71 Year-Old Bodybuilder Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. Inspires at Health and Fitness Expo

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Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. is a rarity.  He is a champion bodybuilder, and at the ripe old age of 71, he is still going strong.

“I just keep competing,” Bryant said at the I’m The Biggest Winner Family Health & Fitness Expo in Austell, Georgia. “I love it. It’s a lifestyle.”

With a body that puts most men half his age to shame, Bryant’s rippling physique is testimony to years-long hard work and dedicated commitment.

He works out twice a day alongside a full time, overnight job.  “I’ve got a room full of trophies,” said Bryant, who was invited to the Expo as part of a roster of quality experts and motivational speakers. “I can’t even count them all.”

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He first hit the gym to relive the stress of a failing marriage. Within months, Bryant was hooked. Now, he can deadlift 425lbs.  “I’ve been doing this for 27 years,” he said. “I used to do three or four contests a year, and I’d always have at least two trophies when I come home, so I’ve got over 70 or 80 trophies.”

sam-sonny-bryant-bodybuilder-_s87dBryant wants to prove that living a full and active life is possible at any age. All you need is the right approach, he says.  “I don’t think about my age,” said the Georgia native. “You’re going to age, that’s inevitable, but you don’t have to get old. I know people younger than me, but they’re older then me.”

“I can’t see giving up; this is my life. People ask me when I’m going to retire. I’m still working a 40 hours a week job. I say, why should I quit? I’ve figured this stuff out. More people die retired than die working.”

He believes it is never too late to improve your health. Bryant, who said he has never ever taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, advises fitness newbies to start off slow and keep doing the work.

“There is no age limit on exercising,” he said. “People got life but they’ve not living. Life is getting out and enjoying yourself. You’ve got to be physical. You’ve got to keep your heart strong.”

“You are not going to jump right in and start out wide open. That’s what happens to most people, they jump right in and think they’re going to look for instant results.”

“Once you start pushing your body, then your body is going to get used to it,” he said. “You just keep doing it, keep doing it, take your time and don’t look for that fast-paced stuff, and I’ll come to you.”

article by Kunbi Tinuoye via thegrio.com

Teen Siblings Ima, Caleb, Asha and Joshua Christian Create App to Document Police Interactions

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Five-O App Inventors Caleb, Ima, Joshua, and Asha Christian (Pine Tart)

Like everyone else in America, Ima Christian has been nervously watching the news unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. The 16-year-old resident of Stone Mountain, Georgia, says that she and her siblings have been in constant conversation with their parents about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (who died last month in Staten Island) at the hands of police.

“Our parents try to put everything in context for us,” Christian says. “They try to tell us to focus on solutions.”

So they decided to build their own answer to police abuse. On Monday, Ima Christian (pictured, second from left) and her siblings—principally Caleb, 14, and Asha, 15, with the support of Joshua, 10—are launching a beta version of Five-O, an app that will enable users to rate their interactions with police and view aggregate scores for how law-enforcement agencies fare.

“As soon as we decided that we wanted to make an app, we threw the idea on the white board,” she says.

Ima Christian and her siblings decided to build their own answer to police abuse.

Here’s how Five-O works: Users log in to a dashboard, where they have several options. A Five-O user can create a detailed incident report and rate the professionalism and courtesy of the officer, using an A-F scale. Or they can view police stations by county or state to see how various departments rate. (Those A-F officer interaction scores are averaged out on a 4.0 scale—like a GPA for the fuzz.)
The app also allows people to post messages to a community board. There’s another function called “Know Your Rights,” a Q&A-formatted feature, “so you have your rights at your fingertips at any moment,” Christian says. The family drew the information from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Christian, a senior at Parkview High School, credits her brother Caleb for the idea to create an app for rating police interactions. They decided early on in the project planning stages that Five-O would focus on the good as well as the bad.

“I haven’t really heard of issues happening in Stone Mountain of the scale of what’s in the news,” she says. “I do have relatives who have had negative interactions with police.” She says that friends of the family include police officers, who offer a friendlier model for police interactions. “This is an app to offer up positive experiences. They can be an example.”

This is the Christian family’s first app release, but it’s unlikely to be their last. Ima and her siblings are aggressive students of programming, especially for a mobile environment. She and her siblings Asha and Caleb have participated in programs such as MIT’s +K12Scratch, and App Inventor programs. Ima and Asha Christian are both executive team members in the ProjectCSGirls computer science competition. And they were both 2014 #Include Fellows in the She++ program. Ima is a Codecademy alum as well, and has done coding programs through Stanford.Stanford, incidentally, is Ima’s reach school—she’s also got her sights set onWashington University in St. Louis, Brown, and Columbia—and the graduating senior has also done work at her top in-state choice, the Georgia Institute of Technology. (Ima’s siblings could not be reached for comment, as they were not yet home from school.)

Following Monday’s beta launch for Five-O, the Christian siblings are continuing work on two more projects: Coily, a review app for hair-care products for black girls and women, and Froshly, an app to facilitate meetings for in-bound college pre-freshmen, “so they can greet each other before they meet each other in school.” The Christian siblings started a company, Pine Tart, Inc., to advance their work.

“We don’t have any institutional support right now,” Ima Christian says. “It’s just us. We’re our own team.”

article by Kriston Capps via citylab.com

HBCU Alabama State Receives $1 Million in STEM Grants

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Alabama State University recently announced that they received $1 million in federal grants for STEM programs, a major accomplishment for the institution.

The university’s Biological Sciences department will receive $770,000 to form a three institution partnership to include Auburn University and Tuskegee University. Through the partnership will come research and employment opportunities for students or color pursuing careers in STEM industries.

According to the principle investigator of the research project, the funding will have a tremendous impact on their doctoral students.

The remaining $330,000 will go to the university’s Center for NanoBiotechnology Research. The funding will be used for chlamydia research. The researches at Alabama State have been charged with using the grant funding to create a nanovaccine for the disease.

To read more visit hbcudigest.com.

article by Martine Forman via blackandmarriedwithkids.com

Born on This Day in 1958: Michael Jackson, the Incomparable King of Pop

Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas has launched the #MJWeAreOne campaign in conjunction with MichaelJackson.com.

Fans worldwide are urged to use Instagram by sharing videos — using the hashtag #MJWeAreOne — honoring MJ and sharing ideas of how to make the world a better place.

The MJ Global Party has fans celebrating Jackson’s birthday in live-time around the world using the hashtag #MJGBP2014. Check out the website here.

The fifth annual Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts is underway in Jackson’s birth home of Gary, Indiana. The three-day festival celebrates Jackson’s life and career while helping revitalize part of Gary.

So on this day, remember the King of Pop in your own way. Listen to your favorite MJ song. Watch your favorite Michael video for the thousandth time.

Below I’m posting one of my all-time favorite Jackson songs and videos, the John Singleton-directed “Remember The Time” and I know I’m going to shake my head (for the thousandth time) when Magic Johnson says “Behold, great Pharoah Ramses!”, laugh (for the thousandth time) when Eddie Murphy’s eyes bug out at Iman crushing on Michael, stare in awe (for the thousandth time) at the dance moves, and lose it (for the thousandth time) when Michael sings the “Rah dah /dah dah dah / What about us, girl?!” part because it is just so uniquely Michael, uniquely musical and uniquely inspiring.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

OPINION: Black Millennials Are Emerging as the ‘Movement Generation’

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Christina Bijou holds a sign during a rally outside the Department of Justice, August 27, 2014, in Washington, to call on the Attorney General Eric Holder to help secure justice for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On August 22, almost two weeks after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Columbia University professor Fredrick Harris titled “Will Ferguson be a moment or a movement?

I started working on my piece about the new era of black activism (which you can read here) months ago, and so I read Harris’s op-ed with the same level of irritation that made me want to write that piece in the first place. Not that there isn’t any value in what Harris wrote, because there certainly is. But if you’re asking the question “Where is the movement?” you simply haven’t been paying attention.

“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” Charlene Carruthers, national coordinator for Black Youth Project 100, told me in an interview for that piece, and the millennial generation has been presented with trauma after trauma. The killing of Sean Bell, the over-prosecution of the Jena Six, the killing of Oscar Grant, the killing of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the killing of Trayvon Martin and so many more moments that may not have captured the national media attention but those events have defined the late adolescence and early adulthood of black folks of the millennial generation. As part of that demographic, let me say: the trauma has been fucking exhausting.

So, too, has been the haranguing from older generations that we have been too apathetic, that we have been too “post-racial,” that we have not done our part in upholding the legacy of the civil-rights movement. And so I wanted to write a corrective to that narrative, as I’ve seen my generation take up the fight and organize and begin along the hard road to movement building. It’s happening at this very moment. It was happening before Michael Brown was killed.

Harris writes: “What may keep Ferguson from becoming a national transformative event is if “justice” is narrowly confined to seeking relief for Brown and his family. If the focus is solely on the need for formal charges against Wilson, a fair trial, a conviction, a wrongful-death lawsuit—rather than seeing those things as part of a broader movement that tackles stand-your-ground laws, the militarization of local police, a requirement that cameras be worn by police on duty and the need for a comprehensive federal racial-profiling law. If justice remains solely personal, rather than universal.”

But that work had already begun before Ferguson erupted. The Dream Defenders traveled to the United Nations to present a case against “stand-your-ground” laws, and BYP100 recently organized an action at the Chicago Police Department headquarters to address discrepancies in marijuana arrests. The movement is here. The pictures are not as arresting as what comes from a moment like Ferguson, and therefore aren’t as compelling to media outlets only interested in the sensational. But the criminalization of black youth has emerged as the central focus of organizing efforts for the millennial generation and the work is being done.

On Twitter, filmmaker/writer/activist dream hampton called millennials the “Movement Generation.” It fits.

article by Mychal Denzel Smith via thenation.com

Tameka Lawson Brings Yoga to Youth in Chicago Neighborhood

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Tameka Lawson is changing her Chicago neighborhood one yoga pose as at a time.  Lawson, a yoga enthusiast for only a year, is the executive director of I Grow Chicago, a non-profit organization in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

Lawson said she started practicing yoga because she needed to learn how to slow down and relax, and she thought the idea of bringing it to her community would bring people closer together.

Tameka Lawson

From The Huffington Post:

Not long after she took up yoga, the student became a teacher as she began to lead classes for youth in Englewood through her organization.

Initially, the classes took place inside the five area schools her group works with as a means of helping the young students cope with the stresses of their environment. While Lawson does go through basic yoga poses and breathing exercises with her young students, the lessons she hopes they will take away from her work extend far beyond the practice of yoga itself.

Built into each class, she says, are elements of art therapy, motivational speaking, mentoring and job skills. Yoga is simply the gateway to that information.

“There are lots of elements causing these youth to have stress,” Lawson said. “We want to get at the center of these youth and give them a moment to breathe in a way that will change the way they react and process things.”

The classes have been such a hit that Lawson and her group have taken their show on the road — or, more specifically, to the street. They’ve held regular, free community yoga classes on a blocked-off stretch of 64th Street, and are also offering free lessons the first Monday of every month at Kusanya Cafe.

“If we can prevent one 8-year-old from growing up to become a person who could potentially pick up a gun, we’ve succeeded,” she said. “If we can intervene for a 14-year-old who has made bad choices from making another bad choice, we’ve succeeded. If a 28-year-old who says he wants to stop selling drugs and just needs the opportunity, we’ve succeeded. We don’t have the answers, but we’re trying to come up with creative solutions.”

article via clutchmagonline.com

New Fellowship “Code For Progress” Prepares People of Color for Coding Careers

The 2014 graduating class of Code for Progress (Photo courtesy of Code for Progress)

The graduation ceremony started with a freedom chant led by fellow Angie Rollins, a member of the BYP100. The 40 plus people in attendance joined in, clapping and repeating the chorus: “What side are you on my people?/What side are you on?” It grounded the event in this political moment, referencing Michael Brown and Ferguson in the chant as they began. If you didn’t know better, you’d think this was a graduation for community organizers, or radical political educators. Instead, it was a graduation for 11 newly trained coders, finishing the first-ever Code for Progress (CFP) fellowship. They all spent the last four months in an intensive coding bootcamp in Washington, D.C., learning from instructor Aliya Rahman the basics of a handful of different coding languages, with the hopes of beginning their careers in technology.

The graduation was held at Google’s downtown Washington, D.C., offices, a fact that felt both fitting and somewhat ironic given recent conversations stirred up this summer with the release of Google’sAppleLinkedIn and Yahoo’s self-reported diversity statistics. Unlikely to be a surprise to anyone working within the  industry, the stats show abysmal representation for non-Asian people of color overall, and a poor showing for women as well. So for the 11 fellows, seven of whom are women of color, they are unlikely to find many peers in their future places of employment. The freedom chant, while distinctly out of place at Google, was actually quite fitting for the mission of CFP—its goal is to bring politically minded organizers into the tech industry.

The fellowship is a direct response to the lack of diversity in the tech field, and it also tries to address a root cause of these disparities: access to computer science education. “Folks who are in communities of color have a higher probability of going to a school that doesn’t teach computer science,” says Rahman. “Seven kids took the advanced placement computer science exam in Washington, D.C., [last year], compared to hundreds in Maryland and Virginia.”

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