THE CRYSTAL NEWS
Winter, 2017 Volume XXIV Issue I
Happy New Year!!!
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This issue of The Crystal News is dedicated to my cousin, Esther Mason Davis, and to her son, Kevin Mason. Cousin Esther was the kind of take no mess, heart of gold, organ playing, 'church lady' that made you want to be right with God. In my childhood, I was a frequent visitor to her kitchen where there seemed always to be a delicious, freshly baked cake, which Cousin Esther was quick to offer saying, 'Don't be bashful.' Kevin... was not so much a church goer, but lived a righteous life. Loved by everyone who met him, he kept up with people better than anyone I've known, and taught his sons to do so, by example. Cousin Esther passed away last spring and Kevin followed less than a month later, but we carry with us our loved ones who have gone... When my bashfulness attempts to overtake me, I let Cousin Esther's words push me gently forward. When I am thinking of someone, but think I don't have time to reach out to them, a little voice asks, "What would Kevin do?" and gratefully, I respond.
In Living Color’s T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh Signs With Stewart Talent Agency
Press Contact: Jasmine Jackson, Rise Public Relations (818) 284-0516 firstname.lastname@example.org
All of my siblings are awesome, but this month, I give a special shout out to two of my brothers. First, congratulations to my big brother Billy Jon McCombs, for standing up for his son, my nephew, Jonathon McCombs. Jonathon, who has Down syndrome, lives in a home in Springfield. IL that the city recently threatened to shut down. Billy Jon is fighting to keep Jonathon where he is. Moving him from a place where he is happy and functioning would be very disturbing. What's more, the rule of having not more than one group home for disabled people within a designated area is discriminatory. There is no such 'density' rule for people who are not disabled. To learn more read Mary Hanson's article in the State Journal Register, http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170114/city-accused-of-discrimination-in-group-home-lawsuit
Congratulations also to my big brother, Brigadier General William Walker.. With the recent stepping down of Major General Errol R. Schwartz, Walker, who is the District of Columbia National Guard Land Component Commander and the Commander of Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, is now Acting Commander of the District of Columbia Army National Guard. A decorated, career service man, General Walker is also a retired DEA agent whose service therein was also exemplary. To learn more, check out the WUSA 9 coverage of the story: www.wusa9.com/news/local/commander-of-dc-national-guard-to-step-down-during-inauguration/385984018
First stop: Germany? OK That wasn't planned, but below is the postcard I sent, courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines, to begin salvaging the trip:
I had the honor of contributing to two wonderful books recently. In one I describe a dream dinner with historical figures with whom I would love to have been able to share a meal: Dining with the Ancestors: When Heroes Come to Dinner, A Black History Coffee Table Book (by multiple Emmy Award winning journalist Dr. Eric J. Chambers) www.DiningWithTheAncestors.com. In the other, I describe one of my first experiences at Florida A & M University while still a Business major, but in the theater where I would come to spend the bulk of my time on the hill: HBCU Experience - The Book www.BlackCollegeBook.com; Co-edited by Black college alumni Dr. Tia Tyree and Christopher D. Cathcart, HBCU Experience - The Book celebrates the rich legacy and experiences of those who attended HBCUs.
Please support Black Books and Black-Owned Bookstores!
1) If you haven't already, please pack an emergency bag or two for each person in your household. Include copies of prescriptions and I.D.'s, and a toy and / book for children. Store the bags in a safe, accessible place.
2) Check the bags every six months. Make sure clothes still fit, and switch out things that expire. Keep an inventory.
3) Have working fire extinguishers, smoke and gas detectors, and a fire escape ladder near a second story window. If you live on in an apartment, check your fire escape stairs. Let your landlord know if there is an obstruction or other problem.
4) Write an emergency plan that includes phone numbers to household members, loved ones not in the household, work / school addresses and numbers, nearest medical facilities; and a designated place to meet if your home must be evacuated.
5) Share your emergency plan with everyone in the household and have emergency drills once a year or more.
Emergency plans can be as simple or as complex as you allow. Just make sure you are as prepared as you can be.
Get Prepared! Stay Prepared!
For most of my time in Los Angeles, I have supported my local alumni association only when they've called. They have called, mind you, and, in addition to keeping my dues current, I have answered the call every time I could, as I do when the national alumni or university calls on me for help. Recently, I attended a meeting in person. I was glad to see familiar faces and new ones, but not as many as I wished, so I made a commitment to being more active... even when no one is asking. Your local and national alumni associations need you... even when they do not ask! HBCU's are under attack and in need of your help! Please support the HBCU of your choice with your time, talent, treasure and input. I strongly encourage all FAMU alumni to support our school, our president, our alumni organizations, the individual school(s) from which you graduated, and of course, The T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Endowed Theater Scholarship at Florida A&M University! If you are not a member of an alumni association, join one today! If you are, but are not a lifetime member, become one today! You do not need to be an HBCU alumnus to join / support an HBCU!
"News From The Hill" - from the National Alumni Association Newsletter:
FAMU Leads Multi-Million Dollar Consortium on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems - Today, Florida A&M University (FAMU) announced the receipt of a $15.4 million award over five years from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP) to establish the Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME). The new award will allow the FAMU-led partnership to make profound national impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems education, science, and policy.
FAMU Rises in 2017 U.S. News & World Report Rankings, Emerging as the No. 1 Public HBCU - Florida A & M University (FAMU) has risen to the No. 7 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities” list. Climbing three spots, the ranking reveals FAMU as No. 1 among public HBCUs and among the “Best National Universities.”
FAMU Board of Trustees Names Larry Robinson Interim President - The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees today named distinguished professor and researcher Larry Robinson, Ph.D., interim president.
Known for her supporting youth in America and abroad, actress T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh has participated in the Back-to-School with the HistoryMakers event since it's inception in 2010. She represented the HistoryMakers in Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Monica. September 2016 found Keymáh returning to Santa Monica High School, where she once again spoke to an assembly of a couple hundred students, then spent the rest of the day speaking to individual classrooms. The actress brought a slide show of her body of work that inspired many questions from the students about the entertainment industry.
As you have read in earlier issues of The Crystal News, I upped my support of Black businesses a few years ago. Since my last issue, I've encountered several new (to me) Black business! Last summer, I had the pleasure of dining at Boyd's New Generation, Springfield, IL. 1831 S Grand Ave E, Springfield, IL 62703 (217) 544-9866. It's a no frills cafe, but the down home service was great. Not a lot of vegetarian options and the lemonade was way too sweet, but the vegetables and salad were fresh and delicious! Speaking of good service and good food, I was delighted to greet the long awaited opening of Black Bottom Southern Cafe, 4806 N. Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood CA 91601 818-856-8532 http://blackbottomcafe.com/, Since it's not a sit down (indoors) place with entertainment, it doesn't quite fill the gap that Coley's Jamaican left in my heart, but I'm really glad it's there! Not a lot o veggie options but what they have is great and a delight for meat and seafood consumers. ...Thank you to those of you who have recommended quality Black businesses for me to add to my Black Friday page. Please keep them coming! Whether you were inspired by Minister Louis Farrakhan's "Justice or Else," Maggie Anderson's book "Our Black Year, "or recent glaring indications that economic power is needed, please make every season one that uplifts quality Black businesses. This is where the action is...
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FUNDING WORTH PROJECT$! $upport if you can!
I Can Fly International Founder Sha' Givens, has completed her second "Butterfly House," an additional school building that allows her to rescue more young girls from being sold into unwanted marriages, and to provide food, shelter and an education to more young people in Kenya (icanflyinternational.org). She still needs additional funds to continue the life saving work she is doing. To help, visit https://www.gofundme.com/butterflyhouse.
Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!
KUDOS KUDOS KUDOS KUDOS
Kudos to: I Can Fly International Founder Sha' Givens, who recently completed her newest "Butterfly House," an additional school building that allows her to rescue more young girls from being sold into unwanted marriages, and to provide food, shelter and an education to more young people in Kenya (icanflyinternational.org) and to ; veteran journalist Soledad O'Brien on tackling important issues of the day as she hosts her new political news magazine show, "Matter of Fact" www.MatterofFact.tv;" former Weirton, WV police officer Stephen Mader who was fired because, when called out on a domestic violence dispute, encountered a Black man with a gun, assessed the situation using his military and police training... and DID NOT shoot the armed Black man (sadly, he was rewarded for his excellent police work by being fired... for not shooting the man; humanitarian Mary Yokem (pictured with legendary television personality Merri Dee) on being the East Central Governor's Service Award Winner for the Illinois senior corps division; writer Dahleen Glanton on her article comparing the response to the heroin epidemic in the suburbs of Chicago to the violence epidemic in the city (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-violence-mothers-glanton-20160912-column.html); Olympic darlings Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, the only two American all-around champions to win multiple gold medals in a single Olympic Games; legendary South African actor Arthur Molepo on his return to the stage in a special performance of the internationally successful show Sophiatown, celebrating the cultural mecca on which the show is based. http://rekordeast.co.za/90765/sophiatown-returns-to-stage/; Inglewood Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., on their successful production of An Evening of Legacy, honoring Black women throughout history; HistoryMaker Carla Hayden, president of the American Library Association, on being confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress. She is the first African American and the first female to serve since 1802; Wanjiru Kinyanjui on the UDADA International Women's Film Festival in Kenya; Stage Aurora Theatrical Company on winning 2016 SPARK and NEA Grants and Art Ventures award for Darryl Reuben Hall's Drawn from the Water (https://www.jaxcf.org/file/2015/news-release/Art-Ventures-Individual-Artists_2015.pdf); The Postal Service for honoring trailblazing civil rights and gender equality champion Dr. Dorothy Irene Height with the 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series; and Romarilyn Ralston on her new job offer as Program Coordinator for Project Rebound, at CalState Fullerton. (http://news.fullerton.edu/2016sp/projectrebound.aspx) http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/tn-wknd-et-1023-project-rebound-cal-state-fullerton-20161112-story.html Go on woman!!!
The Crystal News respectfully acknowledges the life and transition of:
Natural Woman / Natural Hair II - Summer 2017
(I know, I know, but for real this time.)
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