• Project Awakening’s Stop The Violence Walk in Chicago to be Led by Original Cast of Dr. Clifford E. Turner’s “The Awakening”


    Chicago – When Dr. Clifford E. Turner, founder of Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church and World Outreach Ministries, presented the “The Awakening” in 1990, his vision galvanized not only the local Chicago community, but also eventually an estimated 100 million viewers around the world. The show, a production from his Holywood Studios, followed the perils of a young, south side Chicago inner city teenager, Marquita Perry, and her struggles with premarital sex, drugs, peer pressure, and gang violence. “The Awakening” started as a two-part skit for television and evolved into a seven season, 150 episodic Emmy Award winning series, becoming the longest running Christian mini-series ever produced. An inner-city minister, Turner’s goal for “The Awakening” was to capture the attention of youth and to speak to them about the high costs of low living, and specifically the perils of living in a culture of violence.

    That goal is still a mission almost 25 years later as the original cast of “The Awakening” returns and joins Dr. Clifford E. Turner and Holywood Studios to facilitate the Project Awakening Stop The Violence Walk on Saturday, August 30, 2014. The walk will take place starting at 6200 S. Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s south side at 7:30 a.m. and is a determined show of strength toward empowering the local community against the continuing onslaught of violence. Turner and his team hope to propel worldwide attention, support and prayer while creating teamwork between the family, churches and the police to work together for peace.

    The Project Awakening campaign is Dr. Turner’s latest broad based concept to facilitate change. Sponsors and participants can support the Stop The Violence Walk via a variety of initiatives. In addition to personally joining the walk, residents and non-residents alike can participate with prayer, donations and also by purchasing the original “The Awakening” series, available for online viewing at http://www.awakening.com/.

    All proceeds will help to support selected organizations in their fight against violence along with assisting Project Awakening’s own endeavors, including the expansion of The Awakening Life Lessons curriculum targeted for use in schools nationwide. Some of the Project Awakening partners include The NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter (http://www.nflalumnichicago.org), Billionaire Minds (www.billionaireminds.org) and Love in Action (www.4loveinaction.org).

    Original cast of "The Awakening"

    As Dr. Turner expresses, “I realized when I started Holywood Studios in 1985 that the vision I received from God would impact lives for years to come. ‘The Awakening’ series has been a most powerful transformative tool. To have the cast come back almost 25 years later to continue with the work we started is an amazing testimony. Our communities are under siege right now with nonsensical violence escalating daily. This campaign effort is more than a fundraiser, it is a time for the entire community to join together in a day of camaraderie, inspiration and above all, hope.”

    Chief Apostle Dr. Clifford E. Turner is a powerfully progressive and trend-setting leader whose bold and convicting messages of salvation, healing, deliverance, and restoration have torn down the barriers of religion while building up the lives of the people in this nation and countries across the world for over 35 years. Apostle Turner founded Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church and World Outreach Ministries on March 14, 1982, in Chicago, Illinois; the church started with two members, with Dr. Turner as Pastor. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Turner became the trailblazer of an apostolic movement that the City of Chicago had not seen before. By 1985, Liberty Temple had become one of the fastest growing ministries of its time, outgrowing three locations in three years. His Holywood Studios serve as an extension of his ministry, reaching the masses through film production.

    The Project Awakening Stop The Violence Walk is the second venture sponsored by Holywood Studios and the Project Awakening. A successful walk was staged in Zion, IL late last July.

    To join the walk, become a sponsor, or to support the event with a purchase of the original series, now available for online viewing, go to http://walk.awakening.com/ for additional details.

    View the star of “The Awakening,” Tiffany J. Curtis, as she offers a personal invitation to The Project Awakening Stop The Violence Walk at:
    star of “The Awakening,” Tiffany J. Curtis, as she offers a personal invitation to The Project Awakening Stop The Violence Walk

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  • Black Women in the US: Progress Made, But Key Areas Need Dire National Attention and Urgent Action

    Contributors to Black Women\’s Roundtable report, Black Women in the U.S., 2014 stop for a photo during the BWR Summit kick-off at the National Council of Negro Women headquarters. Pictured (L-R):Dr. L. Toni Lewis, SEIU Healthcare; Joycelyn Tate, Telecom Talk; Melanie L. Campbell, Black Women\’s Roundtable; Felicia Davis, Building Green Network; Avis Jones-DeWeever, PhD, Incite Unlimited; Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Ph.D.; and Carol Joyner, Labor Project for Working Families. PHOTO CREDIT: CIT-VISUALS

    Washington, DC – A report released recently by Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network (BWR), Black Women in the U.S., 2014, found that significant progress has been made since key historical markers however, there are many areas that remain in need of dire national attention and urgent action.  The report was released during a legislative briefing at the historic headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The event kicks off the BWR National Summit taking place over the next three days. ”This report is a quick glimpse at where we are. We use this document as a road map during our BWR summit,” says Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO National Coalition and convener, BWR. “Black women are a powerful force and we plan to demonstrate that power by working collaboratively and intentionally across issues to usher in a new set of progressive polices and leaders to champion our cause. In the coming days, we will unveil specific details about the implementation of the Power of the Sister Vote!”

    “We look at the tragedies and the triumphs surrounding Black Women’s lives across a variety of different indicators and areas of inquiry,” Adds Avis Jones-DeWeever, PhD, Incite Unlimited and editor of the report.  ”Black women have made progress since key historical markers such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Brown v. Board of Education, and the onset of the War on Poverty, but many areas remain that need urgent action.”

    The following are some of the key findings from Black Women in the U.S., 2014:
    Black Women’s Health Still in Need of Dire Attention

  • For Black women, having a baby can be deadly. The maternal mortality rate for Black women is fully three times that of white women and is on par with several developing nations.
  • Sixty Years Post-Brown, Education Still Separate, Still Unequal, Yet Black Women Still Excel

  • While much recent attention has been focused on the degree to which Black boys are impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline. Black girls experience an out-of school suspension rate fully 6 times that of white girls.
  • In spite of these challenges, over the past five decades, the high school graduation rates of Black women have jumped 63%, virtually eliminating the gap with Asian women (down to 2%), and significantly narrowing the gap with white women (7%).
  • Black Women Work, but Lag Behind in Pay

  • As they have from the beginning of their experience in America, Black women lead all women in labor force participation rates. Even as mothers of small children, Black women are overwhelmingly likely to work.
  • Yet, despite their strong work ethic, Black women remain behind economically largely due to a doubly disadvantaged wage gap and over-representation in low-wage fields.
  • No Golden Years for Black Women

  • Largely due to years of pay disadvantages, decreased access to employer-sponsored pension plans, and a stunning lack of overall wealth accumulation, Black women over 65 have the lowest household income of any demographic group in America.
  • Still, Black women are especially reliant on Social Security in their retirement years. In fact, if it were not for social security, the poverty rate for Black women would more than double.
  • Labor Unions Make a Difference in the Working Lives of Black Women

  • Even though Unions have been under attack in recent years, Black women have maintained a higher rate of unionization than other groups.
  • Black women who are covered under collective bargaining agreements make higher wages and have greater access to benefits than women of all races or ethnicities who are non-unionized.
  • Black Women Vulnerable to Violence and the Criminal Justice System

  • Black women are especially likely to be a victim of violence in America. In fact, no woman is more likely to be murdered in America today than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a Black woman. And no woman is more likely to be beaten, either by a stranger or by someone she loves and trusts than a Black woman.
  • Though it is true that Black women remain more likely than any other group of women in America today to go to prison, the incarceration rates of Black women have declined tremendously in recent years. In fact, Black women’s incarceration rate has fallen from six times that of white women, to now, three times that of white women.
  • Black Women Mean Business

  • Black women are the fastest growing segment of the women owned business market, yet Black women-owned firms trail all other women when it comes revenue generation. Black women receive only 6% of the revenue generated by all women-owned businesses. That compares to 29% received by white women.
  • Though data is largely unavailable broken down by both race and gender, we can impute that if Black women were to receive merely 6% of the 5% government target for awards to all women, then Black women business owners would receive a stunningly low .3% of all federal contracts.
  • Black Women and Politics, Still Unbought and Unbossed

  • Black women make up the most dynamic segment of the Rising American Electorate. In the past two Presidential elections, Black women led all demographic groups in voter turnout.
  • And even without President Obama on the ballot, in the recent pivotal Virginia gubernatorial election, Black women once again, exceeded all other groups in turning out on Election Day. As such, Black women were a key factor in turning Virginia Blue heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.
  • While Black women vote at dynamic rates, Black women remain woefully underrepresented in elected office. Black women hold only 3 % of state legislative seats, and less than 3% of seats in Congress. And 2014 makes the 15th consecutive year that no Black woman has held a seat in the United States Senate.
  • Black Women Trailing in the Technology Race

  • Though proficiency in the STEM fields is widely acknowledged as a key for the workplace of the future, Black women lag far behind. Today, Black women only make up 2% of practicing scientists and engineers in the workforce.
  • Many Black women in college studying STEM disciplines report feelings of isolation and experience toxic environments. Black female STEM students report being excluded from study groups, having difficulty finding study partners, and being assigned fewer tasks than other group members based on assumptions of incompetence.
  • BWR, an intergenerational women’s policy network of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls and promotes health and wellness, economic security, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.  For more information or a copy of the report visit www.ncbcp.org.
    The Economy – Channel Hardy, J.D., National Urban League Policy Institute

    Education – Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., Incite Unlimited

    Politics — Elsie Scott, Ph.D., Ronald W. Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Howard University, Waikinya Clanton, NOBEL-Women

    Business  – Felicia Davis, Building Green Network. Women Flying High

    The Labor Movement — Carol Joyner, Labor Project for Working Families,Robin Williams, UFCW

    STEM — Joycelyn Tate, J.D., Telecom Talk  Exposure to

    Violence & the Criminal Justice – Avis Jones-DeWeever, PhD,Incite Unlimited

    Health & Wellness — Avis Jones-DeWeever, PhD, Incite Unlimited andDr.L. Toni Lewis, SEIU Healthcare

    The Retirement Years — Edna Kane-Williams, AARP

    What’s At Stake: A BWR Public Policy Agenda for 2014 & Beyond Melanie Campbell, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Makani Themba, The Praxis Project, Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Ph.D., Skinner Leadership Institute

    BWR Civic Engagement and Empowerment Strategy (2014-2020)-Melanie Campbell, NCBCP, Letetia Daniels Jackson, Tandeka LLC, Groundswell Fund.

    BWR, an intergenerational women’s policy network of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls and promotes health and wellness, economic security, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.  For more information or a copy of the report visit www.ncbcp.org.

     

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  • Black Women’s Roundtable to Release Report on the Status of Black Women During BWR Women of Power Summit

    Washington, DC – Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network (BWR), the women’s initiative of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), will release a report reviewing the overall status of Black women during the third annual BWR Women of Power Summit taking place March 27-29 in Washington, DC.

    The report will be released on Capitol Hill the first day of the summit – Public Policy Day. Following the release of the report BWR delegates will visit legislators on Capitol Hill and attend a briefing with representatives from Congress. Confirmed speakers include Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Congresswoman Donna Edwards; Susan L. Taylor, National CARES Mentoring Movement; Lucia McBath, Mother of Jordan Davis; and Dee Marshall, Raising the Bar LLC, among others.

    On Friday the women will assemble for a day of organizing and training at The Hilton Crystal City. Day three of the BWR Women of Power summit is dedicated to education and cultural enrichment allowing the intergenerational group of women and girls to tour major landmarks in the nation’s capital.

    “We are excited about hosting our network of women in DC and releasing a report on the status of the women who out-voted every demographic in the last election,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, NCBCP and convener, BWR. “Our delegates will visit their representatives to let them know the needs in their local communities. We will have also have sessions and workshops on economic opportunities, financial literacy, equal pay issues, quality public education, STEM, voting rights, and sustainability, among other issues.”

    The BWR Report, The Status of Black Women in the US in 2014: 50 Years After the War on Poverty, Brown v. Board of Education & Civil Rights Act of 1964, will be the first in an annual series of reports that will utilize data from a wide range of government and private sources to provide a broad view of the lives of Black Women in America at this critical juncture. With Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever of Incite Unlimited serving as lead researcher, members of the BWR will examine the following issues:

    The Economy — Channel Hardy, National Urban League Policy Institute
    Education — Avis Jones-DeWeever, Incite Unlimited
    Politics — Elsie Scott, Howard University, Waikinya Clanton, NOBEL-Women
    Business — Felicia Davis, Building Green Network,
    The Labor Movement — Carol Joyner, Labor Project for Working Families, Robin Williams, UFCW
    Law — Tanya Clay House, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
    Technology — Jocelyn Tate, Telecom Talk
    Criminal Justice — Avis Jones-DeWeever
    Health & Wellness — Avis Jones-DeWeever, Incite Unlimited
    The Retirement Years — Edna Kane-Williams, AARP
    A Black Women’s Agenda for 2014 and Beyond – Melanie Campbell, Makani Themba, The Praxis Project
    A Black Women’s 2014-2020 Civic Engagement and Empowerment Strategy – Melanie Campbell, Letetia Daniels Jackson, Tandeka, LLC

    BWR, an intergenerational women’s policy network of the NCBCP, stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls and promotes health and wellness, economic security, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.

    Sponsors of the 2014 BWR Summit include Verizon Foundation, The Moriah Fund, The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Foundation, American Federation of Government Employees and American Postal Workers Union, among others. To register ($40 women; $20 girls & teens 12 – 17) or for more information visit www.ncbcp.org, email bwrunity@ncbcp.org or call (202) 659-4929.

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  • Women Play Integral Role in Civil Rights Meeting with President Obama

    President Obama meets with African American civil rights leaders to discuss criminal justice reform, income inequality and the Affordable Care Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Feb. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Washington, DC – Earlier this week President Barack Obama; Attorney General Eric Holder; senior advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett; and director of the Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Munoz; met with Black leaders of civil rights organizations at The White House to discuss jobs, income inequality, voter suppression, criminal justice reform and other issues that impact the Black community. Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, participated in the meeting and issued the following comments about the conversation:

    “My first observation when walking in the room was there were four women and three men representing the civil rights community and several women of the Obama Administration. It was a great way to close out Black History Month and gear up for Women’s History Month by engaging a substantive dialogue with President Obama and his Administration on issues that are important to the black community.

    “I was honored to join our sister leaders in the meeting including Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Lorraine Miller, interim president, NAACP; Patricia Rosier, president, National Bar Association, alongside our colleagues Reverend Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network; Marc Morial, president, National Urban League; and Wade Henderson, president, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.”

    “After hearing President Obama’s agenda priorities, the group had the opportunity to present the 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom, a document created by Black leadership in 2013 detailing their priorities on economic opportunity, voting rights, education, healthcare and other issues.

    “I had an opportunity to commend President Obama on behalf of Black Women’s Roundtable, for his strong emphasis on the gender-wage gap in his State of the Union Address and for his statement, ‘when women succeed, America succeeds.’ I urged President Obama to continue to encourage Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, The Family and Medical Leave Act and to also use his executive powers to address the gender-wage gap.

    “The racial disparities in the criminal justice system have had an extremely destructive effect on Black and Latino families and communities across the country, so it was encouraging to hear President Obama and Attorney General Holder discuss their commitment to ending inequities in the criminal justice system.

    “It was very clear that our 21st Century Agenda aligns with the president’s agenda in several areas that impact the African American community. The meeting was extremely productive and, as sister Lorraine Miller, said, ‘a great moment for the civil rights movement.’”

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  • Celebrity Talent Amber Montana, Imani Hakim, Carlon Jeffrey and Robert Zapata to Cheer the Holidays with Toy Drive Event


    Canoga Park, CA – Invinceable, a hip hop artist and the publisher of Phat Inc. Magazine, is once again determined to bring happiness to the children of Hands for Hope charity and the Boys and Girls Club of the Mountain Community. For the second year in a row, he is pooling his resources along with Charming Kids Talent Management to present the Annual Magic Carpet Toys 4 Kids event on Sunday, December 15.

    Hosted by comedian Robert Zapata, with the attendance and support of Nickelodeon’s Amber Montana, Disney’s Carlon Jeffery and “Everybody Hates Chris’” Imani Hakim, the occasion will present a VIP Red Carpet from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by entertainment including a raffle, silent auction, performances, refreshments and a bar. There will also be an adult comedy show with babysitting provided. The Magic Carpet Toys 4 Kids will take place at the Knights of Columbus, located at 21433 Strathern St., in Canoga Park, CA.

    Bring a toy and join the fun! Celebrity and industry guest can rsvp at 2013toys4kids@gmail.com.

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  • Federal Criminal Attorney Jeremy Gordon Puts a New Face on Legal Defense with Compassionate Counsel and Resourceful Representation


    Attorney Jeremy Gordon’s web portal, non-profit work and inmate scholarship program serves to change the public’s perception of prisoners

    Waxahachie, TX – With the broad appeal of the popular Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” the release of celebrated actor/author Hill Harper’s new book, “Letters To An Incarcerated Brother,” and television’s Judge Greg Mathis’ launch of his own Prisoner Empowerment Education and Respect (PEER) Initiative, the public perception of America’s prison system and its prisoners is rapidly evolving. Discriminatory drug laws, the high rate of black incarceration and unjust over-sentencing procedures have become major societal concerns now that the U.S. incarceration population outranks any in the entire world. Even mainstream media’s focus on the prison industrial complex has intensified with daily coverage highlighting the many atrocities.

    Enter attorney Jeremy Gordon. The only African-American lawyer in the small town of Waxahachie, Texas, Gordon is emerging as a champion force and astute advocate determined to bring more awareness to the plight of prisoners and effect much needed reform within the legal system. His private law practice, the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, boasts an instructive web portal at GordonDefense.com; a non profit organization, Prisology; and a quarterly “Commitment to Change” college inmate scholarship, all of which serve to highlight his determined stance to educate the masses while providing compassionate legal defense and representation.

    Gordon opened his offices 18 months ago with the concept of instilling social change versus profit as his motive. With a mission to bring enlightenment to a broken criminal justice system, Gordon and his staff operate with the goal of humanizing society’s perception of inmates while working diligently to amend discriminatory policies and outdated laws. Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent call for revisions with crack cocaine sentencing has fueled Gordon’s drive and direction. Even Holder noted that, “As the so-called ‘war on drugs’ enters its fifth decade, we need to ask whether it, and the approaches that comprise it, have been truly effective. Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.”

    Gordon’s new web portal, www.gordondefense.com is unparalleled with the information, insight and resources it provides to persons facing prison time and the families that support them. In addition to updated statistics about prison population, the site offer tools and information covering a wide range of topics and questions, including Going to Prison, Food in Prison, Transfers, Drug Programs, Jobs and Education and even Religious concerns. Links to criminal justice groups, the Innocence Projects, as well as support organizations for families can also be found on the site.

    Explains Gordon, “Many of our clients are individuals who have already been sentenced and have exhausted their initial appeals. They feel jaded by the system and we acknowledge this. We also recognize that many of the individuals who are in prison are there because they simply made a mistake. That mistake does not have to define them, though. Compassion and respect are proven rehabilitators. Personally, I hope to change the hearts and minds of the public, one person at a time. The only way true, systemic criminal justice reform will be effectuated in this country is when society embraces it first.”

    Gordon serves as the General Counsel of Prisology, a non-profit organization that unabashedly tackles criminal justice issues. Headed alongside executive director, Brandon Sample, one of Prisology’s first projects is a website called www.bopsucks.com. The site features actual first hand accounts from federal prisoners about how the Bureau of Prison really operates. The stories and revelations are presented to impact greater public awareness of the appalling issues and conditions within the Bureau of Prisons system.

    Gordon’s most compassionate offering aside from his legal services is the “Commitment to Change” college inmate scholarship project. Offered four times a year, an inmate is selected to receive free tuition and books covering one, three-credit semester college course from an accredited institution. Incarcerated participants are selected via contest entries, which have included art, poetry and writing submissions.

    Gordon actually began his career as a prosecutor. He changed his focus after personally witnessing the special needs of federal prisoners. His first hand accounts of racially motivated and unjust crack cocaine penalties and the subsequent devastation upon urban communities compelled him to become part of the solution and not the problem.

    Though located in a small Texas town, the impact and outreach of the law office of Jeremy Gordon is resonating on a national scale. Jeremy Gordon is determined to make society remember that prisoners are people too.

    About Jeremy Gordon

    Jeremy Gordon graduated from South Texas College of Law in 2006. From 2007 to 2010, Gordon worked as a prosecutor in Houston, Texas, serving as the chief prosecutor in one court. In 2010, Gordon became a prosecutor in Ellis County, Texas, and remained there for two years until going into private practice in 2012.

    Gordon’s private practice focuses on federal criminal defense. Jeremy has tried over 30 cases in his legal career, worked on appeals, and handled numerous post-conviction challenges.

    Support the effort at www.gordondefense.com. For more information about Prisology visit www.prisology.org and www.bopsucks.com.

    Connect with the Law Offices of Jeremy Gordon on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GordonDefense .

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  • Theodore Myles’ Christmas Angel Network Delivers Door-to-Door Trees, Fundraising Opportunity and Charity for the Holiday Season


    Los Angeles – Christmastime brings the warm waft of evergreens in the air. But for anyone who has ever stacked a six-foot Fraser Fir on the roof of a car, sometimes the transporting of that wondrous pine scent can be more than challenging. With the establishment of the Christmas Angel Network (CAN), entrepreneur Theodore Myles has not only effectively tackled the transportation issue, but he has also created a method to provide holiday fundraising for charities and organizations in the process.

    The Christmas Angel Network offers cost effective delivery of holiday trees door-to-door anywhere in the country. In addition, organizations, churches and charities can make use of the Christmas Angel Network Fundraiser Program by utilizing their own special Christmas Angel Network discount code on all their sales referrals and receive a percentage of the proceeds on every order.

    “The holiday season is big business reaching up to 1.5 billion dollars with just fresh tree sales alone,” cites Ted. “My intention was to tap into that market and offer an effective fundraiser for charities, while at the same time providing a valuable service to the consumer. The Christmas Angel Network is able to deliver the most cost efficient and affordable door-to-door delivery service available while offering organizations and charities the opportunity to also tap into and benefit financially from the market as well!”

    The Christmas Angel Network Fundraiser Program is designed to boost charitable organizations nationwide with an annual, continual stream of revenue derived from sales from the site. A free discount code is provided to each agency which stores their accumulate sales activity. At the end of the season, the number of times the code was used will determine the amount to be paid to the organization.

    The Christmas Angel Network’s added benefit is that unlike most trees that are cut down in October and sit until sold, their trees are cut to order and arrive within a few days of being harvested. Therefore they have a stronger, fresher scent and last longer throughout the holiday season. The online network also offers wreaths, garlands, tree stands and decorative accessories. The vast selection of holiday décor is perfect for seasonal fundraiser opportunities.

    Ted’s love affair with trees began as a youth while working on Christmas lots during the holiday season. He learned to distinguish between the varied saplings including the Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, White Pine, Balsam, and of course the Evergreen, all of which are sold via the Christmas Angel Network. The experience taught him that the right tree was just as important as the right price and led him to create the Christmas Angel Network.

    Placing an online order with the Christmas Angel Network is easy and fun. Selections include trees of all sizes and varied origins. Organizations can also sign up for their own fundraising discount code. A vast grove of delectable firs await at http://www.christmasangelnetwork.net/ .

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  • From Rock Hard Tator Tots to Salad Bars, It’s National School Lunch Week and the Lunch Tray has Come a Long Way

    by Monifa Bandele, Senior Campaign Director MomsRising.org, a national organization with over a million members across the country, advocating for the health and economic security of our families.

    Remember leg warmers and when ketchup was a vegetable? Is it just me or have the 80′s been making a comeback? I can’t get the sound of my kids singing Another one Bites the Dust in the car on the way to school out of my head. When I was a kid, I sang that song too! I remember imagining someone actually eating dust, or worse, my school lunch.

    National School Lunch Week also has me thinking way, way back to chocolate milk, square pizza slices (that needed a buzz saw to cut), rock hard tater tots, and a heaping side order of ketchup. Nostalgia?

    I know I am dating myself, but I also vaguely remember my parents and others getting fired up about the controversial proposal about what constituted a vegetable for school lunches. It all started like this: The Ominibus Reconciliation Acts of 1980 and 1981 reduced the budget of the Federal School Lunch Program by 25 percent! So, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposal to allow school food services directors to expand (or better yet, cheapen) which food items fit the guidelines for “vegetables”. The proposal went as far as listing pickle relish, as an example of a substitute for veggies.

    Needless to say, this proposal sparked considerable outrage among parents, educators and public health officials. The most well know condiment, ketchup, became the movement’s poster child for “veggies gone bad.” Finally, the proposal to upgrade condiments into the elite realm of the vegetable food group was withdrawn before the end of 1981 and never implemented.

    Its a new day! But, its a long time coming.

    That incident, more than 30 years ago, gave rise to a movement that has helped to lay the groundwork for today’s huge steps forward in school nutrition. Parents have been speaking out and, all over the country state, local, and school-based polices have given rise to salad bars, school gardens, and healthier options in the lunch line. Even better, this year, new national guidelines are taking effect from coast to coast.

    The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2011 has made way for lunchroom standards that require more whole grains and double the amount of fruits and vegetables! Many people thought the new guidelines would be a heavy or impossible lift for schools; but parents remained vigilant in speaking out, taking action, and letting all decision-makers know that better nutrition in schools is critical and doable. And, we were right! Last week, the USDA announced that so far 80 percent of schools are serving healthier meals that meet the upgraded nutrition standards.

    Like all parents, I hope that the images of poor quality school lunches that are low on nutrition and high on fat, salt, and sugar become extinct. I’d also like to limit leg warmers to re-enactments of Flash Dance.

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  • Renowned Radio Personality Michael Baisden Launches “One Dream One Team” Mentoring Initiative to Recruit Male Mentors for 12,000 African American Boys


    Orlando, FL – When renowned radio personality Michael Baisden posted “A real man takes care of his kids no matter what the relationship is with the mother of the child,” on his Facebook page, he never anticipated the over nine million views or one million plus likes and comments he received as feedback! The overwhelming response prompted him into immediate action. A diehard advocate for mentoring since 2010 with his “One Million Mentors National Campaign to Save Our Kids” 72-city tour, Baisden has now launched a new initiative, the “One Dream One Team” Mentoring Initiative. His specific goal is to help recruit African American male mentors for the 12,000 African American boys on the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) waiting lists for a one-on-one mentor match.

    A known social activist since his organizing of the 2007 Jena Six March and his work with the 2012 Trayvon Martin Rally, Baisden has always demonstrated a strong show of commitment via his actions. True to this trait, he has adopted a classroom of 28 boys at Evans High School in Orlando, Florida to spearhead the “One Dream One Team” momentum. Baisden takes time out of his busy work schedule for a mentoring session with the students weekly.

    In addition, the New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker is hosting a special “One Dream One Team” Think Tank event in Orlando on October 26 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Venue sponsorship is provided by Mr. Harris Rosen of the Tangelo Park Project and attendees will include various African American fraternities, local and national organizations, community leaders and churches. The gathering is an orchestrated effort to strategize a plan for recruiting additional qualified male mentors. The boys on the national “waiting-to-be-matched” list average 14 years in age and the goal is to have mentors for all 12,000 within a year.

    This is an urgent matter and an urgent call,” cites Baisden. “Too often we are quick to criticize the behavior of our young men but are slow to step up to correct them or show them a better example. You have to see a man to be a man, the question is, what are we showing them? These young men need us desperately. It only takes one hour of your time each week to positively impact and change some young man’s life. We can’t afford to say no and we cannot ignore this issue. Their lives and yes, their futures are depending on it!”

    Outside of his career as a radio personality, Michael Baisden has always mobilized around the issue of mentoring. His foundation was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organization that was formed to promote mentoring with a dedication to education, literacy and advancement in local communities. The foundation has donated half of the nearly one million dollars raised to mentoring organizations in over 70 cities nationwide with a goal to inspire caring adults to become responsible mentors. With that success “One Dream One Team” takes his personal mission even further.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters acknowledged Baisden as one of its celebrity ambassadors in 2012 and presented him with The Michael Baisden Inspiration Award. The Baisden Inspiration award is now an annual honor given to individuals demonstrating consistent generosity and dedication to support the nationwide mentoring organization’s African American mentoring programs.

    As a bestselling author, Baisden has always been an advocate of books and reading. His foundation has already purchased the first two books for his adopted classroom of young boys to read, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson and “The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys” by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu.

    Baisden shares a passionate testimony as to how books changed his life. “In ten short years, I went from driving trains in Chicago to becoming a four time best selling author, television talk show host and a nationally syndicated radio personality. Dreams do come true,” he reveals, “and that dream for me began when I opened a book. Books change lives and I’m living proof! I look forward to instilling these young men with dreams and I’m looking for 12,000 Black men to join me and do the same.”

    About Michael Baisden

    Michael Baisden is a best selling author, noted speaker and undeniably one of the most influential and engaging personalities in radio history. His meteoric rise to #1 redefined radio with a syndicated show heard in nearly 100 cities with millions of listeners. As a college dropout, former Air Force Sergeant, single parent and transit worker from the south side of Chicago, he wanted his life to mean something. That opportunity came when he stepped out on faith to live his dream of becoming a writer. That courageous step resulted in five best selling books with nearly two million in print and two stage plays. He is also a TV talk show host, film producer, social activist, philanthropist and founder of The Michael Baisden Foundation with a national mentoring partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The accomplished speaker makes it a point to promote mentoring at all of his engagements. Baisden’s newest book, “Raise Your Hand If You Have Issues,” will be released in October. Join the effort on Facebook, follow on Twitter, YouTube and online at www.BaisdenLive.com .

    For information on “One Dream One Team” go to
    http://www.facebook.com/OneDreamOneTeam.

    Find or Follow Michael on Facebook or Twitter: BaisdenLive

    Michael Baisden Mentoring

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  • Black Women’s Roundtable Kicks-Off 50th Anniversary March on Washington Week of Activities

    Washington, DC – Women played an integral role in the 1963 March on Washington and the civil rights movement overall, however, their story is rarely told. Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), an initiative of
    The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), will bring leaders together to discuss the contribution women have made – past and present – to the civil rights movement and to begin to craft a multi-ethnic women’s public policy agenda. Hosted as part of the official 50th Anniversary March on Washington Week of Activities, the women’s gathering is focused on the march themes of jobs, freedom, peace and social justice, and will be held Thursday Aug. 22, 2013, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. The discussion will be presented in three segments:

    Segment 1: The Past:
    Telling HerStory: An Intergenerational & Multi-Ethnic Conversation
    A delegation of women leaders and participants in the 1963 March on Washington and the 60′s Civil Rights Movement will discuss how they fought and overcame gender discrimination sharing insight with women leaders of The Movement today.

    Segment 2: The Present:
    The Unfinished Business for Women’s Rights 50 Years Later
    This panel is an intergenerational & multi-ethnic discussion among leaders to examine unfinished business of the civil rights, women’s rights and social justice movements. Women leaders will recommend public policy solutions and strategies to address current issues impacting women and girls.

    Segment 3: The Future:
    Visioning Conversation: What Women’s Equality Will Look Like in 2063
    In small groups the women will prioritize issues and discuss organizing strategies to address key policy priorities impacting women, girls and families. Outcomes will be captured in a brief document.

    WHO:

    Black Women’s Roundtable, the women’s initiative of NCBCP.
    Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, NCBCP & Convener, BWR
    Tamika Mallory, National Executive Director, NAN
    Clayola Brown, President, APRI
    Rev. Bernice King, CEO, The King Center
    Dr. Thelma Daley, Chair, Women in the NAACPmarched in 1963]
    Marian Wright Edelman- President, Children’s Defense (invited)
    Christine Chen, President, Asian Pacific Islander Vote
    Ingrid Saunders-Jones, Chair, National Council of Negro Women
    Felicia Davis, Director, Building Green, Clark-Atlanta University
    Jessica Gonzales-Rojas, Executive Director National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and co-chair of the National Coalition on Immigrant Women’s Rights
    Denise Fairchild, President, Emerald Cities
    Joy-Ann Reid, The Grio.com & MSNBC Contributor
    Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Author, Speaker, Radio Host & Social Entrepreneur
    Terry O’Neill, President, NOW
    Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., President, YWCA USA
    Ellie Smeal, President, Feminist Majority Foundation
    Makani Themba, Executive Director, The Praxis Project
    Karen Sees, President, Coalition of Labor Union Women
    Myrlie Evers-Williams, Chair Emeritus, NAACP
    Beverly Alston – attended 1963 MOW
    Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes at 1963 MOW (invited)
    Congresswoman Donna Edwards (invited)
    Congressman John Lewis (invited)

    WHAT:
    Women Leaders of The Movement: Past, Present and Future, Dialogue & Luncheon as part of the official 50th Anniversary March on Washington Week of Activities

    WHEN:
    DATE: August 22, 2013 TIME: 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

    WHERE:
    Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill
    400 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, DC

    CONTACT:
    Media is invited to attend. Please RSVP to Edrea Davis edmedia@dogonvillage.com 770.961.6200

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  • First Lady Michelle Obama Kicks Off MomsRising.org’s “Food Power” Conference with Video Appeal to Fight Childhood Obesity


    Video: First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses MomsRising.org's Food Power Conference
    New York – MomsRising.org answered First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for parents to get involved in the fight against childhood obesity. The grassroots organization kicked off National Nutrition Month with a “Food Power” conference and film screening to promote healthy eating habits and urge participants to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently released guidelines on school meals.

    A video welcome from the First Lady motivated moms, dads, bloggers, and community activists gathered in Brooklyn, NY. “I’m so thrilled to have MomsRising.org and all of your grassroots muscle and passion working right by our side because as we’ve seen again and again through ‘Let’s Move,’ people like you play a vitally important role in helping our kids eat healthier and get the physical activity they need,” Obama said. “If you all are not leading the way in your community then who will?”

    African American children suffer disproportionately from obesity. A 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed that African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women and African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls. This crisis prompted MomsRising.org, an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization with more than 1.1 million members, to team up with filmmaker Byron Hurt to screen his award winning documentary “Soul Food Junkies” at the “Food Power” gatherings.

    “We’re very excited to be working on the same path that Mrs. Obama and Byron Hurt are to improve children’s health,” said MomsRising.org executive director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and we all need to work together to reverse this dangerous and deadly trend.”

    “Soul Food Junkies” (www.itvs.org/films/soul-food-junkies) offers a sometimes humorous exploration of the Black community’s affinity for foods like fried chicken, fat-flavored collard greens, and fried pork chops, despite the fact that these foods increase risks for diabetes, high blood pressure, stokes, heart disease and obesity. Inspired by the premature death of his father, Hurt traces the origins of soul food back to slavery and encourages healthier approaches to soul food preparation. The film features appearances from activist/comedian, Dick Gregory; poet, Sonia Sanchez; writer, Michaela Angela Davis; and commentator Marc Lamont Hill.

    In addition to the film screening, several parents shared personal stories about their battle to get their families to eat healthier meals. A panel of experts discussed practical ways to defeat the epidemic of childhood obesity. As MomsRising.org is focused on taking action, the break-out sessions provided attendees with a choice of three campaigns to sign-on to: How to get junk food out of school, how to stop junk food marketing to children, and breastfeeding, health care and preventing childhood obesity.

    “Each of our workshops focused on action and provided participants with the tools to get engaged,” said Monifa Bandele, campaign manager, MomsRising.org. “The attendees left the ‘Food Power’ conference with marching orders to heed First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for the community to act.”

    Speakers at the Brooklyn launch event included Karen Showalter, MomsRising.org; Dr. Aletha Maybank, NYC Dept. of Public Health; dream hampton, MomsRising.org; Migdalia Rivera , LatinaOnAMission.com; Tanya Fields, Brown Girl Swagger; Lorraine Gonzalez, Children’s Defense Fund; Jessica Donze Black, Kids Safe and Healthful Foods; and Joy Spencer, Center for Digital Democracy, among others.

    MomsRising.org is challenging childhood obesity through improving school meals. The issue of nutrition and the role of schools foods in contributing to childhood obesity are gaining currency. The USDA recently opened up a 60-day comment period on its updated national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold through vending machines and a la carte lines.

    The recent “Food Power” conference is just one of many planned events around the country as MomsRising.org gathers support and gains awareness for its cause. The next event – a film screening and panel discussion – will take place in Detroit, MI at the Fellowship Chapel on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00.The free event is open to the public.

    ###

    About MomsRising.org

    MomsRising.org
    is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination that penalizes so many others. MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2012, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the third year in a row. In 2013, Working Mother magazine included MomsRising on its “Best of the Net” list.

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  • President Obama’s Call to Tackle Climate Change Answered by HBCU Green Ambassadors

    Spelman Green Ambassador Kandyce Perry (black shirt) judges as students compete for prizes by tossing recycled plastic bottles into bins during the Toyota Prius Tour visit to Spelman College.

    Washington, DC – As President Barack Obama reiterated the need to fight climate change during his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, “Green Ambassadors” were already doing their part to tackle climate change by promoting sustainable lifestyles to students and staff at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

    Selected and trained by UNCF Special Programs (UNCFSP) Building Green Initiative and Toyota Green Initiative, some 52 students on 27 HBCU campuses serve as “Green Ambassadors.” Currently the ambassadors are competing in the 13th annual RecycleMania, a competition to see which college campus can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste. The eight-week contest raises awareness about waste reduction programs on over 500 college campuses. Last fall Green Ambassadors participated in the Toyota Campus Prius Tour, a college tour featuring Toyota hybrid vehicle test drives, a simulated recycling center and eco-friendly games and prizes.

    “Sustainability is not a new concept for black colleges; efficiency, conservation and innovation have been central to institutional survival,” said Felicia M. Davis, director UNCFSP Building Green Initiative. “Recycling is an important first step on the road to sustainability. RecycleMania is a great way to encourage students and staff to reduce, reuse and recycle while providing exposure to green economy principles and sustainable lifestyles. The cool thing is that there are no losers in this competition, every little bit helps and this is a great way to inspire positive change.”

    The UNCFSP Building Green Initiative (buildinggreennetwork.org) has created a diverse network committed to increasing green building, energy efficiency, student engagement, curriculum development, research and campus-wide sustainability for Black, Hispanic-Serving, Tribal and Asian Pacific Islander institutions. The UNCF Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) Green Report surveyed sustainability activity at 52 MSIs. A special HBCU Sustainability Report will be released during a briefing on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

    RecycleMania (www.recyclemania.org) will run through March 30, 2013, with the involvement of more than 4.4 million students and nearly 1 million faculty and staff participating throughout the US and Canada. Schools compete in 11 categories to see which campus can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste on a per capita basis; which can produce the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream.

    ABOUT THE UNCFSP BUILDING GREEN INITIATIVE

    Under the leadership of UNCF Special Programs Corporation, the Building Green Initiative provides training, resources and other technical support to help campuses limit emissions and use resources more efficiently. Partners include: Environmental Defense Fund, Second Nature, US Green Building Council, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology (NWF), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Billion Dollar Green Fund and others work with UNCF Special Programs to accelerate the integration of sustainable practices on MSI campuses.

    ABOUT RECYCLEMANIA

    RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. RecycleMania, now an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc., is made possible with sponsorship support from the Alcoa Foundation, American Forest & Paper Association, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). RecycleMania is proud to partner with UNCF Special Programs, the Campus Conservation Nationals, NWF, and AASHE.

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