The University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL has introduced the Holmes Scholarship program with the aim to increase the number of teachers from underrepresented groups.
Nine students have accepted full tuition scholarships. In return they agree to teach in schools in northeast Florida once they graduate.
Jarred Jackson, one of the nine students who received a Holmes Scholarship stated that “it’s exciting to me that I can give back to my community as a positive role model. Knowing that I can go in the school system and affect a child’s life is very exciting.”
The University of North Florida enrolls just over 14,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,000 graduate students, according to the latest data supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 9 percent of the undergraduate student body.
Taylor Richardson, a 14-year-old aspiring astronaut from Jacksonville, Fla., exceeded her goal of raising money to send 1,000 girls to see the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time. As of press time, her GoFundMe page for the goal has raised $17,455 of her $15,000 goal.
“This campaign is so very important to me because it will give me the opportunity to change not only girls perception of STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] and space exploration but boys as well,” explains Richardson in her original post about her goal.
A Wrinkle In Time stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon, and is directed byAva DuVernay. The story tells the tale of a young girl, her friend and her brother, who are transported through time and space to a new world to rescue the girl’s father, a scientist who is being held prisoner on another planet.
Richardson was recently named a member of Teen Vogue’s Class of 2017 21 under 21 for girls who are changing the world. The self-proclaimed “STEMinist” recently attended the publication’s first ever Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles, and also spoke on the panel of TEDxFSCJ [Florida State College at Jacksonville] Salon: Rediscovering Space. Last year, Richardson raised money to have 1,000 girls see the science film, Hidden Figures.
“This campaign [“Send 1,000 Girls To Wrinkle In Time”] means a lot to me because it shows a female protagonist in a science fiction film,” she wrote in her most recent update. “Girls will know that the possibility of going into space, exploring other planets, being rocket scientists, engineers, mathematicians and astronauts for them is not that it is limited but limitless!”
Seven-year-old Natalie McGriff earned $16,423.69 in prize money for creating her comic book “The Adventures of Moxie Girl” at Jacksonville, FL’s One Spark, touted as the world’s largest crowdfunding festival.
McGriff’s comic book revolves around the life of a little Black girl who hated her hair texture. After using some magical shampoo, the little girl’s afro-puffs are activated with super powers that helped save the Jacksonville Public Libraries from being eaten by monsters.
McGriff’s mother, Angie Nixon, helped her daughter write her comic book “because she was having self-esteem issues regarding her hair and she hated to read.”
“She now realizes how powerful and awesome her hair is and that in order for her to write a cool book, she needs to read more books and learn different words,” she continued.
Over 530 projects competed for One Spark 2015, and 300,000 people attended the festival. McGriff was the winner of the Education category; there were 117,169 votes cast by attendees. One Spark is a five-day festival and one-day Speaker Summit. Creators from six categories (Art, Education, Health & Science, Music, Social Good and Technology) explain their projects to a crowd of over 250,000 people and are able to experience the crowdfunding for their project in person. The attendees contribute to crowdfunding campaigns and vote to distribute $150,000 of the guaranteed $350,000 in awards.
Red Bryant is giving back in the best way possible… a meaningful one. The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end is speaking to students not about his battles on the football field, but about his personal battle with dyslexia (a medical condition that causes difficulty in language processing and reading), inspiring and empowering students with learning disabilities along the way.
Diagnosed by the third grade, Red had to overcome his own frustrations and challenges as a student to make it to college and eventually the NFL. Fortunately for Red he had a mentor in his high school teacher, Sue Brooks. Sue played a pivotal role in Red’s life and was one of the first people that helped him realize just because he learned differently didn’t mean he was not intelligent. It’s a powerful message that children and adults with learning disabilities need to hear. He shared this message when he visited students at R.L.Brown ElementarySchool’s GRASP Choice Academy, a program in the Duval County school system that focuses on children with learning disabilities. Red spoke about his personal challenges with dyslexia.
“I just wanted to let these kids know that it’s okay to learn differently and that just because you’re a different learner than everyone else, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart,” Bryant said.
He feels that this program in the Duval County school system is giving children the necessary tools to be successful in the classroom.
Bryant’s own connection to the education system runs deep. Sue Brooks had an incredible impact on his life and now he is giving back. The story is a fascinating one. When one person takes the time and energy to lift, push, encourage and nurture a child the effects can be life altering and astounding. Sue and Red had a bond that led her to help him not only during the recruitment process, but with getting to college and the ACT test. Sue figured out a way to verbally administer the test by getting the clearance to read it to him after several traditional tests had negative results that weren’t indicative of Red’s academic prowess. She was an integral part of Red’s success and always encouraging education and inspiring him to pay it forward.
Bryant plans on making frequent stops by the classrooms to monitor the children’s progression throughout the school year.
To watch the engaging Red Bryant speaking to students, click here:
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In an effort to combat police brutality in the Black community, the National Bar Association (NBA) recently announced plans to file open records requests in 25 cities to study allegations of police misconduct.
Pamela Meanes, president of the Black lawyers and judges group, said the NBA had already been making plans for a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White police officer following a controversial midday confrontation in a Ferguson, Mo.
Meanes called police brutality the new civil rights issue of this era, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Black community.
“If we don’t see this issue and if we don’t at the National Bar Association do the legal things that are necessary to bring this issue to the forefront, then we are not carrying out our mission, which is to protect the civil and political entities of all,” said Meanes.
The NBA, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges,” selected the 25 cities based on their African-American populations and reported incidents of police brutality.
The lawyers group will file open records requests in Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore, Md.; Detroit; Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia; Dallas; Houston; San Antonio, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis.
In a press release about the open records requests, the group said it will not only seek information about “the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody, but also comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees,” as well as background information on officers involved in the incidents.
Not only will the NBA present their findings to the public, but the group also plans to compile its research and forward the data over to the attorney general’s office.
Meanes said the group’s ultimate goal is to have a conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder and to ask, and in some cases, demand he seize police departments or take over or run concurrent investigations.
Meanes said federal law prohibits the Justice Department from going into a police department unless a pattern or history of abuse has been identified.
“The problem is that the information needed for that action is not readily available in a comprehensive way on a consistent basis with the goal of eradicating that abuse,” said Meanes, adding that the open records request is the best way to get that information.
Meanes said that the NBA was concerned that the trust had already brrn broken between the police force and the residents of Ferguson and that the rebellion and the protests would continue.
“We don’t think St. Louis County should investigate this. We don’t think the prosecutor should investigate this. There should be an independent third-party investigating this and that is the federal government,” said Meanes.
Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, a civil rights group established by young people of color in the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Fla., said law enforcement officials taunted, antagonized and disrespected peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Ferguson and at times incited the violence they attempted to stamp out in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“An occupying force came into the community, they killed someone from the community, and instead of being transparent and doing everything they could do to make sure the community felt whole again, they brought in more police to suppress folks who were exercising their constitutional rights,” said Agnew.“If your protocol results in greater violence, greater anger, and greater disenchantment of the people, you have to chart a different course.”
On the heels of the NBA announcement, Attorney General Holder launched two initiatives designed to calm anxiety and frustration expressed by Ferguson’s Black residents towards the local police department over allegations of misconduct, harassment and discrimination.
The Justice Department also introduced a “Collaborative Reform Initiative” to tackle similar concerns with the St. Louis County Police Department and to improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.
A jury has found Michael Dunn, the Florida man accused of shooting unarmed teenager Jordan Davis to death during a dispute over loud music, guilty of four charges, but the jury was unable to reach a decision on the top count, first-degree murder. Dunn, who is white, fired 10 shots into an SUV, killing Davis, 17, who was black. The shooting in a convenience store parking lot in Jacksonville erupted after Dunn asked the teenagers in the vehicle to turn down their music.
Dunn was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of firing into a vehicle in the Nov. 23, 2012, shooting. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the first-degree murder charge, but convicted on the other four. Dunn contended he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors suggested that Dunn, 47, was angry because he was being disrespected by a young black man.
Dunn was remanded to the custody of authorities. Sentencing, which could total as much as 75 years in prison, was set for around March 24. The sequestered jury began its deliberations Wednesday, a week after opening statements began. That Dunn had fired into the SUV and killed Davis was never in question. What the jury had to determine was whether Dunn had acted in self-defense.
A major coup has been won by the students at the controversial Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla. After 54 years of ignoring the wishes of protestors who argued that the school should not be named after an American Civil War Confederate lieutenant-general and later served as a Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, the educational facility will now finally be receiving a new moniker, reportsWPTV.
The Duval County School Board voted on Monday, 7-0 that the high school, which has a predominantly Black student body, will choose between the names of “Westside” and “Firestone” in January. When the high school opened its doors back in 1959 during the middle of the Civil Rights era, district school officials at the time chose to name it after Nathan B. Forrest (pictured), who had also been a slave trader. Under the Confederate lieutenant general’s orders, his troops massacred Black union soldiers at a Tennessee fort. Forrest then went on to serve as the first Grand Wizard of the KKK in 1867.
Under his leadership, he and his dragoons launched a campaign of midnight attacks, which included whipping and killing Black voters and White Republicans to scare them from voting and running for office.
The high school name change was actually spearheaded this go-round by Ty Richmond, a parent who set up a Change.org petition that garnered 162,150 signatures. Many attempts had been made previously to get board members to change the high school’s name but to no avail.
As killer Michael Dunn, 45, prepares to face 1st-degree murder charges in September for the November 23, 2012 slaying of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, in an exclusive interview with Jet Magazine, the teen’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, share the difficulties in keeping their son’s story alive and how they’ve bonded with Trayvon Martin‘s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.
As previously reported byNewsOne, Davis was gunned down by Dunn at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. As previously reported by NewsOne, Dunn claims that he felt threatened by the teen — who was sitting inside of an SUV with friends — and loud music coming from the vehicle, so he shot inside of it 8 or 9 times before driving away leaving Davis to die in a friend’s arms.
None of the teens had weapons.
The fact that Dunn was carrying a legal concealed weapon, and is counting on Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to justify his actions, has drawn attention to the racial implications of the law in a state where Black manhood is consistently criminalized.
Whitney Paul, who was a first-time voter, looked over a handout with suggestions as she waited with college friends for early voting to start in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. (Brian Blanco for The New York Times)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Rev. Eugene W. Diamond of the Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church here rarely pays attention to the clock when the spirit moves him to preach, but mid-sermon on Sunday, he said something unusual to his flock of hundreds: “Timing is critical, so let me hustle.” He had already scaled back the minutes devoted to worship. Congregants had been instructed to forget wearing their Sunday best in favor of comfortable shoes because they all had work to do: moving thousands of “souls to the polls.” And they had only one Sunday to do it. Mr. Diamond stressed the urgency in a tambourine-shaking, trumpet-blaring finale to his prayers: “Bless us as we make our voices heard!” he shouted above the music. “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!”
Across Florida, black churches have responded with ferocity to changes that Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the Legislature made to eliminate six days of early voting this year — including the Sunday before Election Day, which had been the traditional day to mobilize black congregations. In 2008, black voters cast early ballots at twice the rate of white voters, and turned out in significant strength on the Sunday before Election Day to help propel Mr. Obama to victory here.
Now, with Florida’s 29 electoral votes up for grabs in a close race, Obama supporters are counting on a newly energized black base to put them over the edge despite the tighter window for early voting. A victory here for the president would defy recent polling and make his path back to the White House much easier.