Spelman College, the historically Black educational institution for women in Atlanta, has received a $30 million donation from trustee Ronda Stryker and her husband William Johnston, The gift is the largest from a living donor in the 137-year history of the college.
The gift will be used to help fund the construction of the Center for Innovation and the Arts on the Spelman campus. When completed the building will house all of the college’s arts programs – art, art history, curatorial studies, dance, digital media, documentary filmmaking, photography, music and theater – in a single building.
Stryker has been a member of the college’s board of trustees for more than 20 years. She currently serves as vice chair.
In making the donation, Stryker stated: “As former educators who believe strongly in social justice, Bill and I have great appreciation for how Spelman provides a superior education for students that encourages them to be global change agents. Spelman alumnae are leaders across every field imaginable, breaking new ground, while tackling some of the world’s most challenging issues from health disparities to the digital divide. We are thrilled to support a building that will encourage students to master technology, innovation and the arts.”
Stryker is a board member at Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment company and vice chair of Greenleaf Trust, an investment banking firm.
For more than 150 years, Howard University has been associated with the highest caliber of scholarship on the African diaspora. Howard’s legacy as a hub for the intellectual exploration of Blackness is widely appreciated in the Africana subset of academia. Lesser known is the woman who conceived and facilitated the development of Howard’s wealth of archival resources into one of the primary centers for the study of people of African descent. The story of Dorothy Porter Wesley, a pioneer in the field of library and information science, is also the story of the triumphant beginnings of a new discipline. As a result of Porter’s vision and dedication, Black special collections began to occupy more prominent roles in their institutions, allowing engagement with historically marginalized narratives through the palpable past.
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, an administrative unit containing the libraries, university archives, museum, and additional special collections at Howard University is the realization of a vision from centuries past. During Reconstruction, former Union general Otis Howard and his supporters in Washington D.C., founded the university that bears his name. From its inception, the school was to have a library. The first board members, many of whom were prominent figures in the local Black community or wealthy northern abolitionists, donated swaths of manuscript material, mostly concerning Africa and abolitionism.
These contributions reflected a wave of interest in studying Black history that coincided with the introduction of Black historical societies across the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In significant numbers, the Emancipated were reclaiming a history that white supremacy attempted to erase. After hundreds of years of white people in the United States denying Black people their agencies, histories, languages, and cultures, the very act of consolidating materials for study was radical, and the undercurrent of this practice is the genesis of a dedicated examination of Blackness.
Growing in an ebb and flow of major donations and smaller, continuous gifts, the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center evolved from a one-room study in 1917 to a large-scale Foundation by the turn of the century. The University accepted donations of personal libraries and papers, including first editions and other rare texts and writings from Howard and his contemporaries. The generosity of donors was not unique to the University. Wherever freedmen settled, one of the first institutions in their communities was a school, and teachers were highly regarded. Additionally, wealthy, white, northern philanthropists felt strongly that contributing to the education of the formerly enslaved would partially atone for the “earthly torment” of the Atlantic Slave Trade. In these respects, the origins of Howard’s collections are comparable to those of peer institutions, although the school’s Du Boisian ethos differentiated it from its primarily vocational contemporaries.
By the 1930s, Howard University was one of the premier academic establishments for Black elites and their progeny. Sixty-five years removed from enslavement, the first generation of Howard graduates made way for a new crop. Among this number was Dorothy Porter.
A new scholarship fund has been established at Vanderbilt University to honor James M. Lawson Jr., a leading figure in the civil rights movement and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The new scholarship was made possible by a gift from Doug Parker, an alumnus of the Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, the CEO of American Airlines, and a new trustee of the university, and his wife Gwen.
The new scholarships will be given to students from underrepresented groups who have shown a commitment to civil rights and social justice.
Lawson, enrolled at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1958. While a student he helped organize sit-ins at lunch counters in downtown Nashville. In 1960, he was expelled from the university for his participation in civil rights protests.
Lawson completed his divinity studies at Boston University and then served as director of nonviolent education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1974 to 1999, Rev. Lawson was the pastor of the Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
Lawson returned to Vanderbilt as a distinguished visiting professor form 2006 to 2009. An endowed chair at the Divinity School was named in his honor in 2007.
Social justice activist, author, and founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, will be delivering a keynote address at Facing Race 2018in Detroit, Michigan.
Facing Race is a national conference presented by leading racial justice organization and Colorlines publisher, Race Forward. The 2018 conference will be held at Detroit’s Cobo Center from November 8-10.
Burke, who was recently named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2018,” is the first of two keynote speakers to be announced for the Detroit conference. As the largest conference for multiracial justice movement-making, Facing Race Detroit will serve as a unique, collaborative, and essential space for alliance building, issue-framing, and advancing solutions during a critical moment in our nation’s history.
Burke first used the phrase “Me Too” in 2006 as a means of providing strength and healing to young women of color. Her upcoming memoir, set to be released in Spring 2019, will explain the necessity of #MeToo while also detailing her own journey from victim to survivor to thriver.
“So often today, conversations about race, class, and gender exist in silos, and the truth is that the potential for change lives at the intersection of all,” said Burke who currently serves as Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equity. “I’m thrilled to be part of a space that is intentionally multiracial and multigender as we envision a meaningfully inclusive society.
“Tarana Burke has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to the intersection of social justice issues, and has laid the groundwork for an international movement that inspires solidarity,” said Race Forward President Glenn Harris. “We’re elated and honored that she will be sharing her words of wisdom, inspiration, and power building with the thousands of Facing Race attendees.”
In addition to inspiring speakers, film screenings, and networking opportunities, Facing Race will present over 80 panels and breakout sessions on a wide array of key issues, with a focus on four key tracks:
Arts, Media, & Culture
Organizing and Advocacy
Racial Identities and Innovation
Since Facing Race was created in 2004, Race Forward has held the national conference in cities around the country, working together with local racial justice leaders to lift up regional history and current challenges faced by communities of color. Previous speakers have included Jose Antonio Vargas, Roxane Gay, Melissa Harris Perry, Van Jones, and W. Kamau Bell.
Social activist Innosanto Nagara wanted to find a fun book to read to his 2-year-old son that also talked about the importance of social justice. He wasn’t looking for the typical fiction written for children, instead, he was looking for unique narratives — by writers of color and/or authors who can speak about social issues through their own experiences. Nagara couldn’t find any. So he wrote one.
“Parents and teachers are realizing that what students read and learn affects how they see the world.” said Deborah Menkart, Executive Director for Teaching for Change, an organization that puts together social justice reading lists to inspire children throughout the summer. “Give kids credit,” says Stan Yogi, one of the authors on our list. “They have an innate sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Being able to draw on that innate sense of justice through relatable stories is so important.”
Not all parents have the time to do what Innosanto Nagara did. For those who can’t, we’ve compiled a list — with help from Teaching for Change — of books that frame big issues through a lens children can understand.
A Is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
Every letter is the definition of a different social movement. For F — kids learn about Feminism, when we get to G – kids learn about the meaning of grassroots organizing and why its important. This beautifully illustrated ABC book uses rhyming and alliteration to get your little reader excited about social change. If your child loves this work they may enjoy the author’s new work My Nightat the Planetarium, which illustrates the important role the arts play in resistance.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr Carter is a 16-year-old girl who’s navigating the two worlds of her upper-class prep school and the reality of her poverty stricken neighborhood. After she witnesses her friend getting shot and killed in a confrontation with the police, she must deal with the consequences of talking about what she saw. The author unpacks the complexity and weight of standing up for what you believe in at a young age.
One of a Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo by Laurin Mayeno, Robert Liu-Trujillo and Teresa Mlawer
A heartwarming story of a young boy, Danny, who fights gender stereotypes by dressing up as a princess for the school parade. The author, Laurin Mayeno, was inspired to write this from her own experience with her son Danny. “Sometimes as parents we must unlearn things we learned growing up,” says Mayeno. The book is bilingual, in English and Spanish, and discusses gender expression from a child’s point of view.
The Jackie Robinson Museum is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for donors on April 27, 2017. The 18,500-square foot space will honor the late sports legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and played an active, pioneering role in the modern civil rights movement. “Jack lived his life with such great purpose,” said Rachel Robinson, JRF Founder and wife of Jackie Robinson. “I hope that visitors to the Museum will not only learn about his journey and experience his energy, but that they will be inspired to view each day as a chance to make a difference.”
The Jackie Robinson Museum will expand the Foundation’s mission to educate and expose current and future generations of Americans to a man and an era that were pivotal in forming the more inclusive society that we are today. Exciting, interactive exhibitions, educational outreach efforts, and dynamic programing to illuminate the life and character of one of the most storied athletes of all time are all on the Museum’s agenda. “We are proud to realize Rachel Robinson’s dream of establishing a fixed tribute to her husband’s rich legacy,” said Della Britton Baeza, JRF’s President & CEO. “Jackie Robinson’s contributions to our country propelled us through challenging social times and continue to encourage us to practice empathy and brotherhood toward others. The Jackie Robinson Museum will satisfy sports fans who will learn more about Jackie Robinson’s great accomplishments as an athlete and visitors of all walks of life who want to be inspired by a true humanitarian.”
Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, just blocks north of the 9/11 Memorial, the Foundation has retained Gensler as Design Architect in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Exhibit Designer, to develop the Jackie Robinson Museum.
JRF has secured lead gifts from a diverse group of partners including: Nike, Inc., Phil Knight, the Yawkey Foundation, the City of New York, New York Mets, Citi, Strada Education Network, Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Baseball, the Tull Family Foundation, New York Yankees, and Stephen Ross. Half way to its $42 million fundraising goal, which is inclusive of a Museum operating endowment, the Foundation plans to open the Museum’s doors in the spring of 2019.
Established in 1973 to perpetuate Jackie Robinson’s memory, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a national, public, non-profit organization, administers one of the nation’s premier education and leadership development programs for minority college students. In addition to generous financial assistance, JRF offers a comprehensive set of support services that includes mentoring, job placement, career guidance, leadership training and practical life skills. JRF’s celebrated four-year program yields a consistent, 98% college graduation rate. JRF has provided over $70 million in grants and direct program support to 1,500 students who have attended over 225 colleges and universities.
In the midst of controversy over his protest of the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick is using the spotlight to address the issues he says inspired his stance.
At Thursday night’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick pledged a $1 million dollar donation to groups which address issues of racial and social inequality.
He didn’t offer specific details about which groups would receive donations but explained his intentions.–Veterans show support for football star with #VeteransForKaepernick tweets “I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money that I do and I have to help these people,’’ said Kaepernick. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to success.’’
Kaepernick also recently joined forces with his girlfriend, Hot 97 radio personality Nessa Diab, to donate $60,000 worth of backpacks to students in Harlem and the South Bronx. As part of his six-year, $114,000,000 deal with the 49ers, Kaepernick’s base salary this year is $11.9 million dollars.
In an unusually public flare-up, one of MSNBC’s television personalities clashed with the network on Friday in a dispute about airtime and editorial freedom and said she was refusing to host the show that bears her name this weekend.
The host, Melissa Harris-Perry, wrote in an email to co-workers this week that her show had effectively been taken away from her and that she felt “worthless” in the eyes of NBC News executives, who are restructuring MSNBC.
“Here is the reality: Our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season,” she wrote in the email, which became public on Friday. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.”
In a phone interview, Ms. Harris-Perry confirmed she would not appear on the show this weekend. She said she had received no word about whether her show, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, had been canceled, but said she was frustrated that her time slot had faced pre-emptions for coverage of the presidential election. She said she had not appeared on the network at all “for weeks” and that she was mostly sidelined during recent election coverage in South Carolina and New Hampshire. (She was asked to return this weekend.)
In her email, Ms. Harris-Perry wrote that she was not sure if the NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, or Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, were involved in the way her show was handled recently, but she directed blame toward both.
“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”
This Saturday, April 13th, the Zimmer Museum Honors Jackie Robinson with Family Friendly Events & Activities in conjunction with the Sports Museum of LA.
Sixty-six years ago on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base, making him the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. This weekend, in addition to the national release of the Warner Bros. “42,” a feature film about his life, Robinson will be honored by a rare display of his, as well as Negro League memorabilia, at the Sports Museum of Los Angeles. This exhibit, hosted by the Zimmer Children’s Museum, coincides with Jackie Robinson Triple Play Day, which also includes family-friendly events, food, prizes and a historical scavenger hunt for kids.
Proceeds from Triple Play Day go to support the Zimmer Children’s Museum’s youth services program, youTHink, which empowers youth to find their voice around social issues that matter to them and make a difference in their communities.