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Across Black America for April 19, 2012


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

The Denver Urban Spectrum, an award-winning monthly publication will celebrate its 25th anniversary, with a four-day slate of community events, culminating with a black-tie awards dinner honoring 25 “Timeless Legends”–women who hail from Denver–many who are internationally known. The recipients include Grammy award-winning singer Dianne Reeves, the Little Rock Nine’s Carlotta LaNier, former Denver City Councilwoman and 2008 DNC Chair Elbra Wedgeworth, internationally known choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, and former Denver first lady Wilma Webb. The gala will be Saturday, April 28, from 6 to 11 p.m., at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec St., in Denver. Former Colorado Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll will serve as master of ceremonies and the Honorable Mayor Michael Hancock and first lady Mary Louise Lee are the honorary chairs. Entertainment will be provided by The Julius Show. Sculptor Ed Dwight has been commissioned to design the Timeless Legends awards.

The NAACP released the following statement regarding the passage of legislation in the Connecticut House to repeal the death penalty. “Tonight, Connecticut’s Legislature voted to abolish capital punishment for all the right reasons: the death penalty discriminates against people of color and poor people of all colors, and it is a profound waste of scarce law-enforcement resources,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “By abolishing the death penalty, Connecticut will have more dollars to hire detectives to solve unsolved homicides and hire counselors to help murder victims’ family members. The death penalty is a stain on the moral fabric of our nation. When Connecticut’s governor signs this bill into law, he will not only move his state forward, he will move our nation forward. We will have just nine states left until we can take the matter to the Supreme Court and abolish [it] completely. That is our hope for eventually abolishing [the death penalty] in states like Georgia and Texas. That is our hope for ensuring there will never be another Troy Davis or Todd Willingham.”

District of Columbia
Howard University’s School of Business announced the launch of its new website for the Online Executive MBA at The site features content about the degree, including information about admission requirements, online learning, frequently asked questions about earning an executive MBA, Howard University’s legacy and tradition, and tuition and financial aid. The Howard University Online Executive MBA combines Howard’s heritage with the prestige of the School of Business. The online Howard Executive MBA is designed to provide accessible management education to those who work full-time but also have the desire and drive to obtain an executive graduate degree. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the industry and prepares individuals to strategically think and act from the perspective of senior leadership.

Bishop T.D. Jakes believes pastors and leaders should be educated on crucial issues that potentially affect communities on various levels. Since 1995, pastors and leaders from more than 25 different countries have attended Jakes’ pastors and leadership conferences to be equipped with strategies and resources to thrive in leadership and ministry in spite of the times they face. The theme this year is “The Mission Is Not Impossible.” The conference will offer specialized workshops for pastors, leaders and support staff to learn strategies for success in ministry and dynamic leadership. The breakout sessions cover a diverse range of topics allowing conference attendees to select the workshops and sessions that best complement their personal objectives.
On April 29, the Council for Responsible College Financing presents Jay Cameron’s stage play, “College Fever LIVE!” The play explores the hot topic of college financing in an entertaining theatrical production that includes a light show, live music, poetry, singing and dance. The play was created to bring awareness to the student loan and credit-card debt crisis millions of college students are battling. This production offers steps to avoiding and overcoming student debt while illustrating the struggle many families face when confronted with financing college. From family and social pressures to financial illiteracy, the play educates while entertaining.

New York
The Anguilla Tourist Board will host its first literary festival May 24-28 at the Paradise Cove Resort. Best-selling authors, publishing industry power brokers, celebrity notables and book enthusiasts are expected to attend. Officially billed as “Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification,” the five-day event will be a celebration of literature, arts and culture featuring an array of distinguished authors from the Caribbean and abroad. Best-selling author, screenwriter and professor Terry McMillan (“Waiting to Exhale”) will join attorney-activist-author Randall Robinson (‘The Debt’) in headlining the festival, which will include exclusive author readings, informative workshops, empowering panel discussions and other specially tailored activities.

“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” the PBS series that explores race, culture and identity through the genealogy and genetics of some of America’s best-known personalities, amps up the star power in its five remaining episodes. In upcoming weeks, Professor Gates unveils surprising facts about “The Avengers” co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, Grammy-winning musician John Legend, comedian Margaret Cho, and actors Adrian Grenier and Michelle Rodriguez. The program has made headlines since it premiered on PBS last month. News that entertainer Harry Connick Jr.’s privateer ancestor captained a ship called the Rattlesnake; that media icon Barbara Walters and education visionary Geoffrey Canada both had name changes in their families, and that award-winning actors and married couple Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon are also distant relatives, fueled spirited national discussions about our shared history as Americans. Gates promises future revelations in the series that will keep viewers surprised and riveted.

Along with hearing from an engaging keynote speaker and from other widely known participants, attendees of the seventh annual Todd A. Bell Lecture Series Luncheon learned more about the purpose of the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and its recent accomplishments. Entertainment from nationally celebrated recording artists was also provided. The luncheon serves as the Center’s major fundraiser. Proceeds from this event help provide African American male students every opportunity to follow their personal passion and grow intellectually in an atmosphere that celebrates learning, achievement and personal responsibility.

Tupac Shakur appeared in concert at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Sunday night, startling an audience of 75,000 who watched his image rap with Snoop Dogg. The late rapper performed two songs, including “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerika’s Most Wanted,” for the transfixed crowd. The revived Shakur looked like his old self, with his signature sagging jeans and Timberland boots, tattoos and mannerisms. It is reported that Dr. Dre is planning to take the “Pepper’s Ghost” image of Shakur, who was murdered in 1996 at the age of 25, on tour.