Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Community News

The 21st Annual Implement the King Dream Awards Gala was held on Friday night, March17 at the Murray Center. This year’s honorees were George Banks, Cashawn Easter, Torrion Espree Pastor Michael B. Golden, Jr., Dr. Keith Newby, Sr., Peggy Britt, and Rev. Michael K. Toliver.

Serving as M.C. was outgoing pageant queen Miss Norfolk and TV personality Ashley Smith. State Del. Cliff Hayes was the keynote speaker.

The annual event is produced by UniqueK Productions, whose CEO is Karen Mitchell. In a surprise move. Ms. Mitchell was presented a Women’s History Month trophy honoring her contributions to the Hampton Roads community. The trophy was the brainchild of Rev. Glenda Kelly Murray who was unable to be in attendance. New Journal and Guide Publisher Brenda H. Andrews made the presentation to a very humbled Karen Mitchell.

Del. Hayes implored the attendees to follow the four F’s to assure success in life: stay focused; keep your mind fixed; have faith; and you will be fruitful.

The Lambda Omega Scholarship, Talent Hunt and Social Action Foundation, in conjunction with Lambda Omega Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Norfolk, hosted its annual Talent Hunt at Second Calvary Baptist Church in Norfolk on March 19. Nine area high school students competed for cash awards and the opportunity to represent the chapter at the fraternity’s Third District Meeting in Arlington, VA in April.

Vocalist, Samantha McCarty of Bayside High School took first place with her rendition of “La Violette”by Scarlatti. Delvin Joppy, a senior from Indian River High took the second place award by singing “Amarilli, Mia Bella” by Antonio Caldara. Home-schooled sophomore guitarist, Stephen Shedd strummed “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams to win third place.
Other performers were: Kurt Lannetti; Ricky Goodwyn, JR.; Donte’ Thompson; E’Lexus Alston; David Cooper and Margaret Sweeney. Jerome Bynum is president of the foundation and the Talent Hunt committee chairman.

Two area elementary schools will receive donations this week of culturally representative books by Clever Communities In Action (CCIA).

Starr Armstrong, CCIA’s President & C.E.O. announced her non-profit group will be donating 100 books to the libraries of both Douglass Park (Portsmouth) and Tidewater Park (Norfolk) elementary schools.

She said CCIA has been on a quest since 2011 to place culturally representative books in elementary school libraries to fill a void. Thanks to donations received from concerned “Villagers” and businesses during their February to mid-March Youth Book Drive, CCIA has donated over 1,000 new books to 12 Title I schools in Hampton Roads.

Books depicting historic figures such as Sojourner Truth and Marcus Garvey and fictional characters such as Nikki and Deja, Jaden Toussiant and Keena Ford are among those being made available for young readers.

“Everyone deserves to see themselves positively represented throughout the entire year and youth literature is not an exception,” said Armstrong. “Students, administrators and media specialists at both schools are anxiously anticipating the arrival of the books.”

CCIA will also deliver 100 books to Doyle Ryder Elementary in Flint, Michigan on March 28, where the city’s citizens are still being negatively impacted by the ongoing Flint Water Crisis. This will be CCIA’s second outreach initiative to Flint.

“CCIA and community partners such as the Eternal Roots Band, Yvonne Wagner representing Norfolk Public School Board and community leaders will engage brilliant, young minds on the importance of reading, self-esteem and culture,” Armstrong said.

“We are delighted each year to see the children’s faces light up as they are presented with the vast selection of literature.”

Clever Communities In Action (CCIA) was founded in 2012, and is a 501c nonprofit organization with programs in Norfolk.

To learn more, visit www.clevercommunities.org or call (757) 918-7879.

Vashti DuBois

A few years ago, Vashti Dubois turned her home in Philadelphia into the Colored Girls Museum aiming to help others see the past from a different angle.

Black women in Philadelphia liked the idea so much that they donated countless artifacts including quilts, a painting of the singer Lauryn Hill, hand tools, and wooden statues. In other words, Dubois’ 127-year-old, three-story home contains half-forgotten memories that are tastefully arranged to jog yet heal the memory.

This means like familiar childhood memories stream through the mind, familiar scenes stream through her home. For example, the downstairs mantle is decorated with wooden statues, lace doilies, and huge oil paintings hang on the walls. Upstairs, each of the 10 rooms is actually a chapter from a woman’s life.

“We’re reimagining the museum as a sanctuary for colored girls, DuBois said in a Feb. 9, 2016 interview in Smithsonian magazine. “I want it to be a gathering space, celebrating and acknowledging and looking closely at the things that have shaped us in this country and in the world.”

Since childhood was a painful for many young girls of color, DuBois uses ordinary objects to jog yet heal the mind. The strategy seems to appeal to many women of color including Elizabeth Wellington, a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, who recently wrote, “Walking up the path to the front door of The Colored Girls Museum in Germantown is like a first-time visit to the home of a new girlfriend. A blue tricycle sits tumbled on its side in the front yard. Wind chimes jingle in the frigid, late-winter breeze.”

During the interview, DuBois told Wellington that the museum honors women who are often overlooked. “You see us walking down the street. Everyday colored girls. You walk past us, but here we are in all of our extraordinary splendor doing the things that we do to make this world a great place to live,” Dubois, 56, said. “We aren’t all Michelles and Beyoncés. But look at how we are holding everything together.”

Launched after her husband was unexpectedly killed in a car crash three years ago, the museum presented its first exhibit, “Open for Business,” in 2015. The following spring, Dubois added Sunday tours. In November, the museum closed for winter and reopened in March 2017.

DuBois, a theatre artist, Brooklyn native and graduate of Wesleyan University said the museum would not exist if she hadn’t taken the time to heal here after her husband died.

“When I couldn’t do anything, I could do the steps. I got up. Tended to my son. Sent him off to school. Then I would come up here and go back to bed. And get up just before he came home so he didn’t know that I was in bed all day. And every day, I did a little more until I could do more.”

Dubois said of the museum, “Black women see themselves reflected back at themselves. And it’s also intended for people to see the world through the lens of a colored girl.”
The museum has received widespread publicity. And it has a website plus several social media accounts including Facebook and You Tube.

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities will host its 53rd presentation of the humanitarian awards on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center. The awards celebration honors individuals and organizations for making significant humanitarian contributions to the South Hampton Roads community.

The 2017 Tidewater Humanitarian Awards Recipients are Norfolk Mayor Kenneth C. Alexander with more than two decades in public service; Kim S. Fink, community activist and leader; Caroline W. McCartney, a top selling Realtor; James K. Spore, first president and chief executive officer of Reinvent Hampton Roads, following 24 years of service as city manager of the City of Virginia Beach; Craig S. Wansink, Professor of Religious Studies, Virginia Wesleyan Colege.

The 2016 Tidewater Distinguished Merit Award Recipient is the The Hands United Building Bridges (HUBB) whose purpose s to connect religious leaders in Hampton Roads for the common purpose of strengthening our diverse community, searching for a common ground through building bridges that connect humanity. HUBB has involved nearly 60 faith leaders from around the area in dialogues, as well as some leaders of faith-based organizations and members of law enforcement. They meet every four to six weeks and have discussed topics ranging from education to community policing and from understanding Islam to approaches to poverty. This organization is led by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Dr. Antipas Harris.

The Humanitarian Awards are presented annually in communities across the state by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. Begun in Tidewater in 1965, when the organization was part of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Humanitarian Awards honor individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

The 2017 VCIC Tidewater Humanitarian Awards dinner is being chaired by Charles V. McPhillips, partner with Kaufman & Canoles, P.C.

For 82 years, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has been addressing prejudices, in all forms in order to improve academic achievement, increase workplace productivity, and enhance local trust. Today through workshops, retreats, and customized programs, VCIC works with schools, businesses, and communities to achieve success through inclusion.
For more information about the organization, go to www.inclusiveVA.org.

The South Hampton Roads Pan-Hellenic Council – SHARPC – recognized the performance of members and community leaders at a banquet held on March 18 at the Edmonds Center in Portsmouth. Over 325 supporters gathered to honor selected members of the nine historically Black Greek letter organizations.

Rev. Dr. LeRoy Hill, Jr. served as master of ceremonies. Dr. Hill is the Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Portsmouth. Along with a lengthy list of pastoral duties, he is currently completing his dissertation for a second doctorate in Community Transformation of Urban Studies at Regent University. A member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., he is also Vice President of the board of the Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless – PVH – and works as a church planting consultant and church health coach.

SHARPC presented its first 2017 Community Service Organization Award to the Norfolk Chapter of Sisters Network, Inc. for long-time involvement in supporting women who have experienced breast cancer and its related effects.

SHARPC presented its Divine Nine Award for community service by a Black Greek to Antonio Brown. This member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity was recognized for his work with area youth. Brown is currently the President of the Public Housing Youth Alumni, Inc., a non-profit organization in Norfolk. Their mission is to educate, inspire and empower all young people to reach their full potential and become productive, caring and responsible adults.

A $1,000 SHARPC scholarship was presented to Kierra Martin, a Senior Communications major at ODU and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. They also presented a $500 book award to Christian Williams. The ODU Senior is majoring in Chemistry and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc.

The SHARPC Unsung Heroes for 2017 are Dr. Colita Fairfax, LaCrystal D. Stokes-Hogan, Patricia Wyche and Anissa Walker, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Kenneth Sutton, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Rosalyn Green, Rosemary W. Fonville and Rhonda Harris , Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Patrice Hare and Drcel Johnson, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; Christian D. Porter and Hughes G. Valmond, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; Damon Gilkes, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; Selicia R. Sellers, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority; and Vian S. Irving., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

The Unsung Hero Banquet Committee was chaired by Terry Caldwell of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Chloe Jones, of Sigma Gamma Rho, is the SHARPC president.

The Norfolk Chapter of Sisters Network, Inc. received the SHARPC Community Service Organization Award
(L-R) Divine Nine Award winner, Antonio Brown; Scholarship winner, Kierra Martin; Book Award winner, Christian Williams

Congressman Donald McEachin, the newest Member of Congress representing Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, spent a day in Hampton Roads connecting with his constituents.

He began his day at the Hampton Roads Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. As a colorectal “cancer conqueror,” the Congressman said he values any opportunity to bring attention to this form of cancer.

McEachin then met with local representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers to talk about current and upcoming projects. Rep. McEachin ended his day with his coffee event in Chesapeake at Sunrise Breakfast Shoppe.

He met with about 100 constituents to discuss their values and answer any questions they had about the district and what is going on in Washington. McEachin said that he always looks forward to meeting his constituents.

“One of my favorite parts of being a Congressman is when I get to speak directly to my amazing constituents about our values and how I can best serve them,” said Congressman Donald McEachin.


Gamma Xi Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in Virginia Beach, held its annual Talent Hunt at Zeiders American Dream Theatre on March 5, 2017. The event was co-hosted by Sigma Kappa Kappa Chapter, Chesapeake and Tau Lambda Chapter of Old Dominion University.

Seven area high school students performed, competing for $1,000 in cash awards from the Gamma Xi Uplift Foundation (GXUF) and the opportunity to represent the chapters at the Third District Meeting in Arlington in April.

The first place prize went to vocalist, Trequan Manning, age 17, from Green Run High School. Singer, Joseph Camano, 16, of Ocean Lakes High sang his way to second place, and vocalist, Gabrial Rambert, 17, from Salem High, finished third.

Other contestants were: Chozin Johnson, E’Lexus Alston, David Cooper and Matthew Weeks.

David Whitted is the Talent Hunt committee chairman. Turan Smith is the Basileus—president–of Gamma Xi, Justin Hampton, the Basileus of Sigma Kappa Kappa and Leon Brewington is the Basileus of Tau Lambda.

Pat Turner
Dorothy Vaughan in her twenties.

Family Light Baptist Church in Newport News recently honored two women in history for their accomplishments.

Dorothy Vaughan, whose story as a human computer during the early days of NASA was told in the book “Hidden Figures” and the block buster movie by the same name was one.

The second was Patricia Turner, one of 17 Black students in Norfolk who integrated the city’s public white high schools in 1958.

Kenneth Vaughn Jr., thanked the church for portraying his grandmother.  Meanwhile, Vaughn’s granddaughter Michelle Vaughan-Webb said, “Our grandmother died early, but she raised six children on a single income.”

The grandchildren were also quick to point out a couple of inaccuracies in the movie: Their grandmother never stole a library book, and she didn’t fix cars.

“I don’t want you thinking my grandma stole anything,” Kenneth Vaughan Jr. said.

When Turner addressed the crowd and told the story of her integration experience, she encouraged the children in the audience to pay attention and realize how difficult it was for Black students to receive an education.

“They spat in my face, pushed me down the steps, jabbed me with pencils and took away my food,” she said. “But that didn’t hurt.”

Turner remembered in her neighborhood, she was shunned because she was seen as a traitor for choosing to attend a mostly white school. But she persevered and continued going to classes because she knew how important it was to challenge notions of separate but equal. She went on to graduate from Norview High School and eventually found a career in schools, continuing the effort for equality in education.

She said she was recently asked if she would endure those challenges again, she responded, “For the children of today, I’d do it again, again, again.”

Bruce Turner of Virginia Beach and the great-great-great grandson of Nat Turner is shown at right delivering a speech about his famous descendant on Thursday March 9 at Covenant Presbyterian Church. At left, actor Dijon Mcintyre portrays Nat during a play written by P.A. Wray and performed last weekend at the Venue on 35th Street. The play, “Nat’s Last Struggle” was directed by D.D. Delaney and also starred Charisse Minera as Great Mother.

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