. The play is a is a powerful retelling of the Nativity story from a Black perspective. In Baton Rouge, the New Venture Theatre will present this soul-stirring rendition of the Christmas Story that fills the theatre with thrilling voices, exciting dance and glorious gospel music.

    Directed by Greg Williams Jr. of New Venture, the two-hour show will be performed at the LSU Shaver Theatre. The show runs Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3pm. The show is G-rated and appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $27 before December 1.

    The original Black Nativity was written in 1961 by poet Langston Hughes. The cultural viewpoint and gospel music make Black Nativity a unique performance piece. Often adapted, this version of the production will take the audience from a traditional black church to an Africanized Jerusalem through dance, powerful spirituals and anthems, and toe-tapping gospel numbers.

    The play tells the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey through song and dance, culminating in a rousing finale surrounding the birth of Christ. According to New Venture, the importance of the play is that, though an expression of Christian belief via the African-American perspective, the show appeals to all walks of life.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Young scientists explore propulsion, alternative energy in Baker

    New Orleans scientist Calvin Mackie, PhD, brought the STEM NOLA team of engineers and scientists to Park Ridge Middle Magnet School and challenged more than 150 students attending the first Saturday STEM Baker event on Oct 29. For four hours, scientists as young as three years old conducted experiments in alternative energy, flight, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and paleontology, buoyancy, 3-D construction, flight, and propulsion.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    City Parish, DoJ host community conversations on policing

    The City of Baton Rouge Parish of East Baton will host community conversations to discuss and review police policy on Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 at 6pm in the Raisin Cane’s River Center, Exhibition Hall, meeting room 9.

    Organizers said the public will provide recommendations for a community action plan. Discussions will be led and facilitated by Synthia Taylor, regional director for the Department of Justice Community Relations Service –Southwest Region.

    “This is an opportunity to enhance community relations and develop more resources as we strive to continue to improve community policing,” said Mayor Kip Holden. “We welcome the public’s input on these very important topics.”

    Topics include community policing, police accountability, body cameras, police civil service rules as well as training, recruitment, retention, residency requirements, and pay incentives.

    For more information, call (225) 389-3100. Register at https://ebrcommunityconversation.eventbrite.com.

    Read more »
  • ,

    AKA hosted candlelight vigil set for October 27

    Local elected officials, law enforcement officers, community groups and churches will gather for a candlelight vigil on Thursday, October 27, at 6 p.m., on the steps of the State Capitol, to remember those who died at the hands of loved ones.  The public is invited to attend the vigil.

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Nu Gamma Omega Chapter (Baton Rouge), is organizing the vigil in memory of two sorority sisters, Aleria Cyrus Reed and Monica Butler Johnson, who died at the hands of their estranged husbands.

    Rev. Leo Cyrus Sr., the uncle of Aleria Cyrus Reed and pastor of New Hope and Second Baptist churches, and Rev. Linda Joseph, associate pastor at Neely United Methodist Church, will conduct the candlelight prayer service.

    Preceding the vigil, State Rep. Patricia H. Smith, D-Baton Rouge) will discuss the victim protection laws passed during the recent legislative session, followed by East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Melanie Fields; Baton Rouge Chief of Police Carl Dabadie, Jr., and City Constable Reginald R. Brown, Sr., who will explain how law enforcement officers and the courts are using the state’s domestic violence laws to protect the innocent.  Twahna Harris, executive director of The Butterfly Society, will also speak.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    DOTD announces public hearings

    A series of Public Hearings will be held in accordance with LA R.S. 48:231 and conducted by the Joint Transportation, Highways, & Public Works Committee. Below is a list of the times and places where the hearings will be held. The purpose of the hearings is to review highway construction priorities for the fiscal year 2017-2018. A copy of the Preliminary Program for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 will be available for review by interested persons at the LADOTD Headquarters Building, 1201 Capitol Access Road, Room 200U, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 or at http://wwwsp.dotd.la.gov/Inside_LADOTD/Divisions/Multimodal/Transportation_Planning/Highway_
    Priority/Pages/default.aspx.

    All interested persons are invited for the purpose of becoming fully acquainted with the proposed program and will be afforded an opportunity to express their views. Oral testimony may be supplemented by presenting important facts and documentation in writing. Written statements and comments should be handed to the committee conducting the Hearing, or mailed to the following address, postmarked within 30 calendar days following the Hearing:

    JOINT HIGHWAY PRIORITY CONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE
    C/O LA DOTD (SECTION 85)
    P.O. BOX 94245
    BATON ROUGE, LA 70804-9245

    Should anyone requiring special assistance due to a disability wish to participate in this public hearing, please contact LADOTD (Attn: Ms. Mary Elliott) by mail at the address above or by telephone at (225) 379-1218 at least five days prior to the date of the public hearing.

    LEGISLATIVE PUBLIC HEARINGS
    FOR THE HIGHWAY PRIORITY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM (2017-2018)

    October 10, 2016 – at 10am, Franklin Media Center, 7293 Prairie Road, Winnsboro
    DOTD District 58, Serving Parishes: Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, LaSalle, and Tensas

    October 10, 2016 – at 2 pm, Monroe City Hall, Council Chambers, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway, Monroe
    DOTD District 05, Serving Parishes: E. Carroll, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Union, and W. Carroll

    October 11, 2016 – at 8:30 am, Bossier Civic Center, Bodcau Room, 20 Benton Rd, Bossier City
    DOTD District 04, Serving Parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, Desoto, Red River, and Webster

    October 11, 2016 – at 2:30 pm, England Airpark, James L. Meyer Commercial Terminal Conference Room, 1515 Billy Mitchell Blvd., Alexandria
    DOTD District 08, Serving Parishes: Avoyelles, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vernon, and Winn

    October 12, 2016 – at 8:30 am, Lake Charles Civic Center, Contraband Room, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles
    DOTD District 07, Serving Parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis

    October 12, 2016 – at 2 pm, Lafayette Consolidated Government City Hall Council Chambers, 705 W. University Avenue, Lafayette
    DOTD District 03, Serving Parishes: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion

    October 17, 2016 – 9:30 am, New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center, Conference Room A/B, #10 Veterans Memorial Blvd, New Orleans
    DOTD District 02, Serving Parishes: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and Terrebonne

    October 17, 2016 – 2:30 pm, Southeastern Louisiana University, University Center Room 133, 800 W University Ave, Hammond
    DOTD District 62, Serving Parishes: Livingston, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington

    October 18, 2016 – 9am, State Capitol Basement, House Committee Room 1, Baton Rouge
    DOTD District 61, Serving Parishes: Ascension, Assumption, E. Baton Rouge, E. Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. James, W. Baton Rouge, and W. Feliciana

    Read more »
  • Cultural Diversity Series planned for public dialogue 

    Forum 35 will host a three part cultural diversity series to address community relations, socioeconomics, and charting a path forward in order to promote productive conversation on the issues facing our community.

    All three forums are free and open to the public and will be held at Capitol Park Museum in downtown Baton Rouge from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. They will be formatted as moderated panels followed by breakout discussions, with panelists and moderator to be announced. The three part series will be held on:

    ·         Tuesday, August 23 – Community Relations

    ·         Tuesday, September 13 – Socioeconomic Landscape

    ·         Tuesday, October 11 – Charting a Path Forward

     The road to progress presents many difficult challenges. It is our strong belief that true change requires peaceful action. It requires each of us to show up, to talk to one another, and to listen to one another with empathy. The work of Forum 35—centering around our core pillars of arts & culture, diversity, and leadership—is crucial to creating the community that we all want to live in.

    “Diversity is one of Forum 35’s core pillars. It is the mission of Forum’s Cultural Diversity Committee to create and facilitate dialogue, activities and events that promote diversity, inclusiveness, social awareness and advocacy,” said Terrence Merkerson, cultural diversity chair. “We believe that it is crucially important to host a series of this nature, not only to discuss the recent string of events that have plagued our community, but also to understand the underlying factors responsible for creating the climate in which these kinds of incidents can occur. If we have a better understanding of what created this environment, we will have a much better chance of reconciliation so that together, we can build a better Baton Rouge.”

    Read more »

  • ,,

    Barbers, librarians partner to give back to community

    Greenwell Springs library technician Keith Cooper was watching a movie,”The Barbershop,” when the idea for a community barber day came to him.

    “Knowing how our branch manager Ms. Geralyn Davis is a huge proponent of our going into the community and becoming a part of its fabric, I thought to approach her about our doing our own Back To School Free Haircut Session,” Cooper explained. Not knowing to expect he created flyers and enlisted the support of his co-workers Natoria Ingram, Javia Lazard and Nicole Wilson.

    Barbers from Upper Cuts, Classic Cuts, and Latinos Barbershop joined the team to provide dozens of free hair cuts to boys for school and men for job interviews on Aug. 9 at the library.

    “I could not have been more pleased by the turnout and response from the locals,” Cooper said.

    Read more »
  • July community events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
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    Lafayette Juneteenth Fathers day fun fest Jun 19

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

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

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

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

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

    KJCB_Jazz on the Green_June 17th poster

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

    Free Admission
    Free Food
    No Ice Chest please.

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

    Read more »
  • Wisteria Alliance brings women in ag workshop to New Roads

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

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

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

    Additional workshop topics will include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,,,,

    Jones announces financial lecture and book tour

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

     
    Read more »
  • ,,

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

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

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

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

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

    ONLINE: www.nvtarts.org

    Read more »
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    Growing Louisiana’s small family farms

    Register complimentary before March 4

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,

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

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

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

    Jazz artist George Bel

    Jazz artist George Bel

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

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

    Cordel Parris, MD

    Cordel Parris, MD

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Standing Strong in Sickle Cell benefit concert scheduled for Feb 19

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

    Voices of Hope Gospel Singers of Baton Rouge Present

    “Standing Strong in Sickle Cell”

    A Gospel Concert Honoring Families Affected by Sickle Cell Disease

    Nazarene Baptist Church

    1707 Spanish Town Road

    Baton Rouge, LA 70802

    Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

    7:00 pm

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

    ONLINE: www.brscaf.org

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    COMMENTARY: ‘Mardi Gras, big fat lies’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    image

    awsuits from the very person who pulled the trigger. 

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

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

    By Lori Latrice Martin, PhD
    Guest Columnist

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

    Read more »
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    Terrance Osborne brings ‘Mardi Barq’s’ to Baton Rouge, Feb. 3

    Parades, costumes, beads, king cake and more mark Mardi Gras, the culmination of the Carnival season. Barq’s Root Beer has partnered with Terrance Osborne, an artist inspired by the culturally diverse Gulf Coast, to bring the spirit of the Brand to life
    through his “Mardi Barq’s” piece.

    The artwork is on an eight-foot wood panel and  depicts a colorful Mardi Gras celebration seen in communities across the Gulf Coast during the Carnival season, reflecting the culture and heritage of Barq’s Root Beer.
    Osborne attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Xavier University of Louisiana.

    He taught elementary school for five years before the life-changing events of Hurricane Katrina spurred him to pursue a new career path.

    “Art is my passion and I enjoy capturing moments like Mardi Gras in action,” Osborne said. “Barq’s Root Beer Terrance Osborne brings ‘Mardi Barq’s’ was part of my childhood, so the beverage is connected with positive family memories and my community.” Leading up to Mardi Gras, Terrance will visit the Baton Rouge area to sign free posters of the original artwork for the public.

    Wednesday, February 3
    Location: Matherne’s Downtown
    440 N 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    Time: 11am – 1pm

    Location: Calandro’s Seigen
    12732 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
    Time: 4pm – 6pm

    Read more »
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    SU to honor state, city leaders, Feb. 6

    In celebration of Black History month, the Southern University Alumni Federation Home Chapter and the Southern University Alumni Federation are hosting a reception to honor state and city leaders. The reception will be held at the AW Mumford Fieldhouse,
    Feb. 3, 6pm. The event is free, but RSVPs are required by Jan. 27. Email the Home Chapter at www.suhomechapter@gmail.com or call (225) 443-2167.

    Invited guests include:
    •Department of Transportation & Development Secretary Shawn Wilson
    •Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson
    •Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Chuck Carr Brown
    •Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie
    •Planning & Programming- Deputy Chief of Staff Johnny Anderson
    •Special Counsel Office of the Governor Erin Monroe Wesley
    •Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Administration Desiree’ Honore Thomas
    •State Representative Edward “Ted” James
    •Director of Constituent Services Kim Farris LaCour
    According to organizers, these leaders are being recognized
    for their accomplishments and efforts to help make Louisiana
    “a great state and Baton Rouge a better place for everyone.”

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

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

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

    Here’s the transcript from the meeting:

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

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

    image

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Girl, girl, girl!

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

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

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

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

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

    Q    No, I didn’t.  (Laughter.) 

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

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

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

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

    THE PRESIDENT:  Yay, all right!  Go Panthers!

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

    THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, that’s sweet.

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

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

    Q    Good morning.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.

         Q    This is a pleasure, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Okay?  All right.  (Applause.)

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

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

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

         Q    A little bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Outstanding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

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

         But Michelle looked — she looked identical.  Looked identical.

         Q    We’re proud of her.

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

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Outstanding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         Q    I can hold it.

         THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.

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

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve been, yeah.

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

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

         Q    Hey, Obama is not scary.  So –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Good to see you, Judge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Q    I’m not — I’m a student.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Where are you going to school?

    Q    LSU.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.  What are you studying?

    Q    Math and economics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.

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

    THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  That’s nice.

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

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Some tips?

         Q    Yes.

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

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

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

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

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


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

         A byproduct of that is that they may find themselves in positions of authority or power or influence.  But even if you never get elected to something, if you’re interested in the environment, you don’t have to be the head of the EPA to make a difference.  You might organize in a local community to clean up a site and plant gardens and make sure that the water is clean.  (Applause.)  And you can look back and then say, wow, what an amazing life I’ve had and look at all the difference that I’ve made.
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         And I’ll tell you, the same is true in business.  The most successful business people — if you talk to somebody like a Bill Gates, they don’t start off saying “I want to be the second-richest man in the world.”  They start off saying, “I really want to figure out this computer thing.”  “I want to make this thing work better.”  “I’m excited or interested in how we can solve this problem.”  And then, because they’re so passionate about it and they’ve worked so hard at it, it turns out they make something really good, and everybody else says, I want to be part of that.  That, I think, is a good tip as well.

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

         Q    How you doing, Mr. President?

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

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

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

         THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!

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

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

    ONLINE: See photos at the Jozef Syndicate.

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  • West Baton Rouge Museum to air ‘The Abolitionists’ for MLK Day, Jan 18

    On Monday, Jan. 18, a day when many institutions will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, West Baton Rouge Museum will be open with free admission, 10am – 4:30pm.

    Visitors are welcome to a screening of the documentary, “The Abolitionists” at 10:30 a.m. that day.

    “The Abolitionists” is a documentary that focuses on the 19th century abolitionist struggle that has been noted as America’s first Civil Rights struggle. Abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké turned a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation. The documentary was made available to the West Baton Rouge Museum as part of the “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” series, a Bridging Cultures initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s Civil Rights history.

    The public is invited to visit the last day of the exhibition, “The Portrait, The Artist, and the Patron: 19th Century Portraiture.”

    This exhibit, features masterworks from the Historic New Orleans Collection, Louisiana State Museum, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard Museum, as well as private collections, and includes American and European artists such as Thomas Sully, Jean Joseph Vaudechamps, Jacques Amans, Adolph Rinck, Jules Lion, George Harrison Hite, and George Peter Alexander Healy. Photography from the 19th century is also included in the exhibit. The 19th century photographed portraits emulate the style and composition of the painted portraits, which became increasingly important to families with the outbreak of the American Civil War.

    West Baton Rouge Museum is located at 845 North Jefferson Avenue in Port Allen.

    ONLINE: www.westbatonrougemuseum.com

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    BUSINESS EVENT: Become a licensed claims adjuster, Jan. 23

    The Louisiana Department of Insurance and Small Business Development Center at Southern University are jointly sponsoring a seminar on how to become a licensed claims adjuster. The seminar will be held on Saturday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 313 in T. T. Allain Hall (College of Business) on the Baton Rouge Campus of Southern University.

     

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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.

    Read more »
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    N.O. issues Bayou Classic parking, traffic instructions

    The City of New Orleans issued parking instructions and reminders in advance of events for the 2015 Bayou Classic. The public is encouraged to be patient and to prepare for heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the specified areas by making transportation arrangements accordingly.

    Battle of the Bands

    On Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Battle of the Bands will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. There are no street closures for this event. Traffic will be regulated by detailed officers around the Superdome.

    2015 Bayou Classic Football Game

    On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host the 2015 Bayou Classic Football Game. There are no street closures for this event. Traffic will be regulated by detailed officers around the Superdome.

    Parking enforcement personnel will be monitoring for illegal parking, including blocking hydrants, driveways and sidewalks, or parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection or stop signs. Motorists are also reminded to park in the direction of travel on one-way streets, and with the right wheel to the curb on two-way streets.

    In addition, RTA services, including streetcar and bus service may be interrupted during these events. Details on route changes are available at www.norta.com.

    Read more »
  • What’s in Your Attic?

    Time for the Annual East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Attic Treasures Event, Nov. 21

    Bring your collectibles, antiques and other treasures for expert review at the 15th Annual Attic Treasures & Collectibles Event at the Main Library at Goodwood, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. It’s very similar to what you see on Antiques Roadshow, which runs on LPB TV. Hundreds of people lined up with their treasures at last year’s event.

    This is the time to raid your attic, closets and garages for that interesting or antique art, old toys, pottery, jewelry, rifles, war artifacts, small furniture or other item of interest and see what the story is behind it and possibly what its value might be. The free event will run 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, November 21, at the Main Library at Goodwood. There is a limit of three items per person at the event, and experts will be on hand to look at your collectibles and antiques. Come for the antiques viewings, but bring your Library card to stay and visit our facilities!

    For more information on the Attic Treasures event, call (225) 270-1928 or (225) 231-3750, visit www.ebrpl.com or click on the Library’s Facebook or Twitter sites.
    In conjunction with the Attic Treasures event on Saturday, East Baton Rouge Parish Library Archivist Melissa Eastin will offer a free workshop entitled Preservation of the Home: Making Memories Last. It begins at 2 p.m. at the Main Library’s Technology Lab (second floor).
    At the workshop, Eastin will discuss the best practices for preserving family archives and ensure the long-term survival of items from photographs to textiles. Participants also will be treated to a demonstration of the Library’s P4A Antiques Database. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED to attend this workshop and the program is limited to 15 participants, so call (225) 231-3752 to reserve your space today.

    Read more »
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    Fall Gardening Workshop slated for Nov. 24

    By Felix Cunningham III
    SU Ag Center

    The Southern University Ag Center invites the Baton Rouge community at large to its third annual Fall Gardening Workshop on November 24, 2015. Registration for the event, which is free and includes a healthy lunch, will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the program will start at 9 a.m. inside A. O. Williams Hall – SU Ag Center.

    Topics for this year’s workshop will include:
    • Seasonal planting
    • Pollinators and pests
    • Bee keeping
    • Maintaining and growing an Urban Ag Community
    • Non-traditional uses for traditional plants
    • Planting a smoothie/juice garden
    • Urban agriculture issues

    There will even be an urban garden tour if the weather permits.

    Besides learning about planting and how to keep a garden in an urban society, participants will also be able to taste-test smoothies and juice made from the plants in the urban garden. This event will link the participants to gain opportunities to grow or enhance an urban garden successfully.

    “This is going to be an action-packed event,” said Stephanie Elwood, extension associate of the Southern University Ag Center.

    The workshop is co-hosted by the Southern University Ag Center, its Wisteria Alliance Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

    For more information about the workshop, contact Mila Berhane, Stephanie Elwood, Dawn Mellion Patin or Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2242.
    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com

    Read more »
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    Community Event: Ribbon Cutting and Movie in the Park, Nov. 6

    BAKER–BREC will dedicate the new Pilot Senior Playground on Friday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. at Greenwood Community Park! Exercise and physical activity are very important to our senior community and it is BREC’s mission to contribute to a healthier, more vibrant community by providing exceptional parks, open spaces and recreation experiences for all of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    Submitted by Monica Dugas

    Read more »
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    Instructor launches book on managing diabetes

    The Sims Memorial Library at Southeastern Louisiana University will host a book talk and signing featuring SELU sociology instructor Rebecca Hensley to introduce her new book, Your Life Isn’t Over ~ It May Have Just Begun! A Mini-Manual on Managing Diabetes, Tuesday, Nov. 10, in Room 313 at 5:30pm.
    “This is the book of tips, hints, and inside information that I wanted – and needed – when I was diagnosed with diabetes myself in 2008, but it didn’t exist,” said Hensley. “After years of hearing doctors say that most of their diabetic patients struggle with managing their condition, I decided that maybe I could inspire others by sharing how I manage diabetes while living a high quality life.”
    Library director Eric Johnson said the event also recognizes November as National Diabetes Awareness Month.
    The American Diabetes Association estimates that there are more than 21 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States and another 4,500 being diagnosed every day. Hensley said she remembers feeling overwhelmed when she was first diagnosed. “A lot of the materials I received early on were either too scientific, very complicated, or pretty boring,” she said with a laugh. “Some of the things I most needed to know to succeed I had to figure out on my own.”
    “My book is intended to help other people with diabetes get over the hump of fear and depression they may be dealing with. I’m not suffering,” she said. “In fact, I’m healthier, more fit, and even happier than I would have been had I not developed this disease that has helped me do the things everybody actually ought to do but doesn’t. And I eat chocolate every day.”
    The book talk is open to the public and free of charge. Light diabetic-appropriate refreshments will be served.

    Read more »
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    Ag Twitter Town Hall planned for Oct. 14

    The Southern University Ag Center will participate in the Ag Is America Twitter Town Hall on Oct. 14 from 9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

    Researchers and extension experts from the Southern University Ag Center, along with the University of the District of Columbia, Kansas State University and North Dakota State University will be available to answer questions about various programs during the Town Hall.

    The SU Ag Center will specifically discuss its “Fast Track Gardening Program,” which provides agricultural training to incarcerated and adjudicated youth, during the meeting.

    The general public is invited to tweet questions about the program to @AgisAmerica and include the hashtag #AGisChat in your tweet. For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Fast Track Gardening Program, visit http://www.suagcenter.com

    Read more »
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    National Week of Action, Oct 12 -18, focuses on Victor White III’s death

    DRUM CALL: OPEN LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY

    Victor White III was a 22-year-old whose death in police custody is becoming known as a “Houdini Suicide.” Police in New Iberia claim Victor committed suicide in the back of their police cruiser. They allege that after being pat down twice and being detained in the back of a police car,  Victor produced a gun and shot himself in the back while his hands were cuffed behind his back. The coroner’s report later showed that the bullet entered in his chest.

    How did Victor produce a gun in the back of a police cruiser after being searched twice? How is it possible that Victor shot himself in the chest while his hands were bound behind his back?


    Victor’s father has a simple question: “My son was not Houdini.  So, who [did] it?”


    The Justice for Victor White Committee is working directly with the family of Victor White III for a National Week of Action to be held in New Iberia and Lafayette, October 12-18, 2015. We seek to honor the life of Victor, raise awareness of his untimely death, demand accountability for law officers’ actions, and ensure transparency in future investigations.  We invite organizations, community leaders, elected officials, and citizens to stand with us in this fight for justice.

    The Victor White case embodies a blatant disregard of human rights.  Here’s how you can stand with Victor White’s family in their fight for justice:

    1. Attend the March Against Police Violence on October 17th at 11 am  in New Iberia, La.  and connect other organizers to this event.
    2. Participate in Week of Action (October 12-18) events as a host, guest speaker, or attendant. The week will consist of coordinated student walk-outs(Oct 12), Police Brutality Symposium(Oct13th), a two-day teach-in workshop series Oct 14-15), a music concert (Oct 16th), March Against Police Violence on (Oct 17), and day of healing on (Oct 18). See www.justiceforvic.com <http://www.justiceforvic.com>  for more details on events.
    3. Make a donation at GoFundMe.com/JusticeforVic. Financial support will be needed to make these efforts successful. You can also send donations directly from your Paypal account to the email address JusticeForVictorWhite@gmail.com. To be listed as an Official Sponsor, please contact Dawn at (337) 344-4462 <tel:%28337%29%20344-4462> .
    4. Make an in-kind donation. We need signs, shirts, water, printing services, etc,
    5. Attend Justice for Victor White planning meetings held every 2nd and 4th Thursday at Imani Temple (201 East Willow Street – Lafayette, LA 70501).
    6. Share Victor White’s story.  Commit to sharing Victor White’s story everyday, like us on Facebook, share his story on social media using the hashtag #JusticeForVic, etc.
    7. Tell your story. Post a video or message completing the prompt, “I want to trust the police, but…” Be sure to use the following tags: #IWantToTrustThePoliceBut, #JusticeForVic, @Justiceforvic [instagram],  and @JusticeForVW3 [Twitter].

     

    Victor White’s case deserves more local, regional and national attention. We believe Victor White was murdered by police while in police custody. His death and subsequent cover-up represents a systematic failure to hold police accountable for a growing trend of abuse, which disproportionately impact people of color.
    Join us in this fight.  Please contact us by phone or email to let us know how you and/or your organization can support this effort. 

    Justice for Victor White Committee

    Read more »
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    Baker candidate forum scheduled for Oct. 13

    Main Street Pilot International will host a Baker Candidate Forum, Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m., Baker Municipal Center, 3325 Groom Road, Baker, Louisiana. 

    The non-profit, headquartered in Baker, mission is to transform communities by developing youth, providing service and education, and uplifting families.

    Candidates qualifying for the following races are invited to participate: BESE District 8, State Senator 15th Senatorial District, State Representative 63rd Representative District, EBR Clerk of Court, and City Judge City Court, Division C, City of Baton Rouge.

    Read more »
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    NBR Initiative to host Aug. 27 discussion with Superintendent Drake

    Members  of  the  community‐led initiative  Our  Schools…Our  Excellence  (OSOE)  are  hosting an  open  forum  with  East  Baton  Rouge  Parish  School  System  Superintendent  Warren Drake, Thursday,  August  27, 6pm, at Star  Hill  Church, 1400 N. Foster Dr.    

    An  Evening  with  Superintendent  Drake  is  purposed  to  connect  the  North  Baton  Rouge  community  with  the  new  parish  leader  as  he  shares  his  plan  for   schools  in  North  Baton  Rouge.  

     “I  believe  it  is  critical  that  we  engage  our  stakeholders  from  every  area  of  the  parish  in  a  discussion  about  the  future  of  East  Baton  Rouge  Parish  schools.  I  look  forward  to  the  opportunity  to  meet  with  members  of  the  North  Baton  Rouge  community  to  address  issues  of  importance  to  them,” said Drake.

    Since  taking  over  as  superintendent,  Drake  has  shared what  he  believes  is  required  to  improve  the  education  ecosystem  in the parish. OSOE leaders said Drake’s  plan  “greatly  aligns  with  OSOE’s  Community  Compact.  Thus,  our  goal  is  clear:  to  allow  Superintendent  Drake  to  explain  his  vision  to  an  audience  that  needs  it  most,  and  to  challenge  the  community  to  work  with  our  new  leader  to  see  it  come  to  pass.”

    The meeting is free and open to the public but registration at  https://eveningwithdrake.eventbrite.com is encouraged.

    Read more »
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    Black Lives Matter Summit scheduled for Aug. 22

    The Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter, Planned Parenthood, and the Southern University Law Center will host a Black Lives Matter summit, Saturday, Aug. 22, at 8am at the Southern University Law Center’s AA Lenior Building.

    Organizers said the summit will address and discuss issues such as high incarceration rate, Black-on-Black crime, problematic relationships with law enforcement, disparity in educational opportunities for poverty-stricken areas, funding restraints of Historically Black Colleges and the breakdown of nuclear family.

    The summit is free and open to the public and CLE credits will be offered to all attorneys.. A lite breakfast and lunch will be served. Registration at www.eventbrite.com is requested.

    “There is strength in numbers and we believe in order to make a true impact and address these issues that have plagued our community for years, we must make this a total community  effort to provide positive solutions for these concerns,” said Karmen R. Davis, Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter president.

    Panel discussions will cover family matters, the judicial system and Black America, community involvement, and education.

    Speakers include Juvenile Court Judge Pam Taylor Johnson; Tasha Clark Amar, executive director of East Baton Rouge Council on Aging; Lamont Cole, CEO of ColeGroup; Ron Gathe, assistant district attorney for the 19th Judicial District; Louisiana State Trooper James Jefferson; Jacqueline Mims,Ph.D., clinical director, Eclectic Cognitive Behavioral Center; Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., senior associate, HCM Strategists; Walter Tillman Jr., Ph.D., Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; attorney Charles Toney; Family Court Chief Judge Lisa Woodruff White; and assistant Southern Universaity New Orleans professor Carey YazeedPh.D.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Kiwanis to bowl for kids, Aug.22

    The Kiwanis Club of South Baton Rouge and several regional Kiwanis Clubs are coming together for the 2nd annual “Bowling for Babies” bowl-a-thon, Sat., August 22, 2pm, at Circle Bowl, 8878 Florida Blvd. 

    The bowl-a-thon is organized in the spirit of The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. Tetanus kills one baby every nine minutes or about 160 newborns each day. Kiwanis International is raising US$110 million by 2015 in an effort to protect at least 61 million women and their future babies who are at risk of this deadly and highly preventable disease.  The event supports Kiwanis’ mission to serve the children of the world.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Baton Rouge Police to offer Equalizer Women’s Self-Defense class

    The Baton Rouge Police Department is offering an Equalizer Women’s Self-Defense class. The free class will be held at the Baton Rouge Police Department Training Academy, 9000 Airline Hwy, 6 pm – 10pm. The course covers: facts about violence against women, reducing the risk of becoming a victim, defensive striking, common grab defenses, head-lock defenses, bear hug defenses, striking and knife defense and group escapes. The class is open to women over the age of 13. Participants should wear comfortable clothing suitable for physical activity. Participants must attend all 4 sessions to be certified.

    Class size is limited so participants should register early by following this link.

    Session 1

    Tuesday, August 18th

    Session 2
    Thursday, August 20th

    Session 3
    Tuesday, August 25th

    Session 4
    Thursday, August 27th

     

     

    Read more »
  • Welcome to Port Allen, Mr. Gossett

    Actor Louis Gosset Jr. is probably best known for his role in the landmark ABC miniseries “Roots” ; as the tough by-the-book drill sergeant in “An Officer and A Gentleman,” and roles in “Iron Eagle”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, “Left Behind”, “Daddy’s Little Girls” “The Grace Card”, “The Least Among You”,”The Olive Branch” and “One More River to Cross”.

    On Friday, July 31, he will keynote the CPM Bible College “Spirit of Excellence Scholarship Education Gala” at 7pm in the West Baton Rouge Community Center, 749 North Jefferson Avenue.

    G

    osset authored the book, “An Actor and A Gentleman” where he writes frankly of the pressures in Hollywood, struggles with and triumph in God over drugs, alcohol and his current work to eradicate racism and violence in our communities. Gossett has been recognized for his work with the Wings of Hope Anti-Drug Organization and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. Currently, this versatile actor, national, international spokesperson, missionary is forging the vision of the Eracism Foundation, a non-profit entity aimed toward educating the youth, mentoring and reconnecting the generations with the goal of eradicating racism.

    ONLINE: www.centerpeaceministries.com. 

    @jozefsyndicate

    Read more »
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    Scotlandville area elementary schools come together for Back-to-School Bash, Aug. 3

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School System elementary schools serving the students of the Scotlandville area are coming together on Monday, August 3, noon – 2 pm for a Back-to-School Bash, at Progress Elementary School, 855 Progress Road.

    To get students excited and prepared for the 2015-16 school year. Families of students currently enrolled or interested in enrolling in Crestworth, Ryan and Progress Elementary Schools are invited to participate in the Back-to-School Bash from noon to 2 p.m. at Progress Elementary.

    The event is designed to bring together the Scotlandville community for a time to learn more about the community partnerships and the three elementary schools. Students and parents will have an opportunity to meet school staffs, register onsite, and receive free school supplies. Community partners will be on hand to provide information on adult educational opportunities and career options. There will also be health care information available.

    The celebration will include a DJ, face painting, BREC on the Geaux mobile recess activities, as well as refreshments, inflatables and other fun for the entire family. More than 10 area barbers and hair stylists will be providing free basic services to students as they get set to go back to school.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Month With Mada: Black Lives Matter Symposium brings youth, adults together

    “The Quality of Life in the Baton Rouge Community regarding all age groups, genders, culture needs to be addressed,” said The Rev. Dale W. Flowers during A Black Lives Matter Symposium, July 6 – July 10, at New Sunlight Baptist Church, 1777 America Street.

    Many Black males have been victims or have lost their lives to police brutality and other others, and this has had a major impact in many communities all over this nation. The symposium presenters discussed a wealth of valuable information ranging from crime, poverty, violence, racism, drugs, education, and healthcare. East Baton Rouge Parish Constable Major Reginald Brown provided the bike giveaways. Gift cards came from local businesses.

    On Monday, July 6, panelists discussed adjudicated property, increase in crime, blighted areas, and first-time home ownership. Attorney Winston Riddick and Nun Judith Brun of Sacred Heart Catholic Church shared tips and techniques for better decision making for teenagers. The smaller age group children had information shared from the Southern University and Louisiana State University agriculture centers.

    On Tuesday, July 7, Chief Administrator George Bell discussed the closure of the Mid-City Baton Rouge General Hospital’s emergency room while Sherry Asberry from Our Lady of the Hospital talked about healthcare. State Representative Alfred Williams discussed funding sources that could have been considered in saving the emergency facility. Other presentations involved HIV/AIDS, Clerk of Court-Identification Cards and Fingerprinting.
    Representation from the Baton Rouge Police Department was given by Riley Harbor focusing on crime prevention, proactive/reactive measures, and the importance of Neighborhood Watch Programs and Civic Organizations. The highlight that added to the session on Wednesday July, 8th along with other topics was Tanesha Craig, a fitness instructor talked about healthy diets and led the group in an exercise fitness class. Terrell Johnson, African American World History Professor from Southern University, also gave a dynamic and profound presentation.

    On Thursday, July 9, the topic was education. EBR School Board member Evelyn Ware Jackson and Liz Frischert discussed assessment and accountability, the importance of having an education, and the Common Core Education Program. Marcus Coleman, Dean of Students at Southern University A & M College, shared college preparatory information, academic readiness for the upcoming school term. Norma Veal gave tips on fire safety, and a representative from the Baton Rouge Constable Office talked about the D.A.R.E. Program

    Finally on Friday, July 10, the culminating sessions wrapping up the Black Lives Matter Symposium included a period of questions and answers.

    Flowers said the primary focus and concentration is to devise a plan to improve the quality of life in the community where we reside, work, and live.

    The Black Lives Matter Symposium reached out to children as young as pre-K toddlers to senior citizens. It was a very informative and a much needed dialogue for alerting and keeping the Baton Rouge Community aware of issues affecting many citizens. This symposium showed the importance of knowing what is happening and going on in today’s society.

    By Mada McDonald
    Drum Columnist

    The Month with Mada column shares commentary on community and current events compiled by Mada McDonald, a public relations professional and community activist in Baton Rouge. Leave your comments below.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Crump to keynote national asset building conference

    The Southern Regional Asset Building Coalition (SRABC) will hold its eighth annual conference Oct. 8-9 in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Beau Rivage Resort. The featured keynote speaker is Maxine Crump, the executive director of Dialogue on Race Louisiana.

    Crump made history when she became the first Black woman to live in a residence hall on LSU’s campus, then again in 1975 by becoming Baton Rouge’s WAFB Channel-9 News’ first Black reporter. She’s been inspiring others to make history ever since, through her work in television, radio, humanitarian efforts and community development. She also plays an important role in working to eliminate race discrimination in Baton Rouge with the  Dialogue on Race Louisiana, which aims to educate the community on ways to make their future free from “a vivid racial divide that still exists in Louisiana.” In February earlier this year, she took the TEDxLSU stage with her message “Using Talk to Create Action”.

    “The public is especially invited to join this dynamic network at the 8th annual conference and become engaged in making concrete steps to ensure economic inclusion and wealth building for all,” said Gena McClendon, SRABC project director.

    Since 2007, the SRABC conference has brought together 250 advocates and experts from 18 states to collaborate on specific strategies and efforts that increase financial security for communities across the nation.

    With special emphasis on defining policies and programs that support low-income families and communities, this year’s conference provides participants with provide opportunities to collaborate utilizing the latest research and innovative ways to assist low- to moderate-income families in building wealth.

    SRABC is a partnership of state coalitions dedicated to the advocating for and the development of asset-building policies and programs for low-income families and rural communities.

    ONLINE: www.srabcoalition.org

     

    Read more »
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    Urban Ag Farm opens for tours

    The Southern University Ag Center’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Demonstration Farm has launched its farm tours. The show-and-tell garden provides information on vegetable varieties, planting instruction, composting techniques, and other relevant information. The farm tours will be available throughout the year.  To schedule a tour, please contact Dawn Mellion-Patin or Zanetta Augustine at the SU Ag Center by calling 225-771-2242.

    Read more »
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    Juneteenth event, book uncover history of Scotlandville

    Local authors join forces with citizens to create tribute to small town’s history, June 19.

    Telling a story in pictures is Images of America: Scotlandville, the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book by local authors Rachel L. Emanuel, Ruby Jean Simms, and Charles Vincent released the book June 1, 2015. The book contains wonderful vintage images capturing this African American community’s history.

    A rural village that was once the entry point for the slave trade and home to a cotton plantation, Scotlandville became the largest Black town in Louisiana.

    Located in the northern part of East Baton Rouge Parish, Scotlandville’s history is intricately tied to Southern University and A&M College System, the naton’s only historically Black university system

    image

    . Southern University relocated from New Orleans to the bluff of the Mississippi River on the western edge of Scotlandville in 1914.

    The story of the university and town is a tale of triumph and struggle in the midst of racism, inequality, and oppression. Presented through the theme of firsts in businesses, churches, schools, residential developments, environmental issues, politics, social organizations, and community service, Images of America: Scotlandville focuses on the people who shaped the community economically, politically, socially, and culturally.

    Using photographs from institutional and personal collections, Emanuel, Simms, and Vincent describe the origins, development, and heyday of the vibrant neighborhoods of Scotlandville before the community’s incorporation into Baton Rouge.

    Emanuel is the director of communications and development support for the Southern University Law Center; Simms and Vincent are both professors of history at Southern University.

    EVENT INFO:
    Juneteenth Celebration Book Launch
    Friday, June 19,  4-5:30 p.m
    Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church Family Life Center
    6700 Scenic Hwy
    Baton Rouge, LA

    Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers.
     

    @jozefsyndicate

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    Month with Mada: Awards luncheon, golf tournament, lawyers’ gala

    The Gloryland Educational Resource Center, Incorporated, will host the 10th Year Anniversary “A Decade of Service”  Awards Luncheon, Saturday, June 6, at Boudreaux’s, 2647 Government Street.

    Warren Drake, the newly appointed superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. 

    The Resource Center concentrates on five programs:  Filling The G.A. P. (Gloryland After-School Program); Operation R.E.A.C.H. Summer Enhancement Program; Balm in Gilead Health and Wellness Educational Program; Food Pantry and Clothes Closet; and the Scholastic Scholarships Program. Scholarship recipients, scholastic achievers, graduates and the community service award to Amerigroup and Demetria Perkins for volunteer service will be recognized during the noon luncheon.

    Tickets are available for a donation of $25 per person (tax deductible).  For information, contact Gloryland Baptist Church at (225) 356 – 0577.

    The Capitol City Golf Association will observe its 50th Annual Capitol City Golf Association Amateur Open Tournament to be held June 13-14.  It will be held at the Copper Mill Golf Course in Zachary, Louisiana. Approximately, 120 golfers from Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida are expected to participate.  Members of CCGA over many years has provided an array of golf activities.  CCGA concentrates on providing opportunities to help youth play and understand golf tips and techniques and reinforce life skills as well as mastering educational experiences.

    One major accomplishment for 2015 is to support the First Tee of East Baton Rouge Parish and the Melrose Elementary mentoring and assistance project.  There have been other community based charitable projects as approved by the CCGA Board of Directors.  The CCGA was established in 1961 and the legacy of the CCGA was founded and organized by Coach Larney Owens.

    The association is a chartered non-profit corporation.  In recognition of the 50th Anniversary, CCGA will appreciate any support from corporate sponsors, sponsor a hold and/or initiate merchandise for prizes to be given away at the tournament.  The Capitol City Golf Association invites the Baton Rouge Community to come and be a part of this endeavor and offer any assistance for our youth related to positive golf activities.

    During the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society Annual Scholarship Gala held Friday, April 17, Donna M. Lee, Esq., of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal presented the Martinet Southern University Law Center Scholarship to Lillian Williams, the Martinet Paul M. Hebert Law Center, LSU Scholarship  to Andrew Hairston, and the Martinet High School Scholarship to Cameron Murray of Catholic High School. Rolando R. Urbina, Esq., presented the A. P. Tureaud Award to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, the Dutch Morial Award to Kean Miller, LLP, and the Lifetime Achievement Award to attorney Johnnie A. Jones Sr.  Quintillia K. Lawrence, commissioner, 19th Judicial District Court conducted the swearing in of the society’s president Rolando Urbina, 1st vice-president Tayla Bergeron, 2nd vice-president Carlton Miller, treasurer Lykisha Vaughn, secretary Ashley Greenhouse, and immediate past president Christopher Hebert.  About 300 people attended the festive gala. ONLINE: http://www.louismartinetbr.com/

    By Mada McDonald
    Drum Columnist

    The Month with Mada column shares commentary on community and current events compiled by Mada McDonald, a public relations professional and community activist in Baton Rouge. Leave your comments below.

    Read more »
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    Small business and recruitment events end June 4

    East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden will host a series of events during the first week of June to foster the growth of opportunities for small, woman-owned and minority businesses, and individuals seeking employment.  All events are free, but participants for each event are asked to register in advance online at http://businesswithbr.com.

    The Mayor will kick off the week by welcoming the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana and the Southern Regional Minority Supplier Development Council fora 6pm networking event on June 1, at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel, 777 L’Auberge Avenue.

    From 9am – 1pm, June 2 the Mayor will host a technology recruitment fair for those seeking employment opportunities.  Representatives will be sourcing business consultants, designers, certified professionals, programmers and other highly skilled technical professionals.   This fair will take place at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel.  Holden encourages those attending to come dressed for success with several copies of their resume.

    The Mayor will then host his 4th annual Small Business Development Summit on June 4 , to help local businesses explore possible contracting opportunities with the City-Parish. The summit will be held from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel.

    Representatives from the following city-parish departments will be on hand to discuss their processes for procuring goods and services, and to provide information about how small businesses can take advantage of those opportunities:
    •           Purchasing
    •           Mayor’s Office of Community Development
    •           East Baton Rouge Parish Library
    •           Downtown Development District
    •           Sanitary Sewer Overflow Program/Department of Public Works
    •           Fire Department
    •           Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
    •           Division of Human Development and Services
    •           Juvenile Services
    •           Information Services

     There will also be opportunities to meet one-on-one with city-parish departments, procurement managers and technical assistance partner.

    “Building on our past successes, this year’s upcoming summit will again work to strengthen the local pool of qualified small businesses and  help small business owners achieve success by providing one-on-one consulting, networking opportunities and other assistance,” Holden said.

    All three events, including the summit are free, but participants are asked to register in advance online.

     

    Business with Baton Rouge is part of the Mayor’s Small Business Investment Initiative administered by the Mayor’s Office of Community Development to stimulate the local economy through small business growth.   The program is funded by an SBA grant obtained by the Mayor for supporting entrepreneurship, creating jobs and stimulating local economic recovery and growth. 

    The Business with Baton Rouge program, coordinated by the City-Parish Business Development Coordinator, Stacie Williams,  brings our City-Parish agencies together to assure there is consistency across programs designed to encourage small business participation. 

     

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    The Diabetic Kitchen hosts ‘Why is Diabetes Called the Silent Killer?’

    The Diabetic Kitchen will host its monthly meeting, Thursday, May 28, at the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 119 Jefferson Street in New Iberia. The 5pm meeting time is free and open to the public.

    Dr. Kimberly Smith Dauterive will explain why diabetes is called the “Silent Killer.” She will also discuss the complications of uncontrolled diabetes, including blindness, kidney failure, and blockage leading to limb amputation.

    The Diabetic Kitchen founder Nathaniel Mitchell Sr. said the meeting promises to be an information filled and lively exchange.

    ONLINE: www.thediabetickitchen.org

    or
    The Diabetic Kitchen on Facebook

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  • Hundreds attend Black journalists luncheon

    About 250 people recently attended the Third Annual Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists’ Scholarship luncheon.

    The April 23 event honored pioneering journalists Jean West, former anchor at WAFB and the first Black anchor in Baton Rouge; John Williams, (posthumously) who was the first Black photographer at The Advocate;  Ivory Payne, publisher of the Weekly Press which has served the North Baton Rouge community for more than 30 years, and Genevieve Stewart, former host of “Question of the Day” on KQXL-FM.

    “I really enjoyed the event and so did my guests,” said Danielle Kelley.  “Job well done.”

    “A beautiful affair,” said Attorney Paula Clayton.  “It’s always special when the awards are shared because of the rewards received from others.”

    “Congrats on a beautiful event,” said WAFB Anchor Donna Britt.

    “I thought the event was very, very inspirational,” said Mada McDonald. “I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. It was nice to see the community coming together for a positive activity and there was a lot of love in the room.”

    Money raised from the event will be used to send LSU and Southern students and a professional member of the organization to National Association of Black Journalists’ Convention (NABJ) in Minneapolis in August. Last year, BRAABJ sponsored three students at the NABJ convention in Boston.

    “This event is our way of thanking our pioneers in the business for paving the way for us in the industry,” said BRAABJ President Michelle McCalope. “And we are so grateful for the support we receive from our members, the community, and our media sponsors.  We couldn’t do it without them.”

    Since 2013, the event has raised more than $40,000 which includes this year’s donations. Past honorees include Maxine Crump, Henry Stewart, Mayor Kip Holden, Ed Pratt, Bob Rene, Yvonne Campbell, Henry Baptiste, and Sylvia Weatherspoon.

    BRAABJ is a non-profit organization made up of local media and media-related professionals and student journalists. The organization was founded in 2012.

    Its mission is to highlight and support journalists of color, give back through mentoring and scholarships and promote diversity in our newsrooms. It is an affiliate of the National Association of Black Journalists.

    ONLINE:  brareabj.org and facebook.com/BRAABJ

     

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    300,000 nationwide expected to Stand Against Racism

    YWCA Greater Baton Rouge is calling on all individuals, organizations, businesses and religious institutions to join us in taking a Stand Against Racism on Thursday, April 23. YWCA Stand Against Racism will unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: Racism can no longer be ignored nor tolerated.

    “Racism continues to be a pervasive issue in our community and communities across the United States,” said Jennifer A. Shoub, CEO of YWCA Greater Baton Rouge. “Participating in ‘Stand Against Racism’ is just one way we can make change by coming together to organize and show our commitment to eliminating racism.”

    YWCA Greater Baton Rouge will take a Stand Against Racism in unison with others throughout the country. On Thursday, April 23, YWCAs will join in a National Day of Action to urge Congress to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. From Thursday through Sunday nationwide, more than 300,000 people are expected to participate in a range of locally organized events involving public policy advocacy, community education and trainings that will lead to a commitment to working for racial justice by taking the pledge Against Racism.

    The local event, sponsored by YWCA Greater Baton Rouge with partner East Baton Rouge Parish Library, 4pm, Thursday, April 23, 7711 Goodwood Boulevard. Registration begins at 3pm. Participants will register, have an opportunity to sign the YWCA’s pledge to eliminate racism, make a personal statement on a provided sign, and stand with like-minded people committed to eliminating racism. Social media opportunities will also be available.

    Founded in 2007 by YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton, Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA. This campaign is designed to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism. Stand Against Racism is one part of the YWCA’s national strategy to fulfill our mission to eliminate racism.

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    Chief Justice Johnson declares May 1 as Law Day

    The Louisiana Supreme Court issued a resolution urging all Louisiana state court judges to dedicate the month of May 2015 to reaching out to schools to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the law, the role of judges, and the court system from members of the judiciary. Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to strengthen our heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1st to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The 2015 national Law Day theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.”

    “During the month of May, the Louisiana Supreme Court will host school students participating in Law Day activities including: mock trials and tours of the Royal Street courthouse which include visits to the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum and the Law Library of Louisiana,” said Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson.

    On this 57th anniversary of Law Day, the resolution states in part that “all judges have a unique ability to educate young people about our legal system and respect for the law.” Teachers or principals interested in coordinating a Louisiana Supreme Court tour or a Law Day presentation with a local judge, contact the Louisiana Supreme Court Community Relations Department at 504.310.2590.

    Read more »
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    “Springing into Health” to demonstrate holistic treatment of cancer

    Join Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards, Gamma Eta Omega Chapter, area physicians, cancer survivors and a host of educators, pharmaceutical representatives, community vendors and public service agencies for “Springing into Health” Saturday, April 18, 9am, at the Charles R. Kelly Community Center, 3535 Riley Street.
    “I am excited to help bring attention to a unique panel discussion happening at 10am on holistic (spirit, soul and body) treatment of cancer through a partnership with the Center and stakeholders involved in wellness education, prevention, intervention, traditional treatment as well as alternative medicine. Since beginning my own battle against treatment for pancreatic cancer, I have been encouraged and inspired by their stories and tenacity to live against the odds. Their dramatic testimonials are quite compelling and offer hope to patients, families and friends of survivors with a focus on their unique journey (i.e., the medical diagnosis, their treatment plan, how family and friends helped them and what was their daily regime to get victory,” said Edwards.
    The general public is invited to take advantage of free health screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass Index (BMI). Included are free workshops and panel discussions regarding fitness and nutrition and stress management.
    To register, call 225.389.4831 or (225) 389-5464.

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    Fonzworth Bentley visits LSU, April 16

    Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins, a philanthropist, actor and producer who was named GQ magazine’s “First Gentleman of Hip Hop.” will keynote LSU’s second First Impression event,Thursday, April 16, 6:30pm, at The Club at Union Square.

    First Impressions is hosted by LSU’s College of Engineering Diversity Programs and the Black Male Leadership Initiative. The event presents business and casual styles for young men who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

    “We know nationally that there is a shortage of African-American professionals in the STEM fields,” said Vincent Harris, LSU BMLI graduate coordinator.”This event will benefit Black LSU males by providing a venue that demonstrates the value of a strong first impression when interacting in the professional world.”

    ONLINE: LSU’s Black Male Leadership Initiative

    Read more »
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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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    Sen. Broome to hold three district meetings

    State Senator Sharon Weston Broome will hold a series of community meetings in the Senate District 15 area prior to the 2015 Regular Legislative Session. Senator Broome will highlight legislative issues and her priorities for the upcoming session.

    Broome urges citizens in the area to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about important state issues.

    Save the date and join the conversation!

    Monday, March 23
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    Baker Branch Library
    3501 Groom Road
    Baker, La 70714

    Monday, April 6
    6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
    BREC Headquarters
    6201 Florida Boulevard
    Baton Rouge, La 70806

    Tuesday, April 7
    6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
    Zachary Branch Library
    1900 Church Street
    Zachary, La 70791

    The session will convene at noon on Monday, April 13.

    For more information, contact
    lasen15@legis.la.gov or (225) 359-9352

    Read more »
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    Citizen to deliver letter to OLOL president to find emergency room solutions

    A delegation of clergy, community leaders and concerned citizens will gather tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, at noon, outside of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, in the 7700 block of Hennessy Blvd, as they seek to continue a dialogue with the leadership of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and urge them to take the lead on developing solutions to address the impending closure of the Mid City ER and several specific problems that have led to that closure.

    They will meet at noon in the grassy area near the entrance to the in the 7700 block of Hennessy Blvd.

    Organizers with Together Baton Rouge said, “This is not a protest or a picket. We will, in a word, be delivering a letter — a letter from a broad group of clergy in our community addressed to Scott Wester, President and CEO of OLOL.”

    The letter asks Mr. Wester to work with the community through Together Baton Rouge to develop solutions on three fronts:

    1) That the Lake embrace and propose changes to its Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with the State, so that the costs and funding for uninsured care is distributed proportionally to those institutions to the extent that they are providing that care;

    2) That the Lake take the lead on helping to develop a proposal for the continuation or restoration of emergency medical services in Mid City; and

    3) That the Lake do everything within its capacity to expand its provision of care to the uninsured and to prisoners under the CEA, pending more permanent reforms to that contract.

    “Why are we engaging the Lake on these matters, and not Baton Rouge General or our Governor? We are doing all three! ” wrote Fr. Rick Andrus of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in an email.

    But we do believe that the Lake is in the best position to take the lead on developing solutions, because of its mission to serve the least of these and the resources available to it under the CEA. We have a meeting scheduled with Mr. Wester later in the month, to engage him around the three goals outlined above,” wrote Andrus.

    Read more »
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    HBCU climate change conference comes to New Orleans, March 26-29

    Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in collaboration with the Texas Southern University Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs will host the Third Annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference March 26-29 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference is designed to strengthen the partnerships between students and faculty at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and organization leaders from climate-impacted communities. It is a response to the call for HBCUs to step up and lead on climate justice since many of the schools are located in communities that are on the frontline of climate assault. The Third Annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference theme is “Bridging the Gap between Theory and Experience.”

    ,Ph.D., known as the father of environmental justice, will be the keynote speaker. He is the author of image001seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Professor Bullard was featured in the July 2007 CNN People You Should Know, Bullard: Green Issue is Black and White. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century. And that same year, Co-op America honored him with its Building Economic Alternatives Award.
    More than 80 percent of the 104 HBCUs are located in the Southern United States. Forty-three HBCUs are located in the Gulf Coast States: TX (9), LA (7), AL (15), MS (8), and FL (4)–in cities like New Orleans and Houston that are at ground zero in the fight for climate justice. Nearly a decade ago, flooding from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans drowned that city’s three HBCUs (Dillard University, Xavier University and Southern University at New Orleans) in 2005. Three years later, Hurricane Ike caused major property damage to Texas Southern University in Houston–the nation’s fourth largest HBCU. Read more at: OpEdNews.com
    Read more »
  • ,

    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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    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




     

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Summit on Louisiana Families of Color to present quality of life, incarceration reports, Feb. 27

    PICO Louisiana and The Micah Project along with members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus will come together, Feb. 27, at the Southern University Ag Center to present a Summit on Louisiana Families of Color. Reports presented at the summit will show the connection between the health and quality of life of children and the injustice of mass incarceration.

    There will also be a discussion on how to prepare communities for civic engagement and the La. Legislative Black Caucus will hear public concerns through guided discussions around these issues. This FREE event will be an opportunity to learn more about the systems that perpetuate injustices in our state and how your voice can make a difference in creating real change in the lives of our families.

    Date: Friday, February 27, 2015
    Time: 9 am – 2:30 pm
    Location: Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center Baton Rouge, LA
    Breakfast and lunch will be served and free parking is available

    THIS SUMMIT IS FREE and open to leaders, clergy, and concerned citizens who want to assure that ALL families of Louisiana are thriving and ALL children of Louisiana are healthy. Space is limited.


    Register online at http://summitonfamilies.eventbrite.com

    Read more »
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