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Across Black America for April 12, 2012


Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.

Morgan State University emerged victorious among 48 teams and claimed its first national championship title at the 23rd annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. The annual academic tournament brought 250 top students from the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) together in the Los Angeles area for a two-day competition and the opportunity to win as much as $50,000 in grants for their school. In a culmination of a year-long program, Morgan State took home the title and beat second-place finisher Oakwood University.

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker was recently honored as “Woman of the Year” at the Capitol by The California Legislative Women’s Caucus for her significant contributions to her neighborhood. Assemblymember Holly Mitchell nominated her for the 47th District. Dupont-Walker is the founding president of Ward Economic Development Corp. and for 25 years has led it in developing more than 280 units of affordable housing and a major shopping mall. Assemblyman Mike Davis honored the women of the 48th District at California African American Museum. Michele Turner, executive director of the USC Black Alumni Association; Charmaine Jefferson, executive director of the California African American Museum; Carolyn Fowler, managing partner of Deltek Global Solutions LLC, and Betty Yee of the State Board of Equalization were among those honored.

District of Columbia
The slaying of Trayvon Martin and other innocent teens was foremost on the hearts and minds of nearly 400 Black women from across the country who assembled recently in the District for the Black Women’s Roundtable inaugural National Women of Power Summit, “Amplifying the Voices of Women and Girls in 2012 and Beyond.” To help amplify the voices of the physicians, lawyers, homemakers, labor workers and other attendees, the summit was broadcast live on the Internet. A kickoff prayer breakfast and civic engagement training featured Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale, founder and senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga., who articulated the need for women to come together as our sister’s keepers.

Tavis Smiley Foundation will present the fourth in a national series of parent education seminars to give parents tools and information on how they can ensure their child’s success in learning. “The Too Important to Fail Parent Education Summit” will be held Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at John M. Smyth Magnet School, 1059 W. 13th St., Chicago, Ill 60608. Attendees can register at program is free and admission includes lunch and free parking for participants. Advance registration is requested; however on-site registration will be accepted subject to space availability. The Parent Education Summit is a grassroots parents’ engagement effort to inform parents and the community about educational initiatives and programs, family and school partnerships and school district resources.
Robert L. Johnson, chairman of the RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), announced recently that RLJ Acquisition Inc. has entered into agreements to acquire both Image Entertainment and Acorn Media Group, two highly complementary media businesses to create one of the largest independent distributors of digital and video content globally. The new combined company will be named RLJ Entertainment Inc. Shares of the new company are expected to trade on the NASDAQ Stock Market. Johnson, who will serve as executive chairman, will leverage his substantial expertise in media, consumer branding and strategic relationships to accelerate growth and drive value creation.

New Jersey
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will make two public appearances in Newark, N.J., on May 4 and 5 to address the Department of Justice (DOJ) civil complaint recently leveled against Women In Support of the Million Man March Inc. and Fredrica Bey, the organization’s executive director. In addition to Farrakhan’s appearances, the Nation of Islam will debut the Nation of Islam Historic Exhibit, which chronicles the rise of the organization from 1930 to present day. The exhibit will open on Thursday, May 3, 2012.

J. Steven Blake has pledged $1 million to establish “The J. Steven Blake, ’89 Scholars Society” at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition to providing full tuition for African American students based on need and academic performance, Blake pledged to “encourage other alumni to be generous in helping future young doctors.” This will be the first time in the school’s 113-year history that it will be able to offer a full scholarship. In 2006, Blake created the East Coast Cultural Enrichment Tour, which brings honor students from his alma mater, Coahoma Agricultural High School in Clarksdale, Miss., to the East Coast for an all-expense-paid trip to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Blake also travels with the students and their chaperones, accompanies them to Broadway shows and arranges receptions with a variety of professionals in different states.

Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, senior level administrators and students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) recently welcomed the Rev. Jesse Jackson to the UTHSC main campus in Memphis. The civil rights leader and Baptist minister was in town to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and to replace the wreath on the balcony outside of the room at the Lorraine Motel where King stayed and was killed. African American students representing each of UTHSC’s six colleges–allied health sciences, dentistry, graduate health sciences, medicine, nursing and pharmacy–had the opportunity to meet and converse with Jackson. The globally recognized civil rights leader called on the UTHSC students to be the “role models and frames of reference that our community needs you to be. You have fulfilled the dream,” he said, referring to King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” “To be equal we have to study . . . . We have to be first in excellence, in education and in preparation,” he stated.

The Black Economic Council, established to provide Black Americans an economic platform that facilitates business formation, job creation, access to capital, financial fitness, and equal opportunity for employment and promotion in the workforce, is prepared to hold its 7th annual Urban Economic Conference. The event themed “Continuing the Ride Towards Economic Emancipation” will be held on May 11 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas.