Stacey Abrams made American history on Tuesday (May 22) when she won the Democratic primary for governor in Georgia, making her the first black female gubernatorial candidate nominated by a major party.
If she pulls off a victory in November against the Republican nominee, who will be decided in a runoff in July, the former state House minority leader will have a number of firsts to her name: the first female governor in Georgia, the first black governor of the state, and the first black woman elected governor in the US.
(Though she was not elected,Barbara Jordan in 1972 briefly served as the first female and first black governor of Texas when governor Preston Smith and lieutenant governor Ben Barnes were both out of the state on the same day.)
Abrams, of course, still faces an uphill battle in the deep South, which hasn’t elected an African-American governor since reconstruction. As the New York Times points out, she’ll need strong turnout from black voters to stand a chance in November. In Georgia, non-Hispanic white voters comprise 53% of the population and have traditionally voted in strong numbers.
“Tonight’s victory was only the beginning,” said Abrams in a Facebook post. “The road to November will be long and tough, but the next step is one we take together.”
Mercer University seniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley capped off their collegiate careers as the most decorated debaters in the University’s history on March 26 by winning the 22nd annual National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship Tournament at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
NPDA is the largest debate organization in the United States, with as many as 250 schools and colleges competing each year. At nationals, Bligen and Buckley defeated more than 45 competing institutions from traditional debate powerhouses such as Notre Dame, Rice and the University of California, Berkeley.
Together, they became the first African-American team to ever win NPDA nationals, nearly three years to the day that Buckley became the first freshman and first African-American to be named top speaker at the tournament.
“Using their own unique brand of debate, Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen became the first African-American team to win the NPDA National Championship Tournament. Additionally, Buckley, joining only a handful of women to reach the final round, became the first African-American woman to win this national title,” said Dr. Jeannie Hunt, president of NPDA and assistant professor of communication at Northwest College.
“This is a significant achievement for me, as a woman of color, but also provides much-needed representation for other women in this activity. While both students clearly have strong argumentation skills and implement successful strategies, their ability to frame the debate with a focus on social justice allows them to use their voice for something beyond winning tournaments. I look forward to seeing great things from this team as they move through life,” Dr. Hunt said.
“This is a national victory. This year, Mercer beat Emory, we beat Georgia Tech, we defeated UC Berkeley, we beat Rice and Notre Dame and Stanford, and defeated or outranked hundreds of different colleges and universities across the entire nation. In national parliamentary debate, only one school can be the best in the entire nation – that school is Mercer University,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, assistant professor of communication studies and director of debate at Mercer.
“This victory is not only national, it is also historic. In the entire history of the NPDA, among the thousands of debaters who have competed, not a single all African-American team has ever won nationals. This is a ‘first’ in the history of debate, and it is a ‘first’ that will forever belong to Mercer University.”
Individually, Bligen, a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major from Peachtree City, was named fourth-place speaker, and Buckley, a political science and women’s and gender studies major from Columbus, was named fifth-place speaker.
Over 100,000 cans of water will soon be arriving in Texas for victims of Hurricane Harvey. The much-needed water is being donated by Anheuser-Busch, which periodically halts beer production at its Cartersville, Georgia factory to produce canned drinking water for emergencies, according to the company. The water should arrive in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday.
About 50,000 cans have already arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in anticipation of the heavy rainfall the area may receive as the tropical storm moves east. In the Houston area, the storm has already dropped more than 2 feet of rain and caused widespread and life-threatening flooding. The donation is being made in response to the American Red Cross’ call for emergency drinking water.
Anheuser-Busch Vice President of Community Affairs Bill Bradley said the decision to halt beer production at the Georgia brewery allows them to help communities in times of crisis. The company has been able to help during other emergencies, such as Hurricane Matthew, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and wildfires in the west.
Just like her friends, 13-year-old Kimora Hudson will be purchasing school supplies to prepare for the upcoming school year. However, it won’t be high school that she is looking forward to attending. Instead, Kimora will be the youngest student enrolled for the fall 2017 semester at the University of West Georgia.
At a young age, Kimora’s family knew how advanced she was going to be.“When she was a baby, this was always the vision,” Fawn Hudson, Kimora’s mother, explained. “Even when she was a few months old her doctor was saying she is a little advanced.”When Kimora was four, her mother began a mentor program based on human growth and development that encouraged her to think outside the box and beyond academics.
This program encourages young people to go out and follow their dreams and not wait. In 4th grade, Kimora became aware of students graduating from college before getting their high school diplomas, and she set a personal goal to become one of those people.“All throughout my life my mom was always making sure I was prepared for everything,” Kimora explained. “My parents know what I need, and they always strive for me to do my best.”
The UWG dual enrollment program is offered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. However, Kimora was lucky and was able to apply for the program whenever 9th grade students were being accepted. “It was ironic that the year she was going into 9th grade the laws changed to allow the advanced 9th graders a chance, so I said this is it,” Fawn explained. “As soon as she applied and got accepted they took away the 9th grade component. So when that happened, I knew this was meant to be.” Continue reading “13-Year-Old Kimora Hudson to be Youngest Freshman at University of West Georgia for Fall 2017”→
He created one of the most popular toys on the planet — but the inventor of the “Super Soaker” isn’t done making a splash. Lonnie Johnson is now focusing on new battery technology, but his most rewarding pursuit may be sharing his knowledge with a new generation of engineers.
The mild-mannered Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement. “There was a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress,” he remembered. “When I was a child the ‘White-only’ bathrooms were still very prevalent.” He turned that fear into motivation — and a career as a NASA rocket scientist.
But his “a-ha” moment came unexpectedly while he was designing a water pump. He had built testing the pump out in a bathroom when he noticed something.”I thought to myself, ‘Geez, this would make a neat water gun!'” he said. “At that point I decided to put my engineering hat on and design a high performance water gun.” That idea would change his life.
He built the first prototype for what became “The Super Soaker.” The toy, which first went on sale in the early 1990’s, eventually topped $1 billion in sales. Johnson also went on to come up with the NERF gun and other toys. “It’s interesting that the Super Soaker gets so much attention,” he said. “I really like to think of myself as a serious engineer!”
Now, he’s getting serious about giving back. His nonprofit helps fund high school robotics teams. One of them — the DISCbots from the DeKalb International Student Center — is made up of refugees from nine countries. Kalombo Mukuca fled the Central African Republic a year ago. “Even babies — they kill them,” he said. “So we don’t want to get killed.” Emanuel Tezera came to the United States from Ethiopia. “I want to fix something in this world,” he said.
Incredibly, in just its second year, the DISCbots qualified for the world-wide robotics competition in Texas. For Johnson, this idea may be his most rewarding. “If I can have a positive impact,” he said, “clearly it’s something I want to do.”
Gregory H. Robinson, the University of Georgia Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia, has been named a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Founded more than 175 years ago, the Royal Society of Chemistry is the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.
The Royal Society of Chemistry partners with industry and academia, promotes collaboration and innovation, advises governments on policy and promotes the talent, information and ideas that lead to great advances in science.
Professor Robinson’s research focuses on the synthesis, structure, and stabilization of compounds containing multiple bonds between heavier main group elements. “To be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry is a tremendous honor, and to now be associated with some of the world’s most notable chemists is equally humbling,” Professor Robinson said. “This international honor is a testament to the gifted students and creative colleagues that have been a part of our research team over the years.”
Professor Robinson is a graduate of Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.
Sarah Randolph Bailey, born 1885 in to freed slaves, was a longtime educator and missionary who saw the value in troubled young girls and volunteered her time to provide guidance.
After earning her teaching degree and working at a rehabilitation and detention center for girls in Macon, Georgia, Bailey had the vision to organize young women for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Girl Reserves group.
In 1935, Bailey gathered informal groups of Black girls and started giving them the opportunity to learn life skills and lessons, much like their white counterparts in the Girl Scouts. After organizing some 15 Girl Reserve troops in Georgia, Girl Scouts, U.S.A. took notice and invited Bailey to organize the first Black Girl Scouts troop in Macon. (The Girl Scouts started integrating troops in 1913 and the first African-American troop formed in 1917.) Bailey’s group was formally introduced as official Scouts in 1948.
“I shall be rewarded on Earth according to the way I’ve lived. To me, a healthy body, sound mind, and equal opportunities mean more than wealth; and happiness and success are the products of our gifts to the world and of our fairness and sincerity to ourselves and others.” — Sarah Randolph Bailey
Bailey was also named the chairwoman for the Macon Girl Scout’s Central Committee and earned the “Thanks” badge, the Scouts’ highest honor given to an adult. In 1961, a permanent campsite was named in her honor. She also worked as a district and council leader before passing in 1972. In 1994, The Macon Girl Scouts Center was renamed the Sarah Bailey Service Center. She was also the subject of a dedicated exhibit at Macon’s Tubman Museumin 2014.
A video about Bailey’s life and service to helping shape and empower young women can be seen here.
Georgia congressman John Lewis is finally getting what many believe to be the TV treatment he deserves. The civil rights icon is the focus of a forthcoming new documentary set to air on PBS.
“Get In The Way: The Journey of John Lewis” aims to tell the story of the civil rights pioneer, who led a 26-hour sit-in for gun control, marched with Dr. King, challenged political houses and continues to fight for human rights, per Jetmag.com.
According to the film’s website, it offers a “highly personalized narrative of an epic chapter in U.S. history.” The biographical documentary will air on PBS as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.
“He is the moving, roaring protector of the rights afforded to every person in this nation. Get in the Way arrives at the perfect time,” actress and activist Alfre Woodard is quoted as saying in the documentary highlights.
Reuben Nsemoh was unable to speak Spanish until he woke up from his coma. Nsemoh, who attends Brookwood High School in Georgia and has 3.6 GPA, is the goalkeeper for his soccer team. During a game last month, the 16-year-old athlete was kicked in the head by a player when diving for the ball, which resulted in a coma for three weeks.
The teen jock, who was never able to speak Spanish before the accident, gives credit to his friends who always spoke the language around him. “My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said.
Nsemoh said he hopes to return to soccer as soon as he is fully recovered. His coach refuses to put him back on the field unless he wears a helmet. Recovering at home he expressed how hard life is for him since the accident. “Sometimes I feel like I’m not here, but I am,” Nsemoh told WSB Radio.
The incident has been extremely hard on Nsemoh’s family as well, due to an extensive medical bill of $200,000. Hopefully, their GoFundMe will aid in some of the medical costs.
Four Georgia teens are receiving a virtual standing ovation from the Internet after Zsa Zsa Heard praised their tenacity on Facebook. The LaGrange Housing Authority CEO uploaded a photo of the young men after they walked into her office and asked for a job to avoid gangs.
Heard spoke with Fox 32 and recounted the entire story. After they walked into her office asking for a job Heard asked why they wanted to work for her. “We do not want to be in a gang!” they said. She then inquired if they had been approached by a gang and the teens replied with a resounding yes.
Determined not to allow these young men to fall peril to gang life, Heard hired them on the spot. Since Wednesday (July 27) the young men have been keeping busy by passing out mail, working in the community garden and helping out in the kitchen.