Lifestyle & Entertainment

Proud And Persistent: The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary At Annual Symposium Workshop & Awards Luncheon

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WASHINGTON/PRNewswire/ -- The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. (BWA) celebrated its 40th anniversary, Thursday, September 21, 2017, hosting its Annual Symposium Workshop & Awards Luncheon in the nation's capital and encouraging the more than 1,200 elected officials, journalists, corporate and community leaders and members of its National Collaborating Organizations who attended the event to help chart a path for the future.


"For 40 years, The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. has protected, secured, and advanced, the issues and rights of African-American women and their families," explained BWA President Gwainevere Catchings Hess. "Today we pay tribute to our founders. In these anxious and uncertain times, we also reaffirm our commitment to speaking truth to power and securing for Black women all of the opportunities and privileges America promises its citizens."
During its Awards Luncheon, BWA continued the tradition of recognizing the achievements of phenomenal women. This year's award recipients included:


The Honorable Kamala D. Harris – Dynamic U.S. Senator representing the State of California and a lifelong public safety and civil rights leader. Serving as California's Attorney General, Harris prosecuted transnational gangs exploiting women and children and trafficking in guns and drugs. As a member of the Senate, she co-introduced a bipartisan bill which encourages states to reform or replace the practice of money bail. She spoke out against President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military and called upon him to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides immigrant students who arrived in the U.S. as children with temporary relief from deportation. Senator Harris was presented with BWA's President's Award.


April Ryan – White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Network and a political analyst for CNN, accepted BWA's Education Award. A member of the White House press corps for more than 20 years, Ryan has distinguished herself by conducting one-on-one interviews with Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as key members of their administration. She has also kept issues of interest and importance to minorities front and center by posing tough questions to President Donald Trump and his staff during press conferences and White House briefings.


Cadet Simone Askew – The first African-American woman to lead the 4,400 Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point received BWA's Pinnacle Award. An international history major from Fairfax, VA, Askew assumed the highest position in the cadet chain of command last month. As first captain, she is responsible for the overall performance of the Corps of Cadets as well as serving as a liaison between the cadets and the military school's administration.


Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH – Executive Vice President Ascension and President and Chief Executive Officer Ascension Health Care, was the recipient of BWA's Health Award. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. Dr. Maryland has responsibility for the strategic and operational aspects of Ascension Healthcare, with more than 141 hospitals and 2500 sites of care in 24 states and Washington, DC.


Dr. Hazel N. Dukes – President, NAACP New York State Conference, was introduced as the organization's Economic and Business Awardee. Dr. Dukes has a long and devoted record of helping to improve the quality of life in New York State, promoting equality and human rights, and linking business, government, and social causes. Dr. Dukes also serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and the organization's Executive Committee.


Briana Richardson – a freshman at Spelman College, majoring in political science received BWA's Bright Future Award, which recognizes a student or group of students whose academic achievements and service to school and community distinguish them as future leaders and success stories. The co-founder and president of her high school's "The Activist Among Us Club," Richardson was named by former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as one of the state's "Outstanding Young People."


This year, BWA's perennially popular workshop invited women to focus on themselves by "Living Your Best Life at Every Age." Moderated by lawyer and television personality Star Jones, the interactive forum encouraged the nearly 700 participants to broaden horizons, welcome challenges and agitate norms. Panelists included: Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications, Inc.; Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO, Black Women's Health Imperative; Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D., Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer, Howard University and former president of Shaw University; Cadet Simone Askew, First Captain, Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy; Nikki Giovanni, Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech University and a celebrated poet, writer, and activist, and Claudia Jones, Senior VP, Public Affairs and Communications, AT&T.


BWA also hosted an Inform & Inspire workshop for middle-school age girls enrolled in a Washington, DC chapter of Girls, Inc. The program featured Kara McCullough, a physical scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the reigning Miss USA who, in a lively, candid discussion, reminded the girls that pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, setting goals and working hard to realize them can be a beautiful thing.


In the United States these days, the word "out" is popping up with disturbing frequency," said BWA's Hess. "There are people who want to kick LGBTQ service people 'out' of the military. There are those who are in favor of building a wall to keep immigrants 'out' of our country. Officials are redrawing districts in various cities to keep some citizens 'out' of the voting booths. That's not who we are as a nation, and it can't be what we allow America to become. Today, I ask you to reject the politics of fear, hatred, and division and focus instead on the word 'in.' Invite, inform, inspire, initiate, instruct, invest, innovate, include. We must take an active role in reclaiming this nation's conscience, and we must begin this work today."

 


Taylor’s Closet completes “The Bloom Bus” after being awarded $45,000 grant by StrikeForce 421 to help girls in need through faith and shopping

Bloom Bus
Mobile boutique bus caters to girls who would otherwise be unable to participate in life-changing empowerment programs

 
 
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Taylor’s Closet, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower teenage girls in need is pleased to announce that they have completed “The Bloom Bus” project after being awarded a $45,000 grant by the StrikeForce 421 Giving Circle, a group of 100 women committed to donating $100,000 annually.
 
In keeping with their goal to expand their outreach program, Taylor’s Closet strives to empower hurting teenaged girls by “shopping” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. “The Bloom Bus,” which is an entirely new concept allows the organization to help girls who do not have access to transportation or live further away from its location at 1227 NE 8th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL, by driving the bus to wherever the girls are.
 
“We are thankful for the generosity of StrikeForce 421 for making the dream of a haven for these girls a reality,” said Greg Martin, Principal with Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Taylor’s Closet. During the past few years, Taylor’s Closet has partnered with Fort Lauderdale High School and has seen tremendous results with the girls who have attended its programs for a one-year period; more than 90 percent of participants experienced improvements in the areas of attendance, behavior, and GPA. Additionally, Taylor’s Closet recently launched the “Bloom” program where they meet with over 50 girls weekly at the Fort Lauderdale High School to bring the mission of the organization to the classroom.
 
The weekly meetings have become a safe space for teenage girls to discuss success and failures and create life-long bonds that are typically missing in high schools. The sessions include icebreakers, refreshments, lessons on key topics, as well as open discussions. The meetings culminate with the girls holding hands and talking about all the good things that happened to them throughout the week.
 
The bus, which is open to the girls who attend and participate in the Bloom program, features a mobile store filled with new clothing and accessories from a variety of designers they can shop from at no cost to them. Taylor’s Closet wishes to use the bus as a gateway to reach each girl on a deeper level. “We are thrilled at the outcome of The Bloom Bus,” added Linda Giambattista, Executive Director of Taylor’s Closet. “We wanted to use the bus as a tool to accomplish our mission of helping teenage girls realize their value and worth, and we achieved that and more.”
 
With the mission to greatly impact local Christian ministries, StrikeForce 421 is a network of 100 women who pull together to give over $100,000 in grants annually in support of ministries that touch the lives of children on a daily basis. “Rather than leaving little impact to an abundance of ministries, our goal is to fund entire projects that could take a few ministries’ influence to a whole new level,” said JoAnne Daudt, Founder of StrikeForce 421.
 
Established in 2006, Taylor’s Closet is the result a then 14-year-old girl’s dream to share her love of shopping and fashion with less fortunate teenaged girls in her community. The mission of Taylor’s Closet is to create a community in which teenaged girls in need will be empowered to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and live happy, healthy, and productive lives, realizing their God-given destiny through the power of faith and shopping. The charity allows for hurting teenaged girls to “shop” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. The organization also conducts weekly workshops focused on design and art to help teenaged girls unlock their creative talents. For more information about Taylor’s Closet, please visit http://www.taylorscloset.org/
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Oakwood University Crowned Champion at 28th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

 


-Oakwood University awarded $75,000 institutional grant from Honda


-Bowie State University, Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University rounded out the top four teams


-Robert Batten, Dean of Bowie State University, named Coach of the Year

HCASC 2017 Oakwood


TORRANCE, Calif., April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- After twenty rounds of intense competition, Oakwood University was crowned the 28th annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament (NCT) champion on Monday, April 10, taking home the championship trophy and earning a grant of $75,000 for their HBCU. The four-student team demonstrated its academic prowess by quickly and accurately answering questions about history, science, literature, religion, the arts and popular culture. Oakwood University was one of 48 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) teams that qualified for the NCT by competing in a series of regional competitions on campus throughout the academic year.

A packed studio audience filled with HBCU students, school presidents, alumni, volunteers, fans and Honda associates watched as Oakwood University clinched the title over runner-up Bowie State University. This is the third time Oakwood University has won the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge.

Coached by Dr. Rennae Elliott, the winning team included Caleb Briggs, Olivia Campbell, Joshua Nwaoha and team captain, Sesly Huerfano.

"I've seen firsthand how the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge changes students' lives by building their confidence and giving them a place to belong on campus," said Dr. Rennae Elliott. "We have a whole network of people back home and across campus who have supported us throughout the tournament; it truly has been a team effort." 

Runner-up Bowie State University earned a $30,000 grant, while the third and fourth-place finishers – Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University – earned $20,000 each.

"Honda congratulates Oakwood University on their exciting achievement in the National Championship Tournament, and we applaud all of the students who participated in this year's Honda Campus All-Star Challenge program," said Steve Morikawa, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "HCASC is made possible each year through the efforts of the many volunteers and we extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who helped make this annual tournament a success."

In addition to honoring the top four teams, Honda recognized outstanding individuals who have made an impact during this year's Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. Robert Batten, 11-year HCASC coach and Dean of Bowie State University, was named Coach of the Year. Danian Medearis of North Carolina Central University was selected by fellow HCASC players to receive this year's Ernest C. Jones Sportsperson Award. Named for one of HCASC's early volunteers who mentored students in the program, the award recognizes a student who epitomizes team spirit, camaraderie, good sportsmanship and academic focus.

Honda established the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge in 1989 as a way to highlight and recognize the academic talents of HBCU students. More than $8.5 million in grants from Honda have provided support for books and tuition, scholarships, enhancement of student programs and other investments to improve campus facilities. This year's journey to the championship began in the fall, with 89 HBCUs competing for a spot in the finals. Nearly 100 volunteers, including Honda associates, helped produce the 2017 National Championship Tournament, hosting the students, conducting registration and serving as game officials.

For photos, videos and more information about the 2017 HCASC competition, including a full list of the 48 teams that qualified, visit HCASC.com. Connect with HCASC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the conversation using #HCASC.


ICARE on TONIGHT's Chief Jimmy Brown Show to discuss disparity in contracting with Black businesses in Miami

 

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Tonight at 9pm EST, Eric Pettus will guest host The Chief Jimmy Brown Show on 1490 WMBM. To listen, go to the web or download the app. 

Special invited guests are Darryl Holsendolph, Larry Williams and DC Clark who will discuss diversity issues related to government contracting particularly Miami Dade County Public Schools. You don't want to miss this one!!! 

Again, tune into www.WMBM.com or download the app. Call in to ask a question or make a comment by dialing any of the following numbers 305-953-9626 or 954-525-1490 or 888-599-WMBM. 


I've Been Nominated for a BOMA Award!

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For several years I've been sharing news, information and commentary through Blogging Black Miami via several social media platforms. It is a labor of love. My mind is so blown that I have been nominated for a #BOMAAward - for Best Communicator of the Year- Digital!

Join me on Wednesday, April 26 for the 2017 BOMA Awards Luncheon! Tickets are available at https://2017bomaawards.eventbrite.com. Thank you to the Black-Owned Media Alliance for this awesome honor. Thank you to all of the readers, subscribers, contributors and supporters of Blogging Black Miami. 

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 @vanessawbyers

 

#BOMA#BlackOwnedMediaAlliance #2017BOMAAwards #BOMAAwards #VaVaNewMedia#socialmedia #digitalinfluencer #socialinfluencer #citizenjournalist #blogger#communicator


3rd Annual Sankofa Jazz Fest, Sat. 4/8/17

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3rd Annual Sankofa Jazz Fest featuring Grammy-winning trumpet player and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Payton with Amina Scott and Joe Dyson.

The lineup includes Miami’s very own New Vision Sax Ensemble, the Ladies of Simply Simone, South Broward High School Jazz Band, Joseph Miller, Joel Perez, and Aniye Strachan.

Performance Schedule

1:30 pm Gates Open

2:15 pm Melton Mustafa Next Generation Jazz Contest Participants

3:00 pm Joseph Miller

3:30 pm Ladies of Simply Simone

4:15 pm Leesa Richards

5:00 pm New Vision Sax Ensemble

6:00 pm Nicholas Payton Trio featuring Amina Scott and Joe Dyson

 

Come early, bring your lawn chairs and lots of friends to enjoy this FREE outdoor concert.

For vendor space, call 305.638.6771.

 

Admission is free; RSVP at http://ahcacmiami.eventbrite.com/


Folk Heritage Award Recipient William “Billy the Kid” Emerson Honored in Ceremony in Tarpon Springs

TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Folklife Program and the City of Tarpon Springs recognized 2017 Florida Folk Heritage Award recipient, William “Billy the Kid” Emerson, in a special ceremony today hosted at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum. This ceremony honored Mr. Emerson for his lifelong contributions as a songwriter and producer.

William Emerson was born in Tarpon Springs in 1925, where he learned to play piano in church. Following in the footsteps of his uncle George Hannah, Emerson began performing publicly throughout the area. He joined the Navy in 1943, and after the war, resumed performing with Tampa area acts including Ivory Mitchell, the Billy Battle Band, and Alfonso Brown Band. He acquired the nickname “Billy the Kid” while playing with a band that dressed like cowboys.

Also a talented athlete, Emerson attended Florida A&M University on an athletic scholarship but left to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War. He later met Ike Turner and after being discharged, joined Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band. In 1954, he signed a contract with Sam Phillips and wrote and recorded hits for Sun Records including “When It Rains It Really Pours” (later recorded by Elvis Presley) and “Red Hot.” In 1955, he joined Vee-Jay Records, where he released “Every Woman I know (Crazy ‘Bout Automobiles).” Shortly after, he joined Chess Records as their recording manager. Emerson later formed Tarpon Records, and continued to record and perform rhythm & blues both internationally and abroad.

In 1978, Mr. Emerson rededicated himself to his faith, became a pastor and returned to Tarpon Springs where he continues to serve his congregation and compose sacred music. Although he no longer performs secular music, the compilation album, Red Hot: The Sun Years, was released in 2009, and Mr. Emerson was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

 

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William Emerson publicity photo

The Florida Department of State presents Florida Folk Heritage Awards annually to citizens who have made long-standing contributions to Florida’s cultural heritage by perpetuating community traditions. Like the National Heritage Fellowships, the Florida Folk Heritage Awards honor the state’s most influential tradition bearers for excellence, significance and authenticity as folk artists or folklife advocates. Information on how to make a nomination is available here and additional information regarding past recipients, including photos and bios, is available here.

The Florida Folklife Program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Program. For further information about the Florida Folklife Program, contact State Folklorist Amanda Hardeman at 850.245.6427 or visit flheritage.com/preservation/folklife.

 


Gallon to Keynote North Miami Chamber Luncheon in March

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Miami-Dade County District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III, will be the guest speaker at the upcoming Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce Business Networking Luncheon, Noon, March 22, 2017, at the Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami Shores, FL. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets in advance.

 

 


Pastors and Principals Met to Address Spirituality and Violence

Rev Sharpton and Rep Wilson at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit
Rev. Sharpton and Rep. Wilson at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit

MIAMI, FL – To address the growing trend of gun violence and crimes against children, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) hosted the Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit on Friday, March 3, 2017, at Jungle Island.  More than 500 people, including 100 pastors, were treated to an inspirational message from National Civil Rights and Social Justice Activist Reverend Al Sharpton and House Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman James Clyburn (SC-6).  Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, and Pastor Carl Johnson, spiritual leader for the Miami-Dade “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative, and other community and faith leaders also addressed the audience on the urgency and ways in which they could work together to improve the lives of children.

Community activists, including members of Mothers of Murdered Children, principals, and students from schools that are most affected by gun violence, crime, and where children have been murdered were also in attendance.  “We have to reign in the senseless violence that is gripping our communities,” said Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).  “I am grateful that Congressman Clyburn and Reverend Sharpton issued powerful charges to our faith leaders as we transform places of worship into safe havens for our youth.”

The Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit was the first step towards pairing schools with places of faith to ensure students have safety nets to keep them safe from danger and deter them from committing crimes.  In addition to being inducted as mentors in the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, faith leaders pledged to complete several initiatives.  Among the commitments were the identification of male congregants to serve as mentors to boys, the transformation of church parking lots into basketball courts for students, the establishment of a weekly prayer conference call to prepare students for their upcoming school week, and the development of a character education curriculum for Sunday schools or youth ministries. 

Faith leaders will also reach out to parents of children living within a one-mile radius of their places of worship to engage parents in the necessity of spirituality as a component to eliminate crime in our communities.  The leaders also pledged to host an annual 5000 Role Models Youth and Mentors’ Day at their places of worship on June 4, 2017.

“Addressing gun violence is not a new commitment of Congresswoman Wilson or many of the faith leaders who are present today,” said Reverend Al Sharpton during his keynote address.  “But, there is no quick fix.  We’re burying too many of our children.  So, we have to work together collectively, strongly, and more diligently with the forces here today until we can bring a level of self-expectation to these young people.” 

The summit concluded with remarks from keynote speaker Congressman James Clyburn, who recognized the faith leaders’ role in developing boys into wholesome men who will make great contributions to our communities.  “We must still find a cure for cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and other infirmities,” said Congressman Clyburn.  “I sincerely believe that each of these young people, if given the right experiences, could very well grow to be the person who makes these great discoveries.”

“These are babies and their futures are being stolen by gun violence,” said Congresswoman Wilson.  “It is going to take a village to keep our children safe.  Our faith leaders have accepted the charge to engage in this new initiative which will use spirituality as a method to reduce crime in our communities.”

 

Faith Leaders at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit
Faith Leaders at Pastors and Principals Summit, March 3, 2017 at Jungle Island.

 

 

 


Mary J Blige Welcomes 2017 Anew at Five Star New Year's Eve Miami

R&B singer Mary J Blige attended Five Star New Year’s Eve– Miami’s annual all-white-and-gold-themed extravagant party.

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Arriving in a YachtLife boat rocking a bell-sleeved white dress, the No More Drama singer was just that as she rang in the New Year family and friends, including with P Diddy's mom Janice Combs, and seemed not affected by her ongoing divorce battle! Sipping on glasses of Perrier-Jouët and mingling happily with guests, the iconic songstress mentioned she was happy to be in tropical Miami and looking forward to her island performance alongsideUsher at the 2017 Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba.