President Barack Obama Calls on Americans to Embrace Diversity on 9/11 Anniversary

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and others, pause on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington as they observe a moment of silence to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama is joining the nation in remembering the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Obama is observing the somber anniversary with a moment of silence in the White House residence at 8:46 a.m. EDT. That’s when the first of four hijacked airplanes were slammed into the north tower of New York City’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and others, pause on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington as they observe a moment of silence to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama is joining the nation in remembering the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

article via abcnews.go.com

President Barack Obama on Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by calling on Americans to embrace the nation’s character as a people drawn from every corner of the world, from every religion and from every background. He said extremist groups will never be able to defeat the United States.

Obama spoke to hundreds of service members, and relatives and survivors of the attack that occurred at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Defense Department’s headquarters, killing 184 people. The youngest victim was only 3 years old.

In all, about 3,000 people lost their lives that day as a result of the planes that crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center and in a Pennsylvania field.

The president said extremist organizations such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida know they can never drive down the U.S., so they focus on trying to instill fear in hopes of getting Americans to change how they live.

“We know that our diversity, our patchwork heritage is not a weakness, it is still and always will be one of our greatest strengths,” Obama said. “This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”

Obama spoke on warm, mostly sunny morning, noting that the threat that became so evident on Sept. 11 has evolved greatly over the past 15 years. Terrorists, he said, often attempt strikes on a smaller, but still deadly scale. He specifically cited attacks in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando as examples.

In the end, he said, the enduring memorial to those who lost their lives that day is ensuring “that we stay true to ourselves, that we stay true to what’s best in us, that we do not let others divide us.”

“How we conduct ourselves as individuals and as a nation, we have the opportunity each and every day to live up to the sacrifice of those heroes that we lost,” Obama said. Continue reading

Buffalo Soldiers of U.S. Armed Forces Honored by CA State Senate at Capitol Ceremony & Reception

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Buffalo Soldiers representative with CA State Senator Tony Mendoza (photo courtesy http://sd32.senate.ca.gov)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Sacramento – To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers, an historic group of African American service members, California State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) and State Senator Isadore Hall III (D–Compton), Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a reception on June 6th in the State Capitol and presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 128, which recognizes the Soldiers for their unique contributions to the United States and its military.

“I am honored to recognize the great accomplishments and service of the Buffalo Soldiers. These men made history by breaking barriers and serving our country with honor and distinction during war and peacetime under tremendously challenging circumstances,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

The Buffalo Soldiers were established on July 28, 1866 by an Act of Congress. It was officially known as the 9th and 10th Calvary regiment and was comprised of former slaves, free men, and black Civil War soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers were the first African Americans to serve in the United States Army during peacetime.

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Teach For America Marks 25th Anniversary With A Commitment To Recruit More Teachers Of Color

World History teacher Derrick Sanders on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Mr. Sanders, whom graduated from Howard University, is in his first year of being a teacher with the Teach For America program in Dallas. (photo: Brandon Thibodeaux for Education Week)

World History teacher Derrick Sanders on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Mr. Sanders, whom graduated from Howard University, is in his first year of being a teacher with the Teach For America program in Dallas. (photo: Brandon Thibodeaux for Education Week)

article by Nigel Roberts via newsone.com

Some 15,000 guests joined Teach For America at its Washington, D.C. gathering in February to celebrate the organization’s quarter-century anniversary. On this milestone, the group’s army of teachers, alumni, and allies – now numbering 50,000 – commemorated the past, but fixed their eyes on the future.

At the top of TFA’s agenda going forward is recruiting teachers of color to meet the needs of the nation’s exploding Latino student population and African-American pupils who are struggling to close the academic achievement gap.

The ballooning growth of Latinos and the simultaneous decline of the White population have resulted in a significant demographic shift among students. The 2014 – 2015 academic year marked the first time that minority schoolchildren—Latino, African-American, and Asian—outnumbered their White counterparts, Education Week reported.

However, the teaching force has failed to keep pace with this major shift. According to U.S. News, only 17 percent of educators are people of color.

The problem, according to numerous studies, is that minority students perform academically better under the guidance of teachers of their own race or ethnicity.

A study reported by the Washington Post states:

“We find that the performance gap in terms of class dropout and pass rates between white and minority students falls by roughly half when taught by a minority instructor. In models that allow for a full set of ethnic and racial interactions between students and instructors, we find African-American students perform particularly better when taught by African-American instructors.”

Why do minority students tend to perform better with teachers who look like them? The study reported in U.S. News says teachers of color are often better motivated to teach in racially segregated, poor schools. What’s more, they typically have higher academic expectations of their pupils and better understand their culture.

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Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, An Order of African-American Nuns in Harlem, Celebrates 100 Years of Service

Nuns in Harlem (Image: Regina Fleming)

article by Janell Hazelwood via blackenterprise.com

An order of black nuns in Harlem—one of only three original orders of its kind in the United States—is celebrating its centennial this year. It will commemorate its legacy with a gala and benefit on March 29 in New York City.

The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (FHM) will celebrate a century of serving the needs of the community at the New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan, honoring its history and its unsung heroes, the co-founders of the FHM community.

Founded in 1916 in Savannah, Georgia, by the Rev. Ignatius Lissner, the early beginnings of the order were sparked from a social justice mission. It was created in the wake of proposed legislation that would prohibit white religious leaders from educating and providing pastoral care to black people in the state.

Father Lissner, aided by Barbara Williams (who would later become Mother Mary Theodore Williams, FHM), a black woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, organized a congregation of black women to educate children of color and provide pastoral care to the black community.

In 1923, the order moved to Harlem at the request of Cardinal Patrick Hayes, where they launched one of the first pre-school educational programs in the United States. They’d later establish three schools, which count Harlem’s who’s who among its past students including Congressman Charles B. Rangel and Kevin Lofton, president of the Catholic Health Association of America.

Today, St. Benedict Day Nursery is carrying on the legacy of the order’s educational and ministerial services.

Mother Mary Theodore and Fr. Ignatius Lissner, SMA (FHM)

“We joyously take a moment to reflect on our 100 years of providing vital assistance to the community, but amid a renewed calling to revitalize our purpose and expand our mission of service for the next 100 years,” said Sister Gertrude Lilly Ihenacho, who heads up the majority black order, in a statement.

In their “100 Days of Kindness” campaign, launched last month and running until April 14, the nuns are advocating for citizens to perform a random act of kindness daily—big or small, embodying “the spirit of Ephesians 4:32, ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ ”

To read more, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/black-history-month-order-of-african-american-nuns-celebrates-100-years-of-service/

Beyoncé Announces The Formation World Tour; Launches Initiative to Help Flint Water Crisis

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Beyoncé mid-slay with dancers at yesterday’s Super Bowl Halftime Show (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Something tells me we will soon have to invent a new way to say “slay,” because if the boss moves perpetrated in the last two days by Beyoncé have shown us anything, they’ve shown us she has every intention of erecting on top of the foundation she laid with 2013’s “Beyoncé” an impenetrable Fortress of Slayage where the word will soon retire itself (because really, where else has it to go?).

To recap, not only did Queen Bey the day before the Super Bowl drop her “Formation” video – which the internet is still feverishly and giddily unpacking – she performed it at halftime, paid homage to the Black Panthers in the Bay Area on their 50th anniversary during the 50th Super Bowl, paid homage to Malcolm X with her squad’s literal formation, and then claimed the commercial space right after halftime to announce her Formation World Tour, which kicks off April 27 in Miami.  Phew!  No wonder “slay” is ready for a permanent vacation.

According to usatoday.com, the Formation World Tour will be hitting cities nationwide including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. It ends June 12 in Hershey, Penn., before a string of European dates get underway June 28. Tickets go on sale beginning Tuesday for American Express and Beyhive fan club members, and to the general public starting Feb. 16. [Tour dates listed below.]

Beyoncé last toured the USA with her husband, rapper Jay Z, on the six-week On the Run Tour in summer 2014, which was filmed for a HBO special. The Formation World Tour is her first solo jaunt since the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013. Continue reading

Chris Rock Recites James Baldwin During Powerful MLK Day Event In Harlem

Chris Rock speaks at #MLKNow event (photo via lifestream.com)

Chris Rock speaks at #MLKNow event (photo via lifestream.com)

Chris Rock brought the powerful words of James Baldwin to life Monday during a tribute at the “MLK Now” event in Harlem honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

The program, put together by the Campaign For Black Achievement and Blackout for Human Rights — organizations committed to social justice — took place at Harlem’s Riverside Church, where King delivered his riveting 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence.”

The event attracted a bevy of black Hollywood stars, who celebrated the legacy of King and other black historical icons. Some stars paid tribute through musical performances, like India.Arie, who praised Shirley Chisholm. Others, including Rock, gave powerful recitals.

Rock, who will host the Oscars next month, read the words to Baldwin’s widely praised 1963 letter, “My Dungeon Shook.” Watch Rock’s full performance (he takes the stage around the 1:44 mark) by clicking here.

“Creed” director Ryan Coogler, also the director and a founding member of Blackout for Human Rights, served as moderator for the event and introduced stars on the stage, including Harry Belafonte, Octavia Spencer, Jussie Smollett, Michael B. Jordan and India.Arie.

article by Lilly Workneh via huffingtonpost.com

Stuart Scott’s Daughters Release Tribute Video a Year After His Death [WATCH]

stuart scott & daughters

Stuart Scott and daughters Taelor and Sydni Scott (photo via eurweb.com)

As a tribute to the iconic sports broadcasting personality,  Stuart Scott‘s daughters have released a heartfelt video in remembrance of him today on the one-year anniversary of this death.

“He was a father, but he was also a friend,” 20-year-old Taelor Scott says in the three-minute video. “I feel like I’ve lost a friend.”

Scott died on January 4, 2015 after a lengthy battle with cancer. A storied ESPN and SportsCenter host, millions around the world were inspired by his perseverance and bravery.

“From you, Dad, we’ve learned to reach for the fight we possess inside and apply it with passion to our lives,” his daughters, who Scott referred to as his “heartbeats” wrote in an open letter. “It was through your vulnerability that you taught us the real value of strength in never giving up.”

Watch their moving video below:

article via eurweb.com