R.I.P. Dr. S. Allen Counter, 63, Noted Neurophysiologist, Ethnographer and Founding Director of Harvard Foundation of Intercultural and Race Relations 

S. Allen Counter (photo via news.harvard.edu)

by Rachael Dane via news.harvard.edu

S. Allen Counter, the founding director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations and a noted neurophysiologist, educator, and ethnographer, died on July 12.  According to wikipedia.com, Counter was also known for his achievements as an explorer. In 1971, he located a group of people living in the rain forest in northern Brazil, Surinam and French Guiana; the group was descended from African slaves who had escaped from slave ships. In 1986, Counter located descendants of earlier U.S. explorers of the arctic, Matthew A. Henson and Robert E. Peary. Counter was elected to The Explorers Club in 1989. Counter also designed Arthur Ashe‘s memorial at Woodland Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, dedicated on what would have been Ashe’s 50th birthday on July 10, 1993.

“Harvard has lost a great champion of inclusion and belonging in Dr. Allen Counter,” said President Drew Faust. “Through his leadership of the Harvard Foundation, he advanced understanding among members of our community and challenged all of us to imagine and strive for a more welcoming University and a more peaceful world. We remember today a campus citizen whose deep love of Harvard, and especially our undergraduates, leaves a lasting legacy.”

“During my years as president of Harvard, no one did more than Allen to make minority students feel welcome and at home at Harvard, to promote fruitful interaction among all races, and to serve as understanding adults to whom many undergraduates could turn in order to register their concerns, answer their questions, and have their legitimate problems communicated to the Harvard administration so that they could be understood and acted upon in appropriate ways,” recalled Derek Bok, who led the University from 1971–91 and from 2006–07. “Much of what he accomplished was unrecognized, but his contributions were invaluable, and I will always feel a great debt of gratitude for his service to the University.”

Counter did his undergraduate work in biology and sensory physiology at Tennessee State University and his graduate studies in electrophysiology at Case Western Reserve University, where he earned his Ph.D. He earned his M.D. at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He came to Harvard in 1970 as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant neurophysiologist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Early in his University career, Counter lived in a student residence hall as dormitory director, resident tutor, and biological sciences tutor.

In the early 1970s, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services) named him to the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1975, several proposals came before the council requesting funding for projects involving psychosurgery and electrode implants in human brains. At that time, the government’s rules protecting human subjects were still evolving, and Counter believed the projects were inherently racist. He insisted the council not approve them, and they were not acted upon.

In the same decade, Counter taught inmates at MCI Concord with the Massachusetts Correctional Concord Achievement Rehabilitation Volunteer Experience, where he said he gave inmates the same advice his grandmother had given him: “Read a book. Develop your mind.” A later study showed that participants in the program had a lower recidivism rate than prisoners who did not take part. After a sabbatical fellowship at UCLA with neuroscientist Alan D. Grinnell in the late 1970s, Counter returned to Cambridge, where his research at Harvard Medical School focused on clinical and basic studies on nerve and muscle physiology, auditory physiology, and neurophysiological diagnosis of brain-injured children and adults. Continue reading

Trayvon Martin Awarded Posthumous Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation from Florida Memorial University

Trayvon Martin (photo via vibe.com)

by Latifah Muhammad via vibe.com

Trayvon Martin’s parents were the recipients of a major honor on behalf of their late son. Florida Memorial University awarded the slain teen with a posthumous Bachelor’s Degree during the school’s annual commencement ceremony last Saturday (May 13).

“To say that we’re thankful is an understatement,” said Martin’s father, Tracy. “I think this shows what this community, how they feel, how they believe in our family, believe in our foundation, how we’ve worked together, it was a heartfelt moment when they called Trayvon’s name to accept the degree for him, it was very touching. This was a day that we planned for as parents, we just wish that we would have watched him walk across the stage.”

Martin received a Bachelor of Science in Aviation, with a concentration in flight education, honoring his dream of becoming a pilot. Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, graduated from FMU two years after he was born. “In 1997 I graduated from FMU with a Bachelors degree in English with a minor in Mass Communications,” she wrote on Instagram earlier int he month. “It’s now 20 years later & now my son #TrayvonMartin will receive his Bachelors in Aviation, something he loved.”

To read more, go to: Trayvon Martin Awarded Posthumous Bachelor’s Degree

Alex Hibbert and Jacob Piner, Youth Stars of Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” to Receive Keys to City of Miami Gardens

Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner of “Moonlight” (photo via thegrio.com)

article by Kimberly Wilson via thegrio.com

The boys of “Moonlight” will be getting their moment.

Both 13-year-old Alex Hibbert and 12-year-old Jaden Piner, are slated to receive keys to the city of Miami Gardens, FL at this year’s Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival. The two students from Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens had starring roles in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” with Alex playing young Chiron and Jaden playing Kevin, Chiron’s best friend.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for us to acknowledge what they’ve done at a young age, and tell them how proud we are of them,” shares Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III. “Because so often when you hear about young black kids, people don’t want to tell you the stories of these kids and areas that they excel in,” continues Mayor Gilbert. “We aren’t talking about them most times. Most times we’re talking about young black boys in a negative context, so anytime we get an opportunity to tell them how extraordinary they are, we will do it. And ‘Jazz In The Gardens’ is the biggest stage that we can offer in the city.”

The key ceremony will be just one highlight of the highly-anticipated weekend. As the staple event each year in the city of Miami Gardens, Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival is back for its 12th year, and is quickly growing beyond its borders. Hosted again by veteran comedian Rickey Smiley, the city can expect more than 70,000 music lovers from all over the United States and Caribbean Islands.

The festival will take place this upcoming weekend, March 17-19 at Hard Rock Stadium, featuring performances by Jill Scott, Esperanza Spalding, Common, and LLCoolJ.

To read more, go to: Young stars of Oscar-winning “Moonlight” to receive keys to the city of Miami Gardens | theGrio

Black Television News Channel to Launch in Top 25 African American TV Markets Via Charter Communications

black television news channel, charter communications

BTNC Founder J.C. Watts, Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Billie1225 via eurweb.com

Black Television News Channel (BTNC), the nation’s only African American news network, is announcing a multi-year carriage agreement with Charter Communications, a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States.

Under the agreement, Charter Communications will launch BTNC to Spectrum TV subscribers in 14 of the top 25 African American TV markets.  These markets include New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, Tampa, Orlando, Cleveland, Charlotte, Birmingham, Norfolk, Raleigh-Durham, and New Orleans. BTNC now has carriage agreements with three of the four major subscription television providers.

Black Television News Channel

BTNC’s network operations center will be located on Florida A&M University’s campus in Tallahassee, Florida. The network operation center will be the first 4K ultra HD newsgathering and production infrastructure of its kind and will include a multimillion-dollar media training center for aspiring young black journalists.

BTNC’s news programming will employ a multi-platform approach that uses traditional linear cable and satellite service for television viewing while also introducing enhanced television services, social media applications, and e-commerce features.  BTNC is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in its host city.

BTNC is the endeavor of J.C. Watts, Jr., former congressman from Oklahoma and broadcast and cable news veteran. BTNC’s programming mission is to provide intelligent programming that will inform, educate, inspire, and empower its African American audience.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/02/black-television-news-channel-announces-agreement-with-charter-communications/

Former WNBA Player Tamara James Elected Mayor of Florida Hometown

tamara-james-mayor-florida

Dania Beach, Florida’s new mayor, Tamara James (CREDIT: Facebook)

article by Camille Augustin via vibe.com

After a fruitful career on the hardwood, former Washington Mystics player, Tamara James, plans to take her talents back to her hometown.

The 32-year-old activist was recently named mayor of her old stomping grounds, Dania Beach, Fla., Broward County’s “oldest community” the Miami Herald reports.

In a statement issued to the SunSentinel, James thanked her supporters for furthering her dreams of enacting change in her community. “I plan on being a voice for our residents, promoting smart economic growth and unifying us as a city… I’m looking forward to winning championships for the oldest city in Broward County.”

To read more, go to: http://www.vibe.com/2016/11/tamara-james-wnba-mayor-florida/

Chris Bentley and Carlos Miller Start LiveFRESH Mobile Shower Facility for Homeless in FL

Carlos Miller and Chris Bentley, founders of Live FRESH Palm Beach County. (photo via palmbeachpost.com)

Carlos Miller and Chris Bentley, founders of Live FRESH Palm Beach County. (photo via palmbeachpost.com)

article by Angela Bronner Helm via theroot.com

Chris Bentley and Carlos Miller, two African-American men who have been friends since middle school, have started an innovative way to help the homeless of Palm Beach County, Fla. The two started a nonprofit—Live FRESH (Feeling Revitalized Encourages Sustainable Happiness)—and have launched a mobile shower facility, an air conditioned trailer equipped with six private shower/changing area rooms, to assist the area’s transient population.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the two chose showers specifically: “For us, that’s where dignity and self-respect starts … with the ability to stay clean and be presentable,” says Bentley. “Cleanliness is a fundamental need. We actually see it as basic human right and because the homeless population can be hard to reach, we knew we would have to come to them and make ourselves available in areas they could easily reach.”

Miller writes on the website: “To see a human being, living in the United States of all countries, walk inside a store with apprehension over being shunned or offensive to the atmosphere due to their odor or disheveled state grabbed at the core of my heart.”About 250 people have participated since the program began March 31, reports the Post.

Each participant gets a packet with personal hygiene essentials including deodorant, towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. The organization was able to launch its fund with a $100,000 grant from Impact the Palm Beaches and smaller donations from other organizations.

To read full article and see video, go to: Longtime Friends Start Mobile Shower Facility for the Homeless in Fla.

Thirty NFL Players Complete an Executive MBA Program at the University of Miami 

The first cohort of graduates have received their degrees from the Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program at the University of Miami in Florida.  Some 30 current or former players in the National Football League, most of them African Americans, were among the program’s first graduating class.

Source: Thirty NFL Players Complete an Executive MBA Program at the University of Miami : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education