Politics

Wilson to Host Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Hearing on the Future of Higher Education Post-COVID

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Washington, D.C. – Today, at 1 p.m. ET, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson will lead her first hearing as chair of the Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. The theme is Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant inequities in higher education and placed an enormous strain on universities and colleges and their students. The abrupt shift to remote learning has exacerbated barriers that make it difficult to successfully attend and graduate from college, particularly for low-income students and students of color who depend more heavily on the on-campus services they no longer had access to, including food and housing. While all students have been impacted by the pandemic, the biggest enrollment declines have occurred among black undergraduates and low-income students. Alarmingly, students who do not complete their educations have considerably higher levels of loan default. There is also evidence that the shift to online learning has compounded existing racial achievement gaps.

“The three relief packages passed by Congress invests more than $75 billion to help institutions and students avert crises, but we must do much more to ensure that underserved students are not left behind as the nation recovers from the pandemic,” says Congresswoman Wilson. “Bold steps will be required to strengthen student protections and expand access to student aid so that we build back a better higher education system for everyone. This hearing will explore how we can begin to achieve those goals.”

To watch the hearing, click here.

 


Black Men’s Thoughts on the Kamala Harris Ascendency to Madam Vice President

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Kamala Harris pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard University in 1986. The organization was founded on the campus with 16 students in 1908; it has grown to more than 300,ooo members.



On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, history was made when then Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, selected Senator Kamala Devi Harris to be his running mate. Harris, already a trailblazer in American politics, became the first Black women to run for Vice-President on a major political party ticket. Her nomination was celebrated by many Americans, especially Black women who are frequently touted as the backbone of the Democratic Party.

Harris’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters were often tapped by mainstream media to provide a perspective on Harris from her undergraduate days at Howard University and the significance of her historic candidacy. We reached out to Black men, to get their perspective on the Harris ascendency to the second most powerful position in American government. Like Harris, each of these men is a member of a Divine Nine organization. Their opinions are their own.

Taj Echoles

There is nothing "by chance" in this thing called life. Every move we make-every step we take leads to our destiny and end result. If you ask anyone who attended Howard University, even for a short period of time, to chronicle their experience at the MECCA they will all say the same thing: "U-KNOW" 

"U-KNOW" the education, experiences and relationships earned at "The Real HU" will prepare you for life in ways that you can never imagine.  It will prepare you to become a Supreme Court Justice, a member of the United States Congress, or an award winning actor/entertainer. But if you ask Kamala Harris it prepared her to be the first woman and person of African descent to serve as Vice President of the United States of America. "U-KNOW" the importance of brotherhood and sisterhood. Being apart of the Divine Nine is not only a rite of passage but a bond and pledge to serve. In return, the promise of solidarity to lift one another to the highest of heights. We witnessed first hand, the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and brothers and sisters across the Divine Nine united to create history not only for Kamala Harris but for the entire diaspora. "I-KNOW" as a graduate of Howard University and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated like Vice President Kamala Harris the importance and magnitude of our very existence:

"We are the Ancestors wildest dreams..."

Kenneth Williams

As a Kappa and HBCU alumnus I’m immensely proud of Kamala Harris. I view her election as clouded. As it is obvious she is a Black woman and she is Greek, I feel that the greatest impact is reflected in her being a woman. She has broken a glass ceiling that no other woman has. Obama shattered the ceiling for all minorities on being elected President. So the impact of her being Black is not the major emphasis. However her impact as a woman is monumental.

Kionne McGhee-3

The magnitude of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America as a woman and of African descent is beyond words. As a graduate of Howard University, Vice President Kamala Harris and I share an experience that only individuals who have attended the "MECCA" can relate to.  As a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. I am extremely proud that a soror/sister of the "Divine Nine" has been given the ultimate opportunity to represent all Americans at the highest level. As Vice President of the United States of America...

Andre Joyce

There was a lot of work to be done, and a country that was in need of healing. Kamala Harris would bring a wealth of knowledge to the administration. A junior senator, assigned to the Intelligence Committee and Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee, she would be a very good choice with great insight. 

I thought about how black men would see her and relate. Some older men, middle age men, because of her reputation, thought that she would only want to see them go to jail --- “locking black men up”. I see something very different. I see an opportunity to change the narrative for a Black woman to be a champion for not only Black people, but for everybody. I see a woman that young men would want their daughters to emulate, because if she could do it, so could they. I see her being an advocate for true justice reform.

It is time to rally behind her as she takes on her new role. We have to move on past those things that we may have heard and support her because she is our own, she is well-qualified, and has proven herself. We must pray for her and ask God to guide her as she moves. She has been the chosen one and she has the blessings of our ancestors. Kamala, you got this!

Eric Pettus

I took one look at her pledge picture and I knew that regardless of what one might think about her prosecutorial record, or her choice in a mate, she knows the struggle of Black America because she pledged in 1986 at Howard University. That was not a time....never mind. Lets just say that she could not and would not have survived pledging AKA at Alpha Chapter with 37 black line sisters and not have been one of us.

Kamala Harris reaching this milestone is what every Black Greek Letter Organization, particularly those in the Divine Nine were founded to do. Each and every member of the collective organizations should be overjoyed and extremely proud that one of us has made it to this point. It is a testament to the heights that we can achieve through our brotherhoods and sisterhoods. Applaud and support VP Harris’ achievement and dare to dream that in four years, or in eight, that she can move to President. In the meantime, the charge I will leave for my Brothers of Iota Phi Theta is to do our part to live up to our predominant motto… Building a Tradition and Not Resting Upon One! There are more Presidents and Vice Presidents among us. OW-OW



Florida Democrats Have a Chance to Make History: Five Things You Need to Know

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At noon tomorrow, Saturday, January 9, 2021, the Florida Democratic Party will elect a state chair and other officers.

1. A Democrat has not been elected governor of Florida in almost three decades, and the result of the 2020 general election was the most embarrassing losses in recent history. The Democrats lost two congressional seats, lost three seats, and two open seats in the Florida Legislature, lost the presidential race by 375,000 votes, and possibly permanently removed Florida from the “swing state” category to red.

2. As expected, current State Chair Terrie Rizzo bore the brunt of the blame and did not seek re-election. Six individuals declared their candidacy for State Chair — former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; DNC (Democratic National Committee) member Nikki Barnes; Environmental Caucus Chair Dr. Janelle Christensen; former State Representative and Alachua County Party Chair Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut; Orange County Party Chair Wes Hodge; and Hillsborough County Party Chair Ione Townsend.

The candidates have participated in a series of forums and interviews. The online conversations between party faithful and supporters have been fast, furious, eye-opening, and informative. The chair is just one of the offices to be determined. There must also be a vote on the first vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, and DNC members.

3. Because of a gender-balance requirement in the organization’s arcane by-laws, the chair and vice-chair must be of the opposite gender, as is the same for the secretary and treasurer. That requirement also adds an interesting element to campaigning and political wheeling and dealing. It also helps to understand why some endorsers who are also candidates line-up on certain teams.

4. As of this writing, Nikki Barnes, Wes Hodge, and Dr. Janelle Christensen have suspended their campaigns. All three have endorsed Dr. Chestnut.

5. If elected, Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut could make history as the first Black person elected to lead the Florida Democratic Party. Being the first is not new to her. Dr. Chestnut is the first Black woman elected to the Gainesville City Commission; the first Black woman elected Mayor-Commissioner of Gainesville, the first Black woman elected to the Florida House of Representatives from Alachua, Marion, and Putnam counties, and the first Black woman elected to the Alachua County Commission.

Dr. Chestnut, a Tallahassee native, is well-known throughout the state of Florida. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Nova Southeastern University. She is also a member of The Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

She is a life-long Democrat and proven leader who is uplifting but doesn't tell you what you want to hear just to get your support, and genuinely welcomes everyone to the “Big Tent” the Democrats like to brag about.

Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut embodies the “magic” that so many outside our community seem to have just discovered, but we see every day. The nation has seen it in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams. Democrats can win again if it returns to its grassroots and listens to the voters. Tomorrow’s Florida Democratic Party election will determine the political trajectory of Florida. Stay tuned for the results.

 

 

 


Miami-Dade County, It's Election Day! Let's get out and vote! [RECOMMENDATIONS]

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It's finally here! It's Election Day! From the presidential race to other races on the federal, state and local level, TODAY is our LAST DAY to voice our choices in this election cycle. Every election is important and every vote counts. This year is truly important as our country has definitely gone in the wrong direction  over the last almost four years. 

Please refer to our recommendations and make sure you vote for people who will represent you. Even if the candidate you support is not victorious, it's crucial to hold the people who are elected accountable. Check out an excerpt from The Bakari Sellers Podcast. It was a conversation between Sellers, Angela Rye and Andrew Gillum. A few choice adult words are used so consider yourself warned. The bottomline is we, as voters, have a responsibility to make sure our elected officials are representing us and not just themselves.  

 

Some folks are apprehensive about the aftermath of the election if Trump loses. He has signaled to White nationalist organizations to be disruptive and violent so we need to be aware but not fearful. The polls will close at 7 p.m. tonight. Get out and vote. Our lives truly depend on it.

BBM 2020 General Election Ballot Breakdown

 


Alpha Phi Alpha Encourages, Motivates and Educates Voters with "Alpha Train" Caravan [VIDEO]

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Perhaps the Black community in Miami is on the precipice of a political and cultural revolution. Perhaps this generation of millennials will usher in a resurgence of Black unity and Black power reminiscent of Miami’s past. On Sunday, November 1, 2020, the men of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, executed a community caravan to bring awareness of the importance of the using the right to vote to effect change for our people and the community at large.

For this ambitious project, the fraternity partnered with Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only HBCU. Before the fraternity members and their supporters set out on their journey, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included dignitaries from the university’s Board of Trustees.

As the attention-getting caravan, with full escort, rolled into the first of four stops, the early voting site at the Miramar Branch Library & Education Center, the energy was immediately apparent. The featured speaker at that location was the honorable Wayne Messam, mayor of the City of Miramar and member of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter. The fraternity distributed t-shirts and bottled water to early voters waiting in line.

The excitement continued at the next stops, the early voting sites at the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens and the North Miami Library. The caravan concluded at the Joseph Caleb Center early voting location, in the City of Miami, with messages from community leader and past chapter president, Pierre Rutledge and current chapter president Michael Grubbs.

More than 200 people in 70 vehicles participated in the caravan. At each of the stops, hundreds of voters and onlookers were educated on “A Voteless People is a Hopeless People,” a national program of Alpha Phi Alpha since the 1930’s when many African-Americans had the right to vote but were prevented from voting because of poll taxes, threats of reprisal, and lack of education about the voting process.

“Yesterday...I looked into the eyes of children and our seniors across South Florida and saw the impact of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, "Alpha Train" Road to the Polls. It offered hope and meaning to a community struggling to believe in the Democratic process within our country. We endeavored to wake up South Florida and let our name, example and action(s) lead the way,” said Taj Echoles, chair of Beta Beta Lambda’s Alphas In Action Task Force, the civic engagement arm of the chapter.

 

 

About Beta Beta Lambda Chapter (adapted from Chapter's website):

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter has been an active part of the Greater Miami community since its inception on November 19, 1937. Like many chapters across the country, it was established by men with a common interest in improving the community through education and public service.

The chapter’s founding members are Felix E. Butler, MD, Nathaniel Colston, MD, Ira P. Davis, MD, Aaron Goodwin, MD, Frederick J. Johnson, Samuel H. Johnson, MD, Leo A Lucas, and William H. Murrell, MD. Under the leadership of Solomon C. Stinson, Ph.D., the chapter was incorporated in the State of Florida as a legal entity on November 30, 1978. Under the leadership of Earl H. Duval Ph. D., the Beta Beta Lambda/Alpha Foundation was created and incorporated on September 25, 1995.

In June 2006, AlphaLand Community Development Corporation was created and incorporated under the leadership of Gregory D. Gay, Dana C. Moss, Sr. CPA, Lyonel Myrthil, and Eric Hernandez, Esq. The foundation and CDC are 501©3 not-for-profit organizations. The chapter’s executive board also serves as the Board of Directors of the foundation and the CDC has a separate board of directors with membership from the chapter.

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter and its subsidiaries are providing leadership through its many service activities such as Alpha Outreach, Project Alpha, Alpha-Dade Youth Sports Program, Alpha/Big Brothers & Big Sisters Partnership, Sankofa Project, Knights of Gold, Boy Scouts Troop 1906, Alpha/Head Start Partnership, Voter Education Project, and Scholarship Award Program.

 

Related Links:

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Facebook)

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated


Photos: AJ Shorter/AJShorter Photography


Oprah Winfrey, NAACP and National Voting Rights Leaders Join Together for National Town Hall: “OWN YOUR VOTE: OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT”

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Winfrey To Discuss Her New Initiative “OWN Your Vote” with NAACP President and CEO and Other Key Leaders in the Fight for Voting Rights, Focused Specifically on Mobilizing Black Women to Vote 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22, 2020) – Oprah Winfrey and OWN have joined together with the NAACP and national voting rights leaders to host “OWN Your Vote: Our Lives Depend On it,” a virtual conversation aimed to inspire and equip thousands of voters and community leaders with specific steps they can take to register to vote, request their absentee ballots, and mobilize voters throughout their community. Slated to take place on September 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM EST, the hour-long conversation will include remarks from leaders in the fight for voting rights, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Stacey Abrams (Fair Fight), Minyon Moore (Power Rising), Tiffany Dena Loftin (NAACP Youth and College), Judith Browne Dianis, and other key leaders. Join this conversation by visiting bit.ly/OprahZoom and registering today!

“We are excited to work with OWN, Ms. Winfrey and other key voting rights leaders as we engage our members, activists, and community leaders around the country about the importance of this election and their vote,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “Her voice during this critical time when communities not only need reassurance in their ability to affect change but encouragement and enlightenment on how to do so with clear impact cannot be overstated.”

As the nation reels from the effects of COVID-19, racial injustice, and voter suppression, OWN Your Vote seeks to shed light on the solution through a bipartisan registration and a get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at providing OWN’s audience of Black women with tools and resources to overcome voter suppression in the November election. The pro-social campaign connects people to urgent political actions and gives their concerns a powerful microphone by placing a spotlight on crucial community issues.

“OWN is proud to partner with the NAACP and prominent voting rights leaders to hold this important conversation to energize and engage our community to vote this November,” said Tina Perry, president of OWN. “This is a critical time in our history to come together and raise our voices.”

Along with shedding light on why this moment is paramount for Black women to use their voice, Ms. Winfrey will also moderate a panel discussion that will bring attention to barriers to voting, what everyone should know about this election, and how they can overcome voter suppression in their community.

The OWN Your Vote campaign has been informed by a study OWN conducted with over 700 Black women of voting age to identify critical issues affecting them. The political impact tracking study determined that affordable health care and racism/discrimination are the two most relevant issues to Black women this election season.

OWN Your Vote Partner Organizations include:

Advancement Project National Office

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

AME Church Social Action Commission

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Fair Fight Action

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights

The Kapor Center

The King Center (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Links, Incorporated

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Council of Negro Women

National Urban League

Power Rising

Power to the Polls

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

Sistahs in Business Expo

Vote Run Lead

Vote.org

VoteAsIf.org

When We All Vote

Woke Vote

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated


Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 24

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The Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated presents the second in a series of Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meetings! On Thursday, September 24th at 9 PM EST, witness "Politics, Faith & Media: Harnessing the Collective Power of When We All Vote." Joining the one hour 15 minute discussion will be one of the most powerful men in politics, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, renowned activist and faith leader, Bishop William Barber and journalist/talk show host Roland Martin. The meeting will be shown live via Facebook telecast, on the Southern Area Website (www.salinksinc.org) and via Youtube.


AFSCME, NAACP launch historic partnership to mobilize Black voters

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Partnership kicks off with a joint four-state presidential radio buy on African American radio stations in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina.

WASHINGTON – AFSCME and the NAACP launched on Saturday two radio ads which will run in the Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Detroit, Flint, Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro markets through election day. Both the AFSCME and NAACP ads slam President Trump’s failures to combat COVID-19, while the virus continues to exact a brutal and disproportionate toll on the Black community.

“While Trump lied, Black people died,” says the NAACP ad before urging voters to request a ballot and make a plan to vote. “Trump spends his time golfing, while COVID-19 hits the black community hard,” says the voiceover in the AFSCME ad (paid for by AFSCME’s PAC, AFSCME PEOPLE) contrasting Trump’s record with that of Joe Biden’s to protect health care. The significant ad buys jumpstart a partnership between the two organizations that will focus on Black voter education and mobilization based on what is at stake in November and beyond for communities of color.

The partnership marks a new chapter in the shared activism and close bond between the civil rights community and AFSCME. Together, the NAACP and AFSCME are addressing the deep-seated racial injustices and corrupt incompetence which have forced Black communities across the country to bear the brunt of the health and economic crises facing the nation.

“The Black vote will determine the outcome of this consequential election, and we must ensure that we use this influence to elect leaders who will empower our communities,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “This historic collaboration is proof that our communities are united during these critical times. From the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 to ongoing police brutality experienced by black people, we must turn out to vote in November — and every election — if we are to achieve the representation and policy changes that will protect our communities. We must ensure that every voice is heard because our lives and future depend on it.”

Listen to the NAACP ad, While He Lied, Black People Diedhere.

“I can’t recall an election where fundamental issues of racial justice have been more at stake,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “It’s going to take overwhelming turnout among African Americans and communities of color to prevail in November. That’s why AFSCME has entered into this unique partnership with the NAACP. By combining our resources and expertise, we will mobilize voters in targeted states who are tired of leaders who stoke racial resentment and head for the links while Black and brown people die by the thousands. This collaboration — between our two organizations that have done so much to advance civil rights, labor rights and human rights — will help ensure that voters are informed and empowered this November to elect leaders who will invest in all our communities and unite us around shared values.” 

Listen to the AFSCME ad here: https://youtu.be/rpWh6P2fGmI

 


2020 Election Could be Historic for Miami-Dade School Board

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Election 2020 could be historic for the School Board of Miami-Dade County. Joining Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall who is not up for re-election and current Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III who was re-elected without opposition, could be long-time, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss and professor and long-time community advocate Dr. Marie-Flore Lindor-Latortue. 

There have never been more than two Blacks on the school board, concurrently. Term-limited in his County Commission seat, Moss has thrown his hat in the ring for the District 9 school board seat which is open because the incumbent, Dr. Larry Feldman, is not seeking re-election. Lindor-Latortue is seeking the District 7 seat currently held by Luby Navarro.

Every election is important. These races could be decided as a result of the August 18 Primary Election, so it’s crucial to get registered by July 20 and vote. 

 




NAACP/BET Unmasked A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Beginning on Wednesday, April 8, at 8pm EST/ 5pm PT

As reports from around the United States confirm what many have suspected -- blacks are hardest hit by the coronavirus global pandemic, the NAACP has partnered with BET to present the 4-week community program, ”Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series”.

 

The  first virtual town hall will be presented this Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm ET, 5pm PT. Part one of the four-part series will feature a candid discussion on the health, mental, and economic tolls this crisis has had on our communities and how people of color can apply pressure to ensure the congressional response to this pandemic is equitable.

 

Click here to register online. 

 

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