One Of The Largest Class Of Black J.D. Candidates At Harvard University Are Making Sure They Make A Statement

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With over 60 Black students, Harvard Law School’s class of 2021 is one of the largest class of Black J.D. candidates in the educational institution’s history. To showcase this excellence, the students created a photo-based social media campaign using the hashtag #BlackatHarvardLaw.
With this initiative, Black students in Harvard Law’s freshman class aim to mark their place on campus, while also encouraging the next generation of Black lawyers to fearlessly follow in their footsteps.

Co-organizers of the campaign Sarah Rutherford, Shane Fowler, Daniel Oyolu and Armani Madison sat down with Blavity to talk about the purpose of the campaign and their collective experiences as Black students while attending Harvard Law.

“This campaign is important because so many folks have invested in our success, and inspired and encouraged us to set our sights high. It’s important [that] we do the same for those who come after,” Oyolu told Blavity.

“There are 60-plus people that represent the African diaspora in the photo,” Rutherford said.

According to Rutherford, the campaign’s timing was strategically designed to align with the school’s annual event series for prospective and newly admitted students.
“This campaign was really important for us to launch ahead of Harvard Law’s two Admitted Students Weekends,” Rutherford explained. “We want this year’s admitted students and those who are considering applying to know that there is a supportive Black community at Harvard Law School.”

For the complete article, continue on to Blavity.

Meet the Women Fighting to Save Black Mothers: ‘There’s a Lot of Work to Do’

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In recent years, birth stories from stars like Serena Williams and Beyoncé have served to highlight the state of Black maternal health in the United States — Williams, 37, underwent an emergency c-section and endured a a pulmonary embolism and Beyoncé, 37, suffered from preeclampsia and also had an emergency c-section.

The stars’ experiences brought attention to the dire state of medical care for pregnant Black women in the U.S., particularly in poorer communities. Black babies in the country are twice as likely to die in their first year of life than white babies, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based research group. Additionally, Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to suffer pregnancy-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Black women are also more likely to have a stillbirth, give birth prematurely, have low birth-weight infants, have a miscarriage even. There are a lot of challenges that folks are dealing with,” Black Mamas Matter Alliance co-director Elizabeth Dawes Gay tells PEOPLE. “It boils down to toxic stress, racism in society, in the healthcare setting, disparities in access to care. There’s a lot of work to do. I think we will see a change but it is going to take a long time.”

That’s why Black maternal health advocates are trying to raise more consistent awareness about birth outcomes and establish policy changes to close what is known as the Black-white gap. One example is Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s Black Maternal Health Week, an effort to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the fight for Black women’s maternal and reproductive justice.

For the complete article, continue on to People.

Jade Colin is the Youngest Black Woman to own a McDonald’s Franchise

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Colin and her employees pose in the lobby of McDonald's

Meet Jade Colin, the youngest black woman to own a McDonald’s franchise.

The New Orleans native, has always been independent  and a hard worker. The 28-year-old started her career in college while working the night shift at a local McDonald’s.

There, she earned promotions and awards, inspiring her to purchase her own franchise.

After graduating from the University of Louisiana with a business degree in 2012, Colin applied for the Next Generation program for children of McDonald’s owners. During the program, Colin earned several awards for her business management skills.

She received a Ray Kroc Award and was recognized as one of the top McDonald’s restaurant managers in the country.

After she finished the two-year program, Colin became a manager at her parents’ franchise. From there, she planned to open her own – and she succeeded.

Colin opened her first franchise in 2016, and she is still the youngest black franchise owner.”

As an African-American community, we need more men and women to know that it’s not just about right now, but it’s about the generations to come,” she told The Black Professional.

LeBron James “I Promise School” Showing Early Signs Of Success

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The scene might be expected on a special occasion at any other public school. At LeBron James’s I Promise School, it was just Monday.

Every day, they are celebrated for walking through the door. This time last year, the students at the school — Mr. James’s biggest foray into educational philanthropy — were identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavioral problems. Some as young as 8 were considered at risk of not graduating.

The academic results are early, and at 240, the sample size of students is small, but the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at I Promise posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.

“These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” Mr. James said in a telephone interview hours before a game in Los Angeles for the Lakers. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”

For the complete article, continue on to New York Times.

Kenyan Teacher Who Gives Away 80 Percent Of Salary To Poor Communities Wins $1 Million Global Prize

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Peter Tabichi poses for camera wearing a blue sweater and white collared shirt

A rural Kenyan teacher who gives 80 percent of his monthly income to poor communities, just won a $1 million global prize, proving that the blessings you bestow usually come right back to you.

Peter Tabichi, a Franciscan brother who teaches math and physics, was honored with the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize on Sunday in Dubai, United Arab Erimates.

The Varkey Foundation definitely chose well. Tabichi teaches at a Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, making use of only one computer, poor internet connection and a staggering student-teacher ratio of 58:1. Still, he visits internet cafes when he can to make sure he gets the proper content for his students, and then uses them offline. Students walk just over four miles along roads that are often impassable in the raining season to learn, the Varkey Foundation noted in Tabichi’s profile.

He and four of his colleagues also go the extra mile to ensure that low-achieving students get one-on-one tutoring outside of class and over the weekends, visiting students’ home and meeting with their families to help identify the challenges they have and face them together.

According to the profile, most of Tabichi’s students, 95 percent of them, come from poor families. Almost a third of these students are orphans or only have one parent. And many go without food when at home. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out of school, young marriages, and suicide are also issues that his students face.

Still, Tabichi soldiered on, working with his amazing students, who he mentored through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair in 2018, in which they came in first. Currently, the Mathematical Science team is qualified to participate in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair in 2019 in Arizona, which they are prepping for.

Under the guidance of Tabichi and his colleagues, Keriko’s enrollment has doubled to 400 in over three years, and more of his students are moving on to college after they finish their education with him.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Community college names first African-American as president

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Tyrone Jackson poses outside in suit and tie with a brick wall background

MOORHEAD, Miss. — Mississippi Delta Community College is naming a native of the Delta region as president. Tyrone Jackson will become the college’s first African-American president and its ninth overall.

Larry Nabors is retiring after six years as president.

College trustees chose Jackson, now a Hinds Community College vice president, to lead the 2,400-student institution beginning July 1.

“It’s very special,” Jackson told The Greenwood Commonwealth . “As an African-American, to come back to the Mississippi Delta and to be the first African-American to lead this institution, it’s definitely an honor to have this opportunity.”

A Rosedale native, Jackson currently leads the Utica campus for Hinds and oversees administrative services. He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Delta State University. Jackson worked there in a series of jobs, including associate director of housing and residence life, director of multicultural affairs and director of graduate studies.

He left Delta to work for two years as associate vice president at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he served for two years as associate vice president for student services. He worked for Hinds for five years.

Jackson says he intends to listen to students, faculty and staff to learn about the college and to also maintain the college’s profile in the community, as well as working to recruit students. He said he’d like to work to raise pay for faculty.

Continue on to Westport News to read the complete article

11-Year Old Prodigy Receives Full-Ride Scholarship

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This Black child prodigy is wasting no time making his mark on the world. At just 11-years old, Elijah Precciely is a full-time student at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is also the youngest full-ride scholarship recipient the university has ever signed.

While he just began his career as a full-time student in the 2019 spring semester, he has been taking classes at the university since he was 8 years old.

The opportunity to start his college career early began when his mother reached out to a member of Southern University’s Physics department, Dr. Diola Bagayoko. While initially looking for lab space for his inventions, the professor invited Elijah to sit in on his classes.

While being homeschooled, he went on to take classes in biology, physics, and business. Now enrolled at the university as a full-time student, he will be studying physics and mechanical engineering through the honors college. Due to his previously earned credits, he already has a Sophomore class ranking.

“When I reflect on this Joseph S. Clark Presidential Scholars Award it means absolute legacy, nothing but legacy to me,” Elijah said while signing his letter of acceptance. “Those that have paved the way, I want to thank you for paving the way in my education, and I will absolutely pave the way for others to do the impossible. I am elated.”

For the complete article, continue on to Black News.

Black Migration Was Hot Topic at 93rd ASALH Black History Month Luncheon

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By Roy Betts

More than 1,000 educators, historians, students and community and government leaders convened for the 93rd annual Black History Month luncheon hosted by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Washington, D.C.

The nation’s premier Black History Month event focused on ASALH’s 2019 theme Black Migrations, which emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities.

Black migrations are stories of “pain and unbridled hope” that “ultimately are about our striving, about our endurance, and about our perseverance in America,” said Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, ASALH national president and history department chair and Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

The luncheon featured a panel discussion on Black Migrations led by Dr. Jelani Cobb, the Ira R. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. Other panelists were Dr. Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor constitutional law at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Kojo Nnamdi, host of radio shows “The Politics Hour” and “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” on WAMU 88.5 at American University; and Dr. G. Derek Musgrove, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

As reported in an article written by LaMont Jones for Diverseeducation.com, speakers on the panel noted that Black Americans continually forged new identities with each major transfer of population, from the Great Migration from the agricultural south to the industrial north to a current reverse migration of sorts back to the south.

“Folks are constantly negotiating what it means to be African American on the back end of these migrations,” said Musgrove.

Events that have triggered forced or voluntary Black migration punctuate “400 years of perseverance” seeking economic progress, safety, and respect, yet “when we reinvent ourselves, laws change to undermine our progress,” said Browne-Marshall.

Immigration from the Caribbean, Africa, and across the African diaspora can affect and be affected by Black migration events in the United States, and racism and oppression of Blacks everywhere has created a common bond, said Nnamdi.

Current implications of Black migration are informed by various demographic shifts, particularly ones that have seen African Americans move outward from major cities such as the District of Columbia and New York — where they had been a large part or the majority of the population — because of economic factors.

The large Black population of Prince George’s County in Maryland was partly a response to cost and quality of living issues in D.C., and it’s important to understand such phenomena when considering how Black Americans are “on the move” today, said Musgrove.

Black people tend to migrate where they perceive opportunities to be, which may be behind the decision of large numbers to return to southern roots from the North and Midwest in recent years, observed Browne-Marshall.

She questioned where the next Black migration should be.

“Out of this country?” she asked. “Back down South? Are we going from the frying pan to the fire? Or do we want another frying pan?”

Roy Betts is a member of ASALH’s Marketing and Public Relations Committee.

Mark Dean: Computer Engineering’s “Hidden Figure”

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Chances are, if you’ve ever stuck a disk drive into a computer or printed from a computer or even used a computer with a color screen, you have computer scientist and engineer, Mark Dean, to thank for all of that.

While he may not be as known as computer gurus like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, Mark Dean’s contributions to the personal computer aren’t any less notable.

He holds some of the largest, most groundbreaking personal computer patents including the first color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip. He also co-invented the Industry Standard Architecture system bus, which allows for computer plug-ins such as disk drives and printers.

Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, in 1957, Dean helped launch the personal computer age with work that made the machines more accessible and powerful.

From an early age, Dean showed a love for building things; as a young boy, Dean constructed a tractor from scratch with the help of his father, a supervisor at the Tennessee Valley Authority. While still in high school, he also built his own computer, radio and amplifier.

Dean also excelled in many different areas, standing out as a gifted athlete and an extremely smart student who graduated with straight A’s from Jefferson City High School. In 1979, he graduated at the top of his class at the University of Tennessee, where he studied engineering.

As an engineer, Dean proved to be a rising star at the company. Working closely with a colleague, Dennis Moeller, Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus, a new system that allowed peripheral devices like disk drives, printers and monitors to be plugged directly into computers. The end result was more efficiency and better integration.

But his groundbreaking work didn’t stop there. Dean’s research at IBM helped change the accessibility and power of the personal computer. His work led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, Dean led a team of engineers at IBM’s Austin, Texas, lab to create the first gigahertz processing chip chip—a revolutionary piece of technology that is able to do a billion calculations a second.

For the complete article, continue on to Black Doctor.

The 2019 Oscars broke boundaries, especially for women of color

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Over the past few years, the #OscarsSoWhite and Time’s Up movements have been pushing unceasingly for more diversity in Hollywood, both in front of the screen and behind the scenes. And while the Oscars are still overwhelmingly white and male, that work has started to pay off, with the Academy adding multiple women and people of color to its voting body in 2017.

That was evident at the 2019 Oscars: Multiple Oscars milestones were reached, with people of color and women taking home awards that have never been claimed by anyone from their identity group before.

They’re milestones worth celebrating — but it’s also worth noting how absurdly long it’s taken to get even this far.

Black Panther led the charge in multiple categories

Black Panther’s black-focused, women-led production team set multiple milestones. As Alyssa Klein noted on TwitterRuth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler — winners for best costume and best production design, respectively — became the second and third black women ever to win a non-acting Oscar, and the first to win in more than 30 years. (Their predecessor, Irene Cara, won in 1984 for writing the “Flashdance” song.)

And together with Regina King, who won Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk, the three wins represented the first time that more than one black woman has won an Oscar in the same year. Beachler was also the first black woman to even be nominated for production design, so her win was a triple milestone.

(Via Washington Post)

For the complete article, continue on to Vox.

Celebrating Black History Month: Ken Chenault Talks Diversity in the Workforce, TIAA Takes Students on an Educational Journey

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TIAA_Chenault Group

“Be intellectually curious, push the envelope, and be caring and decisive.”

These are wise words from Ken Chenault, Chairman and Managing Director of General Catalyst and former American Express Chairman and CEO, who spoke to TIAA employees on February 6 in TIAA’s New York City office and broadcasted nationally to TIAA employees via phone and video conference.

In honor of Black History Month, and in support of TIAA’s Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Black professionals, Mr. Chenault spoke about the importance of diversity in the workplace and actions we can all take every day to embody true leadership.

Mr. Chenault shared his experiences with becoming an effective and decisive leader. He also shared advice and actions everyone can take to push for diversity and change in the workforce nationwide:

  • Rely on your values in times of crisis, being decisive and compassionate
  • Bring your whole self to work
  • Express yourself fully
  • Create a welcoming environment
  • Take personal responsibility to drive innovation

Mr. Chenault also shared best practices on how companies can be innovative in their approach to increasing diversity. He explained that diversity and inclusion needs to be handled like a core business initiative.  He reiterated the obvious need for more diverse leadership in America – more CEOs of color and women are needed.

Mr. Chenault encouraged companies to increase hiring of diverse talent to build a diverse pipeline as a way of increasing diversity in leadership as well.  “We have a long way to go, to improve diversity,” he said. He emphasized that the company culture has to be evident that people are truly included and engaged with each other. “Fundamentally, if you’re talking about culture – if people are proud and engaged – that’s what you want,” he said.

Other best practices he shared:

  • Define objectives and execute to create outcomes
  • Have great invention and transformation. Become the company that could put you out of business one day
  • Innovate or die. Don’t stand still
  • Build a diverse pipeline of talent
  • Have survey and metrics on diversity – it creates accountability
TIAA_Chenault and Zarifa
Ken Chenault with Zarifa Reynolds, Head of Corporate Development at TIAA

After the discussion, TIAA recognized Mr. Chenault with the inaugural TIAA Leadership in Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Award for demonstrating commitment to I&D, challenging the status quo, and raising the bar in the workplace for fair and equitable treatment.

“Ken Chenault’s fireside chat energized and inspired those who attended the event.  TIAA employees commented that they were most struck by Ken’s definition of his leadership style as one that was caring and decisive, where he defined reality and gave hope and one where he integrated diversity and inclusion into every aspect of business outcomes,” said Zarifa Reynolds, Head of Corporate Development at TIAA and New York Chapter Co-Lead of the Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG).

“Mr. Chenault’s perspective resonated with our employees by demonstrating the efficacy of inclusion as a business imperative. Inclusion is not simply morally right – it’s a key source of customer centricity, innovation, and business results,” said Jourdan Jones, Sr. Director of Marketing Strategy at TIAA and New York Chapter Co-Lead of the Empowered Employee Resource Group (ERG).

TIAA advocates for diversity and inclusion – in and outside the office.  In addition to inviting Ken to speak to employees for Black History Month, TIAA is also celebrating by giving back to the community and pushing the envelope for diversity in education and opportunities for students.

“Innovation – we have to own it every day,” said Corie Pauling, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at TIAA. “Getting everyone involved in the I&D work is an important strategy and goal for TIAA, which will help position the company for the next 100 years.”

TIAA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team is providing an opportunity for local students in Charlotte at Vance High School, an adopt-a-school relationship TIAA has established, to participate in an educational Washington D.C. field trip. Fifty students (10th-12th grades) will partake in a unique tour experience within the National Museum of African American History and Culture on February 23.  Students and chaperones will also tour Howard University, a HBCU in D.C., to learn about the college and its programs. TIAA is also providing EverFi’s digital 306 African American Curriculum to an entire school district in Charlotte at no-cost.

Chosen for their exemplary African American Studies essays, these students will also have exposure to a digital, online education & training company that will further their career connections via a speed networking event at EVERFI’s headquarters in the D.C. area.

The CSR team arranged a volunteer event with the Empowered Employee Resource Group members to host a discussion at Vance H.S. around the 306 curriculum, specifically on the lessons / modules of the “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” “The Tuskegee Institute,” and “W.E.B. Du Bois.”

TIAA CSR Black History Program CLT

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.

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)

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