Tag: Atlanta

Tyler Perry to Build Compound for Displaced Women, Children and LGBTQ Youth at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta

 

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.”

The land for Tyler Perry Studios was acquired by Perry in 2015 and is located on the historic grounds of the former Fort McPherson army base in Atlanta, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“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.

To read more: https://www.blackenterprise.com/tyler-perry-studios/

Oprah Winfrey Donates $13 million to Morehouse College

Oprah Winfrey at Morehouse (photo via twitter.com)

According to cnn.com, Oprah Winfrey now has the largest endowment ever at all-male HBCU Morehouse College in Atlanta after donating $13 million.

Winfrey visited Morehouse on Monday for the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, the release said. The program started in 1989 and the fund stands at $12 million. Monday’s donation of $13 million pushed her total investment to $25 million.

“Seeing you young Oprah Winfrey scholars here today has moved me deeply,” Winfrey said Monday before announcing her donation. “I am so proud of you, I’m proud of everybody in attendance at this school who is seeking to know more clearly who you are, the value you hold and how you will share that value with the rest of the world.”

Winfrey’s donation comes after billionaire Robert Smith promised to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 Morehouse graduates in May. Smith donated $34 million to the school last month, making good on his promise.

“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”

HBCU Spelman College Receives Funding to Build Education Center for Women in STEM

Spelman College (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

According to hbcubuzz.com, Atlanta’s Spelman College recently received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to support its continued growth in STEM education.

The Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, which will be affiliated with the Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration, is the first center of its kind and will serve as the hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities at the women’s college.

“The Center aligns with the College’s strategic priorities and ensures that our students are empowered and equipped to enter competitive STEM fields,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Spelman president. “We are honored to be awarded this grant, and to have the support of the Department of Defense in assisting Spelman in fulfilling its mission to diversify STEM.”

To quote the article:

Spelman is one of six “model institutions for excellence” designated by the National Science Foundation for its significant track record of recruiting, retaining and graduating minority women in the sciences. 

Over the past three academic years, the percentage of students pursuing STEM majors at Spelman has grown significantly. In 2017, 26 percent of Spelman students received degrees in STEM compared to 16 percent at other HBCUs and 17 percent at other liberal arts colleges. 

The Center seeks to address minority under-representation in the sciences, particularly in computer science, mathematics and physics, explained Tasha Inniss, Ph.D., associate provost for research.

The Center will offer three main access points for students and faculty, including research support, academic enrichment and professional development through mentorship opportunities. In addition, the grant will allow the College to introduce an annual Women in STEM Speaker Series, designed to increase knowledge among faculty, staff, and students about emerging areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. 

The Center also will encourage year-round research collaborations between faculty, students and DoD personnel, which is expected to increase the capacity of faculty to do research, said Dr. Inniss. 

To learn more, go to: https://hbcubuzz.com/2019/09/spelman-receives-funding-to-establish-a-center-of-excellence-for-minority-women-in-stem/

 

Future to Give Away College Scholarships via FreeWishes Foundation at Each Stop of New Tour

Future (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

Good Black News just learned from Hip Hop Wired that rapper Future is working to support students trying to advance their education with college scholarships via his FreeWishes Foundation.

Last week the Atlanta hip hop artist visited his alma mater, Columbia High School, in Atlanta, GA. He and his artist Guap Tarantino surprised undergraduates with an unscheduled performance, specially designed merchandise and a check for $10,000 in the school’s name. Future will continue to pay it forward with a new initiative coinciding with his new “Legendary Nights” tour.

To quote Hip Hop Wired:

“Prospective students around the country can now enter to win a college scholarship in the amount of $2,000.00 via his FreeWishes College Scholarship. 17 scholarships will be awarded in total and gifted at each tour stop. Along with the scholarship, lucky recipients will also receive 2 tickets to the Legendary Nights Tour and an exclusive “I Am A Dreamer” sweatshirt.

Students interested in applying for the grant must follow FreeWishes’ social media feed (@freewishesfoundation) and submit a 500- word essay detailing “How Receiving This Scholarship Would Be A Dream Come True” to info@freewishes.org by noon of each tour date.”

For more information, visit FreeWishes.org.

Born On This Day in 1940: Civil Rights Activist, SNCC Leader, and Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

As time passes, it becomes easier and easier to venerate only those we habitually do and forget about those who fought the same fight but perhaps didn’t have as prominent a position in the battle.

So today, a week before we will all – rightfully – celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his significant contributions to the betterment of this nation, I want to focus on one of his brothers-in-arms, the charismatic lecturer, activist, freedom fighter and leader in his own right, Julian Bond.

Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee and passed in 2015 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida at the age of 75. His father, Horace Mann Bond, rose to become the first African-American president of his alma mater, Lincoln University. Though his father expected Julian to follow in his footsteps as an educator (which he eventually did), as a young man, Bond instead was attracted to political activism.

While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Bond became one of original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  In 1960, after word spread of student sit-ins at lunch counters in Greensboro, N.C., Bond and others at Morehouse organized protests against segregated public facilities in Atlanta. Bond dropped out of Morehouse in 1961 to devote himself to the protest movement, but returned in the 1970s to complete his English degree.

Among the sit-ins and protests, Bond worked to register voters and in 1965 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. White members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty, as Bond and SNCC were known for their stand against United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

His case against the House of Representatives went to all the way to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision in 1966, the Court ordered the Georgia state legislature to seat Bond on the grounds that it was denying Bond freedom of speech.

Bond served 20 years in the two houses of the legislature and while a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish and fund a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta.

Bond also became a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, and served as its president from 1971 to 1979. He remained on its board for the rest of his life.

Bond published a book of essays titled “A Time to Speak, A Time to Act” about politics and the movement, and in 1998, Bond became chairman of the NAACP, serving in that position until 2010. Through the years, Bond also taught at Harvard, Williams, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.

While at Harvard, I had the personal honor and pleasure not only from taking a class from Bond, but also in taking him up on his offer to call him for dinner so he could spend time with and speak directly to his students. He didn’t give his office number – I didn’t speak to an assistant – I spoke to his wife, and then him.

Bond came to my dorm and had dinner with me and half a dozen other undergrads. He was kind, patient, thoughtful and wry – he answered all types of questions about MLK, SNCC and anything else we asked. What struck me the most when I wasn’t in complete awe, was how real and unassuming he was. No bluster, no overinflated sense of importance – just a man about the work he had done and was still doing until the day he died.

Julian Bond, thank you for your example, your service and for taking the time to make this then awkward undergraduate feel a little less awkward and that much more empowered. You are not and never will be forgotten.

Spelman College Receives $30M Donation from Trustee Ronda Stryker to Help Fund New Arts Center

via jbhe.com

Spelman College, the historically Black educational institution for women in Atlanta, has received a $30 million donation from trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband William Johnston, The gift is the largest from a living donor in the 137-year history of the college.

The gift will be used to help fund the construction of the Center for Innovation and the Arts on the Spelman campus. When completed the building will house all of the college’s arts programs – art, art history, curatorial studies, dance, digital media, documentary filmmaking, photography, music and theater – in a single building.

Spelman Trustee Ronda Stryker (photo via Crain’s Detroit Business)

Stryker has been a member of the college’s board of trustees for more than 20 years. She currently serves as vice chair.

In making the donation, Stryker stated: “As former educators who believe strongly in social justice, Bill and I have great appreciation for how Spelman provides a superior education for students that encourages them to be global change agents. Spelman alumnae are leaders across every field imaginable, breaking new ground, while tackling some of the world’s most challenging issues from health disparities to the digital divide. We are thrilled to support a building that will encourage students to master technology, innovation and the arts.”

Stryker is a board member at Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment company and vice chair of Greenleaf Trust, an investment banking firm.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/12/spelman-college-receives-largest-gift-from-a-living-donor-in-its-137-year-history/

Psychologist Dr. Joy Bradford Makes Mental Health Care More Accessible Via Therapy for Black Girls

Dr. Joy Bradford (photo via therapyforblackgirls.com)

by Dominique Fluker via forbes.com

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Services, African-Americans are 20%  more likely to experience psychological distress such as depression, suicide, PTSD and anxiety than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

Meet Dr. Joy Bradford, a licensed psychologist based in Atlanta, Georgia and founder of Therapy for Black Girls. Passionate about changing the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy which often prevents black women from taking the step of seeing a therapist, Bradford aims to alleviate the process of seeking relief for mental health-related issues within the black community, by fostering a safe space to present mental health topics to black millennial women in a digestible way.

Previously a college counselor, Bradford leveraged her people person and problem solver skills to create the Therapy for Black Girls platform in 2014. The Therapy for Black Girls platform now reaches over 32,000 members with its blog, podcast, social media communities, and very own national therapist directory, that lists black women mental health providers nationally.

I spoke with Bradford about what inspired her to create Therapy for Black Girls, why there’s a stigma surrounding mental health in the black community and the challenges that isolate black women millennials from seeking mental health care.

Dominique Fluker: As a licensed psychologist, speaker and host of the popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls, share why you decided to create the online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of black women and girls? 

Dr. Joy Bradford: I created the space because I really wanted Black women to have a place to go to get information about mental health that felt relevant and accessible to them. I wanted to be able to share information about recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness but also to have conversations about the kinds of things we can do to encourage mental wellness.

Fluker: How is the Therapy for Black Girls platform combating the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy for African-American women?

Bradford: I think it’s combating stigma because it is making topics that were once taboo, okay to be publicly discussed. I think that topics covered on the podcast have given people language for some of the things they may have been struggling with, and I think the directory has allowed scores of women to connect with mental health professionals across the country who are excited about providing high-quality care to them.

Fluker: What are the challenges that black women millennial face daily that might make them feel isolated from mental health care?

Bradford: I think that sometimes black millennial women worry that their issues are not “big” enough to go to therapy and so they don’t utilize the service. I also think that sadly a lot of black millennial women also don’t feel like providers will really get them and it feels really hard to go into space where you’re supposed to be very transparent but not able to be comfortable. Additionally, I think that the cost may be prohibitive for some people who may want to go to therapy. Even with insurance, it may be difficult to afford therapy, but without it, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through to find lower cost therapy that is a good fit.

Continue reading “Psychologist Dr. Joy Bradford Makes Mental Health Care More Accessible Via Therapy for Black Girls”

Jordan Thomas Wins Harvard Debate Competition as He and 24 Other Students from Atlanta Make History

Atlanta students celebrate win at Harvard Debate Council (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Jenna Amatulli via huffingtonpost.com

A group of 25 black students from Atlanta, competing against hundreds of young scholars from around the world, made history over the weekend with winning performances in a Harvard debate tournament.

Jordan Thomas, from Atlanta’s Grady High School, won the competition. He said in a press release that he “was determined to represent my city and my story. I wanted people to see where I came from and how I could keep up with them.”

“Being a young, middle class, black, public school student from the South created a stigma that automatically set me back in comparison to the competition, most of who were international students or from preparatory schools in the Northeast,” said Thomas.

“To bring the championship back to Atlanta was the most satisfying feeling, and to walk onto the campus of one of the most elite universities in the world and meet personal and council goals, brings a unique and new satisfaction that I’ve never experienced.”

The young scholars were the first backed by scholarships through the Atlanta-based Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project to participate in Harvard’s summer debate council residency.

Harvard Debate Council, which runs the annual summer program at the school’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, divided nearly 400 participants, including high school students from Asia, Europe and Russia, into 12 teams for debate competitions.

Harvard Debate Council (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

The 25 Atlanta scholars, selected for Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project’s inaugural class from about 150 applicants, began the residency program with a daily, 10-hour academic regimen to learn research, analysis, argumentation and political science. Then, using their new skills, they were split into teams for the competition with other high school students from around the world.

Thomas described the project as “not a competition between each other, rather it is an incubator of intellect and a cultivator of brilliance.”

Notably, most of the Atlanta students were inexperienced debaters. They were from 16 different schools in the region. Brandon Fleming, a Harvard assistant debate coach who founded Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, said the project aims to be a “pipeline that would recruit, train and send students of color to Harvard on full scholarship.”

VOTE! Lucy McBath, Mother of Slain Teen Jordan Davis, in Runoff for GA Congressional Seat

Congressional candidate in Georgia’s 6th District Lucy McBath (R) speaks onstage during Vanity Fair’s Founders Fair at Spring Studios on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

by Jay Scott Smith via thegrio.com

She wants gun control reform for a very personal reason and decided to run for Congress with the hope of changing things herself.

Lucy McBath is set for a runoff election this coming Tuesday against Atlanta tech businessman Kevin Abel for the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. McBath is a gun control activist and the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was murdered in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012 when he was shot by Michael Dunn, a white man angered that he and his friends would not turn their music down.

Dunn, who attempted to claim the shooting was in self-defense because he felt “threatened” by the boys arguing back at him, was convicted of first-degree murder. “I didn’t understand how there were these kinds of tragedies happening all over the country,” McBath told CNN. “And why aren’t our legislators talking about it?”

Davis said she was inspired to run when she saw Donald Trump speak after February’s high school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. She says she knew the president was lying when he implied he would challenge the NRA. “It’s just not enough to have the marches and the rallies and the speeches and the remarks, unless we have people who are willing to create the bills to make this a safer nation,” she told CNN.

After her son’s death, she retired from her job as a Delta Airlines flight attendant and became a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety. She has testified before Congress, joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in 2016, and was among the Mothers of the Movement who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

McBath came in first in the primary race in front of Abel, a South Africa native who she will face in the runoff this Tuesday. McBath won 36 percent of the vote in the May primary, while Abel secured 30.5 percent of the votes cast.  The runoff winner will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel.

Abel claims that despite coming in second in the primary, he is the better candidate simply because he feels McBath “can’t beat Handel” in the bloody-red state of Georgia.

McBath is undeterred and unapologetic about her policy positions. “Yes, we are in a gun state,” says McBath. “And yes, we are in a red state. But I know people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know people now want change.”

Source: https://thegrio.com/2018/07/22/lucy-mcbath-jordan-davis-mother-runoff-for-ga-congressional-seat/

The A.M.E. Church and 19 Black-Owned Banks Team Up to Launch New Partnership for Longterm Black Wealth

Leaders of the AME Church announced the partnership late last month. (Photo by Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire)

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent Black denomination in the U.S., has teamed up with 19 Black-owned banks across the nation to form a partnership aimed at bettering financial vitality among Black Americans.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson announced the new partnership at the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta on June 26, pegging the initiative as an opportunity to “increase Black wealth,” business development and homeownership.

“This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the U.S. and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members,” said Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”

Jackson explained the partnership was inspired by an initiative formed in Washington, D.C. in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020, which he said “… is providing an economic blueprint for Black America.”

Through the initiative, faith leaders and bank presidents hope to increase deposits and loans with Black-owned banks; up the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million; and grow Black homeownership to more than 50 percent nationwide, according to a press release.

Speaking to The Atlanta Voice, General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie said she believes the church-bank collaboration is especially important for African-American youth.

“We want to be able to teach fiscal responsibility before [students] get to high school,” she said. “[It’s important] to learn the value of saving, the value of investing.”

Michael Banks, former head of the National Bankers’ Association, said he sees the partnership as imperative in regards to growing Black homeownership.

“We are educating ourselves and not only teaching our people how to get a home but also how to stay there,” Banks told the newspaper. “We worry about gentrification, but we have more power than we realize. (It’s important) to (buy) a home, and hold on to a home, and then encourage all young people to do the same.”

With over 6,000 AME churches across the U.S., faith leaders say the partnership is a real opportunity to boost wealth among Black Americans if everyone takes part.

Read more: http://atlantablackstar.com/2018/07/08/ame-churches-black-owned-banks-team-up-to-launch-new-partnership-for-longterm-black-wealth/