We are happy to report that as an ambassador for the USA Swimming Foundation, Manuel did not just talk the talk, but plans to swim the swim! She is helping provide free swim lessons to every student at I Promise during a week-long camp in June of this year.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, boxing legend, Vietnam War protester and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali will soon have his hometown airport renamed after him.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people.”
Lonnie Ali, Ali’s widow, said in a statement she is happy that Louisville is changing its airport’s name “to reflect Muhammad’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown.”
“Muhammad was a global citizen,” she stated, “but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy.”
Although he’s been sidelined for the next several games with a groin injury, it hasn’t overshadowed the moves LeBron James has made on and off the court
So for the third time the LA Lakers forward has been named the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year, the Associated Press reports.
“I would describe it as a success because I was able to inspire so many people throughout the year,” James said. “I got to go back to China, to Paris, to Berlin, I opened up a school. And all these kids I was able to see, all over the world and in my hometown, I was able to inspire, to make them think they can be so much more than what they think they’re capable of being. That was my outlook for 2018.”
“So yes, it’s been a pretty good year.”
James received 78 points in the ballots given to U.S. editors and news directors, the AP reports. The Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts was second with 46 points. The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin placed third, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes came in fourth and Triple Crown winner Justify was fifth, according to the outlet.
In his 16th season, James still reigns on the court. He’s continued to be a force helping to usher his teams to the NBA Finals for eight consecutive years. He left Cleveland to make magic happen with the LA Lakers. And in the midst of aligning his career goals with his life goals and dreams he opened a school called “I Promise” in his hometown of Akron, Ohio for at-risk kids.
James is also an involved father who takes time out to be his kids’ biggest cheerleader from the sidelines during their basketball games. And he’s been an advocate off the court, using his voice and influence to speak out on social justice causes.
Shaquille O’Neal’s one big ole’ holly, jolly good guy who spent the day doing good and giving out backpacks to kids at Eagle’s Landing Middle School in Henry County Georgia last week, WSBTVreports.
Shaq-A-Claus shared the love and surprised the school with an unplanned visit. He greeted kids in the National Junior Beta Club and congratulated them on a job well done, said school district spokesman JD Hardin.
Then he attended a pep rally and spoke to students about making good life choices, before handing out some backpacks, Hardin said.
Shaq took to Twitter to thank his partners for teaming up with him.
Again.. I would like to Thank all my partners for their support with Shaq A Claus 2018 This will be an awesome event for the kids Merry Christmas pic.twitter.com/VwNANrHeQJ
Sharlanda Demingo had to make a call — and a tough one at that.
Her son, Amadious, demanded that she quit one of her jobs so he could see more of her at home.
“He was in middle school and playing basketball,” Demingo recalled of the conversation with her then-12-year-old. “He was in the band, and I would miss his games sometimes because I was always out, either at a basketball game or at a football game, so I couldn’t go to his marching band events.”
When Amadious’ grades started to suffer, things got real. “It seemed like he started struggling in school, too, so I had to pay attention to that.”
At the time, Demingo had been pursuing her passion as a referee, in basketball and football. As much as she knew she had to put her time in, success there couldn’t come at the expense of family. “So I decided to pursue football primarily and if I wanted to do basketball, I’d do some rec games on the side but not continue to pursue basketball.”
It was the best call she could have made — there’s been zero second-guessing.
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Demingo developed a love for basketball after joining the Air Force in 2002. After completing basic training in Lackland, Texas, her first duty station stop took her to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, where she started officiating basketball, following in her father’s footsteps.
“Growing up as a little girl, my dad used to officiate basketball, so I used to go to the games with him,” said Demingo, who continued refereeing after her tour ended in Germany and her second stop — in Hurlburt Field, Florida — began.
By 2006, when she got out of the military and moved to Atlanta, Demingo had added football to her repertoire — and now she will be part of an all-female, five-person officiating crew poised to manage the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) football championship game, between Fayetteville State and Bowie State, Saturday in Salem, Virginia.
Bowie State enters the game 8-2 overall, 8-1 against Division II competition and 6-1 against CIAA opponents. It is led by quarterback Amir Hall, the leading passer in Division II who was the 2017 Black College Player of the Year. It’s Bowie State’s third appearance in the championship game in five seasons.
Fayetteville State enters the title game with a 6-2 record, 6-1 against Division II competition and 5-1 against CIAA foes. The Broncos had two games canceled because of Hurricane Florence. But that didn’t stop them in the conference’s Southern Division, and they claimed its championship spot in Week 9 with a win over Livingstone and Shaw University’s win over Winston-Salem State.
For the CIAA, having female officials covering football as well as other sports in the conference is vitally important — something its commissioner, Jacqie McWilliams, has championed from the beginning.
“Our teams, sports fans, students and the overall community benefit from having balanced, diverse and inclusive teams officiating all of our sports,” McWilliams explained. “It’s important to me the CIAA lead by example.”
Simone Biles has won the all-around title at the world championships for the fourth time, the most ever in women’s artistic gymnastics.
Biles, 21, uncharacteristically struggled in the competition Thursday in Doha, Qatar, just days after tweeting she’d put off having a kidney stone removed until after the competition.
But despite a fall on the vault, a fall on the balance beam and stepping out of bounds during her floor exercise routine, Biles still won by 1.693 points — the largest margin of victory of her four titles.
Fellow American Morgan Hurd took bronze, while Mai Murakami of Japan won silver.
In addition to the all-around, Biles, who returned to the sport this summer, led the US this week to team gold. She still can add to her medal haul in the individual vault, uneven bars, beam and floor events.
Other than being an ESPN analyst, Jalen Rose also works tirelessly to serve his local community. The retired NBA player opened in September 2011 the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA), an open enrollment, tuition-free public charter high school in Northwest Detroit. It serves 400 students in ninth through 12 grade from metro Detroit with a 9-16 model, in which students are supported not only through high school graduation but through college graduation via a college success team that works with current students and alumni.
The JRLA has a 93 percent graduation rate and 100 percent college and post-secondary acceptance rate.
Rose spoke exclusively with EBONY.com about why the school is important, what he hopes his students get from their time on campus and the controversy surrounding the national anthem.
Whydo you think it’s important to give back to your community by opening a school as opposed to other ways you can help?
Education is a valuable tool that unlocks the future of so many young people, and the dynamics in our country have changed, which is [why I chose to] be the founder of a tuition-free public charter high school that gets zero state funding for the facility. It was important not only from myself but our co-founder, Michael Carter, as well. [We wanted] to not only be able to influence the dynamics of our scholars graduating from high school nine through 12 but [also] to give them that level of support and guidance that allowed them the opportunity to graduate from college, which was 13 through 16.
We’re proud and unique in a lot of ways to carry a nine through 16 model, whereas we approximately have 450 kids in the building this upcoming school year and around 300 in college or university community college, military and trade school. In June, it will be the first time we have JRLA scholars that graduated from colleges across the country that will have the opportunity to attend our graduation and speak to the graduates of our senior class. So that is what I think allows our scenario to be really unique and I’m proud of that dynamic.
Several people I know in the education sector complain about how the curriculum is more based on setting kids up to pass state exams as opposed to teaching skills that would benefit them in the future. How would you say the JRLA enriches your student body with skills that will help them in the future?
That’s not a school thing, per se. That’s a society thing that has continued to foster throughout our country and look no further than the dynamics of how many people work in a field that was their major in college.
I’m one of the few that I know.
I am too, communications: radio, TV & film. So that dynamic in our educational system [whether it be] public charter, magnet, private, college, university, high school, elementary school and middle school is all theory. So, to me, that’s one conversation.
So now what we’re able to do, as a charter school [is] craft programs that allow the young people to get skills other than reading, writing and arithmetic.
We have a leadership course. We teach young people about decision-making, problem-solving, sex, drugs, violence, gangs and etiquette. [Our school] has advisory, where we get to know our scholars up-close and personal, [including] what makes them tick and their interests; we try to steer them in that direction. We’re also unique because while most public schools and charter schools are not open in July, we are.
The JRLA has something called Summer Session, which is not summer school for students who failed classes. Through this program, we create other experiences, college experiences on-campus experiences and we provide each of our scholars with an internship.
With powerful, poignant speeches from presenters and honorees alike, this year’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal awards felt more like a gospel church service-cum-rock concert than an academic award ceremony.
Athlete and social activist Colin Kaepernick set the tone before an exhilarated crowd that included some 150 local high school students, declaring that people in positions of privilege and power have a “responsibility” to speak up for the powerless.
“People live with this every single day and we expect them to thrive in situations where they’re just trying to survive,” said the NFL free agent who famously took a knee during pregame national anthems to protest racial injustice in America. “If we don’t, we become complicit. It is our duty to fight for them.”
Kaepernick was one of the eight laureates who received medals at Sanders Theatre on Thursday night. Others were comedian Dave Chappelle; writer and social critic Florence C. Ladd; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson; renowned artist Kehinde Wiley; General Catalyst chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault; philanthropist and Avid Partners founder Pamela J. Joyner; and human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson.
The awards are bestowed by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research for contributions to African and African-American history and culture. Ladd, the former director of the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, donned her medal, then pumped her fist in the air and told the cheering crowd: “A takeaway must be protest, protest, protest.”
Stevenson, M.P.P. ’85, J.D. ’85, L.L.D. ’15, who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, dedicated his award to “people who did so much more with so much less” and asked the audience to think of hope as “your superpower.” To the students, he made a more pointed request: “You’ve got to be willing to do uncomfortable things. You’ve got to be willing to do inconvenient things. Don’t ever think that your grades are a measure of your capacity.” Stevenson himself won a historic Supreme Court ruling that declared that mandatory sentences of life without parole for children 17 or younger are unconstitutional.
Moments of humor punctuated the call to resistance, particularly when presenter and incoming Dean of Social Science Lawrence D. Bobo recited parts of Chappelle’s famous skit “The Racial Draft.“ He called the comedian a “teller of uncomfortable truths.”
Chappelle, for his part, praised his parents, especially his mother, a professor of African-American studies. “She raised me well. I am not an uninformed person,” he said.
Chappelle said he was humbled to be on stage with his fellow honorees: “You all make me want to be better,” he said. He promised another comedy special and ended his speech with a quote from favorite writer James Baldwin’s book “The Fire Next Time.”
“God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water. The fire next time.”
Hutchins Center director Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, reflected on the critical nature of the honorees’ work in the fight for racial and social justice.
“When we recall the dramatic progress we’ve made in this country’s struggle for civil rights, it’s tempting to remember only our long arc of progress. But we find ourselves in a new nadir in our country’s race relations,” he said, quoting Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard.
“Agitation is a necessary evil to tell of the ills of the suffering. Without it, many a nation has been lulled to false security and preened itself with virtues it did not possess.”
NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neveah Spillman loves sports. Her current position at Maple Park Middle School isn’t typical of girls her age. Neveah is the football team’s starting quarterback.
“I was nervous in the beginning because I had never played for a school. I’ve always played in leagues,” the 13-year-old said.
Neveah’s talent overtook her nerves when she joined Maple Park’s football team as the starting quarterback. “She does have a good arm,” said Daivion Allen, Neveah’s teammate.
She’s played football since she was 4 years old. Now 13, Neveah is a leader and the only girl on the field. “You have to take charge because you run the offense. You have to tell people their positions, what they need to work on to get better,” Neveah said.
Nevaeh’s response from her classmates and teammates is positive. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a girl or boy quarterback. It matters what you do on the field,” Daivion said. “Nevaeh can do a lot on the field.”
Neveah hopes she can pave the way for other girls who want to play football. “Most girls don’t get recognized for playing this kind of sport, so when you hear people talking about you, it makes you feel good,” she said.
Neveah said sometimes players on the other teams are surprised to see her reveal the bouncy curls under her helmet. “I’ll take my helmet off afterwards to shake hands, and it’s, ‘Oh, that’s a girl. Their quarterback is a girl,'” Neveah said. “They are shocked, but I think they think it’s pretty cool a girl plays football.”