Chicago Student Gets Into 23 HBCUs, Earns $300,000 In Scholarships

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HBCUs

Ariyana Davis said it was important for her to go to a school “that feels like home.”

A Chicago high school student was accepted into each of the 24 colleges she applied to ― and 23 of those schools are historically black colleges and universities.

Ariyana Davis, 18, applied to so many schools via the Common Black College Application, according to ABC News. It allows students to apply to up to 50 of the more than 100 HBCUs for a one-time fee of $35.

The Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School student, who took college prep courses during lunch at her school, told the outlet that attending an HBCU was a priority for her.

“They are known for producing successful black professionals,” she said. “It was important for me to go to an institution that feels like home.”

Davis shared on Twitter that she received acceptance letters from prestigious colleges including Howard University, Spelman College, Xavier University, Hampton University and Tuskegee University. The one predominately white institution she applied to and got accepted to was Eastern Illinois University.

Davis was also awarded a combined $300,000 in scholarships,

The teen has chosen to attend Alcorn State University in Mississippi and major in accounting in the fall.

“I love the family-oriented environment and close-knitted community, and the opportunity they will provide to me when I join the honors courses,” Davis said.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Inclusion at the Forefront: Letter from the Editor

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Anthony Anderson on the cover of the Black EOE Journal

By Samar Khoury

We are celebrating milestones every day, and this issue of Black EOE Journal is full of them. Inclusion surrounds this issue, as it is at the forefront more than ever.

For example, our Best of the Best lists recognize the top HBCUs and Colleges & Universities for their commitment to inclusion. This issue is also filled with firsts: Senator Kamala Harris, the first black woman of Indian descent to formally accept a vice president nomination; Jeanette Epps, the first black woman astronaut to join the international space station crew; Michael V. Drake, the University of California’s first black president; and much, much more. These are only scratching the surface. Even better news: A new law has been passed requiring large corporations to diversify their boards.

Our cover story- actor, activist, and comedian Anthony Anderson- sees value in inclusion and continuously pushes for justice. A prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, Anderson makes it his mission to advocate for a more inclusive future. “I have to build my own table and seat. We don’t have to sit at other peoplpe’s tables. We invite people to our table,” Anthony says.

Read more about his efforts and inspiring story on page 48.

We’ve also rounded up a list of influential figures who aim to make a difference in the world. From Tyler Perry to Yara Shahidi, these people are inspirations.

Read about these figures on page 30.

You, too, can make a difference, and that is by voting during the upcoming presidential election. Have your voice heard, and advocate for change. Your vote can be what the world needs. So, get out there and vote! Every vote counts.

Last but not least, job opportunities are still present among the pandemic and we’ve presented them for you. Every issue of Black EOE Journal strives to give the best job opportunities and tips while navigating these unprecedented times.

While times are changing, one thing isn’t, and that is the importance of inclusion. So, follow in Anthony Anderson, Senator Harris, Jeanette Epps, and many more influential figures’ footsteps, and make your own change.

McDonald’s USA Expands Its HBCU Platform to Support the Next Generation of Leaders

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McDonald’s USA, through its Black & Positively Golden movement, is excited to announce the expansion of its longstanding efforts to support students and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Building on the recently announced $500,000 Black & Positively Golden HBCU scholarship fund, the company and its owner/operators have partnered with ESSENCE Girls United, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and iHeart Media to help the next generation of leaders take steps today to own tomorrow.

These special partnerships build on McDonald’s commitment to supporting and uplifting the Black community by providing mentorship opportunities, seed capital for entrepreneurs, college scholarships and feel good moments like the in-progress, virtual 14th Annual McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration® Gospel Tour.

“We are honored to partner with Essence Girls United, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and iHeart Media to provide opportunities for HBCU students and alumni along their education, leadership and entrepreneurship journey,” said Margaret “Marty” Gillis, New Jersey Owner/Operator and Owner/Operator Marketing Committee Lead.

“McDonald’s and its owner/operators are committed to fostering the communities we serve while furthering Black excellence through initiatives like our HBCU programs that are positively shaping communities and lives.”

Following is additional information on each of the three McDonald’s HBCU programs that are taking place this fall:

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Winner Surprises
This month, 34 of America’s brightest HBCU students were each awarded a $15,000 McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship, facilitated by TMCF.

Scholarship recipients were also surprised with a school supply delivery to their doorsteps, which included a tablet with a special congratulatory video featuring entertainment celebrities and fellow HBCU alumni, including Terrence J, Ashley Blaine Featherson, KJ Smith, Quad Webb and David Banner, along with TMCF and McDonald’s representatives.

“Knowing the uncertainty and challenges facing college students returning to classes during the pandemic, we understand HBCU students will be most impacted, as they continue dealing with not only the impacts of COVID-19, but also civil unrest and demands for Black equality,” said Harry L. Williams, Thurgood Marshall College Fund President & CEO. “That’s why TMCF is excited to partner with McDonald’s to help keep more Black students in college and to help provide the tools needed to succeed.”

McDonald’s HBCU Homecoming Celebration
Through November, McDonald’s is partnering with iHeartMedia to host an uplifting, month-long HBCU homecoming celebration to showcase school pride and elevate student achievement through iHeart’s multiple platforms, including on-air, streaming, podcasts and a live virtual event. The celebration will bring together HBCU students and alumni with their favorite musical artists, influencers and entertainment. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

“iHeart is excited to partner with McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden movement to bring this exciting programming to the HBCU community,” said Thea Mitchem, Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia. “As an HBCU graduate, I know homecoming season is like no other, and we’re excited to celebrate its rich culture and musical offerings with listeners nationwide.”

McDonald’s x ESSENCE Girls United “Making Moves Now” Entrepreneurship Bootcamp & Pitch Competition
McDonald’s collaborated with ESSENCE Girls United for a multi-week program that kicked off with the ‘Making Moves Now’ Virtual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp on Saturday, September 19. Viewers saw profiles of three entrepreneurs who received advice on how to elevate their business plans from industry experts. Hosted by media personality and social media star Khadeen Ellis, the virtual bootcamp featured a surprise appearance by actress-singer Ryan Destiny, along with an online masterclass with the founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, Shontay Lundy, actress and content creator Jasmine Luv, and McDonald’s Owner/Operator Marissa Fisher.

On October 10, during the Girls United Summit on ESSENCE Studios, McDonald’s partnered with New Voices Fund, an organization that invests in women of color-owned companies. Through this program, McDonald’s awarded MIVE and Lillian Augusta with $10,000 in seed capital to help fund each of their businesses.

“ESSENCE Girls United is proud to partner with McDonald’s to help empower young women entrepreneurs on their journey to thrive in business and become examples for others in their community,” said Cassandre Charles, Vice-President, Marketing, ESSENCE. “From supporting Black students and entrepreneurs, to engaging the community with mentorship and action, our partnership with McDonald’s will help ensure that we continue to serve an essential role in providing activities for Black communities rooted in progress and prosperity, with a keen focus on equality and opportunity.”

McDonald’s expanded HBCU platform is an extension of the company’s longstanding commitment to advancing education, as demonstrated through its annual partnership with TMCF and its signature Archways to Opportunity program for restaurant crew and managers. Through Archways to Opportunity, McDonald’s and its independent franchisees have increased access to education to more than 55,000 restaurant employees and have awarded more than $100 million in tuition assistance to date.

For more information on McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden movement and the above programming, follow @wearegolden on Instagram.

About Black & Positively Golden
Launched in 2019, McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden movement is designed to uplift communities and shine a brilliant light on Black excellence through empowerment, education and entrepreneurship. It highlights all things positive and focuses on stories of truth, power and pride. The campaign movement is a natural extension of the brand’s longstanding commitment to the African American consumer.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Instagram at @WeAreGolden and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds. To learn more about the Black & Positively Golden initiative, visit www.mcdonalds.com.

SOURCE McDonald’s USA

This Year’s Most Educated Cities in America

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Cities want to attract highly educated workers to fuel their economic growth and tax revenues. Higher levels of education tend to lead to higher salaries.

Plus, the more that graduates earn, the more tax dollars they contribute over time, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In turn, educated people want to live somewhere where they will get a good return on their educational investment.

People also tend to marry others of the same educational level, which means that cities that already have a large educated population may be more attractive to people with degrees.

Not all highly educated people will flock to the same areas, though. Some may prefer to have many people with similar education levels around them for socializing and career connections. Others may want to be a big fish in a little pond. Not every city will provide the same quality of life to those with higher education, either. In addition, the most educated cities could shift in the near future depending on how well cities deal with the current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on schooling.

To determine where the most educated Americans are putting their degrees to work, WalletHub compared the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, across 11 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the share of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher to the quality of the public-school system to the gender education gap.

Most Educated Cities in USA

1          Ann Arbor, MI

2          San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

3          Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

4          Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

5          San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

6          Madison, WI

7          Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

8          Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

9          Austin-Round Rock, TX

10        Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

11        Colorado Springs, CO

12        Raleigh, NC

13        Provo-Orem, UT

14        Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

15        Trenton, NJ

16        Portland-South Portland, ME

17        Tallahassee, FL

18        Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

19        Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

20        San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

21        Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

22        Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

23        Lansing-East Lansing, MI

24        Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

25        Lexington-Fayette, KY

Source: wallethub.com

Couple Shares Passion for Careers in Medical Field Through Educating, Entertaining Young People

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LMS Keena's standing alonside four kindergarden students and another female teacher. Bith teachers wearing lab coats. Children holding completion certificates in hands.

It’s no wonder that Keena Duncan of Southhaven, Mississippi fell in love with the Little Medical School franchise concept. LMS is the leading developer of specialized curriculum and interactive resources for children ages 4-16. The program allows kids to explore the benefits of careers in healthcare while simultaneously get educated and entertained.

Duncan knows firsthand what a rewarding experience it can be. Duncan’s husband, Dr. Ulric Duncan, is a gastroenterologist in Southaven. Keena Duncan, who runs the Little Medical School franchise there was a teacher in the public-school system and the Practice Administrator in a specialty Gastroenterology Medical Clinic owned by the couple.

Both Duncan’s have a passion for medicine and a desire to help young people aspire to medical careers. After they attended a Little Medical School program, they realized it was the perfect vehicle to provide such an opportunity. Since September 2017, Little Medical School of the Mid-South has been providing its STEM-based curriculum (science, technology, engineering, math) through games, crafts and interactive demonstrations at schools, hospitals, daycare centers, birthday parties, summer camps and more throughout northern Mississippi and Memphis.

“Owning a medical clinic sparked an interest in teaching children the importance of knowing how their bodies work and how to access careers in healthcare,” said 58-year-old Keena, a Memphis resident. “I taught kindergarten in the public schools and homeschooled our three children. Now, Little Medical School allows me to continue to inspire and teach.”

LMS's Keena standing behind resource table  smiling
Keena Duncan of Southhaven, Mississippi at her resource table for Little Medical School

Little Medical School also offers a wide-ranging curriculum of virtual camps and classes. Franchise owners do not need a medical or teaching background. Little Medical School is a mobile business with low overhead that can be operated as a home-based business. The child-services and educational franchise industries combined represent an $11 billion segment that employs more than 285,000 people in more than 130,000 businesses.

About Little Medical School

Little Medical School (LMS) was created and founded by Dr. Mary Mason in 2010 and began franchising in 2015. LMS has evolved to meet the demand for high quality STEM based health awareness focused curriculum There are currently 41 franchises in the U.S. states and 16 International franchisees, along with five company owned locations.  Each Little Medical School franchise is independently owned and community focused. For information visit https://www.littlemedicalschool.com. For franchise information visit https://www.littlemedicalschool.com/franchise-opportunities.

Why an MBA?

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With a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, you get more than an opportunity to change or advance your career.

You get the leadership skills to last a lifetime. By getting an MBA, you can:

  • Increase your earning potential
  • Advance within your current industry
  • Change your career
  • Increase your marketability
  • Gain a network of peers, faculty and alumni
  • Make an impact in your community

Types of MBA Programs

Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three- to four-month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Many students are company sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum
  • EMBAs typically have at least 8–10 years professional experience and hold a leadership role in their organization

Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which Type of Program Is Best for You?

Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals:

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?

Lifestyle

  • Can you handle going to school full-time and working part-time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?

Location/Other

Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?

Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?

How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?

Will your current employer support you in a full or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: fortefoundation.org

Entrepreneur Makes History as Founder of One of the First Black Woman-Owned Online K-12 Virtual Schools

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Dana Delane Williams headshot
Meet Dana Delane-Williams, the owner and founder of American High School, an online virtual school for grades K-12 that has been leading the way in online education in the U.S. for over 18 years.

She has made history as one of the only African American women in the country to accomplish this and has committed herself to revolutionizing education to ensure that she gives kids the minimum credentials they need to succeed in life – their high school diploma.

As the effects of the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to rage on, almost all areas of everyday life have been changed. This truth has led to a paradigm shift in the way we work, interact, and educate students in the U.S. and worldwide. The traditional is now untraditional, with the old path, replaced by a new direction, our new norm.

How it all began

Dana began her foray into teaching classes online while she was an instructor at the University of Kentucky in 1996. It was in 2002 that she created her very first online high school for grades 9-12 with the 24 credits required to graduate, and catering to the homeschool market.

Dana has continued her efforts in creating new and innovative educational pathways since 2002. She has since expanded the school offerings to over 350 online courses to include an accredited online middle school for grades 6-8 and an online elementary school for grades K-5. She went on to create an online adult high school diploma program for those adults who needed to earn their high school diploma for work or college.

She even received NCAA approval, which allows student-athletes who plan to play sports in college on scholarship to attend her NCAA approved school. She continued to innovate and created a Dual Diploma program, in 2016, for her international partner schools/organization’s that allows students to earn a U.S. High School Diploma along with their home country diploma.

A great option for students and other institutions

American High School (AHS) is a comprehensive online/virtual learning school that delivers accredited, affordable, college preparatory, Honors/AP, Gifted, virtual reality, adult education, and career-based online education for Grades K-12 to students throughout the U.S. and Internationally.

Additionally, the school’s online/virtual platform allows public or private schools or organizations, the ability to create their own virtual schools or programs without a significant initial investment. It’s literally a virtual school in a box that can be deployed within 7-14 days.

AHS’s proprietary curriculum, learning management systems, and educational services are designed to facilitate individualized and personalized learning for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. AHS works with over 150 plus public or private schools throughout the United States and in over twenty-seven countries worldwide.

American High School offers the following in online education:

* Provides an excellent, well-rounded, proven online/virtual curriculum for Grades K-12.

* Fully accredited by leading agencies such as Cognia (formerly AdvancED and SACS). AdvancED is the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). As well as accredited by AI (Accreditation International).

* Students earn a high school diploma online from an accredited school. The diploma is fully-recognized upon graduation.

* Individual Course Program allows students to make up credits within 6 – 8 weeks and graduate on time. Includes online credit recovery and online summer school for grades 6-8.

* A diverse student population participates in the AHS programs including athletes, gifted, homeschoolers, actors/actresses, Olympians, traditional, at-risk, remedial, and/or those experiencing problems in the traditional classroom.

Students can enroll online at AmericanHighSchool.org or by contacting an Enrollment Specialist at 866-936-9654.

About Dana Delane-Williams: Dana is a military brat who has traveled all throughout the United States until graduation from high school in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State University with her Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, with her Masters in Aviation Administration.

Dana serves as the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) at American High School. She is responsible for curriculum development, organizational growth strategy, maintaining organizational culture, managing operations, R&D, sales, product development and launch, marketing, and overseas expansion.

Continue on to PR.com to read the complete article.

The I PROMISE Village: How Lebron James is Helping His Hometown

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LeBron James wearing #23 jersey standing on basketball court smiling

Despite the current circumstances of the world and the approaching NBA season, professional basketball star Lebron James has found another way to give back to his hometown of Akron.

Citing his hometown as an essential part of his success, James founded “The Lebron James Family Foundation” to give back some of his success to his Ohio hometown. For years, the organization has utilized tools in education to help the citizens of Akron, but as of late, has taken on one of its most ambitious projects yet: to help the disadvantaged families of the city.

On July 22, The Lebron James Foundation opened up the I PROMISE village, a transitional building set to provide families of an immediate home in the case of abuse, homelessness or other emergencies. The building will finally be opening after six months of refurbishing in partnership with 23 other companies.

Besides providing a space where families can feel safety of having a roof over their heads, the village will also be providing meals, community engagement, and life skill classes to help their tenants get back on their feet.

“This is about more than just getting kids to school,” the foundation executive director, Michele Campbell announced. “This is about keeping them alive. We’re seeing families struggling every day with very real and oftentimes unexpected issues that turn their worlds upside down. This will allow the family time and opportunities to grow while not worrying if they’ll have a roof over their heads.”

As High School Seniors Face an Uncertain Pandemic Year, ‘HBCU Week’ Brings Black Students On-the-Spot College Acceptances

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Portrait of african teenage boy at college campus with students walking by in motion blur. Happy young guy standing with his backpack looking at camera and smiling.

Many high school seniors, particularly students of color, have several reasons to feel uncertain about the future: a raging pandemic, a sputtering economy, and cries for racial equity and social justice this past summer.

But this week thousands of seniors will likely see a clear path to college as HBCU Week goes virtual for the first time, bringing the Historically Black College and University experience and instant college acceptance to laptops everywhere.

HBCU Week will present high schoolers with a one-stop chance to get accepted at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and secure a scholarship before completing the first month of high school. Many will then be able to finish high school worry-free without the struggle of navigating a complex admissions process.

“This year’s virtual HBCU Week will be a template for change for Black and Brown students,” said Ashley Christopher, founder and CEO of the HBCU Week Foundation. “Our week of virtual events will expose students to an authentic HBCU experience. Students will attend panels on topics such as financial health, female empowerment and becoming changemakers.  We round it off with our virtual college fair, where they can meet one-on-one with admissions officers and corporate partners, apply for internships, and potentially get on-the-spot acceptance and scholarships, all without leaving home.”

HBCU Week’s virtual events include a game night, a number of panels, and a live broadcast of ESPN “First Take.”  The HBCU College Fair takes place Sept. 25-26.

A graduate of two HBCUs—Howard University and the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law—Ashley Christopher started HBCU Week with the simple idea of connecting 200 Wilmington-area high school students with five HBCU admissions officers. In just three years, HBCU Week grew 3,000%, reaching 6,000 students with over 2,000 on-the-spot acceptances and $5 million in scholarships while collaborating with HBCUs and corporate partners.

“HBCUs not only open minds, they open opportunities,” Christopher said. “With HBCU Week, we’re exposing students to a proud history and legacy, and we want every student that comes through our virtual doors to walk away understanding that they can do and be anything coming from an HBCU.”

This year’s HBCU Week comes on the heels of an extraordinary summer of activism, when millions took to the streets in protest, and demands for racial equity and social justice grew insistent, and not just in America.

Many Black students, mindful of societal inequities, realize they live in a world that was not built for them. What they may not know, however, is that some of the best and the brightest in the Black community launched their careers after attending HBCUs, including Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Oprah Winfrey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Marian Wright Edelman, Kamala Harris, and Chadwick Boseman.

“HBCUs offer Black and Brown students the chance to thrive and appreciate their value all while gaining an excellent education as we can see from the people that have graduated from these institutions,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said. National ambassador for HBCU Week 2020, he is an alumnus of Winston-Salem State University. “When you go to an HBCU and you see people who have similar cultural backgrounds, you no longer feel alone,” he added. “And when you see your peers excel, you become convinced that you can too. The HBCU experience offers students real advantages both during college and into their careers.”

There are 104 HBCUs nationwide. They represent 3% of U.S. colleges and universities but are responsible for 25% of all African American science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees, and 14% of African American engineering degrees. Most HBCU students are Black or Brown, but students of all races are admitted. White, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native American students make up 22% of total enrollments.

HBCU Week’s corporate partners include JP Morgan Chase & Co., Chemours, the National Football League, Capital One, DuPont, Gucci Changemakers and many more. There are a variety of scholarships and internships available.  Attendance at the 2020 HBCU Week Virtual College Fair is required for eligibility.

To learn more about HBCU Week and to register for the events, visit hbcuweek.org.

About the HBCU Week Foundation
The mission of the HBCU Week Foundation is to encourage high-school aged youth to enroll into HBCU’s, provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America. The most impactful event during HBCU Week is the HBCU College Fair. HBCU Week Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

SOURCE HBCU Week Foundation

Why Diversity Matters: The Benefits of Recognizing Overlooked and Untapped Talent

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fist pump between a white and black hand

By Santura Pegram

Growing up, most of us were taught that brilliant innovators of everything from electricity to the lightbulb, automobiles, pharmaceuticals-medical devices, materials, alloys like steel-iron-aluminum-copper, and everything else under the sun were created by European (white) inventors.

However, while such figures certainly deserve recognition for their creations, and ongoing generations should be grateful to those individuals for their contributions, what was omitted from such history lessons was the fact that equally skillful black people and incredible thinkers of other diverse backgrounds also played equally pivotal roles. These latter groups of people helped to create some of the greatest inventions, took others to the next level or devised a new product or service altogether that are still relied upon today.

Disappointingly, most schools and institutions of higher learning have failed to teach material that revealed such hidden truths – both then and now. Thankfully, recent developments in several industries are enlightening increasing numbers of people about the historic and almost unknown contributions of black and brown people throughout the world.

Most affluent Americans and countless others have little clue that it was black people alone who kept the automobile brand, Cadillac, afloat in the U.S. In the 1930’s, as America was struggling to recover from The Great Depression and as racism continued to ruin opportunities for everyone who held onto to such nonproductive beliefs, a low-ranking German immigrant – Nicholas Dreystadt – who worked for General Motors at the time boldly entered a boardroom after overhearing perplexed white executives discuss consideration of abandoning the brand due to increasingly poor sales. The problem: GM was relying solely upon white Americans to buy the cars. Yet, from his menial position as a service division employee, Dreystadt quickly recognized that it was large numbers of black customers who owned Cadillacs who often were found waiting for their vehicles to be serviced at GM dealerships.

At the time, Cadillac had a strict practice against selling any of their luxury cars to black customers. Interestingly, through his own experiences of interacting with many such black customers, Dreystadt learned that black people routinely paid a white person (i.e., a front man) a fee to go into a dealership and purchase the Cadillac of choice for them. Thus, determined to make his point and show what could happen if GM abandoned their discriminatory policy, Dreystadt was successful at implementing a new diversity marketing approach, which increased sales of Cadillacs by 68%, and helped to make the brand profitable within 18 months. His same strategy was later adopted by Mercedes Benz to include black people and increased sales of their once-struggling brand too.

Still not convinced that diversity makes a huge difference in the world? Then consider the story of Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green and how he revolutionized whiskey. Green, a former slave in Lynchburg, Tennessee was the first black master distiller in America who taught Jack Daniel how to make the liquid gold. For more than a century, Nathan “Nearest” Green’s name was purposely left out of history books and absent from most conversations which tied him to the Jack Daniel’s brand. It would have likely remained that way had it not been for the relentless curiosity of Fawn Weaver, a California businesswoman, who in 2017 spearheaded the launching of what is now known as the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey brand in an industry that generates $3 billion dollars annually.

If those two examples are not enough proof that the creative (yet often unwisely ignored) potential of black and brown people continue to be a legitimate factor to consider throughout every sector of business, then consider other little-known facts that prove minorities are capable of being far more than the brawn behind an endeavor, they can also be the brains too.

Did any of the schools you ever attended teach you that Dr. Domingo Liotta – a South American native – was the person responsible for creating the first artificial heart that was successfully transplanted into a human being? Did they teach you that Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni – who was born in Uruguay – not only invented a bandage that administers medicinal drugs through a patient’s skin, but he was also responsible for helping to develop several other widely used products for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including the nicotine patch used to aid smokers in breaking their nasty habit? Were you ever informed that it was an enormously intelligent medical doctor – Julio Palmaz, who was born in Argentina – that invented the balloon-expandable stent frequently used to treat one of the most common health conditions (cardiovascular disease)?

Do your research on Dr. Thomas O. Mensah, the engineer and genius inventor who played a critical role in the development of fiber optics and nanotechnology. While you’re at it, take a few moments to delve into the impressive educational program known as ‘Make Music Count,’ created by Marcus Blackwell which aims to eliminate the fear of math and simultaneously teach children between the 3rd grade and 12th grade how to perform better mathematically while enjoying culturally relevant lessons through music.

Explore the insightful exploration of incredible thinkers like Elijah McCoy, Granville T. Woods, Patricia E. Bath, Frederick McKinley Jones, Jessica O. Matthews, Jasmine Crowe, Diishan Imira and countless others.

Then, imagine what could be accomplished if people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds throughout America and around the world were to put our heads together and entertain the thought of what has yet to be discovered? Quite possibly, that could include creating a cure for most (if not all) chronic diseases and health ailments. Maybe finding the answer to eradicate poverty, homelessness, and world hunger. Perhaps devise better public policy solutions focused on bringing people together instead of fanning insignificant flames which have only kept us apart.

Whatever the case and despite our achievements as segmented human beings, it’s not difficult to debate that we have only scratched the surface of everything that can be accomplished – if we will commit our hearts and minds to doing it together.

Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and socially conscious business professional. A former protégé-aide to the “Political Matriarch of the State of Florida” – the Honorable M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics. He can be reached at: santura.pegram@yahoo.com

From Homeless Shelters to College Bound: Meet the Valedictorian who Defied all the Odds

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Martin Folsom wearing his graduation cap and gown

Martin Folsom, a former high school senior at Philip Randolph Career Academy, has just graduated as his class’ valedictorian. Folsom and his mother, Melva, have been in and out of homeless shelters since he was a child in an effort to escape from Melva’s ex-husband, a convicted murderer.

Though having lived in a few different states throughout his life, Martin and Melva somewhat settled in Jacksonville, where Martin went to high school.  

During Folsom’s high school career, the family struggled with finding a place to live twice, once during his freshman year and again in his junior year.

But despite his living situation, Folsom continued to work hard, having his mother’s support the entire time.

“I never thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore’…it’s always been, ‘Well, it happened again and I’ve gotta keep myself up and keep moving forward.’” Folsom told WJXT News, “At my school, there are a lot of other smart people there too,” he added. “And if I let myself slip, they would take it from me in a second.”

Folsom plans to attend Valdosta State University in Georgia this upcoming fall with plans to join the FBI upon receiving his degree.

Target Announces Juneteenth As An Official Paid Company Holiday

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June teenth freedom day text on a multi-colored background with different sized shapes

After the tragic death of George Floyd and the protests and riots that followed, corporations are making changes one move at a time. Target is the latest company to announce that it will honor Juneteenth as an official paid holiday.

In a statement released Brian Cornell, CEO and chairman stated, “We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” says Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, Target. “Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”

Distribution centers and stores will remain open, but hourly team members who work on June 19 will receive time and a half. Eligible team members will have the option to take the day off with full pay. Corporate offices will be closed.

Target has also donated $10 million dollars to advance social justice and support rebuilding efforts in local communities.

Other companies that have announced Juneteenth observance are Nike, Twitter, and Square to name a few.

In a statement, CEO John Donahoe sent a message to his staff and stated, “As many of you may know, next Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. Starting this year and going forward, Nike will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday in the U.S,” he wrote.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey stated, “Both Twitter and Square are making #Juneteenth (June 19th) a company holiday in the US, forevermore. A day for celebration, education, and connection. Countries and regions around the world have their own days to celebrate emancipation, and we will do the work to make those dates company holidays everywhere we are present.”

Continue on to the original post on The Shade Room here.

Ava DuVernay Launches ‘When They See Us’ Online Education Initiative

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Ana Duvernay at a press event for her new initiative

Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us educated many people on the story of the Exonerated Five, the young men wrongly convicted in the attack on a Central Park jogger in 1989.

Now, the award-winning director and writer is using the groundbreaking miniseries for a new online education initiative.

Via ARRAY, her multi platform media company and arts collective, DuVernay is launching ARRAY 101.

On May 28, the Oscar nominee revealed on Instagram, “Today, I’m so, so proud to launch a project that my comrades at @ARRAYNow and I have been working on for over a year. Today, we launch #ARRAY101: dynamic learning companions for all our film/TV projects.

Continue on to BET to read the complete article…

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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