Friday, October 30, 2009

Harlem Business Owner Honored with Racial Harmony Award

The Foundation For Ethnic Understanding in conjunction with Russell Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier honor Rashidah Ali, CEO of Bourgeoisie Shoes, as this years recipient of the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award

The Foundation For Ethnic Understanding recently honored Rashidah Ali, CEO of Bourgeoisie Shoes, with the 2009 Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award during their New York Fall Benefit event. This prestigious award is given to a distinguished recipient who displays commitment to strengthening race relations and efforts in promoting diversity and ethnic tolerance through business and personal endeavors.

The cocktail benefit provided a platform of a celebration of diversity and global unity. The event was held at the home of music mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons and attracted the who's who from the worlds of music, philanthropy, faith and business to celebrate Ali's award. Notable guests and honorees for the evening included Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean, Cathy Hughes (Founder of Radio One), David Rosenberg (Founder of Unifund) and more.

Rashidah Ali, Rabbi Marc Schneier, Swizz Beatz, Russell Simmons, Cathy Hughes, David Rosenberg, Imam Shamsi Ali
Last year, Ali and Bourgeoisie Shoes hosted a fundraiser for the Emmitt Till Legacy Foundation that was profiled HERE.

For more information on the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding visit and for Bourgeoisie

Photo Credit: David Karp Photography

Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment through Photography

Once I took the pictures, I was like; this is something I have to fight for.” Robert, 11th grade, DC

The quote is from a youth participant of Critical Exposure, a Washington, D.C. based non profit that teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change. In the quote above, Robert was referring to photographs he took of his city's school system - and it’s well known that today’s schools, particularly in urban communities, are in poor and unsanitary conditions. Broken light fixtures in classrooms, non working toilets and decaying ceilings are things that I’ve seen on visits to schools, and I can’t imagine how our students cope with learning in these conditions.

In 2004, a former educator and education policy analyst founded Critical Exposure in response to these drastic disparities that exist among public schools. By empowering young people to develop skills as documentary photographers and advocates, the organization exposes citizens and policymakers to the realities of our current educational system as seen through the eyes of the students who confront those realities each day.

As an example, the organization provided a group of DC high school students with cameras and training in documentary photography. The students took compelling pictures of the conditions of their schools and gave their photographs to City Council members, encouraging them to support a bill that would provide increased funding for modernizing schools in DC. In February 2006, the City Council approved the School Modernization Bill, which provides $3 billion over the next 15 years for school modernization.

Since their founding, Critical Exposure has also worked with students from Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Austin, TX, Albuquerque, NM, and Philadelphia, PA.

I was honored to be asked by the founders of Critical Exposure to serve on the host committee for their upcoming event, Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment through Photography," their second annual reception and silent auction on Thursday, November 12, 2009 in Washington, D.C. All of the proceeds from the event will support Critical Exposure’s efforts to empower youth. The auction will consist of photographs donated by world-class photographers, including contributors to National Geographic and the New York Times such as Ed Kashi, Ami Vitale, and Stephen Crowley.

What: Picture Equality: An Evening of Empowerment through Photography, Critical Exposure's second annual reception and silent auction
When: Thursday, November 12th from 6:30-9:30 PM
Where: 3338 M Street in Georgetown, D.C.
How much: Tickets are $75 ($65 before Nov. 1!) Sponsorships are available.

Last year’s event raised more than $20,000 for providing cameras and training to D.C. middle and high school students. I hope to see you there!

For more information, to purchase tickets, and to learn how you can bring Critical Exposure to your community, visit the website at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Education in the News

The date of October 27th is now officially known as "I Will Graduate Day" in New York City! Mayor Bloomberg made the proclamation at the 4th annual Stay in School pep rally hosted by the Entertainers 4 Education Alliance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Many entertainers and athletes came out to encourage NYC's youth, including Russell Simmons, NBA legend John Starks and R&B sensation Keri Hilson (in photo above).

Keri Hilson took the stage to discuss the importance of attendance and being on time for school: “Show up even when you don’t feel like it.” Keri talked about the entertainment business and how her education is a key factor in not getting taken advantage of. “You have to read contracts, documents, and oversee your finances, much of what I learned in school prepared me to manage my affairs today.”

The Alliance was created by former Roc-A-Fella records publicist Tonya Lewis, who used her event planning and publicist skills, along with her industry contacts to create the organization. She shares about the importance of creating her foundation: “New York State has the highest dropout rate for Black and Hispanic students of any state in the nation, when I read these statistics I am motivated to continue to get the youth to view education as necessary. When the youth hear someone they admire express the importance of education it can be life changing. We are also very appreciative of every speaker, performer, sponsor and volunteer who help us make this event possible year after year." Learn more about Tonya Lewis HERE and visit the website at


That African American male students who participate in academic urban debate leagues have higher graduation rates?

Via Press Release (PR Web): October 23, 2009, Chicago, IL—Groundbreaking peer-reviewed research from the University of Michigan, published this week in a special issue of the Journal of Negro Education, shows that participating in an academic debate program in urban schools boosts student achievement. According to the study, participation in an Urban Debate League (UDL) significantly increases a student’s chances of graduating from high school and performing at or above college-ready benchmarks on the ACT’s Reading and English subject-matter tests when compared to similar students who did not participate in urban debate.

The study found the educational benefits of participation in urban debate to be even more pronounced for school-age African American males. African American male students participating in urban debate were 70 percent more likely to graduate from high school, three times less likely to drop out, 50 percent more likely to reach the ACT college-readiness benchmark for English, and 70 percent more likely to reach the ACT benchmark for reading than non-debaters, even after accounting for eighth grade achievement. These findings should hold special interest to urban educators; local, state, and national policymakers; and anyone interested in promoting innovative, research-based solutions to our nation’s educational challenges.

For more information, visit

The C. Delores Tucker Journey to Womanhood

Via Black Star Project, a Chicago based non profit organization: Last week, it was announced that 115 female students from Robeson High School in Chicago were pregnant or had at least one child. No effective preventive actions were presented to stop this from happening again next year. It is predicted that many other high schools across America have a similarly high rate of teen pregnancy. Women from various organizations in Chicago are rallying to address this issue by visiting 10 feeder elementary schools to Robeson High School to mentor and counsel 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade girls away from risky behaviors that lead to pregnancy and low academic achievement. This effort is called the C. Delores Tucker Journey to Womanhood.

The C. Delores Tucker Journey to Womanhood focuses on discouraging early sexual activity and teen pregnancy and works to heighten awareness among teen-age girls about sexually transmitted diseases. Women mentors will counsel girls to love and respect themselves, envision bright futures, and to recognize the signs of abusive relationships and teach young girls the advantages of peaceful conflict resolution. Mentors will also encourage these girls to do their best in school, look forward to and work towards rewarding professional careers and help the girls think about what it takes to generate healthy, positive families and relationships starting with their relationships with themselves.

The Black Star Project is looking for 50 female mentors between the ages of 19 and 70 who will help mentor 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade girls away from precocious sex, sexually transmitted diseases, abusive relationships and premature pregnancy. Please call 773.285.9600. Obviously, high school is too late. We need you NOW!!!

Photo: Nunez/Wireimage

Ford Launches "Drive One For Your HBCU" Initiative

Via Press Release: This fall, Historically Black College & University (HBCU) football fans will have more than on-field rivalry to focus on. Ford, in partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, is challenging HBCU students, alumni, faculty and friends to conduct test drives at local Ford dealerships to support their alma mater. Each validated test drive will result in a donation to the Tom Joyner Foundation up to $250,000. The entire program is geared toward raising funds for HBCU's and falls in line with Ford's efforts in improving educational attainment for all.

"The Drive One For Your HBCU's" program is an initiative that is designed to encourage those within and outside of the HBCU community to get on board in our efforts to raise funds for HBCU's and ultimately education," said Crystal Worthem, multicultural marketing manager, Ford Motor Company. "We want HBCU fans to get out and take a drive in one of our newest products, knowing that their drive is benefiting their favorite HBCU. It's about giving people a chance to take a spin in some of our products like the new 2010 Ford Taurus and 2010 Ford Fusion while also giving back. Partnering with Tom Joyner and the Tom Joyner Foundation on this initiative was the ideal fit for us as Tom also has such a rich history in supporting HBCU's."

“Ford has always been a big supporter of the HBCU’s, and a supporter of the Tom Joyner Foundation," said Tom Joyner. "I am pleased that we are going to be working together with Ford to raise awareness and raise funds for the students attending these schools. We are going to encourage all the HBCU alumni and supporters to get out and drive a Ford to help keep a kid in school.”

The test-drive program kicks off on October 21 and runs until January 4, 2010. The program allows for various entry points including online at, during the various stops of the Ford Black College Road Trip and during the 2009 Bayou Classic in New Orleans. The goal of the program is to secure a total of 10,000 test drives before the program wraps up in January with $25 being donated for each test drive taken. The Tom Joyner Morning Show and will serve as additional outlets for information and reminders on the program throughout the campaign.

2009 Tour Schedule: Clark Atlanta University, October 29-31; Tuskegee University, November 5-7; Howard University, November 12-14; Bayou Classic, Thanksgiving Weekend.

For more information on the "Drive One For Your HBCU" Program, please visit

Monday, October 26, 2009

Event Photos: Taraji P. Henson Supports Literacy & 6th Annual Ludacris Foundation Benefit Dinner

D.C. is winding down from Howard University's homecoming weekend, that always brings celebrities to the nation's capital. Hip hop star/actor Ludacris and Oscar nominated actress Taraji P. Henson were among the many celebs who participated in homecoming festivities. Taraji served as the grand marshall for the homecoming parade, and later that evening hosted 'A Write to Revolution,' a fundraiser benefiting the organization, Art Creates Life, based in Washington, D.C. Ludacris kicked off his foundation's festivities on Friday at the National Press Club, and on Saturday, he hosted the Ludacris Foundation's 6th annual benefit dinner. In the photo above is Taraji Henson, national spokesperson for Art Creates Life (right) with singer John Forte (Fugees) and actor Lamman Rucker (Meet the Browns) at the Art Creates Life fundraiser.

The movement, "A Write To Revolution," is a fight against illiteracy in urban America and the African Diaspora. This event launched Art Creates Life's initiative to galvanize community members to stop and take action, to help a child or adult learn to read and write. All funds raised from the event will support programming in three D.C. schools, as well as their annual trip to Senegal, West Africa to participate in a literacy support project. For more information, visit

6th Annual Ludacris Foundation Benefit Dinner

The Ludacris Foundation honored Kevin Liles (far right), Debra Lee of BET, Quincy Jones (2nd from left), and Congresswoman Maxine Waters at its 6th annual benefit dinner, Saturday, October 24th at the Ronald Regan Building. Also pictured is Shaka Zulu (left) and Roberta Shields (center), President of the Ludacris Foundation.

Roberta Shields with son, Ludacris

Thanks to Red Carpet Images for the photos!

The Unveiling of the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts

The grand unveiling of the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts was held Saturday, October 24th in East Orange, New Jersey. Many luminaries came out to celebrate the opening of the new school including Oprah Winfrey, Susan L. Taylor and actresses Angela Bassett and Lynn Whitfield. In photo: George Faison, Nick Ashford, Valeria Simpson, Soledad O'Brien, Tamara Tunie, NJ Governor Jon Corzine, Angela Bassett, Cicely Tyson, former NY City Mayor David Dinkins, Marilyn Bowser, East Orange, NJ Mayor Robert Bowser, and Jeff Majors.

Oprah Winfrey and Cicely Tyson; President of the Center for the Advancement of Women Faye Wattleton

Susan L. Taylor, NJ Governor Jon Corzine and CNN's Soledad O'Brien

Susan L. Taylor, Marie Williams, Reginald Van Lee, Devin Grandison, Cicely Tyson, and stylist Ellin LaVar

Photos: Wireimage

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ford Motor Company Announces Launch of 'Taurus Top Ten'

The Ford Motor Company is announcing the launch of the "Taurus Top Ten"- a competition designed to shine a spotlight on individuals that are not only on top in their respective fields, but who also make a difference in the communities around them. Ford is conducting a search for trendsetting individuals in the fields of community involvement, business, entertainment and other words, those who are fabulous in every sense of the word!

Potential candidates are encouraged to submit an essay or video to stating why they should be considered among Taurus' Top Ten no later than November 15, 2009. One Grand Prize Winner will take home a 2010 Ford Taurus Limited, receive a $10,000 donation to a charitable organization of their choice and win a trip for two to a high-profile professional basketball experience.

Actor, comedian, radio host & best-selling author Steve Harvey is a celebrity participant in the program, highlighting one entry per week on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. So get started!

Toys "R" Us and Shaquille O'Neal Team Up for the Holiday Season

Customers Can “Join Shaq Give Back” By Donating Toys and Cash in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Stores and By Joining the Company’s Official Facebook Fan Pages
Via Press Release: Wayne, NJ (October 20, 2009) – To help bring toys – and smiles – to America’s neediest children, today Toys“R”Us, Inc. announced it has teamed up with four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal to encourage consumers to donate toys and cash to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation this holiday season. The fundraising campaign officially begins October 22 in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at

The partnership with O’Neal was inspired by his annual visits to Toys“R”Us stores on Christmas Eve to purchase toys for children in need. His 15-year history of buying and distributing these toys to underprivileged children in cities across the country earned him the name, “Shaq-A-Claus.” This holiday season, the legend of Shaq-A-Claus will continue when O’Neal makes surprise visits to Toys“R”Us stores in the coming months to shop for needy children and encourage customers to give back.

“I’m really just a big kid myself, and I can’t imagine a child going without a toy to unwrap during the holidays,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Toys are magical for kids! My life was transformed one Christmas morning when, as a boy, I received an autographed Dr. J basketball from Toys“R”Us. With millions of children living in poverty in this country, I urge everyone to ‘Join Shaq Give Back’ this holiday season.”

“Toys“R”Us and Shaquille O’Neal have a shared love of all kids, and we are delighted that he has joined us to help children in need this holiday season,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “The “R”Us family is proud of its longstanding history of giving back to the communities we serve through the Toys for Tots program. We have no doubt that our customers and employees will enthusiastically support this program once again.”

During the nine-week campaign beginning today, new, unwrapped toys will be collected through December 6 at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores across the country. Collected toys will be distributed to children in the communities where they are donated, making this a truly local program. Monetary donations will be accepted at all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us locations and online at through Christmas Eve.

On Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6, Marines and other Toys for Tots representatives will be stationed at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide to bring added attention to the “Join Shaq Give Back” campaign in local markets.

Customers can also “Join Shaq” online at This dedicated website features a video greeting from the four-time NBA Champion, along with “The Legend of Shaq-A-Claus,” which explains O’Neal’s history of giving back to children in need.

Behind the scene photo of Shaq's Toys "R" Us Toys for Tots campaign
Facebook Fans Can Virtually “Join Shaq Give Back”
In the virtual space, Facebook members can also “Join Shaq” now through Christmas Eve, when they become fans of Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us at either or For every new fan who joins now through Thursday December 24, Toys“R”Us will donate $1 worth of toys to Toys for Tots.

As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has raised more than $16.2 million and collected more than 1.4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004. To jumpstart the 2009 campaign, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund made a $250,000 grant to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This program is also supported by the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. On the web:

Source and photos: Toys "R" Us

Dr. Miracle's Hosts Screening and Panel Discussion of 'Good Hair'

Dr. Miracle’s, a leader in the ethnic hair care industry and the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) held a private screening of Chris Rock’s award-winning documentary ‘Good Hair’ on October 6th at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York. The screening was followed by an interactive discussion on African American women and their hair. In the photo above is Kathleen Johnson of Dr. Miracle's (previously profiled here), Tai Beauchamp, and Michaela Angela Davis.

In light of the film and recent NY Times article, Black Hair: Still Tangled in Politics and TIME’s article, Why Michelle Obama’s Hair Matters, Dr. Miracle’s and WEEN assembled together a stellar panel of industry experts to discuss what it truly means to have “good hair.” They discussed topics that included the range of acceptable workplace hair styles, how misconceptions are affecting the media’s spin on the subject, how celebrities play a role in setting the trends, and how the community is affected by recent media stories.

Brian K. Marks, Kathleen Johnson, Michaela Angela Davis, Tai Beauchamp, Ollie Johnson, Alesha Renee, K. Foxx, and Jamel Davenport

Tamekia Flowers-Holland & Hip Hop 4 Life joins Dr. Miracle's President Brian K. Marks (far left)at Good Hair Pre-Screening

Photos by Nunez courtesy of Dr. Miracle's

Photos of the Day: Black Girls Rock!

The 4th annual Black Girls Rock! awards was held on Saturday, October 17 at the New York Times Center in NYC. Black Girls Rock! is a non profit youth empowerment mentoring organization founded by DJ Beverly Bond. Bond is pictured at center with actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, who served as hosts for the evening.

Tracee Ross and Regina King with actress Queen Latifah

On the Black Girls Rock! twitter page, they share that Queen Latifah made a $25,000 contribution!

Fashion stylist and author June Ambrose, DJ Beverly Bond, singer Janelle Monae, and actress/entrepreneur Raven Symone

Bond with Black Girls Rock! Icon honoree Mary J. Blige

Bethann Hardison and Iyanla Vanzant

Regina King, Dr. Mehret Mandefro, Beverly Bond, Lisa Evers, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Londell McMillan

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming Events

Jarvis Green Foundation to Host 3rd Annual Jarvis Green Foundation Wine Tasting Gala at the Rhode Island Convention Center

Proceeds will benefit single mothers in disadvantaged, low income areas

On November 6, 2009 at 7pm, Jarvis Green of the New England Patriots will host the 3rd annual Jarvis Green Foundation Wine Tasting Gala at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The foundation promises the evening to be an unforgettable event with “great people, great food and great entertainment.” In photo is Pepper Johnson and Jarvis Green at the 2008 gala in Seekonk, MA.

Jarvis Green has made it his goal to help families in underserved areas, some of whom are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and will be joined by some of his Patriots teammates and other local celebrities in hosting this fundraising event. Tickets can be purchased through For further information about the Foundation, please contact Eric Eisenberg at (636)294-5353. (See photos from last year's event HERE.)

ATLANTA: “Cocktails & Couture Fundraiser”
A Meet & Greet with the Ladies of BET Reality Shows

Chit Chat Communications & Caribe Media Network Presents Cocktails & Couture Fundraiser with the ladies of BET Reality
Friday, October 23, 2009, 6pm-9pm at FUSE Lounge (formerly M Bar), 257 Peters Street, (Castleberry Hill) downtown, Atlanta. $20 donation.

Via Press Release: “Cocktails & Couture” Fundraiser is a networking event and high-end fashion show with "Pieces of Adrene" Boutique. The event will have a Caribbean flair by Caribe Media Network with specialty sangrias made by the owner of FUSE Lounge and a variety of food options. A meet & greet with the ladies of BET reality: Antonia “Toya” Carter of “Tiny & Toya” and Neffe of “The Frankie & Neffe Show” with a surprise BET celebrity guest.

Networking is a must all while giving to charity. “This event is to raise funds for Sisters of Today & Tomorrow (SOT) nonprofit organization’s programs that take place throughout the year,” states Carla Morrison, Founder of SOT. “We are also introducing our celebrity spokesperson and our collaborative efforts that will be taking place. Neffe will be autographing and selling copies of her book ($12) 'My Happiness Is My Sanity,' with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Sisters of Today & Tomorrow.”

For more information, log onto: or call (404) 815-5667. For dinner reservations contact FUSE Lounge at (404) 228-7977 or

NEW YORK: NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg To Award Entertainers 4 Education Alliance with Proclamation Declaring October 27, 2009 “I Will Graduate Day" for the City of New York

Via Press Release: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will declare October 27th as the “first ever” I WILL GRADUATE DAY and recognize the efforts of Entertainers 4 Education Alliance, the entertainment industry’s charitable organization. Entertainment 4 Education Alliance (E4EA) has developed the “I WILL GRADUATE CAMPAIGN,” as an extension of their organization's mission which utilizes the influence of celebrities, musicians, sports figures, and high profile individuals to promote positive messages to young people about the importance of education, personal advancement, and social commitment. The proclamation will be presented to Entertainers 4 Education Alliance at their 4th Annual Stay In School Pep Rally event on October 27th from 2pm-6pm at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chamber Street, NYC.

Five years ago, celebrity publicist Tonya Lewis and former music executive J.P. Taylor, learned about the enormous drop-out rate in America’s schools while doing an event for a celebrity client. Disturbed by the statistics, they created E4EA to develop campaigns, concerts, rallies, and events, using their relationships with celebrities to emphasize the importance of education.

The “I WILL GRADUATE CAMPAIGN” is a drop-out prevention movement and call to action for students, parents, and the entire community to communicate the importance of education, increase educational achievement, and encourage high school seniors to pursue higher education. A PSA of the celebrities supporting the I WILL GRADUATE initiative can be viewed at and

Performances and Appearances by: Michael R. Bloomberg (NYC Mayor); Russell Simmons (Entrepreneur, Philanthropist); John Starks (NBA LEGEND); Al Harrington (NY Knicks); Nate Robinson (NY Knicks); Calvin Pace (NY Jets); Juelz Santana (Def Jam recording artist); Ryan Leslie (Atlantic/Next Selection recording artist) and Sway Calloway (TV & Radio Personality)

In related news, Mayor Bloomberg was among the honorees at the 2009 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy ceremony. Given every two years, the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy celebrates social investment and catalytic philanthropy. Much like the Nobel Prize in honoring individual contributions to society, the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recognizes individuals who live in the same spirit as Andrew Carnegie: “private wealth for the public good.” The other honorees were The Koç family of Turkey, Gordon & Betty Moore, and Sanford & Joan Weill.

The 2009 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees

WASHINGTON, DC: International Non-profit Hosts 2nd Annual Night of CelebrationIbriori! A Celebration of Rwandan Progress
Friday Nov. 6, 2009 – 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Josephine Butler Parks Center
2437 15th Street NW

Attendees have a chance to win a trip to Rwanda
To commemorate Rwanda’s progress over the past 15 years, Indego Africa will host the second annual Ibriori! fundraiser. The event will feature traditional Rwandan cuisine and lively African dancing by DC-based Amariza N’Amasonga dance troupe. Matt Mitro, founder of Indego Africa, will speak about the vital role women are playing in Rwanda's post-Genocidal development and the impact social enterprise is having on their lives and their community.

At the event, Indego Africa will raffle a trip to Rwanda including airfare and lodging, equal to $3,000. The winner will be able to see first-hand the impact of the Rwandan women on the economy and the country’s growth since the 1994 Genocide. Raffle tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at or on the night of the drawing.

“This is one of the most festive events in Washington, DC,” said Mitro. “We have a unique opportunity to celebrate Rwandan livelihood and support vital job skill training in a time when the global economy needs it the most.”

The event is open to the public, and tickets are available online for $45 at A combination package of an event and raffle ticket is available at a discounted price of $65. Indego Africa’s signature products, all made by cooperative groups of Rwandan women, will also be available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit Indego Africa, a fair trade organization that gives 100% of fundraising efforts to Rwandan women who are rebuilding their communities and economy through local crafts. (See previous post with photos HERE.)

Unsung Heroes To Receive $25,000 Cash Awards for Violence Prevention Work

On October 28, The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) will honor three community leaders with its 17th annual California Peace Prize at a ceremony in San Francisco. Among the honorees are:

Brian King: As co-founder and chief executive of Fresno Street Saints, Brian King has come a long way from his days as a gang member and drug dealer in Chicago. Fresno Street Saints, a faith-based organization that seeks to restore southwest Fresno as a safe and healthy community, provides services and support to at-risk youth and their families.

The organization’s services include gang prevention and intervention programs that offer educational enrichment, youth employment training, grief counseling and family leadership development. “What we’re doing is taking back these streets and directing resources right to the people, especially to the youth,” said King. “The community leaders and resources must be as visible and as accessible as the gangs are, or the gangs will continue to win.”

Olis Simmons: Olis Simmons has devoted her career to developing systems and programs that foster community wellness. Simmons helped found Youth UpRising (YU) and serves as its executive director. YU is a youth leadership development center that serves young people (ages 13 to 24) from Alameda County’s lowest-income communities.

This public-private partnership offers services in health and wellness, anchored by a school-linked health clinic and integrated mental health services; art and expression, featuring dance, music and film production; and career, pipeline preparation and placement. “The best prevention is investing in young people, in their education and sense of possibility,” said Simmons. “Be expansive in your notion of prevention. It’s not simply preventing a physical disease; it’s preventing the loss of hope.”

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent, private foundation, created in 1992, with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. Visit TCWF’s website at Source: Lagrant Communications

Nonprofit, Faith-Based and For-Profit Organizations Ban Together to Make A Difference

Several organizations are joining forces to support Keystone Community Outreach Church by hosting a community fair for over 700 residents from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2009, in the Cavile Housing Development located on 5020 East Rosedale Fort Worth, TX. This Saturday is nationally recognized as Make a Difference Day.

Local nonprofit organizations will set-up booths to raise community awareness about their causes, conduct workshops on health and financial literacy, and provide family-centered entertainment such as a three-on-three basketball tournament and a talent show for residents.

“The goal of the event is to connect this community with resources in their area while also providing hope and encouragement for the residents in the Cavile Housing Development,” said Froswa Booker-Drew, Director of the Texas Office of Partners of Sacred Places. “We are so excited to partner with wonderful nonprofit and for-profit organizations to demonstrate our unified commitment to bettering this community. This is the perfect example of neighbors helping neighbors.”

In the spirit of Make a Difference Day, a national day of neighbors helping neighbors, volunteers are asked to sign-up to assist with event set-up, running the basketball tournament, and directing community residents to workshops. According to the Make a Difference Day website, in 2008, more than three million American citizens participated throughout the country. The day of service is always held the fourth Saturday in October. For more information about Make a Difference Day, visit


African-American barbershops can serve as equal parts debate club, school, man cave, sports bar and therapists’ couch for men who enjoy the lively multi-topic conversations each weekend. On Saturday, October 31, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Big Brothers Big Sisters hope to interject the need for African-American male mentors into the morning conversations at barbershops throughout North Texas. Both Alpha Phi Alpha members and Big Brothers Big Sisters representatives will spend their mornings at participating shops sharing the tremendous need for mentors with customers.

“While many of our members are mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, the need for African-American mentors greatly exceeds what our local chapters can provide,” said Alpha Phi Alpha Xi Tau Lambda President Lewis Brewer. “Through the Grooming Men of the Future barbershop event, we hope to recruit mentors that day and also encourage folks to get involved and ensure that these boys are matched with positive role models.”

Recognizing that traditional mentor recruitment efforts were attracting a very small number of African-American males, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters to develop a barbershop mentor recruitment event five years ago. The 2009 event hopes to recruit at least 40 mentors. Currently, more than 1,500 African-American boys are waiting for a mentor in North Texas.

Participating barbershops in the Dallas/Forth Worth Area-DALLAS: L.A. Elite Cutz, 19009 Preston Road – Suite 117; Legends Ditty Slim Barber Shop,13331 Preston Road. FORT WORTH: Chop Shop Barbershop,6700 Brentwood Stair Road. PLANO: Tye’s Barber & Beauty Salon, 910 W Parker Road. LEWISVILLE: Ray’s Barber & Beauty Salon,1565 W Main Street – Suite 215 and Natural Edges, 937 E Southwest Pkwy. – Suite 106**Former Little Brother Michael Johnson cuts hair at this shop. ARLINGTON: Platinum Cuts Barbershop, 800 SW Green Oaks Blvd and Kut it Up Barbershop & Beauty Salon, 2290 SE Green Oaks Blvd. – Suite 110.

For more information, contact 888.887.BIGS or

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts

New York, New York (October 14th, 2009) - EMMY winning and Oscar-nominated legendary actress Cicely Tyson announced today that she will host an event for the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts, located at 35 Winans Street in East Orange, New Jersey on Saturday, October 24th, 2009. The red carpet and unveiling begins at 3:00pm with a private dinner to follow.

The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts serves as the East Orange School District's educational center for the development of performing and fine arts for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The school reflects a system of formal academic instruction with an intense arts curriculum. The academic/performing and fine arts curricula have been designed to allow students to be artistically creative in a field of their choosing; yet the academic program remains the foundation of all educational development. Ms. Tyson accepted the offer to have the school named in her honor on the condition that she is actively involved.

The idea to build the school was developed almost seven years ago and construction began in 2005 on the $143 million dollar project with funding from the State's School Development Authority. Built with the idea of revitalizing key neighborhoods in East Orange, the complex was created as a shared-use facility. After school hours, residents in the surrounding community will be able to use the school's library, media centers, gymnasiums, cafeterias, music and art rooms, and health and dental clinics.

The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts and the Washington Academy will occupy a 309,000-square-foot facility. The new school is one the most technologically advanced schools ever built in the state of New Jersey, with extensive performing arts facilities built to Broadway standards in terms of sound, lighting, and acoustics.

CNN’s Soledad O'Brien will be the evening’s mistress of ceremonies and Reginald Van Lee, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton and philanthropist, is the evening’s sponsor.

“These children have God-given artistic talents that we can now properly nurture and train,” said Ms. Tyson. “It is my hope that we will provide them with a foundation that will allow them to become productive members of the creative class and that their works will tell our stories for generations to come. I am pleased that the City of East Orange has chosen to invest in our collective cultural future.”

Source: bmichael America

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NFL Player Creates Community Mentoring Program for DC Youth

In 2003, NFLer London Fletcher of the Washington Redskins founded the London’s Bridge Foundation, an Ohio based non profit organization to build standards of education, leadership, teamwork and recreation for today’s youth, with the ultimate goal of instilling the values of volunteerism and philanthropy. Through the foundation’s mentoring and charitable giving programs, they teach youth life skills and valuable learning lessons. One of those programs is London’s Brigade, a community project that provides access to mentors 24/7. The project uses its website, (, which features a blog and discussion board to connect with students.

On September 22, 2009 during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference, Fletcher along with foundation staff and mentors took youth on a tour of the U.S. Capitol (in photo above) in Washington, D.C. They met Rep. Eleanor Norton and learned about various scholarship opportunities available to them. Norton, expressing appreciation to the foundation’s staff for bringing the youth to her office, shared that she rarely gets a chance to meet her youngest constituents. After spending the day on Capitol Hill, the youth were treated to a surprise dinner at B. Smith's restaurant in Union Station.

This month, the foundation’s theme is journalism and their upcoming mentoring trips will allow the youth to tour the Newseum, participate in a civil rights course that will allow them to stage their own mock social movement, visit BET and meet with executives in the entertainment industry, tour the Redskins stadium and have a chance to go on the field and write news paper articles about their experience.

The foundation states, “the central focus of the project is to provide students with an alternate game plan should their hopes and dreams of being professional athletes and entertainers not materialize. For many kids, especially minorities, these are the only perceived means of obtaining professional success. Thus, our primary goal is to introduce our students to alternative career options.” In addition to Washington, D.C., the foundation has provided mentoring activities in Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; and Charlotte, N.C. (In photo: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and London Fletcher.)

For more information, visit the website at

Photos courtesy of London's Bridge Foundation

NBA Player Returns Home to Inspire Youth

Akron, OH, October 13, 2009 – Professional basketball player Devin Green of the Minnesota Timberwolves went back to high school for a day in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to share his journey to the NBA with students at Butchel High school. Green’s summer was the subject of a YouTube documentary entitled "Devin Green: The Journey,”chronicling his collegiate hoops at Hampton University, and professional career in the NBA and overseas. On September 11th, Green journeyed home to Ohio to impart his learned lessons on and off the court.

Buchtel High School opened in 1931 and was named after John R. Buchtel, one of Akron's leading industrialists and philanthropists. Green spoke with two groups of students, an academic scholars program and the basketball team. Green played on the varsity basketball team for two seasons for the “Griffins” and appreciated the home court advantage to speak with the students. “Home is where the heart is, I love Ohio and appreciate all the support and encouragement,” said Green. “The Journey is a documentary about my life and professional athletic career. I want to share my journey and let the students know I sat where they are sitting and that dreams come true.”

On September 28th, Green signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an unrestricted free agent. Green has played with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and European teams.

Green’s commitment to giving back and his diverse support group propels him to keep going. His hometown of Ohio is where Green garnered his spirit of community service, zest for success and work ethic – on and off the court.

Green has “home-court” advantage and wants to inspire Ohio students to appreciate their own “Journey.”

"I found Devin's visit informative and his presentation was engaging," said Brian Turner, College Access Coordinator, Project GRAD Akron. "The students were receptive to his message and hopefully it will inspire them to go to college and embark on their own journey." To view a clip of Devin’s documentary, The Journey, visit HERE.

Photos: (Top) Devin Green with Project GRAD advisors; (bottom) Devon with Butchel High School students

Source: Jadshu PR

R&B Star Fantasia “Comes Together” With Macy’s and Feeding America

Singer and Broadway Actress to Host Dinner Party at Her Charlotte Home to Benefit Feeding America

CHARLOTTE, NC– October 14, 2009– Singer/Songwriter and season 3 American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, is joining Macy’s in an effort to raise money and awareness for Feeding America and local food banks. Barrino is hosting a dinner party at her Charlotte Home on Thursday, October 15th as part of Macy’s “Come Together” campaign.

This September, Macy’s and Feeding America launched “Come Together,” an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that aims to feed 10 million people suffering from hunger. Celebrating the renaissance of cooking at home, Come Together invites the public to rally around the cause and host special dinners in their homes, but ask their guests to pledge a donation to Feeding America and local food banks in lieu of the traditional host gift. In return, Macy’s will match these donations dollar-for-dollar until the total goal of 10 million meals is reached. In Charlotte, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina will be one of the beneficiaries of this effort.

The statistics are staggering, as 35.5 million Americans are at risk of hunger with 12 million of those being children. This year alone the need for food is up 30 percent. While many assume that the homeless make up the largest contingent of the hungry, in reality 89 percent of the people Feeding America serve nationally each year have homes. The need for food increases yearly during the Fall/Winter.

“When I heard about the Macy's Come Together Campaign, I thought that hosting a dinner party would be a great way to give back to my community,” said Fantasia. “After gathering information about the campaign I realized and want others to know that hunger is not just something the homeless experience. In these tough times we have to recognize the need to assist our fellow neighbors and community as a whole. That is why I wanted to do something with the campaign and I encourage others to do so as well.”

Source: IT Factor Media PR

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photos of the Day

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd with Rev. Al Sharpton and actress Lynn Whitfield attend the launch party for Shepherd's new Lifetime series "Sherri" on October 5, 2009 in NYC. Sherri is also lending her hand to charity - serving as the host for the upcoming Thurgood Marshall College Fund's Front Row fashion charity event. Via BLEU magazine, the official media partner for the event:

“ The Thurgood Marshall College Fund once again celebrates the spirit of innovation in fashion with a presentation of the collections of established and emerging African and Latino American fashion designers at Front Row, its 4th Annual Fashion Show on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street at 8:00 p.m. in Manhattan.

Front Row is one of the largest annual fashion shows in New York City dedicated to breakthrough fashion designers and a three-time sold out event. With its growing popularity, Front Row’s red carpet has become the place for fashionistas, celebrities and New York tastemakers to be and be seen making it one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Adding to its popularity is this year’s host, the lively Sherri Shepherd, co-host of The View and star of her own sitcom on Lifetime Television titled, ‘Sherri.’ Featured designers include: Byron Lars, Russell Simmons Argyle Culture, Kai Milla Designs, Angela Dean for DeanZign, a special new ethnic line from Walmart, Nico & Adrian, Annie S Intimates, Amsale, Francis Hendy, Montgomery and innovative emerging designers, Magnami Style & Company and Ellie Owen.

Front Row also pays tribute to trailblazers in the fashion industry with its Fashion Icon Award, saluting individuals who have influenced style and fashion and embody the spirit of leadership and commitment to their craft. The 2009 honorees are: Supermodel Naomi Campbell, international make-up artist Sam Fine; Emmy award winning hairstylist Andre Walker; and Fashion Institute of Technology President, Dr. Joyce F. Brown. The 2009 Avante Garde Award will be presented posthumously to the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson.

“The Front Row Fashion Show provides a unique venue for some of the nation’s leading fashion designers and emerging talents to showcase their creativity while giving the event’s attendees a rare opportunity to celebrate honorees’ contributions to the world of style, fashion and industry leadership,” said Dwayne Ashley, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.

“This event is also certainly about honoring individuals who embody leadership, commitment and service in their respective professions and in doing so, opened doors of opportunity to young people, which is at the heart of the TMCF’s mission.”

Angela Simmons and Vanessa Simmons participate in Macy's Passport 2009 Fashion Inform Event at Barker Hangar on September 25, 2009 in Santa Monica, California. Macy's Passport is an annual event that combines theater and fashion, benefiting HIV/AIDS charities.

Debbie Allen Raises Over $1 Million in One Night as the MC for the Alfred E. Mann Foundation's Evening of Innovation and Inspiration Within The Forbidden City - Benefiting the Foundation's Revolutionary Medical and Scientific Research Advancements
In photo: Debbie Allen arrives at the 6th Annual An Evening of Innovation and Inspiration within the Forbidden City at Santa Monica Airport on October 11, 2009 in Santa Monica, California

Via RappAround PR: So You Think You Can Dance’s/Fame’s Debbie Allen surprised a black tie crowd by appearing on the red carpet in face paint and an Asian-themed costume with performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka” at the Alfred E. Mann Foundation Gala on Sunday, October 11. She also introduced a young girl, who was deaf until receiving one of the foundation’s life saving cochlear implants that allowed her the gift of hearing. The young woman performed a solo dance routine for the master choreographer and 475 guests.

udacris along with Common and Talib Kweli, attend the Common & Friends Benefit Concert at the Hollywood Palladium on September 26, 2009 in Hollywood, California, benefiting Common's Common Ground Foundation
In related news, the Ludacris Foundation is hosting its 6th annual benefit dinner on October 24, 2009 in Washington, DC, honoring five outstanding individuals for their tireless work and strong commitment to community service. Among the honorees are Kevin Liles, Debra Lee of BET, Quincy Jones, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The sold out event will be hosted by Ludacris and comedian Joe Clair, with a special performance by R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn. Confirmed guests include Russell Simmons, Bob Johnson, LA Reid, Common, Usain Bolt, Cathy Hughes, Jeff Johnson, Clinton Portis, Taraji Henson, Michael Eric Dyson, Cynne Simpson, Gabrielle Union, Alonzo & Tracy Mourning, Donnie Simpson, Big Tigger, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and a host of others. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit The Ludacris Foundation: Leadership & Education, LudaCares, and Living Healthy Lifestyles local and national programs.

National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson speaks during a National Parks celebration hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association and PBS at Central Park on September 23, 2009 in New York City.
A few months ago, I posted on my Twitter a link to an article about Ranger Johnson titled, "Park Ranger Asks, Where are the Black People?" Snippets from the article:
"Johnson, one of a scarce few African American park rangers in the United States, said a black American celebrity publicly frolicking in the woods would do more to help people of color embrace their heritage than all the money in Hollywood.

Johnson, a musician, storyteller and interpretive specialist at Yosemite National Park, is determined to inspire young inner-city African Americans to experience what he says transformed his life. Less than 1 percent of the visitors to Yosemite are African American, a number he's eager to improve.

.....All Snoop Dogg has to do is go camping in Yosemite and it would change the world," said Johnson, 51. "If Oprah Winfrey went on a road trip to the national parks, it would do more than I have done in my whole career." Read full article HERE.
Photos: Wireimage

USA Today Launches Philanthropy-Themed Online Community

“Kindness: New Ways We Give and Volunteer” Is Most Recent Addition to Growing List of Online Communities and Embraces USA TODAY’s Commitment to Cause-Driven Content

Via Press Release: McLean, Va. (Oct. 13, 2009) — USA TODAY, the nation’s top-selling newspaper and a leading media brand, announces the launch of its latest online community, “Kindness: New Ways We Give and Volunteer.” Curated by Christie Garton, the community examines how philanthropy and movements for social change are engaging Americans with fresh approaches. USA TODAY is also publishing its most recent of the successful “Sharing in the USA” philanthropy-themed bonus sections today.

The newly launched online community, “Kindness: New Ways We Give and Volunteer,” covers the changing charity spectrum, from local non-profits innovating with technology to national corporations bringing good causes into everyday business. Traditional givers and the increasing numbers of involved youths can find new ideas and opportunities through the daily community, its ongoing reader discussions and vast volunteer search engine, powered by good2gether.

The community can be found at Community members are able to utilize all the social networking functions available on These include commenting, messaging authors directly, messaging other members privately, creating blogs, joining a conversation in the forum or creating forums.

This issue of “Sharing in the USA” includes: a personal essay by House star Olivia Wilde about what it means to give back; the story of how a local community has rallied around a 4-year-old cancer patient; a look at how television networks are working philanthropy into their scripts; an examination into how social media are being used to attract charitable contributions; an update on and what a summer of service accomplished; a look at how people are getting creative and folding dating into charity; stories of how individuals are choosing to serve in their communities for a better good and a full page of the latest statistics on “Sharing in the USA.”

Source: USA Today

Introducing the Nonprofit Millennial Blogging Alliance

Today is the official launch of the Nonprofit Millennial Blogging Alliance, that includes a cadre of amazing bloggers who blog about the non profit sector. I was asked to join the Alliance by Allison Jones (in photo), a fellow non profit blogger, writer, advocate and entrepreneur. She came up with the idea after reading an article about forming a blogging alliance. She shares:

“In the almost two years that I have been blogging I have learned so much about the nonprofit sector and the challenges that young employees face. This has motivated me to act and to connect with those who share my passion for creating a culture in the sector that values and actively supports young employees.

However, I always wondered how we could include more voices from the next generation in the conversation about the future of the nonprofit sector. Then I came across this article in problogger about forming a blogging alliance. While he talks about it being a secret mainly to benefit bloggers, I saw an opportunity to gather a group of young nonprofit bloggers who can help each other reach wider audiences and collectively bringing important issues about the nonprofit sector to the forefront by actively engaging and sharing each other’s work.”

Without further ado, here’s the list of the alliance members!
James Elbaor, From the Desk of James Elbaor, Twitter: @jameselbaor
Elisa M. Ortiz, Onward and Upward, @emortiz
Elizabeth Clawson, Nonprofit Periscope, @eclawson
Trina Isakson, Trina’s Nonprofit Blog, @telleni
Kathrin Ivanovic, The Diversity Projekt, @kathrinoutloud
Colleen Dilenschneider, Know Your Bone, @cdilly
Tera Wozniak Qualls, Social Citizen, @terawozqualls
Tracey Webb, Black Gives Back, @blkgivesback (Me!)
Kevin Gilnack, (Nonprofits + Politics)2.0, @kgilnack (Check out his post HERE)
Allison Jones, EntryLevelLiving, @ajlovesya
Rosetta Thurman, Perspectives from the Pipeline, @rosettathurman
..and the list is growing!

Read more about Allison and the Alliance HERE. Especially for those of you who work in the non profit sector, be sure to bookmark their blogs! Be on the lookout in the coming months for more from the Alliance - thanks Allison!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Black Girls Rock! Announces 4th Annual Awards Fundraiser Honoring Women of Color


Acclaimed actresses Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross will co-host this star-studded event to honor the achievements of outstanding women of color and raise funds for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc.
October 6th, 2009, New York, NY - On Saturday, October 17, 2009 stars will gather at the illustrious Times Center in the heart of New York City for the 4th Annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards. The ceremony will be co-hosted by esteemed actresses Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross alongside AMBI® Skincare, a scientifically proven skincare solution developed to meet the needs of women of color, while celebrating their strength and beauty - a brand committed to empowerment, education and providing women of color with skincare solutions for flawless, even toned skin. The show will honor the achievements of exceptional women of color in fashion, media, business, the arts and entertainment, and public service. In photo is Susan L. Taylor with the founder of Black Girls Rock! DJ Beverly Bond at their Black Girls Rock! 2008 award fundraiser.

Now in its fourth year, the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards show serves as the premiere fundraising event for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., a nonprofit youth empowerment mentoring organization founded by celebrity DJ, Beverly Bond. Grammy Award winner and founder of FFAWN, Mary J. Blige will be receiving the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Icon" Award. Singer, model and award winning actress Queen Latifah will be honored with the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Rock Star" Award. Trailblazer, entrepreneur, and actress Raven-Symoné will be taking home the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Young, Gifted, and Black" Award. Supermodel and fashion Icon, Naomi Campbell will be receiving the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Fashionista" Award. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Who's Got Next" Award will go to urban-alternative singer, songwriter, Wondaland Arts Society/Atlantic recording artist Janelle Monáe. Award-winning poet, playwright and activist Dr. Sonia Sanchez will be receiving the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Living Legend" Award. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Community Service" Award will be given to TruthAIDS founder, activist and White House Fellow, Dr. Mehret Mandefro. Inspirational speaker, author, and television personality Iyanla Vanzant will be taking home the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Shot Caller" Award.

Additional honorees include world-renowned DJ and media personality DJ Spinderella, who will be receiving the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Jazzy Joyce DJ" Award and Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton, who will be receiving the only award given to a man, the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! "Soul Brother #1" Award. Other participants include: actress Kerry Washington, 2008 BGR! Award recipient Bethann Hardison, philanthropists Danny Simmons and Jessica Seinfeld, renowned visual artist Vic Muniz, multi-platinum producer Bryan-Michael Cox, acclaimed fashion designer Catherine Malandrino, and more.

“I am proud that BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is at the forefront of a movement inspiring women of color to take charge of our images, our dignity, and our impact on the world," states Bond. "The annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Award show is our way of saying 'Thank You' to these stellar women whose exemplary achievements help to navigate future generations towards excellence."

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is undergoing a strategic shift towards national expansion, answering the call to service of President Barack Obama by mentoring, educating, and empowering young girls.
Ticket information for the annual gala can be found at
Source: Kinetix Public Relations

Upcoming Event: Newark, NJ

Newark Council Member-At-Large Hosts 18th Annual Rap Masters Competition

Vinnie Brown from Newark’s Own Naughty By Nature to select the Best Rapper

Hosted by Council Member-At-Large Donald M. Payne Jr., this Rap Masters Competition recognizes rap music and the rap culture as an important influence in the city of Newark, and its surrounding areas. This contest provides emerging talent in the Tri-State area an opportunity to showcase their creative skills.

WHO: Council Member-At-Large Donald M. Payne, Jr, Vinnie Brown of Naughty by Nature, Dream Maker Foundation, Quest Ink-Broadcast Team, and the National Museum of Hip Hop Foundation (NMOH)

WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 11 a.m., participants; 12 p.m. audience arrival. The event is free and open to all. Free refreshments will be available.

WHERE: Nat Turner Park, Boyd Street and 18th Avenue, Newark, New Jersey

CONTACT: For event info, call Council Member-At-Large Donald Payne’s office at (973) 733-3753.

Source: TLAPR Agency, LLC

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sprite Step Off: Stepping for Scholarships & Serving the Community

Sprite donates $4,500 to Columbia, Missouri’s Boys and Girls Club
Via 360i: Sprite Step Off is the largest national step competition EVER – with 30 events in over 20 cities, teams from all across the country can compete in Sprite Step Off for a share of a $1.5 million prize pool. Competing teams will also donate over 1 million hours of community service over the course of the competition, working alongside the national Sprite Step Off Service Challenge (SSOSC). The SSOSC is a national service initiative designed to ignite individuals and organizations nationwide to refresh their communities and inspire young people to pursue higher education.

The challenge is a collaboration between the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help spark community service amongst youth across the country. And since Greeks are ambassadors for attending college (by virtue of the requirements for their membership), Sprite Step Off can be a vehicle to inspire young people to pursue higher education.
Visit to get more information and purchase tickets in advance – and to check out the full event schedule to see where Sprite Step Off is going next. You can also find them on Twitter (@SpriteStepOff) for more updates.... and see how competitors apply the principles of stepping in their own lives to make a difference in their communities HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"An Evening Without Politics" Raises Awareness of HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color

Guest; Marion Barry, Washington, D.C. Ward 8 Council member and former Mayor; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.); Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.); guests of Rep. Watson.

On Friday evening, September 25, 2009, elected officials, Washington policymakers, corporate leaders, and members of the AIDS community attended An Evening Without Politics, a benefit reception hosted by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual legislative conference. The event was sponsored in conjunction with members of Congress to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of HIV in African American communities nationwide, and Washington, D.C. in particular, and to support AIDS education initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

At least 3 percent of D.C. residents have HIV or AIDS, a rate that is higher than West Africa and the highest in the nation. Among the D.C. community in attendance were former mayor and D.C. councilman Marion Barry, D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray, and Darian “Big Tigger” Morgan, radio personality and founder of the Street Corner Foundation. The evening ended with a special performance by R&B songstress Angie Stone.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill) shared, “Our focus on developing new leadership around HIV/AIDS is an extension of our overall dedication to health care reform. Through An Evening Without Politics, we hope to educate the public about how supporting even small steps through health care reform, such as the routinization of HIV testing and increased support for HIV/AIDS programming, can save innumerable lives.” Davis was among the leaders who were honored at the event who make a difference in addressing HIV/AIDS. Also honored were Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Christensen; Rep. Charles Rangel; Rep. Gregory Meeks and India Clark, Howard University peer educator.

Evelyn Ullah, NMAC member and director, Office of HIV/AIDS/TB, Miami-Dade County Health Department; aunt and mother of student honoree India Clark; student honoree India Clark, Howard University peer educator; Beverly Watts-Davis, U.S. Department of Health Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The NMAC states that the need for new approaches to HIV prevention has never been greater. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in August 2008 that HIV incidence rates in the U.S. were 40 percent higher than previously estimated, and nearly half of these occurred in the Black community. Communities of color overall accounted for 70 percent of all new infections. One new approach is the HBCU HIV/AIDS Peer Education Initiative, designed to ensure that young people get involved on their campuses and help educate one another vis-à-vis an “each one teach one” methodology. Schools slated to participate are Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Va.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; and Bowie State University, Bowie, Md.

Guest and comedienne/actress Kim Whitley
Angie Stone performs with D.C. Councilman Marion Barry

About the NMAC: The National Minority AIDS Council’s mission is to develop leadership within communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS through individualized capacity building assistance; technical assistance trainings; public policy education programs; national and regional conferences; treatment and research education programs; online and printed resource materials; and a website, The organization also serves as a membership association for its constituents-AIDS service organizations and minority faith- and community-based organizations delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color and advocates on their behalf. {Thanks to Edelman PR and NMAC for the invite!}