Why Is Suicide A Growing Problem In The Black Community? Part II

The NNPA is taking a closer look at the stigma of mental illness in the African American community. Link to Part I: blackpressusa.com/mental-health-stigma-still-affecting-african-americans.

It’s no secret that African Americans – particularly teens – are committing suicide at record levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999 and nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016 alone.

A June 2019 study conducted by the Journal of Community Health revealed that suicide deaths among black females aged 13 to 19 rose 182 percent between 2001 and 2017, while the rate among black teen males rose 60 percent during that same period.

From 2015 to 2017, 52 percent of black teen males who died from suicide used firearms, a method with a fatality rate of nearly 90 percent. Another 34 percent used strangulation or suffocation, which has a fatality rate of about 60 percent.

Among the 204 black teen females who died by suicide from 2015 to 2017, 56 percent used strangulation or suffocation and 21 percent used firearms, according to the study.

Experts and others have tried to determine why African Americans increasingly are choosing to end their lives. Theories have run the gamut— from the lack of strong father-figures to racism and social media and even the increase in black wealth.

Whatever the reason, the CDC said it’s important to note that suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and should be treated as a psychiatric emergency.

CDC officials also caution that those who have suicidal thoughts should understand that it doesn’t make one weak or flawed.

“Why are we killing ourselves? The lack of treatment of mental illness is the key factor to why suicide is on the rise in the black community,” said Clarence McFerren, a mental health advocate and author who admits to previously having suicidal thoughts as a teenager. Through out my life, I’ve been faced with difficult situations which festered into five mental illness diagnosis— ADHD, PTSD, severe depression, bipolar tendencies and anxieties— and I did not understand what was going on until I took the steps to get help.”

Famed Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author, Dr. Fran Walfish said she’s treated hundreds of thousands of children and teens each year and recently she’s seen the number of troubled teenagers who are cutters and dealing with suicidal thoughts, feelings, ideas, plans, and even attempts of suicide.

“There is nothing glamourous about suicide. The one common-denominator shared by all who cut, contemplate or attempt suicide is that they feel emotionally alone in their families,” said Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent,” and who appears regularly as an expert child psychologist on the CBS Television series, “The Doctors.”

“They feel there is no one person they can talk to about their pain who will listen, validate, understand, and be a safe warmly attuned place for comfort,” she said.

Sam Gertsmann, the founder of Opinion-Lounge, a website for discussing politics, said he’s had extensive experience working suicide hotlines.

“While suicide is a complicated topic, it’s clear that the rise of social media is one of the main causes of the recent jump in suicide rates,” Gertsmann said.

“Social media show users pictures and videos of everyone living better lives than they are; even though these pictures are often staged and paint an inaccurate picture, the brain isn’t able to differentiate and simply sees that everyone else is better off.

“Social media also puts numbers on your popularity— your followers, your likes, your replies. And, no matter how many you have, you’ll always want more.”

Kevin Darné, the author of “My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), believes that the suicide rate among young African Americans is due to the growing list of black millionaires and billionaires.

“Today, we have Oprah owning a TV network, Tyler Perry owning his own studios, Shonda Rhimes owning her night of television on ABC, Jay-Z becoming a billionaire, Dr. Dre selling ‘Beats’ to Apple for $3 billion, and a few Fortune 500 black CEOS, black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs,” Darné said.

“Although racism is still alive, it’s impossible to deny the fact that the rise of a black upper middle class and an increase in black millionaires [contributes to others having lower self-esteem].

“The irony is the more black success that someone sees in various industries could make a person start to wonder about what’s wrong with themselves. Depression and lack of fulfillment can cause people in a rich country to consider suicide … when there’s a huge gap between one’s expectations and their reality, life can seem miserable.”

Next in this series: Possible solutions for those contemplating suicide

You Had Better ‘Mind Your Business’ at Coppin on Saturday, October 5th

If someone told you to mind your business, you might think they were being smart. But if you are already an entrepreneur or are seeking to become one, a “smart” move would be to “Mind your Business.” That’s the title of an exciting, free event designed for small business owners, entrepreneurs, creative industry organizations and DIY (Do It Yourself) businesses.

Presented by PNC Bank and Times Community Services, Inc., Mind your Business: Building a Network of resources for business owners and entrepreneurs, will take place Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Physical Education Complex at Coppin State University located at 2523 Gwynns Falls Pkwy. in Baltimore.

The free event will cover a wide range of topics including financial education; how to structure your business; when you should include a CPA or legal experts; as well as an introduction to tax incentives that are available if you are located in one of Baltimore’s Arts Districts.

“We are proud to partner with PNC Bank to offer this exciting event,” said Baltimore Times Publisher Joy Bramble. “You might not make a million dollars, but small businesses help people to support their families and provide jobs. Small businesses also help blacks and other minority communities to be more sustainable.

“Right now, we have a new, very robust economy. We have to take our place in that economy. There was a time when it was very difficult for minorities to get bank loans. Now banks are bending over backwards to teach you. This event will show entrepreneurs how to start a business and stay in business. This event will provide a wealth of information about the many resources that are available.”

Baltimore native Ramsey Harris is Vice President and Territory CRA Business Advisor in the Retail Lending Distribution Management division at PNC Bank. Harris is responsible for overseeing and executing strategic plans that enable the bank to achieve specific Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) focused goals, and measures of lending to businesses located within designated, inner-city/Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) geographies.

“Baltimore has such a strong spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Harris who is also a minister. “One of my callings is to do all I can to educate and empower minority business owners. I am responsible for the achievement of our CRA goals for the entire East Coast and all points in between. That includes Maryland and Delaware, and from New York to Florida. Baltimore is the highest priority for me.

“I am always excited to partner with The Baltimore Times. I appreciate the paper as a media outlet in the community that gives out accurate information, to our folks via its online and hardcopy editions. The reputation of the paper is stellar. Joy Bramble has a passion for small businesses in the community, and that’s evident through events such as this forum.”

The event will also offer attendees an opportunity to network; learn about new products; find out how they can run their business more efficiently; position themselves more competitively; and how to protect their intellectual property more completely.

Harris will be facilitating a workshop geared towards educating small businesses about credit.

“My workshop will discuss the nuances of business credit and business finance,” he said. “Businesses have to be able to get the credit they need to sustain their business. I will be emphasizing PNC’s proactive approach and commitment to support minority enterprises under our CRA business, lending program. Obviously, Baltimore is home for me and my heart and soul. I have traveled to other cities to teach this forum.

I am excited to be able to teach it in my hometown.”

In addition to Harris, PNC Bank branch manager Sherry Curry will also be among the presenters. The other presenters are: Nicholas Cohen; Everett Sands; Chris Rockey; Carrisa Carson; Adam Holofscener; Paul E. Taylor; Cassandra Vincent; and Takia Ross.

“I will cover the credit part from a traditional banking standpoint, but we have all types of seminars on promoting your business,” said Harris. “We have something for everyone looking to start or grow their business. We handpicked these presenters. We selected individuals who are well informed in their various fields, and operate in excellence in their individual expertise, and who are passionate about their work.

“I am also excited about the partnerships we have with Morgan State University, and Coppin State University. I am particularly proud of the fact that we are utilizing and collaborating with our HBCUS in Baltimore to host these events. PNC has established really impactful and robust relationships with both schools. I am encouraging everyone to come out and take advantage of this empowering event.”

To see a short clip of PNC’s Harris and Curry discussing the Mind Your Business event, visit: www.baltimoretimes-online.com

To register for the event, visit: www.mindyourbusinesspnc.eventbrite.com.

Biden Misses Baltimore Fundraiser Due To Crash Near Namesake Delaware Welcome Center

CNN Video

Joe Biden Misses Fundraiser in Baltimore

— Former Vice President Joe Biden had to miss a Tuesday fundraiser in Baltimore because of traffic caused by an accident south of the welcome center named after him, campaign spokeswoman Remi Yamamoto said.

A tractor trailer overturned on I-95 in Newark, Delaware, forcing the highway to be closed in both directions, according to the Delaware Department of Transportation. The accident was south of the Biden Welcome Center, which was renamed in honor of Biden and his family last year for their service to the state.

Biden delivered remarks to the event over speakerphone, apologizing for not being able to make it.

“We were on time heading down to see you all and there was a major, major accident. A tractor trailer overturned, we later learned. We sat there for about 40, 45 minutes — maybe longer,” he said, according to a pool report.

The Democratic presidential candidate was traveling from an event in Wilmington, Delaware, where he made his most direct statement to date on impeachment. The former vice president said Tuesday that if President Donald Trump does not cooperate with Congress, he would leave lawmakers with “no choice” but to start impeachment proceedings.

In his remarks to the fundraiser, Biden said Trump is attacking him because he presents a formidable challenge to the President’s reelection prospects and reiterated his support for holding him accountable.

“But if we allow a president to get away with shredding the United States Constitution, this is going to last forever. This goes well beyond me. This is a national problem. This isn’t a Democratic problem. This isn’t a Republican problem. If I dropped out tomorrow, the fact is we can’t let this happen,” Biden said.

Shortly after Biden made his comments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, a dramatic and historic move that comes as Trump faces outrage over reports that he pressured a foreign leader in an effort to target a political rival.

Trump on Sunday acknowledged he discussed Biden in a July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. CNN previously reported Trump pressed Zelensky in the call to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter, according to a person familiar with the situation. That call was also part of a whistleblower complaint submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, another person familiar with the situation told CNN.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Trump on Sunday acknowledged the phone call and that he discussed Biden, but denied doing anything improper. The President said Tuesday he would release a transcript of the phone call.

This story has been updated to include Biden’s remarks to the fundraiser.

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Jharrel Jerome Pays Tribute To Exonerated Central Park Five In Emmy Acceptance Speech


Jharrel Jerome Emmy Acceptance Speech

Jharrel Jerome pays tribute to exonerated Central Park Five in Emmy acceptance speech

Originally Published: 23 SEP 19 08:20 ET

By Toyin Owoseje, CNN

    (CNN) — In one of the most moving moments of the 2019 Emmys, Jharrel Jerome paid tribute to the “exonerated five” as he accepted the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for his role in the Netflix drama “When They See Us.”

Written and directed by Ava DuVernay, the four-part drama tells the true story of the Central Park Five — Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam — who were pressured into falsely confessing to the brutal attack and rape of Trisha Meili in 1989.

Jerome’s riveting performance as Wise — who was then the oldest of the accused at 16 years old, and thus served his 14 years as an adult in the corrections system — earned him critical praise. He was the only one of the five main actors to play his role as a teen and as an adult.

After thanking his parents, the 21-year-old named the five men who sat alongside veteran actors and Oscar-winners in the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

As they stood up and applauded him, a visibly emotional Jerome said: “I felt like I was in a championship game, and we went through our final hurrah,” he said. “Thirty years ago they were sitting in a prison cell, falsely incarcerated, and today they’re in suits styled by designers for the Emmys.”

Not only is Jerome the first Afro-Latino actor to be nominated for and win in an acting category, he is also the youngest actor to win Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

The relative newcomer, who hails from the Bronx, beat Mahershala Ali, Benicio del Toro, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris and Sam Rockwell for the award.

Appearing overwhelmed by his win, Jerome said: “It’s an honor. It’s a blessing, and I hope this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro-Latinos. It’s about time we are here.”

Taking to Instagram later, Jerome posted a video of himself partying with Wise, McCray and Santana. The group appeared elated as they rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Jerome previously appeared alongside Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali in 2016’s Oscar-winning coming-of-age drama “Moonlight.”

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The Time Is Now To Help Prevent Gun Violence In Urban Neighborhoods

At the beginning of this summer, I wrote an Op-Ed for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. I asked for support for the anti-violence programs around the country and many of you responded. For that, I am grateful.

One of the things that I have done over the last 10 years— with the exception of 2018— is host a dinner for the mothers of deceased children in my old hood in Queens, New York. The deceased children all died because of senseless gun violence.

The recent dinners have had mostly the same mothers because Life Camp, the

program that I support, and the residents have held the violence to a minimum.

This year was very, very different.

Instead of going directly to the dinner, I was asked to stop at a church for a wake.

My brother who I grew up with, Marcellus, lost his son, Marcellus, Jr., who was on his way to college in just two days.

Marcellus Jr. was one of the 13 that were shot, and of the nine who were murdered, in last 10 days. I went to the church and saw Marcellus Sr. and I thought of images of him in our childhood.

We hugged the same way I hugged the brothers, the sisters, and the mother of his son.

Only with him, I started to cry. I was home. It was my Hollis family and we were hurting.

They, especially the father and the uncle, helped the whole thing to hit home harder. The way it should.

It reminded me that this wake was not business as usual, but instead it was critical for my own spiritual survival and growth.

We had planned the dinner over a month ago, but the murders and the funerals we couldn’t have predicted.

At the dinner, we recommitted to work on lifting our community. We reaffirmed our love for each other and our work.

Today, I am asking for all my Queens Congress members, City Council members, rappers, and hip-hop success stories to join me in helping Life Camp expand their good work.

I promise to donate more and support more than I have in the past. The time is now what will you do? With great love, all things are possible.

Anne Arundel Medical Center Names First Chair Of Oncology

— Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) has announced Adam Riker, MD, as its first chair of Oncology.

Dr. Riker comes to AAMC from Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Medicine, where he served as chief of Surgical Oncology and medical director of the cancer service line. Prior to LSU, he led cancer service lines at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans and Advocate Cancer Institute at Christ Medical Center in Chicago.

Along with Cathy Copertino, vice president of Cancer Services, Dr. Riker will lead the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at AAMC. He will oversee the continued development and creation of clinical programs, research and academic endeavors. Dr. Riker will provide leadership in all aspects of the cancer service line with regard to strategic, operational, resource management and education efforts.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Riker to Anne Arundel Medical Center,” said Mitchell Schwartz, MD, chief medical officer and president of Physician Enterprise at AAMC. “We believe that Dr. Riker will bring leadership skills to Anne Arundel Medical Center that will enable us to broaden the scope and depth of our cancer program. He has the skills to facilitate the vision of the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute, which is to provide high value cancer care that is scientifically based and designed to exceed patient and family expectations.”

“I am thrilled to join Anne Arundel Medical Center,” said Dr. Riker. “The Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute, holds an incredible reputation for high quality cancer care. I look forward to building on that reputation and further advancing the institute’s cancer care delivery system for our patients and their families.”

Dr. Riker completed his clinical fellowship in surgical oncology at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Black Americans Urged Not To Defer their Dream Of Homeownership

— According to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) wealth building usually begins with that first investment in owning your own home.

Whether you purchase a first-time “starter” home or inherit a property or residence, you start down the road to building wealth. But something has changed in the black community. The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics indicate that the black homeownership rate has dropped once again.

Now at 40.6 percent the rate starkly signals a continual loss of wealth for black Americans.

By comparison, the non-Hispanic white homeownership rate for the same period was reported to be 73.1 percent, a nearly 30 percent difference. There is a problem and NAREB is on point to stop the loss and return black Americans to wealth building through homeownership of real estate investment.

NAREB is aware that the black community, particularly its local and national leaders, may need a clear, strong wake-up call to reverse this daunting downward trend.

What are the causes? But more importantly, what are the solutions? What can the community of concern do to prompt home purchase and therefore, wealth building?

These and other questions were addressed at NAREB’s annual “State of Black America” forum to be convened at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 2019 Annual Legislative Conference held on Thursday, September 12, 2019.

Expert panelists, steeped in the issues, the disparities and likely solutions to raising black homeownership are committed to working with NAREB on its mission to restore confidence in the real estate market, identify critical systemic blockages, and outline the concerted

advocacy strategies that lawmakers at every level of government need to keep in mind to improve black homeownership outcomes.

During the forum, Donnell Williams, the newly installed NAREB president announced an aggressive program to reach out and encourage black millennials to consider, or re-consider, homeownership as a wealth building tool.

“Statistics show that there are 1.7 million black millennials making $100,000 or more and could improve their financial futures with homeownership or participation in real estate investment opportunities. NAREB is determined to reach them with messages that rebut, yet improve, some of their current lifestyle choices,” Williams said, adding that homeownership is critical. “One clear message to millennials: Think about a house before you buy the car.”

As he explains, wealth building is all about smart choices. Dreams need not be deferred. Homeownership is possible and still desirable as a wealth building tool. NAREB, with its nationwide network of predominantly black American real estate professionals are here to help find the wealth building pathways that best suit lifestyles and incomes.

“Every Kid Outdoors” Program Provides Fourth Grade Students With Free Entrance To Public Lands

— Fourth grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas with their families, classmates and friends. The Every Kid Outdoors Program is an interagency collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service that provides fourth graders with free access to explore, learn, and recreate in spectacular settings, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests.

“Introducing fourth grade students to America’s public lands provides them with limitless opportunities to have fun, be active, improve fitness, and learn critical skills,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Visits on class trips or family vacations to the rich variety of astonishing landscapes and historic treasures located on public lands will result in unforgettable experiences and, hopefully, forge lifelong connections to the outdoors.”

The bipartisan John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 12, 2019, authorized funding for Every Kid Outdoors for the next seven years.

To obtain the free pass, fourth grade students visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, participate in a short educational activity, and download a voucher. The voucher is valid for multiple uses between Sept. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020 to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a keepsake pass at participating federal lands.

The voucher or pass grants free entry for fourth graders, all children under 16 in the group and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters. The pass does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping or boat rides.

The great outdoors make a great classroom. Fourth grade educators are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of educational programs and tools associated with the Every Kid Outdoors Program. Educational activities, field trip options, information and tools in English and Spanish, and the ability to print vouchers for passes for students are all available on the website.

The Every Kid Outdoors Program replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program that was established in 2015.

The program focuses on children 10 years of age—the age of most fourth graders—based on research that indicates children ages 9–11 are at a unique developmental stage in their learning where they begin to understand how the world around them works in more concrete ways and they are more receptive to engaging with nature and the environment. By focusing on this age group year after year, the program aims to ensure every child in the United States has the opportunity to visit their Federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old, thereby establishing a lifelong connection to enjoy and protect our American outdoor heritage.

Fun-filled STEM Day Extravaganza Encourages Kids To Pursue Careers In Science, Math, Engineering And Technology

More than half of American adults say the primary reason young people don’t pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is because they think these subjects are too hard, according to recent research conducted by the Pew Research Center.

However, Morgan State University’s Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEEMA) has found a way to proactively address the need for minority youth involvement in STEM subjects by developing an annual event which provides students with a fun, interactive, hands-on, ‘minds-on’ alternative to learning disciplines traditionally known as either difficult or boring.

MSU’s eighth annual STEM Day Extravaganza was held on September 14, 2019 at the university’s Hill Field House, and once again showcased a variety of fun STEM-related activities for school-aged children including astronomy, model airplane building and flying, life science activities, engineering design and construction, math and science games, rocketry, robotics and various NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) educational activities.

“STEM is our life. It’s what we live and breathe,” said Jonathan Wilson, the STEM Day Extravaganza coordinator.

This year's STEM Day Extravaganza at Morgan State University garnered hundreds of students from Baltimore and surrounding areas for a day of fun-filled, interactive, STEM-related educational activities.

This year’s STEM Day Extravaganza at Morgan State University garnered hundreds of students from Baltimore and surrounding areas for a day of fun-filled, interactive, STEM-related educational activities.

Wilson, project director for Morgan State’s MUREP Aerospace Academy, was elated to host the STEM Day Extravaganza for the eighth year. Due to enrollment limitations on the Saturday Science Academy, the STEM Day allows students in the community and throughout the state of Maryland to engage in some similar hands-on activities, he said.

“Science, technology, engineering and math is important for every aspect of our lives, and we do not have enough professionals in the STEM fields in the U.S.,” Wilson added.

“Many old people like myself are retiring in all aspects— local, national, and federal agencies and we don’t have enough young people to take our places. So we continue to get this type of program going so that we can get [students] excited and motivate them to think of STEM and remove the fear of doing STEM.”

Most of the exhibits present additionally provided parents with educational techniques and materials to keep their children interested in academics, specifically in the STEM field.

“It’s an eye-opener for the kids and the parents as well,” said Vercera Brisbon, who came along with her grandson Daequan Railey, a student in BMAA Saturday Academy and third grader at Baltimore International Academy. Brisbon said she found out about the annual extravaganza through the Saturday Academy and was delighted to have been involved in the 2019 event.

“I hope that he’s learned a little science, a little more math, and he’s learning about engineering so I hope he takes interest in one of those three subjects. But there’s still a lot to go around and find out about, so when he leaves I’m hoping he picks up a little more than what he left with.”

Though a few vendors from last year’s event weren’t able to participate this year, Wilson was glad to have had one new vendor join the exhibits: the Space Telescope Science Institute.

The other vendors in attendance, all of whom participated in previous years, were American Nuclear Society; American Society for Biology; Army Research Lab; Baltimore MAA Instructors; Benjamin Banneker Museum; Carnegie Institute for Science: Bio Eyes; Exelon; Maryland Science Center; Maryland Space Grant Consortium; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; and several others.

“As you can see, they don’t want to leave. They love it. They said this is fun, this is exciting,” Wilson said. The extravaganza also holds the potential of added recruitment for the Saturday Academy program. Wilson expounded upon his and his colleague’s efforts to deliver a fun alternative for STEM involvement.

“In the STEM area subjects, some people think ‘oh, it’s not for me.’ They’re too scared. No, science, technology, engineering and math is all fun.

“That’s why we teach by [children] playing and then learning. And we need more of them to go into these fields when they come to college.”

Billie Partlow, a former BMAA instructor for high school students, has been a vendor since the extravaganza’s inception in 2012. Her exhibit, named “heart and mind,” focused on the effects of space travel on the body systems. The objective of the Partlow’s exhibit is for participants to understand how the nervous and cardiovascular system functions. She went on to explain why STEM is so critically important for black youth.

“Minorities or African-American children have been denied these privileges. It’s like our children don’t have the ability to learn technology and they’re not math wizards— yes they are. They’re just like any other child,” said Partlow who was also a former physics teacher with Baltimore City Public Schools. “I’m glad that whoever thought of this STEM thing note that our children need this for tomorrow as well as today… the STEM program is the best thing that could’ve happened.”

‘No Dead Beats Club’ Provides School Uniforms For Elementary, Middle School Students

School supplies are not the only back-to-school expense that can impact a family’s budget. Mandatory school uniforms used in an effort to promote uniformity, lessen bullying, encourage equality and emphasize academic achievement instead of fashion can be costly. For families with several school-aged children, the mandatory dress codes can be especially burdensome.

Cory McGhee, founder of the “No Dead Beats Club,” assembled a team of volunteers in Annapolis who also strive to help underprivileged youth and families. McGhee founded the club in July this year, after using the #nodeadbeats hashtag on social media for a long time. When he decided that he wanted to do uplifting things for the youth in the community, he opted to stick with his familiar hashtag.

Men from the “No Dead Beats Club” pose in solidarity.

Dee Ward

Men from the “No Dead Beats Club” pose in solidarity.

“We are aware that support, guidance and a sense of security plays a huge role in the growth and success in our youth,” McGhee said, explaining that these things are not available to many young people. “The team sat around trying to figure out what kids need for school. As we were brainstorming the usual school supplies came up, but we wanted to think deeper, and we came up with uniforms. Many on the team remembered being in school and having only one uniform to wear every day to school.”

The “No Dead Beats Club Back To School Bash” was held at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis, on August 25, 2019 to help ease the burden of buying school uniforms for the new school year. Approximately 70 elementary and middle school students received two new school uniforms each. The children participated in games and other fun activities plus many received haircuts.

McGhee added that he chooses to give back to the community because he was once an underprivileged child living in Annapolis. He also understands how hard it is for some parents, especially single ones, to provide for their families and be in a financial position to participate in fun activities.

The Annapolis father of three wants to help as many people as he can by being a mentor to youth and helping their families, even beyond the first event. Team members of the “No Dead Beats Club,” are like-minded volunteers, who responded to McGhee’s social media post about wanting to start a club with these goals in mind. The team recognized that the majority of elementary and middle school students in Annapolis are required to wear uniforms daily but realized that some of them may be in need of uniforms.

In the beginning, team members purchased uniforms with their own money. Later, they received donations from the public through Pay Pal and the Nodeadbeats Club Cash App to enabled them to shop for uniform shorts and pants in a variety of sizes. In a little less than a month, approximately 150 uniforms were purchased.

Deonte Ward, who is a member of the “No Dead Beats Club,” says that he has been volunteering in the community for 14 years. He is a full-time carpenter by day, and at night he works as a full-time youth program director for a non-profit.

“I’m giving back to the community because those that gave when I was a child helped provide a path for me to succeed despite the odds and adversity,” Ward said. “This is the beginning of a collaborative effort to helping families directly without governmental assistant. This helps bring more awareness to the communities in a unique way.”

Ward, also a parent, further explained that the volunteer group wants to be viewed as “big cousins” to youth. He says that the team can help bring more awareness to the communities in a unique way. He feels that individuals who are a part of the community can also make an impact on those who need help in it.

Both McGhee and Ward mentioned that more events are forthcoming.

“Our goal is to be that additional support in the concept of “It takes a village (to raise a child),” Ward said. “Well, we are the village.”

Requests for uniforms are still being made by local families. If you would like to donate to the uniform drive, funds are being accepted through CashApp via $NoDeadBeatsClub, or PayPal via corymcghee@gmail.com.