Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Florida Memorial University (FMU), South Florida’s only historically Black university, will officially dedicate the recently restored A. L. Lewis Archway Plaza during a ceremony celebrating the school’s historic roots in St. Augustine, Fla. The event takes place July 14 at the Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park in St. Augustine. A reception will follow with an opportunity to view informational kiosks chronicling the story of FMU. “Florida Memorial University has a prosperous and inspiring history,” said Henry Lewis III, president of the university. “The vision of our former presidents led to establishing St. Augustine’s first college and shapes a legacy of educational excellence we still honor today. We are building upon that legacy and transforming it from good to great.”
In an effort to decrease or eliminate the number of injuries and deaths during off-season conditioning practices in collegiate athletes, the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) has announced its support for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC) program and supports requiring the RSCC program for all college strength coaches. The goal is to enhance the safety of college athletes throughout the country by recognizing strength and conditioning coaches who have proper training and experience, and have an accredited certification. “The BCA’s announcement highlights the tremendous need for hiring qualified, experienced, certified coaches to ensure the welfare of all athletes, especially those with potentially serious medical issues,” said the NSCA’s Board President Jay Hoffman. “Registered strength and conditioning coaches have expertise that is separate and distinct from the medical, dietetic, athletic training and sport coaching fields. Having the right professional working with the athletes can save lives.”
Lt. Michael Lohman knew police had a serious problem when he arrived at the scene of deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina. Officers had shot and killed two people and wounded four others, but no guns were found on any of the victims. Lohman, the ranking officer on the scene of the Danziger Bridge shootings, testified that he didn’t order officers to devise a cover story and wouldn’t have objected if they had acknowledged wrongdoing. But instead of encouraging them to tell the truth, Lohman said he helped orchestrate a cover-up to make the shootings of unarmed residents on Sept. 4, 2005, appear justified. Lohman retired last year and is one of five former officers who have pleaded guilty to participating in a cover-up. Now he is a key government witness in the case against sgts. Robert Gisevius, Kenneth Bowen and Arthur Kaufman; officer Anthony Villavaso and former officer Robert Faulcon.
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins rose to fame as an actress, singer and member of the popular ‘90s musical group TLC all while quietly battling sickle cell disease. Now, she is lending her famous voice to encourage people, especially those in the African American community, to join the Be The Match Registry as potential bone marrow donors and to help others fight similar life-threatening diseases. Watkins has partnered with Be The Match on two public service announcements which have already hit the airwaves and Internet in recognition of July’s African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Donor registry drives will also take place nationwide throughout the month. “As a person with sickle cell disease and an advocate for everyone fighting this disease, I was naturally drawn to Be The Match,” Watkins said. “Unfortunately, myths about bone marrow donation keep many people from joining the Be The Match Registry and potentially saving a life. That is why I am passionate about encouraging everyone to learn the facts about bone marrow donation through these PSAs. We need more African Americans to step up.” For more information, visit www.BeTheMatch.org or call (800) MARROW-2.