Jazzmin Brooks and Dafina Bobo win Ann Bancroft Foundation Award

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BLAINE, Minn. — The Ann Bancroft Foundation has honored Jazzmin Brooks and Dafina Bobo with a Dream Maker Award for their work with their peers through their group Girls In Motion Minnesota.  The Ann Bancroft Foundation is celebrating the 13th year of its Dream Maker Awards, which honor Minnesotans who encourage and support the achievements of girls and women.  Each year the Bancroft Foundation recognizes two adults, an organization and one girl for their achievements.
Jazzmin Brooks and Dafina Bobo are this year’s winners in the girl category for the inspiration they are providing other teens with their Girls In Motion Minnesota organization.
Wise beyond their years
Jazzmin is a 17-year-old junior at Blaine High School and Dafina is a 16-year-old junior at Blake School. Dafina is currently studying in China.
Both girls live in Minneapolis.  They are not your typical teens.  While she is still making her way through classes at Blaine High School, Jazzmin already has a developed an extensive resume.
“Yes, my resume started quite early,” Brooks said.
Indeed it did. The part of Jazzmin’s resume that highlights community service dates back to 2001, when she was just 8 years old.
Dafina Bobo’s resume is just as impressive; especially the part about how, as young teens, she and Jazzmin started a group called.
“Yes, that’s the one that’s like, ‘Ahh!’ It shines on the resume,” Jazzmin exclaimed.
Girls In Motion Minnesota is a non-profit organization that centers on leadership and civic skills. It’s a youth group with a very mature mission.
Girls with goals
“The goal? To change the world one girl at a time,” Jazzmin said proudly.
Jazzmin and Dafina are doing that, in part, by bringing together 13 to 18-year-old girls for special teen events. Among their accomplishments is an AIDS Awareness Painting Project and a 2008 Summit on Social Justice.
It’s at that event that Jazzmin and Dafina realized their dream to empower their peers was becoming reality.
“We just spent all day talking about how we can change the world,” Jazzmin said of the summit. “It’s a mentoring process. And when we bring new girls in, those girls help the other girls get acclimated to what we are doing.”
An inspiration to young and old
Jazzmin has earned the respect of her fellow students and her teachers.
“There’s just something special about her that’s almost hard to put into words,” Blaine High School teacher Jen Munsch Kauer said. “She’s got a positive attitude, she’s a hard worker.”
“She’s definitely not a shy person,” a classmate added.
Looking to the future
Today, Jazzmin and Dafina continue to spread their Girls In Motion message: Be active in your community and be honest in your career choice.
“Dafina and I, both being good at math, want other girls to know that it’s fine to be good in math and science,” Jazzmin said.  “If this is your medium, just go on ahead and do it. We want people to know there are all types of girls out there.”
article via www.kare11.com

 

 

 

Three College Seniors Win $25,000 Fellowships

Since 1968 about 2,200 American college students have been awarded Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The program, begun by the founder of IBM, offers graduating college seniors at 49 leading colleges $25,000 to travel the world on independent study projects. This year it appears that three of the 40 Watson fellows are of African descent.

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Elias Aba Milki

is a senior at Amherst College. Next year he will travel to South Africa, Brazil, and Uganda to conduct research on how artists have used hip-hop music as a holistic tool for improving healthcare, such as using music to raise AIDS awareness.  Milki was born in New York but was raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He hopes to become a physician.

Jeanette Charles is a senior at Scripps College in California. Charles, of African-Latina descent, will spend the next year on her research project entitled “Afro-American Voices Through a History of People’s Literature.” She will travel to Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, Martinique, and Ecuador studying local poetry, literature, and oral histories of people of African descent in Latin America.
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Nathan Thomas

is a senior anthropology major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He will use his Watson award to investigate cultural education in four metropolitan primary schools in Australia, Finland, South Africa, and India. Thomas, a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, states that the four schools have established an educational philosophy that broadens their academic focus and each is renowned for capitalizing on its educational culture.

article via www.jbhe.com

Cheyenne Boyce Wins Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship

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Cheyenne Boyce, of Detroit, MI, is the 2010 winner of the Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride Scholarship” that will cover full tuition, room and board (on-campus only) and books up to 10 semesters.  Tom Joyner, the Foundation’s chairman and founder, called Boyce this morning during the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” which airs in 115 markets and reaches more than eight million listeners every week. Boyce was selected from more than 500 applicants for the scholarship.

“I was totally in shock when I got the call,” said Boyce, the oldest of three daughters. “In fact, when I hung up, my sister asked me if it was an April Fool’s joke! .. I’ve worked so hard in junior high and in high school, and now all this work is paying off. This [scholarship] is so important to me because the financially burden isn’t on my family, and I can focus on my studies.”

Boyce, who is the third Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholar, said she is undecided about which black college to attend in the fall, but plans on doing some research over the next week.  Joyner, who was among the judges, said he was impressed with Boyce’s overall academic record, poise and determination. “Cheyenne is an outstanding student who has worked hard to become the No. 1 student at one of Detroit’s most competitive schools,” Joyner said. “I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished, and that she’ll represent the Foundation as one of our Full Ride scholars.”  Other judges included Thomas Joyner, Jr., the Foundation’s president and CEO, Oscar Joyner, president and COO of Reach Media Inc. and Executive Producer of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Myra J., writer for Tyler Perry Studios and several members of the media.

Boyce is ranked No. 1 at Detroit’s highly competitive Cass Technical High School where she is interested in international relations, the environment and music. She’s graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and has studied Japanese throughout high school, including traveling to the country last summer where she lived with a family.  She plays the cello and is headed to New York to perform.  “I want everyone in Detroit to look at me and say, ‘I can do it, I can succeed if I work hard,'” Boyce said. “You can get good grades, have a social life and go to college.”

Brian Diskin, a teacher in Cass Technical’s Social Studies Department, said in his recommendation that Boyce “is among the very best students I have taught over my nineteen year career.” “Cheyenne has a multitude of academic skills that she uses to greatest effect,” he said.  Sophia Sims, guidance counselor at the high school, wrote, “When I think of Cheyenne Boyce, three words come to mind – intelligent, focused and talented. “Miss Boyce has always taken the most challenging classes available and these efforts have given her a strong and competitive foundation.”  The two previous Tom Joyner Full Ride Scholars – Britney Wilson of Brooklyn, NY and Blaine Robertson of Reserve, LA – both attend Howard University in Washington, DC.

To retain the scholarship, students had to meet the required academic standards each semester. Graduating high school seniors applied for the scholarship by going to BlackAmericaWeb.com.

To be eligible, students had to meet the following criteria: 1.) Be a United States citizen; 2.) Be a current high school senior attending school in the United States. Each applicant must complete high school in the spring of 2010; 3.) Have a minimum high school grade point average of 3.5 (on a 4.0 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and minimum SAT score of 1300 (math and verbal only) or ACT score of 28; 4.) Applicants had to apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2010; 5.) Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service and extracurricular activities.

Founded in 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than $55 million to help keep students enrolled in black colleges.  It has assisted more than 14,000 students and worked with more than 100 HBCUs.  For more information about the Foundation go toBlackAmericaWeb.com/Foundation

story via BlackAmericaWeb.com

President Barack Obama Urges Federal Debt Panel To Consider All Options

Media_http4bpblogspot_bjpihWASHINGTON — As President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the mounting federal debt headed to its first meeting on Tuesday, the president told its members that “everything has to be on the table” as they consider options for reducing spending and increasing tax revenue.

Mr. Obama, appearing in the Rose Garden at the White House, recounted some steps his administration has already taken to restrain the growth of annual deficits. But he said, “This alone will not make up for the years in which those in Washington refused to make hard choices and live within their means. “And it will not make up for the failure to level with the American people about the costs of the services that they value,” he added. “This is going to require people of both parties to come together and take a hard look at the growing gap between what the government spends and what the government raises in revenue. And it will require that we put politics aside, and that we think more about the next generation than the next election.”

The president was flanked by his choices to chair the commission: Alan K. Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former White House chief of staff. With a grin, Mr. Obama saluted them for their courage in accepting the assignment — a nod to the low expectations that many in Washington have for the commission, given the polarization between the parties, especially in an election year.  Mr. Obama then left for Iowa for the next stop on his “Main Street Tour,” and the commission members walked across the street to an executive conference center for their three-hour inaugural meeting.

They were scheduled to hear from Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, who lately has said that elected officials must make “difficult choices” on taxes and spending as the economy recovers. Others who are scheduled to address the commission include Peter R. Orszag, the president’s budget director, and two former directors of the Congressional Budget Office, Robert Reischauer and Rudy Penner.

Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Penner are Republican appointees, while Mr. Orszag and Mr. Reischauer were appointed by Democrats. But all share a conviction that both cuts in spending and increases in revenue will be needed to bring down deficits, because as things stand, rising health-care costs and an aging population are widening the deficits to an unsustainable size.
Besides the chairmen, the 18-member panel, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, includes a dozen members of Congress, six each from the House and Senate, equally split between Republicans and Democrats. Mr. Obama named six other members, including the two chairmen; none are current lawmakers or administration officials, two are Republicans.
Republicans complain that Democrats outnumber Republicans on the commission 10 to 8, but Mr. Obama, in his executive order creating the panel, specified that it could not send proposals to Congress without support from at least 14 members. That in effect gives the Republicans a veto. Should the commission members reach agreement, however, the Democratic leaders in Congress have promised that they would be brought to a vote, first in the Senate.
Many Republicans still oppose the commission, saying it is a Trojan horse for tax increases, while some liberal groups are mobilizing to oppose what they expect will be proposals to reduce future Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Mr. Obama established the commission by executive order in February after legislation to create a similar panel was defeated in the Senate by a group of Republicans who dropped their previous support for the bill.
The six Republican lawmakers on the panel have said they will not try to impose preconditions on its work, like refusing to consider any tax increase.  Mr. Obama’s admonition that everything should be on the negotiating table also is widely seen as having potential political repercussions for him. It obliges him to be open to setting aside his campaign promise that 95 percent of Americans — all but the wealthiest — will not see their federal taxes rise during his term.
The commission is scheduled to make its report by Dec. 1, about a month after the midterm elections. It is charged with recommending ways to reduce the deficit in the fiscal year 2015 to the equivalent of 3 percent of the gross domestic product or less — nearly a percentage point smaller than it is now projected to be in that year. The panel is also to recommend long-term changes in taxes and spending for the major entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — whose expected growth is the biggest factor in the deficit forecasts.
story via www.nytimes.com

Autumn Adkins Becomes President Of Former Whites-Only Philadelphia High School!

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A private Philadelphia boarding school for underprivileged children that once excluded blacks and females is now being run by an African-American woman. Thirty-seven-year-old Autumn Adkins is in her first year as president of Girard College. Despite the school’s name, it serves first- through 12th-graders.The school was founded in 1848 with money from Stephen Girard, a shipping and banking magnate who died in 1831.Girard’s will specified that the school serve only poor, fatherless white boys. Numerous legal challenges eventually forced the school to admit blacks and girls.But until Adkins arrived, the school had been run exclusively by white men.Adkins says the new civil rights struggle is to make urban education competitive with its suburban peer.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Syracuse University Law School Team Works Cold Cases From Civil Rights Era

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Never Too Late For Justice:  Syracuse University Law School Professor Paula Johnson and her team work with families to solve cold cases from the Civil Rights era!  Watch the story on CNN by clicking here.

Former NBA Star John Salley On Mission To Help Kids Eat Healthy!

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Former NBA Star John Salley, like First Lady Michelle Obama, is on a mission to help children eat healthy and get fit.  He discusses his new cause with HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell here:  John Salley on CNN.

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