Laila Ali: Be Unique and Pursue Your Dreams

LinkedIn

Laila Ali developed the values of hard work, determination and courage growing up as the youngest child of the legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali. Her own record of 24 wins—21 of which were knockouts—and zero losses has made her the most successful contender in the history of women’s boxing.

The boxing world champion, TV host, author, and speaker, said, “I like to live my life with an ‘All In’ attitude. I’m always asking myself, ‘What more can I do?'”

Most recently, Ali partnered with T.J.Maxx to launch “The Maxx You Project,” encouraging women to let their individuality shine. In response, T.J.Maxx is launching The Maxx You Project—aimed at helping women break those stereotypes by embracing the personal aspirations or lifelong dreams that make them each one-of-a-kind. Ali has overcome adversity, defied expectations and pushed herself beyond her comfort zone—to help 80 women to do the same.

“As a woman, I know there are ‘boxes’ the world might try to place us in and go-to labels often used to describe us: mother, sister, boss, friend, etc., but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we truly are at our core,” Ali said. “From ‘Mom Boss’ to boxing world champion, entrepreneur to cooking enthusiast, author, speaker and TV host, there is no one role that defines me. That’s why I’m really excited to partner with T.J.Maxx to inspire others to break through those labels and pursue what’s inside them.”

Source: prnewswire and shrm.org

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

LinkedIn
Higher Education

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

###

Bubba Wallace Makes History As The First African American With A Podium Finish In The Daytona 500

LinkedIn

Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. will make history as the first full-time black driver since 1971 in the predominantly white Daytona 500 race.

Wallace follows Wendell Scott from nearly 50 years ago – who was the first black driver to win a race in the Grand National Series since NASCAR was founded in 1948.

The 24-year-old will drive the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports on Sunday.

Wallace had driven the iconic No. 43 car to a third-place finish in a Daytona 500 qualifying race, setting off a celebration for Richard Petty Motorsports almost worthy of winning NASCAR’s marquee race itself.

The King strolled to the pits and hugged Wallace. The 80-year-old Petty wrapped his arm around Wallace , and they walked off smiling toward what each side hoped was the start of a fruitful alliance.

‘I just had a guard walk me from pit road to the media center. His name is Richard Petty. I’ve never seen him so excited in my life,’ Wallace said.

That Wallace can energize Petty may symbolize as much a true passing of the torch as NASCAR could want: Petty and his deep kinship with old-school fans and Wallace, a video game playing, social media darling about to make history as the first black driver in decades.

Busting down racial barriers in a sport long reserved for whites is heavy stuff for Wallace, and he’s keenly aware all eyes are on him.

The rookie invites glare from his fans and haters, starring in his own eight-episode docu-series ‘Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace ,’ on the Facebook Watch show page.

Wallace, the son of a white father and black mother, has openly talked of becoming the Tiger Woods of NASCAR – a black star who can transcend the sport and prove people of all colors can race and flourish in corporate America.

‘There’s a lot of stuff that’s riding on this weekend. I know it. I pay attention to it,’ Wallace said.

‘I follow a lot of people on social media, and it’s being put out there. But I’m doing my best at managing it, keeping it behind me, and that’s the best thing I can do.’

Wallace is one of at least eight black drivers in NASCAR’s 70-year history who reached the Cup level: Elias Bowie, Charlie Scott, George Wiltshire, Randy Bethea, Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester.

Aside from Scott’s 1963 Cup race win, the next win at a national event by a black driver came in 2013 when Wallace took the Truck Series checkered flag at Martinsville.

Wallace, raised in Concord, North Carolina, has the full support of the black drivers before him. Lester sent him encouraging tweets. Wallace met some of Scott’s children.

But none of the black drivers who raced before arrived with this kind of full-blown promotional push, acceptance in the garage and a solid ride that got him a seventh-place start in the Daytona 500.

Continue onto the Daily Mail read the complete article.

The iHeartRadio Nominees Have Been Announced!

LinkedIn

The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards is set to air live on Sunday, March 11th at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. For the fifth straight year, the ceremony will celebrate the most talked about artists and songs heard throughout the last year across radio stations and the iHeartRadio app. Throughout the year, these artists have released hits that have impacted radio stations across the nation.

For the first time, iHeartRadio will be including fans in this year’s show. Fans will be able to vote for “Best Fan Army”, “Best Cover Song”,  “Best Solo Breakout”, and even “Best Musician Pet”.  Voting for these categories are now open at the iHeartRadio awards page. Don’t forget to vote! In the mean time, check out some of the most prominent Black nominees below!

1. Rihanna

Making her debut in 2003, Rihanna has not stopped pushing the barrier in her musical career. The singer has continuously challenged the media and has showcased the balance of being a humanitarian and one of the most notable pop icons of the decade. Her nomination for the 2018 iHearRadio female artist of the year and Best R&B Artist is no surprise, as her release of her 8th studio album, ANTI, brought on a new sound for the singer.

2. The Weeknd

This Toronto native made his mark in 2011 with “House of Balloons”, a 50 minute track with dark R&B tunes flowing through headphones and speakers across the U.S. With his continued rise, The Weeknd has released two more unique sounding albums and has been featured on many soundtracks. His nomination for Best Male Artist and Best R&B Artist of the Year is to be noted as his star continues to rise.

3. Drake

This Canadian native is not just a rapper. He is also a songwriter, producer, and singer. Rising to super stardom in 2006,  the rapper has gone on to release songs with prominent artists such as Rihanna, The Weeknd, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj.  The rapper’s catchy hooks and beats land him as one of the nominees in the Hip-Hop Artist of the Year category.

4. Kendrick Lamar

Originally known as K-Dot, the Compton, California native released many mixtapes under his formative name until he was picked up by a major record label. Making his album debut in 2011, Lamar spilled beats and lyrics detailing the harsh life he has witnessed throughout this childhood. The socially conscious and at times, politically driven lyrics with catchy beats has made Lamar a nominee for Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.

5. Future

Future maybe known for creating a duet album with Drake, but this Hip-Hop Artist of the Year nominee has been paving his way in the music industry for quite some time. Making his mainstream debut in 2011, Future has been featured on tracks with Rihanna and Pharrell. His most prominent album, HNDRXX gained popular success and critical acclaim, and continues to peak through the charts.

6. 21 Savage

The Atlanta based rapper has landed a Best New Hip-Hop Artist nominee for making a splash with his debut album, Issa Album.  Peaking on the Billboard charts, 21 Savage does not plan to stop. With collaborations with Metro Boomin and other influential hip-hop artists, 21 Savage’s star continues to rise.

7. Cardi B

Debuting with her smash hit, Bodak Yellow and being featured on Migos’ ever popular Motor Sport, Cardi B continues to release strong hits such as Bartier Cardi. It comes as no surprise as to why this artist has been nominated as a Best New Hip-Hop Artist.

8. Lil Uzi Vert

His unique style of rapping in XO TOUR Llif3 has made Lil Uzi Vert an artist to watch out for in the coming year. With Marilyn Manson, Paramore, Kanye West, and Pharrell as his inspirations, we can anticipate many unique tracks from this Best New Hip-Hop Artist nominee.

9. GoldLink

This SoundCloud artist rose to prominence  indie and hip-hop mixes. With is album making an appearance in 2017, we can expect a lot more from this Best New Hip-Hop Artist nominee

10. Playboi Carti

Although the release of this mixtape in 2016 received notable attention from various music publications, Playboi Carti gained recognition when he was featured on Lil Uzi Vert’s song, Woke Up Like This. As a Best New  Hip-Hop Artist nominee, Playboi Carti has a lot more room to grow in his music career.

11. Childish Gambino

Donald Glover may have first made his name by starting in hit shows such as Community and Atlanta, but he has solidified his artistic talents under his rapper name, Childish Gambino. The rapper, producer,  and songwriter burst onto the scene with his ultra catchy  3005 and Sweatpants. Riding from that success, the rapper later refined his sound with his soulful funk, R&B hit  Redbone. Taking influences from psychedelic soul and funk, Gambino is one of the most noted nominees in the R&B Artist of the Year category.

12. Khalid

His hit song Location catapulted young artist Khalid to Grammy spotlight. His features with Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and Alissia Clara has gained him much attention and a signing with RCA Records.

13. SZA

Although SZA has been in the music industry since 2013, it wasn’t until she dropped her 2017 album Ctrl, where she earned critical acclaim, that she received popular success. Recently, she has been featured on the Black Panther soundtrack with Kendrick Lamar.

Check out iHeartRadio for more information on these talented artists

Where Are The Black Baseball Players?

LinkedIn

TEMPE, Arizona — When Jerry Manuel walks into the room at Tempe Diablo Stadium early on a Friday morning, he’s carrying a portable speaker blasting an instrumental version of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing.” His coaches are trying to guess who is on the saxophone. After multiple failed attempts, he announces that it’s Boney James. A copy of Baseball America is on the table, and MLB Network is playing in the background. Then the meeting starts.

The baseball lifer known as “The Sage” is here to run the show. He’s leading a collection of former major league players, coaches and scouts at the Dream Series, a showcase event run by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that puts the best African-American players in the country in the same place to learn and play.

It looks like a big league spring training, it feels like a big league spring training, but it doesn’t quack like a big league spring training. With 60 kids invited to the event, specifically pitchers and catchers, they don’t have time to waste. This crew has been selected because of their knowledge, experience and skill. The best black players in America are here to learn from some of the best black coaches in America. Period. It’s important that their message is unified, for a variety of reasons.

“The key thing is, for me, is that there’s no confusion with the kid when he leaves here,” said Manuel, who won a World Series ring and a Manager of the Year Award in the big leagues. “He’s not confused. He might not get the revelation of what you’re talking about, but he’s not confused. He might not get it right now. He might go home, wake up and say, ‘Ah, that’s what he meant.’ Flash [Tom Gordon] said to me the same thing Marvin [Freeman] said to me. But Marvin said it in a different way. That’s the genius of who you guys are. That’s the genius of having different types of pitchers here.

“There’s a difference between throwing and pitching. We can’t get caught up in just velocity. We gotta get caught up in pitching. Counts, etc. I just want to make it clear what the whole program is about. We are trying to get this thing right, and it’s going to take some time, but we are getting better.”

Over the next three days, players who were part of a generation who shaped what the game is all about for me would attempt to do the same for the players whom MLB has identified as those with the best chance to help solve their diversity problem.

While the baseball basics throw around phrases such as “where are all the black players?” and posit quasi-sensible but ultimately pointless theories as to why the number of African-American players at the major league level has dipped by whatever percentage, on the surface the league is taking a multifaceted at best, scatterbrained at worst, attempt to build the game at the grass-roots level, besides grooming talent to advance to the next level.

The truth is that a combination of economics and sociology — along with interest — has changed why the number of African-American players is down in MLB. But baseball is bigger than the major leagues. There are fewer black players in college baseball, never mind high school baseball and on down. Travel ball has turned the average teenage experience on the diamond into a game with higher stakes than most parents can afford to play, and when teams in structurally and institutionally disadvantaged districts do succeed at the little league level, there are some coaches willing to go to the ends of the earth to make sure their kids win, no matter the cost — remember what happened to Jackie Robinson West.

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

“Black Panther” Stars and Creators Reflect On Its Arrival

LinkedIn
BLACK PANTHER MOVIE

By Ronda Racha Penrice, Urban News Service

Fans, who bought a record-setting number of advance tickets, weren’t the only ones anticipating the Feb. 16 opening of “Black Panther,” Marvel’s historic first black superhero film.

“I’ve been waiting a long time. I was just so, so excited because this was a movie [where] we all felt a lot of ownership, that we thoroughly enjoyed making,” said Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o during the film’s January 30 press conference at the Montage Beverly Hills the morning after its glitzy purple carpet premiere. Nyong’o plays Nakia, T’Challa/Black Panther’s love interest.

Although T’Challa/Black Panther, whose superpowers include speed, strength, night vision, claws and more aided by his country’s powerful metal, Vibranium, was first introduced in the “Fantastic Four” comic book series in 1966, months before the founding of the iconic freedom-fighting Black Panther Party, “Black Panther” is the character’s first-ever live action film. Reportedly Jack Kirby, who created T’Challa/Black Panther with Stan Lee, took the name from the all-black U.S. Army 761st Tank Battalion of World War II dubbed “the Black Panthers.” Chadwick Boseman, well-known for his roles as such real-life heroes as Jackie Robinson and James Brown, is the first to ever play him on film, appearing in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” to great enthusiasm. He returns in “Avengers: Infinity War” May 4.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa/Black Panther’s journey, in the aftermath of his father’s death, to lead his technologically advanced nation, Wakanda, which the world believes is impoverished. Featuring black actors from the United States, England and various parts of Africa, “Black Panther” is the first Marvel film set in a black-ruled nation. As such, the film challenges the negative stereotypes in which the world typically views African nations. It also raises larger questions about what a successful never colonialized African country might look like and what role it would play in today’s global landscape.

The film’s larger significance was clearly important to Nyong’o and her fellow cast members – who included Boseman, Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Forest Whitaker (Zuri), Angela Bassett (T’Challa/Black Panther’s stepmother Ramonda), “Get Out” Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi) and more – during the Hollywood press conference where Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Ryan Coogler, the film’s co-writer and director, were also present.

Jordan, who plays the main villain Erik Killmonger that challenges T’Challa/Black Panther’s ascension as Wakanda’s king, said he only truly grasped the film’s importance after seeing it for the first time at the premiere.

“I couldn’t describe that feeling before actually sitting down and watching that film and seeing yourself on screen, not just me personally, but people that look like me in power and having those socially relevant themes but in a movie that you want to sit down and watch and enjoy,” Jordan said.

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

As someone from both the United States and Zimbabwe, Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, leader of the female warriors known as the Dora Milaje who protect the king, had an even more positive response to the fictional Wakanda and its very real continent. Gurira shared that she appreciated the departure from the usual depictions of African countries as impoverished.

“You see the power and potential of where you’re from, but you see how skewed it’s viewed by the world and how misrepresented it is and how distorted it is or besieged by the world so often,” she said. “[“Black Panther” is] kind of a salve to those wounds to see this world brought to life this way and to see all the potential and power of all the different African culturalisms and aspects of our being that’s actually celebrated,” she said.

“Black Panther” is also noteworthy for its elevation of black women in the superhero genre, be they strong like Gurira’s Okoye, humanitarian like Nyong’o’s Nakia, royal like Angela Bassett’s Ramonda or STEM geniuses like Letitia Wright’s Shuri who is T’Challa/Black Panther’s sister. That elevation was also present behind the scenes through the work of production designer Hannah Beachler, Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter and hair department head Camille Friend.

“How it was written is that the men are always behind the women as well so no one is undermined,” said Wright of the film and her character. “The men are not like ‘you shouldn’t be in technology, you shouldn’t be in math.’  T’Challa is like ‘go ahead sis, this is your department, this is your domain, like kill it.’”

Black Panther
T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) . . . Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Boseman attributes that gender balance to the vision that is Wakanda. “The idea of the next generation being smarter, being better than you, is a concept that they would have evolved to,” said Boseman. “So even though she’s reared in the same generation, she’s my younger sister, she benefits from whatever I have. So you want your sons and daughters to be better than you were. So that concept is a Wakandan concept.”

Coogler, previously known for his independent social justice film “Fruitvale Station” and the latest installment of the Rocky franchise, “Creed,” both starring Jordan, said he was cautious not to tamper too much with the “Black Panther” spirit so well established by the comic books in the script he wrote with Joe Robert Cole.

“You can go through our film and see something in there probably from every writer that has touched T’Challa’s character and the “Black Panther” comics, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s initial runs to Don McGregor to Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Jonathan Hickman and Ta-Nehisi Coates,” he said, naming most of the franchise writers. “The character has got a long history and such rich stuff to mine and each writer left their own mark.”

When the film’s radicalism was singled out, Feige reminded those in the room that “Black Panther” was born radical. “Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and the whole Marvel bullpen created Wakanda and created T’Challa and created Black Panther and made him a smarter, more accomplished character than any of the other white characters in the mid-1960s,” he said.

That integrity, Feige continued, guided this Marvel team. “If they had the guts to do that in the mid-1960s,” he said, “the least we [could] do is live up to that and allow this story to be told the way it needed to be told and not shy away from things that the Marvel founders didn’t shy away from in the height of the Civil Rights era.”

Urban News Service

Meet Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to run a $1-billion business

LinkedIn
CEO of Act 1 Group

Janice Bryant Howroyd, 65, is founder and chief executive of Act 1 Group, an employment agency that also provides consulting and business services, including background checks and screening. She’s the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Act 1, which includes other brands such as Agile 1, A-Check Global and AppleOne, has contracts with 17,000 clients in 19 countries.

“If you visit any of our offices,” Howroyd said, “you’ll see that we live by the mantra that ‘the applicant is the center of our universe.’ It’s always been our belief that if you get that applicant in the right job, then they will be the best representation of who we are as a company.”

Early lessons

Growing up in Tarboro, N.C., as one of 11 children, Howroyd had early lessons in team building. Each sibling was assigned an older one to act as a mentor.

“My sister Sandy was my appointed guardian angel,” Howroyd said, “so it was up to her to see that I’d gotten my homework done, my hair was done, and my thoughts and process were in line with what the family wanted. We were very organized.”

Big move

After studying humanities and English at North Carolina A&T, Howroyd faced culture shock when she moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with just $900. Her older sister again provided welcome advice to “settle myself into knowing who I was, learning the power of that and understanding it.”

Brother-in-law Tom provided a temporary job at Billboard and saw entrepreneurial talents in the way Howroyd interacted with clients. Even when she was ill at ease, “I would revert to what I do well, which is strategize. I love to look at a problem, break it apart, find the better potential, knowing when to eliminate what doesn’t need to be there.”

Word of mouth

Howroyd, who didn’t even own a fax machine, opened Act 1 in a small office in Beverly Hills in 1978. She started out by making full-time job placements for companies needing workers, then shifting to temporary placements. Pleased clients were her best advertisements.

“It still matters in business more what someone else says about you than what you say about yourself,” Howroyd said. “You can have the best advertising, but unless someone else certifies what they are saying, you won’t last long. Word of mouth has always been my best referral system.”

Standing out

Early on, Howroyd employed a strategy that allowed her to compete against bigger companies, preparing her prospective hires by training them in what their employers were looking for in new workers.

“It always works best when you can tailor a hire to fit into a company’s philosophy,” Howroyd said. “They walk in better prepared and it’s more likely to be a very good fit for your client.”

Standing up

Whether it was dealing with racist students and teachers in her youth or businesspeople who uttered the most stunningly insensitive remarks, Howroyd said there were times when she was forced to bite her tongue and muddle through and other times when it was clear a stand had to be made, as frightening as that might clearly be.

“In order to be outstanding, sometimes, you’re just going to have to stand out” and not hide, Howroyd said. “My personal business protocol, my life mantra: Never compromise who you are personally to become what you wish to be professionally.”

Continue onto the LA Times to read the complete article.

Bigger Than Ever, And More Diverse: Team USA At The 2018 Winter Olympics

LinkedIn
team usa at the 2018 winter olympics

Team USA is bringing more athletes to Pyeongchang (242) than any nation ever has to a Winter Olympics. This year’s team is also the most diverse of any U.S. winter squad, in terms of both race and gender: The 108 women on the 2018 team are the most of any U.S. team at a Winter Games.

Team USA is nearly 45 percent female, putting it slightly above the average for all countries competing in Pyeongchang. Overall, the Winter Olympics has boosted women’s participation since the 1990s, largely by removing barriers to sports such as the biathlon, curling and ice hockey. But other restrictions remain that close events to women, including requirements that women race in only the shorter two-person bobsled, with no four-person events.

The U.S. squad includes 10 African-Americans, 11 Asian-Americans and its first two openly gay athletes.

Four of the five athletes on the U.S. women’s bobsled team are people of color, led by Elana Meyers Taylor. The total includes alternate Briauna Jones, who will step up if there are injuries on the two-sled team. If the team reaches the podium, it will continue a streak of success: With a similar makeup, the 2014 version of the team won silver and bronze at the Sochi 2014 Games.

The age range on Team USA is from 17 to 39, with an average age of 26.4 years. The oldest U.S. Olympian in South Korea is the hockey team’s Brian Gionta, 39. The youngest is 17-year-old figure skater Vincent Zhou – one of eight U.S. athletes born in 2000.

Continue onto NPR to read the complete article.

Let Me Tell You About Athalie Range…

LinkedIn
Mrs. Athalie Range and Santura Pegram

By Santura Pegram

It was once said that boxing great Muhammad Ali believed parents should be very careful when considering the name of their newborn child(ren), because that name will follow the child throughout their lifetime and often serve as an introduction to an unfairly judgmental world.

The late boxing-civil rights icon felt a name should serve as an ‘honorable title’ to be remembered by, as opposed to being a discriminatory reason to dismiss someone from a particular subject matter. Therefore, this belief should’ve served notice to those who initially questioned the name M. Athalie Range.

Unusually small in stature, yet awe-inspiring and captivating in presence, Mrs. Mary Athalie Range of Miami was a giant in a small body. A profoundly impactful political visionary, effective civil rights trailblazer, and successful black female entrepreneur, she had no choice but to be a person of significance with a unique name like Athalie.

Long considered the Political Matriarch of the State of Florida, a trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter and several governors in Florida and from other states too, those who were blessed to know her understand why it was so easy for people of all generations and backgrounds to adore this sweet little woman. She had a magical presence about her that even melted the hearts of the most hardened politicians and business leaders, and won her favor among countless notable figures throughout the U.S. When she entered a room—whether it was a corporate board room full of high-powered executives or the political chambers of government buildings throughout the State of Florida—she characteristically had the E.F. Hutton effect upon most people: “when Mrs. Athalie Range talked, everyone listened.”

Mrs. M. Athalie Range
Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Commanding such respect and admiration from people came natural for her, which explained why she had over 125 local, statewide and national awards and honors covering every space on one wall of her office. Additionally, it’s also why she was blessed to see the main branch of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Miami, and a public park and swimming pool named after her long before she died in 2006. Since her passing, a special group of local leaders, which includes her grandson N. Patrick Range II., are preparing to spearhead a multimillion-dollar capital investment campaign to build a state-of-the-art museum educating people about the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, once the only public beach in Dade County, Florida open to African-Americans (virginiakeybeachpark.net).

In 1999, after years of being closed and virtually abandoned, it was Athalie Range’s final mission when she, Gene Tinnie, and a small group of progressive minds prodded the City of Miami to not only eventually re-open the park, but also agree to designate it to the National Register of Historic Places list. A few years later, the park officially re-opened to the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful, serene beach locations in the entire U.S. today. Unfortunately, most tourists visiting South Florida don’t realize that a breathtaking pristine beach is available to them just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami and is a far more relaxing option than the typical overly-congested beachfront, streets and sidewalks of South Beach.

Residents of South Florida and visitors alike should forever feel indebted to Athalie Range because without her selfless endeavors and tireless advocacy, one of the last remaining examples of paradise on Earth simply would not exist.

To see a woman of her caliber evolve from fighting for the rights of children as the PTA President of her son’s school, to becoming a political and civil rights legend known for advocating for fairness among people, one can not help but wonder what Mrs. Range would’ve voiced about the current dynamics surrounding the senseless killings of black people by black people and black males by police officers.

President Jimmy Carter & Athalie Range
President Jimmy Carter & Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Her grandson, N. Patrick Range II., recently expressed, “my grandmother would have been very disturbed by the violence and senseless killings taking place in our inner cities today. She always fought for blacks to have the same rights as others. During her lifetime, she dealt with issues like racial profiling and police violence in the inner cities. As an example, she was very vocal and extremely active during the killing of Arthur McDuffie. She was a loud and calming voice during the Miami riots, too. She urged blacks to stop the violence because we were only destroying our own community.”

He went on to say, without a doubt, Mrs. Range “would be unhappy with the lack of progress in community relations with police all over this country. She also would be equally concerned with the amount of black-on-black violence in every urban neighborhood and the proliferation of guns as well. She actually helped to start a program to encourage violent youth offenders to change their ways.

The program is called GATE and was designed to help minors avoid being convicted and carrying a record before they are adults. If the minor offender completes the coursework and program satisfactorily, then they have an opportunity to have their case dismissed. She was always proactive in doing things to resolve issues as opposed to sitting back and merely talking about the issue(s). She knew she could effect change with the right approach and that was always her goal.”

While many communities have never had the chance to learn from someone like M. Athalie Range, there’s always hope that the youth of today will grow into a modern day version of her. And, just maybe, help to make the world a far better place today and tomorrow than it has been for most disadvantaged people of color.

After all, we only live once. Why not make your life as meaningful as Athalie did?

• (Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and a business professional in South Florida. A former protégé – aide to M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics.)

8 Afro Latinos Who Made Important Contributions to US History

LinkedIn

Nearly 100 years ago, historian Carter G. Woodson established a week-long commemoration of Black achievements and history.Through that initiative, Woodson lay the groundwork for what would eventually become known as Black History Month. In the United States, the month of February is a celebration of Blackness, paying tribute to those who fought for racial and social equality. The month serves to highlight the existence of the African Diaspora in the United States, and in school, turned our civics and history classes into necessary discussions about their contributions. However, many times this history is incomplete.

While we commonly learn about imperative African-American figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, and many others, we don’t often hear about the importance of Afro-Latinos in the United States. Because Black and Latino are incorrectly seen as mutually exclusive, Afro Latinos find themselves overlooked.

As we acknowledge and honor Black heritage, here are eight Afro Latinos whose important contributions to US history should not go unrecognized during Black History Month or the rest of the year.

1. Miriam Jiménez Román

Miriam Jiménez Román’s influence is expansive, but perhaps nothing is as strongly felt as her book, The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States. Jiménez leads the AfroLatin@Forum, which is dedicated to raising the awareness of Afro Latin@s in the US. She has used her own experiences as a Black Puerto Rican to educate the world on Afro Latinidad and to bridge the gap between the presence of African-Americans and Latinos in the US.

She created spaces and outlets for Black Latinos that previously didn’t exist and addressed issues that often go ignored. Along with her co-editor, Juan Flores, Román conducted informative workshops with middle school students and discovered that many had a hard time understanding Afro Latinidad.

That’s why she knew crafting a book like The AfroLatin@ Reader was essential and something that should have always existed. “I said I wanted a book that addressed some of the concerns I felt when I was young,”  Roman told Los AfroLatinos. “This kind of book should have been around when I was a kid because Blackness was equated with being African-American. This limited view left me concerned about my Blackness because I grew up as a Black Puerto Rican, and I’m very conscious how race and ethnicity have both impacted my life.”

2. Piri Thomas

Down These Mean Streets, a memoir written by author Piri Thomas, is a noteworthy work on Afro Latinidad in the United States. Discussing the racism, identity issues and poverty he experienced during his lifetime growing in Spanish Harlem in NYC, the Cuban-Puerto Rican poet created a piece of literature that shone a light on his own community.

As a darker-skinned Latino, he faced discrimination, both from his family and society as a whole. His father reportedly preferred his lighter-skinned children, according to The New York Times. During his youth he used and sold drugs and ended up in prison after he hurt a police officer. During his seven years imprisoned, he finished high school and turned to writing. The work he created was so trailblazing that his editor told him that with Down These Mean Streets, Piri created a new genre, one where “everybody speaks like themselves.

He also became involved in his community and advocated for at-risk youth. In Carmen Dolores Hernández’s Puerto Rican Voices in English: Interviews with Writers, Piri said that if people wanted to know what he had done after writing his novel, all they had to do was to “ask the communities, the schools, the universities, and colleges.”

Piri is remembered as an influential voices of the Nuyorican Movement, which captured the experiences of Puerto Ricans in New York through the discrimination and marginalization they faced.

Continue onto Remezcla to read more about these revolutionary Afro- Latinos.

Laila Ali: Be Unique and Pursue Your Dreams

LinkedIn
Laila Ali

Laila Ali developed the values of hard work, determination and courage growing up as the youngest child of the legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali. Her own record of 24 wins—21 of which were knockouts—and zero losses has made her the most successful contender in the history of women’s boxing.

The boxing world champion, TV host, author, and speaker, said, “I like to live my life with an ‘All In’ attitude. I’m always asking myself, ‘What more can I do?'”

Most recently, Ali partnered with T.J.Maxx to launch “The Maxx You Project,” encouraging women to let their individuality shine. In response, T.J.Maxx is launching The Maxx You Project—aimed at helping women break those stereotypes by embracing the personal aspirations or lifelong dreams that make them each one-of-a-kind. Ali has overcome adversity, defied expectations and pushed herself beyond her comfort zone—to help 80 women to do the same.

“As a woman, I know there are ‘boxes’ the world might try to place us in and go-to labels often used to describe us: mother, sister, boss, friend, etc., but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we truly are at our core,” Ali said. “From ‘Mom Boss’ to boxing world champion, entrepreneur to cooking enthusiast, author, speaker and TV host, there is no one role that defines me. That’s why I’m really excited to partner with T.J.Maxx to inspire others to break through those labels and pursue what’s inside them.”

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

LinkedIn

Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneralfrom Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

Airbnb Adds Outgoing American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault To Board of Directors

LinkedIn

Airbnb is adding its first-ever independent director to the board of the nearly decade-old company. On Thursday, Airbnb announced that Kenneth Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express, will be joining its board of directors.

“I’ve been inspired by the way Airbnb has turned a simple, yet powerful idea – opening the doors to strangers – into a global movement that has brought millions of people together and I am looking forward to working with Brian and the entire Airbnb team as they build for the future,” Chenault said in a statement.

Chenault announced in October 2017 that he planned to leave American Express on February 1. Chenault, 66, first joined the company in 1981 after graduating from Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He quickly climbed the ranks and was named president and chief operating officer in 1997. He has held the top job since 2001 and is one of the country’s most prominent African American business leaders. He is also one of the best-paid executives in the financial services industry, taking home $22 million in 2016.

Chenault clearly plans to stay busy following his retirement. Airbnb is the second tech company board that Chenault has joined in January. Last week, Facebook announced that it was adding Chenault to its board, the company’s first non-white board member in its history.

Airbnb’s board of directors also faces a similar diversity challenge with an all-male board. Despite pledging for years to hire a female board member, Chenault’s appointment will only increase Airbnb’s board to six male directors. Airbnb says it will be adding a female director later this year, but declined to comment on how many men currently serve as observers on its board beyond the six directors.

“We are in serious discussions with a number of incredible people about joining our board. The next member will be a woman, and she’ll be joining later this year,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

Read the complete article on Forbes.

America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine