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Across Black America for May 16, 2013


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

Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will address the annual African American Business Council luncheon on June 28. Hrabowski, who is chairman of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Education Excellence for African Americans, has a national reputation for his work studying the performance of minority students in math and science. Hrabowski, named one of the 10 best college presidents in the country by Time magazine, was a child leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham in the 1960s.

The Liberty Counsel filed a motion and a brief in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas seeking to intervene on behalf of a Concepts of Life crisis pregnancy center to defend against a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The groups seek to impose a permanent injunction before the Human Heartbeat Protection Act goes into effect July 18. Liberty Counsel also filed a brief opposing the ACLU’s request for an injunction. The “Heartbeat” bill states that when a woman seeks an abortion at or after the 12th week, doctors must test for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed and inform the pregnant mother that the child in her womb has a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, a woman cannot have an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, and if a mother’s life is in danger. “As we promised when the legislation was introduced, Liberty Counsel will defend this law without reservation for the people of Arkansas, born and pre-born,” said Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “No right is more foundational than the right to life. Without life, all other rights are irrelevant,” concluded Staver.

On May 17, 2013, Lula Washington will receive UCLA’s Chancellor’s Award–the highest honor that UCLA awards its alumni. Washington is being honored in the category of Community Service, for her work in dance over the last 33 years in South Los Angeles. The awards ceremony will take place in the Bel-Air home of UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. Along with Washington, UCLA is honoring five other alumni. Two of them are Appeals and District Court judges; another was the 2012 National co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign; others include a nun who specializes in nursing theory and a former chief librarian at UCLA who is now a philanthropist. Established in 1946, the awards recognize “outstanding achievement” in service to the community, the public and the university,” according to a statement from UCLA.
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) announced that Grace C. Stanislaus, executive director, has resigned effective June 28, 2013, to pursue new interests and opportunities. Deborah Santana, board vice chair, will serve as MoAD’s interim executive director. Stanislaus has been a driving force behind several successful exhibitions and programs, reinvigorated the museum’s individual and corporate giving programs, expanded the Diaspora Curriculum Project to a more international perspective and audience, and strengthened operations. MoAD Vanguard, the museum’s young professionals group has grown significantly under her tenure, and the museum has increased in visibility within and outside of the Bay Area. The board of directors will begin a process to recruit a new executive director while MoAD continues on its path of educating and enlightening audiences about the African Diaspora and expanding the museum’s unique offerings to the art world.

NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock will host the ninth annual Leadership 500 Summit over Memorial Day Weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Naples. The summit is a venue for professionals and thought-leaders to engage with each other and with the NAACP. This year’s theme is, “Leadership Is Not a Title, It Is an Action!” The summit is the brainchild of Brock, the youngest woman to hold the chair position. Participants will attend two and a half days of workshops, interactive panel discussions and general sessions. A town hall meeting titled “Twenty First Century Black Women” will address issues affecting women of color, ranging from employment and gender equality to trafficking and indentured servitude. The meeting will be live-streamed. Other workshops will cover criminal justice, health, media, entrepreneurship, and other issues.

The Essence Empowerment Experience Stage, the core of the annual Essence Festival, will feature icons, newsmakers, national leaders, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, journalists, educators, and experts to showcase the many dimensions of the African American community, including a central focus on information to improve women’s day-to-day lives. This year’s highlights will include the return of Steve Harvey, who will host a live edition of “Family Feud;” keynote conversations from Rev. Al Sharpton, Iyanla Vanzant, Marc Morial and Lisa Nichols; an historic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1963-the turning point in the Civil Rights Movement with Rep. John Louis, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton and others; and a standing-room only All-Star Gospel Tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin with Yolanda Adams and Bishop Noel Jones. The event will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from July 4-7.

New Jersey
Grammy-award-winning artist Lauryn Hill was recently sentenced to three months in prison for failing to pay taxes on $2.3 million in income over the span of five years. On the eve of her sentencing, Hill paid the more than $900,000 in back taxes and penalties she owed, a move she and her attorney, Nathan Hochman, hoped would spare her jail time. In the end, U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo delivered the 37-year-old a sentence much less than the 30 to 36 months she could have faced in jail. Following the verdict, Hill released a statement saying “I also want to thank all of my family, friends, business associates, and fans who have called, emailed, sent texts, and posted messages of concern, encouragement, and support. I appreciate the well wishes, and I thank you for your prayers.” Hill must turn herself in on or before July 8.

The Explore Microsoft Internship Program is a 12-week summer internship program that is specifically designed for college underclassmen and offers the opportunity to experience working at Microsoft. Candidates must be freshmen or sophomores enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program with a demonstrated interest in majoring in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or related technical major. Students must have completed an Introduction to Computer Science course (or equivalent class) as well as one semester of calculus (or equivalent) by the start of the program. Finalists will be selected on the basis of eligibility and demonstrated interest in the software industry. All candidates who meet the above criteria may apply, but the program especially encourages applications from groups currently underrepresented in the field of computer science–women, minorities (African American, American Indian, Hispanic), and individuals with disabilities. For more details and/or to apply, visit:

Compiled by Juliana Norwood