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PAFF Closes Out Festival with ‘Blackbird’ and Star Studded Event

(Photo Credit: Naomi K. Bonman) PHOTO CAPTION: The cast and crew of “Blackbird”, which stars Isaiah Washington and Monique. The film was directed by Patrick Ian Polk in an adaption of the novel by Larry Duplechan.

(Photo Credit: Naomi K. Bonman)
PHOTO CAPTION: The cast and crew of “Blackbird”, which stars Isaiah Washington and Monique. The film was directed by Patrick Ian Polk in an adaption of the novel by Larry Duplechan.

LOS ANGELES, CA- On Sunday, February 16 at Rave Cinemas in Los Angeles, the Pan African Film Festival closed out it’s festivities with the premiere of the film “Blackbird”.   The closing kicked off with a red carpet where the cast and crew posed for photos for the media, as well as other celebrities who walked the red carpet in support of the film. Following the red carpet was the movie screening and question and answer session, followed by a private media briefing and after party.

“Blackbird” is a story that centers on a church choir singer, portrayed by Julian Walker, in a small Mississippi town who feels like a misfit as he struggles with his sexual awakening and the realization that he is gay. This is a coming of age story for that young African American boy or girl who struggles with their sexual orientation. The film is directed by Patrick Ian Polk in an adaption of the novel by Larry Duplechan. Monique and her husband Sidney Hicks are also executive producers of the film. (Written by Naomi K. Bonman)

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter hosts its 35th Annual Black Culture Festival.

On Saturday, February 22nd, the Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will hold its 35th Annual Black Culture Festival, in conjunction with the Pomona Public Library. The event is from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Pomona Public Library located at 625 S. Garey Ave., Pomona, CA. 91767.

The festival features an array of entertainment, showcases diversity of food, retail vendors, and a dynamic children’s corner. Also provided is an informative and interactive Health and Fitness Clinic all free to the public. Additionally, we will have an Author’s Corner that will include Ilyasah Shabazz speaking and signing her new children’s book “Malcolm Little” and as in past festivals, a special appearance by the Munford Marines and Tuskegee Airmen.

The members of the Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a community service organization, invite you to enjoy this family-friendly day of entertainment, enlightenment and education. While the day celebrates and showcases the best of the Black community, the event is for everyone to enjoy.

For vendor or entertainment information, please e-mail blackculturefestival@pvacdst.org. For media inquiries, please email publicrelations@pvacdst.org.

February 22, 2014 from 11:00am – 4:00pm at Pomona Public Library located at 625 South Garey Avenue in Pomona, Ca. 91769. Please note that in the event of rain, the festival will be scheduled for Saturday, March 22nd.

Slow to the sign-up?

In a critical period of Obamacare outreach, will more black consumers take advantage of benefits available through the California healthcare exchange?

 By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

When Andre Andrews signed on to the Covered California website on February 7, he was in the midst of coping with a medical emergency.

A week before, Andrews had been the victim of a hit-and-run. The Burbank resident was walking his bike up the side of a street late one night, when he was suddenly struck by a passing motorist who never bothered to stop. The impact left him with missing teeth, lacerations to his face and an ambulance bill alone of over $1,000.

Uninsured since leaving a job in early January, Andrews has already paid $500 of the bill, but he now feels more secure because of his coverage eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, it is made available in this state through Covered California, which Andrews is confident will help him better manage medical expenses and aid with any future health problems he might experience.

“I never really go to the doctor, but I still need health insurance, especially since this happened,” said Andrews. “All these other healthcare insurance providers online are expensive.” For the 30-year-old, what he found through Covered California “is less expensive. I’m one of those guys that thought nothing would ever happen. But clearly it can. You don’t know what is going to happen.”

More than 11,000 black Californians, and potentially millions more across the United States, can identify with the peace of mind Andrews enjoys today as a result of Obamacare. Following a difficult rollout, there has been a surge of enrollments over the last two months; on January 25, the Obama administration announced that three million Americans had signed up for private health plans under the law, including 800,000 in the month of January alone.

California accounts for 625,000 of those enrollees, but thus far only 3.1 percent, or 11,153, are African-Americans, despite blacks being nearly seven percent of California’s population. That is compared with whites, who have accounted for 54.7 percent, or 199,186, of Obamacare enrollees, tops in the state.

Obamacare ensures that all Americans have access to affordable health insurance, by offering discounts or tax credits on health insurance plans and enlarging the Medicaid assistance program to include more individuals that can’t afford healthcare in their budgets.

A household with an income between one and four times the Federal Poverty Level is ideal for receiving the health insurance discounts. Despite common misperceptions, that only single mothers can qualify for healthcare assistance, for example, or that a family must be in a deep poverty to get help, even individuals who earn too much to qualify for discounts and tax credits are entitled to buy plans through Covered California.

In California and across the nation, individuals with Obamacare have benefits in 10 categories including ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment and prescription drugs. The health plan also helps cover rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, and pediatric services such as dental and vision care.

Among those who have yet to enroll in a healthcare plan, despite the fact that he would almost certainly be eligible for coverage and/or subsidies, is 30-year-old Clint Thompson of Santa Monica. Thompson, who recently returned to California from New York City, is debating whether to enroll in a plan through Covered California, or try the insurance offered through his employer, a clothing retailer.

“I’m weighing the options of each,” said Thompson, “but I really haven’t looked as in-depth as I should.”

Thompson and others like him, those who remain on the fence about obtaining healthcare coverage, have until the March 31 open enrollment deadline to either enroll in a plan of some kind or be subject to a penalty.

Covered California this month launched an outreach campaign covering 21 counties across the state, Kern, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara and Ventura among them,  that includes opportunities for free enrollment assistance at libraries, community centers and other locations. Opportunities to enroll and information about outreach locations can be found on the website at www.coveredca.com.

Although online enrollment remains a viable and popular option, Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said many people are more comfortable with face-to-face discussion.

“Many people want to speak with an expert in person in their own language,” he said recently, “rather than over the phone or on the Internet when making such a personal decision about health insurance.”

Next week: As a Covered California deadline approaches, African-American consumers, healthcare experts and advocates assess the effectiveness of healthcare outreach to the black community.