Across Black America
Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
When asked by the leadership of Share Our Strength to support an effort to feed America’s youth, USA Network star Sharif Atkins (“White Collar”) knew exactly how he could assist, by producing a public service announcement that might inspire others to support the cause. With a simple belief that “No child should grow up hungry in America,” Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign attempting to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.
District of Columbia
As Congress convenes to determine the fate of the 50 million Americans living in poverty and a shattered middle class stalled in a jobless recovery, broadcaster Tavis Smiley is calling on everyday people from coast to coast to urge President Barack Obama to convene a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in America. Smiley will moderate a nationally televised discussion, “Vision for a New America: A Future Without Poverty,” 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. Taking place just days before the presidential inauguration, the event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m., and advance registration is required at www.tavistalks.com/visionforanewamerica.
The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce will host its seventh annual gala. This year’s theme is “Seven Degrees of Empowerment.” Celebrities such as actor Boris Kodjoe and Hip Hop deejay Rob Base are among the individuals headlining the Miami-Dade Chamber of Comm-erce’s 7th Annual Gala. The event will be held on Dec. 1, 2012, 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. The event continues to attract business, political and civic leaders from across the region for an enchanting night of dinner, dancing and fun. This year, the event will be hosted by Kodjoe and Sharon Lawson, WTVJ-NBC6 anchor. More than 600 people are expected to attend the well-anticipated event.
Seventeen-year-old Jordan Russell Davis was shot and murdered by 45-year-old Michael David Dunn after the two got into a verbal confrontation over loud music. Jordan was sitting in a car when Michael pulled up next to him to complain that he was playing his music too loud outside of a convenience store in Jacksonville, Fla. From there, the two exchanged words when Dunn, a registered gun owner and collector, used his firearm to shoot at Davis' vehicle. He fired eight or nine times, striking Jordan twice. Since Jordan's death on Friday, Michael has entered a not-guilty plea deal, claiming that he felt “threatened.” His lawyer stated that Michael acted responsibly and in self-defense. Jordan was a student at Samuel W. Wolfson High School, a magnet school in Jacksonville.
The third annual BronzeLens Film Festival played host to more than 3,000 attendees from across the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa. During the course of four days 50 films in the Feature, Narrative Fiction, Documentary and Shorts categories were screened Nov. 8-11 at Georgia Pacific Center, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, World of Coca-Cola, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia Power Auditorium. A total of six films received prestigious BronzeLens Awards top honors in the following categories: Best Documentary Short, Best Overall Film and Winner of the Panavision $50,000 Camera Equipment Prize, “Colored My Mind,” with director Nia T. Hill; Best Documentary, “The Contradictions of Fair Hope,” with directors S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf; Best Feature Film, “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” with director Terence Nance; Best Short, “Barbasol,” with director Ralph K. Scott; Best International, “Otelo Burning,” with director Sara Blecher; Audience Award Winner, “ Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles,” with director Elvin Ross.
The Louisiana Green Corps will host “Framing the Future,” a photography benefit show to support its youth programs on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Stella Jones Gallery in the St. Charles Place shopping plaza at 201 Saint Charles Avenue in the central business district. The event begins with a Patron Party from 5-6 p.m., and will be open to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. “Framing the Future” will showcase and sell artwork by Epaul Julien, Harold Baquet, Skip Bolen, Erin Krall, Samantha Berg and Jamar Pierre, whose works illuminate the interactions between people and the urban environment. All artwork will be for sale, as will frames and other craft pieces made by Louisiana Green Corps’ youth program participants. There will also be raffle prizes from local companies.
R&B’s newest crooner Antoine Dunn recently attended the Soul Train Awards held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nev. Dunn, who recently released his debut album “Truth of the Matter” (Elite Music Group Inc.), was among many celebrities who came out to pay homage some of the musical elite, as well as to remember and honor the late “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius. “It was exciting to be among so many of my peers and to celebrate the man who started it all,” Dunn says of his first time attending the show. “I was simply honored to be there.” Having just wrapped the “Back to Love” tour with soul singer Anthony Hamilton and international star Estelle, Dunn is embarking on a series of performances in several cities.
The Black Male Achievement (BMA) Fellowship is a program established by Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green, dedicated to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys in the U.S. It is the first fellowship program of its kind that targets social entrepreneurs who are starting up new and innovative organizations in the field of Black male achievement. The BMA Fellowship includes start-up capital and technical assistance over 18 months to help new leaders launch and build their organizations; access to technical support and pro bono partnerships; and a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders. The fellowship will be awarded to up to eight fellows who are generating new ideas and best practices in the areas of education, family, and work such as initiatives related to fatherhood, mentoring, college preparatory programs, community-building, supportive wage work opportunities, communications, and philanthropic leadership. For more information, visit www.blackstarjournal.org.
Olden Polynice, former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, has been appointed as the newest ambassador to Haiti. In a private ceremony held at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, President Michel Martelly presented Polynice with a special certification and discussed Polynice’s role in aiding Haiti in their continued efforts to grow and build a sustainable Haiti. Polynice joins an A-list of celebrities recently named ambassador, including Sean Penn, Maria Bello, and Petra Nemacova. Born Nov. 21, 1964, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Polynice moved to the United States as a child with his family in search of the American Dream. This dream would be realized when Polynice was later drafted into the NBA, playing 15 years in the league for the Seattle SuperSonics, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. Polynice hopes to use his visibility in the sports community to give Haiti a voice and to bring awareness to the nation’s cause.
Prominent international leaders will join to present the 2013 Ambassadors Inaugural Ball. This exclusive black-tie affair will be held Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at The Mead Center for American Theater, home of the Arena Stage at 1101 6th Street SW. From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Representatives from nearly 200 nations will converge on the nation’s capital to celebrate the reelection of President Barack Obama with decadent food, premier entertainment and ceremonial dance. The Ambassadors Ball will host the most prominent luminaries of international politics, business and entertainment. Special invited guests include the president and first lady, heads of state, ambassadors, dignitaries, consuls-general and other embassy officials from around the world. The event will attract members of Congress, State Department officials, cabinet members and other appointees.
COMPILED BY JULIANA NORWOOD
COMPTON, Calif. — Former Compton Fire Department Deputy Chief Marcel Melanson is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on grand theft and arson charges related to a fire at the department’s headquarters.
Melanson is suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of Motorola radios, selling them online and intentionally setting the Dec. 11, 2011 fire to destroy evidence of the thefts, Steve Whitmore of the sheriff’s department said.
LANCASTER, Calif. — A registered sex offender accused of using a cellphone camera to capture video up hundreds of women’s skirts in Lancaster and elsewhere in Los Angeles County was in custody and facing prosecution, authorities said.
People often describe me as troubled. I’m not going to say that I’m not. But I’m not crazy. I have troubles. A lot of us do. But you need to understand where I’m coming from and why I am the way I am. Considering what I’ve been through, it’s a miracle that I’ve been able to hold it together. I’m just trying to find my way. [I’ve read newspaper stories about me that] say, “Experts testify [that boy] is psychotic.” The way they describe me is wrong—bi-polar, depression, pyro, whatever. I know I’m not at all.
Public affairs expert and human rights advocate Lamell McMorris has been appointed chairman of the National Diversity Advisory Council of the American Red Cross.
McMorris is the founder and CEO of Perennial, a Washington, D.C.-based family of businesses.
He will fulfill a one-year term beginning immediately. “I am excited and humbled by the trust and confidence that Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and the board of governors have placed in me,” said McMorris.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — AEG Live considered “pulling the plug” on Michael Jackson’s comeback concerts 11 days before the pop icon died, the show’s choreographer testified Tuesday.
Travis Payne, who worked closely with Michael Jackson in his final days, earlier testified that in Jackson’s last rehearsals before his death he was “not at show standards but he was rehearsing, he was processing.”