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BLU Educational Foundation Hosts Second Annual Soul Sisters Leadership Academy

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- BLU Educational Foundation (BLU) will  host its second annual Soul Sisters Leadership Academy starting Monday, July 18 at San Bernardino Valley College.  The four-day, intensive training program is designed for young Black women ages 14 to 21.  The purpose of the academy is to help young women connect with the historical legacy of Black women who have made, and are making, significant contributions throughout society and the world.  In addition, the program is designed to help young women develop a strong sense of self, cultural identity, and a connection to the importance of civic engagement and the positive impact they can make on their campus and in their community.  

Believing that service is key to civic engagement, BLU utilizes program alumni, college interns, and volunteers to help design and facilitate the trainings thereby developing valuable transferable skills and giving program participants real-world creative and project implementation experience.  Program attendees are encouraged to take their experience back to their respective centers of influence and continue to create and lead.  Last year’s academy consisted of 36 young women from 14 local cities and representing 23 high school and college campuses.

  The Soul Sisters Leadership Academy is one of the many leadership trainings BLU is conducting as part of their ongoing African-American Civic Engagement (AACE) Project. 

City of Riverside to Host the 2016 Association of African American Museums Conference

RIVERSIDE, CA- History and art enthusiasts from near and far will visit Riverside next month for the Association of African American Museums Conference (AAAM) taking place August 3 to August 6. The AAAM conference will take place at the Riverside Convention Center, but a host of activities including some receptions are planned in various locations throughout the Inland Region.

A Gospel Concert will take place Thursday, August 4 at Riverside Community College Landis Auditorium, led by Gregory Thomas as well as accomplished musician, singer and song writer Tony Wilkins. A mass community choir of 100 voices under the musical direction of clinician Thomas will joyously lift up praises together at this special event. The mass community choir rehearsals will commence at a week-long gospel workshop, open to anyone who wishes to participate: Monday, July 25 through Friday July 29 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Park Avenue Baptist Church located at 1910 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Riverside. The workshop fee is $10. For more information contact (951) 807-5066.

In addition to the gospel concert, Visual Voice art exhibit co-curated by renowned artists Charles Bibbs and Bernard Hoyes with assistance by curator Lisa Henry will take place Friday, August 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Riverside Art Museum. This exhibit covers Southern California Black artists’ ascent to the mainstream, culminating with the Black art scene in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 90s. Works of 19 masterful artists who played an integral role in what is to become the first full African American Art Movement over the last three decades includes: Ernie Barnes, Varnette P. Honeywood, Bernard Stanley Hoyes, Charles Bibbs, Nathaniel Bustion, Synthia Saint James, Kathleen Atkins Wilson, Kenneth Gatewood, Charles Dickson, Joseph Beckles, Charles White, Samella Lewis, William Pajaud, Richard Mayhew, Artis Lane, Jacob Lawrence, Noah Purifoy, Barbara Wesson and John Outterbridge.

In conjunction with the Visual Voice art exhibition, a Block Party with a stage of live entertainment will take place Friday, August 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mission Inn Avenue near the Riverside Art Museum. Blues, Jazz and R&B performers will give a musical tribute concert to celebrate the early century era with special guests to be announced. Both the Block Party and Visual Voice art exhibition are free and open to the public.

If you are interested in being a vendor, volunteering, or for general information about registering for the conference visit www.blackmuseums.org.

Riverside Community Residents Gather Together for Peaceful Protest

RIVERSIDE, CA-Last Thursday, after days of rallied in the Inland Empire decrying perceived police brutality in the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, protestors marched through Riverside demanding not just justice being brought to the system, but unity.

Riverside residents Jeff Luckey, 22, and Anthony Curtis, 23, said that was the goal in organizing the march, which started at noon outside City Hall, continued with a march toward Riverside Plaza about 2 1/2 miles away and ended about 3 p.m.

“Right now nobody’s together,” Luckey said. “We don’t want this to be a black thing or a white thing, we want to develop a solution.”

There were approximately 75 people that attended the protest at the plaza. Some held signs and many chanted as they walked saying, ““Hands up, don’t shoot,” a slogan that has become a rallying cry for those protesting police shootings of black men.

Hennesy Brown, of Ontario, attended the march with her 1-year-old son King and her 9-month old son Angel. Brown chose to participate in the event to raise awareness in the community so that her sons won’t share the fates of Sterling and Castile.

“I don’t want my sons to become a hashtag,” Brown said.

By 2 p.m., the crowd at the plaza had grown to about 100. People were initially standing in the street in front of the movie theater, blocking traffic and forcing cars to turn around, but they moved when requested by police. “I love the diversity, it shows that its not just black people who are affected,” Brown said.

“I’m glad to see that Riverside does care about its people,“ May said. “The city has a lot of heart.”