Sunday, February 28, 2010

Celebrating Black History: The Eartha M.M. White Legacy Fund

As Black History Month comes to a close, I'd like to share a wonderful story about Eartha Mary Magdalene (M.M.) White, a prominent black philanthropist and businesswoman from Jacksonville, Florida. Her life was truly remarkable and her legacy continues today through the Eartha M.M. White Legacy Fund.

Born in 1876, Eartha was the 13th child of two former slaves. She was adopted by Clara White, a woman who lived her life by helping others. In fact, Clara's favorite motto was,"Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, for all the people you can, while you can." Eartha embraced her mother's motto in her own life. She is pictured in the photo (standing) alongside her mother Clara.

In 1893, Eartha moved to New York City to avoid a yellow fever outbreak. There, she attended the National Conservatory of Music, which led to a job with the Oriental American Opera Company, which is known as the first black opera company in the country. Eartha sang soprano under the direction of J. Rosamond Johnson (brother of James Weldon Johnson), and traveled extensively with the company throughout the U.S. and Europe.

When she returned to her hometown of Jacksonville, Eartha, inspired by her mother's motto, began a life of philanthropy that continues today, well after her death in 1974.

She gave back to her community in many ways, as a teacher for 16 years and as an entrepreneur. She owned a taxi cab service, a steam laundry business, an employment and housekeeping bureau, and became the first woman employed at the Afro-American Life Insurance company in Jacksonville. It is estimated that from her various entrepreneurial endeavors, she amassed a net worth in excess of $1 million dollars, most of it used to fund her philanthropic efforts.

Those efforts include the establishment of an orphanage for African-American children, a home for unwed mothers, a nursery for children of working mothers, a tuberculosis rest home, the Boys' Improvement Club (1904) that worked to prevent delinquency, and helping to establish Oak Park, the first public park for African Americans in Jacksonville. Among the most notable of her efforts was the establishment of the Clara White Mission for the Indigent. Named after her mother, the mission fed the needy, and provided a variety of supportive services to Jacksonville's black community, which still exists today as the Clara White Mission.

In 1902, Eartha along with her mother established a nursing home for elderly African Americans, that later became known as Eartha M.M. White Health Care, Inc. In 2005, the assets from the health care company was sold, enabling the Community Foundation of Jacksonville to establish the Eartha M.M. White Legacy Fund, with a 1.4 million dollar endowment. The fund also made history, being the first fund with 1 million dollars in origin for the black community in Jacksonville.

Today, the fund is managed by a twelve member African American board with a mission to advance the state of knowledge and practice of philanthropic giving within the African American community. In the past five years, the fund has granted over $100,000 to support various initiatives in their community.

I learned about Eartha M.M. White and the Legacy Fund from Mr. Howard Taylor, a board member who is also a member of my blog's Linkedin group. He shared, "We want to get community involvement in what we do so that we can establish partnerships in our efforts and expand our program to teach those in need "how to fish." The fund is presently seeking partnerships with community oriented training programs that caters to teens, young adults and the working class.

In 1970, Eartha received a volunteerism award and was appointed to the President's National Center for Voluntary Action by President Nixon. When asked how she would spend her award money, she answered,"I've already decided I want it to serve humanity. What would I do with it? Sit around the Plaza Hotel? I'm too busy."

To learn more about Eartha M.M. White, the University of North Florida has an online exhibition with rare photos, personal stories, documents and other artifacts.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Pasadena Prom Dress Drive to Benefit Local High School Girls

Pasadena, CA - The Junior League of Pasadena, Inc. (“JLP”) is partnering with LA’s Prom Closet to host a Prom Dress Drive during the month of February 2010. The Prom Dress Drive, organized by Victoria Williams and Nicole Sandoz, are two members of the League’s Done in A Day Committee. The drive is an exciting opportunity for the League to make a difference in the lives of local high school seniors.

LA's Prom Closet’s mission is to offer donated new and used formal wear to deserving high school girls who may otherwise not be able to afford to attend their high school prom.

You can help! Drop off new or like new formal wear (age appropriate, excellent condition, styles within the last 5 years) at the Junior League of Pasadena Headquarters, 149 S. Madison Avenue by the middle of this week. Dresses donated should be dry cleaned and bagged. For more information, contact The Junior League of Pasadena at 626-796-0244.

About The Junior League of Pasadena, Inc: Founded in 1926, the Junior League of Pasadena is a non-profit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. For 2009-2010, JLP programs include BodyWise, a one-day conference for middle school girls and their caregivers in which they come together to learn about positive body image, self-esteem, self defense and much more; Kids in the Kitchen, an event which empowers children to make healthy lifestyle and nutritional choices; and Done in a Day, a program which creates immediate impact in the community through partnership to with local organizations on one-day volunteer projects.

San Francisco Art Exchange Debuts Special Black History Month Exhibit

Rosa Sat, Martin Walked & Barack Ran: Photographic Homage to African-American Leaders of Change On Display from February 1 to April, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (February, 2010) – In honor of Black History Month in February, San Francisco Art Exchange (SFAE) is proud to announce its exhibit, Rosa Sat, Martin Walked & Barack Ran: From a Seat on a Bus to the Desk at the White House. The special collection of more than 100 historical images depicting the lives of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Barack Obama is a celebration of the three honorees’ influence and accomplishments. Inspired by the song “Rosa Sat – A Song for Obama,” written by singer-songwriter Amy Dixon-Kolar just after Obama’s historic election victory, the exhibit chronicles defining moments in black history by focusing on the legacies and historic achievements of President Obama, Ms. Parks, and the Reverend Dr. King.

Comprising powerful images and intimate portraits captured by nearly twenty renowned photographers, Rosa Sat, Martin Walked & Barack Ran opens February 1, 2010 and will remain on display at SFAE through April 4. The historic retrospective will also be available for viewing on the SFAE Web site,

“This exhibit marks the first time all of these photographs have been shown together, and we’re honored that these world-class photographers are sharing their iconic works with us for this special event,” said SFAE co-founder and show curator Theron Kabrich. “We are celebrating African-American leaders who have changed the world through their courage, commitment and passionate pursuit of justice, and hope our visitors leave with the message that each of us can play a role in making positive social change.”

The exhibit features images from TIME magazine photographer Callie Shell, photographer/documentarian Lisa Law, photographer and social activist Bob Adelman, famed rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall, and civil rights advocate and photographer Bernie Kleina, among many others.

Clarence Jones, early speech-writer and attorney for Martin Luther King attended the opening party and shared his experiences with Martin Luther King in a 45 minute presentation. Clarence was also instrumental in the writing of the “I Have a Dream” speech, certainly one of the most famous oral presentations of all time.

The San Francisco Art Exchange is located at 458 Geary Street, between Mason and Taylor, and online at For more information, call 1-800-344-9633.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mental Health Campaign Launches Targeting the African American Community

PSAs debut at Howard University and Colleges and Universities Nationwide as part of First Annual HBCU National Mental Health Awareness Day
Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), working in collaboration with the Ad Council and the Stay Strong Foundation, announced today the launch of a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness of mental health problems among young adults in the African American community. The new PSAs were unveiled at a Black History Month event at Howard University this morning to coincide with the first annual HBCU National Mental Health Awareness Day. The launch was telecast to colleges and universities nationwide.

Mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are widespread in the U.S. and often misunderstood. According to SAMHSA, in 2008 there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older living with serious mental illness. Among adults, the prevalence of serious mental illness is highest in the 18 to 25 age group, yet this age group is also the least likely to receive services or counseling. In 2008, 6.0 percent of African Americans ages 18-25 had serious mental illness in the past year. Overall, only 58.7 percent of Americans with serious mental illness received care within the past 12 months and the percentage of African Americans receiving services is only 44.8 percent.

"Raising understanding and attention to these issues within the African American community will provide greater opportunities for those needing help to receive effective mental health services," said Kathryn A. Power, Director of SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services.

Created pro bono by Grey New York through the Ad Council, the campaign aims to promote acceptance of mental health problems within the African American community by encouraging, educating and inspiring young adults to step up and talk openly about mental health problems. The television, radio, print and Web ads feature real personal stories of African Americans dealing with mental health problems, and they aim to engage those in the community to support young adults who need help.

Terrie M. Williams, MSW, co-founder of The Stay Strong Foundation, collaborated on the development of the Web videos and PSA materials and serves as a campaign spokesperson. The Stay Strong Foundation works to support, educate and inspire African American youth through a series of programs and events that are designed to raise awareness of teen issues, promote the personal well-being of young people and enhance their educational and professional development.

"It is the work of the Stay Strong Foundation and my personal mission to educate everyone, and in particular the African American community, about depression and its impact on our communities," said Williams. "Every day so many of us wear the "mask" of wellness that hides our pain from the world. Now is the time to identify and name our pain—minus the myths and the stigmas—and seek the help so many of us need."

To view the PSAs for the campaign, visit, to learn more about mental health problems and how to get involved.

About National HBCU Mental Health Awareness Day: Historically Black Colleges and Universities' Center for Excellence in Substance Abuse and Mental Health at Morehouse School of Medicine, a grant funded through (SAMHSA), created National HBCU Mental Health Awareness Day. The HBCU Mental Health Awareness Day is the first national effort to promote behavioral health on HBCUs. The all-day event is being co-hosted by three additional HBCU institutions, Howard, Elizabeth City State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The purpose is to increase public knowledge and student awareness about mental health issues and to foster a more supportive and informed environment on HBCU campuses and in the community. For more information, visit

Newark Program Helps Fathers Reconnect with Families

Seventy-Eight Men Complete Transition Process and Graduate from the Newark Now Fathers Now Program
From a reader: "This is an amazing program that is changing so many lives in Newark, NJ and Essex County NJ, and I would love if you could help spread the word by posting it on blackgivesback."

On Saturday, February 20th, 78 men successfully completed the Newark Now Fathers Program at the Newark Comprehensive Center for Fathers (NCCF). Headquartered at Essex County College, the program serves fathers in transition - men who have lost their jobs and homes, and those re-entering the workforce following incarceration who seek to assume greater responsibility for and contribute to the lives of their children. Services provided are mentoring, parenting and life skills, legal assistance, help to improve math and reading skills, individual counseling, support groups, father/child activities, employment search and interview preparation services.

NCCF has successfully placed 70% of its graduates in gainful employment. In addition, men served by NCCF have a remarkably low recidivism rate of 3%. It is a replication site of the Philadelphia-based National Comprehensive Center for Fathers.

Invited speakers for the event included Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Edgar Izurieta, President and CEO, Newark Now; LaVar Young, Director, Fathers Now; and Deron McNair, Fathers Now 2010 Graduating Class Valedictorian.

Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker with graduate of Fathers Now program.
The men in the program chant "Delta Alpha Delta Sigma" (D.A.D.S.), to show their dedication to the program and their dedication to reclaiming their place as the father in their children's lives. Class valedictorian Deron McNair solidified the importance of this program with a single statement, "This isn't just a program, it isn't just a fraternity, this is our lives."

Newark Now administers the program in partnership with the City of Newark, NewarkWorks, New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Legal Services, and Release Network. For more information on the program, visit

Upcoming event: On February 25, 2010, Father’s Now will host the screening premiere for the documentary, Man-Up: The Exploration of a Fatherless Nation at the Newark Museum. The VIP reception begins at 5:00pm, screening at 7:00pm. Visit HERE for more information.
Source: FEMWORKS, LLC/Photo Credit: Alvarez Events

Monday, February 22, 2010

Former NBA Player Dikembe Mutombo To Serve as National Profile Partner with the U.S. Census

Mutombo’s Organization, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Focuses On Equality and Empowerment For All People
Dikembe Mutombo, former NBA player and activist, has been chosen by the U.S. Census as a National Profile Partner. In his role, he will work with the Census and create outreach strategies to increase overall participation in the Census among African and African-American communities, and also utilize the Census information for outreach projects to improve the quality of life for people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to equality and empowerment for all people, with a focus on those in the Congo.

Mutombo’s role as a National Profile Partner will be twofold - to speak to African audiences and communicate the importance of the Census and being counted; and to demonstrate the connection between the Census and support for other communities, including the Congo and other African countries. Mutombo also will act as a spokesperson for the Census and will integrate U.S. Census information on the Foundation’s website which currently boasts thousands of visitors per week.

“An accurate Census means that communities will have the necessary organizations to service its people,” said Mutombo. “That’s why it is important for everyone to be counted, even those of us who are from Africa and other countries. If we want to take advantage of what our community has to offer, we need to be counted as well.”

According to the 2000 Census, the number of Africans living in the United States reached 881,300, which comprised almost three percent of the total foreign-born population. That number is expected to continue to rise in the 2010 Census count.

The Dikembe Mutombo FoundationThe Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo. For more information, visit

In related news, President Obama has recorded a message urging participation in the 2010 Census. He states, “Every 10 years, our Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census. This helps determine your representation in Congress, as well as how federal funds are spent on things like schools and roads, and where businesses decide to put new stores and factories. So when you get your census form in mid-March, take about 10 minutes to answer 10 questions -- remembering to include everyone in your household. Because we can't move forward until you mail it back.” The PSA and a 20-second version are available now at

Source and photo: GlobalHue

Celebrating Black History


The above photo is a scene from the just released film, 'Blood Done Sign My Name,' starring Nate Parker of 'The Great Debaters' fame. The film is based on real life events that happened in the small town of Oxford, North Carolina in 1970.

More about the film: "Jeb Stuart's Blood Done Sign My Name is an epic story of empowerment and the struggle for human justice based on the acclaimed book of the same name by prize winning author and scholar Timothy Tyson. Part family drama and part history of the civil rights movement in America's south, the film is set in Oxford, North Carolina in 1970 and recreates the circumstances surrounding the small town murder of Henry "Dickie" Marrow, a 23 year old black Vietnam veteran who was shot and beaten to death by one of Oxford's prominent white businessmen and his two grown sons. In response to the crime, and the sham trial that followed, many young African American men took to the streets, engaging in riots and vandalism. However, schoolteacher and burgeoning activist Ben Chavis (who was also Morrow's cousin) decided that the best way to protest the injustice was to organize a peaceful march on the state capitol. What began as a small group of outraged friends and relatives grew to a crowd of thousands over the three day, fifty mile trek to Raleigh. Ten years old at the time, Tim Tyson watched as his father, pastor of the town's all white Methodist church, tried to get his church to accept the inevitability of integration."

Nate Parker stars as Dr. Ben Chavis, who went on to become the head of the NAACP. Blood Done Sign My Name is now playing in select theaters. Visit the website at for theater locations and to view a snippet of the film. (Thanks Corby!)


I recently read an article titled, "The History of Black Hockey Players: Past and Present." I learned about black hockey players such as Herb Carnegie, the first black hockey superstar, and Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL (who is blind in one eye). O'Ree currently works with the NHL's diversity initiative, Hockey Is For Everyone.

The Hockey Is For Everyone initiative is a component of the NHL's social responsibility program that provides support and programming to non profit youth hockey associations that are committed to offering youth from all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey. From the website, I learned of the many youth hockey organizations offered in urban communities - such as Ice Hockey in Harlem, and the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, DC, which has the distinction as the oldest youth minority hockey program in the U.S. Visit the initiative's website for more youth hockey programs.


The Baltimore City Paper has a great article on Joe Gans, the first black American boxing champion (no, it wasn't Jack Johnson) and one the country's first black sports heroes. Nicknamed 'Old Master,' over 7,000 people attended his funeral - but his legacy has been long forgotten, especially in his native Baltimore. The 100th anniversary of his death is approaching this year, and there are no street signs or historical markers in his honor.

But a Southwest Airlines employee and part-time actor has made it his personal mission to resurrect Gans' memory, by attempting to raise $25,000 to have a wax figure made of the boxing champion to be placed in the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore. So far, he's convinced actors, local athletes and Negro League baseball players to attend his upcoming fundraiser February 26th at the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. Read the article HERE.

Photo: Wikipedia

Friday, February 19, 2010

The 18th Annual Trumpet Awards Honors African American Achievement

Judge Glenda Hatchett and actress LisaRaye McCoy attend the 18th Annual Trumpet Awards on January 30, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 18th Annual Trumpet Awards was held last month in Atlanta, honoring distinguished African Americans who have contributed significantly to enhancing the quality of life for all. Established in 1993, the Trumpet Awards Foundation states that they are one of the most prestigious, national awards ceremonies highlighting African-American accomplishments and contributions.

This year's awards honored entertainment icon Steve Harvey with the coveted Pinnacle Award and music legend, Frankie Beverly with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Also honored were: Judge Clarence Cooper (Legal Award), Don Jackson (Producers Award), Dr. Farrah Gray (Young Entrepreneur), Rev. Jim Holley, PhD (Religion/Business Award), Rev. and Mrs. Joseph E. Lowery (Civil Rights Award), Clarence Otis, Jr. (Business Award), John Rogers, Jr. (Corporate Executive Award), Synthia Saint James (Arts Award), and General William E. Ward (Military Award).

Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam and Honoree Rev. Jim Holley

Political correspondent Roland Martin, actress Tasha Smith and Honoree Dr. Farrah Gray

Trumpet Awards Creator and Executive Producer, Xernona Clayton shared, "This year we will continue in the tradition and spirit of the Trumpet Awards which began more than 18 years ago. We are thrilled to bring such a stunning and unforgettable event that celebrates excellence, freedom and diversity, at its finest. It is truly a magical evening celebrating individuals who have had a profound impact in our community and on our world."

Trumpet Awards Red Carpet host Judge Hatchett, Majorie Harvey and Honoree Steve Harvey

For more information about the Trumpet Awards, please visit

Photos by: Red Carpet Images

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Make Me A Match Project: Raising Awareness of Bone Marrow Donors in the African American Community

At the age of 8, Samuel Roberson, Jr., was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood. A bone marrow transplant was his best hope for survival, but after a family and national registry search, no suitable match was found. He went through chemotherapy, but relapsed two and a half years later. By the age of 11, Samuel had beaten cancer twice.

Due to an experimental transplant, Samuel is here today. He feels that because his life was spared, he wants to share his story to help save others like him. Today, the chance of African–American patients finding a match is around 17%. Sam wants to change this with your help.

As the Founder and President of the organization Make Me A Match Project, Inc., Samuel's mission is to raise awareness of the shockingly low number of people on the national bone marrow donor registry, particularly amongst minorities, and to educate the public on the bone marrow registration and process through entertainment, social media, and the arts, as Samuel is an accomplished actor and playwright. In fact, in just three short weeks, Samuel wrote his life story and received an amazing response from audiences. He stated, "It was an amazing experience and from audience responses I realized that this was something that might inspire people to join the registry and possibly save lives." If you're in the Chicago area, Samuel will be performing his play, "And They Said I Wouldn't Make It: A Story of Hope," on Monday, February 22, 2010. See below for details:

WHERE: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
WHEN: 7 pm
Tickets: $10

Earlier in the day, the Make Me A Match Project will host a bone marrow drive, from 11-6pm at the same location. For more information, please contact Sam Roberson at sam [at] makemeamatch [dot] org or call (707) 816-2211.

Visit the Make Me A Match website at

Home Depot Kicks Off Program to "Retool" HBCUs

The Home Depot® offers $150,000 in Grants to Improve Campuses

New York, NY– February 16, 2010 – Continuing its long-standing history of support within the African American community, The Home Depot is launching the “Retool Your School” grant program designed to provide improvements to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide. As part of this unique program, The Home Depot will make a donation equal to five percent of the face value of three new commemorative HBCU gift cards, up to $150,000, for grants for on-campus improvement projects. Consumers can purchase the specialty gift cards online at beginning February 15.

“Empowering others to improve their communities is a mission that we share with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country,” said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, The Home Depot. “This year-long program is designed to enhance the HBCU campuses not only for current students, but also for the future generations.

The newly designed “Retool Your School” gift cards showcase inspirational moments experienced on HBCU campuses as well as how-to projects from painting to landscaping. Customers can order an e-gift card, which will deliver a digital e-card instantly to the recipient’s email of the customer’s choosing. Traditional plastic gift cards can also be ordered and mailed for free. Instant e-gift card denominations start at $10 and traditional gift card denominations start at $25.

To apply for the “Retool Your School” grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities will need to apply at by March 15. One $50,000 grant recipient and 10 $10,000 grant recipients will be selected by votes submitted by the public and an advisory board of community influencers in the spring of 2010. Consumers will be able to vote for their favorite HBCUs and see top entries on the “Retool Your School” website.

Consumers can also register online for “Retool Your School Friends and Family” updates about the HBCU program. Those who register between February 15 and March 14, 2010, can also enter to win a cabin for two to the Caribbean on the 2010 Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage. This annual eight-day cruise trip, organized by media maven Tom Joyner, raises funds to benefit Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Supporters who purchase “Retool Your School” gift cards between Feb.15 and March 14 can enter their receipt code for additional chances to win.

“We wanted to provide our consumers an additional off-line opportunity to truly connect with this program,” said Melissa Brown, manager of multicultural marketing, The Home Depot. “The cruise will provide another chance for one lucky winner to learn about the importance of HBCUs from lifetime advocate Tom Joyner.”

“Retool Your School” radio spots will also run nationally on The Tom Joyner Morning Show and The Steve Harvey Morning Show. Additional radio spots and specialty print ads to promote the grant program will run in key HBCU markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham and Washington, DC. A digital campaign will also run on popular sites, including, and (Black America Web).

For more information on The Home Depot “Retool Your School” grant program or to purchase a “Retool Your School” gift card, visit

Target Announces "Dare.Dream.Do." Campaign to Commemorate Black History Month

Effort Spotlights Extraordinary People Who Exemplify the Spirit of Diversity

"I was flattered when Target invited me to join its roster of dreamers and be featured in its Black History Month campaign. After all, growing up as I did in Sweden, there is no such thing as Black History Month! Target not only celebrates cultural diversity within its organization through the people they hire and the products they offer, they also find creative ways to encourage the public at large to do the same." -- Marcus Samuelsson (in photo), chef and cookbook author

MINNEAPOLIS (February 8, 2010) - In honor of Black History Month, Target® announces this year's new national multicultural campaign which encourages everyone, everywhere to celebrate diversity. This year's campaign entitled, "Dare.Dream.Do," highlights the personal stories of four extraordinary individuals - Founder and Director of The Angelrock Project Malaak Compton-Rock, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, Chef and Cookbook Author Marcus Samuelsson and Author and Founder/CEO of Translation Marketing Steve Stoute - who Dare, Dream and Do everyday of their lives.

"Fostering an inclusive culture is part of the DNA of Target; the variety that our guests, team members and local communities provide consistently inspires and informs our business choices everyday," said Greg Cunningham, group manager, marketing, Target. "Our 'Dare.Dream.Do.' campaign celebrates diversity and the stories of leaders and influencers. This, coupled with our product assortment, helps encourage our guests to appreciate each others' differences all year long."

A History of Celebrating Black History since 2006, Target has celebrated Black History Month with a national campaign to recognize the history, legacy and contributions of African American innovators and, in doing so, aims to encourage everyone to dream in color without the confines of black and white. In past years, the campaign highlighted inspirational stories from a number of influencers, including Debbie Allen, Iman, John Legend, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Woods, Holly Robinson Peete, India.Arie, Bethann Hardison and Thelma Golden. Additionally, Target continues to partner with the Smithsonian Institution to offer free online lesson plans, resources, curriculum ideas and activities for educators of elementary, junior high and high school students to further encourage classroom celebrations. For more information regarding online curriculum, visit Source and photo: CO Communications

Upcoming Events: DC, LA & Detroit

WASHINGTON, DC: If you're in the Washington, DC area, please join me at the International Spy Museum as they host their monthly Community Night observing Black History Month!

The Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on this all-but-invisible profession. Every month, the museum hosts 'Community Night,' an extravaganza designed for the DC Metropolitan community to spread goodwill and reach underserved communities. My charity, the Black Benefactors are serving as the special guests, along with WPGC 95.5 and the State Board of Education, with a special performance by the Soul Step Team. Kids are welcome!

WHEN: Wednesday, February 24th from 4-8 pm
WHERE: International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, NW, DC

Space is limited, so visit the museum website HERE to sign up!

LOS ANGELES, CA: The 2nd Annual African American Men's Health & Empowerment Summit

Join Sherri Shepherd, Charlie Wilson, Dick Gregory and Norm Nixon at this event featuring Free Screenings, Workshops, Entertainment and More in an Effort to Heighten Health Awareness Among African American Men

In a continuing campaign to raise health awareness issues amongst Black men within the African American community, Dr. Bill J. Releford, the founder of The Diabetic Amputation Prevention (DAP) Foundation, in conjunction with KJLH Radio and the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, are hosting the 2nd Annual African American Men's Health & Empowerment Summit on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"The View's" Sherri Shepherd and KJLH Radio's Adai Lamar will serve as event co-hosts. Health activist Dick Gregory will provide the keynote speech. Norm Nixon serves as national spokesperson for the event with Charlie Wilson, Rosie Greer and Olden Polynice acting as event co-chairs. The summit will take place from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and feature workshops, vendors, give-aways and more. The Convention Center is located at 1201 S. Figueroa in Los Angeles, with the Summit taking place in the Concourse Hall. Admission is free. For more information and to register, visit See previous post HERE.

DETROIT: The Detroit Chapter of the National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc. (N.H.A.A., Inc.) is pleased to present the renowned performance of the Hampton University Concert Choir

Proceeds from this concert will assist in furthering the Detroit chapter’s mission of providing scholarship opportunities to local area students with aspirations of attending Hampton University.

When - Sunday, March 7, 2010, 6:00 PM
Where - New Calvary Baptist Church, 3975 Concord Avenue, Detroit, MI

For more information and ticket price, contact

Monday, February 15, 2010

Taurus Top Ten Competition Announces Winner During NBA All Star Weekend

Ford Motor Company’s Earl Lucas, Magic Johnson, Grand Prize Winner Johnny Deas, Alonzo Mourning, Ford Motor Company's Bennie Fowler and Radio Personality Tom Joyner at Ford's Taurus Top Ten check presentation during the 5th Annual Zo & Magic’s 8-Ball Challenge, sponsored by Ford Motor Company in Dallas, TX, February 11, 2010.
Ford Announced Honor During NBA All Star Weekend Activities
Last fall, Ford Motor Company launched the "Taurus Top Ten" competition, to highlight individuals who are not only on top in their respective fields, but who also make a difference in the communities around them. Out of ten finalists, one was crowned The Top Performer in America in front of a crowd that included Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Tom Joyner. Via Ford:

DALLAS, TX., February 12, 2010 – After several months of searching for The Top Performer in America, Ford's "Taurus Top Ten" online competition announced that Johnny Deas of Lewisville, TX has been named the Grand Prize Winner. Ford made the announcement at the 5th Annual Zo & Magic’s 8-Ball Challenge, a fundraising event hosted by NBA legends Alonzo Mourning and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Just as the 2010 Taurus has ten class-exclusive features that make it a top-performing vehicle in the market, Ford chose ten outstanding individuals who are top performers in the fields of philanthropy, business, entertainment and sports whose actions are making positive impacts in the world around them. A former Marine, Deas founded Great Ideas Edutainment Foundation – a non-profit using entertainment to teach financial literacy and life skills in urban communities. Deas' leadership and dedication to his community made him standout and ultimately led to him winning.

Magic Johnson, Ford Motor Company’s Bennie Fowler, Tom Joyner, Ford Motor Company’s Earl Lucas and Alonzo Mourning

As Grand Prize Winner, Deas will receive an all-new 2010 Ford Taurus and a $10,000 donation to a charitable organization of his choice. In addition, all nine finalists will receive $2,500 to be donated to a charitable organization of their choice in addition to an NBA All-Star weekend experience.

“It was great to be in Dallas, and to be back here to play a role in honoring some of the outstanding individuals in the community,” said Earl Lucas, Lead Exterior Designer of the 2010 Ford Taurus. “At Ford, giving back to the community isn't an afterthought. It's something that we are committed to and have been since the very beginning. To be able 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 during one of the biggest events of the weekend was phenomenal. Each and every one of them are unsung heroes,” said Lucas.

The 2010 Ford Taurus, which was recently named "Urban Car of the Year," offers an unprecedented array of technologies typically reserved for luxury cars at a price that is affordable. Its impressive standard and available technologies add convenience, connectivity, safety and value for customers. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert, MyKey™ parental programmability, Ford SYNC® and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link™. Photo credit: Picture Group

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grace In Winter Silver Ball Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Evidence, A Dance Company

Actress Victoria Rowell, designer B Michael, Myrna Colley-Lee, FELA! star Saycon Sengbloh, and Rhonda Ross attend Grace In Winter Silver Ball, the 25th Anniversary of Evidence, A Dance Company on February 8th in New York.

The Grace in Winter Silver Ball, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the critically acclaimed Evidence, A Dance Company certainly lived up to its name – The Plaza Hotel ballroom positively glowed and the evening was filled with the grace of performances by Ronald K. Brown’s acclaimed dance troupe Evidence, Jennifer Holliday, jazz great Peven Everett and gracious moments and tributes. The glamorous evening benefited the Brooklyn based dance company.

Despite the bone chilling temperatures, most of the glam gals were in bare shoulder, backless dresses and showing lots of cleavage. The red carpet dazzled with the likes of legendary dancer Judith Jamison, Grammy winner Estelle, First Lady of New York Michelle Paterson, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, Tamara Tunie, Maurice & Andrea DuBois, Khephra Burns & Susan Taylor, Victoria Rowell, chef Marcus Samuelsson, Anthony McGill (who played with Yo-Yo Ma at the Obama Inauguration), Emmy winner Lynn Whitfield, singer Rhonda Ross (looking more like her mother Diana everyday), Saycon Sengbloh and Sahr Ngaujah stars of the rousing Broadway musical “Fela;” vice chair Joyce Mullins-Jackson in a stunning floral gown; publisher Jocelyn Taylor in slinky backless satin; Carla Harris, Domna Stanton and Alexandra Stanton, Valerie Michel, Brie Bythewood, Monica Azare, Prince Kunle Omilana and his gorgeous wife Princess Keisha in Maggie Norris couture, Rudy Chavez, president of Baume & Mercier (his company donated the beautiful watches given to the honorees); Leslie Mays in shimmering fuchsia satin, Jean Shafiroff in strapless electric blue and eye popping sapphire and diamond earrings; Debbie Bancroft, Pamela Joyner, Lloyd and Patricia Howell and so many more.

Jocelyn Taylor, Anthony McGill, Estelle, Rudy Chavez-President of Baume & Mercier, Andrea Hoffman, and Evidence Board Chair Reggie Van Lee

Princess Keisha Omilana and Prince Kunle Omilana of Nigeria

The premiere African-American event of the season, the evening opened as always with the emotionally stunning “Grace,” the dance company’s signature piece with special performances by Jennifer Holliday and Peven Everett. The performance drew the audience to their feet with thunderous applause.

The gala honored Brown, the company’s founder and Artistic Director; arts patron Reggie Van Lee, Board Chairman of Evidence, A Dance Company and longtime corporate supporter Booz Allen Hamilton. The honorees received inscribed Baume & Mercier watches. Actress Victoria Rowell emceed the evening.

Actress and star of Disney's Princess And The Frog, Anika Noni Rose and Reginald Van Lee

Brown gave an extraordinarily touching speech about fellow honoree Reginald Van Lee and whipping off his dinner jacket performed a special tribute dance in Reggie’s honor before presenting him with the Classima Executives watch, donated by Baume & Mercier.

In honoring Brown, legendary dancer Judith Jamison an unabashed fan of Brown’s choreography praised him saying,” I thank God every day that there exist men who are the mountaintops …and you are Kilimanjaro!” She then presented his award, an inscribed Baume & Mercier watch. Jamison literally danced her way to Brown! Then Brown received another surprise – associate Artistic Director and lead dancer Arcell Cabuag appeared on stage with a dozen alumni of Brown’s company who came from as far as California and London to dance one more time for the beloved choreographer.

Although Evidence, A Dance Company celebrates an extraordinary 25 year history, this season is a golden one for the company and Brown personally. A magnificent commemorative book detailing the Company’s 25 year history and Hermès created a limited edition scarf to commemorate the anniversary. Next week the troupe embarks on a State Department-sponsored tour to Africa and then will perform at the Vancouver Olympic festivities.

There was an extraordinary live auction of three fantasy trips including a week in Paris at the Hotel Keppler that included private receptions at Dior and Hermès with a very special visit to the apartment of design legend Coco Chanel courtesy of EuroPancache.

The evening wrapped on an emotional high note with Holliday taking to the stage to belt out her trademark song from “Dreamgirls,” “And I am telling you, I’m not going.” Holliday with her soaring vocals once again brought the crowd to its feet.
Jennifer Holliday performing with Evidence dancers

Closing the show, Victoria Rowell invited the guests to join the dancers on the dance floor which they did enthusiastically and The Grand Ballroom throbbed until the wee hours.

The Ball’s sponsors, all of whom have supported Evidence for many years, include HSBC-Premier, The Official 25th Anniversary Year Corporate Partner, Booz Allen Hamilton, Continental Airlines, ING, Moet & Chandon Champagne, Verizon, BET, MTV, Carla A. Harris, Baume & Mercier, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Ethan Shapiro & Associates and Prudential. was the media sponsor.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the committees and board, organizers report that the gala event which benefits Evidence, A Dance Company reached its goal of $500,000.

The Silver Committee included: Maurice and Andrea DuBois, Noel Hankin and Moët Hennessy USA, Judith Jamison, Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, Rhonda Mims, ING, Terry McMillan, Ms. Baraka Sele, René Syler, Susan Taylor and Khephra Burns, Tamara Tunie, Cicely Tyson, Lynn Whitfield, Reginald Van Lee and Booz Allen Hamilton. The Silver Friends Committee included Alicia Bythewood, Felicia Daniels, b Michael, Harriet Michel, Mira Mullins, Esq., Brian Mullins and Donna Williams. Luxury Auction Committee includes: Tybie Etoy Dotson, Chair; Marc Eastwood, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Vanessa Rodriguez, Gail Monroe Perry and Andrea Hoffman.

Evidence board member Joanne E. Hill and Ann White


Noel Hankin, Moet Hennessy; Loida Lewis, Reginald F. Lewis Foundation; and Mike Muse of Muse Recordings


Alexis Clark and guest; Evidence Board Vice Chair Joyce Mullins-Jackson and Lee


Ann White, Shirley Marcus-Allen, Guest and Gail Monroe-Perry

The Board of Directors of Evidence includes Reginald Van Lee, Chair, Ronald K. Brown, President, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Vice Chair, Reggie Canal, Treasurer, Leslie Mays, Secretary, Zaid Abdul-Aleem, Dwayne Ashley, Monica F. Azare, Joanne E. Hill, Andrea Hoffman, b. Michael, Gail Monroe Perry, James Sullivan, Jocelyn Taylor, Dr. Ancy Verdier and Lisa B. Walker. Source: Alchmyst PR/Photo credit: Ann Watt

Newark Launches "Status Is Everything" HIV Prevention & Testing Campaign

Laurence Ganges, Assistant Commissioner, NJ Dept of Health & Senior Services; and Gary Paul Wright, Executive Director, African American Office of Gay Concerns, attend the press conference launch for "Status Is Everything" HIV Prevention and Testing Campaign earlier this month in Newark, NJ .

Newark’s African American Office of Gay Concerns and The Mayor’s LBTGQ Commission launch the “Status Is Everything” HIV Prevention & Testing Campaign

An Innovative Multimedia Campaign Targeting Young African American Gay Men In Newark, NJ

Newark, NJ, February 4, 2010 – The African American Office of Gay Concerns (, joined Mayor Cory A. Booker and the LBTGQ Commission to launch “Status Is Everything,” a Newark focused HIV testing campaign targeting young African American men between the ages of 18-24 who have sex with men in the Greater Newark area. “Status Is Everything” is the first HIV social marketing campaign in New Jersey to utilize text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, PSAs and large-scale movie theater, transit, and billboard advertising. The referral process for “Status Is Everything” is threefold. Candidates can receive referral services through their mobile phone, 1-866-HIV-CHECK-- the New Jersey HIV/STD hotline, or online at Results for the campaign will be measured and evaluated through the HIV Prevention Community Planning Support and Development Initiative of Rutgers University.

In an effort to keep up with Generation Y, the AAOGC saw the need to utilize social media tactics to reach and impact their intended demographic. “I think the greatest thing about this project is that we took the question to the very people we serve. They gave us the who, what, when and how to reach our target population. What you see in this campaign is definitely consumer-driven,” said Gary Paul Wright, the Executive Director of the African American Office of Gay Concerns.

“Status Is Everything” campaign is uniquely Newark-focused and informed by focus groups of African American gay men from the area. Tamara Fleming, Principal and Creative Director of FEMWORKS, LLC said, “My vision for this campaign was to create images & graphics that spoke directly to the target market. The focus group research gave me a better understanding of what sentiments needed to be communicated. Our goal was to create affirming visuals and imagery of African American gay men that are easy to relate to.” African American men who self-identify as men who have sex with men and live within the Greater Newark area, are used in the original photography and PSA videos, which are a key component to the campaign’s success.

The “Status Is Everything” multimedia promotions and content is featured on social media networks including YouTube and CauseCast, which allows for content sharing, interaction, and visitor contributions on a national basis. “More and more people are using social networks to get their news and information,” said Department of Health and Senior Services Assistant Commissioner Larry Ganges. “Facebook, Twitter and text messaging are innovative methods to educate this community and promote HIV testing, which can save lives.”

For more information, visit

Source and Photos: FEMWORKS, LLC

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taraji P. Henson to Host Southern California Ford Freedom's Sisters Luncheon

Los Angeles, CA--Thursday, February 10, 2010--Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson will host the Ford Freedom's Sisters luncheon on Thursday, February 25th at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The luncheon, which will honor 20 exceptional African American women who have made a difference in Southern California, will be held from 12-2 p.m. As the host and sponsor of the Southern California Freedom's Sisters Luncheon, Ford Motor Company continues to honor African American women who fought for the equality and freedom for all.

This local honoree luncheon and award ceremony is a continuation of the Freedom's Sisters traveling multimedia exhibit, which was launched in 2008 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. A collaborative effort between the Cincinnati Museum Center, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Freedom's Sisters honors 20 extraordinary African American women, from key 19th century historical figures to contemporary leaders, through their stories of courage and commitment.

"Ford Motor Company is thrilled to have Ms. Henson hosting our Los Angeles Freedom's Sisters luncheon", said Pamela Alexander, director, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "A trailblazer in her own right, Taraji is a role model to women of all ages who strive to realize their dream."

"I am honored to join the Ford Motor Company Fund in recognizing the struggles and continuing success of the many remarkable African American women of achievement here in Los Angeles and across the nation, both past and present,” says Henson.

Civil rights icon and one of the 20 women honored in the national exhibit, Freedom Sister Myrlie Evers Williams, will deliver the keynote address at the invitation only luncheon.

Read a recap of previous Ford Freedom's Sisters Luncheons HERE.

Black Enterprise Kicks Off 5th Annual Women of Power Summit

More Than 500 Women Executives of Color Come Together to Map Out Their 5 Paths to Power: Envision, Prepare, Connect, Persist, and Commit
(Palm Springs, CA) February 10, 2010--BLACK ENTERPRISE will kick off its fifth annual Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm® on Feb. 10, 2010 at the La Quinta Resort & Club near Palm Springs, California. The sold-out, four-day leadership conference will examine the distinctive challenges that minority women face in corporate America and offer business success strategies that focus on workplace politics, emerging business trends, management techniques, and workforce diversity.

This year's featured keynote speaker will be Hon. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. A theoretical physicist, she was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995-1999). President Obama appointed her to serve on his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The focus of her research and policy include energy security and the national capacity for innovation, including addressing the "quiet crisis" of looming gaps in the science, technology, and engineering workforce, and reduced support for basic research. She is a vice chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chairs its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative.

"Since its inception, the Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm® has provided African American women executives with access to industry leaders, expert advice, and valuable networking opportunities," says Grace Castro, vice president, BLACK ENTERPRISE Multimedia Sales & Events. "BLACK ENTERPRISE is honored to welcome Ms. Jackson and all of our VIP guests as they share their success stories and enable women of color to power forward in their professional and personal pursuits."

The 2010 Summit will feature an outstanding roster of speakers and session leaders, including Marilyn Johnson, vice president, Market Development, IBM; Pamela Mitchell, founder & CEO, The Reinvention Institute; Susan Taylor, founder, National Cares Mentoring Movement, and many more inspiring women.

Visit for exclusive news, video, and updates from the event.

The 2010 Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm® is presented by ExxonMobil, Frito-Lay, QTG, Pepsi, and FedEx. Platinum sponsors include Abbott Vascular, Buick, Continental Airlines, EMC, Intel, Macy's, Microsoft, and Marriott Hotels & Resorts. Corporate partners include Fox Searchlight, Herbalife, and United Healthcare. Source: Black Enterprise

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Celebrating Black History

I'd like to give a big thanks to Alexis Stodghill at AOL's Black Voices for profiling me and my blog, BlackGivesBack, for Black History Month! is one of my favorite sites, so of course I'm very excited about this opportunity. Check out the article HERE to learn more about me as I share history on black philanthropy, my favorite philanthropist, the importance of African Americans supporting each other through community service and financial grants, and why black philanthropy is critical to our future.

I'd also like to give a big thanks to, a wonderful education and career focused network website that also profiled me for Black History Month. The site is full of great resources for new and future college students, with advice on career preparation, life skills, community, and stories relevant to today's students. So visit the site and sign up (and read my feature article!)

Making the news in Black History, Continental Airlines has named a plane in honor of the first African American pilot hired by a major U.S. airline. Via Continental Airlines:

Continental Airlines Names Plane in Honor of Captain Marlon Green, Who Broke Racial Barriers in Pilot Hiring

HOUSTON, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) named one of its aircraft in honor of its late Capt. Marlon Green, who won a landmark legal battle to become the first African American pilot hired by a major U.S. passenger airline, in a special ceremony at Bush Intercontinental Airport today.

"Capt. Green was a pioneer who was willing to challenge the unacceptable status quo of the time and paved the way for the most qualified applicants to be hired, regardless of the color of their skin," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "His bold actions have helped make Continental what it is today, a company of great diversity."

Green resigned from the U.S. Air Force in 1957 after nine years and more than 3,000 hours of flying multi-engine aircraft to apply for a job with a commercial airline. He was rejected by every airline at which he applied, including Continental, where he was granted a flight test and interview only after he declined to note his race on his application. Continental's refusal to hire him while hiring other less qualified applicants became the basis of his six-year legal challenge that culminated with a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1963, which ensured no applicant for a pilot's position would be denied a job on the basis of race. Green finally began flying for Continental in 1965 and he remained with the company for 14 years until his retirement. He died in 2009 at the age of 80.

Today, thanks in part to Capt. Green's pioneering efforts, Continental's workforce represents a rich diversity of cultures and lifestyles, where ethnic minorities account for more than 40 percent of the domestic workforce. The company's Diversity Council, Supplier Diversity Program, Diversity Awareness Training and Diversity Awareness Events all support a commitment to diversity and inclusion within Continental's long-standing culture of treating each other with dignity and respect.

The press release also states that Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline, with more than 41,000 employees. Great story!

Photo: The Green Family via PRNewswire

Uplifting Change Summit: Philanthropy and the African American Community

On Thursday, February 11, 2010, foundation and corporate grant makers; individual donor-activists and community and business leaders from Southern California will come together for the Uplifting Change Summit.

This day-long program will address how philanthropy can respond to our current socio-economic crises and promote positive change in the African-American community. Participants will share strategies, challenges, and best practices in philanthropy.

Learn strategies to help you leverage your giving. Increase investment in new solutions,strong leaders and effective organizations. Uplifting Change begins with you. Join them!

Uplifting Change Summit
Presented by the Honorable Karen Bass, Speaker of the California Assembly

February 11, 2010
at the
Center for Healthy Communities
1000 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

8:00 - 5:30 pmFree Parking Available on Site

Space is limited but kindly visit for more information. Or call Vincent Jones at 310-453-3611 x 132.

Strategy Sessions Presented By: The Brotherhood Crusade and California Community Foundation with additional sponsors: The 21st Century Foundation, The Los Angeles Sentinel, Southern California Grantmakers and Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy. Luncheon sponsored by Broadway Federal Bank.

For a recent segment about African-American philanthropy and the Uplifting Change Summit on the Tavis Smiley Show see:

About the Liberty Hill Foundation: The Foundation partners with innovative and effective Los Angeles grassroots organizations to combat poverty and injustice. Their Uplifting Change Initiative is designed to invest in new solutions, more leaders, and strong organizations advancing social change, that brings together African-Americans from across Los Angeles, to inspire more to support social justice philanthropy and provide more resources to invest in South Los Angeles and beyond.

Uplifting Change Leadership Circle: Tanya Acker, Esq., Kibi Anderson, California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Rev. Wendell Davis, Brickson Diamond, Earl Fowlkes, Hill Harper, Paul C. Hudson, Fran Jemmott, Rev. Eric Lee, Paula & Barry Litt, Holly Mitchell, Steve Phillips & Susan Sandler, Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Effie & Edward Sanders, Alison Taylor, LA City Council Member Jan Perry, and Keith Weaver.

To learn more about the organization and the Uplifting Change Initiative, visit the site at Also, more information on the summit can be found HERE.

Source: The Liberty Hill Foundation

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Alliance for Digital Equality Hosts "A Gridiron Toast to Excellence"

Miami Heat superstar and philanthropist Alonzo Mourning and Julius Hollis, Chairman of The Alliance for Digital Equality at "A Gridiron Toast to Excellence," on February 5th in Miami, Florida.

The Alliance for Digital Equality Celebrates Super Bowl XLIV In Style As They Host "A Gridiron Toast to Excellence"Honorees Included Congressmen James E. Clyburn, Tom Joyner, Debra Lee, Alonzo Mourning, Vicki Palmer, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan

MIAMI (February 8, 2010) – Julius Hollis, Earl Cummings, Sean Pittman, Daniel Halpern, Robert Shumake, Sen. Rodney Ellis, David Rivers and Art Collins, in support of The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), kicked off Super Bowl XLIV weekend in style, as they hosted a private celebration, “A Gridiron Toast to Excellence,” at the lush Mia at Biscayne on Friday, February 5, 2010. The lavish event primarily served to honor well-respected luminaries who excel in their respective fields of practice, consistently enriching the communities in which they live and work.

In the field of politics, the ADE honored U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip (SC-Dem), Congressman James E. Clyburn; in the field of media, honorees included nationally syndicated radio personality and philanthropist, Tom Joyner, as well as Chairman and CEO of BET Holdings, Debra Lee; in the field of sports/philanthropy, Miami Heat superstar and Chairman Emeritus of Alonzo Mourning Charities, Alonzo Mourning was honored; in the field of business, retired Executive Vice President of Coca-Cola, Vicki Palmer was recognized; and Miami legends, Gloria and Emilio Estefan were recognized in the field of entertainment/philanthropy.

Julius Hollis and Honoree BET CEO Debra Lee

Julius Hollis, Chairman of The Alliance for Digital Equality, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to bridge the technology divide between underserved ethnic and minority communities within the United States and the technology advanced marketplace, has staged this event since 1993 with past honorees including Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; former Mayor of Houston, Lee P. Brown; music business pioneer and chief executive, Clarence Avant; Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Harold Ford, Jr., real estate magnate, R. Donahue Peebles; and Ernie Greene to name only a few.

Earlier during the day of the event, ADE along with Tom Joyner and Alonzo Mourning made made a donation of 50 computers to Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Liberty City, 50 computers to Maya Angelou Elementary School in Allapattah and 100 computers to the Overtown Youth Center in Overtown.

Tracy and Alonzo Mourning; Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson and Debra Lee

“I was extremely proud and honored to have been able to recognize these individuals during our 17th Annual Pre-Super Bowl celebration. It is men and women like Congressman Clyburn, Mr. Joyner, Ms. Lee, Mr. Mourning, Ms. Palmer and Mr. & Mrs. Estefan that lift up the African-American and Hispanic communities with their tireless philanthropic efforts,” stated Julius Hollis, chairman of the Alliance for Digital Equality.

Seeking to end the ever-increasing “digital divide,” the ADE is becoming the leading voice of underserved communities on matters that not only pertain to technology, but to telecommunications reform and product awareness as well. By establishing “digital empowerment councils” in cities as diverse as Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Charleston, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and Los Angeles, actively involved citizens (with sponsorship from the ADE) are able to establish local policies in regards to broadband initiatives, making sure that those living in underserved communities stay on par with technological advancements.

Former VP of Coca Cola Vicki Palmer, Debra Lee, Alonzo Mourning, Tom Joyner, and Julius Hollis

For information on The Alliance for Digital Equality, visit

Source and photos: Circle of One Marketing

Legislators of Color Urge Action on Digital Divide

WASHINGTON, DC -- In conjunction with caucuses representing communities of color from several state legislatures, the Hispanic Institute has released a new report that urges lawmakers at all levels of government to expand access to high-speed internet for all Americans.

"Broadband is the best opportunity for people of color to advance in the areas of education, health care, and economic development," said Gus West, Board Chair of the Hispanic Institute. "It is imperative that leaders in these communities have a seat at the technology and telecommunications policymaking table."

The report -- "Towards Access, Adoption & Inclusion: A Call for Digital Equality and Broadband Opportunity" -- notes the persistence of a digital divide that separates people of color and low wage-earning groups from more affluent Americans. Such a divide "threatens the future sustainability of our communities and our country," the report concludes.

"Broadband can and must be a vehicle for expanded opportunity for all Americans," said study co-author Dr. Nicole Turner Lee, VP and Director, Media and Technology Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "But if we tolerate a status quo in which some Americans have broadband and some don't, the gaps that separate one American from another will become institutionalized."

According to the report, many Americans, particularly people of color, do not have access to affordable broadband options. "Policymakers must address affordability problems head-on through a combination of government initiatives, programmatic reforms, incentives for private-sector investment in broadband deployment, and public-private partnerships," said West.

"Toward Access" also warned against policies that might shift costs to the poor or over-burden low-volume broadband users with the costs of maintaining services for high-volume users.

"Ubiquitous broadband access, adoption, and use stand to be great equalizers in our society," concluded West. "Lawmakers should work to make affordable broadband access a reality nationwide."

"Towards Access, Adoption & Inclusion: A Call for Digital Equality and Broadband Opportunity" was released jointly by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, The National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, and the National Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators. The Hispanic Institute and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies provided substantive data for the report. To download a copy of the report, visit HERE.

The Hispanic Institute is a 501 (c) 3 designated nonprofit organization. The Hispanic Institute's mission is sharply focused: THI provides an effective education forum for an informed and empowered Hispanic America. The Hispanic Institute manages ongoing projects including the study of Hispanic economic contributions; media monitoring; consumer fraud protection; citizenship education; and technology and telecommunication research.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center will mark its 40th Anniversary of service in 2010. To learn more, please visit

Source: The Hispanic Institute

SELF Magazine Looking for Women Doing Good!

SELF Magazine announces its 3rd Annual Women Doing Good Award!
Do you know an exceptional woman doing good in your community? Or is it you?

The search is on to find the most extraordinary women who are working hard and are determined to make a difference, whether it is within their community, environmentally, medically -- the sky is the limit!

That woman could be you or someone you know—a woman driven by compassion, who truly strives to improve her community, the environment or the world around her.

The winners will receive a $10,000 donation for their respective charity or organization, be featured in the September issue of SELF, and honored at an
awards dinner in New York City.

The contest ends March 30, 2010. Visit HERE to enter!

Source: CondeNast