Friday, December 28, 2012

Be Inspired to Celebrate Kwanzaa

There are some wonderful sites that can inspire you to create your own holiday traditions for Kwanzaa from art to food.

For a film on Kwanzaa visit The Black Candle

For inspiration on creative dishes check out Kwanzaa Culinarians.  This site is devoted to the celebration of Kwanzaa.

Black Eye Peas with Wild Brown Rice Risotto

Creating food that is healthy and delicious is more than possible with Bryant Terry, chef, author and activist.

Dishes Inspired by Terry Bryant

For gifts, how about the gift of laughter? Try the works of cartoonist Jerry Craft.  Mama's Boyz comic books and his children's books make wonderful gifts for Kwanzaa.

For toys visit  The Brownstone Playhouse. This site offers handcrafted one of a kind dolls, Brownstone Playhouses, and furniture.

Looking for a baby doll for the little lady in your life check out Positively Perfect Dolls for an array of African American dolls.  Dolls are now being sold in selected Walmarts.

Sesame Street: Kwanzaa Dancing with Elmo

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Celebrate Kwanzaa? Umoja the First Day

Many of us in the hood are so electronically hooked up that we have become an island unto ourselves but kwanzaa is that time of year that reminds us that we are a family and a community. As the saying goes "No man is an island," we are all connected. Gentrification, downsizing, unemployment and a host of other issues have hit our communities hard. As we enter 2013, the principles of Kwanzaa are tools that we and our children can use to build community. The Theme for 2012 found on the official website is Kwanzaa Us and the Well Being of the World: A Courageous Questioning.  Here are the Nguzo Saba Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Umoja (Unity)
Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

Nia (Purpose)
Nia (NEE-YAH) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

Kuumba (Creativity)
Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

Imani (Faith)
Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Under the Christmas Tree" Poems That Delight for the Holiday

Some books grow on you like Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes. This book of poem has become like an old friend. Every year we read it at Christmas time and renew old memories.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joy to All - The Christmas Message From the White House

Since Michelle Obama has been in the White House, I have enjoyed following her “Move It” project and her Christmas Celebration. “This year’s theme is ‘Joy to All.’ It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.”  This year's decorations also pay tribute to our Armed Forces and their families.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let Us Keep the Light Shinning in Sandy Hook

The Light Shines In The Darkness and the Darkness Has Never Put It Out"

My prayers go out to all the families in Newton, Connecticut.   Words cannot express the pain, sorrow and the lost we are feeling as a community.  We may never have answers for  why this horrendous crime occurred but we can keep our candle lit. As a community there is much work to be done but for now we can be a beacon of light for our neighbors in Newton and support them in their time of mourning.

I like the idea that Karen Wolrond shared on her blog, Chookooloonks for reaching out to the families of Sandy Hook. Please share with others and let the light shine.

"If anyone wants to mail sympathy cards or letters of support and solidarity to the school, the school address is: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482. Please copy/paste/share, anywhere you prefer. Prayers and sending a card may seem something small, but at least, it's something we can do."

“I think this is a stellar idea.  It's also something that our kids might enjoy doing to help process their feelings about what they hear on the news.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Beasts of the Southern Wild, the fantasy film that was a favorite at Sundance Film Festival can now be seen on demand TV. The story line follows the adventure of a young African American girl, Hushpuppy (played by Quvenzhan√© Wallis) who  survives an apocalypse in the Bayou of Louisiana.   Although a young girl stars in the leading role the storyline is for a much older audience. The film is rated PG-13. The director and producers of the film have invited everyone interested to the  TV premiere.

Read the following invitation:

“Join us on Friday, November 23rd for an evening of food, friends and film!

In celebration of the Beasts of the Southern Wild on demand release, we’re asking you to host a post-Thanksgiving Day Beasts watch party in your home! Get creative with leftovers, or if you want, we can send you our Bathtub inspired, community sourced recipe book for fun food fare! Need decorations? We’ll send you flyers and buttons to get everyone in the party the spirit!

It doesn’t stop there.  The Beasts team wants to join your Feast of the Southern Wild!  On Friday, Nov 23rd, between the hours of 9pm EST and 12am EST, director Benh Zeitlin, producers Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey and Josh Penn and our New Orleans based crew will join your party online!

Beyond our wildest expectations, Beasts has traveled the globe and now it’s coming to your home.  Help us share the film and continue the conversation with others!  Beasts will be available on the following platforms, Comcast, iTunes, DirecTv, AT&T UVerse, Verizon FiOS, Amazon, XBOX, Playstation, Vudu, and many more!

If you’d like to host a Beasts watch party, send us an email at!”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Higher Education Grants of Interest to African-Americans

From The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education information for college bound students and parents:

Higher Education Grants of Interest to African-Americans -

Filed in Grants and Gifts on November 14, 2012
Here is this week’s news of grants to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Historically Black Dillard University in New Orleans received a $300,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to support the university’s Pre-Collegiate Emerging Scholars Program. The program is a free college preparatory initiative designed to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete high school and enroll in college.

Fayetteville State University, a historically Black educational institution in North Carolina, received a $100,000 donation from Nicholas Perkins, a 2003 alumnus of the university, for scholarships for entrepreneurial students enrolled in the university’s School of Business and Economics. Perkins is president and founder of Perkins Management Services Company of Charlotte, a food services management firm.

Historically Black Tuskegee University received a four-year, $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for programs to increase research opportunities for undergraduate students. The grant will support the university’s Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE) program.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically Black educational institution in Princess Anne, received a five-year, $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for a research project on viruses that cause cold sores and complications that can lead to blindness and brain lesions.

Kansas State University received a $1.2 million grant from Cargill, a privately held agricultural and food conglomerate that employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. The grant will support the Cargill Project Impact Diversity Partnership at the university which seeks to increase the number of minority students in the colleges of agriculture, business administration, and engineering.

The program began at Kansas State in 2008. Since that time there has been a 68 percent increase in multicultural students in the target disciplines.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

BET’s  presentation of Black Girls Rock! last Sunday hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King showcased young women who are committed to changing the world for better. Seeing these young women and the work they were doing was totally inspirational. Although I  thought the TV program was too celebrity driven (I would have loved to see more about the young women), I realized this was their fundraiser.  BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is  youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. Young women are offered access to enrichment programs and opportunities that place special emphasis on personal development through the arts and cooperative learning.

BET will repeat this show today at 8 pm so check their listings and visit website Black Girls Rock to learn more and give a donation. This is worth seeing with the young people in your life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Story Corps' A Family Man

Do you share family stories with your child?  Today after Carter Woodson, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks have left an imprint, many young African American still do not know their history. Sharing our stories with our children is a wonderful way to empower them and spark their interest in history. This month join Story Corps in the National Day of Listening.

Story Corps' mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.  They launched the first National Day of Listening in 2008 to encourage all Americans to record an interview with a loved one on the day after Thanksgiving using equipment that is readily available in most homes—from cell phones to tape recorders to computers or even pen and paper.

A Family Man is a story that many of us growing up in urban America can relate to. In 1955, John L. Black, Sr. started his job as a janitor for the Cincinnati public school system. He regularly put in 16-hour days to provide for his wife and eleven children. At StoryCorps, his son Samuel talks with his wife, Edda Fields-Black, about his father's lasting legacy and the power of a look. The story is directed by The Rauch Brothers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Alicia Keys Launches New App for Kids

As a new mother, singer Alicia Keys watched TV shows and DVDs for children with her two year old son, Egypt, and was inspired to launch a storytelling app for kids.  “I was just getting introduced to TV shows and the DVDs and all the things you start kind of introducing your kids to, and I thought how cool it would be to be a part of something that really allows them to hear music from different places, different cultures, different sounds. That’s what we’re able to do with this,” explained the star.

“Alicia Keys gives kids a snippet of her life to enjoy with her new app called “The Journals of of Mama Mae and Lee Lee.” The app is loosely based on Alicia’s experiences as a little girl living in New York City and having her grandmother as confidant. The interactive app is centered in LeeLee’s bedroom. It allows users to read books, play music and write in a journal. She has also produced the music for the new app.  “  The app has been released today for $3.99.

Keys is launching the app through her company AK Worldwide, and Bento Box Interactive.
                                  For more information visit

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LAGRANT Foundation to Award Quarter of a Million Dollars to Marketing, PR Students

Good News for students looking to go into advertising, marketing or public relations via Target Market News,

(October 15, 2012) The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013/2014 academic year for ethnic minorities pursuing degrees in advertising, marketing or public relations. Applications must be submitted by February 28, 2013 via

In honor of the 15th anniversary, TLF will award a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) to 36 exemplary students as they prepare to enter some of the most constantly evolving industries. Twenty-two undergraduate students will receive scholarships of $5,000 each and 14 graduate students will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must be of African American/Black, American Indian/Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, or Hispanic/Latino descent pursuing degrees in advertising, marketing or public relations at an accredited college or university. Undergraduate students must have a minimum of a 2.75 GPA and graduate students must have a minimum of a 3.2 GPA. 

Recipients must be available to attend all TLF scholarship events and make a commitment to maintain contact with the Foundation for assistance with professional development. These commitments are explained in depth on TLF's website, Additionally, scholarship recipients are expected to be future advocates of TLF, spreading information about various resources offered by the Foundation so that the next generation of students can also benefit.

Scholarship winners attending college east of Chicago will receive a trip to New York City while recipients attending college west of Chicago will receive a trip to Seattle to celebrate TLF's 15th Anniversary Scholarship Recognition Reception and Awards Program. The program in New York will be on May 20 and the program in Seattle will be on May 30. Recipients will participate in a daylong career development workshop and have the opportunity to meet with industry professionals. 

Continue reading story at Target Market News.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Parents In New York City have a wonderful opportunity to get their young teens interested in African American History at the Schomburg Library.  Just received their flyer see below:

Help Your Teen Find Their ROOTS at the Schomburg Center by joining the
Junior Scholars Program!

Help the young people in your life find their roots at the Schomburg Center! Applications are available for the Junior Scholars Program. Open to students from across the NY Metropolitan Area, ages 11-18.

About the Junior Scholars Program: The Juniors Scholars Programs Saturday sessions run from 10 am to 3 pm and are designed with an inquiry-based and project-based approach to teaching about black American history and the global black experience. Weekly, the Junior Scholars attend college-style lectures and presentations, engage in dialogue with adult scholars, participate in guided peer group discussions and activities, generate individual research projects and portfolios, and create collaborative media and arts projects that grow from their intensive study based on the Schomburg’s vast collections, exhibitions, and educational resources.

 Apply now for 2012-2013 by visiting:
To download an application and get it into
the hands of a teenager you know.

Deadline is September 30
Hurry Today! 

The Junior Scholars Program at the Schomburg Center
The New York Public Library
515 Malcolm X Blvd.
New York, NY 10037
For more information email: 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The White House Celebrates Kids' Health

Encouraging young people to live well and eat healthy has been a focal point for First Lady Michelle Obama.  First she created the “Let’s Move!” campaign and the White House garden, and now she has hosted the first Kids’ State Dinner.

The lunch honored the 54 children who had won the "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge."  They were chosen from more than 1,200 entrants for creating a nutritious recipe of their own creation or a family favorite. The contest, sponsored by, was open to kids 8 to 12 and included winners from every state. Contestants who vied for the opportunity to participate at the first Kids State Dinner were chosen by a panel of judges from Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “At tables lush with floral bouquets festooned with fruits and vegetables, guests enjoyed a four-course meal served on china originally used during the Reagan administration and a performance by boy band Big Time Rush. The menu, drawn from winning entries, included "yummy cabbage sloppy Joes" and a side of baked zucchini fries. The meal was paired with a performance by the Nickelodeon TV stars/music group Big Time Rush.” A highlight of the event was a visit from President Obama and a tour of the White House garden.

With dishes to entice young appetites like Fish Fueled Pepper Rocket with Kale Chips and Quinoa, and Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes, a cookbook might be on the way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gabby Sets a New Gold Standard at the Olympics

Congratulations, Gabby! Her smile is contagious.  She strides with elegance. Her work ethics and determination are incredible.  Watching Gabrielle Douglas win gold was a dream that has inspired many young people. One headline read, "Gabby Sets a New Gold Standard."  Gabby have made us proud. We love you.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

African American Office of Education Announced by President Obama

The top concerns for African American families are education and career opportunities. To address the needs and improve the educational prospects for young African Americans, President Obama has signed a New Initiative to Improve Educational Outcomes for African Americans. The White House announced the following details in a press release:

"Executive Order Establishes the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

On Wednesday, during his remarks at the National Urban League conference in New Orleans, LA, President Obama announced he would sign an Executive Order today to improve outcomes and advance educational opportunities for African Americans.

The President has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career – a top priority.  The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will work across Federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.  The Initiative aims to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers.

In the nearly 60 years since the Brown v. Board of Education decision put America on a path toward equal educational opportunity, America’s educational system has undergone a remarkable transformation.  Many African American children who attended substandard, segregated schools in the 1950s have grown up to see their children attend integrated and effective elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities.  Nonetheless, substantial obstacles to equal educational opportunity still remain in America’s educational system.  African American students lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline and referrals to special education.

Significantly improving the educational outcomes of African Americans will provide substantial benefits for our country by advancing important outcomes, like increasing college completion rates, employment rates, and the number of African American teachers.  Enhanced educational outcomes for African Americans will lead to more productive careers, improved economic mobility and security, and greater social well-being for all Americans.

Advancing Educational Achievement of African American Students

The President has set the goal for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. To reach this ambitious goal, and to ensure equality of access and opportunity in education for all Americans, the Obama Administration is dedicating new resources, through rigorous and well-rounded academic and support services, to enable African American students to improve their educational achievement and prepare for college and career.

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, housed within the Department of Education, will work with the Executive Office of the President and Cabinet agencies to identify evidence-based best practices to improve African American student achievement in school and college, and to develop a national network of individuals, organizations, and communities that will share and implement these practices.  It will also help ensure that Federal programs and initiatives administered by the Department of Education and other Federal agencies maintain a focus on serving and meeting the educational needs of African Americans. The Initiative will complement the existing White House Initiative that strengthens the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by working with Federal agencies and partners nationwide to provide all African American students with a more effective continuum of education programs.

To deliver a complete and competitive education for all African Americans, the Initiative will promote, encourage, and undertake efforts designed to meet several objectives, including:

• Increasing the percentage of African American children who enter kindergarten ready for success by improving access to high-quality early learning and development programs;
• Ensuring that all African American students have access to high-level, rigorous course work and support services that will prepare them for college, a career, and civic participation;
• Providing African American students with equitable access to effective teachers and principals in pursuit of a high-quality education, and supporting efforts to improve the recruitment, preparation, development, and retention of successful African American teachers and principals;
• Promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools, and decreasing the disproportionate number of referrals to special education by addressing root causes of the referrals;
• Reducing the dropout rate of African American students and increasing the proportion of African American students who graduate from high school prepared for college and career;
• Increasing college access, college persistence, and college attainment for African American students;
• Strengthening the capacity of institutions of higher education that serve large numbers of African American students, including community colleges, HBCUs, Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and other institutions; and
• Improving the quality of, and expanding access to, adult education, literacy, and career and technical education."

More information will be needed in the future to determine how the goals of this new initiative will be reached and the long term effects it will have on the African American community. Do you think this new initiative can  help the community?  What should be their first priority?  For more information visit the White House website.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Doc McStuffin Garners Support from African American Women Physicians

Since it's premiere in March, my nieces Shakina and Yonina have enjoyed watching Disney's Doc McStuffins. In fact, so have their brothers. And our family was not the only one watching the show. Since it's debut Doc McStuffins has found it's way into many households and now rates as one of the top most watched children's program. Recently, Disney decided to renew the show for another season, which will make a lot of people happy. One group in particular has been very pleased with this outcome. A group of African American women doctors lead by Dr. Myiesha Taylor has expressed thanks and support for this new program that features a little African American girl in the lead role. Her ambition to be a doctor resonates with these African American physicians. They represent a diverse group of physicians from Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Pediatric Anesthesiology, Ob/gyn, Cardiothoracic surgery, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Orthopedic Surgery, Occupational Medicine, Emergency medicine, Internal medicine, Family medicine, and more. They have studied at diverse colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Sanford and Spelman. All the doctors have inspiring stories of strength and resilience to tell. Since they have had to be trailblazers in pursuit of their dreams, they are keenly aware of the importance of role models. For African American girls, TV has offered only a few role models that reflect them. Characters featuring African Americans have been portrayed mostly as side kicks or ambiguous characters like Word Girl. For Dr. Myiesha Taylor, who watches Disney Channel's "Doc McStuffins" with her 4-year-old, Hana, the show sends a much-needed message to minority girls about how big their ambitions can be. "It's so nice to see this child of color in a starring role, not just in the supporting cast. It's all about her," Taylor said. "And she's an aspiring intellectual professional, not a singer or dancer or athlete." In order to thank Disney and garner support for Doc McStuffins, Dr. Taylor created the "We Are Doc McStuffins" collage, which is made up of 131 pictures of African American women physicians from around the world surrounding Doc McStuffins. Dr. Taylor explains, "It is about time that we have an image on children’s daytime T.V. that we can proudly share with our children as an example that they truly can achieve anything. She ends her open letter to Disney by expressing the enthusiasm of the group. "We close by once again thanking Disney Jr. and Brown Bag Films for this great new role model for our children. We also want to extend a special thanks to the very talented creator of Doc McStuffins, Chris Nee. Chris your show has touched many women who get up each day to live out that childhood dream of becoming a physician. We appreciate you capturing the hopes and dreams we all held as a little girl and sharing them with the world." See

Monday, June 4, 2012

David Boone’s Inspiring Story: From Homeless to Havard

It’s Graduation time! And David Boone has overcome a lot of adversity in his young life to reach this milestone. He now has a lot to be thankful for. His story is very inspiring, read his blog on Huffington Post

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Comes to the White House

With much excitement, great fun and splendid weather, the Obama family hosted the 2012 Easter Egg Hunt.  One of the highlights of the event was the reading of The Wild Thing by Malia and Sasha, and then a rendition of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama even Bo, their dog got into the presentation.  I hope everyone is enjoying the Easter season!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Doc McStuffins Debuts On Disney Jr.

 In the vast world of television and film, African American parents are constantly looking for positive images for their children.  Now there is a new television show that they can watch. Last Friday, Disney Jr.  introduced a new African American character Doc McStuffins. in a new animated series that models good health, hygiene, compassion and nurturing for kids ages two to seven.  My little nieces ages 3 and 5 are interested in watching this new series, and I will probably watch with them.  Although ethnicity will probably not be mentioned in the show, African American children will see someone who not only looks like them and their family but  also has an important message for young people.   Little girls and even little boys will now have a caring and compassionate character who is also very knowledgeable. The creator, Chris Nee sees the series as an opportunity to introduce children to health issues and foster a positive attitude toward visits to the doctor.  Young children and parents can watch Doc McStuffins weekday mornings at 10am/9c on the Disney Channel and  4 pm on the new Disney Junior Channel.

 The voice cast features Kiara Muhammad as Doc; and Loretta Devine as Hallie. China Anne McClain who is the star of Disney Channel’s hit series “A.N.T. Farm” and a Hollywood Records recording artist sings Doc McStuffins' theme song. The show has been described as “warm and fuzzy stories, each featuring an original song, which introduces a little girl named Doc who can talk to the stuffed animal and toy world — and they talk to her too, especially when they need her help repairing a stitch or bandaging a “boo-boo”.  Along the way, Doc and her friends Stuffy, Lambie, Hallie and Chilly impart helpful tips about self care and care for others, and chase away the worries over visiting the doctor.” will also debut a Doc McStuffins supersite featuring an interactive clinic where kids can assist Doc in nurturing toys back to health, including three new online games and Doc McStuffins-themed crafts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle - Will Return for a Second Season

VH1 has announced that a second season of their hit reality show, "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” has been greenlit. Rapper T.I. and singer Tiny give audiences a peek into the ups and downs of their celebrity lifestyle after T.I served jail time and tries to focus his attention in a more positive way. In the first season fans watched as they balanced relationships, careers and family values, making this show “a certified hit averaging 3.5 million total viewers on Monday nights.”  The show is popular with African Americans and young adults ages 18-49. The second season of "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle" is slated to return fall 2012.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We Will Remember Trayvon

 As parents, we try to shelter our children from racism. Yet no matter how hard we try the insidiousness of hatred seeps into our lives on too many fronts.  The newspapers, history books and the Internet are filled with stories that reach even the youngest child.  Even when we try to hide certain facts from them, they hear us talking sometimes angrily and other times sadly about our experiences growing up Black in America. Then there are events like the death of Trayvon Martin that make us realize that racism is not part of our past because today our country is still riddled with fear and hatred.   We are reminded once again of how difficult it is to protect our children. So it is important that we speak out, march and protest, and let our children know that we do not have to tolerate hatred and violence. Getting justice for Trayvon is just the beginning.  Next we need to come together as a community to find new ways to protect and educate our young people.  We must always let them know that they are loved and cherished.  So the battle continues…

You can sign a petition at
Call the State Attorney, "who will be prosecuting" at 321.617-7548.
 Support organizations like the Children's Defense Fund

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beyonce Sets a New Bar

I was not interested in the hoopla concerning the size of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s nursery for little Blue  Ivy and the Bjorn leopard print baby carrier was nice but when I heard that she breastfeed Blue  Ivy in public I was impressed. Advocates have been trying to reach young African American women with the benefits of breastfeeding their babies. Benefits are both for mother and child yet the message has gone unheeded. The percentage of Black mothers breastfeeding is still below other ethnic groups.  Hopefully, Beyonce has created a buzz that will reach and convince young mothers that breastfeeding is good.
Recently, American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed their position that mothers should exclusively breastfeed for six months, and that nursing should be considered a public heath issue rather than a lifestyle choice. Why is breastfeeding important in the African American community? Breast milk is custom made for little human babies and moms that breastfeed heal and get in shape faster.  Breast milk is also cheaper and more portable than formula.  On top of that breastfeeding is very important in bonding and building a relationship with the newborn. Now Beyonce has sent a message that breastfeeding is fashionable. I know Blue Ivy appreciates her Mom's decision.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nordstrom Scholarship Program

Do you know a high school junior who is looking forward to college but needs funding?  Nordstrom is excited to award $10,000 scholarships to 80 outstanding high school students and help them achieve their dreams of going to college. The Nordstrom Scholarship recognizes students across the country for their exceptional scholastic achievement and community involvement. Visit their site and find out the qualifications at   Applications must be sent in before May 1, 2012.

Thanks to Eula Young for this information.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Being Elmo - A Puppeteer's Journey

Not many people are aware of the story behind Elmo but now Kevin Clash, the creator of Elmo and Sesame Street’s Senior Puppet Coordinator and Muppet Captain is being featured in a new movie, Being Elmo, A Puppeteer’s Journey. Kevin from an early age knew what he wanted to do and followed his dream. His story is an inspiration for everyone, young and old. I missed seeing this movie when it first opened but now it is being shown through the country in a limited engagement. So I hope to catch it this time. I love hearing the story of people like Kevin who enjoy their work and have also made such an impact on our lives. Now we can find out why children love Elmo so much from the man who created him.  Catch his story at a theater near you, visit Being Elmo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Best of 2012 Mama Hope

Here we feature the best efforts and intentions that inspired us to bring forth our A game for the new year.

Call Me Hope - provides us with a video that is contagious with energy and joy. Visit their website and be inspired to help

Thanks to  for this information.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Celebrate African American History?

History is the foundation of our culture. It can make us proud or shameful. It can strengthen us and challenge our perspective. Most important history gives us a road map of where we come from and provides important lessons to learn.
Celebrating African American history Month has been an important part of bringing our story to light. After centuries of struggle through slavery, abolition, emancipation, and civil rights, the story of African Americans has just begun to be told. Even while this story begins to unfold, there are people and organizations like the Tea Party who are trying to rewrite history and create their own version of the slavery experience. See the Huffington Post article.
Will truth prevail? The truth will prevail if we pass on the stories and history of African America to our children.  The truth will prevail if we support the writers, educators, filmmakers and entrepreneurs who are working to bring our history to light.  
CNN has a wonderful story about a project by Lauranett Lee, curator of African American History at the Virginia Historical Society who is working to archive the untold story of slaves in Virginia.  Now families can use this information to learn more about their history and trace their genealogy.  
February reminds us how dynamic and interesting African American History is.  We celebrate our stories and share the lessons with a new generation. Yet we know this is just the beginning of a long but fascinating journey.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

This morning my grand nephews woke me up singing Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you.  I can't help but think how things have changed since Dr. King cast his shadow on this earth. When my son was growing up in the eighties, I remember sending a note to his school asking why they did not celebrate Black History Month.  His school library had special exhibits each month on different cultures from Asia to Russia to South America but Black History Month came and went without any mention. The powers that be sent me a message that they had a picture of Martin Luther King Jr on the bulletin in the back of the lunchroom. It never dawned on them how insensitive they were to the young Black children who attended the school.  I really wanted to organize a sit down MLK Jr. style at his school instead I wrote a letter giving a history of Africa going back some forty thousand years explaining that although Dr. King is one of the most important figure in African American History, he is part of long historical legacy.

We have come a long way.  Today my nephews celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Black History Month and Kwanzaa in school.   Fortunately, for a new generation the story of Martin Luther King still stands out as a beacon and a catalyst for change.  How appropriate that people now celebrate his birthday as a day of service. Did you volunteer for any special services today?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa is part of the holiday season but the principles are also a way of life. Let the wisdom and the principles guide this new year.
The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are:

Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah) -to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah) - to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah) - to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah) - to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH) - to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah) - to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee) - to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.