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Nearly 2,000 children benefit in toy distribution at TSU

NASHVILLE PRIDE — As the holiday season takes hold, Tennessee State University is making sure children in the area have something to cheer about.

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Volunteers at the Toys for Tots distribution included TSU students, staff, alumni and representatives from charitable and church organizations.

By Pride Newsdesk

As the holiday season takes hold, Tennessee State University is making sure children in the area have something to cheer about.

On Saturday, nearly 1,000 parents walked away with at least two toys each for their children during the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Toys for Tots distribution on the TSU main campus. Organizers said nearly 2,000 children were served, on an average of two kids per parent.

Volunteers, including TSU students, staff, alumni, and representatives from area charitable organizations and churches, helped with the distribution in Kean Hall.

This was the result of a partnership between TSU and the Marine Corp Reserve in its annual toy distribution program. Prior to Saturday, TSU served as the official drop-off center for donated toys. Alexandra Wescott, a junior child development major from Akron, Ohio, and Dwight-Christopher Terry, a senior electrical engineering major from Memphis, Tennessee, were among volunteers helping parents to gather and secure toys for their children.

“This was just a humbling experience for me,” said Wescott, her first volunteer work outside her Akron hometown. “It feels great and very fulfilling to do something that brings so much joy to children and it is just nice to be involved with my school in such a wonderful exercise.”

For Terry, volunteering in the community is not new. His Generation of Educated Men, a student community service group, which he heads as president, has been involved in food, clothing and other drives in the area. The group was also involved with bringing the TSU/Marine Corp partnership to fruition, along with Simply United, a non-profit that coordinates the pickup of donated toys from Toys for Tots.

“I am full of joy and feel a big relief that we are finally able to give out the toys to the community because it took so much energy to put it together, as far as donation, volunteers and so forth,” Terry said. “Although we are a student organization, the TSU administration, especially [Associate Dean] Dr. William Hytche, took us very seriously when the discussion started to bring the Toys for Tots program on campus.”

As part of the partnership with the Marine Corp (the first with a university in the Nashville, Davidson County area), TSU received unwrapped toys for children up to age 12 through December 14.

“This has been quite a rewarding experience for our students, staff and all who volunteered in this great effort,” Associate Dean Hytche said. “The Tennessee State University family is so excited to partner with the Marine Corp and Simply United, through its local representative, Ms. Benetta M. Sears and her volunteers. We are just so thankful.”

Sgt. C. J. Bowling, Marine Corp training chief, is the coordinator for Toys for Tots. He said other institutions in the area have helped in the past with the toy drive, but TSU is the first university the Marine Corp has partnered with in its distribution effort.

“I like the opportunities that TSU offers,” Bowling said. “TSU was selected because it has the facilities to handle our traffic flow both for toy donation and access to people to be served. Moreover, people at TSU have been so gracious. From the associate dean, to the people in your facilities management and the Air Force unit, they have done everything we have wanted and requested.”

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride

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Black History

Verniecia Green-Jordan Builds Family/Perris Legacy

PRECINCT REPORTER GROUP NEWS — From the far reaches of the antebellum south where Afro-Appalachian descendants fought through slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crowism to keep hundreds of acres of land in the family is the lore that legacies are made of.

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Clarence Muse
By Dianne Anderson

From the far reaches of the antebellum south where Afro-Appalachian descendants fought through slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crowism to keep hundreds of acres of land in the family is the lore that legacies are made of.

Over the weekend, Virniecia Green-Jordan celebrated her rich beginnings of “Zeketown,” and well beyond its borders where everybody knows their name.

“Part of it is genes, and attitude,” said Green-Jordan. “I come from a family, especially the Coe’s. The Coe Colonies, Coe Ridge –  that’s half of my genes right there.”

Her “Fulfillment of a legacy” event celebrated some of the most influential people in her life. Her strength starts with great great great grandfather, Ezekiel, who bought over 300 acres of land after abolition, as well as her inspiration and friend, the late great Clarence Muse.

She feels that he never really got his due.

“Clarence did a lot. I knew him personally, and he was a lawyer. That’s what they didn’t like about him in Perris,” she said. “The good ole’ boys don’t have that kind of background. They don’t understand how [he could] withstand some things.”

Much of the event highlighted her own well-documented family journey that began in the Hills of southeast Kentucky through generations of fight, sometimes won by gun.  Keeping family together through the ravages of slavery was the motivation, and her great great great grandparents were determined to hang on to family land.

“The fight was daily. What happened on the ridge [is that] my direct line were the leaders,” she said. “They [whites] were definitely trying to get us to leave.”

To this day, she and the family still catch up at annual reunions. She knows their story holds special relevant lessons for this generation.

“We just got two landmarks, our cemeteries are over 150 years old in Kentucky,” she said. “We have people used to defending their property. I come from that background. I’m going to defend and develop my land. That’s mamma’s side.”

Over time, some land on her father’s Mississippi side was bought by slaves, but lost mostly due to the color line. Her grandfather was an educator, a mathematician, and a preacher. Her mother and cousins could pass for white, but her grandfather was dark skinned, which also made him a target.

“They did all they could against him because she died, and we lost the property in Mississippi over my cousins,” she said.

Through the years, she has returned time and again back to the old landmarks, both physically and emotionally, to strengthen her own local fight.

Green-Jordan was the first African American elected in Perris in 1985, and is still seated on the Perris school board. To her knowledge, she is the longest-serving elected African American school board member in the Inland Empire.

Coming in over three decades ago held its share of challenges. Riverside County has always been more conservative than San Bernardino County.

As a child and teen, she lived through major civil rights era riots, including Detroit and Watts. Her family bought 2.5 acres in 1959 in Perris, where she came to live in 1968.

But she and her brother faced local education discrimination on a few different fronts.

Both were at the top of their class, and her brother was an exceptionally high achiever, yet Black students back then didn’t have access to scholarships. He attended UCR as a physics major, and holds a master’s degree in astrophysics.

He also worked in the space sector, but at Perris High School, he received no accolades.

“They were not very nice to us in high school when we moved out here. They gave us no scholarships,” she said. “Scholarships and name recognition at Perris were only for white students.”

Despite the fight that continued all the way to Perris, there is a sense of pride in the bloodline that comes from being the great great great granddaughter of Ezekiel and Patsy Coe.

On her mother’s side, three books are written about the “infamous” Coe Family, whom she calls the “true feuders.” Since her parents bought land in Perris, they also continued to make their local mark, having held an instrumental role in bringing lights, roads and electricity to the dark parts of town.

“It’s the fact that we don’t get our history documented as a people. We have done a lot –  the streets, the lights and the roads, and Mead Valley. Those areas were done by African Americans,” she said.

For nearly three decades, she has also committed to honor the memory of Dr. Clarence Muse through arts programming offered with Perris Valley Arts & Activities Committee. The project was founded by Muse and wife Ena in 1963 under the auspices of the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Muse was multi-talented, encompassing several areas of arts and entertainment, including songwriting, playwright, and as a Broadway show director. He was featured or performed in over 200 films starting in 1929, including Porgy and Bess, Buck and the Preacher, and Carwash.

He died in Perris fifty years later, leaving behind an indelible impression for the local creative community to carry forward.

“Our story has not been told. Clarence Muse when he lived, he would say that the stories Black people have are real drama. We had to live through that,” she said.

Over the years, Green-Jordan, who holds two masters degrees, is also the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her work to strengthen the community.

Green-Jordan founded, or has been involved in numerous community-based programs and projects, including UCR Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Corona-Norco Teachers Association Special Education Committee, Willie May Taylor National Council of Negro Women, Perris NAACP Chapter, and Perris Valley African American History Month Committee. Among many other commitments, she also served as Coalition of Black School Board Members Vice President and the Activities Committee, Executive Director.

Much of what drives her passion for the future comes from the past.

“That’s why I called it ‘Fulfillment of Legacy’ because it goes back to slavery. It has been ingrained,” she said. “I was raised to give back and to develop the community.”

For more information, see https://www.pvaac.com/

This article originally appeared in the Precinct Reporter Group News.

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Chicago Crusader

Mayor kicks off city’s summer jobs program

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) on Monday, July 1, kicked off the start of this year’s One Summer Chicago program. Nearly 32,000 of Chicago’s youth have started a summer job or internship program, with opportunities ranging from infrastructure jobs; camp counselors; urban agriculture and outdoor forestry projects; and private sector experience. Through One Summer Chicago, youth ages 14-24 gain valuable work experience and critical support services in communities all throughout the city.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot shakes hands with a participant in One Summer Chicago, the annual summer jobs program that kicked off in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Monday, July 1. Last year, over 32,000 youths from across the city were employed and earned money during the summer season. (Photo by: Erick Johnson)
By The Chicago Crusader

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) on Monday, July 1, kicked off the start of this year’s One Summer Chicago program. Nearly 32,000 of Chicago’s youth have started a summer job or internship program, with opportunities ranging from infrastructure jobs; camp counselors; urban agriculture and outdoor forestry projects; and private sector experience. Through One Summer Chicago, youth ages 14-24 gain valuable work experience and critical support services in communities all throughout the city.

The 2019 One Summer Chicago program will run for six weeks from July 1 through August 9. New this summer, the One Summer Chicago infrastructure team will partner with the Chicago Department of Water Management on their outreach with lead-in-water education and the distribution of water filtration systems. Working with the Department of Water Management staff, youth will be trained on how to register community members for water filters, how to operate the filters, and the importance of having a water filter. Youth will learn about the process and importance of having access to clean water, while addressing Mayor Lightfoot’s call to focus on areas with high risk of lead exposure.

Also new, One Summer Chicago has partnered with The Chicago Lighthouse in a new summer employment program called Photography for All, designed to give visually impaired youth exposure to new creative opportunities, and provide them new outlets to express their artistic ability.

“Chicago’s youth in neighborhoods deserve to have productive, meaningful summer experiences and that is what we have tried to give them in this year’s One Summer Chicago program,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “From coding to photography, we hope that the nearly 32,000 young people participating will have an experience this summer that will teach them life skills that will support them into their future.”

The city has formed public private partnerships to support One Summer Chicago. JPMorgan Chase invested in the Everyone Can Code project. Launched in 2016, Everyone Can Code gives youth the power to learn, write, and teach code using Swift, a powerful and easy-to-use programming language created by Apple and embraced by developers and businesses everywhere. Everyone Can Code includes a range of free teaching and learning resources that take students all the way from exploring basic coding concepts to building fully functional apps of their own design.

This summer marks the next phase of the Everyone Can Code project, focused on connecting experiences across summer and the school year to help students elevate their coding skills and gain access to internships. Through a partnership with CS4ALL (i.e., Computer Science for All),

DFSS, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and Apple, Inc. the effort will recruit 200 youth from CPS and DFSS delegate agency coding clubs with a goal of expanding their computer science skills via a six-week coding training program where they will learn from Apple programming pros how to develop computer/mobile apps, attend lectures and gain hands on experiences in the technological field and obtain the early skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century.

The Citi Foundation is continuing to support One Summer Chicago for its sixth year in a row, with funding that has totaled over $5.8 million. The Summer Jobs Connect program, spearheaded by the Citi Foundation and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, supports young adults seeking summer employment and provides safe and appropriate banking products, services and education. Citi Foundation is also the largest private funder of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), a statewide program designed to employ out of school youth.

Today’s kick-off of One Summer Chicago comes on the heels of Mayor Lightfoot’s announcement of a series of coordinated efforts to ensure Chicago’s young people remain safe, engaged and supported this summer.

Mayor Lightfoot released the YOUR CHI summer resources guide earlier in June, which contains resources on where students and their families can find summer sports programming, entertainment in the parks, health support services, and other summer learning activities. For more information, visit Chicago.gov/summer.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.

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Family

Why do fewer blacks survive childhood cancers?

MILWAUKEE TIMES WEEKLY — The relationship between race and the outcome for a number of cancers among whites, Hispanics and blacks in the United States have certainly started to become more evident and clearer. A new study finds, poverty is a major reason why black and Hispanic children with some types of cancer have lower survival rates than white patients.

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By The Milwaukee Times Weekly

The relationship between race and the outcome for a number of cancers among whites, Hispanics and blacks in the United States have certainly started to become more evident and clearer. A new study finds, poverty is a major reason why black and Hispanic children with some types of cancer have lower survival rates than white patients.

Researchers examined U.S. government data on nearly 32,000 black, Hispanic and white children who were diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2011. For several cancers, whites were much more likely to survive than blacks and Hispanics.

Rebecca Kehm and her University of Minnesota colleagues wondered whether those differences were due to socioeconomic status – that is, one’s position based on income, education and occupation.

Their conclusion: It had a significant effect on the link between race/ethnicity and survival for acute myeloid leukemia as well as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, neuroblastoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

For blacks compared to whites, socioeconomic status reduced the link between race/ethnicity and survival by 44 percent and 28 percent for the two leukemias; by 49 percent for neuroblastoma; and by 34 percent for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

For Hispanics compared to whites, the reductions were 31 percent and 73 percent for the two leukemias; 48 percent for neuroblastoma; and 28 percent for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Socioeconomic status was not a major factor in survival disparities for other types of childhood cancer, including central nervous system tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Wilms tumor and germ cell tumors, the researchers said.

“These findings provide insight for future intervention efforts aimed at closing the survival gap,” Kehm said in a journal news release.

“For cancers in which socioeconomic status is a key factor in explaining racial and ethnic survival disparities, behavioral and supportive interventions that address social and economic barriers to effective care are warranted,” she said.

“However, for cancers in which survival is less influenced by socioeconomic status, more research is needed on underlying differences in tumor biology and drug processing,” Kehm added.

For more information on acute myeloid leukemia, visit the Health Conditions page on BlackDoctor.org.

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, Aug. 20, 2018

This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Times Weekly
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Atlanta Voice

Georgia’s welfare rolls drop sharply in recent years

ATLANTA VOICE — State records show the number of Georgia families receiving welfare benefits has dropped by more than two-thirds in the past 14 years. The numbers have decreased as Georgia has applied constant pressure to drive down the rolls, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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Georgia State Capitol (Photo by: Wikipedia)

By The Atlanta Voice

State records show the number of Georgia families receiving welfare benefits has dropped by more than two-thirds in the past 14 years.

The numbers have decreased as Georgia has applied constant pressure to drive down the rolls, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The number of households receiving aid from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program has consistently dropped. It even happened during the Great Recession.

State officials say the decreasing rolls are a sign that the program is working.

The trend in Georgia mirrors what has happened across the U.S., the newspaper reported.

After Congress made broad changes to the welfare program in 1996, the number of households receiving benefits has consistently dropped across nationwide. The changes in the 1990s gave states more control over how to run welfare. That resulted in fewer U.S. households receiving benefits.

In Georgia, the Legislature has consistently focused on getting people to work as opposed to providing cash aid, said Fred Brooks, a professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

In June 2018, the average welfare recipient received $260 a month, according to Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services. The amounts, set by the Legislature, haven’t increased with the rate of inflation in recent years, said Jon Anderson, the head of DFCS’ Office of Family Independence.

Georgia lawmakers for years have supported initiatives to limit the number of people receiving public assistance, including attempts to pass legislation that would have required drug testing for Georgians who receive food stamps.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice

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Defender News Network

Michelle Obama discusses the importance of equality in relationships

DEFENDER NEWS NETWORK — Michelle Obama didn’t hold anything back during a candid sit down with Gayle King over the weekend at Essence Fest. Besides discussing healthy living and her memoir Becoming, the former FLOTUS also spoke about looking forward to having a house without teenagers soon.

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Michelle Obama
By Defender News Service

Michelle Obama didn’t hold anything back during a candid sit down with Gayle King over the weekend at Essence Fest. Besides discussing healthy living and her memoir Becoming, the former FLOTUS also spoke about looking forward to having a house without teenagers soon.

“Barack’s like ‘You seem so much less  stressed,’ and I’m like, duh! Not only were we parenting teenagers, but every Saturday night you had to worry about whether your kid is gonna end up on Page Six,” Obama told King. “Now we’re rediscovering each other. I’m looking over and going ‘Hey…you, where have you been for 21 years?!’”

King even asked the Chitown native about her take on having great sex at every age, which she said she isn’t opposed to at all.

“Yes. I support that principle,” she laughed. “I mean, come on Gayle! What I’m ‘sposed to say to that? ‘No, I take issue with that?’ Yes, Gayle, the answer is yes!”

Mrs. Obama also gave invaluable advice on how to find the right partner. She said the most important factor in sustaining a healthy relationship is equality.

“Equality is not just measured in terms of the wallet. Equality is in terms of the value that they carry. Honesty is the beginning, the middle, and the end. I wouldn’t want to be bothered with someone I couldn’t trust on a day-to-day basis. It’s not just about how much money they make or title. Someone could have the right salary, but the wrong heart.”

Not only did drop some gems, she looked stunning! She rocked her natural curls and slayed in a navy blue, belted, shimmery jumpsuit.

This article originally appeared in the Defender News Network

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Family

Mothers and Daughters ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Clairton

NEW PITTSBURGH COURIER — The jubilant faces captured the “Make A Joyful Noise” theme at the Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza, held June 9 at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Park Avenue, Clairton.

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The Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Clairton, June 9. (Photos by Courier photographer Jacquelyn McDonald)

by Courier Newsroom

The jubilant faces captured the “Make A Joyful Noise” theme at the Mother-Daughter Musical Extravaganza, held June 9 at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Park Avenue, Clairton.

The concept was in the mind of the community’s Patriarch and Host Pastor, Rev. William Callaway and came to fruition with the support of the Clairton church community. The event, which featured six sets of mothers and daughters, kept the crowd on its feet, clapping and cheering, giving perfect pitch to a triumphant time of worship in song.

Dr. Bernadette Jeffrey, associate Evangelist of neighboring Gethsemane COGIC, was Mistress of Ceremony.

– Jacquelyn McDonald

Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hl

Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier

This article originally appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier

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