Trump Signs Future Act To Help HBCUs, Minority-Serving Institutions

One day after the House impeached him, President Donald Trump took decisive action to support and empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country.

The President put his signature on the Future Act, legislation that for the time includes HBCUs in the federal 5-year STEM Education Plan and the National Research and Development Budget Priorities.

“When I took office, I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my Administration continues to deliver,” Trump stated.

“A few months ago, funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy. But the White House and Congress came together and reached a historic agreement. For the first time ever, I signed legislation to permanently fund HBCUs and other institutions that primarily serve first-generation and minority students. This action guarantees more than $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, including $850 million specifically for HBCUs,” the President stated.

He continued:

“Today’s achievement continues my unprecedented commitment to HBCUs. During my first weeks in office, I moved the HBCU initiative, led by Johnathan Holifield, to the White House and worked with Congress to increase funding for HBCUs by more than $100 million. HBCUs have never had better champions in the White House.

“The bill I signed today also reforms the Free Application for Federal StudentAid, or FAFSA. The Internal Revenue Service will now seamlessly transfer applicants’ records to the Department of Education, so that families can use a simpler, shorter application for financial aid and those with student loans do not have to complete a cumbersome income certification process year after year.

“This is a transformative change that has been talked about in Washington for more than a decade, but everyone always said it could not be done. We got it done.”

HBCUs will now play an essential part in federal planning to advance bold, transformational leaps in science and technology to ensure America remains the global leader in science and technology for generations to come, White House officials said in a release.

With the bill’s signing, Trump also established the inaugural HBCU Colors Day, which encourages HBCU supporters from across the country to wear HBCU apparel to show their support for HBCU institutions.

The Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education – or Future Act – means that, under the President’s administration, investment in HBCU programs has significantly increased under Title III of the Higher Education Action of 1965.

This includes:

• A $35 million increase in the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program ($279.6 million);

• A $9 million increase in the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions ($72.3 million);

• A $1 million increase in the Strengthening HBCU Masters Programs ($8.6 million);

• Meaningful increases investments in student support like Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG); and

• Increases in Howard University’s annual appropriation by nearly $11 million, bringing its fiscal year 2018 investment level to $232.5 million.

• The bill also increased by $30 million in investments in the HBCU Capital Financing Program, helping eight schools experiencing financial difficulty in redesigning and restructuring to better meet student and community needs and fulfill loan obligations.

Trump also has appointed both the Chairman of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and Executive Director of the White House Initiatives on HBCUs.

“What we’re talking about is permanent funding for HBCUs, as well as minority-serving institutions, to the tune of $255 million in the annual formula and competitive funding,” said Ja’Ron Smith, the Deputy Assistant to the President for the White House Office of American Innovation.

“That’s over ten years, so you’re talking about $2.5 billion, and we didn’t just stop there. With the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) simplification that only allows students to answer up to 22 questions on a current basis, we eliminated the burdensome process that will allow low-income students like myself, who had to navigate a FAFSA form without having parents who ever went to college,” Smith stated.

Smith added that the legislation would help put more students in the pipeline, and more resources into HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.

“It’s going to help them with programming infrastructure and help the students that go to these institutions,” he stated.

The President and his administration are aggressively working on other strategies to assist HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, Smith stated.

“During our last two presidential board of advisors meetings, the subject came up, and we’re also taking a look at the money that can be leveraged into these institutions as well as community colleges,” Smith said. “I think that we just need to be smarter as a government and harness our institutions. Many of these schools are located in areas where people depend on those institutions to get access to opportunity. Our commitment has always been to figure out a strategy to help these institutions throughout the 21st century.”

Ravens Lamar Jackson Is Unquestionably The MVP

Few people viewed the Baltimore Ravens as contenders to win the AFC North, let alone be the top seed of the AFC overall. That’s because they were too busy focusing on Baker Mayfield and all of the things going on with the Cleveland Browns.

Meanwhile Lamar Jackson was gearing up to unleash one of the most dynamic performances ever by a quarterback. Before 2019, Michael Vick was the only quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Jackson ended the season with 1,206 rushing yards, averaged 6.9 yards per attempt, and scored seven touchdowns.

To borrow a phrase that Jackson jokingly used in some of his post game press conferences, “Not bad for a running back.” Jackson led the NFL is passing touchdowns (36) and threw for 3,127 passing yards with a 66.1 completion percentage. His 36 passes for touchdowns set a franchise record.

Jackson made the thought of him being converted to another position a foolish idea. Most importantly, his value to the Ravens was tremendous.

Jackson led the Ravens on numerous late drives to win games this season. Baltimore finished with a 14-2 record, the best in the NFL. Jackson spearheaded a Ravens offense that finished first in the NFL with 206 rushing yards per game and second in total offense with 407.6 yards per game.

The offense went through Jackson and he orchestrated the attack perfectly. Jackson showed tremendous touch on some of his downfield passes and managed to change his release angle on some amazing throws while escaping the pocket.

Baltimore’s offense was relatively unstoppable. When is the last time that could be said of the Ravens offense?

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has done a marvelous job designing an offense that showcases Jackson and the pieces around him. Rookie wideout Marquis Brown, tight end Mark Andrews, and running back Mark Ingram are all enjoying outstanding seasons.

Now the Ravens have the bye week and patiently await their opponent in the divisional round. The road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Baltimore.

There’s no question that Jackson is the MVP. In Harbaugh’s eyes, Jackson’s impact goes beyond just the team.

“You changed the game, man,” Harbaugh told Jackson during a regular season game this year. “You know how many little kids in this country are going to be wearing No. 8 and playing quarterback for the next 20 years because of you?”

Pianist Brian Ganz Presents Chopin January 5 Concert

Pianist Brian Ganz opens the 2020 Arts in the Woods Concert series Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA), 333 Dubois Road.

Ganz, who serves as artistic director for the series, will present “Musical Gardening,” in which he features examples of early works— including waltzes, mazurkas, polonaises and nocturnes—that contain the seeds of Chopin’s genius, followed by mature masterpieces in the same genres that demonstrate the full flowering of that genius. He will also perform Chopin requests from the audience, which has become a popular tradition in the seven years that he has opened the Arts in the Woods series.

Tickets are $20 at the door; youth 16 and under are free. Price includes a post-performance reception with the artist. For more information, visit or call 410-266-8044 Monday through hursday.

The January 5 concert will preview selections included in Ganz’s solo piano performance at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, on February 1—the tenth installment in a multi-year journey in partnership with National Philharmonic to perform the complete works of Frédéric Chopin. In commenting on this year’s program, Ganz said, “I’m especially excited by this year’s theme of musical gardening. It is one thing to jump headlong into the masterworks of Chopin. But I find it incredibly interesting and satisfying to watch his genius grow before our eyes and ears, starting with charming early works that few people know, and culminating in works of great beauty, craftsmanship and originality. It’s a kind of musical ‘time-lapse photography.’”

Among the featured selections in the January 5 program at UUCA, Ganz will include the masterful Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op. 61, the brilliant Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 34, No. 1 and the beloved Nocturne in D-flat major, Op. 27, No. 2, along with charming youthful works in the same genres. “I have especially come to love the Polonaise-Fantaisie,” pianist Ganz recently stated. “It’s almost as if a polonaise lover falls asleep and has a highly colorful, even glorious dream about a favorite polonaise. It’s unlike anything else Chopin ever wrote. The waltzes are sparkling examples of his great gift for melody. I’m excited to play these great works and many others on the church’s gorgeous new Steinway.”

Meet Bessie Elizabeth Harding:110 Years Old And Still Going Strong!

Meet Bessie Elizabeth Harding. She likes to eat pork chops, cheesecake, crab cakes, and chocolate. She enjoys singing along during Gospel Karaoke and plays Bingo regularly. She’s spry, has a sense of humor that will tickle any funny bone, encourages others, and has an amazing memory. Not bad, considering Harding recently celebrated her 110th birthday in November.

“I feel as good as anyone can feel,” said Harding. “If I see someone needs something, I give it to them. My mother used to tell me I would give someone the shirt off my back. I would if I saw someone suffering. I was always kind to people. I also love God. That’s why I have lived so long.”

She added, “I used to be bad. But I changed. I was touched by the Holy Spirit. Lord have mercy, He touched me.”

Bessie Elizabeth Harding as a young woman.

Courtesy Photo

Bessie Elizabeth Harding as a young woman.

The week of her birthday, Harding received a proclamation and visit from Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. According to her family, Ms. Harding was born in Nathalie, Virginia on Thanksgiving Day in 1909. She moved to Baltimore in the mid-1930s and lived in various neighborhoods including Waverly, Poplar Grove and West Baltimore. She currently resides in Keswick Multi-Care Center in Roland Park.

“I saw Martin Luther King, Jr. on television,” she recalled. “He was a wonderful man. It was exciting. It was great to see people of color really doing something. Everywhere Dr. King spoke, the places were crowded. After he got shot, there was rioting. At the time of the riots in Baltimore, I was living on Shirley Avenue.”

Harding also recalled her travels.

“I can truly say I have enjoyed myself,” she said. “I have been to many places including California. I loved getting around and seeing places and things I had never seen. My sister used to fuss and tell me I would spend up all my money traveling.”

She added, with a laugh, “I would tell her she couldn’t tell me how to spend my money.”

Harding was the youngest of five siblings, who have all passed.

“I was the baby girl,” said Harding. “I had three sisters and two brothers.”

She recalled waiting tables at the Mount Vernon Club on Mt. Vernon Place in then-segregated Baltimore. She worked there for more than 30 years.

“The Mount Vernon Club was for rich, white women,” recalled Harding. “They all wanted me to wait on them. I also trained the new waitresses. I showed them how to put the silver on the table. I told them they couldn’t put it down on the table any ole kind of way. I showed them how to put it down the correct way. I also showed them how to put down the cups and glasses. I told them, they couldn’t just put cups and glasses down anywhere. I worked there until I retired.”

Ms. Harding and her husband, the late Carlton Harding of Baltimore never had children. But the couple helped to raise two nieces and one nephew.

Aaron Von Moore is her great-nephew.

“Aunt Bessie was over 100 years old and still going to Lexington Market,” recalled Moore. “She was still going to the bank too. She’s a very independent lady.”

Bessie Elizabeth Harding during an event some years ago.

Courtesy Photo

Bessie Elizabeth Harding during an event some years ago.

According to Moore, Harding joined Enon Baptist Church located at 601 N Schroeder St. over 50 years ago.

Crystal Corbin works at Keswick, and is Harding’s social worker.

“Ms. Harding is such a blessing,” said Corbin. “She is still very alert, and able to express her needs and wants. She is also very vocal. She encourages other residents on the unit to eat. She amazes me. She is the oldest resident we have ever had here at Keswick. She even takes herself to Bingo.”

Make Healthy Aging A New Year’s Resolution In 2020

“It’s Never Too Soon to Think About Healthy Aging”

With people preparing their new year’s resolutions for 2020, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is encouraging people of all ages to make healthy aging a priority in the new year.

“When it comes to healthy aging, it’s never too soon to start,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “Lifestyle choices like proper diet, exercise and staying mentally and socially active can all play a role in aging and brain health. Taking care of your body and brain is a resolution everyone should make, and keep, in 2020 and beyond.”

AFA encourages individuals to take the following ten steps to promote good brain health and healthy aging:

  1. Eat Well – Adopt a low-fat diet high on fruits and veggies, like strawberries, blueberries and broccoli. Take daily vitamins. Limit intake of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar. In general, foods that are “heart heathy” are also “brain healthy.” Make sure to consult with your doctor about what is an appropriate diet based on your medical needs.
  2. Stay Active – Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can also help improve mood and overall wellbeing. Brisk walking benefits brain health, while aerobics can boost your heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility. Try out different activities until you find one that works for you.
  3. Learn New Things – Challenge your brain by starting a new hobby like playing tennis, learning to speak a foreign language, trying a cooking class, or something you haven’t done before. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand stimulates the brain by forcing it to think outside of its normal routine.
  4. Get Enough Sleep – Getting a consistent sleep every night is key; at least seven to nine hours is ideal. Having a good sleep environment is also helpful. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking. If you are having difficulty with your sleep, be sure to speak with your doctor about it.
  5. Mind Your Meds – Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as you age. Keep your doctor or local pharmacist updated on any changes with medications and have them review your drug list as medications can interact with each other.
  6. Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol – Smoking can increase the risk of serious illnesses, while too much alcohol can affect memory, impair judgment and present safety issues.
  7. Stay Connected – Social interaction and maintaining an active social life are very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation and mood. Invite friends and family over for a meal, board games, or just to hang out. Engaging in your community and participating in group activities is also beneficial.
  8. Know Your Blood Pressure – Blood pressure can impact your cognitive functioning. Visit your physician regularly to check your blood pressure and make sure it is in normal range.
  9. See Your Doctor – Maintain checkups. Health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, all of which can impact brain health. Speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
  10. Get a Memory Screening – Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts of our bodies do. A memory screening is a quick, easy, non-invasive exam for our brains. Talk to your doctor about getting a screening as part of your annual wellness exam or call AFA at 866-232-8484.

Additional information about healthy aging, brain health and wellness and memory screenings can be found on AFA’s website, or by calling AFA’s Helpline at 866-232-8484. The helpline is open seven days a week.

Macy’s and Clothes4Souls Distributes 500 Coats

Not too many children can say they shopped for a new coat with a world boxing champion and a reality TV star. But the Boys & Girls Club Of Metropolitan Baltimore can say they did. On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, members shopped with two-time Super Featherweight and Golden Gloves Champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Tammy Rivera Malphurs of VH-1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.

Malphurs and Davis participated in a coat distribution event sponsored by Clothes4Souls and Macy’s. The event benefitted Legal Aid, and took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. The Club is located at 3560 3rd Street in Brooklyn, Maryland. According to Macy’s, 500 coats were distributed. Both Malphurs and Davis are Baltimore natives.

Tammy Rivera Malphurs of VH-1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and a child during the event.

Photos Courtesy of Hugh Media Company

Tammy Rivera Malphurs of VH-1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and a child during the event.

“I think it was great that Macy’s reached back into the city and donated so many coats,” said Malphurs. “That was amazing. It’s personal to me and I am from Baltimore. I know how it feels to be on the other side of the door. It was me, my sister and my mom. My mother had to go to places for help. I will always be involved in this as long as God gives me the strength.”

In addition to her reality TV career, Rivera is also a singer, fashion designer and businesswoman. Her songs include her first single, “All These Kisses” and her next single, “Only One.”

“I will never be too high or too low to help,” said Malphurs who grew up in West Baltimore. “Wherever I need to be, I am there. God blessed me and I want to bless others. I have a strong belief that I am in this position because God wants me to help others.”

Through its 2019 “Buy a Coat and We’ll Donate One” campaign, Macy’s, donated 35,000 brand new coats nationwide to Clothes4Souls. A division of Soles4Souls, Inc., Clothes4Souls, creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of clothing around the world.

From Wednesday, October 9, 2019 through Monday, October 14, 2019, Macy’s invited its customers to help those in need by purchasing a coat in the men’s, women’s, junior’s and children’s outerwear departments in-store and on For every coat purchased, Macy’s donated a new coat to Clothes4Souls.

This year, working in partnership with local charities and service organizations in a number of cities across the U.S., Clothes4Souls and Macy’s volunteers donated much needed cold weather clothing to men, women, and children in need throughout the season. Through Macy’s 2019 “Buy a Coat and We’ll Donate One” campaign, Macy’s donated 35,000 brand new coats nationwide to Clothes4Souls, totaling over one million dollars.

This is the sixth year of the partnership between Macy’s and Clothes4Souls, resulting in a total of 270,000 coats distributed nationwide since 2013, with a retail value of more than $10 million.

Giving back felt good,” said Davis. “To see the smiles on the children’s faces was amazing.”

The coat distribution event benefitted Legal Aid, and took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. The Club is located at 3560 3rd Street in Brooklyn, MD. According to Macy’s, 500 coats were distributed.

Photos Courtesy of Hugh Media Company

The coat distribution event benefitted Legal Aid, and took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. The Club is located at 3560 3rd Street in Brooklyn, MD. According to Macy’s, 500 coats were distributed.

Davis (22-0, 21 KOs) is a two-time Super Featherweight and Golden Gloves Champion. He moved up in weight, and will take on former unified World Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-2, 18 KOs) for the lightweight title. The fight will take place on December 28, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.

“This means a lot to me,” said Davis. “I’m only 25. I am not so far ahead to forget how I was brought up. Everyone’s finances don’t allow them to afford things. It felt great to be here. I encouraged the kids to keep their heads up.”

He added, “This was my first time working with Macy’s, but hopefully it won’t be my last time. Hopefully, Macy’s enjoyed working with me as much as I enjoyed working with them.”

Macy’s is the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., and delivers quality fashion to customers at approximately 640 locations in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as to customers in more than 100 international destinations through leading e-commerce site Macy’s flagship stores –including New York City’s Herald Square –are internationally renowned and preeminent destinations for tourists.

“We’re proud that our customers love to give back as much as we do at Macy’s” said Sam Harrison Di Scipio, Macy’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Giving and Volunteerism. “Through our longstanding partnership with Clothes4Souls, we’ve been able to share the warmth with those in need for more than seven years. We’re grateful for the support of our customers, colleagues and vendors that have stood behind this important cause with us.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) On Census 2020 (Counting Children Matters Most)

Within the African American community, the conversation about the upcoming 2020 census ranges from ‘why bother’ to ‘we’re all in.’ Let’s speak to the ‘why bother’ question.

FAQ: Why should I bother with Census 2020? I filled out the census form the last time and I didn’t see any improvements in my neighborhood or community.

Answer: Whether or not you saw the improvements you expected, many benefits of the census still touched your life, your community, and the people you love and care about – especially children.

If you have a sense of responsibility for the quality of life of children in your family or beyond, your participation in the census has a direct impact. Over 200 federal programs derive revenue from data gathered by the census. This list includes school lunch programs and the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) which provides direct monetary assistance for low income pregnant women and new mothers and their children. Other programs range from Section 8 Housing assistance to LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP helps families pay heating bills and assists with repairs to furnaces, insulation and weatherization costs.

Without these programs, the cost of living for everyone in a neighborhood, city, or county would be higher. Take LIHEAP as an example. Without the financial subsidy to those in need, other ratepayers and customers like yourself, would likely face an increase in monthly utility bills.

This is one reason why those who represent African American communities, be they clergy, elected officials, or social justice advocates, see engagement with the census as a moral imperative.

FAQ: That still doesn’t explain why I don’t see the improvements promised during the last census in 2010 or even during the 2000 census.

Answer: You know the saying, “all politics is local.” Almost nowhere does this apply more than when money is being allocated. There are layers of responsibility for how money is spent, including federal and state formulas as well as decisions made at the local level, often by elected officials. The census has a direct bearing on our election processes of redistricting and reapportionment which help determine how your vote is counted and who gets elected. We will take these up as separate .

FAQ: What happens if I do not fill out the form? Is that a crime? If so, what’s the punishment?

Answer: Not answering the census or providing false answers are each punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, but no one has been fined for failure to respond in recent censuses, according to the Census Bureau’s national spokesperson. But, as one census advocate said, it is a crime of sorts not to participate because is the children who suffer most without your full participation.

FAQ: Can someone find out my private census responses?

Answer: Your information is confidential and protected by Title 13 which brings heavy fines and possible imprisonment for anyone who divulges your personal information. The Census Bureau cannot, under penalty, share your information with the IRS, Homeland Security, immigration or law enforcement agencies or anyone else, including housing officials. However, census information is made publicly available after 72 years.

FAQ: What if I participate in the census, but there are more people living in my home than I’m supposed to have according to my lease or rental agreement?

Answer: The Census Bureau is trying to gather data. It is not seeking to determine whether you are violating your lease or local zoning codes, but you have raised an important point. Families are often fluid — grandparents taking care of grandchildren while parents are at work or away from home. The best thing to do is ask the Census Bureau or one of the many organizations participating in partnership during Census2020.