Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doing Business with Beauty: Black Women, Hair Salons, and the Racial Enclave Economy

March 24, Aida Harvey Wingfield, "Doing Business with Beauty: Black Women, Hair Salons, and the Racial Enclave Economy." Harvey Wingfield will discuss her recent book in which she argues that, while an increasing number of small business owners are black women, the existing theoretical paradigms fail to sufficiently explain why this is so. To correct this, she advances a more precise theoretical model to explain black women's businesses: that of the "racial enclave economy." She coined the term to describe the ways gendered racism operates as a systemic issue that influences black women's entrepreneurial activity.

In her talk, she will address the ways gendered racism operates to shape black women's entrepreneurship that are often overlooked in the existing literature and public debates on business ownership.

Adia Harvey Wingfield Assistant Professor Race, Class & Gender, Work & Occupations, Social Theory Email: Room: 1057 Telephone Number: (404) 413-6509

Adia Harvey WingfieldThe University of Texas at Arlington News Release — 24 February 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Sue Stevens, Senior Media Relations Officer, 817- 272-3317,

Federal Government and Depression Author Target African-American Community with Mental Health Campaign

WASHINGTON – The leading federal mental health agency and mental health activist Terri Williams, whose book Black Pain documented her own struggle with depression, kicked off a nationwide, two-year campaign Tuesday at Howard University to increase treatment for African Americans with mental disorders.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Williams, who established a foundation to help African Americans with depression after her mental breakdown, joined the Ad Council and Williams’ Stay Strong Foundation to unveil three television public service announcements they hope will diminish the stigma of mental health among African Americans. The announcements will be sent to 33,000 media outlets.

During the launch at the university’s Cancer Center, the organizations also highlighted a new Web site,, with videos of African Americans, famous and unknown, talking about their struggles with depression and their families’ history of mental health issues, and how it affected them.

Terri Williams

Terri Williams
Williams pointed participants to her organization’s Web site that deals with depression,, and urged young African Americans to help remove the stigma associated with mental disease.

“Depression is killing black people by the thousands,” Williams said, “and it’s important to talk about it, no matter what our own personal fear might be. We must share our stories with each other, especially our young.”

The campaign targets African Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 because they have a higher incidence of mental health disorders than the overall population, said Paolo del Vecchio of SAMHSA.

“We also know the increase in the suicide rate among young African Americans is twice the rate of their white counterparts,” he said. “Additionally, less than one half of African Americans who need treatment receive it.”

The event, which coincided with the first HBCU National Mental Health Awareness Day, was coordinated by sociologist Donna Holland Barnes, an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University and director of the University’s Suicide Prevention Program.

“Unfortunately, many African Americans do not recognize this is a significant problem within our community,” said Barnes, who lost a son to suicide. “We are less likely to seek help. If we do seek help, we’re less likely to comply with treatment. The result can be fatal, and can lead to either suicide or homicide.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ron Harris Director of Communications Office of University Communications 202.683.0182

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Minority Internship Program Applications Due in March for Summer, Fall 2010 Placements

MACOMB, IL - - Applications for Western Illinois University students who are interested in participating in the Summer and Fall 2010 Minority Internship Program (MIP) are due Monday, March 22 in the African American studies (AAS) department office, Morgan Hall 232 on the Macomb campus.

The program, which is funded by a Higher Education Cooperation Act (HECA) grant through the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), is a one semester, paid internship that allows fulltime junior, senior and graduate minority students to combine work and learning experiences. Western is a member of the Five University Consortium, along with Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governor's State University and Northeastern Illinois University.

The program is designed specifically for African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American and Alaskan Native students who are U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents to improve their understanding of organizational decision-making, policy-making and to empower them through career goal assessment, work experience, the establishment of mentorships, and enhanced networking skills and opportunities.

Students arrange their internship sites with the assistance of their academic advisers and the Career Services Office. Interns must work between 30 and 35 hours per week and attend monthly seminars. Fulltime interns are appointed for one academic term and are paid a monthly stipend. Academic credit for enrolling fulltime in an approved internship credit course is required during the internship semester.

This semester, WIU has three students on MIP internships. McKenzie Cherestal (Evanston, IL), a senior law enforcement and justice administration major, who is interning with the Niles (IL) Police Department; Dail Rice (Rock Island, IL), a WIU-Quad Cities campus master's candidate in counseling who is interning at Rock Island High School; and Robert Shelby (Macomb, IL), a master's candidate in sociology who is interning at The Crossing in Macomb. Previously, MIP students have interned throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska as well as London, Hong Kong and Australia.

Alphonso Simpson Jr.

Alphonso Simpson Jr.
"Through financial support and mentoring, it is our hope we can provide an enhanced experience for the interns who have been selected to represent WIU. The MIP is designed to make the internship experience easier and more rewarding for these exceptional students," stated MIP campus co-chairs Alphonso Simpson Jr., AAS interim chair, and Fran Hainline, office support specialist.

To apply, undergraduates must be at least a fulltime junior with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.
Fulltime graduate students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25.Applications for Summer and Fall 2010 semester internships are available in the African American studies office in Morgan Hall 232. For more information, call the AAS department at (309) 298-2282.

An e-mail has been sent to all qualified students inviting them to apply. Interested students who have questions about their qualifications should call (309) 298-1181, e-mail or visit the African American studies office. Students at WIU-Quad Cities can contact Curtis Williams, (309) 762-1495, or e-mail, for information or applications.

Western Illinois University Posted By: Bonnie Barker, University Relations Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606

Wellesley's Joanne Berger-Sweeney Honored for Her Medical Research by The HistoryMakers

WELLESLEY, Mass.—Calling her "one of five of the nation's leading medical scientists," The HistoryMakers organization honored Wellesley College Associate Dean Joanne E. Berger-Sweeney at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry this month.

Berger-Sweeney, Wellesley's Allene Lummis Russell professor in neuroscience and professor of biological sciences, presented her research in a panel discussion at the event.

The HistoryMakers, a national nonprofit research and educational institution, is dedicated to educating the world about African American history and achievement. Its program, "The Value of Science: Improving the Quality of Life," featured Berger-Sweeney and four other top scientists.

The event attracted more than 600 participants including trustees of the Chicago science museum and The HistoryMakers.

"I spoke about my research regarding Rett Syndrome, an autistic-spectrum disorder," Berger-Sweeney said. "I work with a mouse model where we take the genetic mutations that cause the disease in humans and test mice to see how closely they resemble the human model.

We are trying diet and nutrition as a way of mitigating the symptoms of the syndrome."

Berger-Sweeney and her fellow scientists also spent a day with inner-city middle school students at the museum.

"Each of us gave short talks and there were scientific demonstrations to engage their interest," said Berger-Sweeney. "Each class had a student videographer with a Flip camera who interviewed us about how we became scientists. The videos were shown at the end of the day to all of the students. They really got into seeing themselves in the videos and that was terrific."
Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Recognized internationally for her work on brain disorders affecting memory, Berger-Sweeney's teaching is closely linked to her research. In her labs, Wellesley College students benefit from directly participating in that research.

A member of the Wellesley College Class of 1979, she majored in psychobiology, then earned a master's of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology at Johns Hopkins University. She has been a member of the Wellesley College faculty since 1991.

The HistoryMakers describes itself as "capturing American history one person at a time." Berger-Sweeney now becomes part of its ScienceMakers Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which is creating a multi-media archive of video oral histories of African American scientists. The histories serve as a framework for public programs, educational materials, Web content and a YouTube oral history contest.

In addition to Berger-Sweeney, the other honored scientists were Edwin Cooper, Erich D. Jarvis, Roderic Pettigrew and Luther S. Williams. For more information, go to ###

For Immediate Release: Feb. 23, 2010 Contact: Arlie Corday, acorday@wellesley.edu781-283-3321

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tish Norman keynote speaker at Marshall’s Women of Color program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Tish Norman, founder of Transforming Leaders Now, Inc., a consulting company that focuses on leadership and personal development, will be the keynote speaker at Marshall University’s Women of Color program Monday, March 1.

The program, which is free to the public, begins at noon in the Don Morris Room of the Memorial Student Center on MU’s Huntington campus. Vendors and displays will be set up throughout the day in the lobby of the Memorial Student Center.

This year’s theme is “Symbols in Silver” to reflect 25 years of celebrating Women of Color Day.

Norman is the co-author of the empowerment book From Mediocre to Magnificent, and was profiled as one of the “New Leaders” in Campus Activities Magazine and featured articles published in Connections Magazine and The Future Business Leader Educational Journal.

Tish Norman

Tish Norman
She will be speaking on “Celebrating Yourself” and “Women in Charge! Communication Strategies for Confident Women,” which promises to be a very exciting and motivational afternoon, according to Fran L. Jackson, Program Assistant II, Center for African American Students’ Programs. Norman is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The Links.

Women of Color awards will be presented and a luncheon buffet will follow.

The Women of Color Program activities are coordinated by Jackson; Leah Tolliver, Director, Women’s Center; Lisa Allen, Administrative Assistant, Multicultural Affairs; Le´Kesha Glover, Assistant Director of Residence Services, and Sherri Steele, Counselor, Student Affairs.

For more information, contact Jackson at 304-696-6705.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 22, 2010 Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153

For further information, contact: Office of University Communications Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090 Fax: (304) 696-3197

African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention

A new survey has found that African-Americans are more likely than whites to hold mistaken and fatalistic beliefs about lung cancer, as well as being more reluctant to consult a doctor about possible symptoms of the disease, according to researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their collaborators.

These attitudes among blacks may help explain the puzzling racial disparities in lung cancer treatment outcomes that have been documented over the past 25 years, and highlight the need for clearer, more direct public health messages directed at African-Americans, say the scientists.

Christopher Lathan, MD, MPH, an oncologist in the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber, is the first author of the report in the journal Cancer. Senior author is Gary Bennett, PhD, of Duke University's Global Health Institute.

Both whites and blacks in the survey "grossly underestimated" the bleak outlook associated with a diagnosis of lung cancer — only 15 percent of patients survive for five years.

Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH

Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH
Lung cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States, and among people diagnosed with the disease, African-American men have the highest incidence and mortality. Blacks tend to be diagnosed later than whites, when the disease is more advanced.

Federal data quoted in the paper say that the 2001-2005 incidence rate of lung cancer for white men was 79.3 per 100,000 vs. 107.6 per 100,000 for African-American men, and the mortality rate for white men with lung cancer is 71.3 per 100,000 vs. 93.1 per 100,000 for African-American men. This survival gap was first detected in the early 1980s, and continues today.

Previous studies have suggested that the disparity may be due in part to differences in access to care, rates of surgery, and patient preferences, Lathan says. The current study was undertaken to find out "if African-Americans think about lung cancer in a different way," explains Lathan.

Using a random-digit phone dialing method, the investigators queried patients who had been participants in the National Cancer Institute's 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).

Both black and white respondents greatly overestimated the percentage of lung cancer patients who survive five years or longer. Many said 50 percent when the true number is 15 percent.

There were three survey questions on which blacks and whites diverged significantly. African-Americans were more likely than whites (53 percent vs. 37 percent) to say they were confused by too many recommendations on how to prevent lung cancer.

"This is shocking," says Lathan. "There is only one recommendation to decrease the chance of getting lung cancer. Stop smoking and avoid tobacco smoke."

When asked whether the disease is caused by lifestyle and behavior, 73 percent of blacks agreed, compared to 85 percent of whites.

Among blacks, 22 percent said they would be reluctant to be checked for lung cancer symptoms out of fear of receiving bad news. Only 9 percent of whites agreed with this statement.

In addition, 51 percent of African-Americans believed that they would have symptoms before a diagnosis of lung cancer, versus 32 percent of whites.

The researchers concluded, "African Americans are more likely to hold beliefs about lung cancer that could interfere with prevention and treatment."

"We really need to target out lung cancer education to communities of color," says Lathan.

"And we need to deliver really clear messages: Stop smoking if you want to prevent lung cancer. You should go to see your doctor. And we should let people known that lung cancer is deadly — more deadly than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined."

Other authors of the report are Cassandra Okechukwu, DSc, of the University of California at San Francisco and Bettina F. Drake, PhD, MPH, formerly of the Center for Community-Based Research at Dana-Farber and now at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Media Contact: Robbin Ray (617) 632-4090

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dr. Tina Cartwright to speak on promoting scientific literacy in Sarah Denman Faces of Appalachia Symposium

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Tina Cartwright, an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Services at Marshall University, will present “Launching Tomorrow’s Scientists” and share the outcomes of her work to help low-income minority children develop interest in science and find their way into science careers. The presentation will take place Thursday, March 4 on MU’s Huntington campus.

Cartwright is the featured speaker in the 2nd annual Sarah Denman Faces of Appalachia Symposium. It is scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. A dessert reception will follow.

In 2007, Cartwright was awarded an $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to begin COMETS (COMmunities Educating Tomorrow’s Scientists), an after-school science enrichment program for 8- to 11-year-olds in community centers and schools. Since 2007, 170 students in Dunbar and Charleston have participated in COMETS, some with more than 150 contact hours.

Dr. Tina Cartwright

Dr. Tina Cartwright
As Cartwright shares, economic and social dependency on technology continues to increase, and people need expanded literacy to capitalize on those innovations. But according to 2007 statistics from the National Science Foundation, just 3.1 percent of all Bachelor of Science recipients were African American men and 3.5 percent were African American women.

“People often like to say that ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist’ to do complex things,” Cartwright said. “But we need a whole lot more scientists to keep America competitive and leading the world in innovation. Our children, no matter the color of their skin or the amount of money in their bank accounts, need to know that science is accessible and critical for our future.”

Research shows that a student’s interest in science is a better indicator for selecting a science career than grades or test scores. Yet the language of science can be inhibiting for low-income and minority students.

Cartwright studied the type of science language used by students who had high interest in science, and planned a program outside of school to provide a space where those students could develop their interest in science and their facility with science language.

Cartwright’s presentation will focus on a group of 20 students on the west side of Charleston who have consistently participated in COMETS since 2007. Her work measures students’ current interest in and use of science language, and considers as well the role of COMETS in promoting that interest in science and science language skill.

The current program will end in May, but Cartwright has recently submitted another $1.2 million grant to the National Science Foundation Science to continue the program in Kanawha County and expand it to Cabell and Wayne counties.

After Cartwright’s presentation, her project will be discussed by Steve Beckelhimer (STEM Science Coordinator for the June Harless Center), Dr. Pat Kusimo (president of the Education Alliance-Business and Community for Public Schools), and Michelle Burk (fifth-grade teacher at Dunbar Intermediate School).

The Sarah Denman Faces of Appalachia Symposium is co-sponsored by Marshall University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia, National Endowment for the Humanities, Marshall University Multicultural Affairs, and the MU-ADVANCE Program.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, February 19, 2010 Contact: Chris Green, Co-Director, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia 304-696-6269

For further information, contact: Office of University Communications Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090 Fax: (304) 696-3197

Transforming Community Project Creates Agents of Change

For the past five years, the Transforming Community Project (TCP) has encouraged participants to take comfort in the uncomfortable and open up about race.

The initiative has attracted a mix of faculty, staff, students and alumni in examining the issue of race at Emory through provocative dialogue and original research. A five-year effort funded by the Provost's Office, Emory's strategic plan and the Ford Foundation, TCP has lent a voice to a slave named Kitty and her owner, the first chairman of Emory's Board of Trustees, along with the first Latino, Jewish and Asian students who contributed to the University's cultural mosaic.

Apart from recovering Emory's complicated history with race, the initiative encourages hundreds of participants to be active agents of change.

Previous attendees have gone on to develop diversity programming on campus and in DeKalb public schools, conduct oral history interviews to examine an aspect of Emory's racial legacy, lead youth movements in Atlanta, or share insights with their families around the dinner table.

Transforming Community Project"A lot of diversity training is a weekend or a workshop," says TCP Director Leslie Harris, associate professor of history and African American studies. "We wanted to set up something where people stayed in conversation over time."

TCP celebrated its fifth anniversary during Founders Week, and collaborated with the Emory Visual Arts Gallery to feature renowned portraitist Dawoud Bey's photographs of students across the nation, a cross-section of a generation.

Throughout the year, TCP facilitates three tiers of groups to develop creative responses to issues of race on campus, from day-to-day interactions to long-term challenges to the institution's identity.

Community Dialogue Groups members commit to meeting eight times a semester with trained peer facilitators. They are encouraged to move from intimate conversations about race to constructive public action.

Gathering the Tools Groups engage in excavating Emory's racial history, dating to the University's founding in 1836, through oral histories, archival research and multimedia presentations.

Summer faculty pedagogy seminars explore ways to incorporate Emory's strategic theme of "Creating Community, Engaging Society" into new or existing course material. TCP also works with the summer Scholarly Inquiry and Research Experience (SIRE) program to fund student projects.

Mary Catherine Johnson, assistant director of the Visual Arts Gallery and department, was instrumental in bringing Bey to campus for an artist residency this spring. A former TCP participant and two-time facilitator, Johnson says the Community Dialogue groups "were some of the most powerful experiences I've had here at Emory."

Vice President for Campus Services Bob Hascall signed up for a TCP Community Dialogue last year and encouraged his department to participate. More than two dozen Campus Services employees were "introduced to one other in a different way," he says, from exploring color divisions within the African American community, to learning about Emory's early struggles with racial division.

"It was sharing some of who we are, and how we came to be in our working environment," Hascall says.

TCP is working with the Provost's Office to secure funding for the next five years. Plans include developing an extracurricular curriculum on racial diversity for youth at Druid Hills High School and the local YMCA. In fall semester, TCP piloted a dialogue on the Middle East conflict and this spring is collaborating with the Center for Women to explore gender issues. A dialogue on sexuality is slated for next fall in coordination with the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life.

When will the community be fully transformed?

"Progress is not a word I ever use," explains Harris, who founded TCP with former Emory journalism professor Catherine Manegold. "We go back, we go forward and we go around. Communities are constantly transforming. The question is do we want to be swept along with that transformation or have an active role in guiding that transformation?" ###

News Release: University News Contact: Beverly Clark: 404.712.8780


WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2010 - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the successful resolution of the longstanding litigation known as Pigford II. The settlement agreement reached today, which is contingent on appropriation by Congress, will provide a total of $1.25 billion to African American farmers who alleged that they suffered racial discrimination in USDA farm loan programs. The settlement sets up a non-judicial claims process through which individual farmers may demonstrate their entitlement to cash damages awards and debt relief.

Below is a statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: AUDIO: Media Briefing

"USDA has made it a top priority to ensure all farmers are treated fairly and equally. We have worked hard to address USDA's checkered past so we can get to the business of helping farmers succeed. The agreement reached today is an important milestone in putting these discriminatory claims behind us for good and in achieving finality for this group of farmers with longstanding grievances.

"Because this Administration firmly believed that a full and final class-wide settlement was possible, the Administration requested $1.15 billion in the 2010 budget, on top of the $100 million already provided by Congress, to facilitate a settlement. I now urge Congress to provide the funding necessary to ensure that that these farmers and USDA can close this sad chapter and move on.

Negro farmer plowing his field of four acres"As I testified before Congress during my confirmation hearings last year, the USDA under the Obama Administration has made civil rights a top priority, which is why we are working to implement a comprehensive program to take definitive action to move USDA into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider."

Below is a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder:

"Bringing this litigation to a close has been a priority for this Administration. With the settlement announced today, USDA and the African American farmers who brought this litigation can move on to focus on their future.

The plaintiffs can move forward and have their claims heard - with the federal government standing not as an adversary, but as a partner."

In 1999, the USDA entered into a consent agreement with black farmers in which the agency agreed to pay farmers for past discrimination in lending and other USDA programs. Thousands of claims have been adjudicated, but thousands of other claims were not considered on their merits because the affected farmers submitted their claims after the settlement claims deadline.

To address the remaining claims, Congress provided these farmers another avenue for restitution in the 2008 Farm Bill by providing a right to file a claim in federal court. The total amount offered by the federal government in the agreement announced today, $1.25 billion, includes the $100 million appropriated by Congress in Section 14012 of the Farm Bill.

Last May, President Obama announced his plans to include settlement funds for black farmers in the FY 2010 budget to bring closure to their long-standing litigation against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The settlement is contingent on Congress appropriating the $1.15 billion that the President requested. Following the appropriation, class members may pursue their individual claims through a non-judicial claims process in front of a neutral arbitrator. Claimants who establish their credit-related claims will be entitled to receive up to $50,000 and debt relief. A separate track may provide actual damages of up to $250,000 through a more rigorous process. The actual value of awards may be reduced based on the total amount of funds made available and the number of successful claims.

A moratorium on foreclosures of most claimants' farms will be in place until after claimants have gone through the claims process or the Secretary is notified that a claim has been denied.The claims process agreed to by the parties may provide payments to successful claimants beginning in the middle fo 2011.

Ensuring equitable treatment of all USDA employees and clients is a top priority for Secretary Vilsack. He has issued a clear policy and a comprehensive plan to improve USDA's record on Civil Rights and made it clear to all employees that discrimination of any form will not be tolerated at USDA. Some of the actions taken to transform USDA into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider include:

* USDA revamped the program civil rights complaints system to improve the complaint process. For the first time since 1997, USDA now has investigators on staff to do the field work needed to investigate complaints.
* After a competitive bidding process, USDA has hired outside, private firm to do an independent external analysis of the department's service delivery programs to identify problem areas and fixes. The firm will consider programs at USDA to identify barriers to equal and fair access for all USDA customers.
* In April, USDA suspended all foreclosures in the Farm Service Agency's loan program for 90 days to provide an opportunity to review loans that could have been related to discriminatory conduct.
* USDA's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights has initiated a series of unprecedented civil rights trainings for USDA field leadership teams and required trainings for all political appointees and senior departmental leadership.
* To try and resolve internal disputes and conflicts early and to enhance the use of alternative dispute resolution at USDA, the department is also establishing a congressionally mandated Ombudsman office to improve dispute resolution efforts. #

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Release No. 0072.10 Contact: USDA Office of Communications. (202)720-4623 U.S. Dept of Justice Office of Communications. (202) 514-2007

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Multimedia Journalist Farai Chideya To Speak At Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — During her 20-year career as a journalist, Farai Chideya has combined media, technology and social justice to produce award-winning stories on some of the nation’s most important issues.

Chideya will give a free public talk on “How Social Media and Citizen Journalism are Changing the Media Terrain and the World” on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Ithaca College’s Park Hall Auditorium.

From 2006 to January 2009, Chideya hosted NPR’s “News and Notes,” a daily national radio show devoted to covering African American issues. A multimedia journalist, she has been an ABC News correspondent, “Newsweek” reporter and MTV News staffer and has contributed commentaries to CNN, Fox, MSNBC and BET. In 1995 she founded, one of the longest continuously operating blogs. She also blogs for the Huffington Post.

Farai Chideya

Farai Chideya
Chideya is the author of several books on the intersections of race, media and politics, including “Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans,” “The Color of Our Future: Race in the 21st Century” and “Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters.” Last year she published her first novel, “Kiss the Sky.”

Her lecture is sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM). Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, PCIM is a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate structures.
For more information, contact PCIM director Jeff Cohen at or (607) 274-1330.

Contact: Dave Maley Office: (607) 274-1440 Reference: 2-18-10-36

Marc Lamont Hill to Speak as Part of Black History Month at Holy Cross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Marc Lamont Hill, a leading hip-hop generation intellectual and a nationally-syndicated columnist will give a talk in honor of Black History Month on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom at the College of the Holy Cross. His talk, sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Teacher Education Program, is free and open to the public. The talk will be followed by a question and answer session.

Hill has provided commentary for numerous news outlets such as NPR, Washington Post, Essence Magazine, and the New York Times. Currently he serves as a political contributor for Fox News Channel and appears on The O’Reilly Factor, Huckabee, and Hannity.

Prior to his work with Fox, Hill was a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, and CourtTV. As a nationally-syndicated columnist, his writings appear weekly in Metro newspapers.

In 2009, Hill joined Columbia University as an associate professor of education at the Teachers College and holds an affiliated faculty appointment in African American Studies at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University.

Marc Lamont HillHill works directly with African American and Latino youth. In 2001 he started a literacy project that uses hip-hop culture to increase school engagement and reading skills for high school students. He also organizes and teaches adult literacy courses for high school dropouts in Philadelphia, Pa. and Camden, N.J. Hill is founding board member of My5th, a non-profit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. He works with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy.

In 2005, Ebony Magazine named Hill one of America’s top 30 Black leaders under 30 years old.

Hill earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the connections between youth culture, identity, and the education.

Press Release: February 18, 2010 For additional information contact Cristal Steuer at 508.793.2419 ###

Pioneering initiative launched on equity, diversity and inclusion, backed by Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

BERKELEY — On a campus long dedicated to educating Californians of every background, a major effort was announced today (Thursday, Feb. 18) to establish the University of California, Berkeley, as a national leader in research, teaching and public service related to equity and inclusion.

Backed by a $16 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the new UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will launch a sweeping array of research projects, faculty chairs, student scholarships, several dozen new courses in American cultures, and programs across the campus. The investment eventually could total $31 million, as parts of it are set up as challenge grants.

"We are in one of the most diverse states in the nation from every aspect — socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, religion, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientation. Our campus reflects that diversity, making it the perfect place to examine these issues," said Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

Maria Blanco

The new UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion "will put resources behind Berkeley 's commitment to diversity, and ensure a collective Berkeley effort," says Maria Blanco, a School of Law administrator who serves on the Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative's executive committee.

To Blanco, executive director of the law school 's Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity, the $16 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund helps to ensure that the work of scholars who specialize in this area will be publicly valued. The gift "validates the work of individual scholars and of departments and administrators who have been walking the talk about diversity for a long time," she says.

Area studies such as ethnic studies, queer studies and gender studies tend to be marginalized and viewed as less essential to the university than such fields as engineering, law or biology, says Blanco. She expects the new Haas-funded initiative to change the character of Berkeley 's area studies, "asserting them squarely into the main life and importance of the campus."

"I think what 's really impressive is this gift runs the gamut from recruitment to hiring to research," she adds. "It 's a multi-strategy approach, because the funder understands that 's what it takes to really make this a core discipline at a campus level."

Janelle Scott, an assistant professor of education and of African American studies, says the gift formalizes some of the activities around equity and inclusion already taking place at Berkeley. In addition to the significant size of the gift, she observes, dedicating scholarships, chairs and centers to the study of diversity has "symbolic and real importance " to students, faculty and the broader research and scholarly community.

"The work that we do here with students is critically important in creating more spaces in our future to have these interdisciplinary conversations about race," says Na 'ilah Suad Nasir, an associate professor of African American studies and of education. She's confident that the gift 's impacts will extend beyond the Berkeley campus, in part because students here will secure positions at other universities where they will establish interdisciplinary programs themselves.

"Our students will go out into the world," she predicts, "and they will be the people to really change this field."
— Wendy Edelstein
"This generous gift will allow us to remain a beacon of access and excellence for students of all backgrounds," he said, "and to become a national model in this growing area of research that is of such importance to society."

Researchers soon will explore some of the most compelling issues facing California and the nation, students will be trained as leaders for an increasingly globalized world, and every corner of UC Berkeley will work to create a more inclusive campus environment. After five years, this broad range of programs funded by the Haas, Jr. Fund investment will be capable of sustaining itself.

"The UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is considered the most comprehensive initiative of its kind at a major public research university, in that it launches programs affecting and involving the entire campus community — students, faculty and staff," said Gibor Basri, appointed in 2007 as UC Berkeley's first vice chancellor for equity and inclusion. "This contribution from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is critical to our ability to expand this work and make it a permanent part of our institutional fabric."

Highlights of the initiative include:

* Five new faculty chairs in diversity-related research. They will join the Robert D. Haas Chancellor's Chair in Equity and Inclusion, established at UC Berkeley in 2008 by the Levi Strauss Foundation.
* A $1.5 million endowed scholarship matching fund for community college transfer students, who disproportionately come from economically disadvantaged communities across the state
* Some 30 new or revised American Cultures courses, required of all UC Berkeley undergraduates since 1991, that emphasize community and public service and offer opportunities outside the classroom
* An expanded mentoring and career development program for faculty members
* New tools for gathering statistics that will allow the campus to analyze the effectiveness of its efforts toward equity and inclusion
* Competitive grants, available to students, faculty or staff across divisions, for innovative projects that positively affect campus climate
* Resources and classes for students and employees on bridging cultural, physical and societal differences

The faculty members chosen or hired to hold the Haas Diversity Chairs will form the heart of the campus's four-year-old Berkeley Diversity Research Center, which will be renamed the Haas Diversity Research Center in recognition of this gift.

They will create a multidisciplinary research hub to explore issues including disparities in education, health and the economy, and diversity and democracy. One of the chairs will be focused on equity rights affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and it will be one of the first endowed chairs on this subject in the United States.

Some of the diversity-related research already underway on campus is being done by faculty members such as professor Na'ilah Suad Nasir, who left her position at Stanford University in 2008 to come to UC Berkeley.

"The Berkeley Diversity Research Center and the Haas gift are the reasons why I'm here at Berkeley," said Nasir, who studies the experiences of African American and other minority students in urban schools and communities. "I was happy with my career at Stanford, but the big draw at UC Berkeley is that you have an administration and a faculty in the midst of creating national leadership on this research. At UC Berkeley, we have the ability to build a community across disciplines."

Chancellor Birgeneau said he is thrilled that the initiative also will help prepare students for a diverse and complex world.

"The single most important skill that a 21st century student must master is 'intercultural competence,'" said Birgeneau, "which is the ability to navigate successfully among diverse groups in an increasingly globalized society."

The initiative builds upon work Birgeneau spearheaded upon his inauguration in 2005, when he dedicated himself and the campus community to creating a substantially more diverse, inclusive environment at UC Berkeley.

Since then, the campus has begun examining how to cultivate a more inclusive workplace for staff, created a faculty-focused diversity research center, and set up UC Berkeley's first Division of Equity and Inclusion.

A $1.5 million endowed scholarship matching fund created by the Haas, Jr. investment will encourage and match contributions of $100,000 or more and provide scholarships for community college transfer students, who disproportionately come from economically disadvantaged communities across the state. These students, in addition to their extraordinary academic qualifications and high degrees of financial need, will receive this help because of their interest in community and public service leadership.

Because of its comprehensive scope, the initiative is expected to have a more lasting impact on campus than if it were a piecemeal effort focused strictly on research or on the workplace, said Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.

"This investment meets the gold standard for philanthropy - not just generous, this will be transformative for Berkeley," Edley said. "We'll have the outstanding students and faculty to make us the undisputed center of the universe for research, teaching and service tackling one of the deepest challenges facing California, the nation and humankind. This is why I came to Berkeley."

"Cal has the potential to be a model for the nation," said Robert D. Haas, trustee of the Haas, Jr. Fund and national chair of annual giving for The Campaign for Berkeley.

"UC Berkeley historically has sought to educate Californians from every background, regardless of their financial status," he said, pointing out that a third of the campus's undergraduates come from families with incomes under $45,000, more than 70 percent receive some form of financial aid, and nearly a third are the first in their families to attend college.

"This initiative takes that public mission to a new level, propelling much-needed research on diversity and cultivating a campus built on fairness and acceptance," Haas added.

Support for this initiative is part of The Campaign for Berkeley, a comprehensive effort to raise $3 billion by June 2013 to benefit students, faculty, research, and programs, including substantial new endowment funding to preserve UC Berkeley's promise for future generations.

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a private family foundation in San Francisco that was established in 1953. Over the last 10 years, the fund has made grants totaling more than $273 million to support initiatives and organizations that advance and protect fundamental rights and opportunities for all.

UC Berkeley By José Rodríguez, University Relations | 18 February 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

African American Dance Company to present its 13th annual workshop Feb. 26-27

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's African American Arts Institute Dance Company will presents its 13th Annual Dance Workshop next Friday and Saturday (Feb. 26-27) at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

The mission of the dance workshop is to expose participants to dance from the perspective of the African American and African Diaspora through master dance classes, panel discussion and enlightening dialogue.

This years' workshop will feature five distinguished guest artists:

* Rogeilo Kindelan-Nordet, of Guantanamo Cuba, an accomplished dancer, vocalist and percussionist in the styles of Merengue Haitiano, Rumba, Gaga, Palo, Vodu, Tumba Francesa, Tajon and Chancleta;
* Silfredo La O Vigo, San Diego, a professional dancer in the Afro-Cuban and Haitian tradition, modern contemporary dance and popular Latin dance;
* Evelyn Yaa Bekyore, Ghana, West Africa, a professional dancer with Saakumu Dance Company;
* Elana Anderson, Chicago, dancer, teacher and choreographer who has worked extensively in television, film and stage;
* Reynaldo Gonzalez, Boston, an experienced professor of folkloric voice, dance and percussion.

African American Dance CompanyThe workshop will kick off at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 with a Cuban modern dance class taught by Kindelan-Nordet and La O Vigo, followed by a class on the Ghanaian style of West African Dance by Bekyore at 3 p.m.

That evening there will be a panel discussion with the artists, "The Black Dance Experience: Dance and Engagement in the African Diaspora -- Practitioners and Scholars Speak," at 7 p.m. This discussion will help celebrate 40 years of the IU Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and is free and open to the public.
The first workshop on Feb. 27 will begin at 9:30 a.m. with classes for beginners and advanced students in the dance styles of Afro Cuban, Cuban Modern, West African, Horton (Modern) and Salsa.

There will be a dance showcase in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center that evening, starting at 7 p.m. This also is free and open to the public.

There are fees for the dance workshops. Full registration costs $90 (includes two Friday classes and three Saturday classes) and $55 for three Saturday sessions. Single classes cost $20. Lunch is $10. To obtain a registration form, visit

For more information and a detailed listing of class times contact IU Professor Iris Rosa at 812-855-6853 or, or Olivia Hairston of the African American Arts Institute at 812-855-5427 or

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Harvard Professor To Deliver Black History Month Address

Bowling Green, Ky. - Award-winning Harvard Law School professor Lani Guinier will deliver the keynote address for Western Kentucky University’s 2010 Black History Month celebration on Feb. 24.

Guinier’s lecture will begin at 7 p.m. at Downing University Center Theatre.

Guinier is a graduate of Radcliffe College of Harvard University and Yale Law School. In 1998, she became the first African-American woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, she was a tenured professor for 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

During the 1980s, she was head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter administration as special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days.

Lani GuinierGuinier came to public attention when she was nominated by President Clinton in 1993 to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing.

Guinier turned that incident into a powerful personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice.

Guinier has received numerous awards, including the 1995 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession; the Champion of Democracy Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus; the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association for Affirmative Action; the Harvey Levin Teaching Award, given to her by the 1994 graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania; and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Teaching Award from Harvard Law School.

She is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees from schools which include Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College and the University of the District of Columbia.

Event sponsors include WKU Campus Activities Board, Office of Diversity Programs, Diversity Enhancement Committee, African American Studies, School Journalism & Broadcasting, Women’s Studies and Housing and Residence Life with support from other organizations.

Office of Media Relations Western Kentucky University 1906 College Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, Ky. 42101-3576 Phone: (270)745-4295 - Fax: (270)7455387 - E-Mail:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Princeton Professor to Discuss African-American Christianity and Black Political Life

OXFORD, Miss. - Eddie Glaude Jr., Princeton University's William Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies and chair of the Center for African-American Studies, speaks about his latest book, "In a Shade of Blue - Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America," during a free public lecture at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) in Bryant Hall, Room 209.

A native of Moss Point, Glaude received the 2002 Modern Language Association William Sanders Scarbrough Prize for his book "Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America." His work also includes "African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology," co-edited with Cornel West, and "Is It Nation Time? Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism."

Titled "Public, Prosperity and Politics: The Changing Face of African-American Christianity and Political Life," Glaude's lecture made possible through the Department of Religion and Philosophy's William Hal Furr Dialogue on Philosophy and Religion.

Eddie Glaude Jr.

Eddie Glaude Jr.
The series was established in the late UM's professor's honor following his death in 1974. The Sarah Isom Center for Gender Studies is co-sponsoring the event.

For more information or assistance related to a disability, contact Mary Thurkill at 662-915-1400 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Professor Refutes Theory about African American Marital Instability

Emory University English and women's studies professor Frances Smith Foster challenges deeply ingrained theories about slave marriages and the impact they have had on modern African American marital stability in her new book, "‘Till Death or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in African America" (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Foster's evidence is letters, poems, sermons, essays, court cases and articles written by slaves during or after their enslavement, and by antebellum African Americans who were free. The documents show that even though enslaved people could not legally marry, many did so anyway for life - and even beyond.

The book is a product of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion's (CSLR) project on "Sex, Marriage, and Family & the Religions of the Book" and is a companion to Foster's earlier CSLR volume, "Love and Marriage in Early African America" (Northeastern University Press, 2007).

Foster, who earlier this month received the Association of Departments of English "Francis Andrew March Award" for exceptional service to the profession of English, will discuss her new book at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur, Georgia 30030.

African American Marital Instability"None of the antebellum records that I have seen written by enslaved people suggest that brides and grooms vowed to stay faithful "‘til death or distance do us part," says Foster, a CSLR senior fellow and Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies. "In fact, accounts by enslaved African Americans reveal that wedding officiators deliberately declared that only God could dissolve a wedding, not distance or slave owners."

Foster reveals that historians developed their ideas of slave marriage "from stories told by people who were not enslaved themselves," believing that marriage vows were fragile due to death, distance and many other factors. The theory took hold, acquiring the modern labels of "posttraumatic slavery disorder" or "posttraumatic slavery syndrome" to explain why modern African Americans are 20 to 30 percent less likely than white Americans to make commitments to marriage and monogamy. A recent article in Essence magazine on how African Americans can break free from the "bonds of slavery [that] continue to hold Black folks captive" is one example of how the myth is propagated today.

Foster, an editor of "The Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature" and "The Norton Anthology of African American Literature," and the author of a dozen other volumes, writes in "‘Till Death or Distance" that many modern African Americans buy into the misconception that they cannot commit and are ultimately doomed to failure in relationships with the opposite sex, the men are incarcerated, and the women are "demanding, emasculating or traumatized," all because black Americans do not have a heritage of marital success as do white Americans.

Foster refutes these claims, saying that slaves usually celebrated their marriages with their families and friends. Some even were able to have lavish weddings, marrying in churches and exchanging rings. Because many African Americans believed in staying faithful to their spouses until death, they chose their partners carefully. When free African Americans fell in love with people who were enslaved, it was not uncommon for them to forfeit their freedom so that they could marry their beloved and live together. They viewed "freedom a dubious gift, a counterfeit coin, if they couldn't spend it on the people they loved."

She also points out that slave owners used this dedication to their advantage. They tried to force slaves to marry each other to decrease the probability that they would run away. Slaves who believed that this was true refused to marry, especially if they could not marry the one they loved. Those slaves who did marry and run away sometimes came back for their spouses and children, even though they risked getting caught. What's more, physical distance between slaves often had little effect on their decisions to marry, even though they risked whips, lashes and even death to visit each other.

After the Civil War, evidence of the dedication between husband and wife includes "Information Wanted" columns in newspapers for and by African Americans, seeking information about their spouses. Even when they had not seen each other for 40 years, spouses still sought desperately and did not remarry.

Foster hopes that as a result of this book, African Americans will rethink what the legacy of slavery means for them individually and collectively. "The half-truths about marriage among slaves has devastated and embarrassed the African American community long enough," she says. "When people internalize the disrespect and believe that they are, indeed, as their oppressors define them, they cannot aspire to greatness."

About the Center for the Study of Law and Religion

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University is home to world-class scholars and forums on the religious foundations of law, politics, and society. It offers first-rank expertise on how the teachings and practices of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have shaped and can continue to transform the fundamental ideas and institutions of our public and private lives. The scholarship of CSLR faculty provides the latest perspectives, while its conferences and public forums foster reasoned and robust public debate. ###


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CSU-Pueblo Black History Month Events

Colorado State University - Pueblo Sponsors Black History Month Events

PUEBLO – Colorado State University– Pueblo will continue to celebrate with a host of speakers in celebration of Black History Month. Americans have celebrated black history annually since 1926 with the creation of Negro History Week by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who was declared the “father of black history” for his work in the field. In 1976, Negro History Week was changed to Black History Month and is celebrated every February.

“We should emphasize not Negro history, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice, “said Woodson.

Events began last week with the start of a Re-thinking Diversity series. Biology Professor Dr. Moussa Diawara spoke about the contributions of African American. A Gospel Explosion and a Tribute to Motown in conjunction with the PAACO annual dinner were held last weekend. Below is a list of Black History Month remaining this month:

Carter G. Woodson
Wednesday, Feb. 10- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Lana Brumfield, music professor, “History of the Mardi Gras.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Wednesday Feb. 10- Distinguished Speaker Series. Danny Glover, “The Intersection of Art and Activism.” Hoag Recital Hall. 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 16- President Joseph Garcia, “What’s Black, Who’s Black, and Who Decides.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 17- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Jennifer Peters, music professor, “Underground Railroad, ‘Coded Spirituals.’” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wednesday Feb. 17-Distiguished Speaker Series. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, “Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the Wounds of Racism,” Hoag Recital Hall, 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 22- LaNeeca Williams, “21st Century Discrimination: Micro-Inequities.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, Noon to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 24- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Jacqueline Stroud, history professor. “Miners, Military, Mercantile and More: Afro-Latino Culture in Latin America.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/9/2010 Cora Zaletel Executive Director, External Affairs
Colorado State University-Pueblo 2200 Bonforte Blvd. Pueblo, CO 81001 719-549-2576

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dr. Kweisi Mfume Urges Students to Define Themselves VIDEO

(Worcester, Mass.) -- NAACP CEO, Congressman and Author Kweisi Mfume told the crowd gathered at Worcester State College’s Third Annual “Courageous Conversations” lecture to, “Define yourselves. Don’t let pop culture or others tell you who you are.” The talk was sponsored by Third World Alliance, Diversity Office and Multicultural Affairs Offices.

Kweisi derided current pop culture and urged students to strike out on their own path. “When we allow song lyrics to defame us we have to stand up and say, ‘we have a problem.’” He urged students instead to get involved and make a difference, stressing that the need is critical. He cited statistics showing that one out of six children lives in poverty; two million people lost their pensions last year; 1 million more lost their jobs and 47 million people in the U.S. are worried about healthcare. But he stressed that the situation is not hopeless. “I have not given up on the American dream and I ask that you not give up.”

He admitted that to persevere is sometimes difficult but told the story of how he turned his own life around and embraced a life of community activism. “When I was in high school, I dropped out at age 16 after my mother died of cancer.” The experience hardened him and he found himself “running with a gang” and fathering five children out of wedlock by age 22. He remembers the fateful night when he began to turn it around, “something came over me. I saw my mother and felt her deep disappointment in me. I was cold in the middle of a hot July night.”

It wasn’t easy, “because you don’t just turn in your letter of resignation to a gang.” But Mfume persevered. He received his GED, attended community college and transferred to a baccalaureate institution to complete his bachelor’s degree and completed his Ph.D.

Kweisi Mfume

Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP and former Congressman from Maryland, delivers a speech at a NOAA function during Black History Month,
Kweisi Mfume served as national speaker for the “Obama for America” Presidential campaign. He got his start in politics winning a grassroots election for Baltimore City Council by only three votes in 1979. During his seven years of service in local government, he led the efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance business development and divest city funds from the apartheid government of South Africa.

In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served on the Ethics Committee and the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate, where he later became the Chairman. He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the American with Disabilities Act and strengthen the Equal Credit Opportunity Law. He co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply the act to US citizens working for American-based companies abroad. He also sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons and establishing s talking as a federal crime. Mfume also served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and during his last term in Congress, he was appointed by the House Democratic Caucus as the party’s Vice-Chairman for Communications.

Mfume became President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP on February 20, 1996 after being unanimously elected to the post and served there for nine years. Mfume is credited with helping to raise over 100 million dollars in outside contributions for the organization while at the same time developing its national Corporate Diversity Project and establishing 75 new college-based NAACP chapters. His five point program of advocacy included civil rights enforcement, educational excellence, economic empowerment, health advocacy and youth outreach. In 2006, he was a candidate for the United States Senate from the State of Maryland.

He serves as a member of the Gamma Boule Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Masons and Big Brothers. In addition, he serves on the John Hopkins University Board of Trustees, the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the African American Advisory Board of PepsiCo and the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America.

In 1984, he earned a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts, with a concentration in International Studies, from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he is the recipient of 10 honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations; he is also author to the best-selling autobiography, No Free Ride. ###

Contact: Lea Ann Scales Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing
Phone: 508-929-8018 February 8, 2010

VIDEO CREDIT: WorcesterState

PHOTO CREDIT: This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made during the course of an employee's official duties.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blacks with MS Have More Severe Symptoms, Decline Faster than Whites, New Study Shows

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Fewer African Americans than Caucasians develop multiple sclerosis (MS), statistics show, but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies, a new study by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo has found.

Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of a cohort of 567 consecutive MS patients showed that blacks with MS had more damage to brain tissue and had less normal white and gray matter compared to whites with the disease.

Results of the study were published ahead of print on Jan. 20 at and appear in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal Neurology.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB associate professor of neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is first author on the study. Weinstock-Guttman directs the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center in Kaleida Health's Buffalo General Hospital.

"Black patients showed more brain tissue damage and accumulated brain lesions faster than whites, along with rapid clinical deterioration," confirms Weinstock-Guttman. "The results provide further support that black patients experience a more severe disease, calling for individualized therapeutic interventions for this group of MS patients."

Bianca Weinstock Guttman MD"White matter" refers to the parts of the brain that contain nerve fibers sheathed in a white fatty insulating protein called myelin. The white matter is responsible for communication between the various gray matter regions, where nerve cells are concentrated and where cognitive processing occurs.

"Initially, multiple sclerosis was considered primary a white-matter disease," says Weinstock-Guttman, "but today we know that the gray matter may be more affected than white matter."

In general, black MS patients tend to have more severe and more frequent attacks, followed by an incomplete recovery even after the first episode.

Studies on signs and symptoms of MS among populations have shown that blacks experience gait problems sooner after their diagnosis, show faster cognitive decline than whites with MS, and become dependent on a wheelchair sooner, she notes.

The study's MRI scans were conducted at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), part of the Jacobs Neurological Institute/UB Department of Neurology. Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, a UB associate professor of neurology, is director of the center.

Seventy-nine black patients and 488 white patients were entered in the study. Participants were older than 18 and had been scanned within 90 days of their most recent clinical visit. Black participants were significantly younger, and their disease was more severe than white patients, despite having MS for a shorter amount of time.

"Results of the MRI scans showed that the aggressive disease process in blacks appears to be associated with increased macroscopic and microscopic tissue damage, as measured by specific MRI parameters," says Weinstock-Guttman.

"Based on our MRI findings, a plausible hypothesis that would explain the more aggressive disease in blacks compared to whites with MS may be that blacks have a reduced capacity for remyelination, the brain's ability to repair the protective myelin sheath. However, to confirm this hypothesis, we will need to conduct more longitudinal studies."

Murali Ramanathan, PhD, associate professor in the departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Neurology in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, respectively, also contributed significantly to the study.

Additional contributors were David Hojnacki, MD, Michael G. Dwyer, Sara M. Hussein, MD, Niels P. Bergsland and Frederick E. Munschauer, MD, former chair of the UB Neurology department, now vice president of U.S. medical affairs for Biogen Idec in Boston, Mass.

The study was supported by grants from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the UB Pediatric MS Center of Excellence.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Contact: 716-645-4606 Release Date: February 5, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Motivational Alger Adams Dinner

"Your transcript is your passport."

That was the mantra of Horace D. Allen '85, who returned to campus on Tuesday, Feb. 2 as the keynote speaker for the Colleges' Ninth-Annual Academic Excellence Dinner, held annually in honor of Alger L. Adams '32, the first African-American student of Hobart College and recognized as a man who laid the foundation for students to surmount major societal obstacles to attend and excel at Hobart and William Smith.

"Your transcript is what got you here," said Allen, an entrepreneur who successfully formed a technology integration company and, with his sister, formed Team Pact, an organization aimed at improving the success of young men of color.

"Growing up, the one thing I understood, from every teacher and every coach, is that when the day is all done, your transcript is your passport. It tells you where you've been, what you've done, and gives you a pretty good idea of where you're going. The transcript is the piece that's going to carry you."

Horace D. Allen

Horace D. Allen
In addition to Adams, the Academic Excellence Dinner honors those students of color and international students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges who have had to overcome major obstacles to become academically successful.

"Alger Adams' story inspires students to follow their dreams knowing success is more than possible," says James Burruto, Director of Academic Opportunity Programs at Hobart and William Smith.

After the recognition of this year's senior classes, economics and Spanish double major Elaine Aguasvivas '10 was invited to the podium.

In light of the recognition of academic excellence and four years of hard work, Aguasvivas said that being a senior is a time that calls for reflection. "This campus is full of memories for me, full of stories to tell, of opportunities to explore. As a graduating senior, I ask the first-years, the sophomores, the juniors to never forget that everyone in this room, everyone in your dorm, everyone in this school is part of your experience at the Colleges."

At the end of his speech, in the spirit of Adams-who graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with three majors, in Greek, English, and psychology at a time when racial stereotypes and barriers impeded many students of color nationally-Allen invited students to "think about your four years here. Then think about the 40 years your transcripts will follow you around. If you can focus on doing a great job over four years, the next 40 years are going to be a lot easier."

Other speakers include Desislava Byanova '10, Clifford Gardner '10 and Jessamyn Martinez '12.

While at the Colleges, Allen majored in economics and minored in religious studies and sociology. He was named to the Dean's List, was a four year varsity winner in football, and one of the first African American students in the history of Hobart College named to the International Honor Society of Economics.

After graduation, Allen was recruited by IBM Corporation, where he served as a marketing representative and product manager from 1985 to 1993.

Allen co-founded Total Solutions Group, a technology integration company with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. Total Solutions Group was recognized as the second fastest growing privately held company in the state of Minnesota by "City Business Magazine" in 1998 and Allen was recognized as one of the top 40 executives under age 40.

In 2005, he and his sister Vickie Allen founded TeamPact. The company is aimed at improving the lives of young men of color through their "Road Map to Success" program. Its objective is to compete head-to-head with dysfunctional street alternatives (i.e. drugs, gangs, crime, teen pregnancy, etc.) for America's young men of color by providing recognition through financial and in-kind rewards for high levels of academic and extracurricular performance.

Allen serves on the board of directors of the Greater Minneapolis YMCA, Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities and Greater Minneapolis Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He is also a devoted member of the Young President's Organization, the International Honor Society in Economics for Hobart College and the Rites of Passage Leadership Program for the Development of African American Men who are seniors in high school. Allen is currently the president of the Hobart and William Smith Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association; he served on the Colleges' Board of Trustees from 2004-2008.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456 (315) 781-3000

UNA Soprano to Perform, Discuss Music by African American Women Composers

FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama Department of Music and Theatre will host “‘Saving Our Lives’: Art Songs by African American Women Composers” at noon Feb. 10 in the UNA Music Building Choral Room, room 146. The lecture-recital will feature UNA music librarian Eleanor McClellan Bulathsinghalage, assisted by pianist Megan Pettus. The event is free and open to the public

The lecture-recital will include songs by Margaret Bonds, Jacqueline Hairston, Betty Jackson King, Lena McLin, Florence Price and Undine Smith-Moore.

Bulathsinghalage, a Florence native, graduated from UNA with a bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in choral/vocal music.

She earned a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Louisville and has completed doctoral coursework in vocal performance at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She has also studied at the Institute for Advanced Vocal Study in Paris, France, and the Accademia Internazionale delle Arti in Rome, Italy.

University of North Alabama Logo
Bulathsinghalage has taught on the music faculties of Bellarmine University, Wilberforce University, Central State University, the University of Dayton, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi State University and the Accademia Internazionale delle Arti. She has also taught on the summer vocal faculties of the Kentucky Center’s Governor’s School for the Arts and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.

As a performer, Bulathsinghalage has been presented in solo recitals, opera and musical theatre on three continents. She is currently pursuing her own studies and research and working as a music library specialist at the UNA and as director of music at Edgemont United Methodist Church in Florence.

University of North Alabama Florence, AL 35632 | 1.800.TALK.UNA Feb. 5, 2010 For more information, contact the UNA Department of Music and Theatre at 256-765-4375 or

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Race and Politics the Subject of Feb. 15 Lecture at Pitt

PITTSBURGH-Vincent Hutchings, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan, will deliver a lecture at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Wedge Politics: The Structure and Function of Racial Group Cues in American Politics.”

The talk will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), School of Social Work Conference Center, 20th floor, Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. It is part of the Reed Smith Spring 2010 Speaker Series and is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, and lunch will be provided. For more information, call 412-624-7382.

Hutchings' areas of research include public opinion, elections, voting behavior, and African American politics.

Vincent HutchingsIn his book “Public Opinion and Democratic Accountability: How Citizens Learn About Politics” (Princeton University Press, 2005), he explores how and under what circumstances citizens monitor their elected representatives' voting behavior.

Hutchings also has looked at how the size of the African American constituency in congressional districts can influence the legislative response to Black interests. Hutchings' research on this has been published in the “Journal of Politics.”
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 3, 2010 Contact: Sharon Blake 412-624-4364 (office); 412-277-6926 (cell)

SXU celebrates Black History Month Month of speakers and events at Chicago campus

Chicago (Feb. 3, 2010) Saint Xavier University is celebrating Black History Month with a month-long schedule of performances, panel discussions and other events, all free and open to the public. Events will be held at the University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.

• Celeste Watkins: Mentoring and Professional Development
6 p.m., Wed., Feb. 3, Butler Reception Room
A lecture by Celeste Watkins, professor at Northwestern University, on "Mentoring and Professional Development." Watkins' presentation will discuss the importance of mentoring and professional development for African-Americans in Higher Education.

Saint Xavier University• HIV/AIDS Awareness Program
7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 4, McGuire Hall
HIV/AIDS activist David Robertson will present a one-man show about his story of being diagnosed with HIV, battling depression and his hope of stopping the infection rate through his message.

• Financial Literacy
5:30 p.m., Tues., Feb. 9, Student Lounge
Jay Rhodes from Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation will talk about the importance of financial literacy in the African-American community.

• Youths and Violence Panel Discussion
7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 11, McGuire Hall
A discussion is about increasing numbers of youths who have become victims of violence, and how this has affected the African-American community in Chicago.

• He Say/She Say Who’s To Blame?
7 p.m., Tues., Feb. 16, Diner Atrium
An open forum about African-American male and female relationships in celebration of Valentine’s Day

• Laugh out Loud Comedy Show
7 p.m., Fri., Feb. 19, McGuire Hall
Join us for a comedy show with performances by Rashida “Sheeds,” Clark Jones and Wild Cat from BET’s Comic View.

• National African American Read-In
Noon, Mon., Feb. 22, Bishop Quarter Room
Come support the nationwide African American read-in as we read short stories from notable black authors. Feel free to bring a story to share.

• Good Hair
8 p.m. Tues., Feb. 23, McGuire Hall
A screening of Chris Rock’s Good Hair, an insightful and entertaining documentary about African-American hair culture.

• Black History Month Knowledge Bowl
7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, Butler Reception Room
Teams will be tested on their knowledge of black history and Black History Month events. The winning team will receive prizes.

Black History Month is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, Department of Campus Life, African-American Studies, Barrier Breakers Club, Black Student Union and NAACP Interest Group.

For more information, please contact Campus Life Assistant Director for Multicultural and Leadership Programming Erika McCall at (773) 298-3166.



Jay Foot, Executive Director of Media Relations
O: (773) 298-3937
C: (773) 617-3632

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heinz College Student, Alumni Honored as 'Men of Excellence'

One Heinz College student and two alumni were among 50 men recently honored for their accomplishments in the Pittsburgh community. Since 2003, the New Pittsburgh Courier has recognized “Men of Excellence” for their professional achievements and community work that benefits the African American population of Pittsburgh. This year’s list included educators, activists, former athletes, politicians, and judges. Although these men come from different backgrounds, they share the common ability to inspire.

Among those honored was Heinz College graduate (MPM '96), Evan Frazier.

Carnegie Mellon Heinz College LogoFrazier is the current president and CEO of the Hill House Association and the future Senior Vice President of Community Affairs for Highmark Health Insurance.
Frazier has worked to spread his formula for success through speaking engagements and authoring books.

Also honored was Dr. Howard Slaughter (MPM '95), CEO of Landmarks Community Capital, a nonprofit whose mission is to spur economic and community revitalization by providing financing for housing and economic development activities throughout Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

A current Heinz College student was also granted the distinguished award. Roderick Craighead, current Masters of Public Management student and Manager of Corporate Supplier Diversity at Highmark received his award during the sold out reception at the Rivers Club on Nov. 19. The honorees were applauded by 300 community attendees who purchased $75 tickets that supported the New Pittsburgh Courier, one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the United States.

Release Date: Feb 02, 2010 H. John Heinz III College Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Blackett to speak on slaves' quest for freedom before Civil War

Richard J.M. Blackett, the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University will lecture on African American reactions to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 at Texas State University-San Marcos, Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Flowers Hall 230.

The talk, "Escaping Massa: Slaves and their quest for freedom before Civil War," is in celebration of African American History month.

Blackett will highlight the ways in which escaped American slaves influenced the politics of slavery in the United States in the years before the Civil War. The topic is of current interest as the United States approaches the sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War.

Richard BlackettBlackett is a prominent historian of the American abolition movement. He has written and edited numerous works, including Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (1983); Beating Against the Barriers: Biographical Essays in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American History (1986); Thomas Morris Chester: Black Civil War Correspondent (1989); Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (2001); and Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1999).
He is working on a study of the ways in which communities on both sides of the North-South divide organized to support or resist enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and the ways that slaves influenced antebellum debates concerning slavery.

The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Texas State History Department and the Texas State Equity and Access Committee. A reception with refreshments will follow the talk.

By Ann Friou Texas State University News Service February 2, 2010 University News Service, 480 J.C.Kellam: Phone: 512.245.2180. Fax: 512.245.2336