BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –University of Georgia graduate student and defensive back Aaron Davis has been named to the 2017 SEC Football Community Service Team.
Each year the Southeastern Conference highlights one player from each school in all 21-league sponsored sports who shows exemplary community service.
The Locust Grove, Ga. native has been recognized for his effort in the community already this year. Davis was among 11 FBS players named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in September. The finance graduate was also on the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Tropy, an award given a college football player, “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”
Davis has had his hand in numerous activities while in Athens. Specifically he has been involved in: UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (LEAD), Spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement against domestic violence and sexual assault… Visitation at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families…Worked with individuals involved who are part of Extra Special People (ESP), which is an organization that assists with individuals with developmental disabilities … Speaker at the UGA Athletic Association’s “Learn, Play, Excel” program, which has UGA coaches and student-athletes visit and talk with elementary and middle school students on topics such as education, leadership, anti-bullying, respect for authority and the value of participation in athletics.
In the classroom, Davis picked up his second CoSIDA Academic All-District award in November. He has been named to the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll each of the last three years.
The six-foot-one defensive back has started every game this season to bring his total to 42 starts in 50 games played at Georgia. The former walk-on has 40 total tackles, 2.5 for a loss, one sack, and two quarterback pressures this season. In coverage, he has four pass break ups and one interception.
The vision of an expanded space for the world famous Motown Museum is closer to fruition with the donation of $500,000 from the Hudson-Webber Foundation, Business Insider reported.
“Every time we get another one of these significant lead gifts in the campaign, not only does it encourage us as a team, but also sends a message to the rest of the funding community about this project, the importance of this development and also makes clear that this is real,” Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the museum, told the Detroit Free Press when the foundation notified her about the award.
This donation comes after the museum received a $1 million donation from the Fred A. and Barbara Erb Family Foundation. In October 2016, the museum announced plans for a $50 million, 50,000-square foot expansion project. The new space will include more interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, retail shops and meeting spaces.
Museum-goers currently only have access to two houses on Grand Boulevard and the funds from the campaign will allow a third house with more exhibits to be built. The expansion will foster job creation and economic growth in Detroit, providing the local community with nearly 250 job opportunities.
“The Motown Museum project will increase the vitality of the surrounding neighborhood and will expand the museum’s ability to serve as an educational and cultural amenity for the city and beyond,” Melanca Clark, president and CEO of the foundation, told the newspaper. “We’re so proud to support an iconic Detroit institution that connects our city to the world.”
Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, established the original museum in 1985.
At Hakim’s Bookstore in West Philadelphia, there are signs of life for what is believed to be the oldest black-owned bookstore in the country. Only a couple of years ago, the store was near death’s door. There is fresh, yellow paint on the walls, brand-new bookshelves, and a newly renovated office space at the back of the store. “I finally got a website about three months ago,” said Yvonne Blake, daughter of Dawud Hakim, who founded the store in 1959.
Two years ago, the landmark at 210 S. 52nd St. was in danger of closing: Competition from internet booksellers and its limited hours — a family member was ill — led many people to falsely believe that Hakim’s was no longer in business, Blake, 66, said. But after attention from a column by Inquirer and Daily News writer Helen Ubiñas, Blake said, “I had a lot of people offer to help.”
She had already launched a GoFundMe campaign (more than $1,140 has been raised), but hearing from people all over the country gave her even more hope — and help. Joel Wilson, the owner of a computer-consulting firm who went to elementary school with her daughter, created the new website and offered a reorganization plan. And Ron Green, founder of a clothing company featuring T-shirts and other apparel aimed at young black activists, paid her a visit.
“I had never heard of Hakim’s,” said Green, CEO of What’s Up African? “I told her, you don’t have social media. You’re not online. You have to go to festivals and events. You have to be visible.” And he advised her: “How can we expect the next generation of readers and leaders to access this store if they don’t know you exist?’
Now, some of Green’s T-shirts, items that appeal to a younger generation, are available at the bookstore.
Johnson also said he was pleased to learn that Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill just openedUncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books at 5445 Germantown Ave in Philadelphia.
Hill’s store, “along with the opening of at least seven new black-owned independents this year, is a very positive sign,” Johnson wrote in an email. This is the first year his website added more bookstores than it flagged as having closed. “As Amazon becomes a near-monopoly for online book sales and eBooks, they are certainly having an adverse impact on not just black independents, but all booksellers online and brick-and-mortar,” Johnson wrote.
Joshua Clark Davis, a professor of history at the University of Baltimore who has studied black-owned bookstores in the country, said that the “rise and fall of black radical politics has always had an impact on the popularity of black bookstores.”
Now the founder and executive director of A New Way of Life, which helps formerly incarcerated women successfully re-enter society, and an internationally respected voice and human rights advocate, Susan gives women who find themselves in the same position she was in twenty years ago “a hand up and a means to stand on their own feet.”
“I’d been arrested over and over again for possession of a controlled substance. You’d think someone in the system might have gotten the idea that I needed drug treatment, that I needed therapy. But I was never offered help and I I didn’t know to ask for it because I didn’t know what to ask for,” Susan remembers.
Like many of the women who come to her for help, Susan had a history of trauma, abuse and addiction, and no idea how to break the cycle. Her mission is deeply rooted in personal experience. “Women are the fastest growing segment of the (American) prison system,” she explains. “Yet, they’re not talked about, resources aren’t put towards them, nor (are there efforts at) stopping the recidivism. ”
In the past, a common assumption was that incarcerated people were distinct from everyone else, a realm apart. With upwards of a million women in prison, it’s become increasingly apparent that mass incarceration is inseparable from mainstream society. We are a nation of prisons and prisoners. And we are all diminished for it. “So many people with so much to give have been taken away from us. We need to be working towards supporting all of that wealth and revealing the gifts (that can enhance) our communities instead of keeping them locked away,” Susan asserts.
A New Way of Life provides a vehicle for harnessing the wealth that often lies untapped and undirected. Women, many of whom have been sentenced for non-violent drug-related crimes, are given the emotional support to heal and the practical tools to find employment, regain custody of their children, and incorporate healthier habits.
While she’s primarily dedicated to “raising the visibility of women in the context of mass incarceration,” Susan is also on a mission to help all women reclaim their authentic value. Which is why she is hopeful about the positive change that may come as a result of this year’s #MeToo movement. She believes it represents something larger. “Women are saying no more and never again. We are collectively standing up against the containment of women and women’s power.”
I first met Susan nearly twenty years ago after her sixth and final release from prison. She remembers that period vividly: “You offered me a full scholarship to your Essential Woman class. Six months later, I was able to pay the full tuition of the class. Through that course, I found my own value.” When we see others as useless “throwaways,” she continues, “it’s because we’ve lost touch with our own value. And that’s really the core of the prison epidemic in this country. Devaluing ourselves. Devaluing others.”
In the years since she began A New Way of Life, Susan has helped more than 700 hundred women forge a new path, and has reunited 150 mothers with their children. Her incredible story of success proves that regardless of past mistakes, we’re all human beings with innate value and the capacity for contribution.
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Dena Crowder is a strategist specializing in power. She helps creators and influencers increase their capacity and cultivate “pure power” so that they leave a positive impact. Her approach combines spiritual training with pragmatic action. To visit Dena Crowder’s website, click here. _________________________
According to billboard.com, DoSomething.org’s annual Celebs Gone Good list for 2017 is topped by Chicago artist and philanthropist Chance The Rapper. Chano is s followed by Arianna Grande, Rihanna, and Colin Kaepernick. Nicki Minaj and Ava DuVernay also appear, making their debuts on the list. The list recognizes celebrities who used their impact to affect social change in the world, as they helped raise awareness for causes such as mental health, education, gun violence, LGBTQ, sexual assault, hurricane/disaster relief and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The organization also selected eight Celebs to Watch in 2018, featuring young talent who give back. Teen actress Skai Jackson and Beyonce’s protégé Chloe X Halle made the cut, by inspiring young women and speaking out about women’s rights and bullying. Halima Aden also made the list for promoting diversity in the fashion industry, becoming the first hijab-wearing fashion model.
If you live in Lowndes County and are of voting age, it’s a safe bet that Perman Hardy has spoken with you about voting at some point in the past 25 years.
As one of the thousands of sharecroppers who worked white men’s land in Lowndes County over the years, 59-year-old Hardy recalls picking cotton after school growing up. She eventually finished her education, bought her own home, and had a successful career as a home health nurse.
But for the past two-and-a-half decades, Hardy has dedicated much of her free time to another pursuit: trying to ensure that every single person in Lowndes County shows up to the polls for every election in Alabama. A native of the unincorporated community of Collirene, she has done about as much as one person possibly could to boost turnout in the impoverished, majority-black county with a population of just 10,458 people.
“That’s my goal is to make sure everyone votes. That’s always been my goal. This is what I do every election,” she said as she steered her forest-green Chevrolet Tahoe through Collirene, a rural area that was once home to several cotton plantations that employed generations of slaves and sharecroppers. “We’re in an epidemic poverty county so it’s so important for us to vote today,” she told AL.com. “I took some people today who’ve never cast a ballot before.”
On Tuesday, like she says she does every time Alabamians head to the polls, Hardy spent more than 10 hours driving registered voters to polling stations who did not have transportation or were otherwise unable to make the trip without help. Over the course of the day, she personally drove more than 50 people to polling sites across Lowndes County.
NBA star LeBron James is using his platform to advocate for education. Through his organization—The LeBron James Family Foundation—he will open up a public school in his hometown Akron, Ohio, USA Todayreported.
The educational institution—dubbed the “I Promise” school—was recently approved by the city’s board, the news outlet writes. It’s specifically designed for students who have faced obstacles and setbacks when it comes to excelling in school. In efforts to get students who have fallen behind in their studies on the right track, the new school will have extended school days and start classes during the summer season to ensure that learning and education becomes a priority in the lives of its students. The school is an extension of his foundation’s “I Promise” program that was created to prevent kids from dropping out of school. According to the news outlet, the school is slated to accept third and fourth graders next fall and other grades will subsequently be added in the coming years.
James said that his experiences while coming of age in Akron inspired him to open the school. Through his organization’s initiatives, he wants to provide the youth in his hometown with a sense of hope. “I walked those streets, and it was just like there’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation. I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors, and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today,” said James, according to the source. “The basketball thing, I love it and I enjoy it, but to give back and open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”
USA Today reports that James’ company SpringHill Entertainment and the production company Warrior Poets will team up to work on a documentary about the creation of the school.
In an age where activism and sports are intertwined now more than ever, James has continually used his platform to speak out about social and political issues. This summer he called out Donald Trump for his failure to condemn White supremacists who were involved in the Charlottesville chaos, he’s been outspoken about the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, and during the Cavaliers’ season-opener against the Celtics this season he wore sneakers that read “equality.”