Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival fundraiser receives strong community support

— Approximately 75 guests attended the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival fundraiser called African Threads on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at ADEK Productions— located at 1801 West Street in Annapolis. Proceeds will support forthcoming efforts to hold a 2015 Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival in Annapolis.

Hopes were high that the festival featuring musical performances, food, arts and crafts, African dance and storytelling will return to the City Dock and attract excited festival-goers who have missed the annual celebration. Around the site of the expected location, the statue of the late Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” still reminds passersby of Kunta Kinte’s arrival on the Lord Ligonier slave ship. In his groundbreaking book, Haley introduced the world to his ancestor who was sold into slavery.

Terrell Freeman opens the event with a drum call.

(Photo: Andrea Blackstone)

Terrell Freeman opens the event with a drum call.

Renee Spears, the current Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival chair, said that she has been working with the festival for 18 years. During the evening, she determined that the community’s favorable response to the fundraiser indicates that it definitely needs to be held. A call for additional volunteers was also announced.

“The Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival is a very important event for Annapolis history-wise, because we all need to have a history, and to live it, and to breathe it, and for children to know it, and not just for us as African Americans, but for everyone,” Spears said.

Area businesses and individuals donated raffle items, goodie bag stuffers, door prizes and silent auction merchandise for attendees. Organizers reported that 14 volunteers helped to plan and assist with the fundraiser.

“We’ve been successfully doing this festival for the last 25 years. Due to budgetary constraints, we weren’t able to have it the last two years. With the help of Jan (Lee) and some of the other festival members, we decided to have a fundraiser to try and spearhead getting some funds together for the 2015 festival,” David Arthur, president of the board of directors for Kunta Kinte Celebrations, Inc. said. “We definitely want to have a festival. This is the whole point of this. We want to make people aware that we are still trying to hold a festival, and that we are still here, and that we need everybody’s help to continue on.”

Community members like Terrell Freeman helped to facilitate the fundraiser. Freeman, an Annapolitan, welcomed attendees and opened the program with a drum call. Before introducing the first performers, he also conducted a libation ceremony to pay tribute to ancestors.

Jan Lee, 29, serves as co-chair of the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival and handles media relations. Lee remarked that the organization is focusing on rebuilding after a two-year hiatus.

“We plan to return to the Annapolis City Dock for the festival on September 26, 2015. I’ve been volunteering with Kunta Kinte Celebrations since I was a kid. I feel that the festival is so important in bringing the community together. It’s always a joyous celebration,” Lee said.

The Annapolis chapter of the Delicados, Inc. was instrumental in helping to present African Threads. Darlene Washington, president of the local social group, said that her group loved the fundraiser and display of superb talent.

“We were a sponsor group— an organization that sponsored this affair tonight. We want to see it (the festival) come back again. That was one of our interests in being a sponsor, to help so that this event would happen again this summer.”

To learn more about the status of the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival as developments continue, visit: www.kuntakinte.org.

Man shot dead at Fort Meade after ramming main gate near NSA

— Two men tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the probe. An NSA police officer shot one of the men dead, and seriously injured the second.

Aerial shots show two vehicles at an intersection that appear to be damaged.

The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings.

In addition to the headquarters of the NSA, Fort Meade is home to 95 units from all branches of the armed forces and offices that report to several Defense Department agencies, according to the U.S. Army, which operates the base.

About 11,000 military employees and 29,000 civilians work there, according to the Army.

Some 6,000 people also live on the base, which began operations in 1917 as a garrison for World War I draftees, the Army said.

CNN’s Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

Martin O’Malley challenges Hillary Clinton

— Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley took a major shot at Hillary Clinton on Sunday, saying the country needs a “new perspective” and “new leadership” in the 2016 election.

“Let’s be honest here,” O’Malley said. “The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”

The Democrat’s comments, in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” are another signal that he’s likely to challenge Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

He’s focusing in recent weeks on issues like income inequality and wage stagnation — which liberal darling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made her signature, but that haven’t found a champion in the presidential race.

O’Malley said he won’t decide until this spring whether he’ll seek the Democratic nomination. But his shots at Clinton have been the most direct of any of the party’s likely challengers — with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seeking to avoid the topic of Clinton at all costs.

Recalling the 2008 primary, when then-upstart Sen. Barack Obama challenged an inevitable-looking Clinton and won, O’Malley hinted he thinks Clinton could be defeated.

“History is full of times when the inevitable frontrunner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable,” O’Malley said.


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Obama makes first trip to Kenya as President

President Barack Obama will visit Kenya this summer, the White House announced Monday, his first visit to the country since being elected President.

Obama, whose father was from Kenya, will participate in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July.

This will be Obama’s fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa. Obama attended Nelson Mandela’s funeral service in December 2013.


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Randal Mendez and Darien Percell combined for five hits to lead the Coppin State baseball team during a 12-7 setback to Norfolk State

— Randal Mendez and Darien Percell combined for five hits to lead the Coppin State baseball team during a 12-7 setback to Norfolk State at Marty L. Miller Field Saturday (March 28th, 2015), in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game.

For Mendez, it was his second three-hit game of the season and first since the Eagles’ series in Jacksonville last month. He also drove in a pair of runs with a two-out two-run single in the top of the fifth inning that pulled Coppin State (1-17 overall, 0-7 MEAC North) to within, 5-3.

Mendez, who is hitting .268, has four multi-hit games. He also leads Coppin State with a .400 average with two outs.

Meanwhile, Percell extended his hitting streak to six games with a pair of hits including a double. This was Percell’s second multi-hit game of the season. Percell is swinging a scolding bat for the Eagles during his hitting streak with a .429 average. Percell drove home a pair of runs with a two-out single in the top of the seventh inning that sliced Norfolk State’s lead to 10-6.

Despite the offensive prowess of Mendez and Percell, Coppin State had trouble overcoming an early five-run deficit along with six errors. Eight of Norfolk State’s runs were unearned. The Eagles offense applied pressure throughout the game, patiently working eight walks. In addition, Coppin State had two batters hit by pitches, but the Eagles stranded 12 runners.

In its last four games, Coppin State has drawn 36 walks.

Six different Norfolk State players had two hits each. Robbie Hiser drove in three runs to lead the Spartans (7-10, 4-3).

AVERY Sunshine to Perform at the Home is Where the Heart is Concert Fundraiser

The Women’s Challenge Presents the Home is Where the Heart is: Obtain, Sustain & Reclaim, concert fundraiser featuring singer-songwriter AVERY Sunshine. Avery Sunshine is known for her thunderous, gospel-bred pipes and heart-to-heart content. She emerged onto the scene with her 2010 self-titled debut album. Fluent in many languages from soul and house to classical and hip hop, AVERY Sunshine expresses with a voice that speaks boldly and tells a uniquely familiar story. Her music tells a story about love, loss, healing and finding the newness of oneself in the midst of it all making her a natural fit for the Home is Where the Heart is concert fundraiser. According Avery Sunshine, “Baltimore is going to get a show. We are going to be like family. You know its like a family reunion. It is going to be fun and from the heart. Very intimate affair.”

LeFemme Totale, an ALL Girl Band, will also perform debuting “The GREEK Explosion.” With a unique blend of sounds from strings, drums, bells, chimes and voices these women will leave you standing in awe. LeFemme Totale “The GREEK Explosion” features JPope Percussionist, Vocalist, Emcee & Spoken Word Artist, Kendall Isadore Violinist, Vocalist & Pianist, and Drummer Shannon Browne, all members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Vocalist & Actress Kadejah Oni is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Home is Where the Heart is: Obtain, Sustain & Reclaim, concert fundraiser is taking place Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 7:45 PM at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts located at 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave, Owings Mills, MD 21117. This concert fundraiser is geared to raise funds to support the workshops and funds that are necessary to educate potential homeowners and financially support the grants to be given to residents of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Harford County. With this targeted theme, The Women’s Challenge, Inc. feels it will be a success:

  • OBTAIN closing cost and/or down payment assistance through attending first-time home-buyers workshops.
  • SUSTAIN your home with information and resources that will allow homeowners maintenance through weatherization projects and home improvement contractor referrals.
  • RECLAIM homes facing foreclosure by utilizing loan modifications and/or other services that assist with stopping the home foreclosure process.

For tickets and more information about Home is Where the Heart Is, please visit www.thewomenschallengeinc.ticketleap.com/twccelebrateshome2015 for details. For media inquiries and interview opportunities contact Nika Watkins by email at NikaWatkins@gmail.com.

Eat more cereal fiber, live longer

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Eat more cereal fiber, live longer

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people with a diet rich in cereal fiber reduced risk of death compared to those who ate the least amount of cereal fiber.

— Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people with a diet rich in cereal fiber reduced risk of death compared to those who ate the least amount of cereal fiber.