Tag: New York City

Christina Lewis’ All Star Code Nonprofit Raises Over $1 Million to Expand STEM “Summer Intensive” Program for Boys of Color

by Selena Hill via blackenterprise.com

All Star Code (ASC) will carry out its mission to educate, prepare, and place young men of color in the tech industry through its fifth annual “Summer Intensive” STEM summer program. The nonprofit announced Tuesday that it raised over $1 million for the growth and development of the program. ASC also received a record number of applicants—nearly 1,000 for just 160 spots. According to Christina Lewis, who founded ASC in 2013, the organization is on track to educate a total of 10,000 young black and Latino men in tech and entrepreneurship by 2022.

“All Star Code’s impact continues to spread as we establish a pipeline of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs who are ready to enter the tech industry,” said Lewis in a statement. “Tech is one of the most influential and lucrative industries, so it’s vital that Black and Latino young men are better represented in this space to capture its economic opportunity.”

BOYS WILL LEARN WEB DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN STEM SUMMER PROGRAM 

ASC’s flagship “Summer Intensive” program is a free six-week course that teaches students web development skills and about entrepreneurship. It also empowers students with soft skills and a network of like-minded peers. It will take place in New York City and Pittsburgh.

The effectiveness of All Star Code’s curriculum is amplified by corporate partners like AT&T, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan Chase, MLB, and Medidata, as well as the academic institutions Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, which provide operational and financial support and services. Through these partnerships, students will gain access to mentorships, speakers, and professional work culture.

Since its creation in 2013, about 300 students have participated in ASC’s flagship summer programs. Of the summer intensive students, 95% of All Star Code graduates have gone on to four-year colleges, while half of the graduates have created their own business or tech-related project, reads the press release.

Lewis says she was inspired by her late father, iconic businessman Reginald F. Lewis, to launch ASC as a vehicle to diversify the tech space. “I channeled his legacy to start All Star Code,” she said. Before his death in 1993, Reginald created TLC Beatrice International Holdings, the first black-owned global enterprise to earn more than a billion dollars in revenue. “I realized that if my father were a young man today, he would no doubt be working in technology, the growth industry for building wealth in the 21st century,” Lewis told Black Enterprise.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/black-boys-stem-summer-program/

PBS NewsHour and Washington Press Club Foundation Create Journalism Fellowship in Memory of Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill (photo via ebony.com)

article via ebony.com

The PBS NewsHour and Washington Press Club Foundation  announced yesterday the creation of The Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour Journalism Fellowship.T he 10-week PBS NewsHour summer fellowship was created in honor of award-winning anchor, reporter and author Gwen Ifill.

The former PBS NewsHour co-anchor and managing editor and Washington Week moderator died in Nov. 2016 following complications from endometrial cancer. “Gwen Ifill was the best of the best, a remarkable journalist with boundless curiosity, who insisted on the highest standards for herself and her colleagues,” Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer said. “We are grateful for the generosity of the Washington Press Club Foundation for the opportunity to honor Gwen’s legacy in this way and guiding young people into practicing journalism with her high standards.”

Ifill had a decades long career in news and was the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She covered eight Presidential campaigns and moderated the Vice Presidential debates during the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2008.

Before joining PBS in 1999, Ifill was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News. The New York City native graduated from Simmons College in Boston and received more than 25 honorary doctorates. In 2015, she was awarded the National Press Club’s highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award.

To read more, go to: Journalism Fellowship Created in Honor of Gwen Ifill – EBONY

Schomburg Research Center in NY Designated a National Historic Landmark

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article by Ameena Walker via ny.curbed.com

Late last year, St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue was named a National Historic Landmark, and in the months since, the Department of the Interior hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Yesterday, the agency announced 24 new National Historic Landmarks, including a few in the five boroughs. The biggest: New York City’s mecca for information on the African diaspora and culture, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. (h/t DNAInfo)

The center, located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, was named after Afro-Latino immigrant Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg, and operates as part of the New York Public Library system. Here’s what the DOI had to say about it:

[It] represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective. The idea and the person who promoted it, Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), an Afro-Latino immigrant and self-taught bibliophile, reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality.

It’s currently in the process of receiving a $22 million renovation helmed by Marble Fairbanks Architects, Westerman Construction Company, and the City Department of Design and Construction. The entire project is expected to wrap up in 2017 and will present changes that include a larger gift shop, updated Langston Hughes Auditorium, expanded Rare Book Collection vault, and many more changes.

To read full article, go to: http://ny.curbed.com/2017/1/12/14247950/schomburg-research-center-national-landmark-nyc?platform=hootsuite

Metal Trio Unlocking the Truth Unveil Emotional Trailer from Documentary “Breaking A Monster” (VIDEO)

Metal band Unlocking the Truth (photo via sxsw.com)
Metal band Unlocking the Truth (photo via sxsw.com)

article by Sarah Grant via rollingstone.com

Unlocking the Truth, a metal band composed of three African-American seventh graders, is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Breaking a Monster. The music doc follows the unlikely trio – Alec Atkins, Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins – that scored a $1.8 million record deal with Sony Music Entertainment.

Breaking a Monster was directed by Luke Meyer, who follows the middle school metalheads around from the moment their first video went viral on YouTube. But like many young performers who stumble upon sudden success, the road to fame is fraught with uneasy demands, stress from parents and friends and tough life decisions.

“Originally I was asked to make a short film about the band when they were still gaining traction as street performers,” Meyer told film website IndieWire. “The short focused on what it’s like to be young and have unrestricted dreams about who you want to be in the world. In the case of Unlocking the Truth, because they’re so talented, those dreams didn’t feel as far-reaching as they might for some other kids.”

Breaking a Monster will be released this summer nationwide starting with a June 24 release in New York City and a July 1 release in Los Angeles.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/metal-trio-unlocking-the-truth-unveil-emotional-doc-trailer-20160603#ixzz4AkGcNfG5 

Meet Ericka Pittman, the Power Woman Behind Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Empire

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Combs Enterprises VP Ericka Pittman (photo via forbes.com)

article by Sidnee Michelle via forbes.com

It’s a snowy Friday morning as Ericka Pittman, vice president of Combs Enterprises, settles down, coffee in hand, and begins prepping for her busy day in New York City. After traveling on a 2 a.m. red-eye flight, she explains how although she is extremely fatigued, the show must go on. Her successes at major media outlets like Time, Inc. and Conde Nast caught the attention of business mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, who hand-selected Pittman as vice president of his companies.

As Sean P. Diddy Combs’ “Sheryl Sandburg,” Pittman’s creative mind and strategic way of thinking make her one of the best brand developers in the business. As the VP, she sits at the helm of the executive team, overseeing the growth and direction of the Combs portfolio and overseeing Combs’ businesses, including Aquahydrate, Combs Wines & Spirits (CIROCDeleon Tequila), Revolt TV and Sean John.

Besides her love of her career, Pittman has invested herself in propelling women from different walks of life to reach their highest potential. As a part of Women’s History Month, we followed her throughout her day in New York City as she discussed her journey and crucial advice to all Millennials.

Sidnee Michelle: What is your favorite thing about being Ericka Pittman?

Ericka Pittman: My heart. I have a very gum-drops-and-rainbows approach to life.  I’m one of those people who will put a coin in an expired meter so no one gets a ticket or towed; I’m one of those types in my heart and in my core. Most people who have known me and know my heart see that side often, but I feel in business I’m not able to be that person 100% of the time – so I try to keep that balance.

SM: What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a woman of your stature?

EP:  That giving back element – when I elevate those around me, it just feels good. For me, I try to give back even in business. Doing well by doing good is very important to me. The same way I was blessed in my career, I try and pass on the good karma by doing everything in my power to advance the next woman that deserves it.

SM: What influence does Sean P. Diddy Combs have on your career? What did he teach you early on?

EP: Sean Combs has taught me to utilize every tool in my tool box, to make the impossible possible. He taught me how not to take no as an answer – that no is the beginning of negotiations to get what you want. He also taught me to be strategic about how you go about getting what you want – with class elegance urgency and fine execution. If I didn’t have that leadership in my life early on, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.

SM: Besides Sean P. Diddy Combs, who are some of your influences and mentors?

EP: Just recently I started to acquire female mentors. I discovered as I was growing in my career there was a need of a feminine aspect and guidance in business that I was lacking.  I’ll walk into a high intensity board room like a bull in a china shop – stern and aggressive, because that’s what I learned from my male mentors and counterparts. I realized that I had to learn how to finesse my approach from female mentors like Susan De’Passe , who worked with Motown and had hands in discovering the Jackson 5.

SM: How did you rise to the top in such a male dominated industry?

EP: I think I there is a certain level of integrity I have.  I demand a certain amount of respect because of the way I present myself  in business and personal life. You have to conduct yourself a certain way in both realms – while still being able to maintain your identity and a strong and powerful woman.

SM: How do you maintain a healthy work/personal life balance?

EP: It’s tricky at this company because of the brands/companies I work with. Celebration is our core tenant, so we do awesome activations, parties and events. Things like those bleed into my personal time because of the frequency and late hours of these events. To combat that I think it’s important to be 100% present in the moment that you are in.

To read more and see video of Ericka Pittman, go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sidneedouyon/2016/03/17/meet-vice-president-of-combs-enterprises-power-woman-ericka-pittman/#1bf4b5377a84

HISTORY: Schomburg Center Digitizes Jim Crow Era “Green Books” Created to Help Black Travelers Avoid Racist Towns and Businesses

Green Book (photo via Schomburg Center Archive)
The Negro Travelers’ Green Book (photo via Schomburg Center Archive)

Before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 — and decades before the Internet and smart phones existed — black travelers relied on the “Green Book” to find hotels, restaurants and other establishments willing to accept their business.

The travel guide was published between 1936 and 1966 to help black motorists avoid racial harassment, arrest and violence as they traveled through the U.S. during the Jim Crow era.

All but two of those editions — the inaugural edition in 1936 and the one from 1952 — have been digitized and posted online by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culturereported DNA Info.

“Carry The Green Book with you. You may need it,” reads the cover of the 1949 edition, followed by a quote from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice.”

Victor Green, a U.S. Postal Service worker, started publishing the books from his New York City apartment after his wife decided they should scout all the black-friendly businesses on the way to visit her family in Virginia.

“The idea crystallized when, not only himself but several friends and acquaintances complained of the difficulties encountered; oftentimes painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a vacation or business trip,” wrote Novera C. Dashiell in the spring 1956 edition.

Green and other mail carriers shared their experiences in racially segregated America, and they helped black travelers avoid “sundown towns,” where they weren’t welcome after dark, and other racist areas or businesses.

“It’s not just which places are clean and which places serve good food — it’s places that you would be welcomed and you would be safe,” said Maira Liriano, associate chief librarian at the Schomburg Center.

The books were immediately popular, and they serve as a fascinating document of mid-century cultural history.

Continue reading “HISTORY: Schomburg Center Digitizes Jim Crow Era “Green Books” Created to Help Black Travelers Avoid Racist Towns and Businesses”

THEATER: “Fall of The Kings” by Mai Sennaar Opens Tonight at Historic Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx

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Bronx, NY – Designated as a New York City Historic Landmark, the Andrew Freedman Home, a vibrant location for arts and culture, is revitalizing the artistic landscape of the Bronx, New York.  On September 5, New York University alumni and producer Walter E. Puryear will mount “The Fall of the Kings,” a new American drama set in the 1940s.

The play tells the story of an African-American heiress and her Caribbean (Cuban) husband fighting to sustain their family in the midst of an economic disaster.

Described by the New York Times as “exactly the sort of place…that contemporary arts dreams are made of” the venue carries an undeniable palatial air and encompasses over 100,000 square feet. Freedman, a millionaire, former owner of the New York Giants and financier of the city’s first subway lines, bequeathed funding to construct the Home in the 1920s as a luxurious residence for once-wealthy senior citizens.

Playwright Mai Sennaar (photo via baltimoresun.com)
Playwright Mai Sennaar (photo via baltimoresun.com)

The playwright, Mai Sennaar, is an alumna of the Tisch School of the Arts. She is a mentee of noted playwright and screenwriter Richard Wesley (The Mighty Gents, Broadway) and Broadway and film actress Novella Nelson. At the age of 19, Sennaar’s first play, “The Broken Window Theory,” was produced at the famed Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe starring Tony Award-winner Tonya Pinkins and directed by Tony Award-nominee Michele Shay.

“The Fall of the Kings” production crew includes choreographer, Dyane Harvey-Salaam, whose Broadway, film and television credits include: The Wiz (original stage and film versions) and the Spike Lee film “School Daze.”  Set designer, Christopher Cumberbatch’s work has appeared both in theatre and in the Spike Lee films, “Crooklyn” and “Malcolm X.” Composer Dianaruthe Wharton Sennaar is a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock and composer for Ntozake Shange’s Broadway hit “For Colored Girls…”  The award-winning, Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Christian Scott is a featured guest soloist on the play’s main theme.

“The Fall of the Kings” is an immersive theatre experience where the fourth wall crumbles and the story moves the audience through intimate rooms and enthralling portrayals, welcoming the audience right into the home and lives of the Kings.

“Kings” opens today, September 5 at 8pm, with performances running through November 1st.  Tickets range from $30-$45. Discounts are available for groups, Bronx residents, seniors, and students. Exclusive Bed & Breakfast and Bus trip packages are also available.

For tickets and information: www.thefallofthekings.com

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

New York Summer Camp Gives Homeless Children A Chance To Just Be Kids

Participants in Homes for the Homeless' summer camp program taking part in swimming lessons.

For most kids, summer is a time of year to look forward to.

But that’s not typically the case for the 23,000 children who live in New York City’s homeless shelter system. With children out of school, shelters and temporary housing alike often become more crowded and stressful and the kids themselves are left with little to do during the day.

But Homes for the Homeless, a New York-based nonprofit, offers an alternative for over 500 homeless children each summer. Since 1989, the organization has brought hundreds of children each summer for three 16-day sleepaway camp sessions on the grounds of Harriman State Park in upstate New York. For many participants, the experience marks their first time traveling outside of the city.

At HFH’s Camps Lanowa and Wakonda, the children — who range in age from 6 to 13 — are assigned a bunk in a cabin and take part in a range of activities, including swimming, volleyball, beadwork, dancing, drama, fishing, singing and hiking. In addition, activities like journal writing and bug hunting have an educational component disguised as summer fun.

Campers show off their drumming skills.

The impact of the campers taking part in these activities in a bucolic setting can be huge for both the participants themselves as well as their families, Sarah Herold, then-program coordinator, explained to the Queens Chronicle in a 2013 interview.

“It provides kids with a break from shelter life and helps combat summer learning loss,” Herold told the Chronicle. “We give the kid a break by sending them into the natural world and it gives the parents a reprieve because living in a shelter can be a stressful situation. For them to know that their child is in a safe space really allows them to relax.”

A break is much needed for these youth. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, children experiencing homelessness go hungry at twice the rate of other kids and have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems when compared to their non-homeless peers. By age 12, an estimated 83 percent of homeless children have witnessed at least one serious violent event. Continue reading “New York Summer Camp Gives Homeless Children A Chance To Just Be Kids”

DINING: “Black Chef Summer Series” Happening Now Through Sept. 7 in New York City

(photo via blackchefseries.com)
(photo via blackchefseries.com)

Calling all New York City-area foodies: the Black Chef Summer Series, founded by Chef Lance Knowling, Chef Maxcel Hardy, and Alize Beal is taking place at BluJeen Restaurant in Harlem, New York, from July 13 – Sept. 7.

The nine-week series highlights extraordinary African-American chefs with diverse and distinctive palates and skill sets. Beyond the opportunity to discover the cultural flavors of Harlem, guests have an opportunity to explore multiple courses and a signature cocktail. The Black Chef Summer Series will complement each magical and tasteful evening with 10% of proceeds going to both the Food Bank For New York City, and a charity of the chef’s choosing.

(Image: blackchefseries.com)
(Image: blackchefseries.com)

“Our guests can expect to indulge in delicious food, great people, and amazing wine.  You will have the opportunity to meet and converse with influential professionals during the communal style dining experience. You get to build business and personal networks, so bring a lot of business cards,” says Co-Founder Beal.

Check out a snapshot of the featured chefs:

July 27

Chef James Robinson
As founder of Kitchen Cray, Robinson is committed to the community and creating accessible culinary experiences. In addition to private dining experiences, events and celebrity private chef services, he’s committed to making five-star dining an accessible and personal experience while utilizing his craft to teach underprivileged youth about healthy eating and open their eyes to a career in culinary arts.

Aug. 3

Chef Kenneth Collins
Born in Texas, Chef Kenneth Collins, of Chef Collins, has had success throughout the country. In Dallas, his cooking earned four stars for both Café Royale and Enjolie; following his time in Dallas three stars were awarded to his Hartford, Connecticut, restaurant, The Savannah. After The Savannah, his success continued in Tenafly, New Jersey, with America Bar and Restaurant, followed by New York City restaurants Ida Mae, and Smoke and Tour Restaurant & Catering.

Aug. 17

Chef Russell Jackson
Jacksonwho hails from Los Angeles, will be serving up innovation. Having four restaurants launched under his belt coupled with a stint in Food Network Kitchens, Jackson remains active in the New York and San Francisco food scenes. SubCulture Dining is now a bi-coastal affair with a robust schedule and an ambitious agenda.

Chef Elle Simone Scott. Scott, a Detroit native and Brooklyn transplant, is a culinary maverick. Always drawn to creative food culture, Scott has been dazzling the culinary world since 2006, quickly becoming a highly sought after freelance food stylist and culinary producer. Scott has collaborated and contributed her unique styling abilities to Food Network, Food Network Magazine, The Cooking Channel, The Katie Couric Show, CBS Corp., ABC’s The Chew, and Bravo’s Chef Roble and Co. With a focus on beautiful and tasty dishes, Scott transcends the traditional role of a chef, working to share her gift and tell a story through food.

Sept. 7

Chef Richards
Culinary enthusiast Chef Richard Ingraham was born and raised in Miami. In 2005, he was offered what is now his current position as private chef for Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. He is responsible for the nutritional diet that keeps the star fit, toned, and healthy on and off the court.

To purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.

article by Kandia Johnson via blackenterprise.com

New York City Agrees to Pay Family of Eric Garner $5.9 Million

Mr. Garner and his wife, Esaw, during a family vacation in 2011. (Photo via nytimes.com)

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July, the city comptroller and a lawyer for the family said.

The agreement, reached a few days before the anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death, headed off one legal battle even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk, and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. One of the officers used a chokehold — prohibited by the Police Department — to subdue him, and that was cited by the medical examiner as a cause of Mr. Garner’s death.

The killing of Mr. Garner, 43, followed by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, set off a national debate about policing actions in minority communities and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations. The protests eased after two police officers in Brooklyn were fatally shot in December by a man who said he acted to avenge Mr. Garner’s death.

The killings of the officers shook the city anew, deepening tensions between the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio and slowing a push to enact a host of criminal justice reforms. Last year, Mr. Garner’s relatives, including his widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carrfiled a notice of claim— a procedural step that must precede a lawsuit — against the city. In the notice, they said were seeking $75 million in damages. Since then, the family has been in talks with the comptroller’s office.

“Mr. Garner’s death is a touchstone in our city’s history and in the history of the entire nation,” the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said in a telephone interview late on Monday. “Financial compensation is certainly not everything, and it can’t bring Mr. Garner back. But it is our way of creating balance and giving a family a certain closure.”

Continue reading “New York City Agrees to Pay Family of Eric Garner $5.9 Million”