Previous month:
April 2014
Next month:
June 2014

May 2014

UD's message to Lance Stephenson

The antics of the Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson went beyond the boundary of athletic competition to downright unprofessionalism and disrespect in this year's NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Well, the Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem issued a warning of his own to Stephenson. You don't have to be a good lip reader to interpret this. Check out this video on the Vine. Yep…yep! UD! UD! UD!

It's Memorial Day, who are you remembering?


Today is Memorial Day. We give give thanks and honor to the men and women servicemembers who piad the ultimate price in service to this country. So while you are at a cookout or at the beach or just relaxing and enjoying a day off from work, remember these great people and their sacrifice.


New Research on the Field of Black Male Achievement Highlights Successes and Opportunities

The Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations today released a report entitled Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement. It is the latest addition to a growing suite of resources at, a web portal that facilitates engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among those working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America. Based on interviews with 50 leaders in the social, academic, government, and business sectors, the report maps the landscape of work in this area and offers recommendations for what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward.

This publication is a timely resource in light of a growing chorus of national initiatives focused on improving the economic, social, and physical well-being of black males. These include President Obama's announcement in February launching My Brother's Keeper, a public-private partnership supporting young men of color, and the formation of theExecutives' Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, launched last year by 26 foundation leaders.

"The barriers to success that black men face have been in plain sight for decades, so it is particularly heartening to see a movement taking shape that is specifically crafted to address these challenges and change the odds for one of the most disenfranchised populations in America," said Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, in the report's afterword. "We are moving in the right direction, but we need to keep in mind that our commitment must be for the long haul."

Building a Beloved Community, commissioned from the Foundation Center by the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement, explores diverse, multi-disciplinary, and cross-sector efforts in the field. The leaders interviewed for the report include Robert K. Ross, president of the California Endowment; Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation; and Emmett Carson, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. It also includes a foreword by respected philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz, an afterword by Geoffrey Canada, and a conclusion offering a vision for success.

"This report provides a snapshot of the breadth and depth of engagement in the field of black male achievement in this pivotal moment," said Seema Shah, director of research for special projects at the Foundation Center and lead author of the report. "Our hope is that it contributes to ongoing efforts to boost strategic collaboration and invites individuals and organizations from every sector and area of the country to see the role they can play in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys."

The new report is complemented by additional content at, including podcasts from interviews and resources referenced in the volume. This qualitative report builds on the 2012 groundbreaking quantitative research inWhere Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, the most comprehensive documentation of the wide variety of philanthropic activity in support of black men and boys. At, visitors can also explore a mapping tool that fosters collaboration by showing who's funding what programs where; sign up for e-mail updates to learn about news and events related to black male achievement; and submit grants data, case studies, and philanthropic milestones. Updates are also on Twitter at @BMAfunders.

Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievementcan also be downloaded for free at the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site and at the Open Society Foundations' web site.


MegaCitizenship Days in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties

If you or someone you know is eligible to become a citizen, now is the perfect time to receive free help! Register for assistance at the citizenship clinic for Citizenship Days.

Citizenship Clinic at MDC Wolfson Campus

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
11:00am - 2:00pm
Miami Dade Wolfson Campus

300 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33132

Citizenship Clinic at Broward College South Campus
Saturday, June 14th, 2014

11:00am - 2:00pm
Broward College South Campus
7200 Pines Blvd Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Check out this video!

Both Citizenship Days arrive right in time before this year’s midterm elections. Legal permanent residents who apply in the beginning of the year, will have a better chance of becoming citizens and eligible to register to vote in time for the elections in November. 

The Florida New Americans is partnering with the New Americans CampaignCatholic Legal Servies of the Achdiocese of Miami, and the National Partnership for New Americans.


State and Local Lawmakers Join Growing Movement To Raise Social Security Benefits


Each year, 58 million Americans use the purchasing power of their Social Security benefits to pump billions of dollars into their local businesses and state economies. In Florida, Social Security provides $56 billion to the state economy through the benefits spent by more than 4 million beneficiaries.  State and local lawmakers who value Social Security’s economic impact are joining the national movement to Boost Social Security Now.

From city and county councils to state legislatures, political leaders are being asked to add their signature to a Proclamation urging Congress to support legislation which would increase Social Security benefits by about $70 per month. Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard (D-39th) is among the growing number of elected officials who are urging Congress to strengthen the economic security of America’s workers, retirees and their families by boosting Social Security. State Representative Mark Pafford (D-86) also offered a tribute in the Florida legislature to recognize the national campaign to boost Social Security.

“While Social Security is a federal program, state and local lawmakers know all too well the importance of these program dollars in their communities, counties and districts.  That’s why it’s so exciting that these elected officials are urging Congress to boost Social Security benefits, not cut them. Local leaders throughout our nation know it’s the right thing to do, especially for middle class families, and now is the right time to do it.”...Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO

Today, Social Security’s average monthly benefit of just $1,290 is 90% or more of retirees’ income for 46% of unmarried elderly and 23% of married couples. 58 million Americans of all ages depend on the anti-poverty protection offered by Social Security.  Three decades of stagnant middle-class incomes, disappearing pensions, limited ability to start and maintain personal savings, and the failure of the 401K experiment lay the foundation for a retirement crisis that could further threaten millions of older Americans and their families. Social Security will be even more important to future generations, especially the Recession Generation which faces income loss, diminished net worth, and high unemployment during their vital income earning years, all of which will ultimately impact their retirement. 

The growing list of signers for the Proclamation can be viewed at Grassroots activists and volunteers will continue their efforts to secure more Proclamation signatures until a bill passes Congress. The legislation to boost Social Security benefits in the 113th Congress is S. 567/H.R. 3118, The Strengthening Social Security Act sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and Representative Linda Sanchez (CA).


Call to Action: Stop radical expansion of school vouchers in Florida

The proponents of expansion of Florida’s education voucher program formally referred to as the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program, used more effective strategy during the 2014 Legislative Session by sneaking in voucher expansion during the last days of the Session via SB 850 thereby minimizing public outcry and public spectacle. Unfortunately, as in previous Sessions, the Bill sounds very positive for students in Florida but it is really intended to benefit a few, not the masses.

FEA (Florida Education Association) vice president Joanne McCall offered five reasons to oppose the measure:

"SB 850 creates additional tax loopholes for corporations to fund private and religious schools at the expense of public schools;

"The bill expands the controversial corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program which diverts public money away from our public schools and provides it to private and religious schools with little oversight or accountability.  Originally passed by the legislature as a way to provide options to low income students in struggling public schools, the program now funds a parallel system of private and religious schools in Florida;

"With over 80% of the children in this program using these vouchers to attend religious schools, this program violates the will of Florida’s voters who overwhelmingly voted to preserve our state’s constitutional provision regarding the separation of church and state in 2012; 

"Private and religious schools accepting these state sponsored vouchers still have little accountability while public schools and public school students are subject to intense scrutiny and demoralizing penalties.  Students attending these schools as part of this state-funded program are not required to take the state mandated tests, teachers hired by these schools do not have to be certified and there is no penalty for poor student performance; and

"In addition to expanding the corporate Tax Scholarship Program, this bill also creates a new entitlement program for disabled students participating in home, private and religious school education programs - even though the state continues to underfund the public school programs mandated by the federal government to assist this same population."

Under the guise of school choice, many of the schools in predominantly black neighborhoods have suffered. Apathetic parents and appointed/elected officials that have not been held accountable have contributed to this situation in which public education finds itself. Rather than improve our neighborhood public schools, many parents have been convinced that the neighborhood public schools should be abandoned and their children will be better educated by merely sitting in a different seat in a different building or sitting in the same seat in the same building under the name of a new school. 

Click here to tell Governor Rick Scott to Veto SB 850. Private dollars should be used for those who choose to educate their children in private or religious schools. Protect public schools and a free education. Public education is not for sale.


Scholarship opportunity to increase diversity in healthcare

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women and Macy's are awarding 16 scholarships of $2,500 each to help increase the number of diverse healthcare professionals while improving culturally-sensitive, patient-centered care.

The Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarships are part of Macy's Multicultural Fund, which was created in 2009 to increase diversity in the medical field.  Macy's is the founding national sponsor of the association's Go Red For Women® and Go Red Por Tu Corazón awareness campaigns.

Registration for the 2014-2015 Multicultural Scholarship is open and can be accessed by visiting

"At Macy's, we are deeply committed to supporting diversity throughout everything we do," said Holly Thomas, Macy's Group Vice President of Media Relations and Cause Marketing. "As the founding national sponsor of the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement, we are able to extend our reach into an underserved population. This includes raising awareness and creating long-term impact by helping increase diversity within the next generation of health care professionals who we know provide life-saving support to a multicultural population.

The scholarship program -- now in its third year -- champions greater inclusion of multicultural women in medical, nursing and allied health studies to better meet the cultural needs of racially diverse patients.

The number of minority medical school graduates is increasing steadily, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Among 17,341 medical school graduates in 2012, 1,163 were African-American, 1,294 Hispanic and 3,721 Asian.

However, the figures are still low compared with the population at large. For example, according to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics and US Census Bureau:

  • Only 5.4 percent of African-American and 3.6 percent of Hispanic nurses in the nation are registered nurses
  • In contrast, African-Americans are 13 percent of the nation's population, and Hispanics or Latinos make up 17 percent
  • Minorities represent almost 37 percent of the U.S. population in total

Meanwhile, census demographics indicate that minority population growth is expected to increase in relation to whites in the coming years. 

"The numbers speak for themselves, as the demographics change and more ethnically and racially diverse populations grow, there will definitely continue to be a need for healthcare providers who mirror these patients," said Eva Gomez, MSN RN-BC CPN and scholarship judge.  "Having more ethnically and racially diverse providers will make it possible to deliver healthcare that is meaningful, culturally appropriate and in the context of the person, thus making it patient and family-centered care." 

Numerous ethnic groups — including African-Americans and Hispanics — are at higher risk for heart disease.  Therefore, breaking the cultural and language barriers among patients and healthcare providers can lead to better health care.

"The patient's cultural identification, spiritual affiliation, language and gender can all affect the care they need, and their behavioral responses to illness," Dr. Deidre Woods-Walton, National President for National Black Nurses Association.

"Throughout my 20-year career in healthcare, I've learned that having a cultural connection between patients and healthcare providers, impacts the provider-patient dynamic," agreed Gomez.  "The way in which healthcare providers, who look and sound like their patients, connect with them makes a positive impact on how patients and families respond, consult and accept healthcare guidance and care."

For more information, visit




WASHINGTON, DC (MAY 16, 2014) — The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (NAACP LDF) marked the 60thanniversary of Brown v. Board of Education with a special luncheon at the National Press Club.  The event, which celebrated the 60th anniversary of what is today acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, featured remarks by the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, and was emceed by MSNBC host, Karen Finney.

In addition, there was a conversation with the Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts and the Honorable L. Douglas Wilder, Former Governor of Virginia, moderated by award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the first two African-American students to integrate the University of Georgia.

Cecilia Marshall, widow of NAACP LDF founder Thurgood Marshall, was honored with the NAACP LDF’s Spirit of Justice Award for her commitment of service to her community and the pursuit of justice and equality for all. Also recognized at the event was Jack Greenberg, who successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court alongside Thurgood Marshall and went on to serve as LDF’s second Director-Counsel.

“The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ushered in a modern America that must grapple honestly with the promise of equality and opportunity for all of its citizens,” said Sherrilyn A. Ifill, NAACP LDF’s President and Director-Counsel.  “NAACP LDF pioneered the Brown case and today we continue to fight inequality in every walk of life – where we live, where we work and where we learn.”

“Since 1940, LDF has performed critical work to rally Americans from all backgrounds to the unifying cause of justice – standing on the front lines of our fight to guarantee security, advance opportunity, and ensure equal treatment under law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in his remarks today.

“Your enduring legacy is written not only in the words of seminal legal opinions, but in the remarkable, once-unimaginable progress that so many of us have witnessed even within our own lifetimes.” 



National Black Immigration Conference comes to Little Haiti


Miami, FL - Next week, from May 23rd- 25th, 2014, an estimated 150 community leaders from across the country will gather in Miami for the "Black Immigration Network Kinship Assembly: A Gathering for Action", to discuss racial justice and immigrant rights. Hosted by the Black Immigration Network (BIN), a national “kinship” network comprised of black immigrants and African Americans, leaders and activists will convene at the Little Haiti Cultural Center for three days of strategizing, networking and building a movement to unite Black communities for racial justice and migrant rights. 

Immigration is a hotly contested issue and media often focus on Latino immigrants and conflict along the U.S.-Mexico border. There are countless untold stories of Black immigrants who bear the brunt of disproportionately high rates of deportation, unemployment, and economic exploitation, many living life in the shadows due to undocumented status. Over 3 million Black immigrants from countries in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Canada live in the United States, comprising 10% of the U.S. foreign-born population. BIN is dedicated to connecting these communities for action and raising their collective voices for social, political and economic justice.

With the theme of Rising Together, this biennial Kinship Assembly will feature the use of African Diaspora Dialogues to build transformative change and mutual understanding between African-Americans and African immigrants on issues of race, culture and identity. It will also include strategy sessions on Haitian family reunification, immigration reform and mass incarceration/mass detention. The conference coincides with the culmination of Miami’s month-long celebration of Haitian Heritage Month, and will be co-hosted by local grassroots organizations including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Power U, Haitian Women of Miami, Florida New Majority, and Caribbean Lawyers Association. 

“Black immigrants and African Americans have the highest unemployment, highest incarceration, lowest wages and a many more challenges facing us. This is our attempt to rectify that because our communities deserve justice and dignity, and we should have a fighting chance”, said Opal Tometi, Co-Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a BIN member. 

In March 2013, BIN successfully led the charge to raise the voice of Black immigrants by ratifying its 10 Principles for Just and Inclusive Immigration Reform, petitioning the US Senate, and mobilizing hundreds of African Americans and Black immigrants for a national rally at the US Capitol. BIN has also developed a strategic partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, organizing a panel for it’s Annual Legislative Conference last June on “Pan African Immigration Reform.” 

It is important in this heightened moment for Afro Immigrants and African Americans to continue to traverse the bridges that were built during past struggles like the Civil Rights fights, the various independence movements and the dismantling of the racist apartheid system,” said Donald Anthonyson, organizer with New York-based Families for Freedom.

Francesca Menes, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Florida Immigrant Coalition agrees. “Our communities need the additional support,” she said. “Florida has one of the largest Caribbean populations in the U.S. and it’s important to give community members an opportunity to hear some policy analysis, participate in peer-led workshops and voice their issues.”

The goal of the assembly and BIN overall is to develop a network that nurtures relationships among Black-led organizations, builds collective strategies for justice, and provides support to make their work more effective. 

Trina Jackson of Boston-based Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity shared, “In a day and age where African Americans are pitted against immigrants, we are a group that says this must stop – we embrace and love one another, and know that our commitment to justice is a commitment to all of us!” 

Registration information for the conference can be found online at 



May 18 - Haitian Flag Day


May is Haitian Heritage Month and May 18 is Haitian Flag Day. The story of the national flag of Haiti is a magnificent story of the struggle for freedom. On May 18, 1803, an official flag of Haiti was agreed upon. The first flag was blue and red bands placed vertically. The first flag was sewn by Catherine Flon

On January 1, 1804, Haitian Independence Day, the flag was modified again. Changes in leadership resulted in the adoption of several versions of the flag until February 1986, after the fall of Baby Doc and the Duvalier regime, when the people of Haiti requested the return of the red and blue flag.

For details on the history of Haitii and the Haitian flag, visit the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Washington, DC. It displays a picture of each of the different flags of Haiti and a synopsis of each flag’s historical perspective. A detailed narrative of the history of Haitian Flag Day is available here