Filmmaker and entrepreneur Tyler Perry told Gayle King on CBS This Morning this week that his eponymous film studio in Atlanta will soon provide a safe haven for homeless women, displaced LGBTQ youth, and sex trafficking victims.
Perry is the first African American man to own a major movie studio, a 330-acre property that was once a Confederate Army base. But he is most excited about the aspect of helping those in need. “You know, the studio’s gonna be what it is,” Perry said.
“I’ll tell you what I’m most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced … somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient.”
“They live in nice apartments. There’s day care. There’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again,” Perry continued. “So that’s what I hope to do soon.”
“Think about the poetic justice in that,” Perry said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”
The major motion picture studio includes 40 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, 12 purpose-built sound stages named after African-American luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Diahann Carroll, and Harry Belafonte, 200 acres of green space, and a diverse backlot.
Reed, already a trailblazer as Montgomery County’s first black probate judge, defeated David Woods, owner of the local Fox affiliate, in a non-partisan runoff election with 67 percent of the vote and all precincts reporting, according to the unofficial election results.
“This election has never been about me,” Reed, 45, said during his victory speech. “This election has never about just my ideas. It’s been about all of the hopes and dreams that we have as individuals and collectively in this city … and the way we found the opportunity to improve outcomes regardless of neighborhood, regardless of Zip code, regardless of anything that may divide us or make us different from one another.”
His victory reverberated well beyond Montgomery as many celebrated the milestone in a city remembered as both the cradle of the Confederacy and the birthplace of the civil rights movement. Montgomery, where about 60 percent of residents are black, was the first capital of the Confederate States of America, becoming a bastion of racial violence and discrimination in the Jim Crow era but also of protests and resistance in the civil rights era.
It’s home to the Montgomery bus boycott against segregation led by Rosa Parks, and it’s home to the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights led by Martin Luther King Jr. It was in Montgomery where, after the third march in March 1965, King addressed a crowd of 25,000 people on the steps of the Alabama Capitol, famously saying, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“This is a historic day for our nation,” Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim president and chief executive of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based in Montgomery, said Tuesday on Twitter. “The election of Steven Reed, the first black mayor of Montgomery, AL, symbolizes the new inclusive & forward thinking South that so many have worked to achieve.”
WNBA superstar and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie will be the first female athlete honored with a statue outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Arash Markazi reported the news, writing that the Los Angeles Sparks and Anschutz Entertainment Group still have to iron out the specific date but agreed Leslie will be the 11th statue outside of the famed sports and entertainment arena. Leslie’s statue will also be the first of a WNBA player outside of a team’s home arena.
Lisa Leslie is going to get a statue outside of Staples Center. The Sparks and AEG will talk about the specifics soon but it will be the 11th in Star Plaza and the first honoring a female athlete. It will be the first statue of a WNBA player outside the home arena of a WNBA team. pic.twitter.com/nw7YdDh30u
According to bleacherreport.com, Leslie went to the Sparks in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997 and played her entire career with the team through 2009. During her professional basketball career, Leslie won three league MVPs, two championships, four Olympic gold medals and three All-Star Game MVPs .
Leslie, who was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game, was also named to eight All-Star teams and 12 All-WNBA teams, including eight first-team selections. In addition to her WNBA achievements, she once scored 101 points in a half during a game for Morningside High in Inglewood, and was named first-team all-conference in each of her four seasons at USC.
Leslie will now be forever memorialized alongside statues of Los Angeles legends such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
On August 22, 2019, according to eurweb.com, individuals and organizations throughout Baltimore, Maryland will demonstrate the pride they have for their city and the amazing people in it.
In honor of Black Philanthropy Month, social impact organization CLLCTIVLY will launch its inaugural Day of Giving (CLLCTIVGIVE) for Black-led social change organizations serving in Greater Baltimore.
This 24-hour fundraising event is part of CLLCTIVLY’s mission to be a resource for the Greater Baltimore community that seeks to find, fund and partner with Black social change organizations.
The one-day campaign seeks to raise $100,000 in direct support for local organizations, and garner 10,000 donors! (10,000 @ $10) To participate, visit BaltimoreGives.org and select an organization to support.
“I am a big believer in the power of collectives. I grew up in the church and watched churches pool their resources every Sunday. Truthfully, each of us is a philanthropist in our own right. It’s not about the amount. When we support one another, our communities are stronger,” states Jamye Wooten, the founder of CLLCTIVLY.
Research shows that annually, approximately 95% of the $60 billion in US foundation funding goes to white-led organizations and that Black-led organizations only receive 2%. To create thriving communities across Baltimore, CLLCTIVLY is helping to lead the charge to increase investment in Black-led organizations and provide them with the resources needed to build the infrastructure and the financial sustainability needed to support their work.
“Awareness is key. There are hundreds of organizations working hard in our communities every day. The more people know about the incredible changemakers in our communities, the more inclined they will be to support,” says Wooten.
About CLLCTIVLY.org is a social impact organization in Baltimore, Maryland that serves as a resource for those seeking to find, fund and partner with Black social change organizations in the Greater Baltimore community. CLLCTIVLY aims to create an ecosystem to foster collaboration, increase social impact and amplify the voices of Black-led organizations in Greater Baltimore. CLLCTIVLY also offers no-strings-attached micro-grants of $1,000. Jamye Wooten, a co-founder of Baltimore United for Change, launched CLLCTIVLY in 2019. To join CLLCTIVLY, apply for the Black Futures Micro-Grant or to shop at the Black Futures online store, visit www.CLLCTIVLY.org
Good Black News recently read an inspiring story at cleveland.com about Dr. Carl Allamby, 47, a career auto mechanic who figuratively changed lanes and recently graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University. Allamby, who grew up in East Cleveland, is currently doing his residency in emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital.
After returning to school to take business classes and falling in love with medicine via a required biology course, Allamby’s chemistry teacher told him about a new program at Cleveland State University called Partnership for Urban Health that sought to recruit and train doctors, especially minority doctors, to practice urban communities. The program offered intense undergraduate classes, help preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test, and then, if successful, a spot at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
“There are so many times throughout the different hospitals where I will walk in and [a black patient] will say, ‘Thank God there’s finally a brother here,’” Allamby said.
“We absolutely need more black doctors, he said, noting mistrust that has a long history, including the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, where black patients were victimized.
“I think you remove a lot of those barriers when there is a person there who looks like you,” he said.
Research shows that black patients fare better with black doctors. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research last year found that black men, who have the lowest life expectancy of any American demographic, were more likely to share details with black doctors and to heed their advice. Having a black doctor was more effective in convincing them to get a flu shot than a financial reward.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For some time now, we here at GBN have struggled with the fact that while our operating directive is always to present positive stories, there are so many issues that affect our communities that don’t fit that philosophy, but would love to find a way to present that doesn’t stray from our core mission. It recently dawned on us that the steps we as individuals and societies take to solve problems, large or small, could perhaps be our way in. Solutions can only come first through awareness and acknowledgement of the issue, learning about it, discussing it, then figuring out ways to act that may help solve it.
In that spirit, we introduce “Let’s Talk About It” – a new GBN feature we will occasionally present about problems that need ideas for solutions. Our first entry is a share from, appropriately enough, The Conversation, a website GBN has partnered with to bring to you exactly this type of content.
First up: How can we as a community begin to solve the black student debt crisis? Should we follow the lead of billionaire Robert F. Smith, who single-handedly relieved the debt of Morehouse College’s graduating class of 2019, and task the wealthiest among us to pitch in and help out? Or are there other ways for us to alleviate this issue? Read below, and if you’d like, let’s discuss!
-Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-in-Chief
by Mako Fitts Ward, professor at Arizona State University
When billionaire Robert F. Smith decided to pay off the student loans of the graduating class of 2019 at Morehouse College, he suggested that others follow his lead.
“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community,” Smith declared in his commencement speech.
But is there even enough black private wealth in the United States to pay off all black student loan debt?
As a scholar in social transformation and African American studies, I’m intrigued by this question. It provides an opportunity to examine black wealth, higher education and the possibilities for alleviating debt, which in turn opens the door to new economic opportunities.
That’s a lot of money, and he’s done it before. Before his gift to Morehouse, Smith donated $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater, in part to support African American and female students at Cornell University’s College of Engineering.
Other black celebrities have also stepped up to fund education. Powerhouse couple Beyonce and Jay Z gave more than $1 million in scholarships to students who lived in cities they were touring in 2018.
Rapper Nicki Minaj gave 37 “Student of the Game” scholarships. LeBron James, through his foundation, promised to pay for 2,300 students to attend the University of Akron – at an estimated price tag of $100 million. Oprah Winfrey has donated more than $400 million to educational causes.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Crown Act (aka CA Senate Bill No. 188) into law, making it illegal to enforce dress code or grooming policies against hairstyles such as afros, braids, twists, and locks.
To quote CNN’s article:
Los Angeles Democrat Sen. Holly Mitchell, who introduced the bill earlier this year, said the law is about “inclusion, pride and choice.” “This law protects the right of Black Californians to choose to wear their hair in its natural form, without pressure to conform to Eurocentric norms,” Mitchell said in a statement Wednesday. “I am so excited to see the culture change that will ensue from the law.”
The student had to choose whether “to lose an athletic competition or lose his identity,” Newsom said.
“That’s played out in workplaces, it’s played out in schools — not just in athletic competitions and settings — every single day all across America in ways that are subtle, in ways overt,” Newsom said during a bill-signing ceremony.
The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, addresses policies against natural hair that are unfair toward women and people of color, the governor’s office said. “Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter black applicants and burden or punish black employees than any other group,” according to the law.
Mitchell said that until recently an image search for “unprofessional hairstyles” only showed black women with natural hair, braids or twists. “I believe that any law, policy or practice that sanctions a job description that immediately excludes me from a profession — not because of my capacity or my capabilities or my experience but because of my hairstyle choice — is long overdue for reform,” said Mitchell, who observed that she wears her hair in a natural style.
Mitchell said that similar state and federal laws protect against discrimination due to religious hairstyles and head coverings.
The Good News Network recently highlighted the story of Ahmed Ali, 21, a non-verbal student who has been attending the Minneapolis Public School system’s Transitions Plus Program for the last three years.
Ali was chosen to give a commencement address this year, making history with it by using speech software he helped develop with a speech pathologist to deliver words he composed on his own to his appreciative audience.
I am going to give free wisdom to the graduates… you will achieve a lot of amazing things with or without disabilities. Without a doubt. Secondly, life is basically a marathon. As human beings, we are running a relay race,” said Ali via his device. “The track is your life. Every time you achieve something you pass the baton to the next person. Guess who you are passing the baton to? It’s you. Each stage of your life you are passing it to a new you. It’s not the end of the line for you, but it’s a new you in our beautiful world.
KARE11 posted video of highlights from Ali’s software-delivered speech. Watch below:
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old whose shooting death by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman set off a national conversation on racial profiling and the inequities in the criminal justice system, formally announced yesterday she is running for local office in Florida.
Fulton became an activist after the death of her son in Sanford, Fla., in 2012 by making speeches around the country as she worked to curb gun violence. She now she aims to do so from inside the government as a policy maker. She will contest the mayor of Miami Gardens Oliver G. Gilbert III for a seat on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.
“At first I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died, but I decided I have no choice,” Ms. Fulton said in an Instagram video announcing her campaign. “Now I am called to act and called to serve,” she said. She joins other mothers such as Lezley McSpadden and U.S. Congress member Lucy McBath, who also senselessly lost their unarmed sons to gun violence, in running for office.
Fulton is a former housing agency employee who believes a new chapter of serving the public is in order for her. “My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” she relayed in an Instagram post. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”