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

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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Atlanta Hawks Assist Challenge

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.

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.

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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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)

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