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What it do with Lue

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.

#NSBESpeaks: Our Response to Police Brutality, Racism and Violence in America

By Chairman Matthew Nelson Statement

It is with a heavy heart that I offer my first official communication as the national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). I find myself in a difficult situation when responding to recent instances of social injustice. A significant portion of the revenue used by NSBE to fund scholarships and programs for aspiring, young black minds comes from corporations seeking to increase their diversity through their relationships with our organization. I hope this letter does not estrange them. However, our mutual goal of a diverse engineering workforce is unattainable when black students are more worried for their lives than about their lectures, and when black employees lose productivity over concerns of prejudice.

Over the past few days, the deaths of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling have peeled back the scab that covers the septic state of race relations in America. These incidents are especially concerning given the manner in which they occurred: Sterling shot while being pinned to the ground, Castile while reaching for his wallet at an officer’s command. Although both officers will face investigations to determine legal culpability, the visceral reaction evoked is one of shock, fear and fury. The most frightening notion is that our compliance with law enforcement officers may no longer be sufficient for survival. Recent events have caused individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math to question the relevance of their education in a society that undervalues their lives.

However, the value of life is not exclusive to one race or one profession. The solution to addressing the concerns of our community certainly does not reside in the assassination of public safety officials. Incidents like the recent shootings of police in Dallas during a peaceful protest make a hazardous atmosphere even more toxic. Just as we are praying for the families of the black men slain, we pray for the families of the police officers who were struck down while in the line of duty.

The issues plaguing the black community extend far beyond police brutality. Unemployment, lack of access to services, underfunded educational systems, the prison-industrial complex, black on black crime, etc.: all of those concerns need to be addressed. However, we must not avoid confronting the ugly truths around policing in America. We must hold our elected officials responsible for the conduct of the officers who work on their behalf. A sheriff is typically an elected official. A police chief or commissioner is usually appointed by a mayor or city council. Research your candidates for government offices, and continue to voice your concerns once they begin their terms.

In addition, leverage your economic power to influence policy. Choose wisely when deciding where you will live and pay taxes. Make the choice to shop and dine in areas where black consumers are welcomed and appreciated, not labeled and harassed. Take note of the response from the LGBT community to North Carolina House Bill 2 and the effect of that response on that state’s economy. Circumstances will not change until the message is made clear: the unjustified use of force against blacks will be met with swift political and economic repercussions.

Times like these challenge our belief in justice and our faith in humanity, yet we still must march on, carrying the burdens of oppression, discrimination and hatred in a country that often fails to acknowledge our contributions, our place in society and our rights as citizens. Although these events have obviously rocked us to our very core, emotionally and spiritually, this is not the time for us to lose sight of our mission. It is imperative that we continue to expose our people to opportunities and encourage each other to strive for excellence, while engaging in meaningful dialogue about how to navigate today’s world. Cultural responsibility must prevail. For additional resources to help you focus your frustrations on positive outcomes, read the post “STEM and Social Justice: Applying an Engineering Lens to Social Change,” located on NSBE’s website (www.nsbe.org) in the Blog section.

If you take nothing else from this letter, please understand that as the leader of NSBE, I feel the same pain, anger, confusion and hopelessness you may be feeling. When one of us is hurting, we all feel the effects. I realize that NSBE cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of the black community. We may not be able to address them all, but we must be cognizant of their impact.

Toward this end, I have activated NSBE’s Culturally Responsible Task Force for our 2016–2017 program year. The purpose of this entity will be, in part, to respond to issues that affect black communities; to create a safe space online where our members can express their frustrations about racism without fear of repercussions; and to write reports that capture concerns about racism on college campuses that have active NSBE chapters.

We also encourage you to use social media and the hashtag #NSBESpeaks to continue the conversation about social injustice.

I pray for your understanding of the constraints placed on our Society with regard to activism, and I hope for the day when Black Lives Matter is a historical reference and no longer a current cry for justice.