Category: Adults

Russell Wilson and Ciara Pledge to Donate One Million Meals to Food Lifeline and Feeding America in Wake of Pandemic

NFL Quarterback Russell Wilson and Musical Artist Ciara (photo via flickr.com)

According to NBCSports.com, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer Ciara have pledged 1 million meals to Food Lifeline and Feeding America in an effort to help keep Americans in need fed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

To quote the article:

Obviously this worldwide pandemic, coronavirus, is changing the world, second-by-second, minute-by minute. People are losing loved ones, the elderly and the young, people in between. … So what we’ve decided to do is partner with our local food bank in Seattle, Seattle Food Lifeline, and we’re going to donate a million meals and hopefully make a difference,” Wilson said in a video message.

Wilson and Ciara mentioned people losing jobs in the wake of increasing shut down initiatives in an effort to keep the spread of the virus from proliferating an exponential rates. They’ve already seen friends in the area that work for companies such as Alaska Airlines, the Seattle Sounders – where the pair are part owners – and Seattle Children’s Hospital hit with the effects of the virus.

“We want to encourage every out there to join us in whatever way that you can, big or small,” Ciara said. “Everything makes a difference. Everything that we do together makes a difference and together we will conquer this tough time that we’re going through.”

The Feeding America network of food banks “distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger.”

Charles Barkley to Sell Memorabilia to Build Affordable Housing in his Alabama Hometown

NBA great Charles Barkley (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

According to the Washington Post, former NBA superstar Charles Barkley is selling his 1993 NBA MVP trophy and an Olympic gold medal among other memorabilia from his Hall of Fame basketball career so he can use the proceeds to build affordable housing in Leeds, Ala., where he grew up.

“That stuff’s not that important to me. I’ve had an unbelievable life,” Barkley told Birmingham’s WJOX-FM last week, explaining why he isn’t attached to these possessions. “I’ve been in Leeds a lot and we’ve probably got 30 eyesores, as I call them, where houses used to be when I was growing up. Either a rotted-out house or there’s just weeds that have overgrown.

“So, what I’m trying to do — I want to work with the city of Leeds, I want them to give me the spaces, number one. I want them to give me the houses, and I’m going to use my own money, selling my memorabilia.”

To quote the article:

Panini, a sports card and memorabilia company that Barkley has a relationship with, estimated that the MVP trophy alone could fetch $300,000 to $400,000, Barkley said. And his 1992 and 1996 Olympic gold medals? “ ‘I don’t even want to guess,’ ” Barkley said he was told, “ ‘but I can get you a lot for those gold medals.’ ”\

“I got an autograph deal with Panini and I was talking to the guys,” Barkley said. “All that stuff is at my grandmother’s house; I don’t even keep it, to be honest with you. And I said, ‘How much could I get for my MVP trophy and my two gold medals? And I got an autographed plaque signed by the [1992] Dream Team.’ He says, ‘Oh, I can get you a lot of money for that stuff.’ ”

Barkley went to high school in Leeds, which is about 20 miles east of Birmingham, and played collegiately at Auburn from 1981 to 1984. Now working for TNT, Barkley lives in Arizona but remains vocal about his Alabama roots. He has toyed with the idea of running for political office and hasn’t shied away from offering his opinion, whether it’s about Roy Moore when he was a candidate for Senate in 2017, the issues of race and poverty, or Trump.

“I want to do something really nice for Leeds. And if I could build 10 to 20 affordable houses — I want to do green housing, too,” he said. “If I could sell all that stuff, it would just be a really cool thing for me.”

To read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/03/09/charles-barkley-is-selling-memorabilia-build-affordable-housing-his-alabama-hometown/

STUDY: Racial Gap in High School Dropout and Completion Rates Is Close to Non-Existent

via jbhe.com

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education offers new data on high school dropout and completion rates that state the gap between White and Black students in 2019 is no longer measurably different.

The status completion rate is the percentage of 18-to-24 year-olds who have left high school and who hold a high school credential. From 1977 to 2016, the status completion rate for White 18-to-24 year-olds was consistently higher than the rate for Black 18-to-24 year-olds.

Now, for the first time in 40 years, the status completion rate for Black 18-to-24 year-olds was not measurably different from that of White 18-to-24 year-olds. In 2017, 93.8 percent of young Blacks had completed high school compared to 94.8 percent of Whites.

Between October 2016 and October 2017, the number of 15-to 24-year-olds who left school without obtaining a high school credential was approximately 523,000. This so-called event dropout rate was 5.5 percent for Black students and 3.9 percent for White students.

The status dropout rate is the percentage of 16-to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential. In 2017, the status dropout rate for all 16- to 24-year-olds was 5.4 percent. For Blacks the status dropout rate was 6.5 percent, compared to a rate of 4.3 for White students.

The full report, Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2019, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Danielle Outlaw Becomes 1st Black Woman Commissioner of Philadelphia Police Department

New Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (photo via Portland Police Bureau)

NBC News recently reported that former Portland, Oregon police chief and Oakland, California native Danielle Outlaw will be the new Police Commissioner of Philadelphia. She is the first black woman to hold that position.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney addressed his new hire, according to nbcnews.com, by saying: “I am appointing Danielle Outlaw because I am convinced she has the conviction, courage and compassion needed to bring long-overdue reform to the Department,” Kenny said in a statement. “With our support, she will tackle a host of difficult issues, from racism and gender discrimination, to horrid instances of sexual assault on fellow officers.”

To further quote the article:

Kenny added that such violence often disproportionately “impact women, especially women of color within the Department.”

Beyond addressing issues within the Philadelphia Police Department, Kenny said Outlaw will also work to curtail violent crime and gun violence. The city is currently experiencing a gun violence epidemic; more people were shot in Philadelphia this year than in any other year since 2010, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Outlaw herself is quoted saying: “I am convinced there can be humanity in authority; they are not mutually exclusive.”

To read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/danielle-outlaw-becomes-first-black-woman-commissioner-philadelphia-police-department-n1108761

NFL Star Khalil Mack Pays Off $80K in Walmart Layaways in his Florida Hometown

NFL Star Khalil Mack (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

NFL star Khalil Mack delivered holiday cheer for several customers at a Walmart in his Florida hometown over the weekend, according to KNX NewsRadio. The Chicago Bears linebacker reportedly paid off $80,000 worth of layaway accounts, leaving many families with less to worry about.

To quote the article:

The four-time Pro-Bowler took care of the debts at a Walmart in Fort Pierce through the Khalil Mack Foundation, which focuses on impacting lives of “inter-city and under-privileged youth and families.” The store announced the donation in a Facebook post and thanked him for the act of kindness.

“We have some wonderful News! If you have an active Holiday Layaway account at your local Ft. Pierce Wal-Mart, you account has been paid off!” the Walmart wrote. “We here at Walmart would like to thank the Khalil Mack Foundation for your generosity, and for making so many families happy for the holidays!”

Mack covered more than 300 accounts, which cost about $80,000 total, according to the Chicago Tribune. “His foundation came to us and said he wanted to be a secret Santa,” store manager Mathias Libardi told TCPalm.com.

Mack is known for giving back to his hometown. In June, he donated 100 pairs of cleats to the Fort Pierce Westwood football team.

To read more: https://knx1070.radio.com/articles/cbs-news/nfl-star-pays-off-walmart-layaways-in-his-hometown

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove Wins $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award From Academy of American Poets

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, according to jbhe.com. The award is given annually to recognize “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” Established in 1994, the award comes with a $100,000 prize.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987 for Thomas and Beulah, Dove also served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. She is the only poet to receive the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts.

Dove has published 10 collections of poetry including her latest book Collected Poems, 1974-2004 (2016). In addition to poetry, Dove has published a book of short stories and the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992).

Dove is a summa cum laude graduate of Miami University in Ohio, where she majored in English.  She holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa, and joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 1989.

(WATCH) Lumberjack Robert Rising Creates Furniture out of Rescued Wood from Fallen Trees

“Robert Rising, known as “the black lumberjack,” creates furniture out of rescued wood from fallen trees. He also mentors young people of color who want to enter an industry that often boxes them out.”

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Launches Leadership Program for Black and Latinx Trans Women and Non-Binary People

(photo via hrc.org)

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) recently welcomed the first cohort of Elevate: A Fellowship Advancing Public Health Leadership for Transgender Women of Color. Ten Black and Latinx transgender women and non-binary people participated in the pilot program that focuses on developing transgender women and non-binary leaders of color in the South to increase their career opportunities and ability to work on improving public health systems.

“Black and Latinx transgender women and non-binary people are often overlooked within the workforce, specifically in public health,” said HRC Foundation’s Director of HIV & Health Equity J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall. “In many ways they are relegated to solely working in community outreach and HIV testing roles. As we seek to give voice to those who have been pushed to the margins, it is important that we develop and expand access to equitable professional development opportunities.”

The first group of leaders to take part in the groundbreaking Elevate fellowship program include Atlantis Narcisse of Houston; Desiree Pittman of Montgomery, Ala.; Donte Oxun of Houston; Jholett Hernandez of Montevallo, Miss.; Laneyana Henderson of Jackson, Miss.; Mahogany Toney of Birmingham, Ala.; Samantha Rose Montemayor-Morales of McAllan, Texas; Jayla Sylvester of Houston; Bee Kelley of Little Rock, Ark.; and Nakia Green of Little Rock, Ark..

During this inaugural year, Elevate will focus on skill-building as well as professional and leadership development, including intensive in-person training and a series of interactive webinars. This past week’s initial gathering focused on policy and advocacy; navigating social stigma; organizational leadership; community building and mobilization; public health systems; and self-care.

Elevate is designed to help participants develop skills and access tools to advance their work on improving  health outcomes within the Black and Latinx transgender community in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, all part of HRC’s Project One America program. For more details, visit: https://hrc.im/elevatefellowship

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Four African-American Academics Named MacArthur “Genius” Fellows in 2019

2019 MacArthur Fellows (l to r):Emmanuel Pratt, Saidiya Hartman, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Walter Hood (photos via MacArthur Foundation)

via jbhe.com

The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation announced the selection of 26 individuals in this year’s class of MacArthur Fellows. The honors, frequently referred to as the “Genius Awards,” include a $625,000 stipend over the next five years which the individuals can use as they see fit.

Fellows are chosen for their “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” The goal of the awards is to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations” without the burden of having to worry about their financial situation.

This year, five of the 26 MacArthur Fellows are Black and four have current ties to academia:

Saidiya Hartman is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York City. Professor Hartman’s major fields of interest are African American and American literature and cultural history, slavery, law and literature, and performance studies.

She is the author of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) and Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (W.W. Norton, 2019). Dr. Hartman is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Walter Hood is a professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations (Poltroon Press, 1993).

Professor Hood is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. He holds two master’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Continue reading “Four African-American Academics Named MacArthur “Genius” Fellows in 2019″

Rutgers University Report Finds HBCUs Aid Upward Economic Mobility of its Graduates

(image via rutgers.edu)

According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, a new report from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University in New Jersey has found that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are doing a terrific job fostering the upward mobility of their students, especially considering a significant share of their students that come from lower-income backgrounds.

The study also found that HBCUs are furthering upward mobility of their student population, which is drawn from the lower economic rungs, than the general college-going population at predominately White institutions.

A key finding of the report is that despite the fact that nearly 70 percent of students at HBCUs attain at least middle-class incomes after graduation. Two-thirds of low-income students at HBCUs end up in at least the middle class.

The report also identified HBCUs that are doing a particularly good job of having their graduates move up the ladder of economic success. For instance, 16.7 percent of the student body at Xavier University of Louisiana is low-income and almost one-third of these students move into the top fifth of income earners.

Tuskegee University, Bennett College, Florida A&M University, Dillard University, and Clark Atlanta University also do a particularly good job fostering upward mobility for their large share of low-income students.

The full report, Income Mobility at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, can be downloaded here.

To read more: https://www.jbhe.com/2019/10/report-finds-hbcus-do-a-great-job-in-aiding-the-upward-economic-mobility-of-their-graduates/