Governor Larry Hogan Encourages Marylanders To Recognize Black History Month

— Governor Larry Hogan is encouraging Marylanders to recognize Black History Month, which falls during February each year. Black History Month has been a national observance since 1976, celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of African Americans in Maryland and across the nation.

“Each year, the month of February offers an opportunity to recognize and to celebrate the countless contributions of African Americans throughout our history and the lasting impact of that heritage today,” said Governor Hogan. “I encourage all Marylanders to take time to reflect on the invaluable influence of African American leaders and citizens on our state and our nation.”

Governor Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan will host a celebration in honor of Black History Month at Government House on February 12, 2019. Maryland has ties to some of the most influential leaders in African American history: Harriet Tubman, who led countless slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad; Frederick Douglass, the renowned social reformer, writer, and statesman; and Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on our nation’s highest court. The Board of Public Works, which is chaired by the governor and includes Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, recently approved a contract to place bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Maryland State House.

Last year, Governor Hogan proclaimed 2018 “The Year of Frederick Douglass” to celebrate this influential African American leader’s 200th birthday. On February 9, 2019, the governor will join the Banneker-Douglass Museum to close out a year of Frederick Douglass-themed events hosted by the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, Banneker-Douglass Museum Foundation, Inc., and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture with a Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Celebration.

Helping Make The City More Attractive, Safe And Vibrant

In a city inundated with crime, dilapidated houses, drug addiction and many other issues, Baltimore is often viewed as a hard sell for attracting and retaining business owners and homebuyers. However, one local organization has been quietly making a lot of noise when it comes changing this troubling reality— the Central Baltimore Partnership (CBP), a ten-year-old nonprofit with over 100 partners who together established a comprehensive strategy for community revival in 11 central Baltimore neighborhoods.

Formed in 2006, the Central Baltimore Partnership’s mission is to galvanize the renaissance of Central Baltimore. It pursues its mission by partnering with neighborhood organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, businesses and government agencies.

“We work with all the stakeholders in these eleven neighborhoods,” said Ellen Janes, executive director of Central Baltimore Partnership. “That includes educational institutions and city and state government. We bring everyone together, and it’s all about a comprehensive revitalization strategy. We set priorities, and make them happen. We create inviting spaces, work with community centers, and connect residents to job opportunities.

“A lot of what we do is resource development such as fundraising. We also look to partner with other organizations doing similar work. We have had great success. Over 1 billion dollars has been generated in new investments. But we also want to create new opportunities. We want to make life better for long-time residents and businesses, and also attract new residents and businesses.”

The 11 CBP neighborhoods are Old Goucher; Charles North; Remington; Charles Village; Greenmount West; Abell; Oakenshawe; Barclay; Harwood; Wyman Park and East Baltimore Midway. CBP also covers the Jones Falls area and the Waverly Main Street Commercial Corridor.

“From lots to playgrounds to vacant theaters, we go the gamut,” said Janes. “That’s what makes a successful revitalization. You have to do many things simultaneously to turn these communities around, and small businesses are a critical component of that strategy. Public Safety is a big part of what we do. We work with the Baltimore City Police Department, community organizations and others.”

She added “Lighting and patrols are very important, but we are also focused on creating job opportunities for youth. In other words, we help channel the collective energy of Central Baltimore into projects and programs that will have a positive effect on the community as a whole.”

CBP is located in the Center for Neighborhoods at 25 E. 20th Street in Baltimore. The organization has worked on many notable projects with their Partners. Projects include The Motor House, an arts hub, gallery, and performance space located at 120 W. North Avenue and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center, a movie theatre located at 5 W. North Avenue. Both were initially vacant buildings. Others projects include City Arts Apartments, Miller’s Court, North Avenue Market Restoration, and The Centre.

“These are such wonderful projects,” said Janes. “We were part of the team that helped bring The Centre Theater back to life. The Center now houses non-profits, a joint film program of John Hopkins University and MICA, and gaming developer Sparkypants. We also helped in creating the Central Baltimore Future Funds with a group called the Reinvestment Fund, which is a ten million dollar loan fund for projects that want to start-up in central Baltimore. They have a number of business projects that they are working on. Those are some of the biggest projects we are working on with our partners.

“We also have spruce-up funds, which provides money to community groups to develop vacant lots. That program is being replicated in six different parts of the city. It turns blight into real neighborhood treasures.”

Janes also noted The Made in Baltimore Pop-Up Shop, which aims to spur re-investment in Baltimore City by growing the market for locally produced goods and supporting over 50 local makers and manufacturers.

CBP has also established The Neil Muldrow Business Development Fund. The Fund aims to support small businesses who expand or locate in Central Baltimore. The Fund is especially targeted towards those who re-develop long-vacant properties requiring significant new investment. Muldrow, who worked for The Baltimore Times, served as a CBP Board Member up until his death last October. The Fund will help preserve Muldrow’s rich legacy of supporting minority-owned businesses.

“Given Neal’s concern about minority businesses, he was especially concerned about the Charles Street corridor,” said Janes. “We have addressed that concern. At Neal’s urging, my staff helped to create the North of North Business Association, which is starting to take hold. That is the area between North Avenue and 25th street. Just like Neal, we want to share our thinking and relationships.

“Central Baltimore Partnership is connecting the small pieces, which includes making our bus stops, gathering places, parking, and streets more inviting. These activities will complement the Fund. We try to pull all the pieces together to make a healthier community. The most effective way to make our area safer, is to attract more people to come.”

For more information about CBP, visit: or call 410-244-1775.

Local Entrepreneur Makes Hair Care History In Airport, Creates Franchise Opportunities

When government workers were recently furloughed, interest in uncovering small business ideas seemed to soar.

Individuals who had never considered entrepreneurship began thinking creatively to alleviate financial uncertainty. Trailblazing women like Cindy Tawiah are an example of what is possible when vision, taking action, remaining persistent and having faith combine over time.

After working as a registered nurse for 13 years but feeling unfulfilled, the domestic violence survivor left the nursing profession to pursue her dream of opening a hair salon and developing hair care products. Back in 2003, even though Tawiah was denied many bank loans and locations to lease, the determined Owings Mills, Maryland, resident kept pressing forward until doors opened for her business venture, “Diva By Cindy.”

“Overcoming obstacles and persevering is key for those who want to be a successful business owner,” Tawiah said while noting how she recently made history in an airport.

Since the strict TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines for carrying liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage became effective in 2006, many passengers have had their beauty products confiscated going through the security line. Tawiah to the rescue! She identified a need and came up with a solution.

In 2017, Tawiah opened and operated a successful kiosk at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). By October of 2018, Tawiah launched the first natural hair care vending machine in a major airport.

Diva By Cindy hair care products may be used on all hair types, including both natural and chemically processed hair. The product line consists of 13 different formulations, which include a moisture system and a growth stimulating system. The products may even be used to address hair loss resulting from chemo- therapy, thyroid medication and high blood pressure medication.

“The vending machine is located inside the terminal on Concourse D, and has our two ounce styling products, as well as full size products,” Tawiah said. “When we first launched in October, we spent a few hours a week showing passengers how to use the machine. Now they are actively approaching it, and taking pictures, and sharing their finds with us. Our machine is called ‘Heaven 1,’ and she is shared on Instagram and Twitter by Divas who meet her. We have women and men buying our (Diva By Cindy) products.”

Ten percent of proceeds from Diva By Cindy products are used to help homeless women as a result of domestic violence. A day of beauty, which is held twice a year allows the women to receive pampering services, including: facials, massages and hairstyling.

The growth of Tawiah’s brand is on the horizon. Recently, Diva By Cindy hair care products were launched in select T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores plus a new moisturizing product for curly hair called “Kurl Pop” will be launched very soon.

Additionally, Tawiah is branching out to help others seeking opportunities to enter the beauty business with a few independent, sales representatives who purchase her products wholesale and sell them to generate revenue for themselves. She is also offering franchise opportunities through Diva By Cindy’s automated concept. A new vending machine location is already in the works.

Tawiah says she has reached another milestone with her first franchisee, Yolanda Brown who will be located at Arundel Mills.

After using Diva By Cindy products and loving them, Brown wanted to be a part of Tawiah’s entrepreneurial venture. Now, the Prince George’s County resident and first franchisee has the chance to be mentored by Tawiah and an opportunity with great potential.

“We have recently joined forces to franchise Diva By Cindy Hair Care Products in a non-traditional way. Mrs. Cindy has revolutionized providing hair care products [and by] mid to late March 2019, we will launch the second vending machine that provides quality hair care products with ease of use,” Brown said. “This is the way of the future for beauty products, and I am excited that Mrs. Cindy chose me to be a partner of a groundbreaking opportunity. We are excited about inspiring and encouraging women to be bold and confident, and that starts with how they feel. Diva by Cindy hair care products are great and your scalp and hair will tell it all.”

For more information about Diva By Cindy’s products or to explore business opportunities, visit:

Modell Lyric And University Of Baltimore Present ‘A People’s History Of The United States’ At Wright Theater

— The Modell Lyric Education Department and the University of Baltimore (UB) Diversity and Culture Center presents a staged reading of excerpts from Howard Zinn’s landmark book A People’s History of the United States on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 from noon to 2 p.m. at the University of Baltimore’s Wright Theater.

The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are preferred. Reserve tickets at Eventbrite at

“Often shocking in its revelations, A People’s History of the United States is a provocative examination of U.S. history. The 1st person narratives included in the book provide the perfect foundation for an interesting afternoon of theater,” said Denise Kumani Gantt, Director of Education at the Modell Lyric.

Written in 2005 by the legendary historian, professor, playwright author and activist, “A People’s History” has become an integral part of study in colleges and universities, book clubs, reading groups, and community and

social justice organizations across the nation. The 10th anniversary edition, which will be used for the staged reading, contains social movement updates including Occupy Wall Street, marriage equality, and the DREAM Act.

The theatrical readers come from a cross section of backgrounds— educators, students, executives, artists, activists, clergy, and others. The reading is a partnership between the Modell Lyric and the University of Baltimore and part of UB’s African American Arts Festival.

“The speeches, letters and poems in ‘A Peoples History of the United States’ are testimonies that should be shared with the community. We are pleased to partner with the Modell Lyric to present this staged reading to the students, faculty and staff at the University of Baltimore,” said Karla Shepherd, UB Diversity and Culture Center director.

Reserve tickets at Eventbrite at

Ravens Safety Ed Reed Is Hall Of Famer On And Off The Field

The Baltimore Ravens have always been known for defensive excellence. Linebacker Ray Lewis has had his share of running mates on defense during his Hall of Fame career. Safety Ed Reed is the first fellow defensive player to join Lewis in Canton, Ohio.

Like Lewis, Reed was a game changer for Baltimore’s defense. The two players infused a high degree of swagger into the Ravens. It’s something they cultivated while playing football for the University of Miami and led to a Super Bowl Championship in 2013.

Reed is perhaps the best ball-hawking safety of all time. His 64 interceptions (6th All Time) in 174 games are proof. Reed also has 139 pass breakups on his resume. Few players were as dangerous as Reed once they got their hands on a turnover. Reed’s 1,590 interception return yards are the most ever by a defender.

The legacy that Reed has includes nine Pro Bowl selections, five First- team All Pro nominations and being named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He was also named the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

There is no questioning Reed’s greatness on the football field. However, his Hall of Fame personality and contributions off of the field are equally as great.

Reed’s compassion for others came to the surface when he spoke with Fox Sports’ Joe Buck at an event during the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII earlier this month.

“We have volunteer firefighters here cleaning up after grown men. Lockers are two feet from the garbage can. You come in and cut the tape off your feet, your ankles, your wrist and instead of throwing it in the garbage you throw it on the floor,” Reed said.

“I’m like, ‘Listen guys it’s the little things man!’ Pick up your towel as you’re walking out. The dirty clothes bin is right there as you walk out. Why leave the towel in there for someone else to pick up?! Super Bowl year, we don’t win it if we don’t do the little things.”

Reed went on to say how he’d pick up the towels and the trash because he didn’t want the volunteer firemen tasked with cleaning up the locker room to see how messy his teammates were.

Passion for helping others was manifested when Reed created The Ed Reed Foundation. The mission statement is to “provide character-building opportunities by inspiring at-risk youth with athletic initiatives founded in mentorship, leadership, and exposure to new environments.”

As a child growing up in a family of five, Reed took to sports as a way to show how special he was. He was a standout in football, track and field, basketball, and baseball.

Reed’ s Foundation focuses on children who simply need an opportunity to see how special they can be.

“If we surround ourselves with the right people, in the right environment, our opportunity for success increases greatly,” Reed says on his foundation’s website.

Reed’s foundation is involved with communities in Baltimore and the New Orleans area, where Reed is from. His latest project is building a multipurpose turf field and basketball courts near the Preston Hollow and Turtle Creek Neighborhoods in Louisiana where he grew up. The park will also have an open area for cookouts, a playground for children and a new road into the park.

For more information about The Ed Reed foundation, visit the website:

Ed Reed, the football player will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August but there is much more to him than the dynamic defender most people know him as.

Robert Wooden III & Levite Praise Debuts At Concord Baptist Church

This past Saturday, February 2, 2019, I had the chance to see Robert Wooden III & Levite Praise (RWLP) perform at their very first concert at Concord Baptist Church in Baltimore City. I’d like to get right into my experience— it was a roller coaster that kept going up and up and the only dip was that the show had to end!

Over the past year, I’ve heard and seen snippets of RWLP on social media, and in person coincidentally at Morgan State University during one of their many

rehearsals. When I was found out the group would be putting on a show for the public, I was immediately interested and wanted to know where and when the show would be taking place.

Fast forward a few months and it was finally showtime. When I walked into the church, the excitement in the room was an undeniable. Everyone was completely attentive and on the edges of their seats— literally.

There were a few opening acts before RWLP hit the pulpit. Three voices that stood out the most to me from the opening acts were Jamielle Gilman, Jamaal Whittington and Terrance Smith. All three were exactly what you want in a gospel singer— a voice that can fill up the room, passion for the Lord and an understanding of not just praise, but the word of the bible.

We’ve all been to shows where we dreaded listening to everyone before the headliner, counting the minutes until the person you came to see and hear is on stage. However, let me say that there wasn’t a moment when a performer on that stage didn’t own their moment. I have to give immense credit to the producer and promoter of the event who happens to be Robert Wooden III himself.

When asked how is he able at 20-years-old to gain the respect of his peers and maintain his leadership role in the group, he responded, “You can’t receive respect if you don’t give it. I showed my peers the same respect I expected. I’m so blessed to have such great people around me. Once they saw my dedication and how serious I was about this show, they were all in with me.”

There was a true continuity and chemistry within RWLP. The smiles on everyone’s faces on stage made me feel their energy as an audience member. I too felt the urge to be joyful, and I surely was. With the band adding just that extra level of emotion to every syllable being sung and every melody expressed, I was overwhelmed by the amount of emotion in the room, I stood during their entire set. Even my close friend Muammar Muhammad was on his feet with me during the final hour of the show.

What really took the audience over the edge of a praise break was RWLP’s song titled: “The Best Day.” Robert’s voice assertively but beautifully glided through every inch of this piece. When the intensity of this piece reached it’s peak, Robert began to jump up and down, his energy was contagious, and had me and many others jumping along as well.

At the end of this show, I was completely amazed by the whole two and a half hours of high-powered praise that I had just been apart of.

When asked about some of the difficulties of putting a show together like this and what would his advice be for a first time show developer looking to put on their own event, Wooden said, “My advice would be always have God in your mind when making plans. Make sure you communicate clearly with everyone, such as your show manager, your musicians, and your sound engineer.”

Lookout for RWLP’s debut EP scheduled to be released on March 22, 2019.

The group currently ministers at New Solid Rock Fellowship Church, located at 4003 Northern Parkway on the second Sunday of every month. Everyone is very welcome to come out and worship with us.

Be sure to follow Robert Wooden & Levite Praise on Instagram @levitepraise_

Grant To University Of Maryland School Of Nursing Faculty Members Supports Precision Health Research Program

Two University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) faculty members have been awarded a $15,000 mini-grant from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in support of the All of Us Research Program. This precision health initiative led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is aimed at gathering health data from 1 million or more U.S. participants so that researchers can gain a better understanding of the multiple environmental, lifestyle, and biological factors that can impact health and develop the next great breakthroughs in health care. UMSON is one of nine nursing schools nationwide to be awarded this funding.

Veronica Njie-Carr, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FWACN, associate professor, and Kristen E. Rawlett, PhD ’14, FNP-BC, assistant professor, are co-principal investigators on the grant, which aims to disseminate information about the All of Us Research Program to targeted Baltimore populations historically underrepresented in biomedical research — including African-American/black; Hispanic; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex individuals — in collaboration with a community partner.

The mini-grant funding supports a “town hall” event, “Improving Health for All of Us in Baltimore and Beyond,” scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School in West Baltimore with a goal of bringing as many as 300 community members together to learn more about participating in the All of Us Research Program.

The event will feature Rick Garcia, PhD, MS, BSN, director of nursing education at AACN, who will speak about the vital role that citizens play in the All of Us research campaign and how its results will benefit their community.

“The AACN All of Us mini-grant is important because it provides a unique opportunity to engage the academic nursing community with the All of Us Research Program funded by NIH,” Rawlett said. “Receiving this grant is meaningful because along with educating the community about precision health and the All of Us Research Program, it gives community stakeholders a voice in letting researchers and funders, like NIH, know what content is important to them and how to best convey information to community members. The funding from the mini-grant brings research information and opportunities into the community to improve health and quality of life.

“Given the remarkable investment of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) leadership in the Baltimore community, and as nurse researchers, we have developed relationships and are already working with community stakeholders and individuals in Baltimore and its surroundings,” Rawlett and Njie-Carr wrote in the grant application.

The University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library, which is housed on the UMB campus and serves as the Regional Medical Library for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Southeastern/Atlantic Region, also is participating in the All of Us campaign.

NNLM has partnered with the All of Us Research Program to work with public libraries to engage local communities, raise awareness about the program for populations underrepresented in biomedical research, and improve health literacy. This partnership will provide funding, training, and connections to empower members to transform their communities with trusted health information.

“We are honored to have this opportunity to work with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to advance the important work of the All of Us Research Program,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “UMSON has a distinguished history in community/public health nursing, nursing research, and service to the community. We look forward to contributing to the All of Us Research Program and enhancing the understanding of how individuals and communities throughout the U.S. can achieve improvements in health outcomes.”

AACN joined with NIH to advance the All of Us Research Program by administering a mini-grant program to facilitate the engagement of the nursing education community with the All of Us Research Program, and in particular, its focus on including historically underrepresented communities in biomedical research. This initiative uses collaboration among established community partners and nursing schools to disseminate information on the All of Us Research Program.

To learn more about the All of Us Research Program, visit

Frank Robinson Dies At 83


Frank Robinson, Hall of Fame baseball player who was first black manager in MLB, dies at 83

07 FEB 19 16:42 ET

By Steve Almasy, CNN

    (CNN) — Frank Robinson, the feared slugger who became the first black manager in major league baseball, died Thursday at 83, according to Major League Baseball.

Robinson died in California with family by his side, Major League Baseball said. The statement didn’t say how Robinson passed away.

“Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career.”

Robinson was rookie of the year for the Cincinnati Reds as a 20-year-old in 1956. That began a 21-year career in which he played for five teams and became the first to win the most valuable player award in both leagues.

In his 1966 season, he had one of the greatest offensive outputs in baseball history. He led the league in the three Triple Crown categories (.316 batting average, 49 home runs and 122 runs batted in) and guided his new team, the Baltimore Orioles, to a World Series title.

In his career, Robinson hit 586 home runs, 10th of all time in the majors.

Hank Aaron, who is No. 2 on the list, said Robinson stood out in multiple ways.

“Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies,” Aaron tweeted. “We were friends. Frank was a hard-nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done. I’m so glad I had the chance to know him all of those years. Baseball will miss a tremendous human being.”

In 1975, Robinson became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians. He told reporters that Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier as a player in 1947 was more important.

“It was a breaking period for black people coming into baseball, and how many followed depended on Jackie’s conduct,” he said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “But that’s not the case now. What and how I do doesn’t mean nearly as much as what and how Jackie did.”

Frank Robinson managed until 2006, when he finished his career with the Washington Nationals. In between he also managed for the San Francisco Giants, Orioles and the Montreal Expos. He was manager of the year in 1989 with Baltimore.

Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Former Orioles pitching great Jim Palmer said Robinson inspired all his teammates.

“Another sad day in Birdland with the passing of Frank Robinson,” Palmer tweeted. “Played the game tough, hard but fair. Made all of us better players, and winners. My condolences to his family.”

Basketball legend Bill Russell said Robinson was a good friend.

“Heartbreaking news in the passing of my Dear Friend & @McClymondsHS classmate Frank Robinson,” he wrote on Twitter. “It was my pleasure & great honor to have known him. We all know we lost one of the Greats, what we really lost was a Friend.”

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For Black Children, Attending School Is An Act Of Racial Justice

— As a seemingly twisted way to ring in 2019, the Trump administration has sent a loud and clear message that it’s okay for educators and school leaders to keep Black children out of school buildings and exclude them from opportunities to learn. It may sound extreme, but that’s exactly what it means to rescind school discipline guidance that was put in place explicitly to ensure that Black children were not treated this way and discriminated against.

The current administration, however, wants us to believe that discrimination against Black children is a myth. It is not. It is the lived experience of too many, if not all Black children. In the 2015-16 school year, Black boys made up 8 percent of public school enrollment, but they were 25 percent of the boys suspended out of school. Black girls were 8 percent of enrollment, but 14 percent of the girls suspended out of school. While Black children are overrepresented in practices that exclude or remove students from school, White children are underrepresented. Such data are clear evidence that racism and bias often drive exclusionary practices. To ignore this is to preserve the status quo.

If the numbers aren’t enough to show that discrimination exists in American classrooms, studies have shown that Black children do not misbehave more than their White peers, rather they are punished more. In fact, Black students are more likely than their White peers to receive a disciplinary action for a discretionary offense like talking back, violating a dress code, or being defiant. Black children are also more likely to be suspended out of school for their first offense. Clear, appropriate, and consistent consequences and educator training — as the guidance calls for — helps to eliminate the discrimination and bias that fuel the disproportionate punishment of Black children.

This administration would also have us believe that discipline disparities are a result of poverty, arguing that experiencing childhood trauma and living in distressed communities are to blame. But poverty cannot explain away the discipline disparities: Studies have shown that when taking a student’s economic background into account, Black children are still more likely to be suspended than students of other races. And let’s not forget that poverty, too, is a result of deliberate policy choices that leave Black children isolated in neighborhoods with little resources — including the longstanding impact of discriminatory housing policies such as redlining. These are choices that this administration has done nothing to address.

What many (including this administration) fail to realize is that there is a difference between discipline and punishment. Suspensions and expulsions don’t teach. They punish. And far too often, adults decide that Black children are not worthy of teaching and second chances. Excluding students from classrooms does not help them to correct the mistakes that children inevitably make. It also has negative long-term consequences. These negative outcomes include poor academic performance, lower levels of engagement, leaving school, and increased likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system.

Unfortunately, attempts to exclude Black children from educational opportunities are not new. America has a rich history of locking Black children out of the classroom. This list includes anti-literacy laws, past and current resistance to school desegregation, lack of access to well-resourced schools, school based arrests, poor course access, enormous higher education costs, and unjust exclusionary policies. Every barrier and trick in the book has been used to limit the education of Black children. The removal of the discipline guidance is just the latest.

Rescinding the guidance is a reminder to those fighting for educational equity: For Black children, simply attending school is an act of protest, and learning and excelling while there is an act of racial justice. Every time a Black child is sent home for a minor offense, they are sent the message that they are unwanted or don’t belong. But Black children do belong, and they deserve to be safe, included, and to have access to a quality education. Despite the current administration’s actions, this is the message that advocates must make clear at the beginning of 2019 — and every year hereafter.

It’s up to us as advocates for educational justice to ensure that schools do not illegally discriminate against Black children. Encourage school leaders to commit to ongoing racial bias training; require culturally sustaining classroom management strategies; examine their school and district data to help determine if race and bias are driving who gets punished; adopt clear, fair, and transparent consequences; and eliminate school exclusion for discretionary non-violent offenses.

For more, watch John B. King Jr. break down how we can break the school-to-prison pipeline.

Diabetes Solutions Center Helps Blacks Afford Medication

— Did you know that here in Maryland an estimated 623,000 people, or 12.6% of the population, now have diabetes? Of these, 156,000 of them have diabetes and simply do not know it. In addition, 1,634,000 people in Maryland or a staggering 36.9% of the population, have pre-diabetes.

American Diabetes Association estimates that over 30 million Americans are affected by diabetes and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In our community, studies show that we are disproportionately affected by diabetes. The rates of diagnosed diabetes among African Americans is 12.7% compared to 7.4% of whites.

Diabetes is a dangerous and deadly illness if not monitored and controlled. Unchecked, it can result in heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death. In fact, the Maryland Health Department’s Annual Vital Statistics Report reports that diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in 2017 where 33.2% of those were African Americans compared to 15.9% of whites.

When diabetes is diagnosed, it can be very expensive to treat. African Americans not only face the dilemma of increased diabetes diagnoses, but also face numerous of health care challenges when trying to manage diabetes for a better quality; such as cost for treatments, medications, limited supplies and access to primary care. In fact, people with diabetes have medical expenses about 2.3 times higher than those without it.

When it is hard to afford medication, people may be tempted to try to ration their insulin or not use it as often. That is unwise and even less so with diabetes, which requires lifestyle changes and vigilance with medications.

Eli Lilly and Company, a global leader in diabetes care, understands these gaps, circumstances and burdens of costs in our community. They understand that there are gaps in health care for communities of color and working to help close it by reducing the cost of insulin. They have launched the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center and Helpline to help provide solutions to people who need help paying for their insulin, such as those with lower incomes, the uninsured, and people still paying their deductible in a high-deductible insurance plan. It is truly an innovative program with a multifaceted approach to helping diabetes sufferers afford necessary medications.

The Baltimore Times applauds Eli Lilly for this new effort and the work they have done to help patients access and afford treatments and get on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Diabetes patients can call the center and representatives will work with them and develop a cost-savings plan based on the patient’s economic and personal situations. The Lilly Diabetes Solution Center phone number is 1-833-808-1234. The call center is fully staffed by health care professionals such as nurses and pharmacists who have the expertise to assist patients.

As diabetes cases continue to increase, Lilly’s program is providing help for people with immediate needs for insulin.

Our hats are off to Lilly for actively trying to help those with this disease. It is this sort of ground-breaking and compassionate thinking that can spur the entire health care industry to establish practices that get the most vulnerable the health care they need, keep more of us healthy and save money for patients in the long run.

About the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center and Helpline

The Solution Center is a solution-oriented program to provide relief for those who are not insured, under insured or have high out-of-pocket expenses. It will assist people to gain access to affordable insulin, resources and options. Specifically, the center provides cost savings solutions, free clinic information to receive support and short-term and long-term options for immediate needs.

Lilly is dedicated to making sure that no one has to pay full price for insulin. And for those who currently pay high costs of insulin, Lilly wants to provide lower costs insulin options.

“We don’t want anyone to have to pay full list price for their insulin, and many people who do will be able to pay significantly less by calling our helpline,” said Mike Mason, senior vice president, Connected Care and Insulins. “Our goal is to ensure that people paying high out-of-pocket costs for Lilly insulins are matched with the best solution available to reduce their financial burden and help ensure they receive the treatment they need.”

Lilly has also donated insulin to three relief agencies that serves communities of color globally and particularly in the US — Americares, Direct Relief and Dispensary of Hope. They have distributed insulin to 150 free clinics around the country. The helpline will direct people toward these clinics in their local communities and provide information on how they can obtain it.

Lilly wants to hear from those who have trouble paying or cannot afford their insulin by calling the helpline. If there is an immediate need, please call the helpline to learn the immediate and long-term best options of care.

Help is available now by calling the Lilly Diabetes Solutions Center helpline at 833-808-1234 to get more information and immediate assistance. Representatives will be available from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm (ET) Monday through Friday