Tag: Pasadena

Author Octavia E. Butler Honored with Google Doodle

Illustration of Black woman in multicolored clothing in front of dark blue skies outlined with neon and brown books with blue characters in front of white background
Screenshot of the Google Doodle featuring Octavia Butler, taken from Twitter on June 22, 2018.

by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Octavia E. Butler’s name trends on Twitter today (June 22) in recognition of what would have been the late science fiction and fantasy author’s 71st birthday. Google celebrated Butler’s influence on literature by featuring her likeness on its homepage Doodle.

Per biographies on her website and Google’s blog, Butler was born on June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California. Social anxiety prompted her to spend a lot of time in the library, where she developed an appreciation for science fiction. She began writing when her mother bought her a typewriter at age 10 and carried her passion into her education at Pasadena Community College, UCLA and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop.

Butler, who wrote in various fiction formats, is best known for novels and short stories like “Kindred,” ”Bloodchild,” and the “Xenogenesis” trilogy. Her canon uses otherworldly scenarios to tackle racism, sexism, class conflict and other forms of real-world oppression. Fans cite her development of fictional alternative communities with Black leaders as a key influence on Afrofuturism. Her legacy lives on, well beyond her death from a stroke in 2006.

“Our family is grateful and honored by the opportunity to invoke the memory of Octavia E. Butler,” her family said in a statement on Google’s blog post. “Her spirit of generosity and compassion compelled her to support the disenfranchised. She sought to speak truth to power, challenge prevailing notions and stereotypes and empower people striving for better lives. Although we miss her, we celebrate the rich life she led and its magnitude in meaning.”

Source: https://www.colorlines.com/articles/google-doodle-honors-octavia-e-butler

Sci-Fi Writer Octavia Butler’s Inspirational Notes to Herself on Display at Huntington Library in CA Through 8/7

Octavia Butler is pictured in 2004 near some of her novels at a store in Seattle. (Joshua Trujillo / Associated Press)

by Karen Wada via latimes.com

Octavia E. Butler was a powerful and pioneering voice in science-fiction. The first black woman acclaimed as a master of the genre, she was known for vivid, expertly crafted tales that upended conventional ideas about race, gender and humanity. Although her creations were bold, Butler, who grew up poor in Pasadena, was “a private, reflective person who struggled with shyness and self-doubt,” said Natalie Russell, curator of a new exhibition at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.

How such struggles influenced her life and art is one of the themes explored in “Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories.” Russell said the show uses an invaluable resource — the author’s archive — to examine both her published work and “who she was as told through her personal papers.”

One of Octavia Butler’s Notes to Self (photo via latimes.com)

Butler, who died at 58 in 2006, willed the Huntington 354 boxes of materials, a bequest Russell describes as “huge and unedited because Octavia kept everything and passed away unexpectedly after a fall.” She said the exhibition, which runs through Aug. 7, presents about 100 items, including manuscripts, photographs and notebooks filled with writing and self-motivational notes, including one that reads in part, “My novels go onto the bestseller lists. … So be it! See to it!”

Butler started writing science-fiction as a child. She spent years working to establish her career — and a new vision of what’s possible in a genre dominated by white men. Along the way, Russell said, she needed reassurance and reinforcement.

To read more, go to: At the Huntington, see the inspirational note black sci-fi writer Octavia Butler wrote to herself – LA Times

Michelle Obama Awards 13 Youth Arts Programs at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling a group of artistic youth the “next generation of fabulous,” Michelle Obama presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 after-school programs from across the country and one international program from Honduras.

Honorees included a musical theater program co-created by comedian Rosie O’Donnell that serves low-income students in New York City.

The first lady presented the awards Tuesday to recognize the nation’s best youth programs that use arts and humanities to develop skills and increase academic achievement. She honored programs that teach ceramics, dance, music, writing, science and more. Each of the U.S. programs will receive $10,000.

The annual White House ceremony included a live performance from winning program, A Commitment to Excellence, or ACTE II. The New York group performed a song and dance medley including “I Got Rhythm,” ”Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “Empire State of Mind.”

“Wow…that wasn’t singing, that was ‘sanging,’” Mrs. Obama quipped, referring to the group which she predicted is destined for Broadway.

Mrs. Obama urged continued funding and support for arts and humanities programs, which she said also teach students problem-solving, teamwork and discipline.

“There are millions of kids like these with talent all over the place, and it’s hidden and it’s untapped and that’s why these programs are so important,” Mrs. Obama said. “We wouldn’t know that all this existed without any of these programs and that would be a shame.”

The 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.

The 13 programs recognized with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award during the White House ceremony are:

— A Commitment to Excellence (ACTE II), New York.

—Action Arts and Science Program, Sioux Falls, S.D.

—Art High, Pasadena, Calif.

—CityDance DREAM Program, Washington.

—Spy Hop Productions, Salt Lake City.

—Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee.

—Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc., New Orleans.

—VSA Indiana, Inc. , Indianapolis.

—The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

—Deep Center, Inc., Savannah, Ga.

—The Telling Room, Portland, Maine.

—Caldera, Portland, Oregon.

—Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), El Progreso, Honduras.

article by Stacy A. Anderson, AP via blackamericaweb.com

Minority Business Development Agency Puts $7.7 Million Toward New Business Centers

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is the only federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. MBDA recently launched a search for prospective partners to operate their newly improved business center program.

Under the new program, the nationwide business center network is more integrated, places more emphasis on collaboration, and was designed to ensure the quality and consistency of service delivery throughout their nationwide network of business centers.

For-profit entities, non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and educational intuitions are all encouraged to apply. MBDA plans to award five individual cooperative agreements to operate MBDA Business Centers beginning in September 2016. The awards will cover a 5-year period and total $1.5 million annually for each center. The Centers will be located in Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, Manhattan, New York, Pasadena, California, and St. Louis, Missouri.

“The success of minority-owned businesses is vital to the U.S. economy. These Centers will help our inventors, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs remain on the cutting edge at the speed required in the 21st century,” said MBDA National Director, Alejandra Y. Castillo in a statement.

MBDA is looking for organizations to deliver business consulting services to minority-owned firms, providing them increased access to public and private sector contracting opportunities, financing, and capital investments. Successful applicants will be those that have experience in assisting minority firms with obtaining large scale contracts and financial transactions; accessing corporate supply chains; facilitating joint ventures, teaming arrangements, mergers, and acquisitions; inducting export transactions; and performing minority business advocacy.

article by Carolyn M. Brown via blackenterprise.com

Black California Native Joan Williams, 82, Who Was Denied Spot on Rose Parade Float 56 Years Ago, Sits at Head of Parade this New Year’s Day

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The opportunity to ride on a city-sponsored float at the annual Rose Parade has been almost 60 years in the making for 82-year-old Pasadena, Calif., native Joan Williams. The honor was originally denied her in 1958 when officials found out that she was black, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Williams was chosen as Miss Crown City in 1957—a title given to a City Hall employee, who would then be honored by riding on a city-sponsored float during the iconic New Year’s Day celebration and would represent the city at events before the parade, the news site notes.

“I was young and it was exciting,” recalled Williams, who was 27 and had two young children at the time.

Her excitement, however, was cut short months later once it was discovered that Williams, while light-skinned, was black. All of a sudden the city did not have a float to include in the parade because too many entrants had already been accepted, the city claimed. All of this was decided at the last minute, even though the city had already paid for a portrait of Williams decked out in a gown, corsage and tiara.

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Portrait of Joan Williams commissioned by the city in honor of her selection as Miss Crown City (ABC NEWS)

To add insult to injury, the mayor later refused to take a picture with her at a city employees’ picnic when requested by a Jet photographer.

“It was one of the first times, as an adult, I began to grow up and realize what racism is,” Williams said. “Somehow I wasn’t the person they wanted on that float anymore just because of my heritage. … You can imagine the slap in the face that is.”

Now, 56 years later, Williams is getting some retribution: She is once again being given the opportunity to ride in the parade. However, according to the Star News, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard has acknowledged that officials have made no attempt at an apology. He did say that he contacted Williams and invited her to lunch after he heard about what happened to her.

“We didn’t dwell on what happened in the past,” he told the Star-News. “She’s a very nice person. I’m delighted to have come to know her and now consider her a friend.”

It was after their meeting that officials arranged for Williams to ride on the banner float, which will carry the parade’s theme, “Inspiring Stories,” at the top of the parade.

Continue reading “Black California Native Joan Williams, 82, Who Was Denied Spot on Rose Parade Float 56 Years Ago, Sits at Head of Parade this New Year’s Day”

CalTech Astrophysicist Wins Teaching Award

John A. JohnsonJohn A. Johnson, an assistant professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, received the Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching from the university. The prize was established by the university “to honor annually a professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching.” Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on searching for plants outside our solar system.

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley.

article via CalTech Astrophysicist Wins Teaching Award : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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