Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black Latino Playwright Conference at State University San Marcos receives Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment of the Arts

The Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at State University-San Marcos has received a 2011 Access to Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.

The $15,000 award will support the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, providing an opportunity for black and Latino playwrights to develop new, unpublished and unproduced plays through a week-long rehearsal process culminating in staged reading presentations. Texas State is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state and local organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.

The 2011 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference will be held Sept. 12-18, with staged readings Sept. 16, 17 and 18. The conference is headed by Artistic Director Eugene Lee, whose acting credits include Good Times, Blacklisted and Coach Carter, and Associate Artistic Director Joe Luis Cedillo, a playwright-directors and former literary manager/dramaturge at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

Eugene Lee

Eugene Lee
The conference annually lends an ear to new voices and helps writers--in collaboration with directors, actors and dramaturgs--shape their stories and hone their craft in an environment that allows the writer to explore, grow and learn fearlessly. For more information about the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, visit www.theatreanddance.txstate.edu/blackandlatino.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at at www.arts.gov.

Posted by Jayme Blaschke University News Service May 25, 2011 University News Service, 480 J.C.Kellam Phone: 512.245.2180. Fax: 512.245.2336

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Diahann Carroll and her success as one of the first African Americans on prime time television VIDEO

Marcus Williams from the communications office at OPM tells us about Diahann Carroll and her success as one of the first African Americans on prime time television.

Carroll is best known for her title role in the 1968 television series Julia, which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1969, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In A Television Series” in 1968. Her first Emmy nomination had come in 1963 for Naked City. Other earlier work included Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Judy Garland and Ed Sullivan, and on The Hollywood Palace.

In 1984, Carroll joined the nighttime soap opera Dynasty as the Dominique Deveraux, half-sister of Blake Carrington played by John Forsythe. Her high profile role on Dynasty also reunited her with actor Billy Dee Williams, who briefly played her onscreen husband Brady Lloyd. Carroll remained on the show until 1987, simultaneously making several appearances on its short lived spinoff, The Colbys.


VIDEO CREDIT: USOPM

TEXT CREDIT: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

RESOURCE: Diahann Carroll

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago accepted the resignation of the Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Echols

With deep gratitude for his 14 years of service, the board of directors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago accepted the resignation of the Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Echols. Dr. Echols was the first African American to serve as president of a North American Lutheran seminary. A celebration of Dr. Echols’ leadership at LSTC is being planned for a later date.

“President Echols has provided visionary leadership for LSTC and among the ELCA seminaries,” said the Rev. Dr. Philip Hougen, chair of the board of directors. “Under his leadership, LSTC successfully completed an ambitious $56 million comprehensive campaign, built the Augustana Chapel and created the Cornelsen Director of Spiritual Formation position. Dr. Echols also helped create A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, making LSTC one of the top 20 seminaries in the U.S. in interfaith studies. Over the last several years he has initiated efforts to get the ELCA seminaries to collaborate more closely to better serve the church.”

After the ELCA entered into a full communion agreement with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Dr. Echols led LSTC in a decade-long closer collaboration with McCormick Theological Seminary (PCUSA). He has been a leader in the ELCA and in the wider community, serving on the board of the ELCA Division for Ministry, the executive committee of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the steering committee of the USA Section of the Council of International Black Lutherans. He is the editor of I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Future of Multicultural America (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

James Kenneth Echols

James Kenneth Echols
Echols was elected president of LSTC in May 1997. He served as academic dean at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) from 1991-1997. He joined the LTSP faculty in 1982, teaching American Church History. Since 2005 he has team taught, with Dr. Albert “Pete” Pero, The Theology of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. course at LSTC.

A native of Philadelphia, Echols received the bachelor of arts degree from Temple University and the master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He continued his studies at Yale University, where he received the degrees of master of arts, master of philosophy, and doctor of philosophy in the history of Christianity.

The LSTC board of directors has appointed the Rev. Dr. Philip Hougen to serve as acting president while it prepares for a presidential search. Ms. Sarah Stegemoeller was elected as chairperson of the board at its May 15-17 meeting in Chicago.

Contact: The Rev. Dr. Philip Hougen Acting President 773-256-0728 phougen@lstc.edu Jan Boden Director of Communications 773-256-0744 jboden@lstc.edu

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago forms visionary leaders to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Its approximately 325 students come from all parts of the United States and from around the world to study in the masters level and advanced studies programs. Graduates become pastors, other church leaders, and university and seminary professors. LSTC is a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a member of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools, allowing students to cross-register among the 12 member seminaries and drawing on a wealth of ecumenical resources. LSTC enjoys a number of cooperative arrangements with the University of Chicago.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum will open the Smithsonian traveling exhibition "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas"

MONTGOMERY—On June 4, 2011, Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum will open the Smithsonian traveling exhibition "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas" focusing on the seldom-viewed history and complex lives of people of dual African American and Native American ancestry.

Through the themes of policy, community, creative resistance and lifeways, the exhibition tells stories of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. "IndiVisible," produced by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), remains on view through July 31, 2011, and will then continue to travel to museums around the nation.

Since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, the lives of Native and African peoples have been closely intertwined. From pre-colonial times, they intermarried, established communities and shared their lives and traditions. But racially motivated laws oppressed and excluded them. Blended tribes worked to preserve their land and rebelled against displacement. Their survival strategies included involvement in social movements, joining together to fight oppressive conditions and regaining economic sustainability. Their unique African-Native American cultural practices through food ways, language, writing, music, dance and the visual arts have thrived.

Comanche family

Comanche family, early 1900s. Back row, from left: Ta-Tat-ty,
also known as Qu-vuh-tu; Wife-per, or Frances E. Wright; Ta-Ten-e-quer. Front row: Henry (left) and Lorenzano, also called Moots. Courtesy Sam DeVenney.
"The topic of African-Native Americans is one that touches a great number of individuals through family histories, tribal histories and personal identities," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), NMAI director. "We find commonalities in our shared past of genocide, alienation from our ancestral homelands, and the exhibition acknowledges the strength and resilience we recognize in one another today."

"We are proud to have contributed to this important and thoughtful exhibition," said NMAAHC director Lonnie Bunch. "African American oral tradition is full of stories about 'Black Indians,' with many black families claiming Indian blood."

The exhibition was curated by leading scholars, educators and community leaders including Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway), Robert Keith Collins (African-Choctaw descent), Angela Gonzales (Hopi), Judy Kertèsz, Penny Gamble-Williams (Chappaquiddick Wampanoag) and Thunder Williams (Afro-Carib).

As part of this groundbreaking exhibit, Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum will be hosting several programs including a lecture by one of the exhibit's curators Dr. Robert Keith Collins on June 9 at 6pm in the auditorium titled "Native American Cultural Change & Blackness and Indigeneity."

Other programs that will take place during the exhibit include lectures by exhibit curator Dr.Angela Gonzales and by University of Alabama Professor Dr. DoVeanna S. Fulton- Minor, a children's workshop titled "Moving Beyond Stereotypes, a Teen Summit featuring Native-American youth and local youth groups, and a panel discussion featuring Native American's living in Alabama and a discussion by local university professors on how the issues raised in the exhibit are applicable to our community. The programs for this exhibit are funded by the Smithsonian Community Grant Program which is sponsored by the MetLife Foundation.

For more information on these events including times and dates, please visit the museum's website by going to www.troy.edu and selecting "Montgomery Campus." You can also contact the museum curator Viola Moten at 334-241-8701 or vmoten@troy.edu.

The accompanying exhibition book, "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas," edited by Gabrielle Tayac, features 27 essays from authors across the hemisphere sharing first-person accounts of struggle, adaptation and survival and examines such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue and the evolution of jazz and blues.

Support for the exhibition was provided by the Akaloa Resource Foundation and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an act of Congress in 2003, and will be erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Currently, during the pre-building phase, the museum is presenting exhibitions, producing publications, hosting public events and offering an array of interactive programs and educational resources at the museum on the Web at www.nmaahc.si.edu.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C. for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

Contact: Matt Clower or Tom Davis Troy Office of University Relations 334/670-3196 mclower@troy.edu

Common gene variant in blacks that may be associated with the development of life-threatening heart arrhythmias

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have pinpointed a common gene variant in blacks that may be associated with the development of life-threatening heart arrhythmias. The finding may help determine which patients are likely to benefit most from implantable cardio-defibrillators (ICDs).

“Blacks are disproportionally affected by heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death but are vastly underrepresented in the majority of clinical trials conducted to date,” said Albert Y. Sun, MD, lead author of the study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

“Much debate surrounds the identification of patients for ICD implantation, which takes into account efficacy, cost and complication rates.”

Sun said ICDs can effectively reduce sudden cardiac death in heart failure patients, but current evidence to guide physicians when deciding which patients may derive the most benefit is limited to only a few clinical variables.

While treatment guidelines are in place, most patients who experience sudden cardiac death fall outside of the parameters for a primary prevention ICD, a device which is designed to automatically detect and correct life-threatening arrhythmias by delivering a jolt of electricity.

Geoffrey S. Pitt, M.D., Ph.D.

Geoffrey S. Pitt, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor; Director, Ion Channel Research Unit. Medicine, Division of Cardiology, School of Medicine. DIBS Faculty, Member, DIBS Executive Board.
In the new study, researchers tested whether a gene variant previously linked to sudden infant death syndrome and other heart rhythm conditions was associated with arrhythmias in blacks with heart failure and a diminished heart function called reduced ejection fraction.

“This is the largest genetic study to date of blacks with ICDs and it promises potential new diagnostic strategies to define patients who will most benefit from ICDs,” said Geoffrey S. Pitt, MD, PhD, director of Duke's Ion Channel Research Unit and the study’s principal investigator.

The study included patients from the Duke Electrophysiology Genetic and Genomic Studies (EPGEN) biorepository developed by Svati Shah, MD, and Patrick M. Hranitzky, MD.

Researchers identified 112 blacks who received ICDs for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death and followed them for an average of two years. During that time, 23 of the patients had their ICD effectively activated, and 89 patients did not.

Patients with the gene variant, known as the Y1103 allele, were three times more likely to experience a potentially life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia that triggered the device into action. On average, patients with the gene variant also experienced their first arrhythmia sooner (609 days vs. 1057 days).

“These findings are significant because approximately 13 percent of people of African descent carry this variant,” Sun said.

Researchers said the presence of this gene variant is currently tested for and included in clinical genetic testing for many of the inherited arrhythmia syndromes, such as long-QT syndrome.

Sun said if this finding is validated through additional research, those tests could be used to help determine a patient’s risk of sudden cardiac death.

Study co-authors include Jason I. Koontz, Svati H. Shah, Jonathan P. Piccini, Kent R. Nilsson, Jr., Damian Craig, Carol Haynes, Simon G. Gregory, and Patrick M. Hranitzky.

This study was supported in part by a grant from Medtronic, Inc., to Duke University as part of the Medtronic–Duke University Strategic Alliance (MEDUSA).

By Duke Medicine News and Communications 2200 W. Main St., Suite 910-B Durham, NC 27705, Box DUMC 104030 Durham, NC 27710. Main Number (8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday-Friday) 919-684-4148. Fax: 919-681-7353. After Hours Cell Phone (evenings, weekends, and holidays) 919-257-7163

Media Relations Staff Contact Information: Doug Stokke Associate Vice President 919-660-1304 doug.stokke@duke.edu

Friday, May 20, 2011

African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had a higher antibody response to influenza vaccination than European American patients

New research shows that African Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had a higher antibody response to influenza vaccination than European American patients. Treatment with prednisone, a history of hemolytic anemia, and increased disease flares were also linked to low antibody response in SLE patients who received the flu vaccine according to the study now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The ACR estimates that up to 322,000 adult Americans are burdened with SLE, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system fails to recognize the difference between healthy cells and foreign substances (bacteria and viruses), producing autoantibodies that attack a person’s own tissues and organs. Medical evidence shows that infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for lupus patients, responsible for up to 23% of all hospitalization and 20% to 50% of all deaths. Current clinical practice advises vaccination against common infectious diseases, such as influenza, for patients with lupus to reduce their risk of infection.

systemic lupus erythematosus“SLE patients are more susceptible to infection which is likely the result of immunosuppressive therapy and inherent deficiencies of the immune system,” said lead researcher Dr. Judith James, Chair of the Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. “Our study explored multiple factors which influence response to influenza vaccination in SLE patients with active and inactive disease activity.”

For the current study, the research team collected blood specimens and disease activity details from 72 SLE patients prior to vaccination and at 2, 6, and 12 weeks following influenza vaccination.

An equal number of healthy controls were also recruited and followed. Researchers assessed influenza-specific antibody responses for antibody concentration (Bmax), relative affinity (Ka), and hemagglutination inhibition (HAI). Based on the overall anti-influenza response, SLE participants were categorized as high or low responders.

After vaccination the control group showed greater increase in the total amount of native antibodies compared to all SLE patients. Both the high and low responding patients had a significantly smaller increase in apparent affinity after vaccination compared to the healthy controls. Researchers did not observe a significant difference in HAI between SLE patients and controls, and few study participants had substantial increases in HAI titers after vaccination.

Researchers reported that African American patients were 3 times more likely to be high responders to the flu vaccine than European Americans. Patients taking prednisone (10 mg/day or more) were more likely to have a low response to influenza vaccination (67%) than a high response (47%). SLE patients who had a weak response to the flu vaccine were more likely to have a history of hemolytic anemia and experience moderate to severe disease flares following vaccination, compared to patients who had a greater response.

Dr. James concluded, “Studies investigating biomarkers that could predict which lupus patients are likely to experience a flare following vaccination are already underway. This information along with serologic tests of patients expected to mount a weak response would help clinicians identify those SLE patients who may need an alternate vaccination schedule or would need to be closely monitored after receiving the influenza vaccine.”

The Lupus Foundation of America has designated May as Lupus Awareness Month

Full citation: “Influenza Vaccination Responses in Human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Impact of Clinical and Demographic Features.” Sherry R. Crowe, Joan T. Merrill, Evan S. Vista, Amy B. Dedeke, David M. Thompson, Scott Stewart, Joel M. Guthridge, Timothy B. Niewold, Beverly S. Franek, Gillian M. Air, Linda F. Thompson, Judith A. James. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: May 19, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/art.30388).

rheumatology.org/ Media Contact: Dawn Peters (781) 388-8408 healthnews@wiley.com

IMAGE CREDIT: Mikael Häggström

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

S.Res. 187, to bring attention to the severe health disparities affecting minority populations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today praised Senate passage of his resolution, S.Res. 187, to bring attention to the severe health disparities affecting minority populations in our nation such as African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. Co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK), the bipartisan measure unanimously passed the Senate.

“I want to thank Senators Murkowski and Begich for joining me to promote greater awareness of health disparities in our nation. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health confirms that African American children have a 60 percent higher prevalence of asthma than white children, Native Americans and Alaska Natives are 2.3 times as likely to have diabetes as whites, and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have three times the incidence of liver and IBD cancer as whites,” said Senator Cardin.

The Senator added: “Some of these differences are attributable to lower rates of insurance coverage. Minorities constitute one-third of America’s population, but half of the uninsured. But even when you factor in insurance coverage and income, studies have shown that minority patients receive lower quality health care.

Ben CardinWe need to reach out to minority communities and ensure that their health care needs are met. If we are to improve overall quality of care and lower health care costs in this nation, we must eliminate health disparities.”

In April, Senator Cardin joined U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, and other officials from HHS at the Launch of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity.

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Ben Cardin - United States Senator for Maryland Press Contact: Susan Sullam, 410-962-4436 509 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC, 20510

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Martha Coakley Announces Civil Rights Settlement with Mortgage Master Massachusetts’ Largest Mortgage Lender

BOSTON – As a result of a civil rights investigation into discriminatory practices against African-American borrowers, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement with Mortgage Master, Inc., the Commonwealth’s largest residential mortgage lender. Under the agreement, Mortgage Master will distribute $250,000 to Massachusetts borrowers, consumer organizations, and the state. The company will also implement aggressive safeguards to ensure that there are no disparities in the fees or costs charged for a home mortgage loan based on a borrower’s race.

“Lenders must take affirmative steps, as Mortgage Master has done, to ensure that fair lending and non-discrimination is the rule, as well as the result,” Attorney General Coakley said. “Where lenders are going to provide room for discretion, they need to make sure that their employees are properly trained and that adequate safeguards are in place to ensure that racial bias does not affect lending decisions.”

Mortgage Master will make two financial distributions in connection with this settlement. The first, for $95,000, will be used by the Attorney General’s Office to make payments to African-American borrowers in Massachusetts who obtained a home mortgage loan from the company during the period from 2004 to 2008.

Martha CoakleyAn estimated 200 borrowers will receive payments ranging from $250 to $1,000 each. The second distribution, for $155,000, will be granted to not-for-profit groups that provide fair lending, consumer, and financial education services for people in Massachusetts.

Mortgage Master has also agreed to take several new steps to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. For each of the next three years, Mortgage Master will train all of its employees about anti-discrimination laws and that training curriculum will be subject to review by the Attorney General’s Office.

In addition, for each of the next three years, Mortgage Master will provide its loan data to a pair of fair lending monitors (including one selected by the Attorney General), who will determine whether borrowers have received fair terms of credit. If substantial racial disparities are indicated by the review, Mortgage Master will make a payment to affected borrowers. Finally, Mortgage Master will conduct a full-scale review of its underwriting and loan origination policies, to ensure that appropriate fair lending practices are implemented. Mortgage Master fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s review of this matter.

“Mortgage Master will be implementing important best practices to promote fair lending, and I encourage all lenders who do business in Massachusetts to follow its lead,” Attorney General Coakley said.

Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and other bases in the terms of credit extended to borrowers. Attorney General Coakley has aggressively pursued discriminatory practices by mortgage lenders and banks. In June 2008, the Attorney General filed suit against H&R Block’s lending outfit, Option One, for predatory and unfair lending practices. The lawsuit, which is still in litigation, alleges that the companies discriminated against African-American and Latino borrowers in Massachusetts by charging them higher points and fees to close their loans than similarly situated white borrowers.

MARTHA COAKLEY ATTORNEY GENERAL Contact: Amie Breton (617) 727-2543

YEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: Office of the Attorney General

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Impact of Tuition Hikes on the Employment Experiences of Under-­represented Minority Students

College Affordability at Risk for Latino, African American & American Indian Youth Students Working Too Many Hours to Pay for College Many May Abandon Their Studies.

LOS ANGELES The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA today released two studies showing that college affordability in California is at risk and financial aid is urgently needed. Across the board students are found to be working too many hours to keep up with their studies and a huge proportion (30%) of those surveyed may abandon their studies and hopes of getting a college degree. The lowest income students are now getting a smaller share of the CSU's State University Grant (SUG) tjan they received in the past, says the Civil Rights Project study, and middle-­‐income students need increasingly more aid to keep up with rising costs. Although the federal Pell Grant has grown in recent years, the recent budget agreement means that it will not grow as tuition rises in the next several years and it will not be available for
summer study after this year.

Although the Master Plan for Higher Education called for tuition-­‐free affordable college for all qualified California students, the fiscal reality of California has led to the abandonment of that promise and rapidly rising tuition and other costs of college. Over the last decade, the Civil Rights Project reports, the California State University (CSU) has sustained a substantial decrease in state general funds and has offset these decreases by increasing tuition and fees by over 166%. In 1967 the state paid approximately 90% of a students education while today it pays approximately 64%. As costs associated with college rise for students,
including housing and books, attending and financing college may become too difficult for students with the greatest financial need the reports find particular the state's majority of Latinos and African American youth.

Amy LeisenringThe first study, by San Jose State University Professor Amy Leisenring, says that due to rising college costs and budget cuts, 86% of students surveyed in the study work for pay while in college, with underrepresented minority students comprising a large majority of students who work while in college. Leisenring’s study explores the impact of recent budget cuts on Latino, African American and American Indian students, their views on tuition/fee increases and the affects of working in paid employment on their academic success.
Higher Tuition, More Work, and Academic Harm: An Examination of the Impact of Tuition Hikes on the Employment Experiences of Under-represented Minority Students at one CSU campus is based on survey data of 163 underrepresented minority students (URM), as well as in-depth interviews with 16 URM students.

Leisenring reported, “Many students spoke about the challenges of being told right before the semester started that they had to pay higher fees or face being dropped from all of their classes. Even students whose tuition was mostly or fully covered by financial aid were impacted by this as the university expected the students to come up with the funds for the fee increase before many students' financial aid was processed.”

Key Findings:

· 86% of students reported working for pay; the majority working only one job (76%), while others held more than one job.

· The average number of hours worked was 27 hours per week. 83% of students worked 15 hours per week (83%); 36% reported working over 35 hours per week. (Other research shows that students working more than 15 hours a week suffer in their academic performance).

· 60% of students report not being able to take the classes they need due to their work schedules.

· Students report taking longer to graduate (62%) due to work, lacking time for school work (86%), lowered grades (70%), and multiple students reported missing many opportunities for on-campus support programs (65%), including faculty office hours.

· 30% of students responded that they are considering dropping out of college.

One student reported the “catch 22” she experienced when attempting to prioritize school over work, “[My job] wrote on the application: ‘Make sure that you schedule your school, social life, everything around work because work is a priority.’ And school is telling me, ‘Make sure that you manage everything else, your work, your social life, everything else around school because school is a priority.’”

The second study, by UCLA Professor Jose Luis Santos, explored the SUG, its effects on underrepresented students, and trends over a 20-year period with inflation. Santos reported that middle-income students are becoming the casualties of fee increases because while the middle-income families are seeing an increase in SUG awards, it isn't enough to keep up with the rising cost of tuition. On the other hand, the lowest income groups have seen a proportional decrease, the report states. The study also finds that students who did not qualify for state or federal financial aid have benefitted the most from SUG.

By reviewing the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study from 2008 and other publicly available data from the CSU system and the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Santos’ study, The State University Grant Program and Its Effects on Underrepresented Students at the CSU, explains that SUG helps to mitigate fee increases, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and/or institution attended. The study asserts that SUG only acts to offset fee increases, and instead should become a more targeted, need-based aid program to assist the most underrepresented and neediest students.

Additional CSU budget cuts, teamed with Cal Grant tightening their eligibility criteria, means the role of institutional aid (SUG) is much more important for these students. The author recommends that policymakers not only tighten the linkage between the SUG and these need-based aid programs, but also increase outreach so that nontraditional college applicants are informed about the aid and not dissuaded from enrolling “by the increased ‘sticker shock’ of rising tuition….”

The report concludes by urging policymakers to increase state funding for the SUG program so that it can prominently help those students with the greatest financial needs. Santos states, “In a state with extreme income inequality and flat or declining wages for many families, but where middle class status is increasingly limited to college graduates, this is an urgent priority.”

These reports are the third in a series called, THE CSU CRISIS AND CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE, and are designed to analyze the impact of the fiscal cutbacks on opportunity for higher education in the California State University system. The first report, Squeezed from all Sides documented the struggle of many students to continue their education in the face of soaring tuition, diminished offerings, and a financial crisis seriously hurting them and many of their family members. The students reported essential classes disappearing, rising financial barriers and large delays in finishing their studies. The second reports explored faculty experiences under budget cuts and their inability to deliver the kind of quality education they believe CSU students deserve and need to obtain gainful employment after college.

Civil Rights Project Co-Director Gary Orfield noted: “Study by study, independent researchers are documenting the deepening hole facing CSU students before this year’s two tuition increases, which will only magnify the barriers. To think of still more cuts and tuition increases coming in the state budget would put intolerable pressure on a hardworking group of students critical to California’s future.”

The research was commissioned by the Civil Rights Project and reviewed by a panel of outside experts. Upcoming reports from this series will look more deeply at remediation issues, on the fate of campus outreach and counseling programs and other dimensions of educational opportunity in the CSU.

The full text of the report is available at: www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu

About the Civil Rights Project at UCLA: Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA. Its mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It has commissioned more than 450 studies, published 13 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. The Supreme Court, in its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, cited the Civil Rights Project's research. This study is financed by grants from the Ford Foundation, the CSU Faculty Association, and the Civil Rights Project with all work under the complete independent control of the Project and cooperating researchers ###

Contact: Laurie Russman (310) 267-­‐5562 email: crp@ucla.edu

Saturday, May 14, 2011

For the first time in decades Iowa has a minority majority town

For the first time in decades Iowa has a minority majority town and a University of Iowa researcher said it's a sign of how quickly the state's cultural face is changing.

According to 2010 U.S. census data, the Muscatine County town of West Liberty has a Latino population of 52 percent. Of the town's 3,736 residents, 1,951 identified themselves as Latino.

Jeff Schott, director of the UI Institute of Public Affairs, said that makes it the first town in Iowa with a population majority made up of minorities, possibly the first since the heyday of the Black majority coal mining town of Buxton a century ago. He said that in 2000, West Liberty's Latino population was 42 percent.

"The overall population of racial minorities in Iowa increased moderately between 2000 and 2010, but the impact on individual cities is much more dramatic," said Schott, who analyzed census data for the Iowa League of Cities.

He said the state's Latino population grew from 2.8 percent to 5 percent. However, the census shows 50 cities now have a Latino population of 10 percent or more of their overall population, compared to only 22 cities in 2000.

West Liberty, IowaSchott said that growth also happened in cities of all sizes and in different parts of the state, especially in small towns. Of those 50 cities with a 10 percent Latino population, 24 have populations of less than 1,000.

Schott said the impact of larger Latino populations is significant for policy makers and local governments. Many of the Latinos are immigrants who work in lower wage jobs and are also in need of additional government services. School districts also need to adapt to educate large numbers of students who speak little or no English.

Several other towns are close to joining West Liberty as minority majority towns, including Columbus Junction at 48 percent Latino and Denison at 42 percent. Storm Lake is 36 percent Latino and Perry is 35 percent.

Schott said the state's Black/African American population also grew, but at a much more moderate rate than the Latino population, from 2.1 percent to 2.9 percent. African American population growth was also confined to fewer locations and focused primarily in the larger cities.

In 2010, 22 cities had African American populations of 5 percent or more, compared to seven cities in 2000. Schott noted that only three cities have a black population of 10 percent or more and all are larger than 50,000 population—Waterloo, Des Moines and Davenport.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jeff Schott, Institute for Public Affairs, 319-335-7586, jeff-schott@uiowa.edu; Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell), tom-snee@uiowa.edu

IMAGE CREDIT: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Billwhittaker at en.wikipedia

Wisconsin-Madison Multicultural Student Center Presents Candace and Charles McDowell Alumni Achievement Award

MADISON - Candace and Charles McDowell have been named as the inaugural recipients of an award named in their honor - the McDowell Alumni Achievement Award.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Multicultural Student Center celebrated graduation by honoring more than 100 students and presenting the McDowells with the award.

"The McDowells have provided us dynamic examples of leadership, service, and commitment to excellence and community that will serve as a blueprint for evaluating future recipients," says MSC interim director Donte Hilliard.

Candace McDowell, after 10 years of working in admissions, became the founding director of the Multicultural Student Center and led the organization for its first 22 years of existence. Charles McDowell served as president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association from 2003-04.

During her tenure as director, the MSC has served approximately 500,000 students and helped to establish its pivotal campus role as a social justice education center and gathering place.

Both are UW-Madison graduates who grew up in Milwaukee and attended Rufus King High School.

Multicultural Student Center PosterBoth have been board members of UW-Madison's African American Alumni Association. Charles McDowell served as the group's president during the 1990s. Candace McDowell is founding director of the MSC, which opened its doors in the fall of 1988. She retired in 2010. Charles McDowell currently serves as executive director of human resources for Madison College.

"This year, the MSC staff decided that in addition to student, and staff recognition, that it was equally important that we recognize the contributions, and achievements of alumni; the ones who came before; the ancestors and elders, upon whose shoulders we stand; the ones who paved the way and blazed the trails that we tread upon," Hilliard says.

Now a decade-old tradition, the MSC also honored more than 50 spring graduates representing programs and departments across the campus.

"There is an added element of successfully completing a degree at UW-Madison for multicultural students," Hilliard said. "We are saluting the supporting relationships and friendships formed here in the center and most importantly these students contribution to making higher education at this university and society at large a more inclusive place."

Organizational Awards in Multicultural Leadership:

Emerging Leader Award: Jasmine Savoy for her work with the Multicultural Council, ASM, and the Posse Scholars.

Established Leader Award: Steve Pereira for his work with Lambda Theta Phi, Intercultural Dialogues and in the community.

Behind the Scenes Award: Alida Cardos Whaley for her work with MEChA and the Housing Diversity Squad.

Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award: Ruby Paredes for her long-time campus diversity work.

Outstanding New Program: Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc., for their Latino Leaders in Education.

Outstanding Established Program: La Mujer Latina Conference.

Organization Demonstrating Excellence in Social Justice: MEChA, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan!

Outstanding Student Organization Award: Filipino American Student Organization (FASO)

Wisconsin Experience Award: UW-Madison junior Saengthong Douangdara.

Institute for Social Justice and Transformative Leadership Award: Sheltreese McCoy.

MSC Meyerhoff Undergraduate Excellence Award: Zina Knox.

Individual Multicultural Leadership Award winners and their majors included:

Irfaan Abid, biology; Nneka Adaeze Akubeze, sociology; Jair Alvarez, international studies; Cara Aronson, consumer science-consumer affairs; Omar Arreola, sociology and Chican@/Latin@ studies certificate, European studies certificate, leadership certificate; Alexis Beecham, rehabilitation psychology; Kasandra Bellamy, social welfare; Alida Cardos Whaley, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies; Amanda Cheung, fine arts; Kimberly Cho, fine art; Sabrina Collins, political science; Salman Dar, neurobiology; Kelsey Van Ert, sociology; Nancy Galvez, social work and certificate in gender-women's studies;

Marquez Guzman, economics and psychology; Brandon Johnson, community and nonprofit leadership; Martenzie Johnson, journalism and mass communication; Zina Knox, multicultural education; Ashley Lee, community and environmental sociology, environmental studies; Mintuyen Mai, sociology, languages and cultures of Asia, Southeast Asian and certificate in Asian- American studies; Sheltreese McCoy, graduate studies in educational leadership policy analysis in higher education; Raymond McCurty-Smith, marketing, management and human resources; Erica McKinney, social welfare and sociology; Johnice Miller, biology; Shanelia Milton, English;

Joylynne Moore, rehabilitation psychology; Ayobami Olugbemiga, political science; Camea Osborn, English; Allisya Otto, social work & Spanish; Jessica Pan, international studies and French; Trisha Pedone, biology; Steve Pereira, political science; Sabrina Pinnix, personal finance; Molly Rivera, journalism and mass communication; Gayle Smaller, African American studies and theater; Sofia Snow, social work; Tiffany Sommerville, rehabilitation psychology; Tosha Songolo, international studies and African studies certificate; LaVaisha Terry, social welfare; Jasmine Timmons, women's studies;

Kimanh Truong, English literature and certificate in teaching English as a second language; Ashley Umberger, sociology and African studies certificate; Karla Chavez Vargas, political science, Spanish and LACIS; Ashlin Ware, social welfare; Jerrod Walker, legal studies and English honors; Ben Young, Spanish; Hiba Zakai, education leadership policy analysis. ###

Valeria Davis, 608-890-3079, vadavis2@wisc.edu University Communications News releases FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/13/11 Contact: Donte Hilliard, 608-265-2513, dhilliard@studentlife.wisc.edu

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The history of African Americans in sports and their effect on civil rights

Emory Libraries will hold a symposium on the history of African Americans in sports and their effect on civil rights.

“What’s Next? A Symposium on Race and Sports in American Culture” will be held Wed., May 11, 2011 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library, 540 Asbury Circle on the Emory University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Symposium participants will examine the effect of African American athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and many others on American culture; analyze the impact of race and sports on civil rights history; and spark discussion about what’s next beyond the traditional recognition of breaking racial barriers in sports.

“This conversation is important because society, particularly young people, often idolize current athletes and the notoriety they achieve, the large salaries they make,” says Randall K. Burkett, curator of African American Collections at Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) and one of the symposium’s organizers. “We need to focus on the early African American athletes and struggles they faced – the ones who paved the way and made it possible for modern athletes to enjoy the successes they do.”

Martín Dihigo

A 1939 photo of Martín Dihigo, two time All-Star in the American Negro leagues and the only player inducted into the American, Cuban
and Mexican Baseball Halls of Fame. Photo courtesy of MARBL
MARBL will have a small display of materials related to African Americans in sports, introducing a new collecting focus and demonstrating the importance of preserving the papers of African American athletes.

Symposium participants

Pellom McDaniels III (moderator), assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and consultant curator of African American Collections at MARBL, earned his Ph.D. from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory in 2007. His dissertation focused on “The Angles of Ascent: Race, Class, Sport and Representation of African American Masculinity.” He is working with MARBL to build research collections related to African Americans and sports.

Gerald Early, director of the Center for the Humanities and the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the editor of several volumes, including Body Language: Writers on Sport (1998); and The Muhammad Ali Reader (1998), and the author of many books, among them One Nation Under a Groove and The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, a 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award winner.

Mike Glenn, former NBA basketball player and collector of rare books, newspapers, and magazines by and about African Americans. He shares his artifacts through traveling exhibits and lectures. From his collection, he wrote Lessons from My Library Volume 1. Mike writes and shares the inspirations and accomplishments of past African American heroes who faced obstacles of oppression, racism, and bigotry.

Earl Lewis, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies.

Dr. Lewis is author and co-editor of seven books, among them In Their Own Interests: Race, Class and Power in 20th Century Norfolk (1993) and the award-winning To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans (2000).

Light refreshments and conversation will follow the panel. The symposium is sponsored by the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, Department of African American Studies, and Emory Libraries.

Parking is available in the Fishburne deck; visit arts.emory.edu/village/map for directions.

The Emory University Libraries (web.library.emory.edu/) in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are an intellectual commons for Emory University, Atlanta and the world. The nine libraries’ holdings include more than 3.4 million print and electronic volumes, 56,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections.

Emory University (www.emory.edu) is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Perennially ranked as one of the country’s top 20 national universities by U.S. News & World Report, Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.

For more information: Maureen McGavin: 404.727.6898, mmcgavi@emory.edu or Elaine Justice: 404.727.0643, elaine.justice@emory.edu.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The President Pro Tempore of Alabama A&M University's Board of Trustees will be the keynote speaker for spring commencement exercises

Huntsville, Ala. ---- The President Pro Tempore of Alabama A&M University's Board of Trustees will be the keynote speaker for spring commencement exercises scheduled on Friday, May 13, at 6 p.m. in the Louis Crews Stadium.

Alumnus and Trustee Odysseus Lanier has led the board of trustees since October 2010. He is one of the four founding partners of McConnell Jones Lanier & Murphy LLP (MJLM) and leads the firm’s Federal Services Group, with primary responsibility for MJLM’s Engineering & Technical Services Division located in Huntsville, Ala., with over 90 employees. With over 180 full-time employees firm-wide, MJLM is the third largest African American-owned accounting and consulting firm in the United States, the largest African American-owned accounting and consulting firm in the southern and southwestern United States, and the 19th largest public accounting firm in Houston, Tex., as reported by the Houston Business Journal’s 2010 Book of Lists.

Lanier has amassed more than three decades of professional experience. In addition to working with federal, state and local agencies, Lanier lists among his numerous specialties the provision of assistance to colleges and universities, school districts, and municipalities by providing expert consultation in governance, strategic planning, business process improvement, procurement strategies, and financial management. He also leads MJLM’s business process outsourcing and co-sourcing initiatives, including large-scale administrative, financial, engineering and management support services contracts, as well as internal audit co-sourcing and outsourcing projects.

Odysseus LanierBorn in Huntsville, Ala., where he graduated from S. R. Butler High School in 1973, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) matriculated to Alabama A&M University, graduating with honors in 1977 with a B.S. in Accounting. While attending AAMU, he was president of his Freshman Class, president of the Commuting Students Organization (known as “Day Students”), Vice Basileus of Nu Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and president of the Student Government Association. As president of the Student Government Association, along with fellow Student Government Association Presidents at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from the mid-Atlantic and Southern Regions of the United States, Lanier was a founding member of the National Organization of Black University and College Students in Washington, D.C., in 1976.

For more than 30 years, Lanier has been a resident of Houston, Tex., where he started his career as an accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co., serving as a supervising senior in both the Audit and Tax Departments. He also worked as an internal auditor with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and General Homes Consolidated Companies before embarking on a career in entrepreneurship; forming a small CPA / consulting firm in 1984; and ultimately co-founding the consulting firm Empirical Management Services, Inc., on his kitchen table in 1992. The firm ultimately merged with the CPA firm McConnell & Jones LLP in 1999 to form MJLM.

The AAMU alumnus currently holds professional memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Black Accountants Division of African American owned CPA Firms. He is the recipient of numerous professional awards and recognition throughout his career. Moreover, his firm received the Pinnacle Award and Emerging 10 Minority-Owned Businesses Award, both of which are presented to Houston, Tex.-based minority-owned companies based on growth, business philosophy, and community involvement through corporate responsibility. In 2002, Reverend Jesse Jackson presented Lanier with the “Bridge Builders’ Award” at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference in Chicago, Ill., for forging strategic business alliances between minority-owned firms and majority-owned firms; and, in 2007, Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow / PUSH Wall Street Project presented him its “Entrepreneur of the Year Award.”

Throughout his business and professional careers, Lanier has been active in the community, heeding AAMU's motto: “Service is Sovereignty.” In 1982, he was a charter member of Rho Beta Beta Graduate Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 1983, Lanier was vice president of the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. In 1995, he served on the Houston Workforce Development Board. And, in 1998, he served on the transition team for City of Houston Controller Sylvia Garcia. The Huntsvillian is the former chairman of the Harris County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners from 2003-2007; served as corporate co-chairperson of the Ensemble Theater’s 7th Annual Golf Tournament; and is a former member of the Board of Directors for Mental Health America of Greater Houston. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of jazz artist Joe Sample’s Youth Organization, and he is Vice-Chairman of the Advocacy Committee for the National Association of Black Accountants’ Division of African American-owned CPA Firms.

Furthermore, Lanier has also been politically active throughout his career. In 1988, for instance, he was elected president of Citizens for Progress in Houston, Tex., a group of young African American Republicans who left the Democratic Party to help elect President George H. W. Bush after supporting Rev. Jesse Jackson in the Texas Democratic Primary. In May 1989, the Late Lee Atwater, while chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), appointed him as the African American representative to the RNC’s three-person Minority Outreach Coordinating Council for the State of Texas. In July 1989, Texas Republican Governor Bill Clements appointed him to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents where, at 33 years old, Lanier was the youngest appointee to a state governing board of regents at the time. He was immediately appointed chairperson of the Finance Committee and served in this capacity for four years of his six-year term. In March 1990, Texas State Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison appointed him to her Audit Advisory Committee for the Texas State Treasury, where he served until she was elected to the United States Senate in a special election in 1993. In 1993, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison appointed Lanier to her African American Advisory Committee for the Houston Region, a position in which he continues to serve.

In 2004, Lanier worked with Senator Hutchison, former Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson to establish the annual African American Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., which was co-sponsored by Senator Hutchison and Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Lanier is currently a member of Senator Hutchison’s prestigious Leadership Trust for the State of Texas and served as a member of her Gubernatorial Election Committee in her recent campaign for Governor of the State of Texas in 2010.

Over the years, the AAMU alumnus has faithfully supported his Alma Mater. He delivered the keynote address for the 127th Founder’s Day Convocation in 2002, served on the Presidential Search Committee in 2005, and was the Vice Chairman for the Presidential Search Committee in 2008. He also served as Corporate Chairperson for the Career Development Services-sponsored Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) in 2007 and Corporate Co-Chairperson in 2009. In June 2009, Governor Bob Riley appointed him to the Board of Trustees and, after serving approximately one year as Chairman of the Business and Finance Committee, his fellow trustees elected him as the President Pro Tempore of the board in October 2010.

A staunch community advocate, Lanier is socially active in the Houston area. He is a member of the Houston Chapter of 100 Black Men and Rho Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. His family is also a member of the Sugarland-Missouri City Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Incorporated. Additionally, as a result of his immense social involvement, he has received awards and recognition, including “Omega Man of the Year” by Rho Beta Beta in 1989, “Father of Honor” by the Texas Spring Cypress Chapter of Links Incorporated in 2006, and “Distinguished Father of the Year” by the Sugar Land-Missouri City Chapter of Jack and Jill in 2008.

"O.D.", as long-time friends and even acquaintances call him, enjoys fishing with family, working out, and playing golf with friends, when time permits. He and his family are members of The Fort Bend Church in Sugar Land, Tex. He is married to Tammy (Williams) Lanier, and they have three children: two sons - Geraud (wife Amber) and Bryce, and one daughter, Blake—and two grandsons, Nigel and Donovan.

In case of inclement weather, an afternoon and subsequent evening program will be held in the T.M. Elmore Building (gymnasium). ###

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 10, 2011 CONTACT: Jerome Saintjones, 256.372.5607

Monday, May 9, 2011

Isak Osagyefo Nti Asare selected for Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- At just 22, recent Indiana University graduate Isak Osagyefo Nti Asare already has lived and studied in more countries than most people visit in a lifetime.

He graduated with highest distinction from IU's College of Arts and Sciences on Saturday with a Bachelor of Arts degree and majors in political science and linguistics, a minor in African languages (Swahili and Akan) and an undergraduate certificate in African Studies.

Nti Asare learned last week that he also has been selected for a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which provides funding to participants as they prepare academically and professionally to enter the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. He will receive $40,000 for each of the two years of his graduate program, as well as stipends for participation in domestic summer internships that follow each academic year.

"Isak's biography and record of accomplishments already read like that of a distinguished ambassador, so it is fitting he has won a Pickering Fellowship," said IU Bloomington Hutton Honors College Dean Matt Auer. "Everyone at the Hutton Honors College is ecstatic for Isak."

Isak Osagyefo Nti Asare

Isak Osagyefo Nti Asare. Courtesy of Indiana University.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Nti Asare has lived and studied in Dubai and Sharjah (both in the United Arab Emirates), Estonia, Mexico, Azerbaijan and Ghana. He also speaks five languages -- one of the reasons IU has been such an ideal fit.

"I knew I wanted to do African studies, and the strength of the African languages program here was a definite plus -- the foreign languages in general at IU are impressive," Nti Asare said. "I don't know of any other school that offers as many languages, and at such a high level, as IU."

Nti Asare attended high school in Laramie, Wyo., and fell in love with the IU Bloomington campus on a senior year swimming recruiting trip.

"It was the first recruiting trip I went on, and then all the others just didn't seem right," he said. "I think Herman B Wells once said that Indiana was always a place where you could 'feel imaginative,' and that was very much the case. I came here and felt at home. I felt imaginative, like I could do anything I wanted to do here."

One of Nti Asare's mentors is Professor A.B. Assensoh, director of graduate studies and admissions for IU Bloomington's Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. Assensoh said that along with many other faculty members, he and his wife, Office for Women's Affairs Dean Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh, are very proud of "young Isak."

A.B. Assensoh impressed upon his mentee the importance of having work published.

"He took that advice so seriously that, even as an undergraduate student at Indiana University, Isak already has published no less than two review essays in refereed journals (produced by IU Press and Brill Academic Press of Europe)," Assensoh said. "(Dean Assensoh) and I expect young Isak Osagyefo Nti Asare to excel and blossom intellectually-cum-academically anywhere that he ends up for graduate or professional studies."

Within the span of this past academic year, Nti Asare acted as treasurer of the African Languages Club (he was previously the president) and was undergraduate outreach coordinator for the African Studies Program. He received the Elvis J. Stahr Distinguished Senior Award; the Outstanding Senior Award and Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Award (both from the Department of Linguistics) and the Wendell L. Willkie Scholarship for graduating seniors in political science.

He was also named McNair Scholar of the Year, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received departmental honors from the political science and linguistics departments for his two distinct thesis projects (one for each major). He is working on A Dictionary of the Susu Language of Guinea along with recently named Beinecke Scholar Kip Hutchins and Professor Samuel G. Obeng, director of the African Studies Program.

"He's really a terrific student, leader and person who will undoubtedly go on to do many significant things beyond IU," said Assistant Professor of Political Science Lauren MacLean."Isak is not only intellectually engaged and academically serious, but he also always has a big smile for everyone he meets."

When people talk about Nti Asare, they usually mention his characteristic humility. True to form, the accomplished student said he only agreed to be interviewed to honor his faculty and fellow student mentors.

"I think a seed is only as good as the soil in which it's planted, and I guess a seed is only as good as the tree from which it came, right? Even the best of seeds and the best of soil need a really good gardener," he said.

Nti Asare said that he can look back and clearly see his growth since freshman year. Two overseas trips -- one to Ghana the summer after his freshman year at IU, and one to Tanzania last summer -- were incredible learning experiences. In Tanzania, he worked for a brief time with an NGO that helped AIDS victims.

"They were talking a lot about research and studies, which was impactful to me, because it showed that academic research and the things we're doing at universities make a big difference in the world," he said. "Our studies, our travel, our work, can have an impact. I think that's what ultimately motivated me to want to do a career in international development and international affairs."

Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law Kevin Brown said he expects that one day, Nti Asare's natural leadership abilities and his talent for inspiring confidence in others will make him a significant player in the international scene.

"Isak is more prepared than any student I have ever known to pursue academic interests in issues pertaining to indigenous politics, globalization, processes of democratization, poverty alleviation and the international political economy," Brown said. "He has lived in eight different countries on four different continents. When you talk to Isak, you know that you have met someone who is truly special and destined for future greatness.

"Frankly, in my 24 years as a professor, I have never met a student that I am more confident will play a huge part on the world's stage in tackling the world's most significant problems than Isak," he added.

Next up for Nti Asare: His June wedding to Maria Moore, whom he's known since his sophomore year of high school in Wyoming, and then deciding where to attend graduate school.

IU will always hold a special place in his heart.

"IU is an awesome place," he said. "It is the soil that brings the gardeners -- professors -- and the seeds -- students -- together. When the seed grows, he can only look back and be thankful to the environment which attributed to his growth."

Media Contacts: Jennifer Piurek University Communications jpiurek@indiana.edu 812-856-4886

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The increased availability of fast food restaurants is associated with a higher intake of calories among African Americans

The increased availability of fast food restaurants is associated with a higher intake of calories among African Americans in the Southeast reports a new study released today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers examined the associations between fast food restaurant availability with dietary intake and weight among African Americans in the southeastern United States. The sample population included 4,740 African American Jackson Heart study participants. While no consistent associations between fast food restaurant availability and body mass index or waist circumference were observed, researchers did report that greater fast food restaurant availability was associated with higher energy intake among men and women younger than 55 years, even after adjusting for individual socioeconomic status. They found that the energy intake increased by 138 kilocalories for men and 58 kilocalories for women when fast food restaurants were within a five mile radius.

The study’s authors said, “Our results suggested that, especially among younger adults who are more likely to consume fast food, the availability of fast food restaurants around their homes is associated with energy intake.

fast foodGiven the importance of energy intake to weight and associated disorders, the role of environmental factors such as fast food restaurant availability deserves additional scrutiny in studies involving more appropriate longitudinal designs.”

[From: “Associations of Fast Food Restaurant Availability with Dietary Intake and Weight among African Americans in the Jackson Heart Study, 2000-2004.” Contact: Demarc A. Hickson, Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss., demarc.a.hickson@jsums.edu. # # #

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Patricia Warin, 202-777-2511, or e-mail: patricia.warin@apha.org.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dole Institute of Politics and University of Kansas Libraries will kick off a new series titled World War II The African-American Experience

LAWRENCE — The Dole Institute of Politics and University of Kansas Libraries will kick off a new three-part series titled “World War II: The African-American Experience,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Dole Institute. The event is free and open to the public.

The opening program will feature author and historian Christopher Moore as he discusses his book, “Fighting for America: Black Soldiers, the Unsung Heroes of WWII.”

“Chris Moore’s book provides a wonderful opportunity for people of all generations to connect with a previously invisible history of World War II and the roles played by the heroic black American men and women who served in that war,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute.

The collaboration will include the three-part series at the Dole Institute and an exhibition and oral history project through the Kansas Collection at KU’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library that will document the experiences of African-American World War II veterans in Kansas. The exhibition will be on display at the Dole Institute. The programs are made possible through the support of Sandra Gautt of Lawrence.

“This partnership between KU Libraries and the Dole Institute, made possible by the generous support of Sandra Gautt, will provide a unique glimpse into African-American history,” said Lorraine J. Haricombe, dean of libraries. “We are grateful for the opportunity to document and share the personal experiences of those who served in World War II.”

Black Troops at Iwo Jima
High Resolution Image Seeking to rescue a Marine who was drowning in the surf at Iwo Jima, this sextet of Negro soldiers narrowly missed death themselves when their amphibian truck was swamped by heavy seas.
Moore is a historian and special projects and exhibitions research coordinator for the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is also the author and co-author of several works, including “The Black New Yorkers: 400 Years of African American History,” “Standing in the Need of Prayer: African American Prayer Traditions,” “Slavery in New York” and “Santa and Pete: Novel of Christmas Past and Present.”

His major Schomburg exhibitions include “The African Burial Ground,” “Malcolm X,” “Blacks on Stage,” “Ralph Bunche Centennial” and “Lest We Forget: Triumph over Slavery,” published as “Jubilee: The Emergence of African American Culture.” He has served as exhibition consultant to the New York Historical Society and the National Park Service.

Moore wrote and co-produced the History Channel’s award-winning series “The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery” and is featured in the Annenberg Media’s Teaching Multicultural Literature program “Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore” and the film “New Jack City: Harlem Walking Tour with Christopher Moore.” He is a consultant to the PBS show “History Detectives.”

A former journalist and news editor for ABC Radio and National Black Network News, Moore broke the story of the unearthing of the African burial ground in lower Manhattan for Fox News in 1991. Moore is a contributor to the New York Times, USA Today and the African American National Biography. He is a commissioner of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the NYC Archival Review Board. In 2008, he received the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus’s Veteran’s Braintrust Award.

The series is dedicated to Gautt’s father, Thaddeus Whayne, and all African-American World War II veterans. -30-

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

Contact: Heather Anderson, Dole Institute of Politics, 785-864-1422 kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cut Hypertension Program providing blood pressure screenings in African American barbershops

Medical Student Will Address Hypertension in African American Men Through Innovative Barbershop Program.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Student Receives Schweitzer Fellowship.

Philadelphia - (Nicholas) Kenji Taylor, a first-year year student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named one of 15 Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows for 2011-2012. Schweitzer Fellows partner with community-based organizations to develop and implement yearlong, mentored service projects that sustainably address the social determinants of health—all on top of their regular graduate school responsibilities.

Taylor will address hypertension in African American males by coordinating, expanding, and providing blood pressure screenings in African American barbershops of West Philadelphia through the “Cut Hypertension Program.” A pilot of the “Cut Hypertension Program” was conducted last year through the Penn Med chapter of the Student National Medical Association, initially spearheaded by a now second-year medical student, Sheriff Akinleye. Taylor aims to identify hypertensive African American males, educate them on the dangers associated with high blood pressure, provide preventive lifestyle coaching, and facilitate connections with local primary care providers. Karen Hamilton, PhD, assistant dean for the Office for Diversity and Community Outreach in Undergraduate Medical Education at Penn, will continue to provide faculty support and mentorship for the program.

Upon completion of his initial year, Taylor will become a Schweitzer Fellow for Life and join a vibrant network of over 2,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals.

“I’m thrilled to find such tremendous support to address health disparities in our West Philadelphia community, and equally excited to join a larger cohort of professionals who are passionate about service to the community,” Taylor said.

Since the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program’s founding in 2006, Schweitzer Fellows have delivered more than 7,000 hours of direct service to vulnerable people in the Philadelphia area. ###

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – recognized as one of the nation's top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.

Media Contact: Jessica Mikulski 215-349-8369

IMAGE CREDIT: Source: Photo taken by Dozenist Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Thursday, May 5, 2011

African American smokers used the counseling service at significantly higher rates than Caucasian smokers

African American Smokers in California More Likely to Use Telephone Quitline

A new study examining 18 years of data from the California state tobacco quitline found that African American smokers used the counseling service at significantly higher rates than Caucasian smokers. The finding is reported in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

“African Americans suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related diseases such as lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease,” said lead author, Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD, professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “Making service programs accessible and attractive for African-American smokers can help reduce health disparities associated with tobacco use.”

Quitlines offer telephone counseling to help smokers quit. The services are convenient and free, paid for with state tobacco tax money. Telephone counseling also provides a degree of anonymity that can encourage utilization among those who would not normally seek help. California was the first state to set up such a telephone-based service in 1992, after clinical research found that counseling was effective in helping smokers quit.

Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD

Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD
This study examined data from the California quitline from 1992 to 2009, which included 61,096 African American and 279,042 Caucasian smokers. The authors computed the annual quitline utilization rate for each ethnic group by dividing the number of callers in a given year by the total number of smokers in the ethnic group obtained from the ongoing California Tobacco Surveys. In comparing these rates, researchers found that African American smokers were more likely to call the quitline than Caucasian smokers; 44 percent to 140 percent more likely. In only one period of comparison did African American smokers have a lower utilization rate - 10 percent lower than Caucasian smokers.

“The finding of higher utilization rates for African American smokers is somewhat unexpected but very encouraging,” said Valerie Yerger, ND, LM, assistant professor in the department of social and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco and a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council of California. The higher rate is unexpected because most public health literature reports that African American smokers are less likely to use evidence-based treatment for smoking cessation. “It would be important to further understand which aspect of the quitline encourages their active participation,” said Yerger, who is not associated with the study.

“Our analysis suggests that one reason African American smokers are more apt to use the quitline service is that they appear to be more responsive to the ongoing state media campaign that prompts calls to the service,” said co-author, Phil Gardiner, PhD, from the University of California Office of the President. The study recommends that states combine a strong media message – urging smokers to quit – with the offer of convenient and free help, such as the quitline.

Timothy A. McAfee, MD, MPH, Director, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the study finding “very significant.” He pointed out that quitlines are now available in every state, and when combined with media campaigns they can overcome the barriers that smokers face getting help quitting smoking. "Unfortunately, many states are cutting back on their tobacco control funding while simultaneously raising tobacco taxes. Studies like this suggest that we need to continue with a strong anti-tobacco media campaign along with offering accessible cessation services. This comprehensive approach can increase quitting activity among smokers in general while helping reduce disparities such as those African Americans face in getting help quitting.” # # #

University of California, San Diego Health System Media Contact: Kim Edwards, 619-543-6163, kedwards@ucsd.edu

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

50th anniversary of the civil rights Freedom Riders

Loyola University New Orleans will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights Freedom Riders by premiering the screening of a documentary of the same name on May 9, 7 p.m. in Roussel Hall. The free event, presented by the Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice, will include a viewing of the documentary and a question and answer period, followed by a light reception. The event is open to the public.

The film “Freedom Riders,” directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, documents the struggle for civil rights in the early 1960s. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way.

Twomey Center director Ted Quant says he is encouraging the entire Loyola community, especially students, to attend this historic event.

“Today with the attack on human rights here in this country and around the world, it’s time again for a reawakening of young people in sense of consciousness in the fight for freedom. ‘Freedom Riders’ is an example of what that could be,” Quant said.

Background Map: 1961 Freedom Rides

Background Map: 1961 Freedom Rides. [New York]: Associated Press News feature. Printed map and text, ca. 1962 Geography & Map Division (84.6) American Treasures of the Library of Congress:
For those who cannot make the screening, the documentary will air on WYES-TV on Monday, May 16 from 8 – 10 p.m. It will repeat Tuesday, May 17 at 10 p.m. For more information, contact the Twomey Center at 504-864-7433.

Loyola University New Orleans || 6363 St. Charles Avenue || New Orleans, LA 70118. WYES premieres 'Freedom Riders' documentary at Loyola. Loyola press release - May 2, 2011.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Northwestern State University will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Terrel A. Delphin, Jr. at the Spring 2011 Commencement Exercises

For decades, Delphin has worked to bridge cultural and racial gaps through multicultural education, harmony and cooperation.

“Terrel Delphin is a person worthy of great respect and admiration,” said Northwestern President Dr. Randall J. Webb. “I first came to know him and his lovely wife Lillie when he spearheaded an effort to obtain approval by both Boards of Supervisors and Regents for the establishment of the Creole Heritage Center on the campus of Northwestern State University. I have since come to appreciate his additional efforts on behalf of our community and region, including his role as assistant director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness under Sheriff Victor Jones. I am pleased that the Board of Supervisors approved my recommendation to confer an honorary doctorate on this deserving gentleman.”

Delphin has been a leader in the “Creole renaissance,” helping Creole language-based communities preserve their language and recognition of their cultural heritage. He has worked with communities in California, Texas, Illinois, Nevada and Alaska. In 1997, Delphin, along with representatives from 20 communities in Louisiana, made an impassioned presentation to establish a Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern. The proposal was approved and the Center serves as a valuable resource for people around the United States and the world. Delphin was chairman of the board of the Creole Heritage Center and is now honorary chairman.

Terrel A. Delphin, Jr.

Terrel A. Delphin, Jr.
“In an increasingly multicultural, multiracial world, people like Terrel Delphin are rare,” said Janet Colson, executive director of the Creole Heritage Center. “The ability to weld together people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and to speak for people who are often unrepresented in a wider society is his gift. He has had to literally change history so that the world can be seen as the rich, complex place it is so people can gain their own voices.”

For the past several years, Delphin has worked to establish Civil Rights Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. He believes that the African-American community in Natchitoches has an outstanding history of leadership that should be recognized.

A native of Natchitoches Parish, Delphin grew up on Cane River. He attended St. Joseph’s Parochial School and graduated from St. Matthew High School.

Delphin served in the U.S. Army then returned home. He briefly worked in Chicago before returning home when he was asked by Sheriff Sam James to serve as one of the first non-white police officers in Natchitoches Parish.

Delphin’s law enforcement experience led to a 25-year career with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. He served as head of the State Brands Office and the program director for the state of Louisiana, the only minority in the United States to hold such a position. He later became assistant commissioner of agriculture.

In 2005, he became assistant director of the Natchitoches Parish Office of Emergency Planning and Homeland Security. Delphin had an instrumental role as the office assisted Louisiana residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The City of Natchitoches declared March 29, 1997, as Terrel Delphin Day in honor of his contributions to racial and multicultural harmony. Delphin received the Creole Center’s Historic Preservation Award in 1999 and 2003. The Natchitoches Police Jury presented him with the People’s Involvement Award for his work in Creole heritage preservation in 2006.

Contact: David West (west@nsula.edu) News Bureau Northwestern State University Natchitoches, LA 71497 (318) 357-6466

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Leonard Weather, Jr., M.D. Things are not going to get better if we just let it be

President of NMA Tells students and faculty: "People are sick. We need to help them be well."

The president of the National Medical Association (NMA) urged UCF College of Medicine students, faculty and staff members Monday to do their part in ending health-care disparities, declaring, "Things are not going to get better if we just let it be."

Leonard Weather, Jr., M.D. leads the NMA, which was founded in 1895 and is the oldest and largest organization serving African-American physicians.

Dr. Weather is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Shreveport, LA, who has seen the devastating health effects of environmental pollution on communities from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But he said toxic environments threaten communities of color across America, resulting in higher rates of cancer, obesity, lupus and endometriosis.

Chronic exposure to stress, unhealthy habits, and living in areas of low social capital, weak social networks and "food deserts" with no access to fresh produce, further erode health in minority communities, according to Dr. Weather. "Throughout man's history, income has been the primary determinant of health and life expectancy," he said.

Leonard Weather, Jr., M.D.Part of the challenge is getting health information to low-income communities, a point reinforced by College of Medicine M-1 student Sharise Richardson, who attended a recent NMA conference that discussed the need to better use social networking to help minority communities learn about topics such as HIV and AIDS.

As part of that effort, Dr. Weather said the NMA has begun a new initiative called "We Stand Together," radio public service announcements that offer health advice three times a day, seven days a week on African-American radio stations.

Ending health-care disparities will require everyone to get involved, Dr. Weather said. And as he looked to the College of Medicine students in the audience, he urged them, "You need to have a plan. You need to be great. You need to be good. We need you. People are sick. We need to help them be well."

CONTACT: Wendy Spirduso Sarubbi, UCF College of Medicine Information / Publication Services, 407.266.1418 or wsarubbi@mail.ucf.edu