The Institute for Educational Leadership Launches Rise Up for Equity Campaign to Eliminate Barriers to Equity in Education and Workforce Development

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education campaign for African-Americans

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announced  the launch of Rise Up for Equity, a digital and grassroots campaign  to prepare, support, and mobilize leaders to eliminate systemic barriers to equity in education and workforce development.
This so everyone – especially transition-age youth and families in communities with inequitable opportunities across the United States – has the opportunity to succeed and lead independent lives.

“IEL incentivizes communities to innovate and prepares and supports local and state leaders to improve opportunity and outcomes, and close gaps in access and achievement in education and workforce development in under-resourced communities,” said Johan Uvin, President of IEL. “To us, equity is about creating more opportunities for success in education and workforce development for children, youth, adults and families, particularly in communities where that opportunity is lacking due to systemic and structural reasons.”

IEL’s strategy intends to help alleviate poverty and its impact and to contribute to creating new gateways to prosperity. Today 15 million children, or 21 percent of all children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, and 51 percent of students across U.S. public schools are low income.[1] Childhood poverty is associated with negative outcomes in adulthood, such as lower academic achievement, employment rates, and poorer health.

For more information about how you can Rise Up for Equity to support leaders so all children, young adults, and communities can succeed, visit www.riseupforequity.com or join the conversation on social media using #RiseUpforEquity.

[1] According to the 2016 fact sheet of the  National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)

Phil Freelon, America’s most prominent black architect, designs for the culture

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The ‘Blacksonian,’ Atlanta’s civil rights center — and a Durham bus station — are all part of his legacy.

It was a brisk early afternoon in January, and I was sitting in a van in Durham, North Carolina, with Phil Freelon, arguably the most prominent working African-American architect in the country. Freelon is best known for designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other major museum projects — among them Atlanta’s National Center for Civil Rights, San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, and Charlotte’s Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. But on this day, we were admiring, of all things, a bus station.

“If you go around the country and visit bus stations, they’re usually seedy and dirty,” he said. “But they don’t have to be.”

And the Durham Station Transportation Center, which Freelon designed, wouldn’t be out of place on the gilded campuses of Apple or Google. The center, which opened in 2008, has a glass exterior topped by a sleek metal roof sloped like a beret, covering an airy, minimalist interior lounge and ticketing area.

“In my career, I’ve learned that if you build something beautiful, people will respect it,” he said. “You’ll notice there’s no graffiti. Now, I don’t think everyone going to catch a bus looks around and says, ‘Wow, this is a beautiful building.’ But I think they soak in the ambiance, and I’m happy about that.”

The paradox of architecture is that it’s all around us, and yet, for many people, the profession remains esoteric. “If you have a talented young African-American, their family will likely know a lawyer, doctor, teacher or a clergyman, but not an architect,” Freelon said. “My parents, who were both college-educated, didn’t know an architect of any color, and certainly not a black one.

“Diversity is a huge problem in our profession. The profession is small — there are only 110,000 licensed architects in the United States, compared to 1 million attorneys and 800,000 physicians. And only 2 percent of architects are African-Americans, a lower ratio than with lawyers and doctors.”

Freelon, 65, has attempted to change that on several fronts: through his hiring practices, visits to predominantly minority schools to speak about his work, and the establishment in 2016 of the Freelon Fellowship, which provides financial aid so a student from an underrepresented group can attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design. And since he founded his eponymous firm in 1990, much of his work has been focused on designing libraries and other academic buildings for historically black colleges and universities and cultural projects in traditionally black neighborhoods.

Currently he’s involved with a major expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit, a mile-long open-air museum along Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles and the North Carolina Freedom Park in downtown Raleigh. “He’s designed nearly every major museum or public space dedicated to black culture in the United States,” Fast Company magazine observed when it named Freelon its Architect of the Year in 2017.

“Of course, you don’t just wake up one morning and the Smithsonian wants you to build a museum,” Freelon said. “There’s 30 years of work that leads up to that.”

Before he had ever met an architect, Freelon had decided to become one. He grew up in Philadelphia, where his mother was a school administrator and his father was a salesperson for Cordis, a Miami-based medical device manufacturer. Freelon attended Central High School, an academically rigorous, predominantly white, all-boys magnet school, which also produced the famed architect Louis Kahn. Citing the influence of his grandfather, Allan Randall Freelon Sr., a Harlem Renaissance-era painter, Freelon said he was drawn to classes in the visual arts, as well as drafting and design. He also took inspiration from his strolls through the city, visiting the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Only later,” Freelon said, “did I learn that a black architect, Julian Abele, helped design the museum,” including the iconic steps featured in Rocky.

Freelon had his mind set on attending a historically black college or university (HBCU) and enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia. “It was the height of the civil rights movement and Black Power, and I had an Afro and was very socially engaged,” he said.

Freelon plowed through the curriculum. “He was an excellent student, meticulous and curious,” said John Spencer, chairman of the architecture department, whom Freelon credits as his first mentor. Believing he would be more challenged at a larger university, Freelon transferred to North Carolina State, although he was anxious about moving deeper into the South. “When my father used to attend his company’s annual conference in Miami in the ’60s, he couldn’t stay in the downtown hotels and would stay in the black neighborhood of Overtown,” Freelon recalled. But a visit to Raleigh reassured him.

“At N.C. State, Phil and I were two of only a handful of black students at the College of Design, and there weren’t any black professors in our discipline,” recalled Percy Hooper, now an associate professor of industrial design at N.C. State. “We didn’t feel segregated from the white students, but we ended up spending a lot of time together, supporting one another.” The coursework was demanding, and there wasn’t a lot of downtime. To unwind, the friends would ride their bikes or, more ill-advisedly, toss around ninja stars.

During summers, Freelon worked for a professor at the Durham-based architectural firm of John D. Latimer and Associates and continued at the firm’s Taunton, Massachusetts, office while pursuing a master’s degree at MIT, which he completed in 1977. He worked briefly for a large firm, 3/D International in Houston, before returning to Durham to join O’Brien Atkins Associates, where he soon became the firm’s youngest partner.

Freelon helped design schools, churches and other buildings around the state. “As a young architect, you’re not a specialist and you tackle a wide variety of projects.” A significant step in his career, he said, was being tapped as lead designer for Terminal 2 of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. “Of course, it’s since been demolished and rebuilt,” he said, chuckling. “At this stage of my career, there are a few buildings that I’ve designed that have been torn down.” (He later designed an award-winning parking garage at the airport, as well as the airport’s general aviation building.)

In 1989, Freelon received a fellowship to study independently for a year at Harvard. The next year, he left O’Brien Atkins to launch his own firm, the Freelon Group. It began as a one-man shop and grew to more than 50 employees, about 40 percent of whom are women and 30 percent people of color.

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

10 Amazing Places to Shop for Black Owned, Black Love for Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I am sure you are searching for the perfect gift to give the one you love. I love buying presents, but Valentine’s Day is one holiday that often leaves me feeling stumped.

Searching for the perfect gift that says “I love me some you” can be tough. I never know what to get my husband, and I think he struggles with figuring out what I want as well.

Well, worry no more. We are here to help. And not only do we have a list of great gift ideas, but all of the gifts are from black-owned businesses. Talk about a win-win. And this list doesn’t just include great gifts for the ladies. I have a couple of great options for the men as well. I want everyone to go to bed feeling happy on the 14th.

So think about your Boo, take a look at these gifts, and make this the year that you knock it out of the park with the gift you get your special someone.

For the complete article, continue on to Black and Married with Kids.

The Atlanta Hawks And Prostate Cancer Foundation Team Up To Fight Prostate Cancer

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Sports Legends and Father-Son Duo Calvin and Grant Hill will lead The Black History Month Assist Challenge to Raise Money and Awareness about prostate cancer, the disease  that affects over four million men in the U.S.

The Atlanta Hawks and Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) have joined together to launch a first-of-its-kind multi-pronged program with the goal of slamming prostate cancer. Led by Hawks Vice Chair of the Board and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill and his father, NFL Legend Calvin Hill, the Hawks are the first team in the NBA to partner with PCF to educate and bring awareness to the disease that affects more than four million men in the U.S., with one in nine men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Those numbers skyrocket when factoring men of African descent. African-American men are 76 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and more than twice as likely to die than men of other ethnicities.

In recognition of Black History Month and to bring greater awareness to the African-American community of the disease, the team and Foundation have kicked off the Black History Month Assist Challenge in February. For every assist registered by the Hawks throughout the month, $250 will be donated by the Hawks Foundation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The Hills filmed a special public service announcement announcing the partnership (link) and its importance. Census Bureau data from 2018 cites the Black or African-American population in the city of Atlanta at 52.3 percent.

“We couldn’t be prouder or more excited to be partnering with the Atlanta Hawks organization as they make history as the first National Basketball Association (NBA) team in the league to take on prostate cancer as an issue,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s president and CEO. “It is befitting that during Black History Month, we all work to change the outcomes of the men who are most severely impacted by this disease.  Raising awareness of the risks, leading conversations that shift attitudes and making the facts about prostate cancer easily accessible will literally save lives. The Hawks are changing history by altering the course of this disease and its impact on African-American men.”

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America and the fourth-most common tumor diagnosed worldwide. Despite its frequency, if the cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms and 99 percent of patients live five years or longer after diagnosis, which makes education so critically important.

On Saturday, Feb. 23rd when the Hawks play the Phoenix Suns at State Farm Arena, the Hawks and PCF partnership will be celebrated throughout the game with special videos, stories and educational pieces. The night will also serve as the team’s HBCU Night, recognizing historically black colleges and universities alumni and current students.

“As a member of the Atlanta Hawks ownership team and a black male, I am extremely proud of our partnership with PCF as I believe our work can truly make a difference in the city of Atlanta,” said Grant Hill. “With the platform we are afforded, we have a responsibility to be a community leader and this is a great opportunity to educate in a way that could potentially save lives.”

For more information, please visit Hawks.com/PCF, a custom website where life-saving information and resources can be found along with instructions on how to join the Hawks and PCF in their mission.

# TrueToAtlanta #

ABOUT THE ATLANTA HAWKS

With a bold identity and strong new ownership, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and State Farm Arena remain committed to making Atlantans proud on the court and off. The 2014-15 Southeast Division Champions, the Hawks made the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons and reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2015. Off the court, the organization has built a culture of inclusion, diversity and innovation, all with a touch of Southern Hospitality. It continues into the community where the organization builds bridges through basketball, whether by constructing and refurbishing courts in Atlanta neighborhoods, providing scholarships to our basketball camps, or surprising and delighting our fans with unique Atlanta Hawks experiences. Atlanta Hawks Membership, which includes your seat for every home game for the 2018-19 regular season, is on sale now at www.hawks.com/membership or by calling 866-715-1500! For more information on the Hawks, log on to www.hawks.com today or follow us on twitter and Instagram @ATLHawks.

A New Generation of Black Founders Is Rising in Atlanta–and the Startup World Is Taking Notice

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Forget Silicon Valley. Black entrepreneurs have discovered the best tech scene in the country.

On the 7th floor of Atlanta’s historic Biltmore Hotel, high above the Bird and Lime e-scooters below, Paul Judge stands by a window. He points toward nearly every building within a few-block radius. “Five years ago, these spaces were all dirt,” he says.

Now, they’re full of startups–and Judge, a serial entrepreneur who’s been on the tech scene for 21 years, is responsible for much of that growth. The cybersecurity firm he co-founded in 2011, Pindrop, occupies office space on three floors of the Biltmore. Judge’s early stage venture capital firm, TechSquare Labs, is a five-minute walk away–and as he passes by, a man leans out the front door. “Hey, Paul!”

Judge is practically a celebrity in Atlanta’s entrepreneur world, partly because he’s the most accomplished black tech founder in the city. The 41-year-old Baton Rouge native moved here in 1995 to attend Morehouse College, and never left. After a few successful startups, he started using his capital to help other Atlanta-based entrepreneurs get off the ground. Now, a new generation of young and ambitious black founders are working to craft their own versions of his career path.

Atlanta has a 52 percent black population, according to census data, and it’s brimming with entrepreneurs who benefit from what Judge describes as the “three Cs”–colleges, corporations, and culture. Atlanta’s schools–including Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and black universities like Morehouse College and Spelman College–are churning out talented black developers and engineers. Pair that with the city’s thriving black culture–from actors and musicians like Tyler Perry, Donald Glover, and Outkast to politicians like John Lewis and current mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms–and the result is what Mike Ross, a local black angel investor, describes as an atmosphere “like Harlem was in the ’20s.”

Three years ago, entrepreneurs Ryan Wilson and T.K. Petersen opened The Gathering Spot, a private membership club created to build community between black entrepreneurs from local colleges, Atlanta’s celebrities, and executives from corporations like Coca-Cola and Home Depot. “The Gathering Spot, humbly, has become one of the places in town where people know that important conversations are going to be held,” Wilson says. “We’ve been fortunate that other people have come to see this space as one of those central places where you can connect with people.”

His proof: The club has more than 1,000 members, including founders of black-led startups like consumer robotics maker Monsieur, political engagement app Empowrd, and visual recognition tech company Partpic, which was sold to Amazon for an undisclosed sum in 2016.​​ In particular, Partpic co-founder Jewel Burks Solomon, 29, is one of the city’s most recent success stories.

Growing up in Nashville, Burks Solomon dreamed of moving to Atlanta and starting a business. Upon doing it in 2013, she found plenty of like-minded black entrepreneurs experiencing a common challenge: difficulty securing funding. Of the $2 million Burks Solomon raised for Partpic, only $25,000 of it came from a local source–Ross, one of the city’s few black angel investors.

“Atlanta has a high population of black entrepreneurs. The investor landscape doesn’t necessarily look the same,” explains Burks Solomon. “I’m a black person, and I’m also a woman–and if you look at the numbers, we don’t get invested in at the same rate as our white male counterparts.”

Shawn Wilkinson, founder of blockchain cloud storage company Storj, faced similar hurdles when he was trying to fundraise in 2015. “Then I brought on an older, white co-founder,” says Wilkinson, who’s 27 years old and black. “And suddenly, we’re just getting so many more leads and actually closing deals.” The company has since raised $33 million over seven funding rounds, according to Wilkinson.

Some of Atlanta’s black founders believe they can change that equation by building or selling successful companies and then investing in other black founders. “We’re trying to create this momentum where we can start having major exits or major growth in our businesses to really start shaping the ecosystem,” says Candace Mitchell, 31, founder of Atlanta-based digital hair-care startup Myavana.

Burks Solomon is already leading the way. She’s helped fund five minority-led startups since selling Partpic, including a surplus food management platform called Goodr and The Gathering Spot. And successful companies are emerging–the increasingly popular online scheduling tool Calendly, for example, was founded by Tope Awotona, an Atlanta-based native Nigerian.

Black entrepreneurs in other parts of the country are taking notice. In December, Tristan Walker sold his personal care business, Walker & Company Brands, to Procter & Gamble. Rather than relocate his operations from Silicon Valley to P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters, he threw a curve ball: The company would be moving to Atlanta. “I’ve been spending more time over the past year in Atlanta, and I get this feeling that I had back in 2008 when I came to the Bay Area where you knew something was about to pop off,” Walker explains. “I feel that way in Atlanta now across every industry.”

Continue onto Inc. to read the complete article.

How This Executive Is Enhancing Diversity And Inclusion Within The NBA

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Meet Liliahn Majeed, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the NBA, in honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day today, Majeed has shared her career journey, and most importantly, why she’s passionate about diversity and inclusion within the National Basketball Association. She’s responsible for providing best practices and leadership on inclusion to the league offices and teams, identifying minority and women suppliers for programs and events, creating coaching programs for people of color and women, and partnering with marketing, sponsorship, and social responsibility league and team leaders to ensure authentic engagement with the NBA’s communities.

Majeed recently joined the Diversity and Inclusion group after 12 years in the Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO) group. TMBO is an in-house consultancy focused on helping NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League teams strengthen employee and fan engagement and grow revenues. In her role in TMBO, Majeed led strategy for TMBO’s arena experience, season ticket membership, and premium consulting arm.

We recently spoke about what sparked her passion for diversity and inclusion within the male-dominated organization.

Dominique Fluker: Share your career journey. What attracted you to a career in sports?

Majeed: I was fortunate enough to have two loving parents and was raised in a household with little conflict or dysfunction. But I never took any of these blessings for granted, as I know this is not the story of many children. Rather than feel disconnected from struggle, it inspired me to help change the trajectory of others’ lives so more children could have many of the opportunities I did.  This also gave me a sense of bravery to try things I’ve never done despite being a little afraid. One of the reasons I was attracted to the NBA is because we use our platform to bring attention to numerous social issues, particularly those that aim to level the playing field of kids and families of color.

My first 12 years at the NBA in Team Marketing and Business Operations as the first and only, but not the last as of 3 weeks ago, women of color in the most senior role, our team constituents viewed me as an advocate who took the time to understand the uniqueness of their business, empathize with their struggles and design solutions in collaboration with them versus coming in arrogantly and telling them what to do. I was also an advocate for my NBA colleagues and still am, standing up for people who feel voiceless.

My new role allows me to allocate a lot more of my time to helping other women and POC move into our most senior roles at teams.  I’m also ecstatic that my new role is also providing me the platform to start a belonging movement at the NBA, and I hope to refine our D&I tools to spread the movement across the business world.  I’ll pause there but what fuels me is the desire to change the trajectory of children’s lives, particularly young women, stand with the powerless, and be brave for self and others.”

Fluker: As Vice President in the Diversity and Inclusion Group of the NBA, share why you are passionate about D&I.

Majeed: As a woman of color, I have always felt it is my obligation to do whatever I can to help women and people of color realize their personal definition of success.  However, it wasn’t until I went through a very difficult moment where I was consumed by self-doubt and constantly questioned if who I was, was enough, that I found a much broader purpose and passion for diversity and inclusion work. I believe all pain has a purpose. After going through that moment and emerging a survivor, I felt this urgent responsibility to make D&I a full-time role.  This is more than a job for me, it’s very personal.

I agree with Brene Brown and many other researchers and scientists who believe we are in a crisis of disconnection. While the challenge of belonging affects all of us, there is research that shows that people in a minority spend 20-30% of each day worrying about trying to fit in and belong.  At the NBA we believe equality, diversity, and inclusion at all levels is essential to the future success of our game and our business. We are laser-focused on ensuring ALL our colleagues are inspired and empowered to have that deep engagement that only comes from a true sense of belonging. Creating an environment where ALL employees at the NBA and our teams feel safe, seen, heard, and respected is something our entire league is passionate about, and that I purse every day in my work alongside our Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Oris Stuart.

Fluker: Talk to your role as Vice President in the Diversity and Inclusion Group. What does your day-to-day look like?

Majeed: I have always sought out roles where there is no typical day-to-day, and that is absolutely true in my current role. I will tell you about yesterday: one of our marquee events is coming up next week, NBA All-Star 2019 in Charlotte. During All-Star, we are hosting our second forum for women in basketball operations designed to accelerate the development of women at our teams, and others we can bring into the league.  I spent the majority of yesterday finalizing the last few details with a powerhouse planning committee of both league and team women.

In the weeks after All-Star, we are visiting two teams to hold diversity and inclusion-related strategy sessions with their senior leadership teams and lead an inclusive recruiting learning session to help us proactively eliminate bias from all aspects of the recruiting process.  Yesterday we had calls with leaders from those teams to customize the experience to that team’s unique needs.

As I mentioned earlier, the league, its teams, and players have a long history of using our game to bring people together and speak out on important social issues.  We also realize the critical importance of open-mindedness, diversity in thought and continuous learning. One of the ways we prioritize this is by hosting conversations at various events and conferences across many industries to share our work and learn from our peers.

Fluker: Share how the NBA champions diversity and inclusion activations and initiatives within their organization.

Majeed: There are a large number of initiatives we’re driving within the NBA Diversity Inclusion group, but let’s focus on the 4 key areas of focus at both the team and league office level:

  • Employing innovative recruiting and retention strategies to grow representation and engagement of people of difference in business and basketball.
  • Shifting mindsets and making a daily practice of effective bias interrupting techniques, so that being a successful leader and teammate is synonymous with championing diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Strengthening cultural competence at across all levels of our organization to engage authentically and meaningfully with diverse customers and the community.
  • Leveraging diversity of thought to inspire continuous innovation.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Highlighting African-Americans with Disabilities in Honor of Black History Month

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As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African-Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African-Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African-Americans with disabilities.

Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African-Americans with disabilities.

Only 28.7 percent of working-age African-Americans with disabilities are employed in the U.S. compared to 72 percent of working-age African-Americans without disabilities. This is in line with the rest of the country, with fully one-in-five Americans having a disability and just 30 percent of those who are working-age being employed, despite polls showing that most of them want to work. This leads to approximately 40 percent of African-Americans with disabilities living in poverty compared to 22 percent of African-Americans without disabilities.

Deafblind lawyer Haben Girma advocates for inclusion in both education and Hollywood.

For many of the 1,199,743 black students (K-12) with disabilities in America today, the deck is stacked against them. Frequently “invisible disabilities” such as ADHD are not diagnosed and students do not get the supports they need to achieve. Frustrated, they can act out and become suspended. African-American students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by suspension in schools, with more than one in four boys of color with disabilities — and nearly one in five girls of color with disabilities — receiving an out-of-school suspension.

Studies show that when students miss too many days, either for being truant or just being absent, they get so far behind in class that it can lead to them dropping out of school. As documented in Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success, this can lead to the school-to-prison pipeline. Today there are more than 750,000 people with disabilities behind bars in America. Many of them do not have high school diplomas, are functionally illiterate and are people of color.

Harriet Tubman did not let her epileptic seizures stop her from risking her life to free slaves through the underground railroad.

Overall, only 65 percent of students with disabilities graduate high school compared to 84 percent of students without disabilities. However, only 57 percent of black students with disabilities graduate high school compared to 74.6 percent of black students without disabilities.

Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. People with disabilities of all backgrounds can be amongst the highest achievers on earth. Harriet Tubman had Epilepsy, actress Halle Berry lives with diabetes, business leader and Shark Tank superstar Daymond John is dyslexic and Stevie Wonder is blind. Each of them is a positive role model for success. They are perfect candidates for RespectAbility’s #RespectTheAbility campaign, which is shining a light on individuals with disabilities who are succeeding in their chosen careers.

Continue on to Respectability.org to read the complete article.

Celebrating Black Excellence During Black History Month

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February marks Black History Month, an annual observance to remember and honor African-Americans and events in history.

Leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, and many others, have left a mark on American history that has changed the course for many social justice revolutions across the nation. To commemorate their work, we take the time to recognize and celebrate their fight for equality and justice. African-American role models have charted new courses in black excellence, helping to create history!

1991-First African-American woman to serve as mayor for a major U.S. city: Sharon Pratt

1991-First African-American driver to qualify for the Indy 500: Willy T. Ribbs

1992-First African-American woman in space: Dr. Mae Jemison

1993-First African-American appointed surgeon general of the United States: Dr. Joycelyn Elders

1993-First African-American named U.S. poet laureate: Rita Dove

1994-First African-American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature: Toni Morrison

1994-First African-American to host the Academy Awards: Whoopi Goldberg

1997-First African-American to win the Masters golf tournament: Tiger Woods

1999-First African-American chess international grandmaster: Maurice Ashley

2001-First African-American president of an Ivy League institution: Dr. Ruth Simmons

2001-First African-American billionaire: Robert Johnson. Johnson is an entrepreneur and founder of BET

2001-First African-American named secretary of state: Gen. Colin Powell

2002-First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry

2002-First African-American to earn a gold medal at the Winter Games: Vonetta Flowers. Vonetta Flowers is awarded gold medal in the women’s bobsled competition during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2005-First African-American woman named secretary of state: Dr. Condoleezza Rice

2006-First African-American to reach the peak of Mount Everest: Sophia Danenberg

2006-First African-American to earn an individual gold medal at the Winter Games: Shani Davis

2007-First African-American pilot to fly solo around the world: Barrington Irving Jr.

2008-Senator Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated as a major party nominee for president. He subsequently becomes the first African- American to be elected president of the United States.

2008-First African-American to launch his own film and television studio: Tyler Perry

2008-First African-American to referee a Super Bowl: Mike Carey

2009-Barack Obama becomes the first African American president and the country’s 44th president.

2009-First African-American U.S. attorney general: Eric Holder

2009-First African-American to lead the Environmental Protection Agency: Lisa Perez Jackson

2012-Barack Obama is reelected to the presidency.

2013-First African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Cheryl Boone Isaacs

2015-First African-American woman named U.S. attorney general: Loretta Lynch

2015-First African-American promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre: Misty Copeland

Langston Hughes’ Impact on the Harlem Renaissance

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During the Harlem Renaissance, which took place roughly from the 1920s to the mid-’30s, many black artists flourished as public interest in their work took off. One of the Renaissance’s leading lights was poet and author Langston Hughes.

Hughes not only made his mark in this artistic movement by breaking boundaries with his poetry, he drew on international experiences, found kindred spirits amongst his fellow artists, took a stand for the possibilities of black art, and influenced how the Harlem Renaissance would be remembered.

Hughes stood up for black artists George Schuyler, editor of a black paper in Pittsburgh, wrote the article “The Negro-Art Hokum” for an edition of The Nation in June 1926.

The article discounted the existence of “Negro art,” arguing that African-American artists shared European influences with their white counterparts, and were therefore producing the same kind of work. Spirituals and jazz, with their clear links to black performers, were dismissed as folk art.

Invited to make a response, Hughes penned “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.” In it, he described black artists rejecting their racial identity as “the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America.” But he declared that instead of ignoring their identity, “We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual, dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.”

This clarion call for the importance of pursuing art from a black perspective was not only the philosophy behind much of Hughes’ work, but it was also reflected throughout the Harlem Renaissance.

To read the complete article, continue on to Biography.

Black chefs break the glass ceiling in the culinary world

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The culinary business world is as cut throat as any other. It’s also known as an industry that hasn’t always allowed for much diversity in management and ownership at its higher echelon.

However, it appears that African-Americans are finally breaking barriers, starring in many kitchens around the nation and serving up fine delicacies and treats that have those of all races and backgrounds coming back for second-helpings.

“Memphis is a foodie town with a minority-majority makeup … thoughtful discussions about equity in the food industry are at the forefront here and folks care about presentation, which is at the heart of the issue,” said Cynthia Daniels, the founder of Memphis Black Restaurant Week. “I’ve also seen the difficulty that Black-owned restaurants experience with not having big marketing budgets to advertise for new business.”

That’s why she founded Memphis Black Restaurant Week and has advised other cities to do the same.

“It’s a celebration that advocates for Black chefs, brings more awareness around their food and beverage traditions, generates new income, and moves the needle in terms of inclusivity in the culinary world,” said Daniels.

That inclusion and enthusiasm appears to have caught on.

“I am truly optimistic for the future with the culinary industry because while there are still a lot of areas in which to grow, we are slowly chipping away the stereotype of what African-American chefs have to offer,” said award-winning executive chef and QVC food stylist Kristol Bryant. “We are diversified in our skills, talents and cuisines. African American chefs are no longer just soul-food or southern cuisine chefs, we are so much more. Through education and exploration, we can finally break into areas that we never knew were there. Being seen on television is great for us but being a legitimate authority in culinary in the corporate, private and entertainment sectors is the next step.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Insight News.

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

LinkedIn

You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process. The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2019

LinkedIn

Resumes get a bad rap. We write them begrudgingly, usually during periods of transition, or tumult. We fiddle with phrasing and format, agonizing over how to craft our qualifications into the best resume possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.

Yahoo MONEY teamed up with Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, to help you become one of those job seekers. Here’s how to write the perfect resume — and a free resume template that you can download and use for your next job interview.

Resume sample-Yahoo MONEY

(Resume design courtesy of Dana Leavy-Detrick; click here for a free downloadable template)

[1] The Best Resume Format

When it comes to resume format and design, opt for a clean layout. A recent study from the job site Ladders found that resumes with so-called F-pattern and E-pattern layouts, which mimic how our eyes tend to scan web pages, hold a recruiter’s attention for longer than those aligned down the center, or from right to left.

There is no one specific “best” font for resumes. You should use the same font style throughout, Leavy-Detrick says, but play with different weights and sizes to draw a recruiter’s eye to key parts of your resume. Sans serif fonts usually work best — Franklin Gothic, Calibri, and Avenir (the last of which we used for the attached template) are three of Leavy-Detrick’s favorites.

[2] Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you’re applying for an investment banking job, a hot-pink resume probably won’t do you any favors. But subtle pops of color, like the orange used here, will work for just about everyone.

“It’s very minimal, and gives a bit of a design element,” Leavy-Detrick says.

If you do use color, “Use it sparingly,” she warns. “Stick to one color, and one color that’s going to print well.”

[3] Add a Skills Section in Your Resume

Lead with the good stuff. The top of your resume should include “critical keywords and a quick snapshot of your core strengths,” Leavy-Detrick says.

Hard skills, tangible attributes that can easily be measured, take precedence here, so highlight them accordingly. If you’re in a tech-driven field, software and programming expertise is what employers want to see on your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, design and communication skills might be your best bet.

[4] Make a Resume That Shows Impact

To prove you’re worth a hiring manager’s time, highlight recent examples of what you bring to the table. Statistics that build upon your skills section are most impactful — bonus points if they show a track record of growth, revenue, and profitability, Leavy-Detrick says.

If you’re drawing a blank, she suggests adding resume skills that can help solve a “problem area” for the company you’re applying to.

“Impact doesn’t always have to be measured by metrics,” she says. “Cultural improvements, special projects, customer growth … anything that showed success can work.”

[5] What to Leave Off a Resume

Be discerning with the content—don’t list salary requirements, use tables or columns, or tick off every job you’ve ever had. The same goes for social media profiles. Unless your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best to leave those off your resume.

“Only include them if they add value in some way,” Leavy-Detrick says. “If you have zero followers, you may not want to advertise that.”

Continue on to Yahoo MONEY to read the complete article.

The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work

LinkedIn

Bill Thomas knew nothing about steel mills. That’s why, as an interning quality control technician, he found himself in his boss’s office asking questions three or four times a day.

“He was a master deflector,” Thomas says. “I swear he never answered a question.”

The young worker was baffled. Wasn’t his manager supposed to provide him with direction? Frustrated, Thomas finally tried a different approach. The next time he wasn’t sure what to do, he found his boss and said, “Here’s what I think the answer is.”

The lead engineer grinned.

“He stood up and hugged me and said, ‘That’s what I want to hear,'” Thomas recalls. “From then on, I got it.”

When it comes to asking for help at work, some approaches are more fruitful than others, experts say, and what you ask for matters less than the way you ask it. A straightforward, polite and thoughtful request will yield the most useful results and make the best impression.

Ask directly and anticipate success.

Asking for help makes many people feel vulnerable, and they may hesitate to inquire out of fear of rejection. But those concerns are overblown, according to research conducted by Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

“Overwhelmingly, people expect to be rejected much more than they are,” Bohns says. “When someone is there asking you for help, it’s really hard to say no. There’s a lot of pressure to agree. In most cases, people will say yes.”

That’s not the only misconception about asking for assistance. Bohns’ studies show that people tend to seek help from individuals they know rather than strangers, and they’re more likely to request repeat favors from those who have helped them previously.

Yet for small, direct requests, strangers are as likely to help as acquaintances, she says, and people who have refused help in the past are more likely to acquiesce in the future.

“They probably felt guilty saying no and are more likely to say yes the next time,” Bohns explains.

Worried about asking for too much of a favor? The amount of effort involved in your request matters less than you think. What does matter is the method you use to inquire. Demurely mentioning that you’ve got a problem in hopes that someone offers to assist is the wrong way to go.

“Being completely explicit about it is more likely to get you the help you want,” Bohns says. “It’s more appreciated by the other person. There’s less ambiguity.”

And if you’re debating what method of communication to use, the answer is clear: Ask in person.

“Almost no one, especially if you’re asking people you don’t know, says yes over email,” Bohns says. Meanwhile, “face to face gets really big effects.”

<b”>Don’t seem helpless to your boss.

Asking directly and in person are good starting points for making office inquiries. But when seeking help from your boss, there’s more specific etiquette to consider, says Thomas, who is now managing principal at Centric Performance consulting firm.

When workers start new assignments, they should never be shy about asking to clarify what exactly managers expect from them. If they find themselves struggling as they work, most supervisors would prefer that they seek assistance instead of fail to meet expectations or deadlines.

Continue on to US News to read the complete article.

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