TeleHealth Access for Seniors Student found non-profit to bring digital access to seniors

When the coronavirus pandemic began to rage in March, schools and colleges were among the first casualties as education officials had to close their doors to ensure safety.

Sasvi Kulasinghe was sent home from her studies at the University of Mary- land. She immediately took an interest in finding out how she could make a tangible impact in her community.

Isuru Herath (Cornell University '23) co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Sasvi Kulasinghe.

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Isuru Herath (Cornell University ’23) co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Sasvi Kulasinghe.

“From the news and my own mother, who is a physician, I learned that the transition to telemedicine has been quite difficult for some community members, especially elderly individuals,” Kulasinghe said. “A lot of seniors either have flip phones or phones without video ca- pabilities, which makes telehealth visits much more difficult and less effective. Video conferencing allows the physician to provide more comprehensive care, as they can actually see and evaluate the patients’ symptoms and signs more ef- fectively.

“Thus, when I heard about ‘TeleHealth Access for Seniors,’ I was very eager to join, as it allowed me to address an im- portant need in the community.”

Telehealth for Seniors is a national nonprofit that provides seniors and low- income communities with devices, in- structions, and free tech-support to connect them to their physicians via a mobile device.

Telehealth enables caretakers to virtu- ally screen patients, answer questions, and make treatment recommendations without exposure to a hospital or clinic where they could contract or spread the coronavirus.

Locally, they are donating devices to clinics in the University of Maryland Medical System and the Mobile Medical Care clinic, which serves predominantly low-income communities in need of telemedicine appointments “As we adjust to living in this new re- ality, it has become evident that COVID-19 has exacerbated existing in- equalities. Inner-city communities, as well as the elderly, seem to be the most healthcare to patients in need.” Herath and Kulasinghe agreed that supporting Telehealth for Seniors is es- sential, particularly during COVID-19.

“As we navigate this pandemic, it’s re- ally important that everyone continues to follow social distancing guidelines to keep each other safe,” Kulasinghe said. “By breaking these rules, we may be putting vulnerable populations at high risk without even knowing it. To return to any sense of normalcy, we all have to play our part in protecting each other. It’s more important than ever to be mindful and considerate of others.”

To support our nonprofit’s initiative, donations of used devices are encouraged. To do so, visit “Device Donation Form” at https://www.telehealthforse- Further, monetary donations can be made on the organization’s gofundme vulnerable populations during this pandemic,” said Kulasinghe, the nonprofit’s Baltimore lead.

‘“Telehealth Access for Seniors” is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was formed to respond to these challenges by donating camera-enabled devices to clinics that serve patients from these populations so they can attend doctor’s appointments virtually. We also provide comprehensive guides and tech-support to help set up and use the devices.”

Isuru Herath, who attends Cornell University and co-leads Telehealth in Baltimore with Kulasinghe, said the organization is a straightforward way to give back to the community, as funds are spent based on the state they are raised in.

Ellicot City resident and sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, Sasvi Kulasinghe is the Baltimore lead at TeleHealth Access for Seniors.

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Ellicot City resident and sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, Sasvi Kulasinghe is the Baltimore lead at TeleHealth Access for Seniors.

“So monetary donations from Mary- land will be used to buy tablets for pa- tients in the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area. Additionally, patients keep these devices, allowing them to connect with their loved ones,” Herath said. “This is especially beneficial for elderly patients, who may often feel isolated during the quarantine. Donating to our organization is a great way to support each other in these trying times and help provide

Rambling Rose Think Positive: Remember the entertainment, the fun

Hello everyone, it has been such a sad time in the last several months. It’s just overwhelming. I began to think about this column, what I could I write about to bring our spirits up in a positive way and think of something other than our friends and family who have been getting sick and dying from this dreadful COVID-19. I thought for this column I will talk about something that will make you smile and remember the good old days. So check this out!

So come on and do some “Rambling” with me! This was a few years ago when exciting things were hap- pening in the entertainment world in Baltimore. I re- member when I used to hang in Club Paradise located at 1300 Laurens Street when they featured live enter- tainment of jazz and R&B bands every week with local groups such as Tracy Curbeam, Panama, Tiny Tim Harris and the D0-It-All Band; Keith Soul and the Rollex Band. My goodness what a good time we had.

Hey! What about the Cat’s Eye Pub that was located at 1730 Thames Street in Fells Point? I am not sure if they are still there, but I remember it was really a nice cozy spot,. It was a little jazz club where every Mon- day the club featured the Phil Cunneff Trio with Ben Frock on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Jeff Reen on bass and Philip Cunneff on drum.

Do you remember Duffy’s Restaurant that was lo- cated 3436 Frederick Avenue? Oh, I do! I remember when Carlos Johnson and his band were there every Thursday night to a packed house.

I remember a jazz concert a few years ago at the East Coast Jazz Festival that was held in the Double- tree Hotel in Rockville, Maryland. My goodness that was a “HOT” concert! If I close my eyes, I can see it all over again. Music lovers came from all over to catch this one; Check out the line-up if I can remem- ber myself. I believe it was: the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble; Paul Laurence Dunbar High School Jazz Ensemble with Charles Funn, director; Ernie Andrews with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School Jazz Ensemble; Dick Morgan Trio; Buster Williams; Keter Betts Trio; Allison Miller Trio; Ron- nie Wells and Ron Ellston; Jackie Williams; Junior Mance; Dennis Fisher Trio; Richie Cole Quartet with Lady Byron on the B-3 Organ; Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio; Junior Mance Trio; Frank Morgan Quartet; Valery Ponomarev Quartet; Ron Kearns Quintet. And that is all I can think of from the top of my head, but I do know it was many more. I also remember

I had a damn good time and that this festival included about 23 main stage ticket events and about 100 free, open to the public events. Oh mannnn, I could use a show like that now.

How am I doing so far? Are you smiling yet? Okay, I got some more fun memories. Do you remember when the Maceo’s Lounge located 1926 N. Monroe Street had live entertainment every Wednesday and Thursday nights featuring Bobby Ward Trio on Thurs- day nights and every Wednesday night Tiny Tim Har- ris and his band performed.

There was another concert stuck in my mind that happened right here in Baltimore. I can’t remember what year for sure, I believe it may have been in 2003 when WEAA 88.9 was celebrating their 25th Anniver- sary andthey put on a fantastic concert at the Gilliam Concert Hall of the Murphy Fine Arts Center on the campus of Morgan State University. The musicians I remembered performing were Cyrus Chestnut; Gary Bartz; Michael Bowie; Winard Harper; Dantae Winslow; Andy Ennis; Wendell Shephard, Dr. John Lamkin; Charlie Covington Timmy Shepherd; Michael Austin and I believe the hosts for this event were Ruby Glover; Sandi Mallory and Gary EllerbeOkay, my dear friends, I am hoping this week col- umn made you smile and start a positive conversation with your buddies and friends just long enough to take your mind off the COVID-19, masks and no live en- tertainment anyhere, because nowhere is safe these days. Make sure you pick up the Baltimore Times every week or read it on line and leave your comments.

Stay home, stay safe and remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

James and Brenda Hamlin, owners of the Avenue Bakery celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary this month. All of your patrons including Rambling Rose say, “Congratulations!”

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James and Brenda Hamlin, owners of the Avenue Bakery celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary this month. All of your patrons including Rambling Rose say, “Congratulations!”

United Way of Central Maryland Partners with Pro Bono Counseling Project to Support Increasing Mental Health Needs

Baltimore— To support the mental health of Marylanders, United Way of Central Maryland’s 211 Helpline has partnered with Pro Bono Counseling Project (PBCP) to create a new mental health WARMLine, which supports Marylanders who are experiencing men- tal health impacts related to the COVID- 19 pandemic. Additionally, a $25,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission will enable PBCP to provide a teletherapy platform to virtually serve Marylanders with counseling and other services. The new line enables United Way to quickly direct 211 callers to PBCP’s team of licensed, volunteer therapists.

“This is an invaluable program,” said Sue Poandl, Associate Vice President, 211 Maryland United Way Helpline. “Mental health is a rising need among our callers as Maryland residents con- tinue to cope with stress, uncertainty, and loss during these unprecedented times. Knowing that our callers now have access to a helpful, licensed thera- pist makes all the difference.”

WARMLine encourages those who are feeling anxious, depressed, or in need of someone to talk to due to the current pandemic or other issues to call 211 or dial 443-608-9182 directly to be con- nected with a representative who can provide support. Available weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., WARMLine repre- sentatives will listen to concerns and refer callers to any additional resources they may need.

“By partnering with the United Way of Central Maryland and the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline, we are able to fur- ther increase our outreach to Marylan- ders impacted by the current pandemic,” stated Amy Greensfelder, Executive Director, Pro Bono Counseling Project. “The grant from the Maryland Commu- nity Health Resources Commission allows us to provide resources to expand telehealth services, and funding from United Way of Central Maryland has allowed for the creation of WARMLine with staff to provide immediate support to those experiencing stress and anxiety.” 211 provides a vital service leveraged by millions of people across North America. Every day, clients contact 211 to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling; disaster assis- tance; food, health care and insurance assistance; housing and utility payment assistance; employment services; veter- ans services; childcare, family services and more.

For more information about 211 Mary- land United Way Helpline, or to donate to keep this vital service available for central Maryland’s neighborhoods,


Herman Cain dies from coronavirus

Herman Cain, a onetime Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus, according to an obituary sent from his verified Twitter account and Newsmax, where he was launching a television show.

Cain, 74, was hospitalized earlier this month, and his Twitter account said this week he was being treated with oxygen in his lungs. It is unknown where Cain contracted the virus.

“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of since 2012, wrote in a post Thursday. “He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.”

As a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, Cain was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — which saw at least eight Trump advance team staffers in attendance test positive for coronavirus. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh has told CNN that Cain did not meet with Trump at the Tulsa rally.

Cain had posted a photo of himself at the rally, seated closely among other attendees without a facial covering.

In a post earlier this month announcing Cain’s Covid-19 diagnosis, Calabrese said they “have no idea” where Cain had contracted the virus.

“I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking,” Calabrese wrote.

Earlier this month, Cain appeared to support the decision not to require masks for Trump’s July 4 celebration event at Mount Rushmore.

“Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!” Cain’s Twitter account posted in a tweet that appears to have since been removed.

In commentary videos for his website that aired in June, Cain called on Americans to wear face masks, saying that the guidance now shows its effectiveness.

“If people take it seriously, social distancing, sanitizing, hand washing, and masks, then we’re going to be fine trying to do both at the same time — open the economy and then employ safety guidelines,” Cain said in one video. His website, however, also pushed the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine despite several high-quality studies that have found the drug alone or in combination with others showed no benefit for Covid-19 patients.

Trump paid tribute to Cain Thursday afternoon.

“Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me,” Trump tweeted. “He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend.”

Successful career in business predated White House bid

Cain announced his candidacy for president in 2011. He briefly gained traction in the race for his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, which would have replaced almost all current taxes with a 9% income tax, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% national sales tax. After about seven months, he dropped his bid for the GOP nomination amid sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.

Cain was considered at an increased risk for coronavirus due to his age and history with cancer, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

In 2006, Cain was given a 30% chance of survival from stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver. He underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancer from his liver and was declared cancer-free in 2007.

He told CNN in a 2011 interview that after beating cancer he felt he had to do “something bigger and bolder,” leading him to decide to run for president.

Cain was born December 13, 1945, in Memphis, Tennessee. He grew up in Atlanta as the son of a chauffeur and a domestic worker.

He began his corporate career in the mid-70s working for Coca-Cola, went on to work for the Pillsbury Company in 1977 and climbed the corporate ladder to eventually be named CEO of Godfather’s. He later led the National Restaurant Association, lobbying on Capitol Hill.

Cain also worked as a civilian employee for the Department of the Navy early in his career.

He gained national attention for confronting former President Bill Clinton at a 1994 town hall meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, over the Democratic President’s health care plan.

Cain had also sought the GOP nomination for a US Senate seat in Georgia in 2004, finishing second in the primary to Johnny Isakson.

A former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Cain had been considered by Trump last year for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria, and their two children, Melanie and Vincent, and grandchildren.

Bounce Celebrates The Life & Legacy of Rep. John Lewis, To Air Memorial Service for Civil Rights Icon Live Thursday, July 30

The final service for the Civil Rights Icon before his interment will take place at the Ebenezer Baptist Church – once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – in Atlanta, the city which Lewis honorably represented for decades as a member of the House of Representatives. Lewis passed away July 17 at the age of 80.

Leading into the funeral service, Bounce will present Celebrating Atlanta’s Freedom Fighters: Fathers of the Movement (10:00 a.m. ET). Bounce is partnering with its’ Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV for this one-hour special which honors the lives and accomplishments of Representative Lewis, Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian.

Bounce (@bouncetv) is the first and only multi-platform entertainment network targeting African Americans, with programming seen over-the-air, on cable, on DISH channel 359, over-the-top on Roku®, on mobile devices via the Bounce and Brown Sugar apps and on the web via Bounce features a programming mix of original series and movies, off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports and events and more. Bounce is part of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).

Contact: Jim Weiss 770-672-6504


visit for more info

Fans not permitted at Ravens training camp

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned just about every facet of life upside down. Like everything else, National Football League (NFL) training camps are not immune to the effects. Fans of the Baltimore Ravens won’t be permitted to attend training camp practices this year.

Closing training camp to fans is a joint decision between the NFL and the National Foofball League Players Association (NFLPA). The league’s mandate supersedes any state decisions that may allow large gatherings.

For many Ravens fans, heading to the Under Armour Performance Center braving the dog days of August to get an up close look at their favorite team was an annual occurrence. Due to the expensive costs for tickets to games, training camp was the only opportunity for the average fan to see the Ravens in person.

The bleachers that surround the practice fields at the Under Armour Performance Center can hold up to 2,000 fans according to the team site. On any given day, those bleachers were full of fans in previous years.

The Ravens are one of the most popular teams in the NFL. The franchise has a unique bond and connection to the community. A lot of the players normally have football camps for the underprivileged youth in the Baltimore area. These camps weren’t able to take place this year because of the pandemic.

The team is aware of how much the fans love the Ravens. But they’re wisely taking a safety first approach. “It is critically important that we protect the well-being of our players,coaches, staff, fans and overall community,” Ravens President Dick Cass explained via the team site. “Health and safety will always be a top priority, and while we are disappointed that fans will not attend training camp, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the public and our organization. We look forward to welcoming back fans in the future when we can safely do so.

” It’s unfortunate that so many fans won’t get that up close look at the Ravens but it’s more important to do everything possible to limit the spread of Covid-19.

George E. Mitchell dead at age 65 Park Heights Community loses a GIANT

Christopher Crockett, a longtime Park Heights resident, has lived in the community for over 50 years. He talked about the legendary work of a man who dedicated his life to helping people in the area. That man’s name is George E. Mitchell.“George was really dedicated to uplifting the community,” said Crockett. “He wanted to see us get on our feet. He led by example by opening up different avenues for black men and black women. But his primary focal point were the kids. He was passionate about them.”Mitchell died on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at the age of 65. His passing reportedly was the result of complications from surgery. A public viewing will take place Saturday, August 1, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at

March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave. A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, August 2, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Langston Hughes Community, Business, and Resource Center, 5011 Arbutus Avenue. The service will be held outside on the field. Social distancing and masks are required.Mitchell served as president and CEO of the Langston Hughes Community, Business and Resource Center, which houses three libraries, a computer lab, and other resources to help children in the Park Heights community. He also served as president of Neighborhoods United, a unified group of Neighborhood Associations, which act as one body with definitive objectives for the achievement of physical, social, financial and health improvements in Park Heights. Crockett is Outreach Coordinator for Neighborhood United. He also serves as president of the SDKG

(Springhill, Derby Manor, Keyworth and Greenspring) Neighborhood Association. “I think George’s legacy is the way he lived,” said Crockett. “He cared about feeding people and the children. His love for the black community was outstanding. He was a worker for the rights of black people. If itwas right, he would fight for it.” Crockett said Mitchell’s mother Earles R. Mitchell, was also a fierce community advocate. “I have known George for a long time, but met his mother first,” said Crockett, “His mother also had strong roots in the community, and fought for what was right. “You could not buy George. You could not offer him money and think he would go against what he believed.

Because of George, the whole community is better because of what he stood for.” Pamela Curtis is the founder of Pushing the Vision Outreach Inc. a multicultural organization that caters to underserved communities. She also serves as Community Outreach Coordinator for Park Heights Renaissance, Inc. and is the president of the Park Circle Community Association. Curtis called Mitchell, ‘Uncle George.’“He always said this is our community and responsibility,” recalled Curtis. “Our seniors, our men, our youth, our responsibility. The way he promoted generational wealth was by first addressing our brokenness. He was all for diversity, but felt that before we connected with other people, we first needed to repair our brokenness. He fed hundreds, offered free Spanish classes, and gave away free furniture. He taught us about community relationships. The way that he gave was so amazing.” Mitchell was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was a 2019 Baltimore Times “Positive People Award” honoree. The awards are given to individuals who work to uplift and celebrate the human spirit and the power within all people to improve their quality of life and that of their community. Curtis, who was also honored, shared fond memories of her and Mitchell at the event, which was held November 13, 2019 at Horseshoe Casino. “We were each other’s cheerleader,” she said through tears. “When his name was called to receive his award, I yelled out ‘Go Uncle George!’ And when my name was called, he yelled out for me.” She added, “He was big on Black Media, and was honored to be honored by The Baltimore Times.

He often spoke about The Baltimore Times, and encouraged businesses to have the paper in their stores and on their stands.” Curtis said Mitchell will be greatly missed. “If he told you a story of hardship, it was not to be negative,” said Curtis. “He told stories of triumph. I am honored to have had the privilege to grow because of him. He put in a lot of work to help others. This is a tremendous loss.”Mitchell was born October 14, 1954 in Florence,South Carolina. After staying in Florence until a little after his first birthday, his mother moved to Baltimore,Maryland. He graduated from Lexington Terrace Elementary, Pimlico Jr. High, and Mergenthaler VocationalTechnical High School, respectively.He entered Morgan State University (formerly College) in 1972, and became a two-time MEAC wrestling champion, a member of the Morgan State Universityootball team and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity in which he was elected as the Associate EasternReginal Director. He graduated from Morgan in 1976.Mitchell is survived by sons George E. Mitchell Jr.,and Travis Mitchell, daughter, Nicole Neale, and granddaughter Sidney Rogers.

John Lewis: A True Hero Has Departed

On July 17, 2020, we got the news that one of our few heroes made his transition from earth to Heaven. We are sure that St. Peter used few words when he looked into the eyes of John Lewis. He must have quickly said “Job well done John— welcome!” He is gone now, and we will all miss him. His work made such a difference. He was born a sharecropper in the heart of Troy, Alabama. It seems like he was born to fight for freedom.

In fact, he was one of the original freedom riders making dangerous journeys across the South demanding freedom and facing some of the meanest cops that ever attacked demonstrating Black protestors. His badge of honor was a split skull he experienced on “Bloody Sunday” when Black demonstrators faced Alabama state troopers while crossing that infamous bridge in Selma, Alabama. It appeared on national television and the entire American audience watched in horror. From that day on, everyone knew who John Lewis was. He was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. most loyal and fiercest warrior. Recently, the White House was able to abolish the NAFTA agreement.

This was enacted in 1993. However, John Lewis began fighting against it before the ink dried on the treaty. Recently, his battle was victorious via President Trump.That was Congressman Lewis— he never quit or stopped fighting. Victory would be his eventually. During his 17 years on the House Ways and Means Committee (Oversight Sub-committee) he remained vigilant in ensuring Black business procurement. His greatest accomplishment was his management of the magnificent Smithsonian Museum on African American History and Culture. If you have not toured this museum yet do it as soon as possible.

This was Congressman Lewis’s “Baby.” Dr. King, Parren Mitchell, Art Fletcher and other Black business advocates must have been smiling down from heaven as Congressman Lewis oversaw the Black business participation. Brick by brick, window by window it was soon accomplished, and the Black participation came in at 66 percent.

A true record for such a task! $600 million at 66 percent. This was the ilk of Congressman John Lewis. I was at a meeting in Atlanta and I asked the audience to stand up and applaud Congressman Lewis for this marvelous accomplishment. He stood up in classic “stone face style” and quietly said, “Well, this is what we are supposed to do.” We need more persons of his ilk! It was that morning that John Lewis became my hero.I have a question or challenge for the current members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Will the next John Lewis please step forward and take the “reigns?” It’s time for the Congressional Black Caucus to focus on Black procurement with the federal government. Minority procurement in federal contracts has fallen from 8 percent in the Bush administration to 1.3 percent as of March 31, 2019. Some departments didn’t award minority businesses even one federal contract.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA): “The federal government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.”Here are the program benefits:“To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.“Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) Program can: Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program.

Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA’s mentor protégé program. Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, market assistance, and high-level executive development programs, as they apply.”The above program was the brainchild of the late, great Parren J. Mitchell while he was the Chair of the House Small Business Committee and his staff— led by NBCC Board Member Anthony W. Robinson. It is, without debate, the most successful minority business program in the history of federal procurement.

Normal program has made more Black millionaires than this program. Despite this, it needs to be updated and reinforced. Having a five percent minority business goal for the federal government is pittance. The Black population percent age of our nation is over 14.6 percent alone. Hispanics have a percentage of 17.0 percent. That amounts to 31.6 percent without other ethnicities.

Here is our strategy to increase the numbers:

*Contact each agency head and inform him/her of their procurement level status. Suggest increased utilization of the SBA 8a program on a recurring basis. Encourage our members to apply for 8a status.

*Make quarterly updates on Black procurement status for each agency and follow-up with correspondence to agency heads.

*Worldwide marketing and publicity. Garner Trump administration support. Let’s get busy turning this atrocity around. If Black firms could attain at least five percent in procurement contracting with the federal government that would mean $25 billion dollars annually infused into our economic base. Harry C. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Kay DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the Chamber. To contact Harry Alford, email: and to contact Kay Debrow, email: For more information visit

CCBC students awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad

Baltimore County, Md— Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) announced that two CCBC students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad in 2021. Imani Stewart and Jagatvir Singh both received the maximum award of $5,000. They plan to use their award to study abroad in a Spanish university program that offers courses in business and Spanish language.

Stewart, a business major and talented artist with a 4.0 GPA, plans to use the award to support her pursuit of multinational accreditation in accounting and also to provide her with new perspectives and inspiration for her work in the visual arts A trilingual business major, Singh looks forward to studying alongside European and other international students to develop his knowledge of international business and business law and to gain core skills in Spanish, which will be his fourth language.

The Gilman program is one of the U.S.Department of State’s initiatives, which aims to increase U.S. student participation in education abroad. The program awards scholarships on a competitive basis tp outstanding undergraduate Pell Grant recipients who might not other wise have the opportunity to study abroad.

“We are so proud of Imani and Jagatvir for being selected for this international award,” said Dr. Rebekah de Wit, CCBC’s director of global education. “They are excellent examples of students who take advantage of all the resources CCBC offers to reach their goals. They will certainly be effective ambassadors of the college and the U.S.while they study abroad.”

Many CCBC students are eligible to apply for Gilman scholarships to support their participation in study abroad— or, if travel restrictions persist, in virtual or other U.S.-based cross-cultural learning experiences that offer simlar outcomes. With the Gilman scholarship, study abroad can become extremely affordable and even free. Students can isit and email to learn more.

Voices of Carmen A Youthful New Twist on an Old Opera Classic

An award-winning actress/director/choreographer has brought a youthful, modern-day flavor to a century-and-a-half old opera classic. CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, a multidisciplinary Baltimore based ensemble, is the creator of “Voices of Carmen” (VOC), a musical adaptation of the opera Carmen.

Set in a high school, the VOC musical brings a contemporary spin to this iconic story that’s filled with fresh, yet familiar renditions of George Bizet’s compositions, as well as a dozen original Pop, Hip Hop and R&B songs, written and arranged by Philip, and her husband Winston Philip.

A virtual performance of excerpts through the Enoch Pratt Library premiered July 20, 2020, and an out- door “Carmen Concert” will take place July 30, 2020 at Eager Park

“I’m very excited to continue this program for our young people who had so much of their lives cancelled this year already,” said Philip. “Despite the state of the world, we felt that the show must go on and have been figuring out how to produce a virtual/video production that I think will be groundbreaking for a musical.”

Carmen is an opera by Georges Bizet based on an 1845 novella by French dramatist Prosper Mérimée. The title character, a wild Spanish gypsy, is unscrupulous in matters of the law and of he heart. Carmen is an enduring story of passion, lust, jealousy, obsession, and revenge.

“Twelve years ago, I wrote this adaptation of Carmen,” said Philip. “I wrote the script and we had a summer program in the hills of Switzerland. We had lines wrapped around the block to see the show. I wanted to do the show in the U.S. All I needed answered was the ‘when?’ and ‘why’? My husband and I moved to Baltimore in 2010. As soon as I met the young people in Baltimore, I was like ‘OMG, these young folks are really talented.’ That answered the ‘when?’ and ‘why?’ In 2018, I formed the Carmen Youth Council.

”She added, “I gathered around the Youth Council, and in February we started doing workshops. I asked them if they thought the story of Carmen was too far-fetched. They said it was happening everyday at school. The production was an opportunity to look at the emotional health of our youth.

” The piece examines escalating conflict among young people, and hopes to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue and improved emotional health and aware- ness, while providing resources for conflict resolution. VOC has 34 young people, 26 cast members and eight crew members mentored by a staff of eight adults.

“There are 19 zip codes and 20 schools represented,” said Philip. “Before the shutdown happened due to COVID-19, we wanted youth to have a voice inside this musical. We give them a lot of leadership. I am so blown away by our young people. They are so creative. I am so excited.”

In addition to rehearsals, every Wednesday special guests present workshops in job training and professional development for the cast and crew. There are also workshops on three social emotional components that build on each other – Emotional Intelligence (reading, video, and written reflection); Restorative Practices workshop led by Restorative Response Baltimore; and a teen workshop on Intimate Partner Abuse by the House of Ruth.

CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, is the creator of Voices of Carmen

Courtesy Photo

CJay Philip, Artistic Director of Dance & Bmore, is the creator of Voices of Carmen

“VOC premiered in Baltimore in July of 2019,” said Philip. “Looking at 2020, we had every expectation to do this live. We partnered with the House of Ruth working with young people. I wanted to do something for people who feel they are at the edge. The theme for our show is ‘Crossroads.’ You can make a decision that can change the trajectory of your life.” Philip, who has performed in several Broadway productions, has directed and choreographed hundreds of musical and performance events around the world including “The Who’s Tommy,” and the Emmy Award–winning NBC broadcast of the “McDonalds Gospel Fest.” She teaches Interdisciplinary Collaboration at Baltimore School for the Arts, and Musical Theater at Baltimore Centerstage. “Carmen is fiery, but substantive,” she said, noting the production was submitted and chosen by several theater festivals. “One of the other important things about this show, is that it can be duplicated. Schools don’t have to cancel their musical. They can still be fully engaged.”

According to Philip, VOC is being made available for production at schools and regional theaters across the country. Included in the production package are best practices for collaboration between students and faculty: safe space guidelines, collaborative language, and youth leadership roles developed by the Carmen Youth Council.

On July 30, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., an out door “Carmen Concert” will be held in Eager Park, located on N. Wolfe Street. The event is free, but attendees are asked to register through Eventbrite at

On August 13-14, 2020 at 8 p.m., VOC will hold a drive-in “Carmen Concert” performance in partnership with Motor House on W. North Ave. On August 27, 2020, a movie musical live-stream of VOC will premier at 7 p.m. on Voices of Carmen YouTube Channel, followed by a VIP virtual After Party withthe cast.