Tag: Inc.

Last of Philadelphia’s Black-Owned Bookstores Work to Make a Comeback

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Yvonne Blake took over Hakim’s Bookstore from her father Dawud Hakim after he passed away. It is thought to be the oldest surviving black-owned bookstore in the country. (Photo credit: GENEVA HEFFERNAN via philly.com)

by Valerie Russ @ValerieRussDN via philly.com

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.

Yvonne Blake holds a photo of her father, Dawud Hakim, in front of the store in the 1970s. (Photo credit:  GENEVA HEFFERNAN via philly.com)

Troy D. Johnson, president and founder of African American Literature Book Club, said only Marcus Books in Oakland, Calif., founded in 1960, has been around as long as Hakim’s.

Johnson also said he was pleased to learn that Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill just opened Uncle 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.”

The first big boom was during the height of the Black Power movement, from the late 1960s until the mid-’70s.  “Then came a big decline, but another upswing in black bookstores was when Afrocentrism and Malcolm X and black nationalism boom again in the late 1980s and early ’90s,” Davis wrote in an email.
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Jack and Jill of America’s Youth Turn Loose Change into $35,000 Donation to Support Barack Obama Presidential Library 

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Jack and Jill of America Youth Prior To Presenting $35,000 Donation to the Obama Foundation (Photo courtesy of Jack and Jill of America)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

 Jack and Jill of America, Inc.’s youngest members collected pennies, nickels and dimes as part of their Loose Change Program that resulted in a $35,000 donation to the Obama Foundation, in support of Chicago’s Barack Obama Presidential Library. Mothers and families of Jack and Jill of America in Chicago came together to present the foundation with the donation in a private celebration.

“The Mid Western Region was incredibly honored to present this donation that not only honors the first African-American US President, Barack Obama, but makes an impact in a community that needs positive reinforcements and contributions,” says Mid-Western Regional Director Nadine Gibson. “As advocates for childhood literacy, Jack and Jill understands the important role public libraries play in communities.”

The Loose Change program was initiated as a giving opportunity for our youth ages two through 12, to make a significant impact in underserved communities.  The Mid-Western Region received the donation collected in 2015 and selected the Barack Foundation as the recipient of choice. 

“We are excited about this giving opportunity.  Now, each time we visit the Library we will know that Jack and Jill helped to make a positive contribution to its development and commitment to the community,” says Mid-Western Regional Teen President, Kellen Love.

For more information on how you can make a donation, or to find out more about Jack and Jill of America and its chapters, visit jackandjillinc.org.

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Teen Siblings Ima, Caleb, Asha and Joshua Christian Create App to Document Police Interactions

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Five-O App Inventors Caleb, Ima, Joshua, and Asha Christian (Pine Tart)

Like everyone else in America, Ima Christian has been nervously watching the news unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. The 16-year-old resident of Stone Mountain, Georgia, says that she and her siblings have been in constant conversation with their parents about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (who died last month in Staten Island) at the hands of police.

“Our parents try to put everything in context for us,” Christian says. “They try to tell us to focus on solutions.”

So they decided to build their own answer to police abuse. On Monday, Ima Christian (pictured, second from left) and her siblings—principally Caleb, 14, and Asha, 15, with the support of Joshua, 10—are launching a beta version of Five-O, an app that will enable users to rate their interactions with police and view aggregate scores for how law-enforcement agencies fare.

“As soon as we decided that we wanted to make an app, we threw the idea on the white board,” she says.

Ima Christian and her siblings decided to build their own answer to police abuse.

Here’s how Five-O works: Users log in to a dashboard, where they have several options. A Five-O user can create a detailed incident report and rate the professionalism and courtesy of the officer, using an A-F scale. Or they can view police stations by county or state to see how various departments rate. (Those A-F officer interaction scores are averaged out on a 4.0 scale—like a GPA for the fuzz.)
The app also allows people to post messages to a community board. There’s another function called “Know Your Rights,” a Q&A-formatted feature, “so you have your rights at your fingertips at any moment,” Christian says. The family drew the information from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Christian, a senior at Parkview High School, credits her brother Caleb for the idea to create an app for rating police interactions. They decided early on in the project planning stages that Five-O would focus on the good as well as the bad.

“I haven’t really heard of issues happening in Stone Mountain of the scale of what’s in the news,” she says. “I do have relatives who have had negative interactions with police.” She says that friends of the family include police officers, who offer a friendlier model for police interactions. “This is an app to offer up positive experiences. They can be an example.”

This is the Christian family’s first app release, but it’s unlikely to be their last. Ima and her siblings are aggressive students of programming, especially for a mobile environment. She and her siblings Asha and Caleb have participated in programs such as MIT’s +K12Scratch, and App Inventor programs. Ima and Asha Christian are both executive team members in the ProjectCSGirls computer science competition. And they were both 2014 #Include Fellows in the She++ program. Ima is a Codecademy alum as well, and has done coding programs through Stanford.Stanford, incidentally, is Ima’s reach school—she’s also got her sights set onWashington University in St. Louis, Brown, and Columbia—and the graduating senior has also done work at her top in-state choice, the Georgia Institute of Technology. (Ima’s siblings could not be reached for comment, as they were not yet home from school.)

Following Monday’s beta launch for Five-O, the Christian siblings are continuing work on two more projects: Coily, a review app for hair-care products for black girls and women, and Froshly, an app to facilitate meetings for in-bound college pre-freshmen, “so they can greet each other before they meet each other in school.” The Christian siblings started a company, Pine Tart, Inc., to advance their work.

“We don’t have any institutional support right now,” Ima Christian says. “It’s just us. We’re our own team.”

article by Kriston Capps via citylab.com

Cornell William Brooks Named New NAACP President And CEO

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Roslyn Brock, right, chairman of the national board of directors for the NAACP, puts a NAACP pin on new national president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks on Saturday, May 17, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The selection of Brooks came as the United States marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The lawsuit was argued by the organization’s legal arm. (AP Photo/NAACP, J. Adams)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a Head Start and Yale Law School graduate, Cornell William Brooks calls himself a direct beneficiary of Brown v. Board Education.  Now the lawyer and activist is taking over as the next national president and CEO of the NAACP, whose legal arm brought that landmark legal case challenging segregation in public schools.

On the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that said separating black and white children was unconstitutional, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization announced Brooks’ selection.  The NAACP’s board made the final decision Friday night, and chair Roslyn Brock told The Associated Press about Brooks’ new position on Saturday morning.  Brooks will be formally presented to the Baltimore-based organization’s members at its national convention in Las Vegas in July.

“I am a beneficiary, an heir and a grandson, if you will, of Brown versus Board of Education,” Brooks told the AP.
“My life is the direct product, if you will, of the legacy of the blood, sweat and tears of the NAACP and so today I’m particularly mindful that the NAACP has made America what it is, and certainly made my life possible and we are all grateful heirs of that legacy.”

Brooks, 53, of Annandale, New Jersey, will become the NAACP’s 18th national president, replacing interim leader Lorraine Miller. Miller has served in that position since Benjamin Jealous ended his five-year tenure last year.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this powerful historic organization,” Brooks said in an interview. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and ending racial discrimination for all people, there is indeed much work to be done.”

Brooks, a minister, is originally from Georgetown, South Carolina. He currently is president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a Newark, New Jersey-based urban research and advocacy organization.  He graduated from Jackson State University, received a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and got his law degree from Yale.

Brooks has worked as a lawyer for the Federal Communication Commission and the Justice Department. He also ran for Congress as a Democrat in Virginia in 1998. He still owns a home in Woodbridge, Virginia.
“Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the association,” Brock said. “We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”

The organization had hired The Hollins Group Inc., of Chicago to lead its search for a new CEO, and Brooks was selected from more than 450 applications, Brock said. The organization held more than 30 interviews, she said.
Brooks said he would start talking to and listening to the NAACP’s membership to plan for the organization’s future.
He said he would present his vision for the NAACP at the organization’s convention after he’s held conversations with the members.

“As long as America continues to be a great, but imperfect nation, there will be a need for the NAACP,” Brooks said.
Jealous called Brooks’ selection “the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the NAACP.”

article via newsone.com

Born On This Day in 1925: Muslim Minister and Human Rights Activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka Malcolm X)

220px-Malcolm_X_NYWTS_2aBorn Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska and known mainly as Malcolm X,  El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz‎ was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist who rose to national prominence in the 1960s.  To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Malcolm X’s father died—killed by white supremacists, it was rumored—when he was young, and at least one of his uncles was lynched. When he was 13, his mother was placed in a mental hospital, and he was placed in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for breaking and entering.  In prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam; after his parole in 1952, he quickly rose to become one of its leaders. For a dozen years, Malcolm X was the public face of the controversial group, but disillusionment with Nation of Islam head Elijah Muhammad led him to leave the Nation in March 1964.  After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, he returned to the United States, where he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In February 1965, less than a year after leaving the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three members of the group.

Malcolm X’s expressed beliefs changed substantially over time. As a spokesman for the Nation of Islam he taught black supremacy and advocated separation of black and white Americans—in contrast to the civil rights movement’s emphasis on integration. After breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964—saying of his association with it, “I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then … pointed in a certain direction and told to march”—and becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism and expressed willingness to work with civil rights leaders, he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and self-defense.

article via wikipedia.org

12-year-old Chef Haile Thomas “Living her Dream” Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Haile Thomas, 12, cooks on TODAY with Al Roker.

Most kids can’t even spell “quinoa,” let alone cook it; but most kids aren’t 12-year-old Haile Thomas. The Tucson, Ariz., native blew TODAY away Tuesday morning with her absolutely delicious black bean and corn quinoa salad with garlic shrimp and avocado, a dish she recently cooked up for first lady Michelle Obama as part of the first Kids’ State Dinner.

“That was very exciting to have the first lady enjoy my food!” she told Al.  As a tween, Haile’s credentials are more impressive than most 30-year-olds, and she’s hobnobbed with the likes of Tom Colicchio, Alice Waters and even Bill Clinton. Cooking since the age of five by helping her mother in the kitchen, Haile’s interest was piqued by watching food documentaries.

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