Black Americans and COVID-19 Clinical Trials

The unrelenting spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the United States of America in 2020, continues to pose an unprecedented public health crisis for all Americans, but in particular for Black Americans and other people of color who are disproportionately negatively impacted by COVID-19.

As the trusted voice of Black America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in March of 2020 established the NNPA Coronavirus Task Force as a means of increasing public awareness about the overall preexisting health disparities in Black America and the disproportionately fatal consequences of COVID-19 for Black Americans and other people of color.

In fact, the NNPA and our Coronavirus Task Force were the first to issue a national “State of Emergency” declaration on April 3, 2020 to warn Black Americans and others about the evolving dangers and public health risks of COVID-19.

Earlier this year, there were just too many myths and other misinformation circulating primarily via social media falsely asserting that “Black people and people of African descent were immune to COVID-19 because of the presence of melanin.” Of course, that assertion is not true. Yet, unfortunately, too many people in our communities began to risk infection to COVID-19 because of falsehoods and misinformation.

The media has a responsibility to research and report the truth.

This year marks the 193rd year of the Black Press of America. Since Freedom’s Journal was first published in March of 1827, the Black Press has remained on the front lines of publishing and speaking truth to power by demanding freedom, justice and equality.

All of this brings me to state categorically, “Black Americans have to be involved at all levels of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot afford to be silent, detached, denied, or prevented from being at the decision-making tables in terms of COVID-19-based public health policies, research, clinical trials, remedies, and vaccine development. Our lives and future are at stake.”

The good news is that today there are many Black American physicians, infectious disease scholars, clinicians, medical researchers, nurses and others on the front lines as first responders and as leaders inside the major pharmaceutical companies that are striving to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19.

We are profoundly aware that within our communities there has been a historical and contemporary distrust of medical research. However, the challenge today is for more Black Americans to be involved at every point of the development of a COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that the medical rights and interests of Black Americans are thoroughly protected, respected, and addressed effectively and truthfully.

In other words, Black American engagement is crucial and critical in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine — including participation in clinical trials — to make sure that the new vaccine is effective to prevent Blacks and others from COVID-19 infections.

Three years ago, the NNPA, Howard University and Pfizer collaborated to do a national landmark poll and study of awareness of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) among Black Americans. This was important because Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by SCD across the nation.

Included in that NNPA-Howard University-Pfizer poll was the issue of Black Americans’ willingness to participate in clinical trials with respect to SCD. We were pleased to learn and to document that 76% of the Black American poll respondents had positive or neutral attitudes toward SCD clinical trials, and a majority indicated a willingness to participate in future clinical trials for SCD, given appropriate knowledge and recommendations from health care professionals.

It is urgent that in the strategic rush to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine for all people, that Black Americans are not left out of the process. The health of our families and communities necessitates our involvement to raise all the questions that need to be raised, and at the same time to participate responsibly in the COVID-19 clinical trials.

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at

Black Riders Matter

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is the nation’s oldest and largest trade association of Black-owned newspapers and media companies. Our NNPA member publishers hire employees, but we also hire a large number of independent contractors across America to accomplish the work and success of the Black Press.

In the tradition of African American business development, many independent contractors in our communities subsequently become the proprietors of their own businesses.

The point here is that today, across the state of California (and for seemingly counterproductive reasons), public policies, laws and regulations are being passed to prevent companies such as Lyft and Uber from having independent contractors drive and conduct related business across the state.

This is another glaring example of good intentions causing bad consequences, specifically for Black Americans, Latinx Americans and other people of color who are trying to work as independent contractors on a legitimate path to becoming sustainable and profitable entrepreneurs.

Systemic racism in America today has many varied and debilitating manifestations that keep a knee on the necks of people of color striving to achieve success, empowerment and lift themselves out of poverty. In my view, the proposed California law, Assembly Bill 5, is unconstitutional and racist. Other states should become aware and alarmed by these non-progressive and regressive regulations.

We have a fundamental right to participate in the emerging gig-economy. Black independent contractors who drive as a means of entrepreneurship do matter.

In fact, all Black Riders Matter. There are hundreds of thousands of people of color riders who depend daily on Lyft, Uber and other ride share companies to provide transportation and other vital services in particular during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

A court in California just issued a temporary “stay” on restricting rideshare operations in the state over the independent contractor issue. The court ruling should be made permanent while civil rights and business leaders work together to undo the unjust and unfair rideshare regulations that may negatively impact millions of people throughout America.

The quality of life needs and aspirations of Black Americans and others should not be relegated to the political or exclusive whims of those who do not really care about the empowerment of our families and communities in California and across the nation. This is a growing national issue and I cannot and will not remain silent.

Bridging education gap a top priority for black American parents

— All parents want the best for their children. We all acknowledge that attaining a high-quality K-12 education is probably the single most important factor that will determine the future life success of a student in the public school systems throughout the United States.

Yet, the reality for millions of black American parents in the U.S. is that there is a lingering educational achievement gap between black students and white students. This is why I believe that raising awareness about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) among all parents, especially black parents, is vital.

This should be a national priority for all who stand for equality in effective high-quality public education for all students. Now that states have begun the tedious process to refine and submit their ESSA state plans to the U.S. Department of Education, black parents should increase their input into these plans in each state.

Recent national studies have pointed to what some researchers have concluded as “low expectations” about the academic achievement levels of black students being a major contributing factor to their underachievement in the classroom. Unfortunately, sometimes these predictions based on external research about black America can become self-fulfilling prophecies and mere justifications for the current educational disparities and inequities between black students and white students.

Black parents do not have low expectations about their children’s academic potential to achieve excellence and scholarship. Most black parents encourage and expect their children to do well in school. Black parents do have, however, low expectations about the priorities that state boards of education, as well as county and city boards of education, have presented thus far in response to the inclusive accountability mandates of ESSA.

Inclusion presupposes involvement. Parental involvement is a key factor that determines the effectiveness of our public school system. The National Newspaper Publishers Association is, therefore, pleased to join and to support all efforts that will increase black American parental involvement concerning ESSA and its implementation at both the state and federal levels.

Yes, black student K-12 educational achievement gaps that now exist in too many school districts in the U.S. can be bridged going forward, if there is a substantial and measurable increase in the consistent involvement of black parents at all levels of decision-making and public policy implementation of ESSA. Please pass this message to others that you may know who are likewise concerned about these issues.

The future of our families and communities is at stake. Our collective awareness and involvement can help to make a positive difference in improving K-12 education in America. I have faith that black American parents will once again rise to this challenge.

Learn more about how you can get involved with the Every Student Succeeds Act in your state at

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at You can follow Dr. Chavis on Twitter @drbenchavis.

MLK’s legacy for black America in 2017

— As the United States of America and the global community salutes, recognizes and commemorates the 88th birthday of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is a providential time to reassess the meaning and challenges of Dr. King’s legacy for black America in this year of profound change, anxiety and hope.

As we witness the transfer of presidential power from President Barack H. Obama to President Donald J. Trump, it is quite appropriate to apply some the long-lasting and enduring tenets of Martin Luther King’s leadership, teachings, and perspectives. Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) prophetically stood strong for freedom, justice, and equality for Black Americans and for all people who cried out for a better quality of life throughout the world.

Dr. King was more than one of the greatest orators and preachers of the 20th century. He was one of the most effective intellectual theologians whose moral genius and courage helped irreversibly to change the course of American history for civil and human rights. No man or woman is perfect. Yet Dr. King’s leadership inspired and motivated millions of black Americans and others to strive toward the perfection equal justice for all through nonviolent social change and transformation.

As a young teenage staff worker for SCLC in North Carolina in the early 1960s, I witnessed firsthand how Martin Luther King, Jr. would stir the consciousness of the masses. We overcame the fear of standing up for righteousness in the presence of evil powers and unjust systems of oppression and suppression.

Legacy is about establishing in one’s life and work, that which will endure and last for generations to come. Dr. King’s life and work exemplified intellectual honesty, activism and courage. At a time when the misguided phenomena of so-called “fake news” is gaining momentum in the body politic of the nation, we all should be reminded that Dr. King would always cautioned that only “The truth will set us free.”

For this reason we are determined to maintain and to sustain the viability of the Black Press of America as the truthful, accurate and trusted voice of black America. This year marks the 190th year of the Black Press in the United States. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King and other leaders, the mainstream press would often attempt to undermine the legitimacy and purpose of the movement for change but the Black Press always chronicled the news of freedom movement with strategic visibility and editorial support.

In Dr. King’s last address in Memphis, Tennessee on the night before his assassination on April 4, 1968, he made statements that still apply and endure today in 2017. He emphasized that when society appears polarized and deeply divided, we must strive to overcome divisiveness and hopelessness.

Thus, what may appear to some to be a “dark” hour is in fact a God-given time to reassert that justice and freedom are still possible and very probable if we unify, organize, mobilize and speak truth to power. We cannot afford to engage in the cynicism that is now popular.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s living legacy beacons us to not give in to hopelessness and self-defeatism. We have had difficult times before and each generation is called to stand up with the principles, values and commitments that we have inherited from so many of our sisters and brothers who sacrificed for us to be where we are today.

While race is still a defining factor in American society, we must not allow racial discrimination or racism in any form to divide us or to prevent us from moving forward as families and communities steadfast in our unified actions to improve our quality of life. Black America will overcome. We have come too far to stand still or go backwards.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at

Facebook’s “ethnic affinities” is digital racism and it’s time to end it

— Racism is a malignant, powerful, and harmful reality for millions of persons of color throughout the world. Here, inside the United States, racism is institutionalized and we have the evidence that this dreadful, racially discriminatory system of oppression now has been digitized thanks to Facebook.

We must oppose all forms, nuances, and modes of racism. I am defining “digital racism” as the deliberate and systematic exclusion and discrimination of people from any Internet access, benefit or policy-making procedure based on race, color, ethnicity, or any other social or cultural factor.

I know when this is read, some of you will be shocked while others will be in some form of denial. Such was the case when I first coined the term “environmental racism” over 30 years ago. But the truth is the truth. And the truth is therapeutic.

Racial and ethnic cleaning at Facebook is the manifestation of digital racism on one of the most powerful social media platforms in the world. The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is opposed to racial and ethnic discrimination. We are alarmed and we resolutely join with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in demanding that Facebook stop engaging in racially discriminatory practices.

Earlier this month, the CBC sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, concerning this issue.

“We are writing to express our deep concerns with reports that Facebook’s “Ethnic Affinities” advertising customization feature allows for advertisers to exclude specific racial and ethnic groups when placing housing advertising,” stated the CBC.

The CBC letter was signed by Robin L. Kelly (D-Ill.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C., the Chairman of the CBC. Their joint statement concluded, “This is in direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and it is our strong desire to see Facebook address this issue immediately.”

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 says it is illegal “to make, print, publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin” (42 U.S.C. § 3604). The enactment of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was a milestone accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement.

“By allowing online advertisers to promote or market a community or home for the purpose of sale to select an ‘ethnic affinity’ as part of their advertising campaign, Facebook is complicit in promoting restrictive housing practices,” the CBC letter stated. This is clearly a violation of the law.

The NNPA agrees with the CBC. This practice must be stopped immediately.

Today, we all should remain vigilant and committed to stand up and speak out against all instances of racial and ethnic discrimination. Facebook needs to right this wrong. The online and digital worlds should not be permissive of racism.

With all the technological advances to hopefully ensure that the quality of life of all people will ultimately be enhanced in the U.S. and throughout the world, we must strive to identify, call out and stop racism wherever it may arise. Therefore, we call upon Facebook to stop its digital racism and its “Ethnic Affinities” discriminatory program.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at

Why we must continue to fight efforts to suppress black votes

— In all democracies, the right to vote is fundamental to the legitimacy of an elected government chosen by the participatory action and will of the people eligible to vote. For 47 million Black Americans, the right to vote is a sacred responsibility without the fear of reprisal, retribution or repression.

It’s 2016 and this year’s national elections in the United States are only a few days away. Yet in many states early voting has already begun. Keep in mind in the last national presidential race in 2012, Black Americans went to the polls in record numbers with over 17.8 million casting their ballots even in face of voter suppression tactics mainly by Republican officials in various states in the Midwest, Southwest and in the South.

Black America had a higher percentage turnout of voters than White voters across the nation in 2012. The Black percentage turnout was 66.2 percent versus 64.1 percent for White voters. The election results in November will ultimately be determined by the percentage of overall voter turnout.

If the Black vote was not so strategically important and determinative today, you would not see the current manifestations of blatantly racist acts designed to suppress the Black vote. Such is the case today especially in Indiana, North Carolina and in other states where Black voter turnout is key to winning the election.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence who is now aggressively campaigning to be Vice President of the United States of America, has permitted and encouraged the Indiana State Police to target and shut down the most successful voter registration organization that has registered Blacks to vote in Indiana. The dastardly use of state police to intimidate and prevent Black people from registering to vote demands public outcry and challenge.

On October 4, 2016 Indiana State Police raided the headquarters of the Indiana Voter Registration Project, coordinated by a group named Patriot Majority USA in Indianapolis, Ind. The Indiana State Police shut down this voter-registration program that was helping to register tens of thousands of law-abiding, eligible Black Americans in Indiana.

According to Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, “Mike Pence has a well-oiled political machine that is using the Indiana State Police to suppress African American votes and violate the Constitutional rights of tens of thousands of Hoosiers. This is not only voter suppression at its worst, it is an insult to all of the honest troopers in the state police, and to law-enforcement officials across the country, who disapprove of wasting precious crime-fighting resources on partisan witch hunts that further harm relations between police officers and minority communities.”

In North Carolina, even after the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently overturned the state’s severe voter suppression law, many Republican county officials across the state have established policies to limit early voting and Sunday voting that will, again, target those counties in N.C., where Black Americans are concentrated.

But Black leaders and organizations are fighting back. Reverend Dr. William Barber, President of the N.C. NAACP, affirmed, “We’re fighting and staying strong. Tomorrow early voting starts in North Carolina. They can register and vote the same day. We’re leading a march on the campus of North Carolina Central University and going all over the state and other HBCUs.”

The ultimate antidote to Black voter suppression is to ensure a massive Black voter turnout across the nation between now and Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Let’s all work to stop racist voter suppression. We vote for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment.

Follow the NNPA’s voter registration campaign on social media with #BlackVotesMatter, #BlackPressMatters, #BlackVotersPoll.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at:

President Obama makes urgent call for black voter turnout

— Last Saturday, we were pleased to witness, firsthand, President Barack Obama’s keynote address at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 2016 Phoenix Awards Dinner; it was his final speech, as Commander-In-Chief, at the celebration that included Black members of Congress, celebrities, civil rights leaders, journalists and corporate partners. Thousands of guests in their black-tie attire gave the President of the United States of America a rousing standing ovation in response to his speech that focused on the progress that we’ve made, as a nation, during Obama’s eight years in the White House.

But the most poignant and dramatic utterance by President Obama during his remarks happened when he energetically stated, “There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. It all matters. And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.”

President Obama emphasized, “You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote. And I’m going to be working as hard as I can these next seven weeks to make sure folks do.”

The countdown to the most important election in our lifetime has begun.

We concur with President Obama. The national elections across the nation on November 8, 2016 are tremendously important and crucial to Black America and to all Americans, who want freedom, justice and equality.

Beware of the false prophets that are predicting and even hoping for a low African American voter turnout. We defied the odds in 2008 and in 2012 with large Black voter turnouts. Now we must do it again.

The best way to celebrate Black history is to make more history. The turnout of voters to the polls in Black America will once again be the single most determinative factor in the outcome of the national elections and for the future of America.

It is important to note here that President Obama’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s gala occurred exactly one week before the official opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture scheduled for September 24, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

NNPA members and staff had an opportunity to have a media preview of the new museum. It was a breathtakingly revealing display of the struggles, sufferings, and triumphs of Black America. Yet, one could also see vividly that Black Americans paid a very heavy price and bloody sacrifice to get the right to vote in the United States.

This sacred history calls us again to action today. That is why the President also said, “So if I hear anybody saying their vote does not matter, that it doesn’t matter who we elect — read up on your history. It matters. We’ve got to get people to vote.”

We in the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) are helping to lead the combined nationally coordinated Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign to ensure that more than 20 million Black American voters will surge to the voting polls in every precinct throughout the county on November 8. 2016.

To achieve the goal of “20 Million Black Voters to the Polls,” the NNPA’s Project Black Voter Turnout 2016: 20 Million Black Voters to the Polls will work in coordination with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) that offers an online link for voter registration. Time is running out to register to vote in many states. If you are not registered to vote, do it today without delay.

In addition, the NNPA will work to coordinate national GOTV efforts with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League, National Action Network (NAN), Rainbow PUSH, National Medical Association, National Association of Black Social Workers, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association For Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Thurgood Marshall Center for Social Justice, National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NARWB), and with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC),

Project Black Voter Turnout 2016: 20 Million Black Voters to the Polls will also work with the following national Black church organizations and religious leaders: National Baptist Convention, Progressive National Baptist Convention, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of God in Christ, United Church of Christ, and the Impact Network.

President Obama concluded, “If you care about our legacy, realize everything we stand for is at stake. All the progress we’ve made is at stake in this election. My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration — that’s on the ballot right now!”

The NNPA member Black-owned newspapers reach more than 20 million readers per week and we all will be engaged and aligned in the necessary mobilization and encouragement of millions of Black Americans and others to vote on November 8. Keep up with our campaign with social media by following the hashtags #BlackVotesMatter and #BlackPressMatters. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook @BlackPressUSA and @NNPA_BlackPress.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at:; and for lectures and other professional consultations at:

PHOTO CAPTION: During his keynote address at the 2016 Phoenix Awards gala, President of Barack Obama said: “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot.” (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Enhancing black owned print and digital press in the age of social media

— The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) salutes the career development success of the Discover the Unexpected (DTU) NNPA Journalism Fellowship program that has just completed its first term of providing undergraduate students at the Howard University School of Communication the unique apprentice opportunity to work at NNPA member newspapers in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Detroit.

Black owned newspapers are not opposed to the digitalization of our content or to the digital distribution of the “trusted,” vibrant, prophetic voice of the Black Press of America. In fact as black owned businesses, it makes good business sense for Black owned newspapers to embrace digital and social media platforms to enhance and increase the value and profitability of our publications.

One mutual benefit that emerged during the labor and service rendered by the DTU NNPA fellows was their daily increase in utilizing social media as an integral component of their career journey while working for black owned newspapers. Both the fellows and our newspapers benefited from having these gifted and talented millennials in our workplaces during the past six weeks. It was a summer of news reporting. It was a journalistic “Freedom Summer.” It was a print, digital and social media summer.

Brandi Montgomery and Brelaun Douglas were at The Atlanta Voice; Briahnna Brown and Mckenzie Marshall at the Chicago Defender; Victoria Jones and Rushawn Walters at The Washington Informer; and Tatyana Hopkins and Sidnee King were at the Michigan Chronicle. In addition to writing front-page news stories pertinent to improving the quality of life of black America, all of the NNPA fellows were actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Youtube.

Most of the 209 black owned newspapers that are affiliated with the NNPA now have active websites with various degrees of interactivity and digital capabilities. But the challenge of linking social media with the world of the black print press, while formidable, will be a growing opportunity to enhance the future economic sustainability of Black owned newspapers.

One goal, which the NNPA is now actively planning and researching, is how to effectively and efficiently establish the NNPA Digital Network ( The truth is that by having the DTU fellows working at some of our member’s newspapers has helped to crystallize the need and the opportunity for the timely development of the NNPA Digital Network. Again the digital network is not to replace or to supplant the print work of NNPA’s 209 black owned newspapers. The digital network will help to increase the market value of the trusted content of NNPA member newspapers.

We are living at a time when candidates to be President of the United States routinely communicate to their constituents and supporters via Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram. The national and global news cycles are now ten seconds in length. Yet, there is still market demand from millions of people across the United States and throughout the world for more in-depth and detailed news accounts of what is happening in a rapidly changing and challenging world.

Black owned newspapers in print and their online editions provide in-depth news coverage and uplifts the cultural genius of black America as part of the long unique and respected tradition of the Black Press of America. From our perspective, we are encouraged by the emergence of committed student journalists like our DTU fellows. The future maybe challenging but the opportunities to soar with success and progress are much greater.

Social media has increased the instantaneous awareness and involvement of millions of people. It is driven by content. Black owned newspapers are content rich. As various social media platforms become additional distribution vehicles for black owned newspapers, the overall value of black owned print and digital media will increase correspondingly.

Learn more about the Discover the Unexpected (DTU) program at and use the hashtag #DiscoverTheUnexpected on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @BlackPressUSA, @NNPA_BlackPress and @NNPADTU, like our Facebook pages at NNPA Black Press and Black Press Matters.

Black owned newspapers matter!

— Two thousand and seventeen will mark the 190 anniversary of the Black Press in America. Since the first publication of Freedom’s Journal on March 16, 1827 in New York City, black owned newspapers have been at the forefront of being the consciousness-raising voice of black America. Today in 2016, black owned newspapers still matter.

Black Lives Matter. Black Votes Matter. Black Press Matters. In order to continue to overcome racial inequality and injustice, we have to emphasize the importance of nurturing and mentoring the rise of a new generation of freedom-fighting journalists, publishers and African American owners of newspapers and media companies.

There is a huge qualitative difference between media that is black owned as compared to non-black owned media that is targeted to black consumers.

Numerous national studies have documented that black owned newspapers remain the “trusted and respected” source of news, empowering success stories, and cultural aspirations for more than 45 million black Americans.

The inaugural Discover the Unexpected (DTU) NNPA Journalism Fellowship Program this summer at the Howard University School of Communications supported by Chevrolet has done remarkably well in identifying and encouraging the next generation of gifted, talented and committed young journalism scholars. The National Newspaper Publishers Association is pleased with the positive and transformative results of the DTU fellowships.

The NNPA fellows scored front-page news features in selected NNPA member newspapers across the nation. In addition to attending both the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the NNPA fellows completed assignments that covered a wide range of news interests including news on Muhammad Ali’s legacy, black arts and culture, contemporary urban black family life, 2016 Olympics in Rio, mass incarceration, new data on police and prosecutorial misconduct and abuse on African Americans and others, the quest to cure Sickle Cell Anemia, and the struggle to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

During the past months, Brandi Montgomery and Brelaun Douglas were at The Atlanta Voice; Briahnna Brown and Mckenzie Marshall at the Chicago Defender; Victoria Jones and Rushawn Walters at The Washington Informer; and Tatyana Hopkins and Sidnee King were at the Michigan Chronicle.

Black owned newspapers are businesses and employers that continue to serve the economic development interests of black communities. As the economy in the United States continues to rebound from economic stagnation and recession under the leadership of the first African American President, it should also be a national priority to ensure the advancement of the economic wellbeing of black families, businesses, and communities.

President Barack H. Obama, in the face of historic political opposition in Washington, D.C. since his first day in office, has achieved leadership success in restoring and revitalizing the U.S. economy. In particular the automotive industry has set new records this year in automobile sells. Thus, we note with appreciation those companies in the automotive sector that have been supportive of the NNPA during these difficult and challenging times.

General Motors brands continue advertise with the NNPA and as a consequence contributes to the sustainability of the Black Press in America. In particular, Chevrolet has been outstanding in its support of Discover the Unexpected scholarships as part of the current NNPA fellows program. Chevrolet also increased its advertising with many NNPA newspapers this year. It is our hope that this successful pilot program will be continued and even expanded in the next academic year from fall 2016 to spring 2017.

Long live black owned newspapers and the struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Yes, black owned newspapers surely do matter.

Learn more about the Discover the Unexpected (DTU) program at and use the hashtag #DiscoverTheUnexpected on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @BlackPressUSA and @NNPA_BlackPress and like our Facebook page at NNPA Black Press.