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October 2014

Activists and Psychologists Intensify Efforts to Counter the Devaluing of Black Lives

(BLACK PR WIRE) – Community Healing Network (CHN) and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) today announced the launch of an initiative called I Value Black Lives, in connection with this year’s celebration of Community Healing Days, on October 17, 18, and 19. I Value Black Lives is a call to action to bring an end to the dehumanization and devaluing of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, and in communities across the country and around the world.

According to Enola Aird, president of CHN, "Race and skin color should not matter, but they do. Black lives should not be devalued, but they are-- which is why we need to be intentional about building a movement to value the lives of Black people."

I Value Black Lives is a part of CHN’s continuing efforts, in collaboration with ABPsi, to build a global grassroots movement to overcome and overturn the lie of Black inferiority: the root cause of the devaluing of the lives of Black people.

I Value Black Lives builds on the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s Call to Wear Sky Blue urging people to take a stand against the myths of White superiority and Black inferiority. In honor of Dr. Angelou, founding chair of CHN’s Board of Advisors, CHN and ABPsi call on Black people to Wear Sky Blue during Community Healing Days to show that we value our lives and that we are determined to move, as Dr. Angelou said, "beyond the pain of the blues to the sky blue of unlimited possibilities."

CHN and ABPsi also call on Black people to reach out to family and friends to encourage them to come together in small groups (during and after Community Healing Days) to envision that future of "unlimited possibilities."

"We must focus on the restoration of our full humanity and, as a first step, we need to boldly envision a future in which Black people’s lives are truly valued," said Daryl Rowe, president of ABPsi.

CHN and ABPsi invite Black people to share their visions of a future of unlimited possibilities at -- to keep the healing conversation going.



Flying Classroom Pilot Barrington Irving Meets with American and Jamaican Ambassadors in Tokyo - Educator from Miami Talks about Engaging Students through STEM+ Expeditions

(BLACK PR WIRE) – Tokyo, October 21, 2014 — Barrington Irving, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, met with United States Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy and Jamaica’s Ambassador to Japan, Ricardo Allicock, to talk about his groundbreaking educational project, the Flying Classroom.

Launched from Washington, D.C. on September 23rd, the Flying Classroom is making stops in 13 countries this fall on the first of three global trips. During each trip, Captain Irving, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, carries out ground, air, and sea expeditions designed to teach students about real-life life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, History, Geography and Humanities (STEM+).

"Captain Irving is helping to solve one of the major challenges that teachers face, which is figuring out how to captivate the imaginations of our children and bring classroom material to life. I was delighted to have the opportunity to learn about his work," said Ambassador Kennedy.

"He is an inspiration to students," said Ambassador Allicock. "His Flying Classroom engages them so they each feel like they’re getting special attention. He gives them access to science and math-related adventures they would never experience on their own."

Many students in the U.S. are following this first-ever interactive STEM+ learning adventure through a school curriculum; others have access to Captain Irving’s travels and expeditions through videos and a blog on the website. Flying Classroom expeditions include learning how to build sustainable cities in Shanghai; diving to see the condition of coral reefs in Bali; and gathering poisonous snake venom in Palau that will be used in medicines that can save lives.

Irving, who was born in Jamaica in 1983 and raised in inner-city Miami, saw football as his route to college until, at age 15, he was introduced to aviation by a Jamaican airline pilot. In launching the Flying Classroom, Irving’s goal was to help students discover their passion for a particular subject and career just as his pilot mentor had done for him.

To reach each destination on the trip, Irving is flying Inspiration III, a Hawker 400XP jet aircraft provided by title sponsor Aircraft Charter company, Executive Air Services ( in Miami. In addition to expeditions, the Flying Classroom is making stops at several ground support locations of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., the title sponsor providing complete trip logistics and ground support for the flight.

While in Tokyo, Captain Irving participated in a museum event organized by a Flying Classroom educational partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Other educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, NASA, and National Geographic.

From September 23rd through November 18th, follow Captain Irving and his team through regular expedition updates at, on Facebook at, on Twitter at @CaptainIrving, and with hashtag #flyingclassroom.

(L-R): Barrington Irving with Ambassadors Caroline Kennedy and Ricardo Allicock in Tokyo


Commentary: Sometimes We Participate in Our Own Demise

by William 'DC' Clark

Random Thought.

Young men are killing each other (and innocent bystanders) in the streets in part due to self hatred, poor parenting and/or a lack of opportunities. They are inundated with Self-Hatred because they are not taught the history, heritage and culture of their people by their parents or their school system. They lack opportunity, in part, because Blacks with means fail to reinvest into the community they once lived. They also lack opportunity because the three major entities in this town, Miami-Dade County School District and both City and County Governments are spending only 2% of their multi billion dollar budgets with the Black Community despite Blacks making up nearly 20% of the population. Add to this equation the fact that some Black elected officials aren't doing a damn thing to correct these ills and what you have is total chaos in the 'hood.

Therefore if what I say is true, then the blood of those children dying on the street are on the hands on some parents, well to do Blacks who have turned their backs, the School Board along with City and County Governments and Black elected officials who haven't done anything to address these apartheid like conditions our children are facing. In the end, the question we should all be asking ourselves is: "I'm I part of the solution or am I part of the problem?" Because in the end, there is no in between.


In recognition of National bullying Prevention Month The Jonathan Spikes Foundation, Inc. launches a new initiative to ending bullying in schools and the community through understanding and compassion.

MIAMI, FL, – In keeping with the national initative and campaign to end bullying in public schools, the workplace and life in general, the Jonathan Spikes Foundation in conjunction with several community partners will launch Affirming YOUth. A 4-hour anti-bullying workshop that will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the University of Miami Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146.

Affirming YOUth will address cultural issues such as; academics, body image, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS, misguided assumptions and other systemic issues, which are precursors, that influence bullying amongst youth.
Affirming Youth is part of the Let’s Talk It Out, Conflict Resolution/Anti-Bullying Program that is already approved through Miami Dade County Public Schools. Affirming YOUth is effective because it allows participants to become stakeholders in the outcome. It also allows them to share their experiences and offer tips on how “we” can stand together against hate, prejudice and stereotypes.

Affirming YOUth will be facilitated by a panel of noted professionals in Miami Dade County to include Psychologists Dr. Charles Gibbs and Dr. Alyssa Rothenberg who will also moderate open discussions after each topic to give students an opportunity to have open dialogue to process and understand the information being presented.

“I strongly believe that once youth can see past labels and stereotypes and “Talk It Out,” then we have achieved the most critical milestone of all – enabling young minds to celebrate each other’s cultural and personal differences and building better communities through compassion and understanding,” states Jonathan Spikes, curator and mastermind of Affirming YOUth, and Founder of the organization.

Affirming YOUth is a FREE event and we encourage students and parents to attend. Breakfast and lunch will be served. To register or inquire about participation, please visit us at:

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson sends letter to Missouri Governor urging removal of prosecutor in Michael Brown case


Washington, DC — Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon requesting the immediate removal of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch from the Michael Brown case. Many residents and local leaders question whether McCulloch can be fair and impartial because of his close ties with the police department. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot on Saturday, August 9, 2014 by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson.

See the full text of the letter below:


October 10, 2014

The Honorable Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon

Governor of Missouri

P.O. Box 720

Jefferson City, MO 65102


Dear Governor Nixon:

It is within your power to make a decision that will bring peace to your state and to this nation. Your refusal to remove St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch from the Michael Brown case and appoint a special prosecutor is unwise and will lead to increased violence. It is your duty to use all available tools and resources to quell these protests before they reach a boiling point and more lives are lost. 

I am writing to you as a concerned elected Democrat of Florida who has lived through race riots and community disturbances surrounding police shootings of Black males. It is probably very difficult for you to understand the innermost feelings of the Black residents of Ferguson because what they are now experiencing has never been a life experience for you—but it has for me. 

When Martin Lee Anderson, a Black boy in Florida was beaten to death at the Bay County Boot Camp by correctional officers, Republican Governor Jeb Bush immediately stepped in and appointed a special prosecutor because of the volatile nature of the case. When Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott quickly appointed a special prosecutor because of the outcry and demands from the African American community. These were both Republican governors.

As a Democrat, I feel marginalized. Over seventy percent of African Americans in the United States vote for Democrats. Over seventy percent of the African American Democrats in Missouri probably voted for you. It is time for you to step up and lead. It is time for you to appoint a special prosecutor outside of Ferguson, Missouri to prosecute the Michael Brown case. I am certain that the State of Missouri has many fair and competent district attorneys and you can make this substitution quickly.

Even though Mr. McCulloch is a Democrat, for the dignity of the people in Missouri and the dignity of your office, it is morally imperative that you listen to the demands of your constituents of Ferguson.

I ask you to follow the lead of Governors in the State of Florida who have preceded you in making decisions that are not always easy, but in the best interest of the people and this country. 




Frederica S. Wilson

Member of Congress


cc:       President Barack Obama, President of the United States

Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Department of Justice

Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT), Chairman, National Democratic Governors Association

U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Majority Leader

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Democratic Leader

U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democratic Whip

U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, Assistant Democratic Leader

U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

U.S. Representative Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)

U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Chair, Democratic National Committee

U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), Chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

State Representative Tommie Pierson (D-MO), Chair, Missouri Legislative Black Caucus

Reverend Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network

Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Marc H. Morial, CEO, National Urban League

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition



Inaugural Florida Classic HBCU Summit Sun. 11/23



A historic and important conversation is scheduled for the weekend of The Florida Classic 2014 in Orlando, FL. The presidents of the four HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Florida are the featured panelists for a discussion at the inaugural State of the Florida Black Colleges and Universities Summit.
In an effort to further its mission of supporting HBCUs, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) has agreed to sponsor the summit. TMCF is a nonprofit organization that helps nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include publicly-supported HBCUs, medical schools, and law schools.

The summit is a public forum that brings together the presidents of Florida’s four HBCUs to discuss strategies for improving retention and graduation. This inaugural conversation will be held at the Rosen Centre in Orlando on Sunday, November 23rd at 10:30 a.m., during the weekend of the Florida Blue Florida Classic 2014.

Since its inception, TMCF has raised over $200 million for programmatic support, capacity building support, and scholarships for its member-schools and the students matriculating on those campuses. A partnership with the Florida HBCU summit gives TMCF an opportunity to better serve the HBCU community and advance efforts that improve educational outcomes.

TMCF joins the Tom Joyner Foundation, Florida A&M University, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, and Florida Memorial University in supporting this landmark event. The current presidents of the four institutions are - Dr. Elmira Mangum - Florida A&M; Dr. Edison O. Jackson - Bethune-Cookman; Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis - Florida Memorial; Nathaniel Glover - Edward Waters.

Faith Leaders Join in Solidarity as Thousands Converge in St. Louis for “Ferguson October: A Weekend of Resistance”


More than 1,000 Participants Expected During Four Days of Action to Demand Justice for Mike Brown and Continue the Nationwide Movement Against Police Violence


#FergusonOctober #LiveFree

Ferguson, MO—Hundreds of interfaith clergy members and seminarians from the PICO National Network, Sojourners, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and many more will join thousands of people from across the country who are heading to St. Louis this weekend to support local residents, activists and clergy organizing a series of protests, rallies and events entitled,“Ferguson October: A Weekend of Resistance.” The weekend actions follow more than 60 days of sustained local protests following the killing of Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, the refusal to arrest or charge him, and the hyper militarized and unconstitutional response to peaceful protests (full schedule of faith events listed below).

Clergy leaders and religious organizers from multi-faith and multi-racial backgrounds are firm in their belief that police brutality and police homicide are an unconscionable moral issue, plaguing both Ferguson and communities across the country, as seen in the senseless police brutality that killed John Crawford in Ohio, Eric Garner in New York, and so many others.

"The waters of injustice and racism have been rushing and hidden behind a make shift dam in the state of Missouri and America since the abolishment of slavery,” said Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Pastor at Quinn Chapel AME Church in Jefferson City, MO. “The tragic circumstances surrounding Michael Brown's death and the aftermath provide glaring evidence that the dam is broken. It is a moral imperative that demands a response from the faith community. The prophet Micah asked, ‘What does GOD require? To do justice (Micah 6:8).’ Justice requires action and GOD requires justice. There is a clarion call for clergy to stand with Ferguson and until all of GOD's children have justice."

“Standing on the steps of the Old Court House in St Louis the night before the funeral of Michael Brown, we stopped protesting and prayed quietly for his family and for the families of so many black men who have died from police and gun violence,” said Rabbi Susan Talve with the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. “Today I stand with the St. Louis faith community to lift up the voices of young leaders who tell us that their lives matter.”

“The faith community is standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ferguson in one of the defining civil rights moments of our generation,” said Rev. Deth Im, Assistant Director of Training and Development with PICO National Network. “As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to demand human dignity, respect, peace, and justice when people are being abused. All God’s children have the right to thrive.”

“Repentance is a powerful theme throughout the Bible. It isn’t just about admitting wrongdoing but also committing to making changes that prevent further harm from being done. While many have lamented the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, there remains little evidence that public officials in Missouri have the courage to alter their policies and behavior to prevent future injustices,” said Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners. “I’m coming to Ferguson because repentance has not happened there yet and the faith community won’t rest until it does.”

"The courageous stance of black youth in Ferguson has challenged the church to stand with them against police brutality. They are the leaders we have been waiting for,” said the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Freeman Fellow with the Fellowship of Reconciliation. “We are called to Ferguson to stand with the people because anything less is heresy.”

Since August, faith leaders have been on the ground in Ferguson working with communities to support and amplify a long overdue conversation about policing and criminal justice. All activities are specifically shaped seeking justice for Mike Brown, and calling for the larger systemic reforms needed in order to ensure full dignity and respect in our communities of color through the accountability of police by local community review boards, and the transformation of national standards of policing. (click here for a full list of demands from the Organization for Black Struggle and the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Coalition).

For updates, a full schedule of events, and compete list of endorsers, visit


Schedule of Faith Events

Sunday, October 12

Event #1

WHAT: National Hands Up Worship Services

WHEN & WHERE: Services across the U.S.

WHERE: Locations & Times across the country

Event Highlights & Featured Speakers: Events at dozens of houses of worship across the country, declaring together that interfaith communities are working, praying and voting to create a nation that will no longer tolerate the violence, systemic injustice and marginalization suffered by poor people and people of color in our communities.


Event #2

WHAT: Mass Meeting on Ferguson: An Interfaith Service

WHEN: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

WHERE: St. Louis University's Chaifetz Arena, 1 S Compton Ave, St Louis, MO 63103

*To schedule interviews contact Keiller MacDuff 202-679-2236.

Event Highlights & Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Cornel West (Keynote Speaker), public intellectual, activist, author;

  • Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners;

  • Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freeman Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation  


Monday, October 13

WHAT: Moral Monday March: Part of the Ferguson October Day of Civil Disobedience

WHEN: 10 AM-12:00 PM

WHERE: Wellspring United Methodist , Ferguson, MO United States


Photo:  The Rickey Smiley Morning Show



On Eve of Early Voting, Georgia Under Pressure to Immediately Add Voters to Rolls


Lawsuit Would Force State and Local Counties to Enroll Eligible Voters

ATLANTA AND WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A lawsuit was filed today in Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court against Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, and five county boards of election on behalf of Third Sector Development, the parent organization of the New Georgia Project (NGP), the national NAACP, and the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP.

The lawsuit seeks a writ of mandamus to require the Secretary of State and county boards of election to promptly process voter registration applications submitted by eligible voters in time for these citizens to cast a regular ballot in the midterm elections. Early voting begins on Monday, October 13.

Today’s lawsuit was brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), the law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P, the law firm Sandler, Reiff, Lamb, Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C. and attorneys for the NAACP.

From March to September 2014, the non-partisan NGP undertook a massive voter registration drive that resulted in it submitting over 86,000 applications. Young people of color registering to vote for the first time completed the majority of those applications. But as of September 4, 2014, more than 40,000 voters, most of whom areminorities,who applied to register through an NGP drive are missing from state voter rolls. The state and counties have neither explained why the applications are unaccounted for, nor have they contacted these voters about their delayed or missing applications, as required by Georgia law. The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP also conducted a separate voter registration drive and submitted thousands of voter registration applications.

“We hoped litigation would not be necessary, but with early voting beginning next week, eligible Georgians are dangerously close to not being allowed to vote in this election. All eligible registrants should be processed immediately; provisional voting is not an acceptable option,” shared Representative Stacey Abrams, founder of Third Sector Development.

“This failure to process voter registrations is a travesty on the part of the State of Georgia so close to an election,” said Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive DirectorBarbara Arnwine.“It is unacceptable that eligible voters who were a step closer to exercising their fundamental right to vote stand to be denied by the state.  America’s young voters should be excited about voting, not worried that they will become disenfranchised before even arriving to the polls.”

After the 2012 election, Secretary Kemp himself acknowledged that Fulton County experienced major problems with its voter registration rolls. Kemp said, “[I]t appears to me that we’ve had people [in Fulton County] that were disenfranchised that never even got a vote that were not properly registered even though they made the deadline.” In the past week, Kemp’s office rebuffed repeated requests to meet in person to discuss the numerous voter registration applications that appear to remain unprocessed or delayed. Secretary Kemp has rolled out a new version of a voter registration processing system utilized by the counties that matches applicants with the Department of Driver Services database. This is the first major election using the new system.  It is unclear whether this new system is part of the processing problem.

“The Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are determined to prevent the major problems that occurred in 2012 from recurring in Fulton County or in other counties this year,” said Bob Kengle, co-director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee.“Processing voter registration applications in a timely way and registering eligible voters who have submitted valid applications are the duties of the Secretary and county election officials. There are strong indications that they are shirking this obligation at the expense of thousands of citizens’ voting rights, and there is no other option but a lawsuit to protect those rights.”

 “The tens of thousands of Georgians that NGP has registered are thrilled to exercise their right to vote but their registration status hangs in limbo,” said Dara Lindenbaum, senior associate at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C. “We are determined ensure that these eligible voters can exercise their rights and have their voices heard.”

“In the lawsuit, we are asking the court to order the defendants to carry out their statutory duties to promptly process all pending voter applications, provide notice to applicants whose information is missing in sufficient time for them to submit missing information, and add eligible and qualified applicants to the official list of registrants,” said V. Robert Denham, Jr., managing partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

Georgia voters who are confused or concerned about the status of their voter registration application should contact the non-partisan Election Protection national coalition’s 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) hotline. Election Protection is working with the NGP to help those who have registered to vote in Georgia but have not received confirmation voter registration cards.

Dr. Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, stated “We will not sit on the sidelines, we will not watch – we are taking action.”

New Black Woman Comic Book Superhero Appearing Live at New York Comic-Con


Helvetika Bold fights social injustice and challenges the status quo, encouraging advocates to unleash their innate super power to create change

Helvetika Bold’s world is much like our own: Mindset, a powerful and shadowy figure, delights in closing and locking people’s minds, focusing the dominant narrative away from the true causes of inequality by laying blame on the people most affected by it. But Helvetika Bold, a powerful new woman of color super hero, battles Mindset and media that reinforces the dominant narrative with stories of inspiration and hope.

Created by New York Times-bestselling author and artist Gan Golan (creator of Unemployed Man) in partnership with The Opportunity Agenda, Helvetika Bold will be at NY Comic-Con to unleash her powers to amplify voices and uphold the values we all share and cherish.

Helvetika Bold origin story comic book available: 

Tuskegee No. 1 in producing minority agriculture and veterinary graduates

Mmwh front gate

TUSKEGEE, AL — Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has ranked Tuskegee University among the top 100 institutions for granting undergraduate and graduate degrees to minorities. Tuskegee took top spots for several degree areas, but the institution had the best showing in its ranking for African-American graduates in agriculture and veterinary medicine.

The publication’s 2014 Top 100 Minority Degree Producers list ranked colleges and universities in three areas: associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees.

 In the undergraduate category, Tuskegee was No. 1 for minority graduates in the Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences degree field. And, No. 2 for graduates in the Natural Resources and Conservation field. The institution was No. 7 and No. 10 for Architecture and Related Services and Engineering undergraduate degrees, respectively.

 Tuskegee was in the No. 12 spot for masters’ degrees in the Engineering category. In the doctoral degree category, Tuskegee was No. 2 in the Physical Sciences field.  The university took the No. 1 spot for professional doctoral degrees in Veterinary Medicine.

The rankings were calculated using the publication’s analysis of U.S. Department of Education reports submitted by the institutions.

 For more information on Tuskegee’s rankings, go to: