Congressman John Lewis is one of a kind

— I have always had enormous admiration for Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) and that admiration increased exponentially when I watched him led dozens of his congressional colleagues to sit-in on the floor of Congress to force a vote on gun control. As the supercilious Paul Ryan called for “decorum” (where is the decorum in a man walking into a nightclub with an automatic weapon and gunning 49 people down), determined Democrats disrupted proceedings in the House of Representatives. I say, “Right on!”


Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to force gun vote

Congressman Lewis tweeted, “Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice & inaction.”

Congressman Lewis tweeted, “Sometimes you have to get in the way. You have to make some noise by speaking up and speaking out against injustice & inaction.” He is frustrated, as are many voters, about the fact that Congress has failed to take a position on background checks and the availability of assault weapons. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is equally frustrated, saying, “Moments of silence aren’t substitute for the action needed on gun violence.” Republicans have attempted to deflect, suggesting that the focus should be on ISIS and terrorism, not gun violence. But the Newtown, Conn., shooter was not a terrorist connected to ISIS. Indeed, troubled White men have perpetrated many of our recent mass shootings with access to guns, not ISIS loyal terrorists. No matter. Can’t Congress walk and chew gum at the same time? Can’t they focus both on ISIS and on our out-of-control gun culture?

Nobody is talking about repealing the Second Amendment (though that might not be a bad idea). Still, the “right to bear arms” does not mean the unfettered right to bear all kinds of arms. Nobody needs an automatic weapon. And anyone deemed dangerous or mentally ill should never be allowed to purchase a gun. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is an irresponsible organization that elevates the right for any random citizen to own and bear arms over the right of other citizens to survive. Members of Congress need to cut the cord from that organization. Voters need to back them up.

One might think the congressional sit-in has yielded few results. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the plug on C-SPAN coverage and dismissed the sit-in as a “stunt.” Still, responding to the fact that 90 percent of Americans support background checks those who sat in showed enormous courage. Taking advantage of social media, they broadcast their sit-in using Periscope, reminding Ryan that he might control C-SPAN, but he doesn’t control all broadcast.

Ryan was insulting and condescending in calling the sit-in a “stunt,” and he reminded me of the many reasons I so admire Congressman John Lewis. Was the Atlanta Congressman’s skull fractured in a “stunt” in 1965 on Bloody Sunday, when his civil rights activity caused rabid Whites to attack him? Lewis pulled no stunt, he stood for what he believed in then. He is standing, firmly in his belief now, and using the time-honored tactic of protest to bring attention to the important cause of gun control.

Congressman Lewis and his colleagues were not successful in forcing votes on gun control. But they were successful in shutting the House down. Speaker Ryan was forced to adjourn Congress before he planned to, and Republicans sulked off like thieves in the night. Democrats held the floor hours after the Republicans scurried away, like hungry rats. No vote was forced, but a point was made.

Congress goes back to work on July 5. People should urge their representatives to take an appropriate vote to reduce access to guns, especially for those on a “no fly” list. People should also give Congressman John Lewis a “shout out” and appreciation for his leadership. He has taken the tactics of the 60s and taken them into the 21st century. He has reminded us that “stunts” have their purpose. His unassailable moral courage is admirable. Thank you, Congressman Lewis, for your activism in the 1960s and now. You are much appreciated!

Julianne Malveaux is an economist and author. Her latest offering “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via or

Creative ways to use fresh, summer ingredients

— In summer, the abundance of fresh ingredients can be overwhelming, especially if you stick to the same old recipes. Make more of the fresh produce available to you at the grocer, farmers market and even your own garden, by thinking creatively.

To help, the summer food experts at Betty Crocker are offering some great ideas for using fresh, seasonal produce.

  1. Save the best berries for later.

Berry season is far too short. Make it last longer by freezing berries for the cooler months. Choose fruit at peak freshness, and then store it in high-quality freezer bags that seal tightly, removing as much excess air — fruit’s worst enemy — as possible before freezing. Label bags with the freeze date and remember: a full freezer is more efficient, so stock up!

  1. Take advantage of fresh tomatoes.

If you have more fresh tomatoes than you know what to do with, consider these creative uses:

• Caprese Salad. Layer sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

• Bruschetta. Served on small slices of toasted bread, bruschetta is a perfect appetizer for any dinner party.

• No-Cook Pasta Sauce. Marinara sauce can be too heavy for summer, but a raw sauce showcasing fresh tomatoes is perfect. Try Rigatoni and Tomatoes for a great introduction.

  1. Add a touch of sweetness to zucchini.

Managing the bounty of garden-fresh zucchini is always a challenge, so think beyond the main course. You can make the most out of the humble summer squash with baked treats like pineapple zucchini bread, zucchini bars and chocolate zucchini snack cake.

  1. Bake with fresh berries.

Baking with fresh berries is one of the highlights of summertime. Favorite desserts that call for freshly picked strawberries, raspberries and blueberries include classics like fresh strawberry pie, but also inventive creations like brownies and berries dessert pizza and blueberry cheesecake bars.

  1. Make pickles easy.

Preserving the summer bounty of cucumbers doesn’t mean you need to spend days canning. For a tasty shortcut, layer cucumber slices, onions and carrots in a glass container. Mix with sugar, vinegar, salt and dill weed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but no longer than two weeks.

  1. Make berries last with freezer jam.

Freezer jam is a smart way to hold on to summer’s fresh berries without the hassle of traditional jam. Try this recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam:

Mash 4 cups strawberries, until slightly chunky, to make 2 cups. Mix with 4 cups sugar in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix 3/4 cup water and one package powdered fruit pectin in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Pour hot pectin mixture over strawberry mixture; stir constantly three minutes. Immediately spoon mixture into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims of containers; seal. Let stand at room temperature about 24 hours or until set. Store in freezer up to six months. Thaw and stir before serving.

More seasonal recipes and summer cooking tips can be found at

Summer’s flavors can be fleeting, so make culinary creations count by using the freshest ingredients in new ways.

BET Awards: Passion, politics and Prince tributes

— Viewers of Sunday night’s BET Awards got so much more than just a celebration of black entertainment and Prince tributes.

The show was politically charged, from its dynamic live performances to winners’ calls to action.

Here’s what you may have missed:

Beyonce’s ‘Freedom’

The superstar singer opened the show with a rousing rendition of her song “Freedom.” The performance began with a snippet from Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Sporting cornrows, Beyonce and her backup dancers performed in a pool barely ankle deep before being joined by rapper Kendrick Lamar who spit his verses on the song before joining the singer in the water.

The song has become an anthem of black pride with lyrics like, “I break chains all by myself/Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/Hey! I’ma keep running/Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.”

Beyonce has been hailed — and criticized — for her alignment with the #BlackLivesMatters movement.

Jesse Williams’ inspiring speech

The “Grey’s Anatomy” star blew everyone away when he accepted the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award with a speech calling society to task for racism.

Speaking on police-involved shootings of people of color, the actor/activist said he and others have been “looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day.”

“So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours,” said Williams, who was out front during protests in Ferguson following the 2014 shooting death of teen Michael Brown.

Williams went on to add, “We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold.”

“Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit,” he said. “The thing is, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

His speech received a standing ovation and was hailed on social media. Artist Questlove tweeted “Can @iJesseWilliams run in 2016?”

Politics take center stage

From Usher’s “Don’t Trump America” shirt to references to Brexit and gun control, this year”s show was one of the most political ever.

Debra Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of BET, was just one of many who urged the audience to vote.

“We all need to take a stand against gun violence,” she said. “You can make a difference … at the city, state, and federal levels, know your politicians’ position on gun control. Use your voice and vote.”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, said, “Make sure you vote and take eight more people with you to vote.”

“Don’t get tricked like they got tricked in England,” Jackson added, referencing that country’s recent vote to leave the European Union.

Prince tributes

After a Billboard Music Awards tribute to Prince last month that left many fans unsatisfied, BET vowed to do better.

Sunday night there were multiple tributes throughout the show to the music legend who died April 21 after an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl.

Erykah Badu, The Roots, Bilal, Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Maxwell and Janelle Monáe performed some Prince hits.

But it was Prince’s former collaborator and love Shelia E. who moved many to tears when she closed out the show with several Prince hits, including “Erotic City” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” She was joined on stage by multiple performers who worked with Prince, including his ex-wife Mayte Garcia.

Pentagon set to lift transgender ban

— The Defense Department could announce as soon as this week how it will lift the ban on transgender persons serving in the U.S. military, according to several defense officials.

However, the final decision, as of Friday, had not been made and officials cautioned an announcement could be delayed until a future date.

It is not clear how far the Pentagon will go in lifting the ban in terms of the procedures and rules under which a transgender person can serve in the military, officials say.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced last year he wanted to lift the ban and would study the “readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.” But it’s expected the service will now have to come up with a specific plan for implementation.

“The secretary continues to work very closely on this. This is a topic of regular discussion here right now. I can tell you that we have made progress,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said this week. “He has indicated that he expects to make a final decision soon.”

But Mac Thornberry, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he had a series of questions for the Pentagon which remained unanswered.

“In particular, there are readiness challenges that first must be addressed, such as the extent to which such individuals would be medically non-deployable,” Thornberry said in a statement Friday. “Almost a year has passed with no answer to our questions from Secretary Carter. Our top priority must be warfighting effectiveness and individual readiness is an essential part of that.”

The decision comes with broader acceptance of transgendered individuals in the U.S. The Obama administration last month ordered that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms in public schools that match their gender identity. The policy has been met with backlash from social conservatives, some of whom argue that the policy may allow sexual predators to come in contact with children.


™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Getting your child vaccinated over summer break? Don’t forget HPV

Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is encouraging parents and providers to use every child’s visit to the doctor— such as an annual checkup or physicals for sports, camp or for other school-required immunizations— to discuss vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV) and to initiate or complete the series of three shots over six months.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can prevent such health problems. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 because it produces a more robust immune response during the preteen years, and to provide protection before exposure to the virus.

“The HPV vaccine has been proven effective at preventing various forms of cancer,” said Dr. Howard Haft, Health and Mental Hygiene’s Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services, “but we know that access and utilization of the vaccine in Maryland has been insufficient. We want parents and providers alike to think HPV when discussing routine vaccinations. The high coverage rates for other vaccines show us it is certainly possible to see similar utilization of the HPV vaccine.”

While Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), meningococcal and HPV vaccines are routinely recommended for adolescents, Maryland data show more than 40 percent higher vaccination rates for Tdap (85 percent) and meningococcal (87 percent) disease than for HPV, despite its safety and efficacy in preventing HPV-related cancers. Only about 39 percent of adolescent girls and 25 percent of adolescent boys in Maryland received three doses of HPV vaccine in 2014. These gaps in coverage indicate missed opportunities to vaccinate boys and girls with HPV vaccine at the same time as other routinely recommended adolescent vaccines like Tdap and meningococcal vaccines.

For back-to-school immunization information, visit Health and Mental Hygiene at

Baltimore Community Foundation raises $103.7 million to help city thrive

The Baltimore Community Foundation, the local philanthropic organization whose mission is to inspire donors to achieve their charitable goals from generation to generation and to improve the quality of life in the region through grant making, civic leadership and strategic investments, has announced that it has raised nearly $104 million in three years.

In a news release, foundation officials said they’re celebrating the most successful fundraising in the organization’s 44-year history.

The Campaign for BCF and Baltimore, a three-year effort, has raised $103.7 million, generating more than $30 million to support immediate needs and almost $70 million in endowment for long term goals.

“BCF set a bold goal to raise $100 million during this campaign,” said Laura Gamble, the co-chair of the Campaign and chair of BCF’s board of trustees. “This was a huge undertaking for us, but we knew it would pay untold dividends both in the immediate impact it would have in Baltimore and in ensuring that BCF would be able to continue its great work for years to come.”

Wes Moore served as campaign co-chair with Gamble while George Bunting, Eddie Brown and Suzanne Cohen served as the honorary chairs and Ray Bank served as board of trustees’ chair for most of the campaign. Their leadership and outreach was instrumental to the success of the campaign, officials said in a news release.

“What we set out to do was to raise one hundred million dollars for Baltimore,” Moore said. “It really says something that Baltimore trusted BCF with that gift.”

The campaign’s 250 major donors represent a diverse cross section of individual Baltimoreans, business owners, private foundations, and many others who care deeply about the future of our city, foundation officials said. Major gifts ranged from $10,000 to $16 million.

Twenty-eight donors pledged gifts of $1 million or more, which will be used to support grants and endowment. Some gifts are already being used for immediate needs in BCF’s priority areas— neighborhoods and education.

Other gifts will help build permanent endowments to strengthen BCF and ensure its ability to respond to Baltimore’s evolving needs today and in the future, organization officials said.

“All of this generosity is driven by BCF’s vision that Baltimore boasts a growing economy where all have the opportunity to thrive,” said Tom Wilcox, BCF president and CEO. “Because of the campaign’s success, we now can dare – not just to dream – but to assert that this community foundation can achieve what Baltimore deserves.”

Wilcox said donations to the campaign provided funding to open nine new early childhood resource centers, known as Judy Centers, in Baltimore City between 2012 and 2015 to boost school readiness.

“Our goal is to have a 90 percent readiness for children entering kindergarten by 2017,” Wilcox told the Baltimore Business Journal. “Our belief in our schools is fundamental to our future.”

The BCF has provided services to more than 1,000 children across Baltimore City Public Schools, said Perry Gorgen, the director of early learning for BCPS. “It’s something that we really appreciate,” he said.

Wilcox said BCF’s objectives also include making neighborhoods more safe, clean, green and vibrant, while strengthening community organizations and the leadership skills of residents.

Although BCF invests in neighborhoods across Baltimore, he said the organization has particularly focused on Reservoir Hill and Greater Highlandtown, which were centers of unrest during the riots last year following the death of Freddie Gray.

Earlier this year, the BCF distributed $750,000 from a separate post-riot fund, but Wilcox said the riots certainly played a role in helping the organization reach its $100 million goal.

“We had raised less than $70 million at the time of the riots,” Wilcox said. “That part, the last $30-35 million, is definitely harder than the first $35 million but we were heartened by the support that we saw.”

Governor Larry Hogan launches customer service initiative

Governor Larry Hogan launched the Customer Service Initiative, a continuous program designed to foster improvements in customer service across Maryland state agencies. The initiative, which goes into effect immediately, focuses on three core deliverables: a renewed focus on a strong service culture in state agencies; improved customer service training for state employees; and the establishment of new service performance metrics, which will allow the administration and all Marylanders to track improvements in customer service over time.

“Marylanders expect the best possible customer service from their state government, and that is exactly what they deserve,” said Governor Hogan. “With today’s launch of a statewide Customer Service Initiative, we will ensure continued improvements across all Maryland state agencies by finally giving our state employees the leadership, the training, and the tools they need to be successful.”

A key provision of the initiative is a requirement for every state agency to develop and maintain a plan to continually improve service delivery, including minimum response times for phone, written, and in-person inquiries and services. These plans are due by October 1 and are required to be resubmitted each fall for review.

Agency plans will include appropriate customer service training programs for all staff and managers. State agencies will also be required to review agency business hours to better align them with customer demand and will begin to incorporate customer service goals into employee performance evaluations.

These plans will be reviewed annually by a panel that consists of the Governor’s Business Ombudsman, Roger Campos; the Director of the Governor’s of Office of Performance Improvement, Luis Luna; and the Chairman of the Commerce Cabinet Customer Service Workgroup, Greg Derwart. The panel, which will report to the governor, will make recommendations to agencies and will measure improvements in service delivery using key performance metrics established by the Office of Performance Improvement. These metrics will also be published online for review by the public.

In order to help further encourage a philosophy of outstanding service delivery, all state agencies will implement appropriate recognition and awards programs to highlight exceptional customer service. Governor Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford will also meet with agency award recipients at the State House to offer their own thanks to state employees who have consistently gone the extra mile in their jobs.

The final component in the Governor’s Customer Service Initiative is the launch of the Maryland Customer Service Promise, a series of key principles that will serve as basis of all interactions between state employees and their customers. As part of the initiative, Governor Hogan has directed all state agencies to display the Customer Service Promise prominently in state offices and on agency websites.

D.C. native’s legacy: Promoting the best of Black music

Last week, as the Washington Informer began its coverage of African-American Music Appreciation Month, we featured veteran disc jockey Russ Parr who recently returned to the Greater Washington Area, bringing his unique style and long-recognized brand to the DMV as part of the weekly lineup on Radio One DC’s popular station, WKYS 93.9 FM.

Now we turn our attention to the eternally-young and District-born Darryll E. Brooks – an entrepreneur and longtime promoter of live events whose penchant for recognizing talent and commitment to improving the lives of Black youth and the D.C. community have benefited District residents and others worldwide for over four decades.

Brooks recalls the early years of the 1970s when a surge in civil disturbances in the city then known as “Chocolate City” led him and several others to develop and promote programs that would honor local musicians, provide training for youth interested in the arts and offer family-friendly concerts in his beloved Southeast community where he spent his formative year.

“A group of concerned citizens wanted a program that would honor local musicians like Roberta Flack [who stands as one of the youngest students to ever enroll and graduate from Howard University where she majored in voice, served as an assistant conductor of the university choir and went on to establish a successful musical career],” he said.

“I co-created ‘Compared to What, Inc., a nonprofit that worked to broaden opportunities for D.C.’s Black businesses and creative arts entities,” he said. “We had great support including the mayor’s office, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Parks Service and were able to secure a program held in Anacostia Park, ‘The Summer Hut,’ that provided arts education programs and events as a means of giving youth an alternative to the significantly less safe activities on the streets,” said Brooks who now splits his time in Clinton, Maryland and New York City.

Brooks would change the name of his company as time went on but not its focus. In fact, they would branch out first as “G Street Express, Inc.,” then as “CD Enterprises,” presenting the first R&B concert ever at the White House, proving that rap was more than just a musical preference for inner city youth but rather a genre rapidly establishing itself as the preference of American youth and taking on the challenge of talent management after signing folks like hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa, while also making inroads for D.C.’s go-go performers including Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, Little Benny and the Masters and others.

“I have always been proud of our work behind ‘Human Kindness Day,’ which we held each May between 1972 and 1976,” he said. “We honored celebrities who made positive contributions to our youth and attracted hundreds of thousands to the Washington Monument grounds. And we never had police officers maintain safety – the men who came out with their families and friends kept things safe both on the Monument grounds and at events in Anacostia Park. The drug dealers and thugs knew they weren’t welcome if they were going to bring trouble with them.”

Brooks and his partners achieved attendance at the Anacostia Park event in 1972 with close to 2000, which leaped to over 400,000 by their fourth year with an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 attendees each night. Honorees included Flack, Dick Gregory, Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder.

“It was amazing. We helped expose young musicians and bands and gave them an audience of supportive Blacks. People even came on their bicycles from across the city. But we struggled with funding even as the event rapidly grew after the focus of many funders and supporting agencies changed to the nation’s bicentennial in 1976.”

“Back then the concerts served as a means of communication. The artists were vested in bringing a kind of soulfulness and spoke to Black life in a positive way. Blacks wanted to see artists like Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye and they were able to live vicariously through their positive lyrics. I still believe that there’s an audience for conscious-raising music in America even though the economics behind promoting the kinds of concerts that we featured has long changed,” Brooks said.

Brooks and company continue to promote some of the nation’s most popular events including the Summer Spirit Festival 2016, which will be held at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, marking the Festival’s 11th anniversary (August 6 – 7) with headliners that include Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Jill Scott, The Roots, The Chuck Brown Band and Kindred the Family Soul.

And of course, there will be several local groups who will get their chance to showcase their skills, Brooks said.

He noted some of the concerts that he and his partners have promoted that he believes really made a difference in the lives of the Black community, particularly the incarcerated.

“I’ve had so many highlights in my life. But I look to the free Prince concert we held at Gallaudet University that brought music to the hearing impaired, the show we held at the women’s detention center on Riker’s Island and another free concert for the men at the Lorton Reformatory here in the District. It was always about reaching out to and supporting local talent too – musicians, artisans, you name it.”

“Music can have a positive effect on people. It makes the daily grind, the daily disappointments and the day-to-day struggles a little more bearable,” he said. “We did it back then because we loved the music and we loved our people. That’s why we still do it today,” Brooks added.

Scarborough Foundation to honor Earth, Wind & Fire

The Scarborough Foundation will honor music legends Earth, Wind & Fire, Melvin Miles and Dr. Hattie Bailey at its inaugural awards celebration, “A Musical Tribute to Skip Scarborough,” on Sunday, July 3, 2016 at the Murphy Fine Arts Center located on the campus of Morgan State University.

Skip Scarborough, a Grammy Award winning songwriter, wrote hits such as “Can’t Hide Love” by Earth,Wind & Fire, “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers and “Giving You The Best That I’ve Got” by Anita Baker among others.

Performances by In Gratitude, Tracy Hamlin and Alton McClain Scarborough will be featured at the event.

The event hosted by radio personality and singer Angela Stribling will present scholarships to deserving students, as well as honor Earth, Wind & Fire with the Alexi Lifetime Achievement Award, Melvin Miles with the Lifetime achievement award for Music Education, and Dr. Hattie Bailey with the Alexi Community Service Award.

Although Earth, Wind & Fire will not be present at the event, a pre-recorded interview will be shown.

On remembering Skip Scarborough, Philip Bailey said, “We were extremely proud to have been a part of the collection of people that he gave his wonderful songs to.”

With regard to the importance of the Scarborough Foundation Verdine White said, “Because of the Scarborough Foundation, this generation will have a chance for the appreciation of music and to develop into great artists like Skip.”

The mission of the Scarborough Foundation founded by Skip’s widow Alton McClain Scarborough (formerly with the group Destiny) is to provide scholarships and grants to assist in the educational advancement of students within the public school system who display extraordinary natural abilities and acquired proficiency in music, dance, theatre arts, and the recording arts and sciences.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster or

Discover the unexpected: NNPA journalism scholars are breaking the news

— Today people are exposed to 10-minute news segments six times per hour in a 24-hour news cycle in terms of television and radio news. Twitter, Facebook and other social media are now used for instantaneous news, commentary, and the sharing of perspectives by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.

Yet, Black-owned newspapers in the United States remain in high demand even amidst the growing digital age of communications and multimedia news services. Social media compliments and extends the reach of the Black Press.

Thanks to Chevrolet, the Discover The Unexpected (DTU) NNPA Journalism Fellows Program is giving undergraduate student scholars from the Howard University School of Communications the opportunity to “Break News” in Detroit, Chicago, Washington, DC, and in Atlanta. Tatyana Hopkins, Sidnee King, Briahanna Brown, McKenzie Marshall, Brandi Montgomery, Brelaun Douglas, Victoria Jones, and Rushawn Walters are all now working with NNPA member newspapers in the aforementioned markets.

On the ground and in the streets, these gifted and talented young journalists are helping not only to bridge generations concerning vital news coverage, but also the NNPA Fellows are using multiple media platforms to help reach new readers across the nation and global community. As more young readers are now consuming their news, sports coverage, and cultural aspiration via the Black Press, then the future sustainability of Black-owned newspapers is further assured.

The point here is that the print Black Press in America is content rich and therefore is invaluable in today’s context of national and international content distribution. There is a substantive difference between sensationalism to get media attention and good journalism that renders objective facts or that delineates informed opinions.

For more than 189 years the Black Press in America has represented the best in presenting the facts, news, struggles and triumphs of African American life and empowerment. The baton is now being pass to a generation of journalists and publishers who are equally fearless, courageous, and articulate.

We are proud of the opportunity and the engagement that the DTU is offering to the NNPA family and community of publishers and media owners throughout the nation. Already some of our NNPA Fellows’ news entries have made the front pages of our newspapers. In addition the published stories by the NNPA Fellows have significantly increased the NNPA’s media impressions via social media.

It should be noted here that President Barack Obama on the occasion of the White House observance of the 2016 Juneteenth Celebration commented on the importance of continuing the struggle against all the lingering vestiges of slavery, racism, injustice, and inequality. The Black Press is today the most capable and responsible vehicle to continue to strive toward fulfilling the goal of racial, social and economic equality.

President Obama stated, “Juneteenth is a time to recommit ourselves to the work that remains undone. We remember that even in the darkest hours, there is cause to hope for tomorrow’s light. Today, no matter our race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, we recommit ourselves to working to free modern-day slaves around the world and to honoring in our own time the efforts of those who fought so hard to steer our country truer to our highest ideals.”

Learn more about Discover The Unexpected (DTU) at and use the hashtag #DiscoverTheUnexpected on Twitter @BlackPressUSA and @NNPA_BlackPress