One Huge Lie Crystallized

You may have decided not to look at the recent Republican National Convention on television, and many Americans think President Trump broke the law by abusing the Hatch Act. But our president is smiling, because he got away with it.

The president needed a convention bounce and, according to polls, White voters have increased their support of his policies. By comparison, following the Democratic National Convention, held a week earlier, nothing changed statically in terms of support.

A recent Morning Consult poll that asked 4,035 likely voters which candidate they would pick, found Biden leading Trump by six percentage points— 50 percent to 44 percent. It marked a four-point improvement for Trump from his standing going into the convention on August 23, 2020, when Biden led 52 hercent to 42 percent. “The poll had a two-point margin of error,” according to Morning Consult’s by Eli Yokley.

After the Republican Convention, President Trump has cut into Biden’s lead, and it appears that our president is a man of character. Trump supporters made it appear that he was working for all Americans and that there are thousands of Black men who believe he is the best candidate for our community. The president made it appear that he was working for the soul of America, and he was a huge supporter of voting.

Even though there are 198 judges appointed by the president to the different courts in three and a half years, not one has been Black. This has solidified conservative thinking and created and supported racism. These appointments are not about the next four years, but this will impact the positions and decisions that the judges will make for the next 40 years.The Democrats have cast the President as a failed leader, but Trump’s supporters painted him as a success and the last line of defense against radical socialism. Black Lives Matter is trying to de-fund the police Departments and when you need a policeman, there will be a busy signal. Many of the mayors in many cities are finding out that Trump administration is paying people to create violence during peaceful protests.

Even though the Republican Convention was one huge lie, many of Biden’s supporters are having second thoughts about supporting the Democrats. As the race gets closer, all of the Republicans will be lying, and it is very hard to know what a lie is and where the truth starts.

On the last night of the convention Giuliani said, progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York is the reason crime has elevated in the city. But when Giuliani was mayor in 2000 the yearly murder rate was 673, compared to 318 in 2019. It is so easy to lie and give half of the story or picture. During the last night, a supporter kept telling the country that the president created the strongest economy in American history and strengthened Medicare and Social Security.

However, Obama’s last three years were stronger than Trump’s first three years, and the present economy is close to a depression. Ending payroll taxes would deplete the Social Security fund in two years.

It is obvious that the majority of the Republican National Convention was one continuous lie but squeezing 1,500 people on the South lawn of the White House was irresponsible during a coronavirus pandemic. This was the wrong message to send Americans, and President Trump does not care.

“He once again claimed to have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln— ignoring Harry Truman’s integration of the military; Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act; and many other accomplishments. One might wonder, if this is true, why polls show just five percent of Black voters supporting him, says Fred Kaplan of the Slate, an online magazine.

As Republicans and President Trump build a campaign on lies the numbers are still in the Democrats favor. It is time for the Democrats to expose the lies and speak truth to power. The major key to Biden winning this election is getting support from 18-to-30-year old voters; Black voters; and the women voters.

Crack down on China, but do it wisely

The Chinese Communist Party poses a dire threat to America and the rest of the free world. Party leadership actively covered up the initial coronavirus outbreak— and even persecuted doctors who tried to warn the public. China’s leaders hoarded masks and other medical supplies, which resulted in shortages of personal protective equip- ment in the United States.

This communist malfeasance has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. To prevent it from happening again, the Trump administration is trying to economically decouple from China. White House officials are considering “Buy American” measures that seek to re-shore medical supply chains.

President Trump and his aides unquestionably have the right instincts. However, countermeasures must be based on facts, not fear mongering. Otherwise, we risk over- reacting. To paraphrase our commander in chief, we can’t let the cure be worse than the disease.

Some China hawks claim the communist dictatorship has a “chokehold” on essential drugs, with 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients that make up Ameri- cans’ medicines supposedly coming from China.

Those claims have been widely debunked. Only 13 percent of facilities making our active pharmaceutical ingredients come from China. Of the 370 drugs deemed “essen- tial” by public health experts, only three rely on ingredients sourced entirely from China.

Simply put, America relies on China for some medicines but our supply chain isn’t wholly dependent on the Middle Kingdom. There is no need to overreact with hasty, ill-planned measures.

In fact, America produces most of its own medical supplies at home. U.S. suppliers satisfy 70 percent of domestic demand for medical equipment.

That’s especially true now that companies are churning out PPE, which has been in unprecedented demand worldwide. We’ve seen the success of the private-public part- nerships set up by the Trump administration. Stalwarts of American industry, like GE and Ford, helped achieve the president’s goal of 100,000 ventilators in 100 days— the highest production in history.

Decoupling from China is still a worthy goal. But we can do so via well-planned industrial policies, rather than rushed mandates.

Congress and the administration could start by incentivizing companies to build manufacturing facilities in America. Getting a FDA-approved factory up and running is no small feat — it often requires up to $2 billion and 10 years to complete.

Tax credits or a lower corporate tax rate could sway firms to make investments here, rather than abroad. When it comes to tax support for R&D expenditures, America ranks near the back of the pack.More investments in workforce training would also help. China produces over twice as many STEM graduates per capita as the United States. If we’re serious about dominat- ing hi-tech manufacturing, we’ll need to pour resources into education and job training.

There’s no question that China poses a threat to our public health and national secu- rity. And it’s smart to decouple our economies.

But we can do that without disrupting medical supply chains. Poorly targeted “Buy American” orders, which force companies and government agencies to purchase domesti- cally, would alienate friendly nations like Germany, Switzerland and Canada. If those countries retaliated, it could lead to shortages and higher prices for American consumers.

The best way to beat China is a steady, well-planned push to “invest American,” and build up an innovative manufacturing sector that puts the communists to shame.

Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force Veteran, an Emmy nominated TV person- ality, and the host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right.”

An Open Letter on the Politics of Ambition

Black women all across this nation should be outraged by the commentary that a qualified African-American woman is “too ambitious” to be selected as the running mate for presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden. Biden allies, Chris Dodd, Co- Chair of the Biden Vice Presidential Se- lection Committee, along with major donors have essentially asserted that am- bition should bar an otherwise qualified woman from consideration for the Biden ticket. Not only should Black women be outraged, but all Americans should be equally offended.

Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, African-American women have excelled in all areas of human endeavor including corporate America, government, law, medicine, education, sports and the arts, among other fields. Yet, African-American women continue to wrestle with a nation that repeatedly questions and diminishes their worth, competence, and capacity to add distinc- tive value. And, now, even the ambition of African-American women is being weaponized to further deny opportunities for which they have trained and worked hard to just be considered. Since when did being ambitious become a negative trammel their hopes, mute their voices and dehumanize their existence. White men in power who have long mischaracterized Black women as “too ambitious” have used the term as code for angry, aggressive, and intemperate in order to render us invisible and deny us a seat at countless tables of power.

Moreover, the “too ambitious” com African-American women. I encounter thousands of young Black women from various backgrounds who arrive on col- lege campuses with passive, indifferent attitudes, which are nurtured into com- petence, ambition, and a commitment to leave their mark on the world. The nega- tive connotation Dodd and the donors apply to “ambition” is precisely what I cultivate and celebrate.

There is no place in the Democratic Party for these kinds of thoughts and attitudes, and the Democratic Party should strongly condemn these statements. The “ambition” of African-American women has served the Democratic Party well over the years and has, in fact, been de- terminative in the outcome of critical elections. Not only are Black women the most loyal voters for the Democratic Party, they are crucial to igniting Black voters across all demographics to turn out in record numbers. When Black women are engaged, they bring their families, their networks and their com- munities along with them.

Ambitious Black women from all walks of life have offered themselves for service in upcoming elections. No mat- ter which candidates you support, you cannot support the marginalization of talent and experience by framing it neg- atively and calling it “too ambitious.”

The hallmark of Black women from HBCUs is their ambition. It is their call- ing card. That is how we train them. When I see ambition in a Black woman, I know we have done our job.

Dr. Glenda Glover, President, Tennessee State University

An Open Letter on the Politics of Ambition

“Ambition has been the saving grace of Black people since we were dropped on the shores of America in 1619. The resolve for freedom birthed ambition and set the course for Black women who struggled to keep their families together, as they longed for a better life.” trait given that the American dream is predicated upon this very notion?

Ambition has been the saving grace of Black people since we were dropped on the shores of America in 1619. The resolve for freedom birthed ambition and set the course for Black women who struggled to keep their families together, as they longed for a better life. The ambition of Black women too numerous to name was instrumental in securing basic rights like liberty, justice, educa- tion and equal representation through the right to vote.

The outrage occasioned by the misuse of the word “ambition” is heightened when we consider historically that references to Black women as “overly ambitious” have been code words designed to marginalize Black women, deny them opportunities,

mentary advanced by Chris Dodd and the Biden donors is a direct assault on Historically Black Colleges and Univer- sities (HBCUs) and an affront to the practical education HBCUs necessarily impart to students. The Vice Presidential contender against whom this criticism was leveled attended one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the country where she was trained, among other things, to be ambitious. So, this dog whistle under- mines one of the important qualities HBCUs instill in Black students. HBCU graduates are taught to achieve, to perse- vere, to grow and, yes, to be ambitious. HBCU graduates are commanded to be trailblazers— to go where there is no path and leave a trail.

As an HBCU president, I was simply stunned to read this latest assault on

Businesses must embrace the digital age to survive COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered massive changes in consumer behavior. Demand for online grocery shopping has more than doubled. At-home fitness gear is flying off the virtual shelves. And e-commerce platforms of all types are recording unprecedented traffic. Online sales jumped about 50 percent in April following the beginning of shelter-in-place orders. 

In an attempt to return to normalcy, several states across the nation are lifting shelter-in-place orders and removing social distancing requirements. But things won’t ever be the same. The pandemic has profoundly altered the way we do business, and some of these behavioral changes are permanent. If businesses don’t prepare for this new digital reality, they won’t survive the pandemic or its aftermath. 

E-commerce has boomed since the outbreak began. Compared to their 2019 figures, retailers that have both brick-and-mortar and online presences reported a 52 percent increase in online sales between late-January and February, according to analytics firm Quantum Metric.

Much of this business comes from new customers. A recent survey found that more than 40 percent of people shopping online for groceries were doing so for the first time.

Hiring patterns reflect this new wave of online demand. Businesses nationwide have laid- off millions of Americans. Yet in March, Amazon and Walmart announced that they planned to hire a combined 250,000 additional workers to fulfill and deliver e-commerce orders. Macy’s recently stated that it would furlough most of its employees, but there would be “fewer furloughs in our digital business . . . so we can continue to serve our customers online.”

Of course, people are primarily transacting online because they can’t leave their homes, but these new customers won’t all disappear once the virus subsides. 

Consider the workout industry. The average gym membership costs nearly $700 per year in the United States. It’s far cheaper— and more convenient— to subscribe to a virtual fitness program and buy a set of weights.

Or consider meal delivery kits. Folks may initially sign up for Blue Apron or Hello Fresh to avoid visiting the supermarket, but some people will discover they enjoy cooking their own pre-packaged dinners and become lifelong subscribers.

Florida may reopen its beaches, Texas might allow residents back into restaurants, and Georgia may open up its gyms. But even with social distancing measures in place, there will still be untold numbers of people who are afraid to even leave their homes. Millions of high-risk people who suffer from chronic conditions will be particularly wary of venturing into busy stores and public places.

If businesses want to survive in the new reality, they’ll need to significantly expand their online presence.

My company, Fiverr, has worked quickly to adapt to the new ways that Americans are living and working. When the pandemic began, we opened several new categories on our website— including online coding classes and music lessons— to meet the demand for virtual assistance. Now, we’re working with businesses to help them digitally transform their offerings— whether that’s creating a website, helping with e-commerce, or optimizing social media channels.

We’re not alone. Shopify, an e-commerce company, is offering an extended 90-day free trial to new customers who are looking to take their retail stores online.

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new digital-first age, one that’ll last long after the virus fades. Businesses of all sizes will have no choice but to adapt.

Brent Messenger is vice president of public policy and community engagement at Fiverr. This piece originally ran in the International Business Times.

COMMENTARY: The annexation of Palestinian territory is illegal

Let’s be clear and not try to fool one another. There is no basis in international law for the planned Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory. None.

In some respects, this column could end right here. There is no further explanation necessary. Both the Israelis and the US political establishment know this. That the Israelis are copying the behavior of the US expansion west in the 18th and 19th centuries is more to the point. The US political establishment understands that the USA was constructed on the annexation of the land of the Native Americans, the Mexicans, and the blood of the Africans, all with the aim of establishing a White settler republic. That is something the US and Israeli experiences share in common.

The proposed annexation aims to drive the remaining Palestinians off their lands or place them in a Bantustan-like existence, just as the apartheid South Africans attempted in the 1970s/1980s. The Afrikaners attempted to deceive the world into believing that they were creating livable spaces for the African majority when they were creating nothing more than reservations for the relocation of the African majority. Israel aims to do much the same.

Many of Israel’s liberal supporters in the USA are tongue-tied. They cannot justify the annexation—knowing full well that it is illegal—but are terrified that there might be actions taken against the Israeli government by the USA and other governments. While they certainly have little to fear from Trump, who has gone out of his way to encourage the annexation, it is true that there is a growing awareness in Congress, and within the US public, that annexation is wrong.

The attitude of liberal supporters of Israel is akin to someone who knows that an individual embezzled money from a company, but they would rather not press charges because they believe that there is something about the person that is worthy of saving. The problem is simple: the law does not work that way, whether domestic or international.

When Russia illegally seized Crimea, there were consequences. Why should there be no consequences for the Israeli government? Why should the people of the world continue to take a pass each and every time that Israel breaks international law?

The answer is that Israel must pay a price, which is why the global movement for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) is so critical. If governments lack the courage and vision to penalize another country for criminal activities, then it is up to the people of the planet to take the appropriate—and non-violent—steps. This is not singling out Israel. This is identifying when activity is criminal and should be punished.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the executive editor of and a past president of TransAfrica Forum.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of or the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

Keep your foot on the gas

The timeline of racial injustice stemming from slavery, segregation and mass incarceration to police brutality dates back centuries but today the world is forced to see and recognize the unfortunate trauma that Black people have

endured overtime.

During the time of stay at home orders, when everything was on pause, we witnessed the public lynching of George Floyd by the knee of a police officer.

This occurred after also having seen the fatal shootings of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man jogging outside; and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old medical technician murdered in her sleep.

Cities erupted globally powering the movement against police brutality and racial injustice overall. Today, after 400 years of oppression there is finally a mass outrage and outcry for change.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to stop and pay attention to a racial pandemic that cannot be ignored. During this time many feel helpless and have a simple question, “what can I do to help create change?” The first step is being aware and also realizing that your fight in the journey for justice may not look like your fellow counterparts, but you must do your part. Taking action to create change and being an ally in the battle against racial injustice can include but is not limited to protesting, donating, signing petitions, learning more about Black History and systemic oppression, voting, speaking out against racism, etc.

While police brutality is at the forefront, we’re dealing with other significant issues in the Black community that stem from systemic inequality which

include the racial wealth gap, lack of

access to healthcare, lack of funding of education, lack of diversity in the workplace, etc. Racism is widespread problem built into every level of our society and its necessary that we take action to confront it head on. During this time, we’ve seen businesses such as Ben & Jerry’s speak out again systemic injustice noting that when we stand together and fight it, we all benefit. It’s amazing to see large corporations speaking up and take a stance but the most important part in all of this is to take action not just today but every day moving forward.

This year, Juneteenth carried a deeper meaning in the wake of Black lives lost to police brutality. As we approached the holiday, I had a white colleague express to me that this was a moment in history she was unaware of because it was not present in our history books and she was right. There’s so much of our history from oppression faced to the achievements of Black people that is unknown to the majority. Moving forward, we must be intentional about educating the future gener- ation because Black History is American History and must be acknowledged.

We see how far we’ve come, but also recognize how far we have left to go. One thing I’ve noticed is that the attention toward this movement has started to ease up, but we must remember that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not a fad. Now is the time to keep your foot on the gas. Keep the same energy in your fight because change will not happen in one day. All lives will not matter until Black skin, Black beauty, Black art, Black style, Black History, Black culture, Black men, Black women, and BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Positively Caviar, Inc. (PCI) is a grassroots nonprofit organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. PCI

relies on positive digital media, high-

intensity speaking engagements, and their signature B.U.I.L.D. Self-Empowerment workshops to amplify their audiences’ minds towards a resilient and purposeful life. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team will feature a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in

nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how you can support, volunteer, or donate to

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Petition To Change NBA Logo To Honor Kobe Bryant Earns More Than 2 Million Signatures

Kobe Bryant fans really, really want the game he loved to pay tribute to him in a special way.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, a petition calling on the NBA to update its logo to honor Bryant had amassed more than 2 million signatures.

Bryant died, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others, in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California.

“With the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalize him forever as the new NBA Logo,” creator Nick M wrote on the petition.

He added that he hoped ” … our dream does come true and we are able to see Kobe Bryant engraved into the NBA Logo.”

Celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber and Naomi Campbell, have offered their support for the change.

The viral campaign is unlike any has seen.

“Nick’s petition is not only the fastest-growing on, it’s also the first petition of 2020 to top 1 million signatures anywhere in the globe,” Michael Jones, managing director of, said in a statement. “As the world comes to terms with the death of someone as famous and well-known as Kobe Bryant, Nick has given basketball fans an outlet to create a permanent memory of someone who made history in the NBA.”

Fan Nick M from Vancouver, California, who started the campaign said, “I truly cannot express this, the support from you guys has been overwhelmingly amazing.”

“I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this petition and made it possible.” he said in a statement. “All of this is for Kobe! I wish Kobe was still here and I never had to make this petition to begin with.”

“But sadly that isn’t the case, my condolences go out to the Bryant family and everyone who was involved in this accident,” he added.

The current NBA logo was designed by Alan Siegel and features the silhouette of Los Angeles Lakers great Jerry West.

Except for a small change to the font, which was introduced in 2017, the NBA has used its iconic tri-color logo since 1971.

CNN has reached out to the NBA for comment.

A rep for West declined to comment.

Bryant retired from the NBA in April 2016 after a prolific career spanning two decades. The 41-year-old shooting guard, nicknamed “Black Mamba,” earned five NBA titles, was named MVP of the NBA Finals twice and won two Olympic golds.

As an 18-time All-Star selection, he transcended the sport to become one of the most well-known athletes of his generation.

After news Bryant’s death broke, the league released a statement sending condolences to his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their family.

“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Eleven Local Civil And Human Rights Activists To Be Honored

Vice Adm. Sean Buck , 63rd Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Keynote Speaker

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Vice Adm. Sean Buck , 63rd Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Keynote Speaker

— The 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Reception and Dinner will be held Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m., at La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie. The largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County is co-sponsored by the U.S. Naval Academy and St. John’s College. The Naval Academy Gospel Choir will perform at the event. The Academy’s new Superintendent will give his first address to a major civil rights organization. Among the 10 honorees acknowledged at the event are: Brian E. Frosh,

Brian E. Frosh, Courageous Leadership Award

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Brian E. Frosh, Courageous Leadership Award

of Annapolis, winner of the Courageous Leadership Award, and Maryland’s 46th Attorney General; Thornell Jones, of Annapolis, winner of the Dream Keepers Award, who participated in the March on Washington in 1963 and the anniversary march in 2013, and has been a strong proponent of civil rights programs in Anne Arundel County; and BWI Deputy Fire Chief Gregory Lawrence,

Thornell Jones, Dream Keepers Award

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Thornell Jones, Dream Keepers Award

of Baltimore, winner of the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award, for his outstanding contributions to the emergency management community.

Gregory Lawrence Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

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Gregory Lawrence Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

General admission tickets for the dinner are $65 before Jan. 10 and $70 afterward, VIP tickets are $125, and all tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 301-538-6353; or by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis, Md. 21404.

The VIP reception begins at 5 p.m. For VIP table reservations call Terry Mc Mahan at 410-760-4115 # 235. For ticket information, call 301.904.3690.

Addressing the dinner and reception will be Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the 63rd Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy giving his first address to a major civil rights organization.. A native of Indianapolis, Buck graduated and received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 and was designated a naval flight officer in 1985. Special guests attending the event will include Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman; Harford County Executive Barry Glassman; Congressman Anthony Brown; Congressman John P. Sarbanes; Judge Vickie Gipson; and a who’s who in local, state and national politics.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner in Anne Arundel County was founded in 1988 by then Alderman Carl Snowden. Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the dinner honors those whose deeds, words, and actions have helped keep his legacy alive. The banquet is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.

Other winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awards who will be recognized for their dedication to the ideals of Dr. King include: Alderman DaJuan Gay, of Annapolis, winner of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award; Lisa Lindsay-Mondoro, of Annapolis, winner of the We Share the Dream Award; Richard “Dick” Callahan, of Annapolis, winner of the c Lieutenant Oheneba K. Dwodu, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Midshipman Second Class Corey Jackson Jr., of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Christine Tolbert, of Bel Air, winner of the Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award; Sabrina Nelson Winters, of Bel Air, winner of the Drum Major Award; and Jesse Shanks, of Aberdeen, winner of the Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award.

Lisa Lindsay-Mondoro. We Share the Dream Award

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Lisa Lindsay-Mondoro. We Share the Dream Award

Richard Callahan. Peacemaker Award

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Richard Callahan. Peacemaker Award

Oheneba K. Dwodu. Drum Major Award

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Oheneba K. Dwodu. Drum Major Award

Corey Jackson Jr. Drum Major Award

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Corey Jackson Jr. Drum Major Award

Christine Tolbert Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award

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Christine Tolbert Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award

Sabrina Nelson Winters, Drum Major Award

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Sabrina Nelson Winters, Drum Major Award

Jesse Shanks Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award.

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Jesse Shanks Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award.

Destination Crenshaw

Urban renewal projects have ushered in the rise of gentrification in historically black communities across the country. Pushed by private developers, these projects often lead to drastic increases in property taxes and rent, forcing black families from their homes and businesses, which have been staples of the community for decades, surviving recessions and natural disasters, to close. We’ve seen the effects of cultural erasure and what happens when gentrification infiltrates communities right here in Baltimore with Fells Point. The arrival of gentrifiers can be akin to hitting a refresh button that doesn’t acknowledge the long-withstanding history and contributions from generations of residents that built the community into a desirable location.

As these renewal projects have become more prevalent, we have most recently seen it in Chicago, Pittsburgh and right here in Charles Village, Midtown, Hampden, and West Baltimore. Gentrification has infiltrated so many of our communities, and many are beginning to push back, demanding more transparency and inclusion in the decision-making process for the developments planned for their neighborhood. In some cases, they’ve even disavowed the plans altogether.

The growing power struggle between black communities and developers can be seen as far as Los Angeles, home to the largest African American community west of the Mississippi. Residents are bracing for a similar influx of outside influences and attempts by private developers to take over.

Due in large part to the influence of its black community, Los Angeles continues to be seen as a major cultural center. Among the many projects planned in LA ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics, is the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s controversial $2 billion LAX/Crenshaw metro-line that will finally connect the Los Angeles World Airport to downtown, Hollywood and the beach, but not before cutting right through the heart of the Black community.

The train line was initially planned without enough stations on the world-famous Crenshaw Boulevard, a sign to the black community that their neighborhoods were simply a pass-through. Metro also cut costs by designing over a mile of it at street-level instead of underground or above ground as had been done for other train lines in major commercial corridors. This design required the deforestation of over 400 mature trees and elimination of over 300 street parking spaces, pushing many small black-owned businesses into jeopardy along one of the most important black business corridors on the West Coast.

As a life-long community organizer, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson held meetings with activists, community advocacy groups, and business owners upon entering office in 2015 to hear their concerns and jointly determine a course of action, eventually leading to the creation of what may be a first-of-its-kind anti-gentrification project, called Destination Crenshaw.

As a life-long community organizer, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson held meetings with activists, community advocacy groups, and business owners upon entering office in 2015 to hear their concerns and jointly determine a course of action, eventually leading to the creation of what may be a first-of-its-kind anti-gentrification project, called Destination Crenshaw.

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As a life-long community organizer, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson held meetings with activists, community advocacy groups, and business owners upon entering office in 2015 to hear their concerns and jointly determine a course of action, eventually leading to the creation of what may be a first-of-its-kind anti-gentrification project, called Destination Crenshaw.

Destination Crenshaw will rise for 1.3-miles, flanking the street level portion of the metro line, displaying over 100 public artworks of black activists, innovators and significant African-American achievements, to serve as a defiant reminder of the black community’s history and presence in the city.

The community-based project is seeking to repair and restore the ecosystem of the Crenshaw neighborhood by planting nearly a thousand new trees and over 30,000 new square feet of greenscaping. Councilmember Harris-Dawson enlisted the help of advocates and community ambassadors from Issa Rae to Nipsey Hussle and has brought in starchitect Zena Howard of Perkins & Will, known for her role in designing and stewarding the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Equally important is the role Destination Crenshaw will serve as an entry point and incubator for economic equity. As the availability of public sector jobs increases across the country, we have a unique opportunity to bring the same jobs that helped build the Black middle class to our community. Working closely with City Council District 8, Destination Crenshaw will create a pipeline into many major high-paying construction jobs in the country, enabling families to afford to stay in their city. Additionally, the 1,200 schools in the community will also see new arts engagement programs for students, as well as adding 4 acres of parkland to the area.

Councilmember Harris-Dawson is also leading efforts to strengthen legacy businesses by focusing on infrastructure improvement to assist in facade renovations, building repairs, and new parking spaces.

With Destination Crenshaw slated to open in late 2020, community engagement is already underway with canvassers making their way throughout the neighborhood to provide updates, recruit interested artists, and host skill-building construction workshops ahead of job openings. Since we’ve seen how typical ‘urban renewal projects’ have played out in cities like Richmond, Virginia, and New Orleans, we wanted to push back against developers that often engender cultural erasure and create a plan to ensure that no matter who moves into our community— they will be embraced daily of our historic contributions and that Crenshaw is a neighborhood centered around Black heritage.

Destination Crenshaw is a 1.3-mile long outdoor art and culture experience celebrating Black Los Angeles. This community-inspired project will use the iconic Crenshaw Boulevard as a canvas and anchor for public art and streetscape design. Destination Crenshaw will be built for, by, and in honor of our community, and will celebrate the historical and contemporary contributions of Black L.A. and the Crenshaw community—the largest black community west of the Mississippi River

The National Museum Of African American Music Seeking Submissions Of Creative Artwork From Visual Artists

— When the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) opens its doors to the public in the summer of 2020, the first-of-its-kind institution located in the heart of downtown Nashville will be home to more than 1,500 historical artifacts that reflects the development, influence, and impact of African Americans on more than 50 genres and sub-genres including country, jazz, blues, gospel, R&B and hip hop. With construction of the museum currently underway and the layouts of the five primary galleries completed, the NMAAM curatorial team is now looking at ways to fill some of the additional open spaces in the museum with relevant and engaging original public artwork.

NMAAM has issued a call for submissions to all visual artists to submit original artwork for consideration as permanent installations within the museum. The goal of this request is to include artwork within the 56,000 square-foot, facility that will enhance the appearance of three distinct areas within the building that are not occupied by other artifacts. The addition of original artwork will create a visual experience that aligns with the museum’s content and blends well with the overall aesthetic of the accompanying galleries. Submitted artwork will be juried by an internal art selection committee with three selected artists being awarded between $50,000 – $70,000 for the creation and installation of their work.

“The [NMAAM] curatorial team is very excited about the opportunity to review art submissions from all around the world and we encourage artists to send us their best music-inspired work for consideration,” said Dr. Dina Bennett, Curatorial Director at NMAAM. “As much as musical artists have their place in celebrating the contributions of African American music to the world, visual artists also play a pivotal role in preserving the legacy and informing the culture. Our hope is that by opening space in the museum to visual artists, we can add some original pieces to our public spaces that will enhance the stories tell as well as share something visually dynamic for our guests to enjoy.”

The NMAAM call for artwork is open to all emerging artists (18 and older) regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or race. No student art will be accepted and work should be professional in nature. Artwork submissions should be connected to the African American experience and musical in context aligning with the museum’s mission and vision to provide a transformative, inspirational and educational experience for an international audience of museum guests. Artwork should also be durable, able to sustain various climate conditions, resistant to UV damage and safe for public interaction. Projected spaces within the museum where artwork will live include; the Grand Foyer which is the main entry point for the museum, the Lower Lobby which is a gathering space for ticket sales and large-scale public events and the Multipurpose Rooms which will be used for a variety of educational classes and community programs.

Artists interested in submitting artwork will need to submit a completed application by Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. CST to the NMAAM Art Selection Committee via the NMAAM submission page at For full details on the materials that should be included in the application packet, as well as complete competition rules, download the Request for Proposal for Public Art on the NMAAM website at Additional questions can also be sent to